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Viewing topic "PLg150an - how good is it"

   
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Posted on: May 23, 2007 @ 03:31 AM
Motivfator
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I’am very interested in tweaking sounds.  I was wondering if anyone can give me an idea whether its worth while to consider buying the plg150an.  I seen very good reviews on sound making capabilities and heard some great demos.  How easy is it to play on the keyboard whilst tweaking the plg150an’s knobs. I’ve read that you only have limited control from the motif itself.  How do people get round the 5 note polyphony and one plug voice per (motif)song restrictions.

Considering the age of the plg150an and the fact that newer computer analog synths are availble would I be better to consider a computer synth? Any suggestions on a softaware synth?

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Posted on: May 23, 2007 @ 02:56 PM
Bad_Mister
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Re: PLg150an - how good is it

Since the PLG150-AN is a physical model of analog synthesizers (1971-1984) its age is not really at issue. If you like the sound of it, get it!

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Posted on: May 23, 2007 @ 11:41 PM
Motivfator
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Re: PLg150an - how good is it

Thanks for the quick reply - but my question was not answered fully.  How do people deal with the fact that you have to play with one hand and use a mouse - which can be very fiddly - on a computer screen(not a knob on the motif) to control and change sounds whilst you play?  How can I get round the five note polyphony and one track per (motif) song restrictions?

Sure, If I was rich I would buy the plg150an and all the other soft synths - but unfortunatley I’m not so I must make a wise choice. After the modern soft synths are very powerful and are in the same price range as the plg150 an - whose price is high considering its seven or so years old.

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Posted on: May 24, 2007 @ 12:26 AM
meatballfulton
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Re: PLg150an - how good is it

If you need access to every control while playing, you probably do not want to buy the PLG150-AN.

Which keyboard do you have? With my Motif ES I have immediate access to filter cutoff and resonance, attack and release for the amp EG then can assign the mod wheel, aftertouch, ribbon and four assignable knobs to whatever I want using the PLG’s control matrix. That’s a long way from 100% control while playing but it still allows a lot of real-time tweaking. You can also use external control surfaces like the Behinger BCR2000 which is less than $150 and gives you 24 assignable knobs.

As far as the 5 voice/single sound limitation there is only one solution: buy more than one card. I have three in my ES. I can use them as three independent 5 voice synths or a single 15 note synth.

What’s your application? The PLG cards shine in live use where you get access to multiple synthesizer engines while carrying only one to the gig. The AN voices are called up just like Motif voices, you can layer AN and Motif voices together in Performances, etc.

If you’re just doing sequencing/recording at home or in a studio, yes it’s far more cost effective to go with softsynths. If you’re saddled with mouse tweakage already, the almost unlimited expansion you get with software is hard to argue against.

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Posted on: May 25, 2007 @ 03:16 PM
ipgrunt
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Re: PLg150an - how good is it

To answer your posted question, the sounds are great, but they do require programming. There happen to be many excellent Voice banks available for free here on Motifator, and on Papaphoenix’s Moessieurs website en Francais. (confirm the spelling on that).

But just as you can’t program native sounds while performing, you can’t program any of the PLG boards that way either, which is why all 3 of the PLG synths have Windows-based editing applications available freely on yamahasynth.com for download. This is how they are meant to be programmed, as others here have already pointed out for you.

I’d like to share an interesting alternate solution to the PLG 150 AN product that I’ve discovered only recently.

In the late 1990s Yamaha came out with a few products that were probably meant to compete with the Roland groove-boxes like the 303, which were the AN-200, DX200, and a third sequencer box that can drive both. I can’t recall the two-letter designation for this box, but it started with “S”. Maybe it was the SX200, but don’t quote me on that.

The ‘secret’ behind these products were they’re internal PLG cards, as the AN200 is an internal PLG 150 AN, and the DX200 contains an internal PLG 150 DX card.

I would say that someone at Yamaha, in developing these products to move more PLG product was thinking ‘outside-the-box’.

The AN200 has many buttons, indicator lights, an big LED, and over a dozen dials that give one real time control of the synth’s filter, oscillators, built-in VCO, and built-in effects (delay, flange/phase, and distortion). The AN200 also has a cheesy rhythm generator and 3 dedicated channels if you dig that kind of thing.

I bought my AN200 used via a classified ad for $160, and while they are somewhat unusual, they do come up every few months on Ebay and Craigslist. I’m looking to pick up the DX 200 the next time I see one for a good price.

It seems like these 200 models may have been bought on a whim or as a joke gift, and used a few times by the owner who quickly tired of built-in sounds and stuck in the back of a closet. Here we are 10 years later, and they’re being rediscovered by MoFolk as an inexpensive and somewhat disguised source of PLG 150 AN card. The fellow I bought mine from had no idea of opening the case, but be smart when purchasing a used box as there abound stories of PLG-less AN200s being sold for full-price.

My PLG 150AN is currently in my S90ES, and honestly that’s where it does the most good and sounds its best. The computer-based editors are essential for getting good sounds in this synth. If you’re into the kind of sounds my teenage son listens to on the radio then the AN200 might be perfect for your needs, but for my purposes, of the 255 built-in presets of the AN200, perhaps less than a dozen are usable. While the AN200 interface offers greater access to real-time tweaking of a finished voice, it does not offer adequate control for creating new voices from scratch on the card.

Next month, I’m planning to put the PLG back in its AN200 host and along with a good pair of cans, take them along on a vacation trip next month. This is where the AN200 can’t be beat--it’s a polyphonic analog synth that fits in a woman’s purse, though I doubt if my wife will carry it on for me.

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Posted on: July 09, 2007 @ 01:23 PM
Blue Dan
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Re: PLg150an - how good is it

iPgrunt,

so what you are saying is that these cards PLG-AN and PLG-DX were already designed years ago in the older synth boxes AN200, DX200 (keyboardless ?). Are you sure they are identical, it would seem that technology would change, and it’s hard to imagine that the internal buses of the Motif would be compatible with them ?

Can you confirm that. How did you find that out ?

Thanks,

Dan

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Posted on: July 09, 2007 @ 11:03 PM
Bad_Mister
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Re: PLG: A brief history

Not hard to believe at all. It was in the design concept. The PLG boards were designed with a particular protocol that allowed, MSPS products or Modular Synthesis Plugin System , and a particular type of XG product to utilize them. The PLG boards have been around for almost 9 years now. And I’m sure they have long outlasted the original plan. The protocol that allows them to work in multiple products had to be setup/planned at the very beginning. (This should give you some idea how the planning for things like digital music products goes).

These protocol, like PCI or PCMCIA or USB, was thought out so that future products could all use these boards. The boards required the product be built with a particular hardware audio bus structure so it use and addressed the Boards (which also must all meet those specifications). The PLG Boards date back to 1998. At that time products like the MU128 could use 3 PLG boards simultaneously. This was an XG/GM module. PLG100-VH, PLG100-VL, PLG100-AN and PLG100-XG were among the first boards available. They could also be used in “piggyback” fashion with our computer PCI board… SW1000-XG.. (you could piggyback 1 board to the SW1000-XG)… bringing alternate synth engines to the computer platform.

In 1999, the first of the MSPS products became available - these allowed the “pro” synthesizer to access the plugin protocol. CS6x, CS6R and S80… these each had 2 slots.
_On the XG/GM side the MU100R, the MU1000 and MU2000 were released (3 slots each). 
_the PLG150-PF was added as a piano category PLG (Piano, rock Piano, HonkyTonk, CP80, Rhodes, DX Rhodes, Harpsicord, Clavinet)

Sometime around here the specification was upgraded so the PLG150-series boards became available. Added to the specification was the ability of the host MSPS product to autoload the PLG custom Voices. The “Pro” MSPS products have the ability to save User Voices in memory, so a method was needed to restore custom data to the RAM banks of the PLG150-AN, DX, and VL. (XG products do not save USER VOICEs in memory - as XG/GM protocol has a setup measure in which all edits are bulked to the product… GM and XG always start from a neutral RESET status.)

All a product had to do was have the slots, the connectors and the hardware, and it could utilize the PLG board protocol.

In 2000, the S30 (1 slot) was added to the MSPS line-up with a single slot for PLG.

In 2001, the AN200 and DX200 hit the market. They were synth engines/ drum machines type LoopFactory type items. (they contained the PLG150-AN, and PLG150-DX as their tone engines, respectively. Also added to the line up of MSPS products in 2001 was the original Motif (3 slots).

2002 the Motif-Rack (2 slots) and the S90 (3 slots) were added to the MSPS lineup.
_The DR, PC (sample-based) boards were introduced.

2003 the Motif ES was introduced (3 slots).

2004 the Motif-Rack ES was introduced (2 slots). The PLG150-AP was added as the final board.

2005 the S90 ES was introduced (3 slots).

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Posted on: July 10, 2007 @ 04:16 AM
Blue Dan
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Re: PLG: A brief history

Bad Mister,

thanks for the history, with the speed at which PCs for instance evolve, it was hard to imagine that they could keep these boards for that long, and especially, not even make one change to them.

With the venue of the XS, it seems like the end of the road for them however, unless Yamaha intends to have other keyboards with that capability.

Anyone know for how long they intend to manufacture/support their PLG150 boards ?

Anyone know if the XS can replace or offer a reasonable alternative to the very specialized AN/DX voices available on these boards.  What about the other boards: PF, AP, VH, and VL ?

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Posted on: July 21, 2007 @ 09:47 AM
ipgrunt
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Re: PLG: A brief history

Hello Dan,

While Bad Mister is the historical expert on this matter, I can share that only the AN, DX, and VL boards work in this manner.

I don’t own the other PLG cards you mention, ie, the percussion or piano cards, so I don’t have a definitive answer, but as they are 150 series cards, I would imagine that you can save your offset modifications as user voices on the host.

Even so, they are not synthesizers in the same sense as the AN, DX, and VL cards--running their own on-board synthesizer model. The other PLG 150 boards, ie, the 2 percussion boards and the 2 piano/keyboard boards, are strictly ROMpler style synths, similar to the host Motif or S90.

There are however, 2 other PLG cards that are both series 100 PLG boards (version 1.0) :

The PLG 100 XG is a 16-voice multitimbral GM/XG synth card. When you plug this card into the bottom connector of a Motif or S90, you then get an additional 16 multitimbral AWM2 voices of MIDI sounds. Yamaha XG is an extension of the GM standard, and it has 480 different voices if I remember correctly.

I use one in my S90es when I need more than 16 simultaneous voices in a big band arrangement. The card is designed to be driven from an external sequencer. You can play the voices on the XG card from the keyboard, but it’s not really convenient, and you can’t get at most of the parameters. It is meant to work with Yamaha’s XG Works software, or an application called XGPad that’s available online. Since MIDI is a 16-channel spec, you communicate with the PLG 100 XG on a second Midi port.

The PLG 100 VH is an entirely different animal. It’s an effect board that harmonizes along with the A/D input, based on the chords played on the keyboard. It’s essentially a vocoder card for the Motif. I don’t own this card and really don’t have much use.

Now a card that could give me a pleasing melodious voice--that I could go for!

Being 100 series PLG cards, neither have user voices that can be saved with the host synthesizer, like the AN, DL, and VL PLG cards. This doesn’t make sense with the VH card, and since I need to use a computer to work the XG card, this lack of functionality doesn’t pose a real problem.

That’s all of them, I believe. By Yamaha’s calculations, the AN, DX, and VL would all be in the boneyard by now, but these cards still are quite impressive even by today’s standards in analog or fm synths. And there’s very little out there like the VL, unless we’re talking about Yamaha’s VL synthesizer, from which the PLG VL card was developed.

I used to hope that Yamaha would come out with a clonewheel & Leslie PLG 150 card, but I’ve since come to the conclusion that the S90es’ weighted keyboard isn’t right for Hammond playing anyway.

Hope that answered most of your questions. If you have more, look into the Beyond the Manual monographs that Phil has written on these 3 PLG 150 cards: the AN, the DX, and the VL.

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Posted on: July 22, 2007 @ 01:38 AM
Blue Dan
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Re: PLG: A brief history

Hi Ipgrunt,

thanks for the always so plentiful info. How did your vacation go, did you bring your AN200 ?

I finally decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to the XS. I only had a 61 key ES and felt that would limit me too much in the future. The fact that there was no plug-in option made it a tough call though. However, I’m not disappointed, there are tons of voices on the XS, many excellent emulations of what I would have liked from an analog or perhaps FM synth card. There also is a built-in vocoder (which I have not tried yet).

Regards,

Blue Dan

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Posted on: July 23, 2007 @ 08:59 PM
miket
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Re: PLG150AN - how good is it

How do people get round the 5 note polyphony and one plug voice per (motif)song restrictions.

To solve this annoying problem, use two or three PLG150-AN with Poly Expand set to ON. You won’t be disappointed

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Posted on: July 23, 2007 @ 11:06 PM
Bad_Mister
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Re: PLG150AN - how good is it

How do people get round the 5 note polyphony and one plug voice per (motif)song restrictions

same way we did on the original gear /forums/images/icons/smile.gif alt=

The MiniMoog only played a single note (monophonic) $1495
The Arp Odyssey was a big two notes (duaphonic)
The Prophet V only played 5 notes and was considered very much a polyphonic synthesizer (probably the most popular ever made)
The Yamaha CS80 was arguably the first polyphonic synth (8 note) but at over 200lbs was not found everywhere…
The Prophet 10 was literally two Prophet V in a box…
The various Oberheim 8’s were the probably the maximum polyphony reached in synths that were not two engines…
The Oberheim Matrix 12 was really two Matrix 6s, etc.

So polyphony and analog basically was always involved in some single digits… if you want to expand the polyphony you purchased one of the double units (and no one in the band would help you move it)… The CS80, Prophet 10, Matrix 12 where huge and in comparison to today’s keyboards were truly heavyweight champions.

Three PLG150-AN (gives an unprecedented 15 note polyphonic analog synthesizer, er, virtual analog synthesizer) - which as you realize, never actually existed...!!!

Fundamentally if you think about it, when analog synths were in their heyday the “pro” units were at averaging about $1000 a note! A Prophet V was about $5200, retail (no sequencer, you purchased that separately _ I’m trying to remember I believe it was a 16 note sequencer at about $1000 but I could be confused with the ARP sequencer…

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Posted on: July 23, 2007 @ 11:24 PM
sciuriware
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Re: PLG150AN - how good is it

Phil, I wonder what kind of use makes a polyphony > 3 necessary,
as most AN voices are used (in my opinion) for monophonic solo’s or simple accords.
When would a higher polyphony be necessary?
I got 2 AN’s in each synth and the only use I see is 2 different voices in a Performance.

Your regarded opinion please ....................

;JOOP!

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Posted on: July 24, 2007 @ 02:25 AM
Bad_Mister
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Re: PLG150AN - how good is it

Unnecessary (and of course this is opinion).. I’ll tell a brief story, I got a million of them…

I was sitting in at a club in NYC, with a bunch of guys having fun this had to be in the early 1980’s. The only keyboard they had on stage was a Prophet V, my first experience playing one in a band situation… The guitar player who was singing, turned around and said “Hey turn down!” Not knowing how loud I was, I had no problem with that, and so I did. A few seconds later he turns around and says, “Hey Turn down!”

Okay, no problem maybe the monitor near him had the mix I was supposed to be hearing because I know I’m certainly not too loud now. But I accommodate him I turned down again (it’s not my gig and I want to be supportive). Now I hardly have the volume turned at all… it is barely a whisper… Again he turns around and says, “Hey turn down”

I realized it was not a matter of being too loud, the sound was too thick… Analog synths with their fat sound tend to fill up the mid-range - obliterate the mid-range if you are not careful. It filled up the mid-range where the guitar lives, where the vocals live, and thick is great by itself but in a mix it just can be too much.

While I owned an Arp Odyssey, and a MiniMoog, (both sat on top of my Suitcase 73 FenderRhodes) I kind of skipped the whole analog polyphonic synth era… although I wanted a Rhodes Chroma badly (wanted it when it was first announced by ARP...) but really wanted it when Rhodes put it out with an Apple IIe interface… I could see the future. It was the first synth I can remember where you could also play it as a regular keyboard (it even had a weighted action). It was the only analog synth where you even thought about a sustain pedal (because there were a few sounds that actually approached being able to be played like a piano)… On most analog synths you never hooked up a sustain pedal (what for????) It is funny to me know when people play today’s synths and complain about sustain pedals on synth sounds, yikes!!! Sustain pedals are for pianos and piano type sounds (guess I’m just ‘old school’).

But it was way expensive and weighed over 70lbs, add the case and it was ridiculous to move. I rented one once and humped it to a gig… back in early 1983… then the DX7 hit - just 31lbs and 16 notes, and not to thick in the mix… I forgot about analog synths and potential back trouble immediately.

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Posted on: July 29, 2007 @ 10:17 AM
ipgrunt
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Re: PLG: A brief history

Dan,

Thanks for the greeting.

I did NOT bring the synth with me. Instead, I consumed extra rum drinks and tuned in to the music of the caribbean.

Good luck with the XS. Sounds great!

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Posted on: October 17, 2007 @ 01:01 PM
Opal
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Re: PLG: A brief history

I believe I have an old DX200 that I took the card out of to use in my ES8.  I got to looking at the pictures of the AN200 and wondered if I put my PLG150-AN card in the DX200 box, would it work the same as the AN200?  Or, are there some other bits in there that would only allow it to work with the DX card?

Opal

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