Jamstik Studio first impression...

Started by admin_shawnb, March 27, 2024, 07:18:59 PM

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admin_shawnb

Very late to this...  I am in LA housesitting for my nephew, who composes & performs movie soundtracks.

This is all last minute, shortly after I got here he flew out to deal with family stuff.  So, with no introduction, I'm surrounded by fun tools, like a gorgeous Les Paul...

His first love was guitar, and he wanted to see if he could use midi guitar in composition.  He owns a Jamstik, which I am now playing thru my Android phone.

I can definitely see the appeal.  Although the latency is noticeable, it is slight, and importantly, very consistent, even on the low strings.

Glitches and mistriggers are rare, and when they happen, they are muted and quiet.  No mousie death squeals.

All the features you'd normally want, plus MPE.  E.g., it uses MPE "expression" to send more accurate guitar note decay info.  It's not just velocity & note on/off.

It's a completely different experience than Roland/Boss or even the FTP. 

The net result is very usable.  Even thru my cheapie android.
 

chrish

Is the guitar build quality good or does it feel cheap and sound when used as an electric guitar only?

Elantric


Elantric

#3
Quote from: chrish on March 28, 2024, 07:31:06 AMIs the guitar build quality good or does it feel cheap and sound when used as an electric guitar only?


If it's the Jamstik Studio- the guitar is based on the Alp LEAF 100 travel guitar



https://en.alpguitars.com/html/leaf/leaf100/2377.html


https://en.alpguitars.com/

admin_shawnb

#4
This is a Jamstik Studio.  (Like in the thread title!  ;D )

As a guitar, the pickups are ok, they function.  Good variability with a 3-way switch and the coil tap function.

I really like the maple neck & rosewood fretboard.

It doesn't LOOK like it, but it's a full 25.5" neck.  Something about the body size & lack of a head just makes it look smaller.  24 frets!

It FEELS cheap because it's so light, but it's a decent guitar with nice features.

Oddly, this particular one had terrible action - the truss rod was loose,  which caused issues with the endpiece...  Easily fixed but yikes...

I think this review is very fair (despite the clickbait headline):
https://musictech.com/reviews/controllers/jamstik-studio-creator-best-midi-guitar/

This very thorough video demonstrates all pickup combos, with coil tap on & off.  Lots of decent midi demos throughout:

The video reviewer also notes minor build issues. 


admin_shawnb

Yes, it's definitely the Alp LEAF.

chrish

Hmmm. Might make a good road trip guitar along with a laptop running a poly Moog modular. :)

admin_shawnb

#7
Learned a lot more about its MPE implementation watching it on a midi monitor...

For the most part, MPE here translates to MIDI mono mode 4.  They are emphasizing each string has its own channel, notes, & pitch wheel.

The only real difference, as far as I can tell, is that you can choose to have the "string envelope" - which represents the current volume level of the string over time - sent continuously also.  You can choose which midi message to use, any CC or Channel Pressure messages.

Seems minor, but it's very refreshing to have the midi notes decay naturally, mapped to the physical string decay.

As I said earlier, a different experience.  Very natural feeling.   The sound more closely matches what you can feel with your hands on the guitar.

Now I really wish Boss/Roland had this...  In hindsight, a gap.

Note that of course you can also map that to modulation, or filter cutoff, or Q, etc.

Online description:
https://support.jamstik.com/hc/en-us/articles/360061090831-MPE-Explained-What-You-Should-Know-About-MPE-the-Jamstik-MIDI-Guitars

Manual, pg 10:
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0348/1157/files/Jamstik_MIDI_Guitar_Manual.pdf?v=1689877602

Elantric

#8
Quote from: admin_shawnb on March 28, 2024, 11:47:00 AMLearned a lot more about its MPE implementation watching it on a midi monitor...

For the most part, MPE here translates to MIDI mono mode 4.  They are emphasizing each string has its own channel, notes, & pitch wheel.

The only real difference, as far as I can tell, is that you can choose to have the "string envelope" - which represents the current volume level of the string over time - sent continuously also.  You can choose which midi message to use, any CC or Channel Pressure messages.

Seems minor, but it's very refreshing to have the midi notes decay naturally, mapped to the physical string decay.

As I said earlier, a different experience.  Very natural feeling.   The sound more closely matches what you can feel with your hands on the guitar.

Now I really wish Boss/Roland had this...  In hindsight, a gap.

Note that of course you can also map that to modulation, or filter cutoff, or Q, etc.

Online description:
https://support.jamstik.com/hc/en-us/articles/360061090831-MPE-Explained-What-You-Should-Know-About-MPE-the-Jamstik-MIDI-Guitars

Manual, pg 10:
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0348/1157/files/Jamstik_MIDI_Guitar_Manual.pdf?v=1689877602

^^^
This is perhaps the best knowledge post about the Jamstik MIDI STUDIO features Ive ever read. ( Ive forwarded to Boss)

IMH1234

Quote from: admin_shawnb on March 28, 2024, 11:47:00 AMThe only real difference, as far as I can tell, is that you can choose to have the "string envelope" - which represents the current volume level of the string over time - sent continuously also.  You can choose which midi message to use, any CC or Channel Pressure messages.

Seems minor, but it's very refreshing to have the midi notes decay naturally, mapped to the physical string decay.

This is a massive thing - the range of expression it would open up as a modulation source on the Roland devices would be amazing.

Elantric

#10
Some Roland /Boss devices can use guitar input level as a Controller Assignment  Source.

IMH1234

Quote from: Elantric on March 28, 2024, 03:13:32 PMSome Roland /Boss devices can use guitar input level as a Controller Assignment  Source.

However, (and correct me if I am wrong here - don't have manuals to hand right now) this is just a monophonic envelope follower - not per string modulation control

admin_shawnb

#12
I'm not sure there is a continuous envelope follower in the Boss/Roland world at all?

Lots of string triggers.  Velocity triggered effects.  But nothing I recall that follows string decay real time.   

Snapshots, yes.  Continuous, no...

Maybe I missed it?

Where?

It's really nice to strum & hold a chord & have it fade away properly.... Not like a series of on/off switches.

admin_shawnb

Totally off topic, but since my nephew scores (mostly horror) movies, there are lots of cool synths and sound processors...

Something called a Polybrute...
https://www.arturia.com/products/hardware-synths/polybrute/overview

Also this, which interestingly has an audio input...  We may need a board here for this high tech audio processor:
You cannot view this attachment.

https://www.leaf-audio.com/diy-machines/microphonic-soundbox/

I have no idea how to approach this synth:
You cannot view this attachment.

pasha811

Very good Jamstick and very nice looking.
I am experiencing MPE as an user of Midi Guitar 3 and it is really different as you can map different aspects of your performance to MPE parameters and envelopes. Have you got MG3 to compare with?

Listen to my music at :  http://alonetone.com/pasha/

admin_shawnb

I've never tried MG - any version.

Maybe I'll take a peek...

pasha811

Quote from: admin_shawnb on March 31, 2024, 08:04:14 AMI've never tried MG - any version.

Maybe I'll take a peek...

I can recommend those videos :


Listen to my music at :  http://alonetone.com/pasha/

admin_shawnb

It's fun looking at the gear on the shelves behind him...  I see a VG-99, a GR-55, an original Softstep...  What else???

Elantric


chrish

#19
Quote from: admin_shawnb on March 29, 2024, 05:56:40 PMI have no idea how to approach this synth:
You cannot view this attachment.

I asked on another forum what those synths are.The manuals may help you get some sounds out of them.


"Make Noise 0-CTRL, 0-Coast, and Strega from the bottom up. Manuals here:"

https://www.makenoisemusic.com/


https://youtu.be/ncUoXp0JiaM?list=PL0jGFC0FWQsgMbNUwVrrT0mvknnEt3rsB

At around :058 in the video shows a basic patch.


IMH1234

This set of Make Noise synths tends to favour traditional forms of experimental Electronic music (i.e. as developed in the 1950s and 60s by people like Morton Subotnic) so favour creation of noise and random sounds over melody. Great for soundtracks and soundscapes - not so much for conventional melodic playing. A good overview from Sarah Belle Reid:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psHGtkvSNwE&t=1804s

IMH1234

Also, this stuff does not use midi so to bring the topic back to the Jamstik - if you did want to use a guitar to midi controller for this sort of synth it would need additional interfaces to convert midi to Eurorack CV levels

pasha811

Quote from: IMH1234 on April 01, 2024, 12:18:34 AMAlso, this stuff does not use midi so to bring the topic back to the Jamstik - if you did want to use a guitar to midi controller for this sort of synth it would need additional interfaces to convert midi to Eurorack CV levels

.. and if you wanna get crazy... try this : https://vcvrack.com/Rack (free version available) a Virtual EuroRack for you!
Listen to my music at :  http://alonetone.com/pasha/

pasha811

#23
Quote from: admin_shawnb on March 31, 2024, 10:19:28 AMIt's fun looking at the gear on the shelves behind him...  I see a VG-99, a GR-55, an original Softstep...  What else???

He made a video about using GP10 and MG2 check on his channel. They way he plays and uses technology is fantastic. Very useful videos about how breath controller changes timbre.. a lot of money to invest... but very informative and useful, especially now admin owns a Jamstick BC can be used together with the guitar!
Listen to my music at :  http://alonetone.com/pasha/

chrish

Quote from: IMH1234 on April 01, 2024, 12:18:34 AMAlso, this stuff does not use midi so to bring the topic back to the Jamstik - if you did want to use a guitar to midi controller for this sort of synth it would need additional interfaces to convert midi to Eurorack CV levels
the video you posted mentioned that the Strega has an input to tie in external audio for further processing.

 Often I will run Guitar GK hex  to GR50 midi out to a synth for melodic music while also using an audio input on a euro or synth module to add noise textures.

I'm into deconstructing some of the jazz fusion tunes that I learned for our hobby gig band way back when, and adding a Wall if Noise to them.

So the Jamstick midi out to midi synth and guitar mag pups and/or that synth sound to audio input of Strega.

Here's guitar to Strega.

https://youtu.be/L8yfcVGgBso?si=-xXpSG9gmKiPJ13U