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
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.