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MIDI Guitar/G-Synths... Plugins vs. Roland/Terratec?
Old 14th February 2020
  #1
MIDI Guitar/G-Synths... Plugins vs. Roland/Terratec?

Hello fellow slutz,

I'll be blunt. I'm a sucker for the sound bands like Orgy were making back during the mid-2000s (the Vapor Transmission era). A core part of that sound was the Roland GK Guitar Synth system.

I have a very old, really out-of-use and in-need-of-repair guitar that's equipped with that system. I also have the 13 pin cable and a Terratec Axon AX50USB (not sure if that's still working though).

But I also want to reduce my dependence on specialized digital hardware, and have all of my digital stuff done "in the box" as much as possible.

I was recently alerted to a particular plugin called Jam Origin Midi Guitar 2, which could make the Axon, GK3 pickup and 13 pin cable unnecessary. Apparently it can work as a VST plugin inside any VST-supportive DAW. Does anyone here have an opinion on how well it works? I've read some reviews but I want to get the opinion of members here.

Is it as good as/no worse than the Roland hex pickup system?

I'm mostly a casual g-synth user, and I mostly make electro-industrial so I don't use too much guitar in the first place. But if an inexpensive, simple plugin can basically replace some hardware I'm all for it.

If its relevant, I will be using Reason 11 as my DAW.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
Old 14th February 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Snorktop's Avatar
 

No clue, but thank you for introducing me to Orgy! I am of the philosophy that if you wanna sound like something, use exactly the gear they did.
Old 14th February 2020
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorktop View Post
No clue, but thank you for introducing me to Orgy! I am of the philosophy that if you wanna sound like something, use exactly the gear they did.
To be fair I can't do that. They had early 2000s Pro Tools and the highest grade stuff available at the time. Im using a different DAW etc.

You don't have any experience with either Roland's GK system or the plugin I'm considering?
Old 14th February 2020
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Kozmos88's Avatar
 

try the demo.

i had the roland system .. umpteen moons ago .. ( 1986 aprox. )
( sold it at some point along with synths ..
( got fed up with midi. .. kept guitar 'n amp

now have the Jam app.
it' ok ..
much depends on the audio input ..
needs to be 'clean' .. ..
aint no worse that messing with the hardware gear
i.e. playing technique be important .. setting up the synth patch .. ditto ..

download the demo 'n check it out for yourself ..
Old 14th February 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
 

I’ve used the jam origin plugin. It’s okay. Not great in my opinion. I haven’t really used it in a track and haven’t used it in a year or more.
It tracks best with active EMGs / high output pickups in my experience but you can adjust parameters within the plugin so that it picks up more notes.
The problem with that becomes that you have to play super ultra clean and even then it may still pick up muted notes and read them oddly.
Might revisit it later today or tomorrow and see how it stacks up again.
I do remember some crashes, and some awkward routing that had a tendency to either increase latency or CPU usage.
Im not sure how it stacks up to the Roland GK systems.
Old 14th February 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
 

For best results you really want some kind of hex system, Roland GK or Triple play.

I understand not wanting to clutter yourself with various synth boxes, I own several vintage models. Yeah there are quirks and some are pretty large.

There’s not any reason you couldn’t do something like that in the box, just not sure if there are any options as good as or as complete as the GK boxes. I don’t know enough about Orgy’s production to tell you how they used this stuff but I know Amir used some of the toys I have...

Here’s my “orgy” guitars.
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MIDI Guitar/G-Synths... Plugins vs. Roland/Terratec?-af35d606-fefe-4526-9244-7badd2ee198a.jpg  
Old 15th February 2020
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnevz View Post
I’ve used the jam origin plugin. It’s okay. Not great in my opinion. I haven’t really used it in a track and haven’t used it in a year or more.
It tracks best with active EMGs / high output pickups in my experience but you can adjust parameters within the plugin so that it picks up more notes.
The problem with that becomes that you have to play super ultra clean and even then it may still pick up muted notes and read them oddly.
Might revisit it later today or tomorrow and see how it stacks up again.
I do remember some crashes, and some awkward routing that had a tendency to either increase latency or CPU usage.
Im not sure how it stacks up to the Roland GK systems.
Thank you very much for your assessment of the Jam Origin plugin. I understand if its imperfect. I am sorry to hear that you can't compare it with the Roland GK systems though.

I am a very casual G-Synth user so for me there's a big value in being able to just use a plugin and not rely on specialized hardware. Either way, thank you very much!
Old 15th February 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
For best results you really want some kind of hex system, Roland GK or Triple play.

I understand not wanting to clutter yourself with various synth boxes, I own several vintage models. Yeah there are quirks and some are pretty large.

There’s not any reason you couldn’t do something like that in the box, just not sure if there are any options as good as or as complete as the GK boxes.
Thank you very much for your advice. I presume you haven't used the plugin I'm talking about? I know Audio-To-MIDI conversion will always result in latency of course.

I'm just becoming quite skeptical of the idea that a hex pickup is necessary for good results. Even Boss make a guitar synth (the SY300) that doesn't rely on hex pickups and I've heard great things about it (the downside of it is that it doesn't convert guitar to MIDI, so it doesn't allow you to control synths other than the built-in one).

Quote:
I don’t know enough about Orgy’s production to tell you how they used this stuff but I know Amir used some of the toys I have...

Here’s my “orgy” guitars.
Those guitars are very impressive! They must be very demanding maintenance-wise though.
Old 15th February 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StudiodeKadent View Post
Thank you very much for your advice. I presume you haven't used the plugin I'm talking about? I know Audio-To-MIDI conversion will always result in latency of course.

I'm just becoming quite skeptical of the idea that a hex pickup is necessary for good results. Even Boss make a guitar synth (the SY300) that doesn't rely on hex pickups and I've heard great things about it (the downside of it is that it doesn't convert guitar to MIDI, so it doesn't allow you to control synths other than the built-in one).



Those guitars are very impressive! They must be very demanding maintenance-wise though.
You are right, I’ve never used the plugin, because I already have GK devices which the plugin does not fully duplicate the functionality of. I expect the plugin might be okay for casual use depending on your needs. You’d have to audition it.

Even less about latency, hex is best for accuracy, well think of a hex pickup this way. The way a guitar is laid out, you can play the same notes across multiple strings. Without a hex pickup how would whatever you are plugging into know whether you are playing an open A or A on the E string, etc... And of course, chords... It becomes an issue of accurate tracking. If the processor gets confused that means mistriggers/etc... Guitar synth is very unforgiving as it is, you can’t be a sloppy player or you will have loads of mistriggers and unintended notes hanging (if you don’t actively mute strings but play in such a way where you accidentally hit more strings than are intended, those turn into triggers!..).

You have probably seen the new Boss SY1000, which is designed for hex pickup (indeed it can work without, but you may notice that many features are disabled unless you have a hex pickup) use. When there is a synth box that can work without a hex pickup, that means they are trying to sell it to an average guitar player who is afraid of a hex system, it doesn’t mean it’s suddenly become perfect. There will always be limitations. And it will not do midi. Most boxes that are reliably doing it without hex are not really “triggering” a synth, they are being processed to sound synth like. That is why you don’t get midi.


As far as maintenance goes, nah. They are basically really nice MIJ guitars, like any guitar if you treat it well you will probably not need much/any maintenance beyond a setup here and there.

Last edited by kslight; 15th February 2020 at 04:50 PM..
Old 15th February 2020
  #10
I use a Terratec AX 100 with a Fernandez Dragonfly "sustainer" guitar. That tracks perfectly, chords, anything. The 3 zone splits are great, 3 sounds depending on where you pick.

The Fernandez eliminated the dreaded "midi note off" issues all guitar midi controllers have. I can hold a Hammond chord forever with it.
Old 18th February 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 
nyandres's Avatar
No idea for your exact use case... But I used to use the GK system, and its awesome...HEX is great. Also great for practice... it forces you to play clean or the notes dont trigger properly, so probably one of the reasons, I often pick every note even if going at full shred speed. So another reason to use the stuff :D
Old 23rd February 2020
  #12
Your Axon (assuming it works) with a GK/hex equipped guitar will be the best tracking once you dial it in for your playing. It has better (lower) latency than the Roland units including the new Boss SY1000. Just make sure you run with a separate midi output channel for each string and use a multi-timberal synth/module (or vsti) for the best results. The newer Fishman Triple Play uses the same technology, but there is a slight increase in latency caused by the wireless interface.
Old 23rd February 2020
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Ed Driscoll's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudiodeKadent View Post
Hello fellow slutz,

I was recently alerted to a particular plugin called Jam Origin Midi Guitar 2, which could make the Axon, GK3 pickup and 13 pin cable unnecessary. Apparently it can work as a VST plugin inside any VST-supportive DAW. Does anyone here have an opinion on how well it works? I've read some reviews but I want to get the opinion of members here.

Is it as good as/no worse than the Roland hex pickup system?
I found the Jam Origin plugin to work about as well as Roland's GI-20 GK pickup to MIDI box, which I used for years. (I did a product review for a couple of magazines when it first debuted around 2003, and ended up buying the unit Roland sent me.) But my playing is nowhere near clean enough to not require lots of post-playing midi ghost note deletions in my DAW afterwards, no matter which product I use. VST synths with very percussive timbres may well require plenty of editing with the Jam Origin plugin, but patches with softer timbres work very well with it, and it's fun ripping out Keith Emerson "Lucky Man" style lead synth tones via your guitar. If you're using the Jam Origin primarily to record with, and are prepared to do a bit of clean-up work afterwards, it can definitely trigger Reason and other soft synths via your electric guitar.
Old 25th February 2020
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
I use a Terratec AX 100 with a Fernandez Dragonfly "sustainer" guitar. That tracks perfectly, chords, anything. The 3 zone splits are great, 3 sounds depending on where you pick.

The Fernandez eliminated the dreaded "midi note off" issues all guitar midi controllers have. I can hold a Hammond chord forever with it.
Are you using the Roland pickup? How does Terratec compare to Roland system?
Old 25th February 2020
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyandres View Post
No idea for your exact use case... But I used to use the GK system, and its awesome...HEX is great. Also great for practice... it forces you to play clean or the notes dont trigger properly, so probably one of the reasons, I often pick every note even if going at full shred speed. So another reason to use the stuff :D
I gave up on midi ages ago, but perhaps things have improved. Have you compared your setup with the Terratec Axon? I prefer user experience , not commercial blurbs.
Old 25th February 2020
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
Are you using the Roland pickup? How does Terratec compare to Roland system?
Both use the same pickup and controller box on the guitar. Roland also sells it as a kit to be installed internally. I didn't do that as the Fernandez innards are full of sustainer circuits.

Terratec tracks intelligently. It tracks pull offs, harmonics, everything. Slide up the high E string up the neck as fast as you can and every note fires cleanly.

Strum and every note fires cleanly. The 3 pick zones are fantastic. You would have to be a pretty sloppy guitar player to mess that thing up.

Live it's a double-edged sword. Not because it doesn't work but because it works so well. I never got any love for a synth solo because the keyboard player got all the love. No one every thought it was me making those sounds.
Old 2nd March 2020
  #17
I worked on 'Candyass' for a few months. Chad Fridirici was pretty much the man who handled everything from Pro Tools, Studio Vision, Sample Cell, Recording and some Mixing. He was killed in a car accident while taking a short vacation to revamp if I recall correctly. The album pushed some minor technical boundaries and all of the Drums were done w/Roland V-Drums. The Producer was more of a "logistics man" and a bit of a muse, but had a good understanding of what it took to make Records. He had a vintage API sidecar that we used for tracking while we were in Studio A at Westlake Studios. Pro Tools was used for editing and everything was put to 2 Studer A827's. They did use Roland Synth Guitar from the 1980's. Amir had 2 of the Guitars and 2 different Roland Synth Board models. He has is own website that goes into great detail about all of his gear. The Latency w/the tracking was very bad, but he trained himself to play ahead and on point. The singer had previously been a member of Deadsey and I worked w/those guys a good bit too during the same time period across the hall in Studio B w/the late Bill Kennedy(the guy responsible for the huge NIN guitar sound). I'd drive Bill to Crazy Girls and buy him beer and he'd spill the beans on his guitar tricks. Then we finally got to do it w/Hate Department. It was a DI guitar w/a special Re-Amp box w/6 to 8 Amps w/2-3 Mics on every speaker in the live room feeding the Console during the Mix. This was his way of being sure that his mix was the one that got used and he wouldn't record or comp the guitars to tape. It pissed off a few A&R guys when they wanted an alternate mix. Can you imagine those WANKRZ freaking out? "Where are the big distorted guitars?" lol
Old 2nd March 2020
  #18
Lives for gear
 
nyandres's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
I gave up on midi ages ago, but perhaps things have improved. Have you compared your setup with the Terratec Axon? I prefer user experience , not commercial blurbs.
I have not used Terratec nope (sounds like a better system though from reading the above experiences).... I used to love the GR20 though, but I found myself playing guitar more for guitar sounds anyway. So sold it long back... For music production I think a keyboard, or a Roli Seaboard especially are the way to go however... I however, would not hesitate to recommend the GK system for anyone wanting to blend synths into their guitar based live performances. I thought it was excellent at that.
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