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#309338 - 08/02/06 01:57 AM Hardeware vs software arrangers
Jos Maas Offline
Member

Registered: 11/16/02
Posts: 164
Loc: Hantum, The Netherlands
This may sound strange coming from a software arranger developer, but I think most of you are better off with a hardware arranger. A hardware arranger is compact, has a nice control panel with a lot of neatly labeled buttons and you can start playing as soon as you opened the box. So why do I continue developing OMB? Here are some cases in which OMB would be useful.

The editing tools for creating arrangements and styles are much easier to use on a PC with OMB then on a hardware arranger. Some Tyros players use OMB only for creating and editing styles. Some studios use OMB as a pre-production tool for quickly trying out ideas and then port the resulting MIDI file to Cubase or Logic.

A lot of live perfoming artists use MIDI files for accompaniment with a PC and a piano keyboard that has an XG or GS synthesizer but no auto-accompaniment. With OMB you can add auto-accompaniment and still be using your current setup that you may prefer over any existing arranger keyboard because of the quality of keyboard feel and sound.

You go for the best quality. You might be very content with your Tyros, but imagine you're a concert pianist. You are used to Steinway pianos, what would you think of the keyboard feel of a Tyros? You are normally accompanied by a hundred profesional musicians, would you like the sampled instruments in a Tyros instead? With OMB you can make your own choices for MIDI keyboard controller and soundfonts. But you must realise that the USD 50 you pay for OMB is only a fraction of the cost that you will spend on such a setup. A master keyboard with 88 hammer action keys is not cheap and the best soundfonts are expensive too. And you will be spending time too setting things up and tweaking styles.

Jos

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#309339 - 08/02/06 05:16 AM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
Frank L. Rosenthal Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/18/00
Posts: 1007
Jos, I agree with your assessment of hardware vs software based arranger systems. I selected the software route based on the following considerations:

I like very high quality lead or melody voices.
I like to set up the system to suit my needs.

Yes, it takes some know-how to get this all to work. Keep in mind that I am considered a morron and still, with effort, I was able to get all things to work. I guess I embarked on this journey in part as a challenge.

I will also say that once you go down the software path, make the appropriate investments (time & money) you will never look back.

Furthermore, I believe the future is software based but prices have to come down and the technology needs to be user friendly.

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#309340 - 08/02/06 05:58 AM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
RobertG Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 464
Loc: Southeastern PA, USA
Jos: I am very impressed that you have so honestly stated where your program makes sense to use vs. the dedicated hardware solutions currently on the market. Well said. It makes me want to consider purchasing your application as a style editor.

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#309341 - 08/02/06 06:08 AM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
Frank L. Rosenthal Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/18/00
Posts: 1007
I could have given an example of how a specially tailored system such as mine can work really well in a studio or in high end book stores, night clubs, etc. For these applications I would use:

High quality Drum kits (DFH, Colossus and other GM Kits)
Scarbee Bass
Bosendorfer or PMI Pianos
NI B4II Organ
Antares vocal harmonizer
Yamaha styles edited to suit
Live - Styler or OMB installed to suit

With a system like this you can play for hours without you or your audience becoming bored. It works .... try it. It sounds so good .... it is so reliable .... it is so easy to use .... it is so easy to setup and tear down (mark cables and layout in ribbons). It works for me!!!

Then as Jos points out, you can go 180 degrees in the opposite direction and setup an extremely economical/afforable good sounding software arranger system.

I am very grateful to Jos & Norbert for all their support to the world of music. They were and are at the cutting edge of things yet to come.

[This message has been edited by Frank L. Rosenthal (edited 08-02-2006).]

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#309342 - 08/02/06 03:13 PM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
rikkisbears Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 4243
Loc: NSW,Australia
Hi Jos,
Ithink it's a great tool also for owners of cheaper model psr's. The one's that don't have onboard style editing functions & only a single intro/ending and a couple of variations. Makes it easy for them to edit styles to suit their keyboards.

Also great for the smaller psr's that can't load styles. Just midi up to the computer & use omb's arranger functions. Not that much tweaking required with a keyboard that has an xg soundset.

I've also managed to turn my Clavinova CLP ( non arranger piano) into a defacto Clavinova CVP ( arranger piano) using OMB. Again , not that much editing required
( except where mega voices are used in a style) because it has an xg soundset.

I don't know if I totally agree with you about soundfonts being expensive.
I've collected about 4 to 5 gigabytes of fonts , some free , most commercial & I've only spent approx $200 to $300 USD
I've purchased
5 commercial gm/gs xg banks,
plus
Korg M1
Matrix 6
Triton Orchestral
& 1 gig of Ambient Synth Sounds

plus I've got a 3 or 4 free gm banks.
Quite frankly some of the sounds in the free sgm180/128 fonts are better than in the commercial gm banks.

You're correct though, softsynth/software arranger isn't for everyone. It does take time & effort to setup.

best wishes
Rikki

p.s.
any chance we'll ever get multipads?? haa haa

Quote:
Originally posted by Jos Maas:

A master keyboard with 88 hammer action keys is not cheap and the best soundfonts are expensive too. And you will be spending time too setting things up and tweaking styles.

Jos
_________________________
best wishes
Rikki

Korg PA4x, Korg PA3X, PSR S950, Band in a Box 2016
V Arranger/Ketron SD2

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#309343 - 08/02/06 11:16 PM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
cfcboc Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/11/06
Posts: 2
Loc: New Orleans, LA
Frank R... As a fellow self-described moron :-), I was curious as to the setup you currently use. Have you described in another post somewhere?

rikkisbears... Of the General MIDI soundfont collections you referenced, would you divulge which one you find to be the best sounding from your tastes?

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#309344 - 08/03/06 04:29 AM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
Frank L. Rosenthal Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/18/00
Posts: 1007
cfcboc, yes I have over the last 5 or more years on the General Arranger Forum. Do a search of things like flr2001, flr2002 and so on. If you have some specific areas you are interested I might be able to provide some advice.

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#309345 - 08/03/06 07:38 PM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
rikkisbears Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 4243
Loc: NSW,Australia
Hi,
I have a number of them, and I haven't found the perfect one yet. I'm trying to put a custom font together with the most suitable instruments out of each.
Actually not all that difficult using the Librarian program http://www.synthzone.com/ubbs/Forum43/HTML/000023.html
I have the following

SGM180 (180mb) [url=freehttp://www.geocities.jp/shansoundfont/][url=freehttp://www.geocities.jp/shansoundfont/][url=freehttp://www.geocities.jp/shansoundfont/]freehttp://www.geocities.jp/shansoundfont/[/url][/url][/url]

SGM128 (120mb) free http://www.sf2midi.com/index.php?searchword=sgm128&filetype=sf2&typesearch=files&page=search&submitButtonName=Go%21+%3E%3E
Another gs/xg ( free) Not sure if still available.

Papelmedia http://www.papelmedia.de/english/index.htm

Reason Provitamin http://www.reasonbanks.com/pvitamin.html
Synergi http://www.samplebanks.com/

Sonic Implants http://www.sonivoxmi.com/ProductList.asp?next=86&lstShipCode=D

There's certain instruments I like in each.

If you need xg drum mapping
Provitamin appears to have it even though it's a gm font. Check drum map on site.

Synergi also has xg drums, but not one of my favourite fonts.

If you have the ram to load them , I'd be more inclined to get sgm180 or 128 and try them first.

Provitamin & Papelmedia are approx 200mb's each

Sonic Implant is only 24mb's though quite good. It is rather pricey though.

best wishes
rikki
Quote:
Originally posted by cfcboc:
Of the General MIDI soundfont collections you referenced, would you divulge which one you find to be the best sounding from your tastes?
_________________________
best wishes
Rikki

Korg PA4x, Korg PA3X, PSR S950, Band in a Box 2016
V Arranger/Ketron SD2

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#309346 - 08/05/06 07:13 AM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
OMB has been worth every penny and then some Jos. It's been a lot of work and a healthy investment, but my software setup with OMB is good enough that I feel comfortable enough bringing just my Motif ES and my laptop to a job at this point.

The truth is, I don't care much for my PA80 any more. The ES works well enough as my controller ( and for lead voices at times ) that even though I've been giving them a good look, I'm not 100% certain that I want another hardware arranger, out of what is currently available. I understand the advantages of having something out of the box that is easy to navigate in real time, and my PA80 is in many ways easier to operate, but the cost is sound quality. My software setup sounds much better.

Jos does make good points. It has taken me a quite sometime to get my system to the point that it's at now, and there was a big learning curve involved, along with a big investment for sounds and modules. I'll also add that if I think the T2 or G70 will sound nearly as good, ( and they may ) it would be easier for me to gig with one of them. It is also easier and less time consuming for me to setup and breakdown using just a hardware arranger and my sound system. I'll definitely agree that unless you have a lot of patience and some time for trial and error, for most performing entertainers, hardware might be the better solution.

AJ


[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 08-05-2006).]
_________________________
AJ

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#309347 - 08/05/06 12:31 PM Re: Hardeware vs software arrangers
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 3920
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Just to add my 2 cents,
Everything that has been said is absolutely true. I rely on my KN7000, but since I have the receptor with me anyway, it is a simple matter of putting my controller on the second tier of my Apex stand. I have done this twice for performance, and when I play solo voices from Colossus,B4, or Kontakt2, the people really pay attention. As a matter of fact, when I play with the band, the other musicians comment on the likeness to real instruments.

Arranger and synth musicians(according to articles I've read), have become so used to their version of instruments, that they lose sight of what the real instrument sounds like. Whether this is true or not doesn't alter the fact that people are not used to quality sounds coming from a one man band.

This fact in itself is enough for me to plod on in quest of an ever better sound. The big bonus is that you don't have to buy a $4000 keyboard to get the improvements that are coming in all areas.

Bernie
_________________________
pa4X 76 ,Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station

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