Bass > MIDI

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stk
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Bass > MIDI

Post by stk » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:09 pm

So following on from my B2M questions (which I've decided not to buy due to negative reports from Wigglers), what is a good bass guitar > MIDI solution?

We're not playing overly technical stuff, but pitch tracking should be reliable. Velocity, nice but not so important.

It should be retrofittable to an existing electric bass, as I also need the bass's own output without swapping guitars.

Ideally it shouldn't cost a fucktonne of 75s.

Thanks in advance!

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Post by Just me » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:36 pm

I have npt yet found any resonable solution. The pitch of the bass is so low it takes to long for the pickup and software to lock on. The latency always drove me nuts.
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Post by stk » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:39 pm

Hmm, thanks for that.
In our case a reasonable amount of latency is not a massive problem as this will mainly be used for playing slow-attack synth pads and so forth so tight accuracy is not so important.

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Post by deltaphoenix » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:14 pm

Maybe a Roland V Bass with a Roland pick-up (not the newer VB-99). The thing is, it only plays the sounds in the box.

If you can find an Axon AX-50 or AX-100 for a good price (not the eBay ripoff price). I can't remember the model # but Yamaha had a bass to midi convertor that was actually made by Axon.

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Post by stk » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:42 pm

Hmm, thanks, I'll take a look at those.

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Post by deltaphoenix » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:18 pm

I remembered the Yamaha unit is a G50

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Post by deltaphoenix » Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:27 pm

I was inspired by this thread to give bass-to-midi another chance. Here is my new rig.
Dingwall AB1>Yamaha G-50>Access Virus B

I just got the Virus, hooked it up and shot this video


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stk
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Post by stk » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:09 pm

Pretty cool. How do you find the tracking on the G-50?

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Post by EMwhite » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:53 pm

I'm puzzled by this all. Really want one also and have seen the likes of Anthony Jackson ripping up the place at a NAMM show but then hear that it's garbage?!
Beware of programmers with screwdrivers...

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Post by deltaphoenix » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:58 pm

stk wrote:Pretty cool. How do you find the tracking on the G-50?
Well, for only plugging my bass directly into the monophonic input and not adjusting anything on it yet, pretty awesome. There are parameters that are supposed to help it adjust to my playing style. Occasionally it will play the wrong octave and correct itself without the note stopping at all, so that isn't a big deal.
Basically, it tracks like a Boss OC-2, maybe a bit better. It can definitely go lower (I am playing a five string) but it seems to add a tiny bit of latency, but not bad. I can play higher on the neck and shift the Virus down an octave, no big deal at all. The G-50 tracks velocity pretty well.
I will probably get a Roland GK-3B since it is compatible with the G-50 and easier to find than the Yamaha pickup. I can't wait to get the GK-3B and play more like I normally do. All and all, I am very happy with the G-50.

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Post by stk » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:27 pm

Nice, thanks for the report from the field.

Now to try and find one in Oz....

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Post by wyrtti » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:01 pm

Thanks for the video, Deltaphoenix!

This seems to work alot better than the Sonuus B2M. And especially on the higher strings the tracking seems good. Which is not a problem for me, since my imagined use for this kind of setup would be to just play synth bass on the bass, thus just switching the synth down an octave or two would not be a problem.

Oh man, this whets my appetite. I had been thinking of getting a cheapo Ztar to play the synth stuff, but this might just be enough. http://www.starrlabs.com/

Maybe if this thing tracks this well, the Roland boxes track as well?

Cheers!
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Post by sascha.victoria » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:21 am

I'm pretty sure Peavey made the best MIDI bass of all time. There's a different pick up for each string as well as individual sensors per string at each fret.

http://www.peavey.com/assets/literature ... 301769.pdf
wtb: silence

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Post by sascha.victoria » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:23 am

wtb: silence

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Post by Delta T » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:42 am

Something to help with mis-triggering and false notes: put a mute on the strings at the nut. Could be something like a hair 'scrunchy' that you roll over the strings and back off when not needed, etc. There are over-tones that develop between the fretted note and the nut that can trigger the B2M converter causing false notes, etc.

I have a Vbass and GK6B pickup on my Spector 6string bass and it tracks well in the Vbass. so I can do octaves, etc in the Vbass and theoretically run it into a synth and use an envelope follower to generate trigger and gate signals. (have not done it yet...) I've used the bass/GK6B combo with my GI-20 interface and it was ok but not great. The mute did help.

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Post by deltaphoenix » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:35 am

sascha.victoria wrote:I'm pretty sure Peavey made the best MIDI bass of all time. There's a different pick up for each string as well as individual sensors per string at each fret.

http://www.peavey.com/assets/literature ... 301769.pdf
I used to have one of those. It is AWESOME, I ended up selling it to finance my Dingwall bass. I don't regret it but I do miss that Peavey. One thing to note about it is that the basses are easier to find than the box that does the midi conversion. It sucks, I had a spare midi conversion box, I should have at least held on to that.
The guy that developed the Midi system for the Peaveys has his own company now called Industrial Radio. Those basses look nice, and are supposed to be a bit better than the Peaveys as far as latency (maybe 4ms vs 6ms) and have a few more parameters to help dial the bass in for your playing style.
BUT THEY ARE EXPENSIVE!
http://www.industrialradio.com.au/

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Post by deltaphoenix » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:46 am

Delta T wrote:Something to help with mis-triggering and false notes: put a mute on the strings at the nut. Could be something like a hair 'scrunchy' that you roll over the strings and back off when not needed, etc. There are over-tones that develop between the fretted note and the nut that can trigger the B2M converter causing false notes, etc.

I have a Vbass and GK6B pickup on my Spector 6string bass and it tracks well in the Vbass. so I can do octaves, etc in the Vbass and theoretically run it into a synth and use an envelope follower to generate trigger and gate signals. (have not done it yet...) I've used the bass/GK6B combo with my GI-20 interface and it was ok but not great. The mute did help.
I have had a Vbass, VB-99, and a GR-55.
The VBass has no Midi out, so how do you control an external synth?
The VB-99 basically has a GI-20 inside of it to do Midi conversion, so there is a TON of latency since the Roland Bass/Guitar synths are not midi based (they are COSM or PCM sounds triggered by Rolands own note analyzing system).
I found the low amount of latency on the VBass and VB-99 to be very awesome, I just didn't like COSM synth sounds and could care less about modeled basses, amps and strings. I built a few patches that I liked on the VB-99, the effects routing is pretty decent on it. It makes sense for some people's playing situations but not mine (professional cover band that "needed" different bass sounds and a few synth parts covered maybe?).
I liked the PCM sounds better on the GR-55 but the latency was worse. The only real solutions to help with it were to put on Piccolo strings, boot up in guitar mode and shift it an octave down.

The GR-50 into the Virus KILLS any sounds that could found in those Roland units. The Latency is way less than the GR-55 and is equal/close to the Vbass, and just behind the VB-99. When I get the GK-3B on my bass and can play polyphonically, I will be satisfied I do believe.
I have been on a SynthBass journey for quite awhile.

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Post by Delta T » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:46 am

With the Vbass you can't really control a modular synth...think of it more as the oscillators. Take the audio signal and send it to your modulars filters, vca, whatever you want to process it with. Also send the signal to an envelope follower. This can be used to trigger other modular modules like envelope generators, etc. Whats nice about this is you don't have to worry about the modular oscillators tracking the bass pitch...its being done in the Vbass. Unfortunately you don't get the same options like oscillator sync, etc. But you can do a lot with the Vbass signal before it reaches your modular. If by chance your Vbass signal (octaves and such) are not working well with the envelope follower, take the dry bass signal out of the Vbass and use that. You could try compressing the heck out of it and setting the attack to a couple milliseconds to allow a trigger 'spike' through.

As for midi, yea unfortunately the Vbass doesn't output it. I've my GI-20 though and while its not really good for fast attack sounds, it does ok for slow attack sounds like pads, etc. In this case the combination of Vbass and GI-20 can work pretty well. I do wish the Vbass had better synth patches. Same with my VG88...

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Post by behndy » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:17 am

EMwhite wrote:I'm puzzled by this all. Really want one also and have seen the likes of Anthony Jackson ripping up the place at a NAMM show but then hear that it's garbage?!
they're pretty shitty. i had one, the only success i could get is if i raped my tone to something awful sound wise but thin enough for it to track OKAY. word on the street is pick playing is the best bet for decent tracking, but i suck butts at pick.

there's the Industrial Radio guys ( http://www.industrialradio.com.au/ ), they make a midi bass from the ground up that's not doing audio -> midi conversion which i just don't think is something viable right now, but they're not cheap.

still, WANT.

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Post by angora » Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:43 pm

The best I found was the Moog Freqbox. Have you tried it? It seemed to track better than the eventide pitchfactor that I used as well. Nether of those are pitch->midi solutions, but would definitely work if you are looking to do a mono analog sound. I play a lot of double stops. So, I ran in to some issues, but I think for someone that plays a little less duophonically and wants synth sounds, the Freqbox is the way to go.

I've also been thinking about trying an EHX POG into a MU modular as well.

If you really need midi, have you thought about organ pedals?

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Post by ersatzplanet » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:10 am

Does it need to be in real time? If it is targeted to recording the frequency to MIDI converter in Ableton Live works well. Not real time of course.
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Post by stk » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:40 pm

This is for live use, so yes realtime.

In other news, I tried the demo of http://www.jamorigin.com/midi-guitar/ the other day. One word? Amazing. Seriously. Amazing.
Google the youtube demos.

Downside? Doesn't work with bass, optimised for guitar at standard pitch, but I play both so can work with that.[/url]

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Post by ersatzplanet » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:02 pm

There is a cheat to use though it would be hard to get used to. In the early years of Guitar synths the trick used by many was to string them with all high E strings. The converters would track great but of course the audio output of the guitar was useless except for dynamics. If the Bass>MIDI is the main focus, you can get a cheap bass and string it with guitar strings. Just tune the synth in the base range. Use some octave droppers on the audio and you might be able to use that too. A true compromise for sure...
-James

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Post by stk » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:05 pm

I'd prefer bass mainly so it could be used for its actual output (not pitchshifted) as well as controlling a synth.

Still, I'm now rethinking things after trying that software. A lot of possibilities.

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Post by Jarno » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:35 am

Save up and get the Wal midi setup, or find one of 'em Peavey midi basses.
http://walbasshistory.blogspot.nl/p/growth-in-80s.html
(halfway)

http://www.matrixsynth.com/2008/05/peav ... uitar.html

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