Best audio-to-MIDI solution for synthbass

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRist
112 posts since 9 Mar, 2012

Post Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:32 pm

I'm looking for the best solution to turn "normal" bass guitar to synthbass. I'm playing in the cover band and the obvious way to have that kind of sound should be playing the parts by myself but I'd like to do it the hard way :P. I don't know if there is any really good box for bass player to turn signal from bass guitar to something beliveable :D. Playing Jackson's cover without those punchy lines is senseless, as all dance music is about being catchy AND groovy, and I'm busy enough trying to play every part of keys AND trying to make those bass lines...

I own Zoom UAC2, it has VERY fast driver (it's possible to achieve playable 32 samples on beefy PC) and should be ideal for connecting bass through it, then change input signal real-time to MIDI and play synth bass through some CPU-light VSTi plugin (or KONTAKT) to compensate ultra-low latency.

I know there are some solutions but I'm interested in Your experience in that matter. Maybe there is better solution (desktop/rack synth with signal input or some kind of fx from Line6/BOSS)?

Thanks in advance for any advice :)!

KVRAF
4516 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 12:57 am

Nothing i’d personally use live. Bass is tricky to track fast due to long wavelengths.

You can come to a sort-of synth sound with extreme processing.

imo the most reiable solution is either Fretsense (wired frets to identify pitch)
Or Roland Bass synth which comes with its own set of per/string pickups.

I had limited success with jamorigin
https://www.jamorigin.com/products/midi-bass/

In the end i ended up playing with a seaboard rise25 instead.
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KVRist

Topic Starter

112 posts since 9 Mar, 2012

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 1:37 am

Ploki, thanks for posting! My bassist is rather simple guy - he plays what he needs to, no solos, riffs, looong notes, just the necessary bass line. He uses Fender Jazz Bass 4-string connected straight to the AMPEG B2-RE which is already dull in sound and when it comes to playing something groovy, it's lost in the mix. I can't play overdubs with synth forever due to bass not covering bandwith or cutting through the mix, apart from buying better amp we have to do something with it. Our drummer is excellent - we were playing some prog rock a decade or so ago so he's more than capable of playing tight grooves.

But there are some tunes which NEEDS synthbass sound (Dolce Vita, a bunch of Jackson's songs and many other contemperary songs) and I have only 2 hands :lol: . Also, I'm playing as a new member of the current band (old keyboardist was a lil' bit too overconfident and usually played bass lines himself whenever he had a chance so I don't want to steal his job :D ).

I learned a while ago about Jam Origin products - when it comes to reviews, I always come to S.O.S. or other reliable sources - and it's something that WILL work in live gig. Definitely try a demo.

We considered Roland solutions (it doesn't have to be audio-to-MIDI solution, just synth sound), or BOSS, but expensive solutions (thousands of $ just to cover several songs) won't be good.

I know there's Fishman Triple Play, and that's it when it comes to audio-to-MIDI solution (for bass, anyway).

Can You share Your experience with JamOrigin solution? I know DAW/VSTi/computer stuff very well (sitting in this almost 20 years and playing keys myself from Sylenth1 to Omnisphere 2) so I know that getting audio-to-MIDI and using some plugin will make our day, but maybe there's something reviews won't say or something You experienced which is deal-breaker when it comes to that kind of solution. From what I know, reviews from 2018 are very positive, we have now 2021 (the second half) and this technology has to be better. Bass player will be playing just the notes he has to - be it from ear (more obscure covers) or from sheet music (Jackson's stuff, 'cause it's very well "documented" and with tight drums it make it "groovy") - so short, tight notes rather than long, low-B notes or double bass legato :hihi: ).

KVRAF
4516 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 1:47 am

I have bass tuned fairly low - Down to A (.160 string) and it simply didn’t track low notes well/fast enough, and i’d have to adapt my style of playing too much to get good tracking. (I have super thick strings on a 35” scale (high tension) so i tend to go aggro often, and pitch-midi gets confused)

I already had a seaboard anyway so i liked the result better (slides and “hammer ons” felt more natural and played nicer with synths with it)

If you limit your expression a bit you can get good results with it :)

No issues with playing into DAW tho, i’m using RME fireface800 into Logic and use plugins for electric bass and u-he synths for midi.

I’m thinking of rigging my bass with MIDI encoders instead of pots because i already wired both pickups to go directly into DAW - that way i can blend them ITB remotely instead of using my hands :lol:
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KVRAF
3432 posts since 22 Aug, 2019

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 3:27 am


KVRist

Topic Starter

112 posts since 9 Mar, 2012

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 3:33 am

So playing nice and clean will be ok I think - I read that really low notes were problematic (they updated MIDI Bass to recognize them properly) but A on thick string could be too much for poor plugin :D. We'll use 4-string guitar with no fancy techniques so it should be safe.

My Zoom has very good RTL latency (at least comparable to Your RME) - how's latency in Your opinion, is it usable for live on low buffer?

KVRAF
4516 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 4:34 am

Yeah absolutely!
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KVRist
250 posts since 12 Sep, 2007

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 4:35 am

Midi Guitar by Jam Origin, the bass version is as close as you're going to get.
Or use something to octave up the bass and use the guitar version.

And yes low notes are always a problem with conversion due to the long cycle of low notes.
Oh and forget about trying to get anything to track a low B well.

Some decent Guitar Rig stuff can get very synth-like and no hardware needed.

KVRist

Topic Starter

112 posts since 9 Mar, 2012

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 5:25 am

So to sum it up - for 4-string Fender Jazz Bass (E/A/D/G) and standard fingerstyle playing it should be ok for live gigs? I don't want to use guitar version (it is surely more demanding), and monophonic should be easier on CPU.

I have old PC (HP 250 G2) with i3 (I bought many moons ago i5 3340M to change it), 4GB single-channel (planning to buy the second one), and 500 GB HDD - should be enough for the job on heavy-modded OS entirely for this purpose (just the necessary services and plugin, nothing else), as I'm using my main notebook for heavier stuff (Keyscape/Omnisphere/etc) and don't want to waste resources. As I'm lately using MOX6 as my audio interface (and planning to change lower board to something with build-in audio interface), I can lend Zoom UAC2 (due to ultra-low latency drivers) and HP notebook exclusively to the job.

Dirk, can You tell me about the exact Guitar Rig/Amplitube etc sort of plugin/preset usable for synthbass-like sound? Althought I'm a big fan of tweaking my own sound and playing as close to original as possible, having some alternative is always good. A friend of mine use plugins mentioned above so it's possible to check them out.

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KVRian
798 posts since 14 Jul, 2018

Post Fri Jul 30, 2021 6:05 am

the *best*, though probably most expansive, might be the dedicated industrial radio midi bass
which works with fret sensing and therefor has super tracking

https://industrialradio.com.au/

here's a sonicstate namm interview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-07sHwD ... sonicstate
and gaz williams presents it here (already pre-rolled)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II5J46x ... sonicstate

KVRist
250 posts since 12 Sep, 2007

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 5:32 am

Hey Carooza,
I don't know Amplitube, but Guitar rig 5 onward has some great synth capability.
You have the Harmonic Sythesizer, Pitch Pedal, Resochord, and the Octaver.
This is v6 Guitar Rig synth.
https://youtu.be/UqrGES4Cld4

I can't help with the computer, but it sounds like it's being used to it's capability already.
And doing synth work is going to test it. You need to try it to see if it will work for you or not.
But consider you need software to convert the pitch to midi, then you need the synth, lot's of processing required.

Ah yes one last thing, Boss makes the SY300 for hardware it might be a good solution to consider. Tons of other pedals available too that might get you there.

The cool thing is there are lots of workable options these days.
Good luck,
Dirk

KVRist
188 posts since 13 Jul, 2021

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:50 pm

Record audio into FL, double click recording, right click sample in the window, open in audio editor, right click, dump score to piano roll, profit :)

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KVRAF
11183 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:58 pm

Ploki wrote:
Fri Jul 30, 2021 12:57 am
Nothing i’d personally use live. Bass is tricky to track fast due to long wavelengths.

You can come to a sort-of synth sound with extreme processing.

imo the most reiable solution is either Fretsense (wired frets to identify pitch)
Or Roland Bass synth which comes with its own set of per/string pickups.

I had limited success with jamorigin
https://www.jamorigin.com/products/midi-bass/

In the end i ended up playing with a seaboard rise25 instead.
This. Jamorigin stuff is pretty good, but even with my crap playing I get better results from my Rise, though I have the 49 key model. It might not be true for everyone, but for me it’s best if I keep guitar guitar and synth synths. That said, the synth block in my AxeFX 3 sounds pretty awesome and tracks very well, but it’s a lot of money to get that trick. A Line6 Pod500 does a decent job for a lot less, but I hate the amp model sounds of Line6.
Zerocrossing Media

4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

KVRist

Topic Starter

112 posts since 9 Mar, 2012

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:43 pm

Thanks guys for tips, I need it ONLY for live gigs and maybe for 10 songs (out of 80-100), the main idea is to get synth bass when it's mandatory to keep the groove or to cut through the mix AND I'm busy with my 2 hands with no chance to play bass line through my synths or plugins :). So buying expensive gear is not an optimal solution :). I saw something like Sonuus B2M but it seems it's a crap... So I have to try JamOrigin MIDI Bass, but unfortunately I don't have any bass guitar and have to borrow one from a friend of mine (although I can play on it very well :lol: ). I'll try and maybe post the results if they are worth it :-).

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KVRAF
11183 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Mon Aug 02, 2021 5:43 am

Caroozo wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:43 pm
Thanks guys for tips, I need it ONLY for live gigs and maybe for 10 songs (out of 80-100), the main idea is to get synth bass when it's mandatory to keep the groove or to cut through the mix AND I'm busy with my 2 hands with no chance to play bass line through my synths or plugins :). So buying expensive gear is not an optimal solution :). I saw something like Sonuus B2M but it seems it's a crap... So I have to try JamOrigin MIDI Bass, but unfortunately I don't have any bass guitar and have to borrow one from a friend of mine (although I can play on it very well :lol: ). I'll try and maybe post the results if they are worth it :-).
Here’s a tip: Don’t use a bass to trigger bass. Just set the octave to what you want and use a guitar at the highest register possible. This is because the software needs a few cycles to figure out the sound and the lower the sound the more time is needed to get a few cycles.
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4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

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