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Viewing topic "My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take"

     
Posted on: November 17, 2004 @ 02:54 PM
eric
Total Posts:  0
Joined  11-17-2003
status: Newcomer

I received my PLG-AP board and plugged it into my S90 last night.

I have not played with it enough to write a book about it, but spent some time last night playing through headphones and tonight trying it through my stereo gig rig.

After seeing all the controversy about this AP board that has sprung up over on the S90 forums (after I had already ordered it), I was a bit concerned and not sure what to expect. 

The alleged “buzz” or “tambourine” tail that many users have pointed out is not a hoax and I was able to easily notice it when playing with headphones last night.  This was not really floating my boat very much.  I figured out that this artifact is more pronounced when playing forcefully and percussively.  It is almost like a slapback kind of thing when the velocity is maxed and the volume is cranked.  It is not as noticeable when playing softly or when the volume level is reduced.  Needless to say, I was not a very happy camper after hearing this.

Here’s where it gets interesting...tonight I fired up my gig rig, which is not something I do often at home.  I did not notice the artifact at all when played in stereo through my Motion Sound amps.  I was actually pretty darn happy with the way it sounded!  So it seems to be a problem in a clinical/headphone environment, but not a problem in a live environment.  Very interesting.  I sat and played the sounds through my amp for quite some time and definitely found the samples to be more expressive and pleasing to my ear than the S700 triple strike that came in the S90.  The AP board is more detailed and warmer, with more variance between soft and loud.

The kicker was this...the main reason I bought the thing (aside from my curiosity about how good it might sound) was to simply expand my max polyphony options when stacking piano with other sounds.  There are a couple of layered string and pad sounds that I really like in my S90.  I like to layer these behind a piano sound, but the base polyphony on the S90 does not handle all these complex sounds stacked together.  With the AP board, this becomes a non-issue.

So I took a number of thick, polyphony-hungry pads and added the PLG AP sound on top of them.  I was able to play normally with no voice robbing or notes dropping out.  In spite of the “buzz” that is audible to me through headphones, this increase in polyphony and the ability to put piano with about anything I want is a real selling point.

I have not used it on a gig, so I’ll reserve my final review until after I have done a gig or two with it.

To sum it up, I was ready to return the AP board after listening to the sounds through headphones.  I have decided to give it another shot after trying it live through stereo amplification.  The polyphony addition is much needed and the AP samples are superior to what is in the S90.

That’s my $.02 thus far.

Regards,
Eric

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Posted on: November 17, 2004 @ 04:26 PM
Bcat
Total Posts:  0
Joined  11-17-2004
status: Newcomer

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

This is my take on the board as well. In fact, when I bought my S90 I also purchased the PLG 150 PF card and it displayed the same artifact as the new AP card when played in headphones, but was pretty much a non issue on my gig setup. I gotta say, artifact or no, in my opinion the 150 AP card is WORLDS better than the S700 sample on the S90! I was never able to get that thing to play smoothly for me. The lower velocities were always too dull, and then this ridiculous pingy high velocity layer would come out of nowhere! I feel that the AP card is WAY smoother and more playable then the S700 stuff.

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Posted on: November 18, 2004 @ 04:46 AM
Musikman4Christ
Total Posts:  0
Joined  12-18-2003
status: Newcomer

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

Very nice review. Really appreciate it. I can see that you have seen that the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.  Rock on !!!

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Posted on: November 18, 2004 @ 08:08 AM
kb420
Avatar
Total Posts:  726
Joined  04-11-2004
status: Guru

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

Glad to see that someone had a positive review!!!  The “artifacts” that everyone is posting about are clearly detectable on my pc through a set of Klipsh 5.1 speakers.  For some reason it really seems to be noticable in my front left speaker than anything.  This is based on the attachment the was left on the “big” thread about the sound.  I am undecided about buying the new card, but the “artifacts” would definitly not stop me from purchasing it.  Whatever happened to an instrument having “character”?  The DX7 was one of Yamaha’s most popular keyboards and it seemed that everything in the DX had a sort of “hammer” hit at the beginning of every note, but no one ever seemed to care.  Maybe this brave new technologically superior music world we now live in has made us all far too judgemental about, well everything.  It’s hard to imagine that the majority of MOTOWN’s greatest songs were done on one track with no way near the fidelity that we enjoy today.  Maybe we all should take a step back and concentrate on the MUSIC, and not the machine.

I thought music was really suppose to be something we enjoyed!!!!  I think the new piano card sounds great!!!!!!!

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Posted on: November 18, 2004 @ 11:35 AM
gigilo88
Total Posts:  0
Joined  08-15-2002
status: Newcomer

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

Thanks for the review Eric.I have real respect for your opinion having read many of your considerate posts over on the Keyboard Corner site.

I think I’m also where you are at the moment on this one.
When I first got this board I though t It would be going back before the 7 day decide period was up.But I’ve since had times when I’ve sat down and played It and not noticed the ‘Ping’ noise (headphones definately accentuate It) and even played away with a smile on my face so Its not all bad news!

I still havn’t managed to load the voice data! Using Smart Media I have the three files loaded in the S90 but when I chose The S90 file and press enter It just comes up ‘File not found’. Ive tried everything I can think of and Im stumped.

Anyone have a deffinative method of loading the data using an SM card? ...Please...Pretty Please.........

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Posted on: November 18, 2004 @ 11:59 AM
eric
Total Posts:  0
Joined  11-17-2003
status: Newcomer

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

In response to the last post...thanks for the kind words!

To help you with your question, it also took me a little while to figure out how to get the voice data loaded.  If you have the files from the PLG150-AP CD-Rom loaded onto your SM card and inserted into the S90 slot, here is what you need to do.  It has nothing to do with functions found under the CARD button, which took me some time to figure out.

You need to access the Sequence Play area on the S90.  You will see a long list of blank songs.  Use the increment button and the PLG file will come up.  You need to select whichever file corresponds to the slot in which you loaded the PLG card - 1, 2 or 3.  Once that is in focus, press play and the sequence player will transmit a MIDI bulk dump into the S90 PLG User bank.  It takes about a minute for this process to occur and you will know when it happens as the red light flashes and the display says something like “Receiving MIDI bulk dump.” Afterwards, you are all set!  You need to be sure and go to the Bank button when in PLG voice mode.  Change the bank to PLG User bank and the voices will be there.

Try it out and let me know if it does not work.  Hopefully those instructions are pretty accurate.  It took me a lot of trial and error!

Regards,
Eric

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Posted on: November 18, 2004 @ 01:53 PM
kayceeproductions
Total Posts:  0
Joined  10-29-2004
status: Newcomer

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

Hey!! Everybody.  Since YAMAHA will probably not fix the problem, I’ve found the cure. 

Step 1) Hook your keyboard or module up to a stereo speaker system or clean sounding P.A. system that cannot pick up the “SSZZZ” sound. 

PART II
If you want to record a solo peice; Repeat step one and place a microphone in front of the speaker of your choice that doesn’t have the “SSZZZ” sound. Then press ‘RECORD’ and play the keyboard as if it were a real piano.  /forums/images/icons/smile.gif alt=

P.S. If you play your recording via optical into a C.D. recorder and play away, you can’t hear the weird sound when you play the C.D.; no matter what C.D. player you play it with - I’ve tried this and this piano sounds better than anything you’ve played outside of a real piano.  Just don’t use headphones unless you’ve recorded it by using the technique in Part II.

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Posted on: November 18, 2004 @ 04:43 PM
Bcat
Total Posts:  0
Joined  11-17-2004
status: Newcomer

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

I’ve also had a little more time with the AP board and had a chance to load it into some of my performances on my S90. I notice that the “artifact” becomes way more noticable when the high EQ band is boosted; when I back off on this a little bit the sound becomes virtually nonexistant.

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Posted on: November 19, 2004 @ 12:09 AM
obrother
Total Posts:  128
Joined  05-09-2003
status: Pro

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

Since you mentioned high eq…

I have posted in another thread that I was very dissapointed when I compared an ES8 to a Korg Extreme 88 that the ES8 piano always had to be eq’ed to add some brightness to get it anywhere close to the clarity of the Extreme piano.  I have found this to be the case in any music store.  The ES8 ‘full grand’ and similar pianos all have a stock sound that requires high mid eq (second knob from right) to get rid of mud.  It’s not my imagination; I welcome anybody to compare the Es8 to the Korg extreme ‘The Piano’.  You will see, as clear as day, the result.  It’s one thing I find very annoying about the ES pianos.  Yamaha does have something to learn from Korg in regard to their latest offering of sampled piano. 

I should add that it has been suggested that the staccato type sound I had been hearing on a Guitar Center ES8 is due to a hook-up problem or pan problem (keyboard run in mono).  Since I have gone back and examined that keyboard and played another ES8 at another music store - I can say definitively that the ES8 ‘Full Grand’, and other pianos, have a very poor piano sound when played staccato.  They lose all sense of body and sound toy like.  It’s not my imagination - it’s an inherent quality of the yamaha piano samples.  Yamaha needs to raise the bar.

But, my point is...since I have found that stock ES8 sounds need to be mid eq’ed to get rid of initial muddiness...does the PLG have the same problem?  If it does, it would perhaps make the supposed glitchy sound worse.

Finally, to those who say “Just eq the ES8 and it’ll sound as good as the Korg Extreme”, it still doesn’t have the ‘liveliness’ and richness.  I’m a MO7 owner and I see the improvement with the ES line.  Plus, I don’t hear the problem with the S90 triple strike.  But, I feel moved to invite everybody to play the Korg Extreme ‘The piano’ (and similar patches) and make their own comparisons.  Obviously, I won’t convert everybody.  But I think there is a competitor that has a better take on how to sample a piano.  Perhaps it has to do with Yamaha’s insistence that they not offer a Steinway grand (the ‘The Grand’ is, I believe).  Regardless, I’ve paid enough money to Yamaha over the years to earn the right to bitch a little.  Why does the ES8 piano sound like a toy compared to the Korg Extreme piano???  (I do prefer the higher end of the ES8 sampled pianos, however, in fairness)

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Posted on: November 19, 2004 @ 01:20 AM
cnegrad
Total Posts:  284
Joined  03-19-2003
status: Enthusiast

Re: My PLG150-AP arrived and here’s my initial take

I’m not gonna argue with you, except to say the following:

First, do you use your sampled piano in mostly live or recorded situations? The reason I ask is this: My experieince is that sampled pianos that are on the brighter side of the spectrum usually sound great in live situations, but IMHO are far too bright for recording situations, where their brightness is a dead giveaway that they’re sampled. And the same holds true in reverse. Sampled pianos that are praised for being warm, rich and realistic sounding in the studio are usually too dark sounding for live performances.

Second, let’s remove the word “sampled” from this conversation for a moment. If you took ten people and let them loose in a piano warehouse, they’d each pick a different piano as their favorite. Piano choice is a very subjective thing. So what are the odds that any manufacturer is going to pick a piano to sample that meets your own personal criteria?

Lastly, I think that there’s really only one solution to this problem, and that is third-party samples, since they can far exceed the measly amount of memory that workstation manufacturers allocate towards their piano sounds. There’s a plethora of developers of great sounding pianos out there to choose from. And if your purpose is more for recording, the current state of the art virtual pianos are great; whether we’re talking about Synthology’s Ivory or Northern Sounds “Old Lady” samples, available in a variety of softsampler formats.

Just my 2cents… (Of course if you’re looking for that special piano sound that has compression artifiacts, Yamaha has a great one!) /forums/images/icons/smile.gif alt=

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Posted on: November 19, 2004 @ 09:06 AM
gigilo88
Total Posts:  0
Joined  08-15-2002
status: Newcomer

Loading voice data using SM card. (or NOT loading)

Eric, thanks for the detailed breakdown but I still hav’nt left base yet.
Is It down to which files Im loading onto yhe SM card?
On the CD is a Demo file which I assume is an audio file,and a Voice file which breakes down in to the ES, S80/CS, and S90/Motif sub directories.
The S90 file is made up of three files: Plgv1,Plgv2 and Plgv3.Sould I just be loading the Plg1 file by itself?

So far nothing shows up in the song list as all.
Many thanks If you can help me sort this out.

Yeah I realy enjoyed playing the main piano preset with some quiet background strings.It may not be perfect but It sure beats the Kurz PC2r (the strings dont though!)

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