#1
I wasn't sure where to post this.

Me and the keyboard player in our band are looking to get a unique sound on the keyboards.
I'm thinking about bands like "tangled thoughts of leaving", "sleep party people" or even the sound in "1901 from Phoenix" (more mainstream haha:p). I'm guessing it's more of a synthesizer thing?

SUggestions for a cheap synthesizer to experiment with it?

Now we use a basic "Piano" sound on the keyboards... We want to get a mor eunique sound. Maybe experiment with pedals on it?
#2
You do know that you can basically synthesized whatever you need on a laptop, then plug your keyboard into it and play the patch out from it, right?
#3
No :p We are keyboard-newbz. I'm a guitarist/drummer and our keyboard player is classical trained ^^

But still, can you refer to some tutorials then? Are you talking about a recording that you can simply record and play? Like a speech or train sound (as an example). That's not what we need.

Or do you mean you can get a whole bunch of sounds online and import them on a keyboard?
#4
Quote by GoldenGuitar
You do know that you can basically synthesized whatever you need on a laptop, then plug your keyboard into it and play the patch out from it, right?


I'm curious to whether or not you have any live experience with doing this. Many people make that suggestion, but then admit to having never done it live. By live, that just means anything where you are playing in real time with other musicians, even if you're just jamming in the basement.

I've played keys in a few bands over the years, so been there, done that. I've never had the best experience with it. The main problem is that you are introducing a whole bunch of extra variables. Variables in setups are bad since more things means more things to fail potentially.

Computers can have lagging issues if you have something inexpensive or if you don't know how to properly configure things to not restart. You also need a MIDI compatible keyboard. Anything decent and modern will have basic MIDI capabilities, but we don't know for sure. A hard keyboard is just plug and play with better reliability than a computer and no additional worries.

There is also the difficulty of using a controller interface and software that aren't specifically designed to work together. Everything needs to be configured, control parameters vary by soft synth , etc. It's never as intuitive as an actual hard keyboard setup.

I mean, it can work for people and you may have had positive experience, but I've never known any serious keyboard players that would gig without a hard keyboard at least as a backup. Computers and software can all shit out on you live, and having to restart really can wreck a performance. Laptops also are more popular targets for theft than a hard keyboard.

It's just something to always consider when that suggestion is made.

Quote by CrimsonSea
Or do you mean you can get a whole bunch of sounds online and import them on a keyboard?


No. Basically you can put simulations of pianos, organs, synths, etc on your computer, called "virtual instruments" that can be controlled remotely by a MIDI compatible device, usually a keyboard.

The biggest advantage is that there are a million virtual instruments simulating just about every major analog synth, EP, organ, etc that are free or fairly cheap. That is really the only major benefit.

Most hard keyboards (ie keyboards with built in sounds) only have limited numbers of sounds, thus buying new keyboards for new sounds can be very costly. Many of them are MIDI compatible though, so you can use the hard keyboard as a controller and have the built in sounds as a backup for when your computer or software craps out.

You mentioned that your keyboard player is classically trained, which adds an extra variable. They might want a fully weighted, piano feeling keyboard. Lower end to mid range digital pianos with fully weighted keys tend to be less commonly MIDI compatible than hard synthesizers in comparable price ranges.

Hard synths and many workstations tend to have synth style keys, which many classically trained pianists dislike since it isn't what they are used to. Though your keyboardist might be perfectly fine with synth action keys.
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Last edited by theogonia777 at Dec 15, 2015,
#5
Nope, I mean either make patches yourself, then download it to your keyboard. Or you plug your keyboard to a digital synth and play the patch with the keyboard plugged into the computer during the gig.

Yes, crashes are a huge deal actually. But latency isn't much of an issue if you use an ASIO driver. I've done a live set-up before (not for me), but I actually loaded the patch onto the keyboard for that one (some keyboards can't do this).
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Dec 15, 2015,
#6
Quote by GoldenGuitar
Yes, crashes are a huge deal actually. But latency isn't much of an issue if you use an ASIO driver. I've done a live set-up before (not for me), but I actually loaded the patch onto the keyboard for that one (some keyboards can't do this).


Fair enough. A lot of times people that have never dealt with that sort of thing in a real situation and suggest it without having any ideas about the potential for stuff to not work. Just had to make sure, especially since people should always know about the cons of doing that sort of things. There are a lot and so for many people it's really not worth it.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Dec 15, 2015,
#7
So you recommend using a MIDI compatible keyboard, link it with a laptop that has virtual instruments on it? Any good website to start from to browse through (free) sound samples?
-> no way to simply download those virtual instruments and get it on your keyboard?

Synth style keys is just fine by the way!

ALso, we would also like to play a recorded voice sample during one of our intro's...Best way of doing that?
#8
Quote by CrimsonSea
So you recommend using a MIDI compatible keyboard, link it with a laptop that has virtual instruments on it? Any good website to start from to browse through (free) sound samples?
-> no way to simply download those virtual instruments and get it on your keyboard?

Uh no, I wish it was that easy, but no. If there's a specific non standard sound you want, you'll need to make it yourself. For free stuff, I guess you could make an account with Native Instruments and get their bunch of free samples for Kontakt 5 and the Kontakt 5 player? Then hook it up to a DAW as a VST plugin. Then get ASIO4ALL or something and use it as the output to take care any latency problems. You'll also definitely need a contingency plan for if your computer crashes.

Quote by CrimsonSea

ALso, we would also like to play a recorded voice sample during one of our intro's...Best way of doing that?

You could probably just load the sample onto one of the lowest or highest keys in a patch and just press it when you need to, but you need the full version of Kontakt for this. Another way is to just play it straight from the DAW. I usually just use the 'live' mode in Abelton for this.
#9
if you have a mac the way to go is a cheap controller you like the feel of with MainStage (30 dollar program...tons of sounds and you can use 3rd party sounds).
If not, the way to go is a cheap controller you like the feel of with ableton live.

ALso, we would also like to play a recorded voice sample during one of our intro's...Best way of doing that?


Find the patch you are using in whatever DAW you are using...program the sample you want to be mapped to a very high or low key on your keyboard within the patch (one that you won't be using to actually play the song). Hit said key when you want the sample.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
Last edited by tehREALcaptain at Dec 16, 2015,
#10
>cheap controller
>like the feel

From experience, that's pretty difficult, since most cheap controllers feel pretty awful and things like velocity sensitivity tend to be useless on them. Limited numbers of sliders and knobs and stuff can also be a problem, since those are essential for making real time tweaks to parameters, which can be very important with synth. What good is a saw when you can't manually adjust the LPF filter cutoff and resonance and LFO speed and depth 8n real time?

Though I suppose it depends on your definition of cheap.
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#11
Find the presets on your keyboard that are called "Saw" and "Square." They are the best ones. In Phoenix - 1901 it is a Saw wave.
#12
Quote by Declan87
Find the presets on your keyboard that are called "Saw" and "Square." They are the best ones. In Phoenix - 1901 it is a Saw wave.


The saw and square sounds on most non-synth, sample based keyboards is pretty mediocre. Also the lack of ADSR envelope, portamento, filter, LFO, etc (ie the things that actually makes a synth sound like a proper synth) severely limits what can be done.
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#13
Ok , thanks guys!!

I have MUCH to learn within this subject apparently =)

I'm going to start from this thread and look online for more answers and practical info/guides!
#14
Synthesizer is a whole universe of sound. A basic synth, soft or hard, is more tweakable than your whole pedal board.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#15
Theogonia pretty much sums it up well. I still have my original Korg Poly 60, one of the first synths with a memory. Before that I had an Arp Odyssey that had no memory. You created a sound and used it but once you turned off the Arp that sound was gone unless you were extremely careful and didn't move any of the sliders or switches (there were more than 50 on the original Arp Odyssey's).
As far as the original question by the OP, I would just get the most versatile keyboard I could afford and work with it. Definately look for a used keyboard. There are lots of people who buy keyboards and never learn to play them. I recently picked up a fairly nice Yamaha 76 key YPG 235 with fairly decent sounds for $75 at a garage sale with a stand and sustain pedal. I see stuff like this often. The actual synth sounds are fairly basic by themselves but you can create a layered patch in the keyboard and get a lot of unusual sounds. Very easy to do.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Dec 20, 2015,