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Viewing topic "PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?"

     
Posted on: March 29, 2005 @ 09:56 AM
pianopraze
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Joined  03-29-2005
status: Newcomer

I have a motif “clasic” 88 and am going to purchase the WX5 wind controler.

My question is it worth an extra 450$ to buy the VL70-m when i can get the PLG150VL and do basically the same thing.

Is it worth the extra money? why? what do you gain?

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Posted on: March 29, 2005 @ 02:16 PM
Jimstang
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status: Guru

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

I used the PLG-150VL with the WX-5 and motif.

The combo will work.  I used it for a couple years.

I did buy a VL70-M from Guitar center in Highland park IL from Cris, for I believe a totally of about $460 including taxxes.  This brings the price a little closer, and I really like it. I’m planning on getting the Patchman Music Chip for it, improving the stock sounds by quite a bit as well.

Talk to Chris in Pro-audio/Keyboards, and tell him Jim the 01X guy had you call.  He will work out a great price for you, and he will ship it.  You can ask about picking it up in a Guitar center near you as well.

Guitar Center Highland Park
143 South Skokie Valley Road
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
Store Hours:
M-Th: 11-8 | Fri: 11-9 | Sat: 10-7 | Sun: 11-6
Phone: 847-579-1830

What is nice about the VL70m, is that it will do Midi and Power through a single small cord (the WX connector) to the WX-5.

Using the VL-70M is just a bit easier, and you can still plug the midi out from the VL-70M into your PC, or straight into the Motif to play those voices with it as well.

I think the extra money is worth it.

Jim

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Posted on: March 29, 2005 @ 02:18 PM
mhschmieder
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Joined  07-30-2002
status: Newcomer

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

This question has come up before. I’m hoping to run a few experiments this week to determine my own need for the VL plug-in board, as I have the VL70m and the WX5 along with the Patchman custom voice sets (which are essential). Patchman now makes ROM replacement chips for the VL70m but they do not work on the PLG-150VL plug-in board. The custom voices do however, as they are transferred as .MID files.

So I am going to try my WX5 on some regular Motif voices to see how well that works, and the Motif to drive my VL70m, just to get an idea of how much the VL as a plug-in board would give me if I wanted to leave either or both of my VL70m and WX5 at home for faster setup at the gig.

Bad_Mister’s earlier response indicated that the VL plug-in might actually sound better in some cases than the VL70m due to better effects processing.

Patchman says they did a lot of level tweaking and effects tweaking for the new ROM replacement chips, which are based on their earlier voice libraries for the VL70m but have better gain structure/etc.

Maybe because it was built as a half-rack module, the VL70m is shipped with voices that require significant gain to be usable. Patchman has taken care of this, but it’s a couple of hundred bucks more to get their ROM chips. The .MID voice libs are cheaper.

There is a probably ill-informed comment under the “review” section of either zzounds or musician’s friend website (I forget which) that claims that the PLG-150VL doesn’t come close to what the VL70m can do, but I doubt the accuracy of the comment and trust what Phil (aka Bad_Mister) said earlier on this subject.

I like the convenience (and safety from shock) of plugging in the special cable from the WX5 to the VL70m. For the PLG board, you would have to plug in a normal MIDI cable along with a power cable (wall wart style, AC adaptor). This also limits your movement more restrictively on-stage than the WX5 cable.

If you are going to use the BC3a breath controller instead, I think you are better off for sure with the PLG-150VL than the VL70m.

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Posted on: March 29, 2005 @ 02:21 PM
mhschmieder
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Joined  07-30-2002
status: Newcomer

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

Jim’s response came in while I was writing mine :-).

I bought mine for WX5 and VL70m each for $600, and that was steeply discounted, as the store was about to return them for credit as they hadn’t moved after years of collecting dust.

I have never seen a price as low as the one Jim quotes, but maybe you can find a store desperate to clear their shelves of slow moving inventory :-).

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Posted on: March 29, 2005 @ 05:33 PM
mhschmieder
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Joined  07-30-2002
status: Newcomer

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

OK, I have just completed my long procrastinated experiment to compare the applicability of the WX5 to Motif voices vs. VL70m Patchman custom voices, and to ascertain the acceptability of a keyboard controller triggering VL sounds.

First off, I was quite pleased how some of the much-maligned Motif (and even sometimes-criticsed DCP) brass sounds opened up and gained more natural expressiveness using the WX5 hooked up to the MIDI in of the Motif (I hadn’t even though of running the MIDI cable from the VL70m instead, forgetting it acts as a MIDI THRU).

Playing the VL70m from the Motif is interesting. Using Patchman’s custom trumpet voices, I surprisingly found more expressiveness keeping the VL70m in BC vs. velocity or guitar mode; as long as I made use of the mod and pitch wheels. I would have assumed that velocity mode (initial attack) or guitar mode (which includes aftertouch) would have been the only way to translate keyboard based playing to an appropriate trigger.

At any rate, the WX5 sounds best triggering the VL70m, and the Motif sounds best triggering its own sounds. No surprise there, but part of the reason is the superior effects processing (which Bad_Mister alluded to earlier) in the Motif.

So my experiment is done, but I haven’t reached a conclusion yet about the usefulness of a PLG-VL150 vs. the VL70m. All that I’ve concluded is that I should start using my WX5 to record wind instrument MIDI parts on the Motif (which, when I render the song to audio, I will likely rerecord using the VL70m, but it’s still nice to have more expressiveness in the demo, and especially nice to know I can improve my all-Motif based backing track sequences for 80’s covers—a separate project—using the WX5).

One thing I did conclude, however, is that the WX5 is not a good way to trigger physically modeled string sounds. I had read how breath parameters are good analogues of string/bowing parameters, but I’m not sure I agree. I tried all sorts of tongueing and breathing techniques, and none sounded as realistic as the Motif’s strings (which in themselves are far from perfect, as sample-triggered string playing isn’t enough due to the nuances of bowing styles). I tied a Zeta MIDI cello several years back and of course it’s a good match. The moral is to own lots of physical controllers (including Roland’s excellent HandSonic) :-).

But hold on! When I try the WX5 to trigger sample-based string sounds on the Motif, it takes some practice, but I eventually get to where they sound more realistic than when triggered from the keyboard; in spite of the lack of breath information being used to swell the note or do anything else expressive. This is because it is easier to control gradually changing note attacks wioth a wind controller than a keyboard. So I can’t effect a change in velocity after initial attack as with physically modeled strings, but at least they sound like strings and not like mutated horns!

I’m going to give this some thought over the next few days or so and see if I can conclude anything about the benefits of an on-board VL board inside the Motif. I’ve been holding off on buying the Patchman VL70m ROM replacement chip set until I resolve this question (especially as you’re not allowed to resell them, or to sell a VL70m with the Patchman chips inside). I suspect the VL board sounds better due to the great effects vs. the VL70m’s effects. But it’s also possible that the Patchman chips adequately address this issue as well.

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Posted on: March 30, 2005 @ 11:08 AM
pianopraze
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Joined  03-29-2005
status: Newcomer

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

I just ordered my WX5 from AMS.. i’m so excited! Does anyone know a good WX5 forum?

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Posted on: March 31, 2005 @ 04:32 PM
mhschmieder
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Joined  07-30-2002
status: Newcomer

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

I’m not sure about WX5 but there is a website of afficionados which probably is still maintained. If I find my printouts from way back I’ll enter any website URL’s that I see listed on the printouts.

In the meantime (and maybe this is where I found the original links), go to [url=http://www.patchman.com]http://www.patchman.com. [/url] Not only do they sell excellent (and necessary) voice banks for the VL70m (which also work on the PLG-150VL) and replacement ROM’s for the VL70m, along with many other synths, but the website is also a “catchall” for Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Wind Controllers. You’ll probably find lots of useful weblinks there.

Welcome to WX5 land! We are an elite (as in rare, not the snobbish sense of the word) bunch of people. But that gives us an advantage, as we make sounds that catch people’s attention as being “new” (or “old”, in the case of well-emulated acoustic instruments). I did a gig last year using a Patchman trumpet patch playing a harmony line against an acoustic trumpet, and we challenged the audience to tell which was which (no one knew!).

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Posted on: March 31, 2005 @ 07:16 PM
Jimstang
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Joined  07-25-2002
status: Guru

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

Here is the Wind Controller Headquarters,
The site is confusing, and has links all over the place, but it’s a good one. Sign up for the WIND LIST newsletter.

[url=http://windsynth.org/home.html]http://windsynth.org/home.html [/url]

As for WX5 tips and tricks, this is a MUST READ.
Save it, Print it, read it several times.

[url=http://www.nortonmusic.com/wx5.html]http://www.nortonmusic.com/wx5.html [/url]

and some voices

[url=http://www.nortonmusic.com/VL70-m.html]http://www.nortonmusic.com/VL70-m.html [/url]

mhschmieder, Try setting your WX-5 to send Expression data instead of breath, and play those strings again /forums/images/icons/smile.gif alt= Turn off variable Velocity, when using expression.  You CAN make swells, and other such effects.  I use the WX-5 to trigger East West Orchestral Gold, and Garritan’s Personal Orchestra.  I plug the output from VL70m to the input of my PC.  Then I also have the Motif in Voice Mode with the Expression pedal set to mod wheel for Voices with Mod Wheel changing Samples AND Sustain pedal for changing Samples from attack, to Legato.  Then I set up sonar to Midi Omni In so it listens to WX-5 AND Motif.  I have Pitch in my lips, Expression controlling swells, Sustain controlling Legato, or attack samples.  Somtimes I choose a String sample that uses Mod Wheel to engage Vibrato. 

Try setting your WX-5 to send EXPRESSION data instead of breath, and play the Motif Synth Voice, “Flangefilt”.  Now you are rocking.  I have the pitch bend wheel on the WX5 set to control Mod wheel.  Most synth voices do great things with Mod wheel.  You can nearly make this voice talk hehehe. 

Now try Big Drone.  Play it up high.  Then for an insane blast, drop two-three octives instantly. It’s nuts.

LOTS you can do with WX-5 set differently.

OK now for bag pipes.  For bag pipes, set the WX-5’s Breath sensitivity so it’s just barely on all the time.  To stop it, SUCK on the mouth piece instead of blow. with the WX-5 always on can play bag pipes for ten minutes straight, without running out of breath.  You can do things like this,

[url=http://www.mobros.org/Silly/Pipes.mp3]http://www.mobros.org/Silly/Pipes.mp3 [/url]

Or this,

[url=http://www.mobros.org/Silly/GirlKilled3.mp3]http://www.mobros.org/Silly/GirlKilled3.mp3 [/url]

They were done with Bolder Pipes Sample for Motif but the Bagpipes in the motif sound Great with WX-5, where they sound TERRIBLE played with the keyboard.

Possibilities are endless.

I’m thinking about making a set of Motif voices, that really utilize Breath for people like us.

Good luck,

Jim

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Posted on: April 01, 2005 @ 12:02 PM
mhschmieder
Total Posts:  0
Joined  07-30-2002
status: Newcomer

Re: PLG150VL vs VL70-m… opinions?

Jim, thanks so much for the helpful hints. I wear a lot of hats so only have time to go deep on my own on things when there is a near-term project need. Luckily, I am once again able to justify spending time with the WX5 wind controller, so I really appreciate all the helpful information from you and Phil.

  [ Ignore ]  


 
     


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