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Some noob questions... Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 25th December 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Some noob questions...

Please bear with me, am very new to the tech side of things...

1). If I get a Roland Gaia and later decide I want more keys than it has (37), can I control it with a MIDI keyboard with more octaves?

2). When you record a hardware synth, is it like a 'live' instrument as in if you mess up a take, you have to play it again, or does it go in as MIDI information which can be freely manipulated by the computer?

3). What is the best MIDI controller to control software/freeware synths with - and even with the best controller money can buy, will using a softsynth be as user-friendly as a hardware synth with lots of knobs?

4). Is the Roland Gaia interface too complicated for use as a first synth (hardware or software)?

5). Will it be versatile enough for electro-pop?

Thanks in advance for replies... and Merry Christmas!!
Old 25th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Simonator's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
Please bear with me



Grrrrr


Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
1). If I get a Roland Gaia and later decide I want more keys than it has (37), can I control it with a MIDI keyboard with more octaves?
Yep



Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
2). When you record a hardware synth, is it like a 'live' instrument as in if you mess up a take, you have to play it again, or does it go in as MIDI information which can be freely manipulated by the computer?
Your choice; you can either record the audio as a performance, which will then be 'set in stone' so to speak... or, you can record the midi (which is editable, and that will continue to trigger the synth ever time you play it back.

So ordinarily, people will record the midi... tidy it up. when you are happy that it is what you want > record it as audio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
3). What is the best MIDI controller to control software/freeware synths with
Depends on individual needs.

Novation make some pretty deep controllers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
and even with the best controller money can buy, will using a softsynth be as user-friendly as a hardware synth with lots of knobs?
Many people would argue that softsynths are 'more user friendly' to begin with; no messing around wiring up audio cables, instant recall of your patches in every project, automation of everything, unlimited instances etc etc etc.

Again, depends on the individual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
4). Is the Roland Gaia interface too complicated for use as a first synth (hardware or software)?

5). Will it be versatile enough for electro-pop?
I don't know this synth so well... but my impression (could be wrong) is that it is essentially a softsynth in a custom box... ie, it runs off a CPU, and does not really have any overwhelmingly awesome features which set it aside from anything else (like you might argue the V-synth does.).

Now this might be exactly what you need if you are a keyboard player in a wedding & bah-mitzvah band... but if you are not (and you just want this for studio work), I'd suggest that you might be better off just using softsynths... because they can probably sound every bit as good as this, and will likely be easier to use.

I'd suggest that for electro-pop, you look at the following softsynths (in descending order of relevance:

DCAM synth squad
Uhe ACE
Xils-3 LE

...the last 2 of these are stooopid-cheap, and DCAM is actually 3 distinctly different synths with a HUGE palette of incredible sounds.

If you want to spend some money on hardware, get yourself an analogue synth (though everyone in this forum will tell you this as we are analogue junkies!!).

Look into a second hand Juno 106, or a Dave Smith Prophet '08/Tetra.



Merry Christmas!!
Old 25th December 2010
  #3
1. Yes

2. Yes. You can do both if you want.

3. iPad w/TouchOSC. Generally hardware is more enjoyable to interact with.

4. I don't think so. Should be great for a first synth.

5. Yep.


.
Old 25th December 2010
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
2). When you record a hardware synth, is it like a 'live' instrument as in if you mess up a take, you have to play it again, or does it go in as MIDI information which can be freely manipulated by the computer?
Either way.
Quote:
3). What is the best MIDI controller to control software/freeware synths with
There is none, because it depends on what you need. Weighted keyboards feel great for several applications, but aren't that great for quick arpeggio lines - and they generally lack sliders/knobs. Keyboards with sliders and knobs may have keys that feel cheap.

No controller is specifically built for a softsynth unless you buy the Analog factory thingy, and even then, any controller with the same amount of knobs would probably do just as well of a job as that.

Quote:
- and even with the best controller money can buy, will using a softsynth be as user-friendly as a hardware synth with lots of knobs?
Only for specific hardware synthesizers (those who didn't have a proper interface to begin with).

Not all synths are created equal. Most romplers (sample-playback synths) have an interface that isn't exactly awesome; lots of diving in menus, adjusting values with plus/minus buttons or the data wheel). The synths that are generally praised for their interface are the analogs that have one slider/one knob per function (or as few functions as possible put away in a menu).

Sounddesign on an Alpha Juno without its programmer is like painting your hallway through the letterbox - you set it into edit mode, use the data wheel to adjust a parameter, escape the "adjust parameter" mode, select an other parameter, and you repeat this until you have something you want to hear - which means that you're pushing a lot of buttons and turning that wheel a lot of times. You can't adjust groups of parameters, and you can't quickly grab and shape envelopes.

Quote:
4). Is the Roland Gaia interface too complicated for use as a first synth (hardware or software)?
I can't think of anything simpler of that kind to use, really.

Quote:
5). Will it be versatile enough for electro-pop?
I don't see why not.
Old 26th December 2010
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Cheers for responses I could well be going with the Gaia in the end.

Someone mentioned that the Gaia was basically a softsynth in a box as it runs off a cpu... I'm a bit confused, aren't ALL virtual analog hardware synths essentially softsynths in hardware boxes in that they run off cpu's? Or is the Gaia unique in this regard?
Old 26th December 2010
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Funk Fiction's Avatar
 

The Gaia is just really decent. Just a conservative synth that has a lot of common sounds that work well enough, but the ability to tweak the sound more expressively or just a bolder sound engine in general is what it lacks. If you want a really good first synth that you'd mainly use for basses and leads and if you're like a lot of us analog heads, then the minimoog model d would be a superb 'first synth', especially if you can find one with a midi retrofit. The nord leads, alesis ion, or a virus are all great because they're virtual analogs that sound good and are pretty intuitive to program and fun (plus they sound great!).

As for your other questions, everyone's already addressed them well.
Old 26th December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Simonator's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
Someone mentioned that the Gaia was basically a softsynth in a box as it runs off a cpu
Well, I'm probably stretching the truth here with my ill-informed personal opinion.... but this is how I see it.

As I said, it does have the advantage of being custom designed & having ROCK SOLID stability... so if you want it for gigging weddings etc, this would be great.

If however, you want it for studio use, I believe that you'll get every bit as good, and possibly even better SOUND from softsynths in your DAW.

Here is a demo of the awesome DCAM synth squad:
http://www.electric-himalaya.com/dem...age_Analog.mp3
Does the Gaia sound as good as this? I honestly don't know, but I doubt it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
I'm a bit confused, aren't ALL virtual analog hardware synths essentially softsynths in hardware boxes in that they run off cpu's?]
... In my opinion, yes they are... that's why I wouldn't spend my money on a VA (some possible exclusions that are awesome in their own right such as Access Virus/Clavia Nord Lead).


My advice (and this is just my opinion.) is that (unless you need a solid gigging keyboard right now) you'd be better off tiding yourself over with softsynths & saving up some extra cash to buy a real analogue.
Old 26th December 2010
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funk Fiction View Post
If you want a really good first synth that you'd mainly use for basses and leads and if you're like a lot of us analog heads, then the minimoog model d would be a superb 'first synth', especially if you can find one with a midi retrofit.
If he's looking at a Gaia there's no way there'll be a budget for a Mini, and it'll cost you extra to integrate - and not to mention any repairs costs because the previous owner glossed over any flaws, so I'd not recommend that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
Someone mentioned that the Gaia was basically a softsynth in a box as it runs off a cpu... I'm a bit confused, aren't ALL virtual analog hardware synths essentially softsynths in hardware boxes in that they run off cpu's?
Congratulations on realizing something some people choose to ignore. Yes, that's very much true, and you're mostly paying for the box around it and the dedicated interface, not so much the softsynth itself.
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