Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

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pdxindy
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15459 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 am

Roger_Linn wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:05 am
It’s a little tricky because I’m not really in the synth business, plus everybody has a different idea of the ideal synth.

One option is a future Linux-based LinnStrument with lots of DSP power. That would allow anyone to install any Linux LV2 synth plug-in, though there aren’t many good ones yet.
Why LV2 and not VST? I'd love a way to have the u-he synths in a Linnstrument!!

John the Savage
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275 posts since 28 Mar, 2017

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Thu May 16, 2019 2:17 pm

Roger_Linn wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:05 am
One option is a future Linux-based LinnStrument with lots of DSP power. That would allow anyone to install any Linux LV2 synth plug-in, though there aren’t many good ones yet.
But, but... I don't want a new LinnStrument.

Come on, tech industry, a little black box with a few knobs and a host port... Is that so much to ask? Korg, Novation... Anyone?

I'd say Roland, but we all know they'd find a way to f_ck it up (smirk).

Cheers!

P.S. Audiobus has recently developed an intermittent half-second latency issue that myself and Michael have yet to track down, so the search for a hardware solution is getting desperate (sigh). I may have to grab a Micromonsta in the short term...

*Edit: For posterity, I've switched to AUM... Problem averted for now. Phew!
Last edited by John the Savage on Sun May 19, 2019 5:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Roger_Linn
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1218 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Thu May 16, 2019 3:34 pm

pdxindy wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 am
Why LV2 and not VST? I'd love a way to have the u-he synths in a Linnstrument!!
Only because LV2 is the Linux standard. But it could be VST for Linux if any makers would do that, or standalone Linux apps, or anything else. My focus is on providing a solution for loading third-party synths into Linux-based musical controllers, so whatever works is fine with me.

John the Savage
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275 posts since 28 Mar, 2017

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Thu May 16, 2019 3:35 pm

Roger_Linn wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:05 am
[...] plus everybody has a different idea of the ideal synth.
I've thought about this a lot, and I have to say, I really don't think it's all that difficult a thing to define. I mean, I think can we all agree that, when it comes to seriously in-depth sound-design, working in-the-box is where it's at. So, we can forget about putting Falcon or Omnisphere in a desktop module (or inside the LinnStrument for that matter). And it has been adamantly proclaimed, many times, that the LinnStrument is all about performance! As such, the focus should be on a synth that is capable of creating expressive sounds for the primary purpose of playing live—which mostly consists of chording and soloing, and requires only so many articulations—as apposed to, say, worrying about long, evolving, cinematic soundscapes and complex pads, for which a LinnStrument would be gratuitous anyway.

To that end, what do we need? Well, wavetable oscillators for starters, because they lend themselves well to 5D expression and offer the most timbral possibilities (especially if the user can create and load their own); and maybe a few token PCM samples (à la Korg) to cover EP sounds and the likes. Feed those into a subtractive, variable-state filter, and provide a comprehensive set of MPE-specific modulators... Done!

I personally think the above design concept would prove more than adequate for most applications; and if it's not enough for some people, well then, there's still software. But, so help me the powers that be, someone, somewhere, needs to move on this before Hell freezes over (sigh). Companies do it all the time with non-MPE synths: i.e. they commit to a particular voice architecture, meant to accommodate as many sounds as would be considered reasonable within certain constraints, and that's their product. Period. I don't see how this MPE business should be approached any differently in that respect.

It seems to me that we are paralyzed by the perception (or illusion perhaps) of too many options, and I place the blame squarely on software.

Cheers!

P.S. I do realize that I'm speaking from the comfort of the end-user's perspective, and not as a tech designer. It's not lost on me how much time, money, and work are involved in bringing new instruments to market. I'm just saying...

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Roger_Linn
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1218 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Fri May 17, 2019 8:51 am

Thanks for the contribution, John. It's valuable input in the event that I make a future LinnStrument with built-in sounds. I look forward to seeing how others feel. I personally like physical models, resonators, SWAM, FM, samples, and various methods of complex wave modulation.

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pdxindy
KVRAF
15459 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Fri May 17, 2019 9:35 am

Roger_Linn wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:34 pm
pdxindy wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 am
Why LV2 and not VST? I'd love a way to have the u-he synths in a Linnstrument!!
Only because LV2 is the Linux standard. But it could be VST for Linux if any makers would do that, or standalone Linux apps, or anything else. My focus is on providing a solution for loading third-party synths into Linux-based musical controllers, so whatever works is fine with me.
An option to load Bazille, Hive, RePro and Diva and eventually Zebra 3 would be amazing... (running at 96khz!) :love: :love: :love:

BobDog
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594 posts since 2 Apr, 2015

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Fri May 17, 2019 9:55 am

Roger_Linn wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:34 pm
pdxindy wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 am
Why LV2 and not VST? I'd love a way to have the u-he synths in a Linnstrument!!
Only because LV2 is the Linux standard. But it could be VST for Linux if any makers would do that, or standalone Linux apps, or anything else. My focus is on providing a solution for loading third-party synths into Linux-based musical controllers, so whatever works is fine with me.
For LV2 type stuff have you looked at what ModDevices have been doing, I have one of the Guitar Pedals : https://www.moddevices.com/products/mod-duo

They are moving now towards a tabletop unit: https://www.moddevices.com/products/mod-duo-x

The interesting bit is the web based interface that runs on the box for creating patches, you can see it here if you scroll down a bit: https://www.moddevices.com/learn/quick-start

That system is in the Public Domain, along with some extra specifications for adding the gui to existing LV2 plugins.

There is of course the issue that LV2 plugins are no where near the level of VST/AU plugins.


Another approach is the Organelle way of doing things where you run something like PD on the box. Mark Harris (theTechnoBear) has done some good work recently making PD into a more modular system that supports MPE, have a search for ORAC 2. This is all a nice approach for tweaks and hackers but making PD sound as good as Diva or Cypher 2 is never going to happen.

The last approach is you spend huge amounts of time and money implementing a top quality synth engine running on your Linux SOM.


The thing is in the end it is hard for any these approaches to reach the level of a Laptop with a load of high quality plugins installed on it.

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Roger_Linn
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1218 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Fri May 17, 2019 11:14 am

Yes, I’ve seen those and they’re good steps in the right direction.

I think that software instruments for embedded Linux hardware products won’t have much quality until:
1) a standard hardware platform for Linux-based embedded hardware instruments is agreed upon, so any software instrument will run on any hardware product, and
2) many hardware products exist that support such standard, so the market is big enough for software instrument makers to have incentive to support the format, and
3) software instrument makers are able to implement reliable copy protection on hardware instruments.

tiantong
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56 posts since 9 Sep, 2018

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Fri May 17, 2019 11:35 am

Well, I wasn’t throwing the ball at Roger, although I’m sure it would end being a wonderful product.

I was actually hoping for some company or indie developer taking the challenge. It has happened already but still no one has “nailed” it. It is, as Roger says, difficult as we all have different needs and ideas. But isn’t it what the Linnstrument is: someone’s idea realized and being accepted by a group of people? “The synth” is just there waiting.

And yet, @pdxindy, I’m not so sure. I’d rather say it’s going too slow. I don’t see the big companies are interested.

To my desert island I’d rather take something that is not dependent on computers. The EaganMatrix (Haken ContinuuMini) is amazing in term of sounds but there’s no way to tweak sounds without one. Micromonsta lacks modern (?) connectivity (Midi USB and simple headphone line out). The Parva is not finished yet.
John the Savage wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 2:17 pm
Come on, tech industry, a little black box with a few knobs and a host port... Is that so much to ask? Korg, Novation... Anyone?
That’s what I’m thinking about. I recall there was somebody from Yamaha involved in the MPE specification... where are they?
Roger_Linn wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 8:51 am
Thanks for the contribution, John. It's valuable input in the event that I make a future LinnStrument with built-in sounds. I look forward to seeing how others feel.
Well, maybe you are picking up the ball anyway? :) I join John in that I don’t want to buy a new Linnstrument but an “extension” (the little black box with...) with your quality standards? Right now.
I personally like physical models, resonators, SWAM, FM, samples, and various methods of complex wave modulation.
I’m all in.

John the Savage
KVRist
275 posts since 28 Mar, 2017

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Fri May 17, 2019 3:52 pm

Roger_Linn wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 8:51 am
Thanks for the contribution, John. It's valuable input in the event that I make a future LinnStrument with built-in sounds. I look forward to seeing how others feel. I personally like physical models, resonators, SWAM, FM, samples, and various methods of complex wave modulation.
Just to be clear, Roger, by no means was I suggesting that you should be the one to step-up in this department. I’m just making conversation. That said, I do echo the sentiment that I would trust you, of all people, to do it proper if anyone could.

Since we're talking purely conceptually here, I would like to reiterate that I think it would be more appealing to see a separate, dedicated, standalone synth module come to fruition with the LinnStrument in mind, rather than an altogether new LinnStrument. I mean, when you think about it, you've got somewhere in the neighborhood of two thousand LinnStrument owners out there already, many of whom might actually be interested in a robust MPE hardware solution; but I doubt as many of them would be interested in parting with their current LinnStrument only to purchase another one (not if they could simply augment their setup with a little black box anyway). I know I wouldn't.

I would also like to add, in regards to the above-mentioned synthesis methods, that the SWAM models (as incredible as they are), or the likes, are not something I would lose sleep about if I were designing a sound engine for the LinnStrument. It's my opinion (and possibly mine alone) that playing a saxophone sound with a MIDI controller, novel though it may be, is a little tragic, if redundant. It falls under the "because we can, not because we should" category for me. For the same reason, I wouldn't be caught dead playing a trumpet sound with my guitar, despite the fact that it is possible. Fine for the bedroom perhaps, but not so much for the stage (wink).

Cheers!

t-IB
KVRist
47 posts since 2 Jul, 2017

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Fri May 17, 2019 11:56 pm

I want to buy the eaganmatrix in a standalone box, that if required I can add a control interface to. A knobby version would be even better but I'm not sure how viable that would be in terms of control. I really should dive into the axoloti to see if it can be something like what I want...

In terms of standalone synths there's no mention of the modor NF1 in tiantong's post, which does a very good job in that it is finished and does MPE well. Shame there is no internal FM routing but otherwise it's a great synth with a good range of sound generators, effects and some interesting filter options (note: I don't _love_ the state variable but it's OK).

Someone asked about the xpander/matrix 6 earlier - being made in 1984 it wasn't designed around MPE compatibility but it's so flexible that it can be, using the pedal/CV mod sources and its multi setup. I have to use two of its 20 mod slots to get slide set up right (over only one octave iirc). It's an incredibly flexible synth and that it can be bent into MPE compatible synth is testament to its flexibility focussed design. Classic!

t-IB
KVRist
47 posts since 2 Jul, 2017

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Sat May 18, 2019 12:01 am

Oh, and I agree with the above, in that a standalone instrument with the Linnstrument in mind would be the dream synth - similar form factor, 45 degree rise and aesthetics... sit it behind the machine... analogue/digital mashup... one can dream (or 'settle' for what the xpander can do - it's close!).

(I thought the parva might be this for me but as yet I haven't been able to find out...)

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Roger_Linn
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1218 posts since 8 Jun, 2010
Roger Linn Design

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Sat May 18, 2019 1:02 pm

John the Savage wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 3:52 pm
Just to be clear, Roger, by no means was I suggesting that you should be the one to step-up in this department. I’m just making conversation.
No worries, John. I understood that. I'm enjoying the conversation.

tiantong
KVRist
56 posts since 9 Sep, 2018

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Sat May 18, 2019 1:04 pm

John the Savage wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 3:52 pm
I would also like to add, in regards to the above-mentioned synthesis methods, that the SWAM models (as incredible as they are), or the likes, are not something I would lose sleep about if I were designing a sound engine for the LinnStrument. It's my opinion (and possibly mine alone) that playing a saxophone sound with a MIDI controller, novel though it may be, is a little tragic, if redundant. It falls under the "because we can, not because we should" category for me. For the same reason, I wouldn't be caught dead playing a trumpet sound with my guitar, despite the fact that it is possible. Fine for the bedroom perhaps, but not so much for the stage (wink).

Cheers!
Same opinion here, although I really like the posibilites of physical modelling synthesis.

t-IB, ContinuuMini is on the top of my list. Still doubting because there is still need of a computer for editing sounds.

Parva's sound is, for what I can tell, beautiful but it is not finished.

Modor is also nice but somehow the sound (what I've heard on line) hasn't got me and there is that formant filter, big knob, which I don't like.

I still have to figure out different possibilities of connectivity between the Linnstrument and the Continuumini (+ eventually my iPad). If in the meantime there is nothing new I think I'll go for it.

tiantong
KVRist
56 posts since 9 Sep, 2018

Re: Whats your favorite/'desert island' MPE sound generator?

Post Sat May 18, 2019 1:10 pm

One more synth I could be interested is the Polyend Medusa, but I haven't been able to see/hear how it works with the Linnstrument

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