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Viewing topic "Sound Quality?"

     
Posted on: January 31, 2016 @ 11:16 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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I’ve started playing around with voice editing. The goal is to come up with a guitar voice that sounds like Jerry Garcia.

As part of this, I’ve been comparing the XF’s guitar voices to the ones that come with the Halion component of Cubase. The XF sounds a bit better to me so far.

Is there a significant advantage to dedicated sound hardware like the XF vs computer based in general? Could significantly better sound be a reason to buy a Montage? Or can I get Montage-equivalent sound quality from VSTs for less $$$ and get to keep the unique features of the Motif XF?

I’m curious what other folks think about all of this.

And any advice about reproducing Jerry’s sound would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks…

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Posted on: January 31, 2016 @ 11:51 PM
Raven80
Total Posts:  110
Joined  11-26-2014
status: Pro

Very good question.
I asked this question myself too.

I’m surely no expert, but I think it depends on several things:
1. The vst plugin itself
2. The ability of the user to modify the voice

There are probably a lot of standard voices in plugins which sound cheap.
But I’m sure if a user knows exactly what to do, s/he can change
the sound to something usable.
No matter if by using an EQ, a compressor or other plugins.

The word Quality itself would mean to me something like:
“Does the tone sound noisy or distorted.”
If it’s a clean tone but sounds cheap and unfinished, you may have good chances to “fix” it.

Even though the Motif XF is heavy and has a lot of possibilities,
I wouldn’t say that it’s automatically better than a vst plugin.
Because as I understood the XF is not a real tone generator (?) but bases
on waveforms, which can be modified very well.
So what if you have the same/very similar waveform(s) on your PC?

The XF’s real advantage would be the performances, presets, Arps, modes
and the fact that it’s made for music creation and therefore should be powerful enough.
If you have a DAW and a lot of vsts, your PC should be powerful too.

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Posted on: February 01, 2016 @ 04:59 AM
5pinDIN
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Michael Trigoboff - 31 January 2016 11:16 PM

I’ve started playing around with voice editing. The goal is to come up with a guitar voice that sounds like Jerry Garcia.

As part of this, I’ve been comparing the XF’s guitar voices to the ones that come with the Halion component of Cubase. The XF sounds a bit better to me so far.

Is there a significant advantage to dedicated sound hardware like the XF vs computer based in general? Could significantly better sound be a reason to buy a Montage? Or can I get Montage-equivalent sound quality from VSTs for less $$$ and get to keep the unique features of the Motif XF?

I’m curious what other folks think about all of this.

Since you specifically mentioned Jerry Garcia, I assume that your current concern is mostly with electric guitar. Successfully emulating guitar on a keyboard often has as much to do with playing technique as it does the Voice being played. For example, some keyboardists make the mistake of playing a guitar chord the same way as they might play one for piano or organ. It’s rare that striking all the keys simultaneously will result in an authentic guitar sound. Experience with a real guitar, or at least some knowledge of playing technique, goes a long way to sounding like the instrument.

As to hardware/software sources…
The quality of sound from an engine that’s based on samples is determined mostly by how good those samples are. Besides the basic quality of the recording, the length of the sample and number of samples can be issues. A VSTi could have an advantage because sample size can be much larger than what’s typical in a hardware synth. However, Yamaha does a pretty good job with the amount of memory it dedicates.

Physical Modeling (Yamaha’s SCM, etc.) is another approach to sound creation. Doing a good job with it requires a processor with “horsepower” (recent DSPs make it practical), but properly executed the results can be very impressive.

I’d suggest continuing to use your ears as a means of determining your needs.

 

Michael Trigoboff -

And any advice about reproducing Jerry’s sound would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks…

Jerry Garcia’s sound was distinctive, but not necessarily consistent.

Which guitar…
http://dozin.com/jers/jers/guitar/history.htm
...played through which amp (or no amp), with what technique, in which acoustic “space” (e.g. effects), etc.? :-)

Probably more useful when playing actual guitar…
http://www.woodytone.com/2010/02/01/jerry-garcias-surprisingly-interesting-technique/

https://www.native-instruments.com/forum/threads/help-getting-grateful-dead-sound.54037/

https://www.guitarzone.com/forum/topic/81587-jerry-garcias-tone/
...but there might be some clues there.

Those links just scratch the surface - there’s much more online about emulating Jerry Garcia.

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Posted on: February 01, 2016 @ 11:51 AM
meatballfulton
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Michael,

I have heard many people say that Halion contains “Motif voices” but my comparison of Halion SE to my XF wasn’t favorable. As an electrical engineer I don’t believe there is any magic in hardware when compared to software but my ears tell me the XF sounds better.

Since there is not much editing possible in Halion SE, it’s impossible for me to tell if the patches could be tweaked to sound more like the XF or not.

I will say that turning off all the effects on many XF voices shows how much the effects add to making a voice sound “fuller”.

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Posted on: February 01, 2016 @ 06:02 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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meatballfulton - 01 February 2016 11:51 AM

I will say that turning off all the effects on many XF voices shows how much the effects add to making a voice sound “fuller”.

I noticed that too. It’s pretty amazing.

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Posted on: February 02, 2016 @ 08:47 AM
DavePolich
Total Posts:  6820
Joined  07-27-2002
status: Guru

I don’t jump in on Motifator threads much anymore, especially programming ones,’
But guitar sound programming is a subject I am very familiar with (I’m the creator of “Axxe”,
the Motif guitar library, available at the Shop).

First of all, Jerry Garcia (and Eddie Van Halen, and Jimmy Page, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and
Jimi Hendrix, and every other guitar superstar alive or dead) never had a guitar “sound”. They all have a special STYLE of guitar playing which is their technique. There is no way to get a
“Jerry Garcia” guitar sound, it’s all in his phrasing and technique. You’ll see a lot of photos of Jerry playing Gibson Les Paul guitars - now imagine how those Les Pauls would sound if
Jimmy Page picked one of them up and started playing - they’d sound completely different.

A Gibson SG guitar doesn’t “know” what style it is supposed to sound like. But when Hendrix picked up one, you could tell it was him. He not only had a unique way of playing, but also a unique knowledge of how to set his effects (UniVibe, distortion pedals, wah pedals, echo) and
REALLY knew how to position himself relative to his amp cabinets in order to get the right
feedback.

My first advice, then, is to learn Jerry’s solos as well as his rhythm playing, really study it.
And that will lead to more knowledge of how to play “guitar on a keyboard”. It’s not like playing organ or piano sounds, it’s a specific skill which frankly takes a lot of time to master.

Honestly speaking, you also need some experience with using real guitar amps, meaning you should be recording some actual guitar players and paying attention to how their amps work.
Here’s an example - you’ll often see skilled guitar players constantly reaching for the volume knob on their guitar. That’s because the level of signal going into the amp controls how much “drive” or “gain” there is...more gain means the sound will break up and go into distortion. Less gain means a cleaner sound. Also, guitarists will switch the pickups on their guitars to change their tone. Most guitars have more than one pickup, and there is a switch on the guitar to select which pickups are being used. The pickup selection dramatically affects the tone they get out of the amp.

How do guitarists get that sustaining “singing” sound (like Hendrix, or Carlos Santana) -
that is the result of “compression”...a simple compressor pedal, like an MXR DynaComp, is used. You should note that guitarists usually have a “pedalboard” that contains all kinds of
different pedals that they stomp on to turn them on and off. A compressor pedal “grabs” the signal and reduces it’s initial level while “making up for that” by increasing the output.
The result is a sustianing tone.

Guitarists often use “overdive” or “distortion” pedals to get a grittier, distorted sound out of their amp. But amps can produce more or less distortion on their own as well - and amp distortion is significantly different than distortion from a pedal. Pedal distortion can often be “raspy” or “edgy”, which is sometimes what is needed. Amp distortion will be less “raspy”
and “fizzy”.

Different amps produce different tones. Fender amps sound completely different from Marshalls, and Mesa Boogie amps sound completely different as well. EVERY amp sounds different. You would do well to familiarize yourself with different amp types. One of the best ways to do this is to get an amplifier plug-in like Amplitube. Record clean guitar tracks into your DAW (Cubase, Logic, whatever) and then place the Amplitube plugin on an insert for the guitar track, and then you can select different amp types from within the plugin. It’s a great learning tool, and also Amplitube sounds better than any workstation distortion effect. More info on Amoplitube4 here:
http://www.ikmultimedia.com

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Posted on: February 02, 2016 @ 09:36 AM
dsetto
Total Posts:  402
Joined  01-24-2014
status: Enthusiast

Dave, I appreciate your contributions at motifator.

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Posted on: February 02, 2016 @ 05:43 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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DavePolich - 02 February 2016 08:47 AM

-- long, very helpful message --

Thanks, Dave. I think I know what I’m going to be doing for the next 6 months…

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Posted on: February 02, 2016 @ 08:41 PM
5pinDIN
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Michael Trigoboff - 02 February 2016 05:43 PM
DavePolich - 02 February 2016 08:47 AM

-- long, very helpful message --

Thanks, Dave. I think I know what I’m going to be doing for the next 6 months…

If you haven’t already done so, you might read the links I provided. They could trim a bit of time off that 6 months.  :-)

If you’ve never played guitar, if you’re physically able to, it wouldn’t hurt to take a few lessons. You certainly won’t become proficient in a short time, but it will give you better insight into how to emulate guitar chord structure (voicing). Guitar voicings are not the same as piano.
http://www.soundsonline-forums.com/showthread.php?t=27651

https://www.reddit.com/r/musictheory/comments/3ilfzu/beginner_question_on_chords_piano_vs_guitar/

On second thought, 6 months probably won’t do it…

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Posted on: February 02, 2016 @ 11:04 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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5pinDIN - 02 February 2016 08:41 PM
Michael Trigoboff - 02 February 2016 05:43 PM
DavePolich - 02 February 2016 08:47 AM

-- long, very helpful message --

Thanks, Dave. I think I know what I’m going to be doing for the next 6 months…

If you haven’t already done so, you might read the links I provided. They could trim a bit of time off that 6 months.  :-)

On second thought, 6 months probably won’t do it…

I’ve played a bit of guitar, years ago.

I will be reading all the links. It’s a whole new area to learn, and I appreciate the help.

I wasn’t complaining about the 6 months. It’s going to be fun!

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Posted on: February 03, 2016 @ 06:18 PM
motidave
Total Posts:  417
Joined  10-03-2010
status: Enthusiast

(nostalgic tear wiped slowly from the corner of my eye) ... I remember back when I first got my XF.  hadn’t owned a keyboard in over 20 years, had no clue how these newfangled contraptions combined sampled waves with oscillators, filters, effects, etc to create sounds.  Then how to multiple 8 of them to create a Voice, and then take 4 of these to create Performances I would play before live audiences.

Dave, BM, 5Pin, and many other former resident experts were so helpful, thoughtful, and gracious and pulling an old sled up that hill of discovery.  Dave helped me many times, and who can forget our BM and his irrepressible representation of Yamaha and his technical deciphering to a level we could execute.

Dave even designed a couple custom voices for me in my earliest days of XF programming before I started to work myself up to an acceptable level of amateur.  Now, a few years later, I’m generally able to design the custom sounds (er voices) I need, but Dave was Da Man at helping me take my first steps.

I’m just grateful for this forum when there wasn’t any other to turn to, thankful for soooo many times the good folk here saved me so I could arrive to my band with something cool to add to our sound.  I also don’t stop in very often anymore, as I largely do what I want with my XF and have moved on to other live performance questions and debates.  but thanks to all ... still ... sniff ...

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Posted on: February 03, 2016 @ 11:46 PM
Michael Trigoboff
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Joined  09-05-2011
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I continued the Montage-related portion of this topic in the Lounge.

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