It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Somewhere to chat about MIDI music creation, sequencers and related hardware

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Mindthreat
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It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:07 pm

Within the last few years, I've been missing something from my life along with several other aspects and wanted to rectify that - this one specifically being music/instrument related. I've always loved playing around on the Piano and love synths and obviously the Atari computers. At one point had not only an ST but also several Falcons but at the time, also had a Roland Phantom Workstation and no real need or desire to try and run a MIDI setup. That was in like 2003. I sold off most of all my gear shortly after for financial/relationship reasons, including my Roland, which I always kind of missed. I could never play quite as well as my cousin (he can play a ton of Scott Joplin basically blind folded) and I could play maybe the intros/outros of said songs, never quite grasping the rest of them. But, I've set out to change that.

As of last year, I decided to pick up an older used (obviously, it's from 1987 lol) Roland S50 Digital Sampling Workstation and a Roland VS880EX (which kind of reminded me of an expanded capable Falcon actually for what it does). The S50 has a 3.5" 720k floppy it loads sounds from, so charming in its own way with it's RGB monitor output to display the keys and other being depressed onscreen. Then planned to just learn a little bit with it. Quickly learned that the sounds aren't the greatest and the outputs are basically trash BUT it would become a great MIDI controller. Only, what am I going to control and how? Naturally my head started spinning with wanting a Falcon again (still do) and dive into learning about external rack mount synthesizers.

...fast forward a few months...

I stumble into a local music center and for the first time ever, accepted that the older ways of external synths may truly be a thing of the past. I was met with a Native Instruments Maschine2. What a blast to play around with. The price for the unit and incredible software is only $599 - I doubt I could obtain even a Falcon by itself for that little. It's hard for someone like me (a purist, true to real hardware over emulation any day) could come to accept the terms of emulating said sounds through an Apple computer (or PC) and using this little external box to manipulate and just create a kind of mind fuckery kind of tune in little to no time with very little investment. It's so much fun. I was basically set to just use the S50 as a MIDI controller in conjunction with that. Only, I needed to wait.

... while waiting ...

I have one too many hobbies and a laundry list of things I would love but real life first, as always. Figured sometime early next year would be a good time to get the Maschine Mk.2 - but I made the mistake into reading all about the Roland JV synths again and then furthered said mistake by looking on eBay. I've always been a fan of the idea of getting a JV1080 just because I know that was one of the key components in making the Tempest 2000 soundtrack for the Jaguar, which I loved so much. So I had originally set out to get one of those - figured for a few hundred bucks, it would be a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy some nice tunes. Only I learned that the 2080 was ultimately the better way to go (3eFX instead of 1 and 8 banks for sounds instead of 4). I found, bid and won a Roland 2080 for a little over $200 with 4 cards included (Sound FX, Orchestral II, Techno and Vocal). Could be wrong, but for a really nice unit with the extras seemed like an amazing deal.

This was of last week. I've pulled the S50 out to dust off :wink: and setup again in preparation for its new friend, who is still on its way via FedEx.

So, why not both? I'll still most definitely be getting a Maschine2 next year but figured this would tide me over for a little while until I can get both that and some sort of Atari MIDI setup so I can actually lay down something worthwhile and fun sounding. I guess my post is to share more along the lines with like-minded Atari users and to see what their take is on all the music setup and synths and why everyone has stuck around with the Atari/MIDI or why you may or have already taken the jump to software synth emulation like that of the Native Instruments Maschine I'm speaking of.

Sadly, I've already been looking into a few more rack-related synths because it just seems like fun - like the EMU Orbit and Xtreme Lead XL1 sounds amazing. Then there's the Triton Korg which is up in the air but most likely will end up with as well. Anyways, I'm now playing the entire Halloween theme song, bits and pieces of Beverly Hills Cop Axel F and have the very short X-Files theme down.
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby dhedberg » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:31 pm

Thanks for sharing your story.

First let me say that I'm not really into making music, but I have a friend that is! :-)
He has a ton of synthesizers and other equipment and the one thing he value the most is the Maschine from NI. He bought it when it was first released and it was the only thing he talked about for a week or two and he still loves it. He would probably tell you that you can't go wrong with the Maschine! Get it! :-)
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:40 am

dhedberg wrote:Thanks for sharing your story.

First let me say that I'm not really into making music, but I have a friend that is! :-)
He has a ton of synthesizers and other equipment and the one thing he value the most is the Maschine from NI. He bought it when it was first released and it was the only thing he talked about for a week or two and he still loves it. He would probably tell you that you can't go wrong with the Maschine! Get it! :-)


Thanks for the comment. Does he mention what kind of MIDI controller he interfaces with and is it on an Apple? I'm wondering if I can't emulate the Falcon on my Win10 machine and connect it to the 2080 that way but that may be a bad thing because then I may not actually buy another Falcon, though it's what I want at some point :)

but yeah, definitely getting a Maschine! :D :cheers:
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby 607 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:27 pm

Nice and interesting story, thanks for sharing! :)

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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:14 pm

I can't quite express the sheer enjoyment of receiving this beautiful synth yesterday and hearing the demo patterns play. Oh... it sounds amazing - some almost 20-year old tech or not! Unfortunately, that's all I can do until some new MIDI cables arrive but going through all the sounds and expansion board sounds and I'm just overwhelmed with what could be possible with this thing and I love it! Realizing I'm definitely going to want/need an Atari ST sooner than later so I can do something on a realistic level but until then, just play around with some sounds and lay down some ideas.

I feel like a kid and it's got me all giddy-like!
The 2080 itself:
1.jpg

The S50 as a MIDI controller:
2.jpg


My invisible Atari ST:













;)
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:37 pm

I've finally received my Radio Shack MIDI cables (which sadly weren't actually available at Radio Shack as they're mostly a cell phone store now) and was able to have a little bit of fun exploring all the sounds and eFX for nothing short of 5 or so hours.

d50s.jpg


And to record/mix to this nice little device when I have more time:

es880.jpg


Really have missed this kind of thing!
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Miguel » Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:34 pm

What I like about hardware is that it doesn't matter if it has long since been discontinued because it's functionality is not dependent upon the operating system of a computer, I can drive my 1980's hardware with a computer from the 80's or a more modern machine and I don't have to constantly pay to maintain that functionality....or find a replacement because it's been discontinued, I can look over at my hardware and say "I got that covered" whereas you never know with software.

Now regarding MIDI cables...most of the cables sold as MIDI cables today have all the pins wired up whereas back in the day companies like Roland made proper MIDI cables with only three of the five pins wired up which is kind of recommended for use with an Atari ST on account of the fact that the MIDI out socket on the Atari ST is non-standard, you see it uses the other pins to incorporate a MIDI thru which can be split with Y cable so that you have both MIDI out and MIDI thru.

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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:53 am

Interesting to know Miguel, I didn't realize that was the case with the ST and MIDI, thanks for the heads up.

...and I've been acquiring goodies but simply haven't had the time to do anything with it yet with all of the holidays. Picked up an Alesis Midiverb4 for silly cheap and then stumbled upon an EMU Xtreme Lead for also silly cheap, which is now on it's way to me in the mail! :D

midiverb.jpg

xl1.jpg


I'm going to have to buy a proper rack since I now have a laundry list of things to get so I can finally toy with and I'm guessing a new STe is in order since I don't think I can really afford either a Falcon or CLab at this very moment.
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Miguel » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:33 pm

Yeah I made a little plug out of a centronics shell I took off an old printer cable that takes a MIDI in and splits the MIDI out and MIDI thru, I used the shell on the other end of the cable to make one of those basic MIDI out from the modem cables that uses the C-Lab Export driver....the Export was only good on one port anyway and the cable was easy to make and cost me next to nothing.....a good option if you pick up an Atari ST and need an extra MIDI output.

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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:45 am

Thanks again for the tip Miguel. I'll have to see what I'll need and mess around with it when I get whatever it is I eventually end up getting Atari-wise to control these monsters. In the meantime I'm just having fun playing around on the 2080 :D

My current mess of a setup and still waiting for the XL1:

junk.jpg
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:22 pm

Does anyone have any experience/feedback in regards to an Alesis ADAT HD24? I most likely think that is probably overkill for what I'm trying to do, which is mostly just have fun and being capable of laying down something solid and recording it. The problem I'm quickly realizing with the 880EX is that it's really only a 4-track stereo recorder - which I suppose isn't a problem if I only have the 3-4 synths connected.

Also any mixing suggestions in general or should all this just be done using the Roland 880 workstation or Alesis HD24 should I end up getting one?
"To create the future, you must first embrace the past." - http://cerka.weebly.com

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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:43 am

I've picked up all these toys but have been too busy to even touch them really :(

Did manage to get a few hours in tonight and laid out some groundwork on some ambient tuneage that I ended up liking... :) would like to hear feedback. Any idea where my influence comes from?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMmMMsk ... e=youtu.be
toys.jpg
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Re: It's only taken my entire life, but one way or another...

Postby Mindthreat » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:59 pm

Well, I feel like my STe/Falcon/C-Lab dream is dead. At least in the sense that it's no longer of any real urgency and probably makes really zero sense at this point both financially and from a usability standpoint - though I'm still interested in possibly picking one up for the experience itself.

NI just released an update for their Maschine software that now allows you to control all external synths and considering I can get the Maschine MKII for just a little more than an STe, it doesn't make sense. :-/
"To create the future, you must first embrace the past." - http://cerka.weebly.com


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