Wednesday, October 12, 2011

RMI Electra-Piano

Here's a small (1MB) RMI Piano Program.  The samples were converted from a freeware Hollow Sun library originally in Akai format.  I also included a few Vox organ programs from one of the OASYS PCGs.

FYI, Hollow Sun has some excellent, very low priced libraries available for Kontakt.  Be sure to check them out.

Let me know if you have issues with getting this loaded on your Kronos.

RMI Piano

RMI Electrapiano        : Program U-G000 
Vox E.Organ 1           : Program U-G001 
Vox E.Organ 2           : Program U-G002 
Vox Organ Perc          : Program U-G003 
1966 Organ SW,Knob      : Program U-G004 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Brass-Winds (Breath Controller)

Below find a number of brass/wind programs which are designed to use breath controller for expression.  If you do not have a breath controller, use the keyboard version of these programs which can be found in a different post.

They require that all of EXi3 be loaded (only a portion of the EXi is loaded by default).

They also require that your breath controller be set to transmit CC#02, which is standard.  The MIDI Solutions device allows you to change what is transmitted.

The majority of the programs are monophonic and suitable for solo lines (you of course can make a small edit and change these to polyphonic if you'd like).  At the end you'll find some polyphonic variations which you can use to make brass/wind ensemble combis.

Brass-Winds Breath Controller version

Full Trumpet :BC        : Program U-G000 
Miles Trumpet :BC       : Program U-G001 
Cornet :BC              : Program U-G002 
Flugelhorn :BC          : Program U-G003 
Fanfare Trumpets :BC    : Program U-G004 
Piccolo Trumpet :BC     : Program U-G005 
Trombone mp :BC         : Program U-G006 
Trombone mf :BC         : Program U-G007 
Tuba :BC                : Program U-G008 
ContrabTuba :BC         : Program U-G009 
Oboe 2 :BC              : Program U-G010 
Oboe 3 SW1=Vib/SW2=Stac : Program U-G011 
Woody Alto Sax 2 BC     : Program U-G012 
English Horn 2 :Kb      : Program U-G013 
Clarinet 2 SW2=sfz :BC  : Program U-G014 
JazzClarinet SW2=sfz :BC: Program U-G015 
Clarinet 3 :BC          : Program U-G016 
WS Sop Sax :BC          : Program U-G017 
Body Heat Ballad Alto BC: Program U-G018 
Mute Trumpet            : Program U-G019 
Soft Flute 2 "D" Atk :BC: Program U-G020 
Tull Flute :BC          : Program U-G021 
Tull Flute K Atk :BC    : Program U-G022 
Tull Flute (SW2=uni/16v): Program U-G023 
Stan Getz Ballad Ten BC : Program U-G024 
Alto Sax (poly) BC      : Program U-G025 
Bari Sax (poly) BC      : Program U-G026 
Sop Sax (poly) BC       : Program U-G027 
Poly Trumpet BC         : Program U-G028 
Poly Trombone BC        : Program U-G029

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Prophet 5 Emulation

As you read through the AL-1 section of the Parameter Guide you'll see references to “a famous five voice American synthesizer” which can only mean the Sequential Circuit Prophet 5.  So how well does the AL-1 do?  Actually pretty darn good.  I documented below the few areas where there are differences.  I was able to re-create many of the original Prophet 5 programs.  A few presented a challenge and I have to admit, by the time I got to the last bank I wanted to move on to another project, so they got left out.

As you can see below, the waveforms of the oscillators are flipped around but the sync is flipped around as well, so if you're copying an original P5 program keep this in mind.

       PROPHET 5                  AL-1
OSC 1: Saw/Rectangle              Saw/Triangle/Rectangle
OSC 2: Saw/Triangle/Rectangle     Saw/Rectangle

There are other differences, like the fact that on the P5 you can have Saw/Tri/Rect all on at the same time.  That's not possible with the AL-1.  And the combination Saw/Tri is not available either.  Still, the AL-1 allows you to blend two waveforms whereas these are mixed at 50/50 on the P5.  There are also double and detuned saw waveforms on the AL-1 which don't exist on the P5.

When trying to re-create the Prophet 5 programs from Arturia's Prophet V, I found that the Edge parameter should be 0 or slightly negative.

While you can apply the filter envelope (or any EG) to Osc. 1/2 pitch, pulse width and filter, you cannot modulate the filter or pulse width with either of the oscillators.  It is possible to have osc. 1 modulate osc.2 (remember we're flipped in comparison to the P5).  Here's a related quote from the manual: 

"This feature is similar to a classic five‐voice analog synthesizer’s “Osc B to Freq A” function, except that the depth can be up to eight times greater–16 octaves instead of 2."

The AL-1 filter does not self-oscillate.

Envelope/LFO Values
Again, when trying to re-create the Arturia P5 programs I found the translation charts for EG (page 210 in the Parameter Guide) and LFO (page 216 in the Parameter Guide) to be very helpful.  If you mouse over any control on the soft synth it will display the value in ms/Hz.


Here is a PCG with re-creations of many of the original Prophet 5 programs.  I used the Arturia Prophet 5 as my source.

Prophet 5 Original Programs

P5 11 Brass             : Program U-G000 
P5 12 LowStrings        : Program U-G001 
P5 13 MutedClav         : Program U-G002 
P5 14 Perc E Piano      : Program U-G003 
P5 15 Flutes            : Program U-G004 
P5 16 Harpsichord       : Program U-G005 
P5 17 Sync1             : Program U-G006 
P5 18 PercussiveOrgan   : Program U-G007 
P5 21 UniGlide          : Program U-G008 
P5 22 Harmonium         : Program U-G009 
P5 23 OrganWithRes      : Program U-G010 
P5 24 ToyPiano          : Program U-G011 
P5 25 TrumpetFlute      : Program U-G012 
P5 27 ReedOrgan         : Program U-G013 
P5 28 BrassInFifths     : Program U-G014 
P5 31 PipeOrganFlutes   : Program U-G015 
P5 32 SyncII            : Program U-G016 
P5 33 Electric Piano    : Program U-G017 
P5 34 HighStrings       : Program U-G018 
P5 35 OctaveSawteeth    : Program U-G019 
P5 36 ReleaseRepeat     : Program U-G020 
P5 37 DelayedHarmonic   : Program U-G021 
P5 41 PulseWidthMod     : Program U-G022 
P5 42 SlowSyncSweep     : Program U-G023 
P5 43 4thsWithRes       : Program U-G024 
P5 44 SweepingHarmonic  : Program U-G025 
P5 45 SlowSync          : Program U-G026 
P5 47 SawtoothArp       : Program U-G027 
P5 48 ClangerousBells   : Program U-G028 

Setting up SGX-1 Pianos

With regards to the Kronos APs/EPs you really should play them on a weighted action. I noticed this in the audio demos prior to getting mine. I was really only knocked out by the APs in the Japanese demos, which were done on weighted actions. All the other demos were on the 61. With the semi-weighted action you grab into the velocity layers too high and it's too easy to push them to the extreme. In my home studio I have a semi-weighted and weighted action placed like a dual manual keyboard and I am frequently shocked at the tonal differences when playing a sound on one of the keyboards and then moving to the other. It can be stark.

If you’re playing the Kronos 61, try going into the main piano parameter page and setting the VELOCITY INTENSITY to +30 to +60. This will significantly increase the dynamic range. While you’re there you might take the VELOCITY BIAS down a bit, maybe -5 to -10 and possible lower the lid a bit. 

I recommend you try setting the Velocity Curve in Global to 9 on the 61 as well as the 73 and 88.  It makes for a more expressive playing experience, IMO.

Still, I believe something psychosomatic occurs when you play an acoustic piano sound on a semi-weighted synth keyboard. There is a disconnect between the sound and the feel of the action, so your brain says something is wrong or phony. Play the same sound from weighted keys and it sounds/feels much more authentic.

Comparing the SGX-1 to the Roland Superior Grand

I thought it would be interesting to hear how the Kronos APs compares to other digitals. All I have at the moment is a Roland RD300GX so I used the Superior Grand. While it’s not the very latest and greatest from Roland, it has been the mainstay piano for the RD700s/FP7/FP4/RD300GX series.

In the example below you’ll hear five phrases with the first being the Kronos German Grand followed by the Roland Superior Grand. Both were feed an identical MIDI file data. Default settings were used on both. The phrases were played while listening to the RD300GX.

Here are my observations:

  • The Kronos sounds like a high quality recording/sampling of a piano; the Roland sounds like a digital piano/ROMpler—it sounds artificial.
  • The Kronos properly interrupts the phrase dynamics; the Roland does not and comes across as having a compressed dynamic range (the first and last phrases are best for this observation).
  • In the second example (Turn Out the Stars) the Kronos does an admirable job of reproducing these rich harmonies; the Roland sounds harsh and mid-rangy. The harmonies sound confused and anything but rich and beautiful. (IMO, the inability to properly reproduce more complex harmonies in this range is the Achilles Heal of every digital piano I’ve ever played).
  • In the first and especially the fourth example, you can clearly hear the artificial envelopes and sample loops on the Roland (extremely bad in the fourth example).

IMO, the Roland is bested in every observable area. This is what happens to audio when you compress, loop, add artificial envelopes and don’t sample at enough velocities.


Brass and Wind Programs

Below find about 30 brass/wind programs I created. They are designed to allow you to play flowing, fast legato if you choose, passages. They are monophonic and commonly use mono legato (mode:use legato offset). The first 31 are mine. Those labeled EXs3 at the end are Korg programs that I felt have a similar approach. 

Some of the sax, trombones and a few others use a special pitch bend. I borrowed this from the PedalSteel Prebend Gtr program. Normal pitch bend forces you to let up on a note if you don’t want it to bend. With brass/wind programs you often need to hold a note and then bend into the next note, which is how this works. Notes that are held do not bend, but if you do a pitch bend the next note will bend. I feel it works especially well with the Body Heat Ballad Alto. 

By default these will load into User-G but you might find space on User-A and include these with the other EXs3 programs.

These programs require that the entire EXs3 be loaded. If you're loading the standard PRELOAD.KSC it's missing a lot of the full EXs3 samples. 

Full Trumpet :Kb        : Program U-G000 
Miles Trumpet :Kb       : Program U-G001 
Cornet :Kb              : Program U-G002 
Flugelhorn :Kb          : Program U-G003 
Fanfare Trumpets :Kb    : Program U-G004 
Piccolo Trumpet :Kb     : Program U-G005 
Trombone mp :Kb         : Program U-G006 
Trombone mf :Kb         : Program U-G007 
Tuba :Kb                : Program U-G008 
ContrabTuba :Kb         : Program U-G009 
Oboe 2 :Kb              : Program U-G010 
Oboe 3 SW1=Vib/SW2=Stac : Program U-G011 
Lgt Oboe "K"Atk :Kb     : Program U-G012 
Lgt Oboe 3 "T"Atk :Kb   : Program U-G013 
English Horn 2 :Kb      : Program U-G014 
Clarinet 2 SW2=sfz :Kb  : Program U-G015 
JazzClarinet SW2=sfz :Kb: Program U-G016 
Clarinet 3 :Kb          : Program U-G017 
Bassoon :Kb             : Program U-G018 
Vibrato Bassoon :Kb     : Program U-G019 
ContraBassoon :Kb       : Program U-G020 
Soft Flute 2 "D" Atk :Kb: Program U-G021 
Tull Flute :Kb          : Program U-G022 
Tull Flute K Atk :Kb    : Program U-G023 
Tull Flute (SW2=uni/16v): Program U-G024 
WS Sop Sax :Kb          : Program U-G025 
Body Heat Ballad Alto   : Program U-G026 
Tenor Sax 2 :Kb         : Program U-G027 
Stan Getz Ballad Tenor  : Program U-G028 
Bari Sax :Kb            : Program U-G029 
Bari Sax 2 :Kb          : Program U-G030 
Dyna F.Horn RibbExp EXs3: Program U-G031 
St Open FrenchHorns EXs3: Program U-G032 
St Open F.Horns 2   EXs3: Program U-G033 
St Dyna FrenchHorns EXs3: Program U-G034 
Bass Clarinet Vib EXs3  : Program U-G035 
Velo Vib Trombone   EXs3: Program U-G036 
Walking Tuba        EXs3: Program U-G037 

Rhodes, B3 and Clav Programs

Several are hybrid Mark I (lower half) Mark II (upper half) that get around the hard bell of the Mark I in the upper register. There is one labeled Mark I (adjustable bell) which allows you to adjust the amount of bell on the notes C5 - D#5. To do so, go into EX1->OSCILLATOR and play with the ATTACK BRIGHTNESS parameter. Default is +2.0db with an intensity of +11db. So the difference/delta between the normal bell is 9db. To give the area between C5 - D#5 more or less bell relative to the rest of the piano, increase or decrease the +2.0db setting. To increase/decrease the overall attack brightness, adjust the +11db setting.

On all, I believe SW1 turns on Stereo Vibrato with Knobs 5 & 6 controlling speed and intensity. Knob 7 to the right should give you phaser/chorus and to the left delay. 

A new B3 program really aimed at a traditional B3 sound. I'm not a big fan of the internal distortion within the CX-3 (a bit too Jon Lord for my taste) so that's been eliminated. Slide on the Ribbon for Fast/Slow on the Leslie. 

These were done using STR-1. You should find a high level of playability with these. They are more of a Stevie Wonder clavinet, IMO. 

All use the VALUE SLIDER for Muting. Don't think you have to have it full on or off. Sometimes a little muting is cool. SW1 turns on Auto-Wah. 

The one called Funk Clav allows you to use the vector joystick to move between pickup settings.

Mark I+II               : Program U-G000 
Mark I (adjustable bell): Program U-G001 
Another Mark I          : Program U-G002 
Mark I+                 : Program U-G003 
Mark I+II +             : Program U-G004 
Mark I+II (soft attack) : Program U-G005 
J.Lorber MarkV EP MOD   : Program U-G006 
Mark II                 : Program U-G007 
Jazz B3 (Ribbon Leslie) : Program U-G008 
FunK Clav (Val=Mute,SW1): Program U-G009 
FunK Clav AC            : Program U-G010 
FunK Clav BC            : Program U-G011 
FunK Clav AD            : Program U-G012 
FunK Clav BD            : Program U-G013 
F.McComb Mark I EP Kn7  : Program U-G014 
What'd I Say            : Program U-G015 

Brass/Winds with Breath Controller

Some examples