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Kenton Pro MkII, Dotcom Q174 w/aid, other options?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules  
Author Kenton Pro MkII, Dotcom Q174 w/aid, other options?
dan_e10
I'm putting together a new dotcom system and and trying to decide what to do for midi to CV conversion. One feature that has me confused is how exactly the glide/portamento behaves on some of the options I'm looking at. When enabled, does the glide always cause portamento between consecutive notes, or only if a second key is pressed while the first is still held down? Sorry if this isn't clear, but I'm trying to figure out if I can treat glide the way it behaves on a lot of soft synths where you can avoid portamento if you leave just a little space between notes and then get the portamento to kick in if you overlap notes slightly.

It looks like both the Kenton and dotcom options have different trigger/retrigger modes, but it's not clear to me if this behavior is one of the supported modes on either. What about other options like the Lunar Experience converter?
thanks,
Dan
dan_e10
The other thing I'm wondering about is the performance of all of the 5U options. Do any have problems like zipper noise? Do the 16bit DAC's make a difference over the 14 or 12 bit offerings?
Dan
nerdware
The Kenton has On/Off/Auto glide modes. It sounds like you want the Auto mode. You also get two kinds of glide: constant time and constant rate. The manual is on the Kenton website, if you're interested. It has loads of options.
nerdware
No zipper noise on the Kenton. Totally smooth! thumbs up
dan_e10
Awesome! Thanks for the info. Yes, the auto mode sounds like what I'm thinking of.
Code Shu
+1 on the Pro Solo thumbs up

The auto glide is an essential function to me and IIRC none of the MU interfaces offer it.
Tronman
I tried the Kenton for a while, but it never really seemed like part of my system, so I ditched it in favor of the Q174/Q175 combo which integrates perfectly and has all the features I could possible want.
nerdware
Auto-glide trumps integration for me. Why trade a valuable feature for a non-utility? We're talking about tradeoffs here, but the OP asked for a MIDI converter with auto-glide. Well, the Kenton does it and the Dotcom modules don't. So the only thing you're saying to me is that you don't want auto-glide. That's fine, but it doesn't help the OP.

The Kenton would certainly integrate better if it was a module, but there are no modules that offer as much as the Kenton. Eurorack users don't have this issue, as they can just use the Modular Solo. I don't worry about it. I have a bunch of external boxes that I use with my modular. The Solo is just one of the smaller boxes.

Integration is only a big issue for a MIDI converter if you're an "all modular" bigot. If you are, and you want the auto-glide feature, then the only module I know of that can do it is the Oakley midiDAC. That's very tasty but I'd miss many extra features in the Kenton, not least the easy setting of the MIDI channel. That's probably the feature I use most. The only other MIDI converter that comes close is the Moon, and that doesn't do auto-glide. It also won't let you change the channel mid-stream (as I like to do).
jmcecil
nerdware wrote:
Auto-glide trumps integration for me. Why trade a valuable feature for a non-utility?

Doesn't the Q175 have portamento? Or is that not what you mean by glide. Or slew or lag or .....
nerdware
It has glide but not auto-glide. I.e. the glide is either on or off, regardless of legato.
jmcecil
nerdware wrote:
It has glide but not auto-glide. I.e. the glide is either on or off, regardless of legato.
ah, gotcha.
Squattamolie
I recently got the 174/175 set for a small system at my school, was impressed enough with them that I bought a set for my own system (even though I have the Moon one as well - I actually like the 174 better). Roger's stuff is rock solid.

If having auto-glide was important to me, I'd not hesitate to get the Kenton. But for the little bit that I play like that, I have a footswitch connected to the gate in of the 105 slew, and switch it on/off as I need - that meets my needs. Wanting to have as many functions as possible enclosed in my modular doesn't make me a "modular bigot", it means that I don't personally like having a growing collection of little boxes all over the place.
Rex Coil 7
Squattamolie wrote:
I recently got the 174/175 set for a small system at my school, was impressed enough with them that I bought a set for my own system (even though I have the Moon one as well - I actually like the 174 better). Roger's stuff is rock solid.

If having auto-glide was important to me, I'd not hesitate to get the Kenton. But for the little bit that I play like that, I have a footswitch connected to the gate in of the 105 slew, and switch it on/off as I need - that meets my needs. Wanting to have as many functions as possible enclosed in my modular doesn't make me a "modular bigot", it means that I don't personally like having a growing collection of little boxes all over the place.
I cast a zombie spell and this thread crawled out of it's grave .....

Actually, kidding aside, it's a very relevant topic, even 3+ years later. I am in the same situation that the OP was back in 2014 ... deciding on which midi/cv unit to go with.

I already own one Kenton Pro Solo MkII, and have used the ever-lovin' piss out of it for roughly 6 or 7 years now.

Some of the "pros" of owning it are......

*** On board LFO that has MANY options in and of itself. By contrast, the Dot Com has no LFO .. in fact if one wishes to use an LFO by using the "ADD" jack on the Q174, then a mixer will be required to also route any pitch bend signals in to the ADD jack ... the pitch bend signal and the LFO signal will need to be mixed in to a single patchcord .... not to mention an additional VCA to deal with LFO depth. The Kenton's onboard LFO is even MIDI clock sync-able, and key-on sync-able as well. Sure saves a number of modules just to add some mod-wheel vibrato.

*** On board portamento that also has many options, including expo/linear curves, legato mode.

*** Very easy access to changing MIDI channels (the Q174 must be removed from the synth case to access the jumper links to change MIDI channels).

*** To clear up one thing I've seen as a matter of confusion in some threads, the Kenton offers the exact same triggering options (single, multi, and multi-release) and the same note priority options (low note, high note, last note) as the Q174.

What's missing from the Kenton that the Q174 offers:

*** Release velocity.

*** "Add" jack that allows transposition of the 1v/oct signal.

*** The "second channel" of Gate/V-Oct/Velocity outputs to drive a second midi-cv channel independent of the first channel that can even be on it's own MIDI channel. Nice!

*** And with the addition of the Q175 aid module to the Q174, there's some really nice MIDI Merge capabilities going on that I do not believe the Kenton Pro Solo MkII is capable of.



So it seems to be a total "burgers vs burritos" issue. Ya picks yer lunch then eat it.


WHERE I'M AT ON THIS:


~sucks air through teeth~ .... yikes ... still undecided as of yet. My actual intention is to be able to use my modular in a duophonic mode, devoting half of my voices to low note priority, and the other half of my VCOs to high note priority (a la ARP Odyssey). This requires two MIDI/CV units, both on the same MIDI channel. So there's that. I can see advantages with both (Kenton or Dot Com) and disadvantages with both. But as I sortof "talk" this out as I type, the Kenton seems to be edging out the Dot Coms.

I've looked at others as well ... Doepfer, the Kenton Pro 2000, the Kenton Euro module (it's essentially a Pro Solo MkII in Euro format), Pittsburgh, and a few others that don't come to mind at this moment.

As it stands the only two things that give the Dot Com units the edge are the ADD function and the Release Velocity function. I'm sure there are a number of ways to "add" voltages (sequencers, arps, etc..) to the 1v/oct signal than just the Q174 add function (um .... right?). And as for release velocity, I've only owned one kybd in my entire playing life (since 1977) that had release velocity and I do not ever remember using it ... that was an Alesis QS-6 (at least I think that's what it was called). So I'm not so sure I'd miss it if I elected to use something other than the Q174/Q175 ensemble.

Either way, the QKB61 will work out very well with either ... can't wait for it arrive!

So ... anyone with any insight or opinions or experience to add to this? I hope so, the experiences of others has prevented me from walking over a cliff more than once!

Thanks! smile
johny_gtr
I have Expert Sleepers and Kenton. Kenton glide/legato algorithms are way better than ES. But Kenton has no auto-tuning.
Rex Coil 7
johny_gtr wrote:
I have Expert Sleepers and Kenton. Kenton glide/legato algorithms are way better than ES. But Kenton has no auto-tuning.
Auto tune when using a monosynth .. not really sure it's needed, is it? CV synths are typically analog, those types of VCOs aren't stable until they warm up. It seems as though auto tune would be a bit redundant in a MIDI/CV unit.

seriously, i just don't get it

On the other hand, while short on Auto Tune, the Kenton provides:

** Pitch bend assigned to the 1v/oct output jack (the bend is added .. or "summed" .. with the 1v/oct signal) ... convenient!

** eight different clock divisions (gates) available out of a different output jack than the dedicated "GATE" output jack.

** LFO may be assigned to be added (*summed) to the 1v/oct output jack for convenience, or assigned to the "AUX1" output jack instead.

** NINE different LFO waveforms.

** TEN different clock divisions for LFO/MIDI sync.

** Key On LFO wave reset.

** LFO Sync Start Point which allows the adjustment of where the LFO's waveform starts with each key press (careful programming can even make this behave as "one shot LFO" which in turn may be used as an envelope).

** It will also transpose the 1v/oct signal by octaves, and also by semitones (half steps). So if you're a "I can play in any key as long as it's C-Maj or A-Minor" (in other words, all white keys) the Kenton can help you transpose the keybed to any key allowing one to use familiar fingerings in unfamiliar key signatures (playing the keys of C-maj while producing notes in .. let's say .. F#-maj, or any other key with tricky fingering).

** The Kenton also responds to sustain pedal inputs (via midi).

And none of any this requires a computer.

Not knocking Expert Sleepers, just singing the praises of the Pro Solo MkII.



Hmmm ... sounds like I've talked myself in to a decision I was having trouble making! HA! Look what happened there!

thumbs up
johny_gtr
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
johny_gtr wrote:
I have Expert Sleepers and Kenton. Kenton glide/legato algorithms are way better than ES. But Kenton has no auto-tuning.
Auto tune when using a monosynth .. not really sure it's needed, is it? CV synths are typically analog, those types of VCOs aren't stable until they warm up. It seems as though auto tune would be a bit redundant in a MIDI/CV unit.

Even after warm up, sometime pitch changes after hour of playing. Different place (rehearsal, studio) - after transporting plus different temperature pitch shifts. Auto tune function just save your time. It is helpful for me but maybe not for you


Rex Coil 7 wrote:

seriously, i just don't get it

On the other hand, while short on Auto Tune, the Kenton provides:

** Pitch bend assigned to the 1v/oct output jack (the bend is added .. or "summed" .. with the 1v/oct signal) ... convenient!

** eight different clock divisions (gates) available out of a different output jack than the dedicated "GATE" output jack.

** LFO may be assigned to be added (*summed) to the 1v/oct output jack for convenience, or assigned to the "AUX1" output jack instead.

** NINE different LFO waveforms.

** TEN different clock divisions for LFO/MIDI sync.

** Key On LFO wave reset.

** LFO Sync Start Point which allows the adjustment of where the LFO's waveform starts with each key press (careful programming can even make this behave as "one shot LFO" which in turn may be used as an envelope).

** It will also transpose the 1v/oct signal by octaves, and also by semitones (half steps). So if you're a "I can play in any key as long as it's C-Maj or A-Minor" (in other words, all white keys) the Kenton can help you transpose the keybed to any key allowing one to use familiar fingerings in unfamiliar key signatures (playing the keys of C-maj while producing notes in .. let's say .. F#-maj, or any other key with tricky fingering).

** The Kenton also responds to sustain pedal inputs (via midi).

And none of any this requires a computer.

Not knocking Expert Sleepers, just singing the praises of the Pro Solo MkII.



Hmmm ... sounds like I've talked myself in to a decision I was having trouble making! HA! Look what happened there!

thumbs up


All of these things are presented in Silent Way software plugins.


The biggest pluses of Kenton except gliding/legato algorithms are
1) Small box, no euro power supply/case
2) No laptop/PC needed

And it is a reason why I have both devices/solutions.
Rex Coil 7
Yea, Auto Tune is pretty much useless in a situation where a vintage Hammond is in use. Everything has to be tuned to the Hammond since there is no provision for tuning a Hammond. If the Auto Tune circuits determine that A440 is something different than A440 on the Hammond, you are forced to "untune" the Autotune's efforts. Every band I've ever been in where the Hammond was involved was forced to tune up to the Hammond with every gig, as well as recording efforts. Again, I'm referring to vintage tonewheel Hammonds, not the clones.

I guess I've managed fine without it, so I've never developed a preference for it. The Korg Monologues in my rig both have Autotune, and at times it's a pain, other times it's helpful.

As far as ES goes .... some folks are fine with using a laptop/computer in live rigs, other are not. I'm one of the "nots". I spent years in a live band trying to use them during live performances, and the unreliability factor was such an ordeal that it disqualified their use.

Yup ... Burritos vs Burgers ... as always. smile

If someone is ~good~ with using computers and software live, then hey ... FRIGGIN GO FOR IT!!! Myself, I'm just not there yet.

thumbs up
johny_gtr
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Yea, Auto Tune is pretty much useless in a situation where a vintage Hammond is in use. Everything has to be tuned to the Hammond since there is no provision for tuning a Hammond. If the Auto Tune circuits determine that A440 is something different than A440 on the Hammond, you are forced to "untune" the Autotune's efforts. Every band I've ever been in where the Hammond was involved was forced to tune up to the Hammond with every gig, as well as recording efforts. Again, I'm referring to vintage tonewheel Hammonds, not the clones.

I guess I've managed fine without it, so I've never developed a preference for it. The Korg Monologues in my rig both have Autotune, and at times it's a pain, other times it's helpful.

As far as ES goes .... some folks are fine with using a laptop/computer in live rigs, other are not. I'm one of the "nots". I spent years in a live band trying to use them during live performances, and the unreliability factor was such an ordeal that it disqualified their use.

Yup ... Burritos vs Burgers ... as always. smile

If someone is ~good~ with using computers and software live, then hey ... FRIGGIN GO FOR IT!!! Myself, I'm just not there yet.

thumbs up
I even don't know that Hammond have any CVs.
Expert Sleepers auto tune algorithm is:
1) Send ideal voltage for note Cx
2) Listen signal from synth, use tuner for measuring Hz.
3) Compare played note Hz with ideal value
4) If Ok ->save V parameter for note Cx, send ideal voltage for note Cx+1
5) If not Ok, send changed voltage for note Cx according to the pitch shift and p2.

Maybe we speak about different auto tuning processes
Rex Coil 7
johny_gtr wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Yea, Auto Tune is pretty much useless in a situation where a vintage Hammond is in use. Everything has to be tuned to the Hammond since there is no provision for tuning a Hammond. If the Auto Tune circuits determine that A440 is something different than A440 on the Hammond, you are forced to "untune" the Autotune's efforts. Every band I've ever been in where the Hammond was involved was forced to tune up to the Hammond with every gig, as well as recording efforts. Again, I'm referring to vintage tonewheel Hammonds, not the clones.

I guess I've managed fine without it, so I've never developed a preference for it. The Korg Monologues in my rig both have Autotune, and at times it's a pain, other times it's helpful.

As far as ES goes .... some folks are fine with using a laptop/computer in live rigs, other are not. I'm one of the "nots". I spent years in a live band trying to use them during live performances, and the unreliability factor was such an ordeal that it disqualified their use.

Yup ... Burritos vs Burgers ... as always. smile

If someone is ~good~ with using computers and software live, then hey ... FRIGGIN GO FOR IT!!! Myself, I'm just not there yet.

thumbs up
I even don't know that Hammond have any CVs.
Expert Sleepers auto tune algorithm is:
1) Send ideal voltage for note Cx
2) Listen signal from synth, use tuner for measuring Hz.
3) Compare played note Hz with ideal value
4) If Ok ->save V parameter for note Cx, send ideal voltage for note Cx+1
5) If not Ok, send changed voltage for note Cx according to the pitch shift and p2.

Maybe we speak about different auto tuning processes
No ... vintage Hammonds do not have CV connections of any type .... this is why the band has to tune their instruments (including all of the keyboards and synths) to the Hammond since the Hammond's tuning is totally fixed and unchageable. The Hammond is the "tuning fork" by which all other instruments must be tuned to, since the Hammond provides no means of changing it's tuning. It's all based on the 60hz power that Hammonds use.

I guess the easy question is ... what is auto tune tuning "too"? In the situation you've shown it appears that the Autotune function actually tunes to a sample frequency that is provided by the user (using some sound source that the Autotune circuit matches). Seems pretty cool.

However it does seem more involved and fiddly than simply adjusting the VCO's pitch as things drift during a performance.

I'm obviously old school, never used Autotune at all ... perhaps I simply don't know what I'm missing! One of those things that one didn't know how much easier things are with it and have suffered through living without it.

You don't know any better until you know better! (or something like that).

Thanks.
johny_gtr
Quote:
Autotune function actually tunes to a sample frequency that is provided by the user

Maybe I use wrong word. ES devices only have auto tuning option that allows to change sending voltage to achieve (almost) perfect tuning on all scale.
Kenton has only two parameters: pitch and scale. For some instruments it is enough, for some not.
Rex Coil 7
johny_gtr wrote:
Quote:
Autotune function actually tunes to a sample frequency that is provided by the user

Maybe I use wrong word. ES devices only have auto tuning option that allows to change sending voltage to achieve (almost) perfect tuning on all scale.
Kenton has only two parameters: pitch and scale. For some instruments it is enough, for some not.
Understood. smile

You and I obviously have different needs. I'm happy that ES is serving you so well!! It sounds like a very capable product, and I'm glad it's working out well for some people!

applause


I don't work within my computer as much as some other people, so I tend to lean towards options that don't require it.

Thanks for the information on ES, I have learned a few new things from you.

Be well .... thumbs up
defutura
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
My actual intention is to be able to use my modular in a duophonic mode, devoting half of my voices to low note priority, and the other half of my VCOs to high note priority (a la ARP Odyssey). This requires two MIDI/CV units, both on the same MIDI channel.


Isn't it possible to get duophony right out of the box with just the one Kenton Pro 2000?
Rex Coil 7
defutura wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
My actual intention is to be able to use my modular in a duophonic mode, devoting half of my voices to low note priority, and the other half of my VCOs to high note priority (a la ARP Odyssey). This requires two MIDI/CV units, both on the same MIDI channel.


Isn't it possible to get duophony right out of the box with just the one Kenton Pro 2000?
Sure enough. In my situation, however, I already own one midi-cv unit (Pro Solo MkII) and I just want to add a second channel that runs on the same midi channel. So spending $600+ bucks on the Kenton Pro 2000 was not something I wanted to do.

But "yes" the Pro 2000 is capable of doing duophony .... and WAY more. If I recall correctly it will even do round robin style four VCO psuedo-polyphony if set up to do so. It is a very capable device, no doubt.

thumbs up
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