MC-303 Japanese megashitcorp analog digital techno Aphex Cakewalk blah s

From chad_gould
Sent Tue, Nov 4th 1997, 17:05

Some points to the messages on all these subjects, all in one big gulp
for saved (!) bandwith.

1) I'm inclined to agree that Roland's kind of loosing their "edge". Odd
to see, since I'm a Roland keyboard fan - up to and including the D-50.
But after that, it's REAL hit and miss. 

Roland's old stuff still rules the dance community... but the new stuff
has some slap-in-the-face type of "features" that annoy me. MC-303's
extreme limitations, for instance - MIDI control, outputs, and
user-defined-patch control are very lacking. The JP-8000 is the only
$1300 new synth I know of with only two MIDI jacks (In and Out - no Thru
- as I can remember...). These are both geared for the dance community,
and IMHO these cheap "cost-cutters" indicate that Roland clearly thinks
the dance community is the only place these "virtual analogs" are
used... and it is NOT a professional one. I can see only two MIDI jacks
on a cheap MS-1... Or a $200 Boss dr machine... but on a $1300 JP-8000?

This is pure B.S. A successful techno band may very well be recording in
an actual professional situation. The cheap tooling and cost-cutting
Roland has been doing, even on some of their BIG performance synths,
makes Roland look less professional in a studio environment. With their
"dance" synths, their lack of respect for the dance community's
professionalism is painfully obvious.

The two OTHER big Japanese synth megacorps are doing their part to
produce more than just simply crappy GM boxes. I've been a bit more
impressed lately with them. Yamaha is focusing on cheap, but quite
usable synths lately (their knobby budget sampler which admittedly
impressed me as being very easy to use; their CS1X and AN1X, both which
are cheap and usable performance synths) - sounds like Roland 15 years
ago! Korg has their Oasys trickle-down products (Prophecy and Z1), both
of which are nice synths for dedicated hard-core programmers (and have a
performance appeal). If Roland continues its trend, Korg and Yamaha are
going to leap ahead of Roland in a big way IMHO.

Nevertheless, the small companies impress me more. Serge and Doepfer
have expensive but very nice products for modular folks and for those
folks that simply want some analog styling. Clavia's Nord Modular seems
to be yet another innovation from the company that pretty much forced
the Japanese megacorps to actually admit that there was a market for
analogish sounds (like it or not, the Nord Lead did that. (: ). Novation
started the analog monosynth market again and is continuing to improve.
Studio Electronics have some nice products, albeit they are expensive.
(The SE-1 is a pretty killer monosynth, though) And Waldorf's product
line is incredible. After the Microwave / Wave (one of the few machines
that I think can do BOTH good analog sounds AND good digital sounds),
they brought the Pulse out... which the archives tell the praise. (: And
there's tons more. Korg and Kawai aside, THIS is where most of the REAL
cool instruments are happening. It wouldn't surprise me if some of these
companies do become "big" in the next 10 years. 

Does innovation matter? Perhaps. Crappy GM boxes may make up the
majority of the synth market - but crappy GM boxes don't sell well to
medium-large studios. I see a heck of a lot more Wavestations in
soundtrack studios than Soundcanvases. 

2) I know Aphex Twin claims all of this homemade gear usage, but,
really, I'm not entirely convinced. SAW II, for instance, is chock full
of Matrix 1000 PRESETS. Not even reprogrammed stuff. To Aphex Twin's
credit, however, he DOES seem to do a lot of synth effects processing,
custom sample looping, and some gear modding - something which many
electronic artists do not do. But all the stuff I've heard can be done
on bought equipment or programs - or just the gear tinkering a lot of
AHers do - fairly easily. It'd be an accomplishment if he didn't
constantly overstate his innovativeness. (: 

For example, to answer the "bouncing ball" sounds where beats turn into
audio frequencies... anyone who has ever touched Cool Edit can tell you
just how easy it is to repeatedly pitch-shift the sounds into audio
frequencies. MIDI devices CAN do FM sounds up to a point, CV devices
even better, but that IMHO is the hard way with drum beats. The easy way
is to custom-record your own amen break, take your Cool Edit or more
expensive equivilent, and pitch-shift the hell out of it. Throw the
sample into a sampler and hyperspeed-amen-break away. There's other VERY
neat things going on in his latest stuff (feedback loops, weird
processing, whatnot) that's hard to pick up or even replicate exactly.
But it's not necessarily something that's real DIFFICULT. Or requires
custom-hyper-processing-C-code-audio-muck-muck. At least from what I've
heard briefly. 

Then again, I'm the type of person that considers loading WIN.COM as an
audio file as not really difficult or even that innovative. (: 

3) Sorry, Alex, you're partially wrong. (: There is no way you can make
Orb tunes with just an MC-303. Orb uses several instruments and sample
loops/sounds that the MC-303 can't even come close to - period. Really,
you try and make a MC-303 sound like a Waldorf Wave. There's also a
Waldorf Pulse for sure on a few recent Orb tracks that the MC-303 will
not even be able to touch. Go on, try to make those sounds on an MC-303.
Watch me laugh. (: And probably several other instruments that I
wouldn't recognize since I don't own them. (: I'd ditto that for Orbital
and JMJ, just because some of the instruments used is beyond what the
MC-303 can do. 

Having said that, there IS a lot of surprisingly simple popular techno
that an MC-303 will suffice for. Whatever rocks your boat, I guess. Some
can be good, really. But a good portion of this dreck is
here's-a-303-squelch-and-a-MC-303-preset-rhythm-style. They had this
crap when techno was acidy, and just because the dreck is now at 140bpm+
doesn't excuse it from being dreck. (: But there is a lot of techno that
partially or completely uses analog devices. 

The fact that there is so much crap and it gets played so often IMHO
shows exactly how difficult of a style good electronic music actually
can be, contrary to popular belief. 

4) Cakewalk Pro 6 WILL record Juno 106 SYSEX. (Finally!) See your
manual. 

--
Chad Gould              |-X5/D50/DX27S/Juno106/TX16W/M1000/Pulse/DC2-|
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