Most trouble-free solution (tracking-wise) for guitar synth?

Started by fommof, February 13, 2024, 03:45:57 AM

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fommof

Hi, I am looking for the most trouble-free/best tracking solution for guitar synth.

I've owned the GK3/GR20 twice in my life, I've dealt with several tracking issues (and glitches, dying mice sounds and the such), spent a lot of time setting the GK3 on four different guitars with different setups. I did some recordings but on one hand it was just a PITA, on the other I came across so many limitations, I had to take a different approach (by recording multiple tracks with less dense playing etc).

Truth to be told, I need a guitar synth system for my recordings (pianos, violins, french horns etc) and if I knew or at least were comforable playing the piano, I would have gone the piano midi controller route and I would be just fine. But that's not the case here.

So, after a few years of not having a synth guitar system, I bought the GK5/GM800 combo. Better tracking than the GK3/GR20 combo for sure, but still far from being trouble-free for me. I installed and tested it with the GK5 installed on 3 different guitars, tried different setups, string gauges etc.

I need something better than this.

At first I searched for non pitch-to-MIDI solutions like Instrument 1. It's not available anywhere in the EU (out of stock) and I doubt I could use it with the GM800. Checked the Ztar, not available, expensive (I found one locally for 700eur) and again I am not sure if I would be able to use it with the GM800.

Then I started looking for solutions like Graphtech Ghost pickups + Hexpander, hoping that this pitch-to-MIDI solution might be better than the hec pickups. Good thing is that they have saddles for narrow spacing guitars (like my Fender MIJ/CIJ Stratocasters).

So, what's your experience?

Any suggestions?

 
Thanks in advance,

Nick

Tosh

Firstly, I play bass guitar, which is perhaps the worst choice for a guitar synth. So my situation may not apply to yours. Nevertheless -

I have 2 basses that are useable with a synth. One has piezo saddles from RMC (Godin A4 Ultra SA).
The other has optical pickups (Willcox Lightwave Saber). AFAIK you can't buy the Lightwave pickups themselves; you must buy the guitar. Willcox does offer 6 string guitar w/Lightwave installed, and Godin has a couple of 6 string guitars but the new ones are not using RMC pickups.

I have 2 different synth systems setup for bass. One is a GI-20 pitch-to-MIDI converter, which is driving a PCM synthesizer (Roland XV-5050, Integra-7, etc.). The other is a Boss SY-1000 (which has no PCM, therefore no sampled sounds such as piano).

The best results are obtained with the Lightwave bass connected to the SY-1000. This system is almost flawless. No perceptible latency, near-perfect tracking. The Godin w/RMC saddles is a close second to the Willcox in performance.

The MIDI converter to PCM synth is - sometimes good, but for sounds such as piano (anything with a percussive attack) it doesn't cut it. The type of sounds that do work well are organ (without percussion, such as pipe organ) tuba, trombone, cello, double bass, flute (again no sharp attack).

So for me, I rarely use the pitch-to-MIDI setup because it is so finicky. I find the SY-1000 is the best system. I've never tried the GM-800, because it's basically another PTM->PCM setup, and with a bass, I doubt it would be better than what I already have.

If you are in the market for a new guitar, you might want to look at the Willcox Atlantis HexFX. Coupled to a GM-800 (using the A/D converter) it could be the best solution for PCM synthesis.


Elantric

Quote from: fommof on February 13, 2024, 03:45:57 AMHi, I am looking for the most trouble-free/best tracking solution for guitar synth.

I've owned the GK3/GR20 twice in my life, I've dealt with several tracking issues (and glitches, dying mice sounds and the such), spent a lot of time setting the GK3 on four different guitars with different setups. I did some recordings but on one hand it was just a PITA, on the other I came across so many limitations, I had to take a different approach (by recording multiple tracks with less dense playing etc).

Truth to be told, I need a guitar synth system for my recordings (pianos, violins, french horns etc) and if I knew or at least were comforable playing the piano, I would have gone the piano midi controller route and I would be just fine. But that's not the case here.

So, after a few years of not having a synth guitar system, I bought the GK5/GM800 combo. Better tracking than the GK3/GR20 combo for sure, but still far from being trouble-free for me. I installed and tested it with the GK5 installed on 3 different guitars, tried different setups, string gauges etc.

I need something better than this.

At first I searched for non pitch-to-MIDI solutions like Instrument 1. It's not available anywhere in the EU (out of stock) and I doubt I could use it with the GM800. Checked the Ztar, not available, expensive (I found one locally for 700eur) and again I am not sure if I would be able to use it with the GM800.

Then I started looking for solutions like Graphtech Ghost pickups + Hexpander, hoping that this pitch-to-MIDI solution might be better than the hec pickups. Good thing is that they have saddles for narrow spacing guitars (like my Fender MIJ/CIJ Stratocasters).

So, what's your experience?

Any suggestions?

 
Thanks in advance,

Nick
Fishman Tripleplay

fommof

Quote from: Elantric on February 13, 2024, 10:46:16 AMFishman Tripleplay

Thank you, is it possible to use it with the GM800 or will I have to depend on PC/software etc?

Also, which version the Connect or the Wireless?

Thanks in advance!

Elantric

Quote from: fommof on February 13, 2024, 11:06:41 AMThank you, is it possible to use it with the GM800 or will I have to depend on PC/software etc?

Also, which version the Connect or the Wireless?

Thanks in advance!

Use the Tripleplay version you prefer

Connect never needs recharging , but will be tied to a laptop

PC/Mac Soft Synths are dominate use with Tripleplay - requires a USB HOST  to 5 PIN MIDI ADAPTER  to drive MIDI HARDWARE SYNTHS .

Use a unit that supports MIDI MONO MODE4 ( ROLAND D-05)

admin_shawnb

Note that the GM-800 does not accept mono mode input:
https://www.vguitarforums.com/smf/index.php?topic=36024.0

So if mono mode is important to you, you do not want to drive the GM-800 via the FTP.

I find the GK => GM-800 to be more playable than the FTP => GM-800.  I think Roland has addressed a lot of issues found in other recent units. 

The FTP has a clear edge in terms of latency - of a few ms.  The difference in latency is barely perceptible, though. 

But I also think the tracking & dynamics of the GM-800 meet or exceed the FTP.  I simply find it more playable...

gearhound22

I find what can help a lot is if you have a unit that can do splits is to shut off any frets or strings you aren't using.

Also a fret split higher up sending no notes out seems to tame some of the harmonic/muted string nonsense.

Axon user but I think it can work with the FTP too.

gumtown

Quote from: gearhound22 on February 15, 2024, 01:05:08 PMI find what can help a lot is if you have a unit that can do splits is to shut off any frets or strings you aren't using.

Also a fret split higher up sending no notes out seems to tame some of the harmonic/muted string nonsense.

Axon user but I think it can work with the FTP too.
You can do that to a certain degree on the GM-800 too, set the fret range for each voice (per patch).
I have a patch on the GM-800 (and on the SY-1000 too) where a voice is active on one fret only.
Free "GR-55 FloorBoard" editor software from https://sourceforge.net/projects/grfloorboard/

gearhound22

Quote from: gumtown on February 15, 2024, 01:14:00 PMYou can do that to a certain degree on the GM-800 too, set the fret range for each voice (per patch).
I have a patch on the GM-800 (and on the SY-1000 too) where a voice is active on one fret only.

I hope they do a gk5 to general midi out interface with no sounds at some point.