Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse

NAMM Coverage--What Do You Want To See?

Hey everybody--
As the years have gone on and more and more outlets are covering the NAMM show each year, we thought it would be a good idea to take the pulse of the community and find out what you like and don't like about the way NAMM is covered, not only by HC but in general. Obviously, we want to do more of the former and less of the latter.

For several years now, the focus has been on producing the short, from-the-floor demos and product overviews with folks from each manufacturer. Sometimes quantity is placed above quality, but the goal has always been to show you as much of the show and new products as possible.

Oftentimes, producing so many videos means late nights in the hotel room with room service, editing and rendering until the wee hours. As you probably know, there's a whole other side to NAMM, which is what goes on after hours at private events and parties, and our focus on show-floor videos means we really don't take part in any of that.

So, we're putting it to you. When NAMM rolls around in January, what's going to get you excited and make you feel like you're part of the action? Continue to crank out product vids? Less video, more photographs? After-hours coverage? Celebrity encounters/performances? Let us know!

We welcome your thoughts and suggestions and are looking forward to Harmony Central being the premier destination for NAMM coverage in 2015.
See more
See less

16020458

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse









X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Thanks, Craig. That was a very comprehensive and well balanced review. No doubt prospective buyers of new gear would be wise to add your reports to their reading lists before or after checking out the M3. In fact, I think a few M3 newbies would find your reviews quite informative. I'll pass the link along to some of the other groups I participate in.
    Cheers,
    Jim (aka EJ2)

    Comment


    • #32
      MuzikB, Son of HuHefner, and EJ2 - thanks for the feedback! Obviously, there's a lot more to cover...

      It would be kind of fun if the three of you would list your top 10 favorite M3 features. I'm curious to see if they'd cover the same territory, or be completely different. It would also help me decide what to cover next.

      EJ2, thanks very much for passing along the links - the more, the merrier!
      _____________________________________________
      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

      Comment


      • #33
        MuzikB, Son of HuHefner, and EJ2 - thanks for the feedback! Obviously, there's a lot more to cover...

        It would be kind of fun if the three of you would list your top 10 favorite M3 features. I'm curious to see if they'd cover the same territory, or be completely different. It would also help me decide what to cover next.

        EJ2, thanks very much for passing along the links - the more, the merrier!


        1. Improved sequencer over Triton Series

        2. Drum Pads

        3. More Realtime control over Triton Series

        4. Built in Kaoss Pad

        5. Radias Synth expansion

        6. Radias Step Sequencer

        7. Radias Vocoder

        8. KARMA advanced arpeggiator

        9. Computer connectivity

        10. Component modular design of the keyboard. Gigging musicians tend to tear up the chassis of keyboards. Now you can replace the chassis and keep your synth. No need to buy a whole new synth.
        https://soundcloud.com/jersey-bloke<br><br>DSI Mopho X4<br>Elektron Analog Four<br>Akai MPC 2500<br>StudioLive 16.0.2 Digital Mixer<br>Allen &amp; Heath Xone VF-1 Analog Stereo Filter<br>Studio One V2.5 Professional Edition<br>Ableton Live 9 Standard

        Comment


        • #34
          1. KARMA 2 technology on board. What else can I say about the myriad possibilities for crafting patterns, motifs, mini compositions that can be controlled, modified, enhanced, augmented, altered in real time. This is leagues beyond arranger workstations.
          2. Intuitive ergonomic layout of realtime controls for changing, modifying riffs (KARMA Generated Effects) on the fly.
          3. Drum Track - a very cool enhancement over predecesors Karma and OASYS. Integrated (with KARMA ON or OFF), programmable and switchable, this is a very handy tool for driving your grooves.
          4. While the touch screen has been reduced in size from its big brother's (OASYS) size, it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve - Vectoring with X/Y Mode, Hold (lock) response, Motion start/stop. I prefer this over the OASYS Vector Joystick.
          5. I love working with 8 assignable and touch sensitive pad/triggers in conjunction with playing the keyboard. The ability to easily assign massive or simple chords individually to each pad adds another dimension to playing a progession (in any order or pattern you choose).
          6. Did I mention the RealTime Controls handling multiple duties, especially the ones connected with KARMA 2? As far as I can determine, there is nothing comparable on the market. As an example, imagine, with the flick of a switch or moving a slider, a simple snare hit can be turned into a rapid fire drum roll that punctuates a moving four module groove.
          7. Of course, one of the biggest draws for me, in any consideration for a piece of equipment, is the sound. The quality of timbres/programs Korg has loaded into the M3, is amazing, especially with the infusion of the extra 512 recently delivered. The ability to employ up to 16 of these within a combination or sequence presents a great potential for creativity, most expressively within a "fully KARMA-fied" combi with all 4 KARMA Modules running.
          8. The input/output configurations on the rear are very generous - two different USB ports (one for loading or storing and one for computer connectivity), 2 Audio Inputs with line or mic options, In/out S/PDIF, etc. etc.
          9. Innovative Keyboard - Module/component technology, with special mention of Korg's new keybeds. I have to agree with you about nudging Korg. Hey you guys, listen up. Can you give us a KKC "Korg Keyboard Controller"? These keybeds are awesome.
          10. Korg and 3rd party support is truly very helpful. I can get online answers, contributions, suggestions, information, tutorials etc. right from the head honchos (those who played a major part in bringing the M3 to life) themselves. Jerry Kovarsky (Korg USA), Stephen Kay (Karma Lab), various sound designers/programmers et al are present and participate on karma Lab Forums (http://www.karma-lab.com/forum/index.php?s=) and Korg Forums (http://www.korgforums.com/forum/phpBB2/index.php). So are a host of knowledgeable veteran Korg users. These forums constitute two of the best online musicians' communities I know of.

          Of course there is so much more to report on, for example EXB RADIAS, but that's enough from me for now.
          Cheers,
          Jim (aka EJ2)

          Comment


          • #35
            Your review makes it so tempting...but when I upgrade my Triton Extreme, I think it will be to the OASYS.

            Maybe.
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font face="Palatino Linotype"><font size="2"><font color="Purple">HI I AM JONATHAN TAYLOR THOMAS YOU MAY REMEMBER ME FROM TV'S HOME IMPROVEMENT I AM HERE TO **************** UP YOUR DAY LOLROFLOMGIDKMYBFFJILL/ROSEBBQ</font><br />
            </font></font><br />
            <font face="Palatino Linotype"><font color="Black"><font size="4">I AM SUPER-SERIOUS.</font></font></font><br />
            <br />
            <div align="center"><font size="5">I SOLD MY GEAR DON'T CARE YOU DIDN'T BUY - GO LOCAL &amp; ORGANIC H8 U GUYZ</font></div></div>

            Comment


            • #36
              As another issue of the Harmony Central Confidential newsletter is put to bed (you do subscribe, don't you?), that means I get to play with the M3 some more...uh, I mean, work on Pro Reviews.

              Anyway, let's look at Combi mode. Mulitimbral devices came into existence fairly early in MIDI's lifetime, but if I recall correctly, it was the Korg M1 that really put the "combi" concept - where the synth straddled the line between mixer and instrument - on the map. I was curious what the M3 adds to that original concept.

              But first, there's my usual M3 Pro Review ritual:

              1. Start with good intentions to write something.
              2. Call up a preset.
              3. Get totally sucked into playing for a while, then figure I should probably record the results to give y'all another idea of what the machine can do...

              Which I did. The audio example was just me messing around with the Combi preset "Cogs in the Machine." I played the little bass riff with my left hand, and the block chords with my right, and let the M3 do the rest. Then I hit the control surface's KARMA button, and messed with two sliders: One changed the density of the drum part, while the other controlled something related to note duration. The results were very musical to my ears...

              But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's look at the Combi thing.
              _____________________________________________
              There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

              Comment


              • #37
                Your review makes it so tempting...but when I upgrade my Triton Extreme, I think it will be to the OASYS.

                Maybe.


                Well, let me tell you, this is a pretty tempting keyboard. It seems that no matter what button I press, something cool happens...

                From what I understand, there's a lot of the OASYS under the hood with the M3. If that accounts for the clarity of sound, I wouldn't be surprised. However, and maybe Jerry Kovarsky can chime in on this, I think the OASYS is designed to be more upgradable as there have already been several updates with additional forms of synthesis. Admittedly, the M3 has gone from V1.0 to V1.2, but I think this is more about making additions to what's already there than adding entirely new synthesis engines. However, as to future plans for the M3, that's not something to which I'm privy.
                _____________________________________________
                There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                Comment


                • #38
                  Think of a Combi as a 16-channel mixer, where you can assign a different program to each channel (or think of this as a "track") and adjust the level, panning, keyboard range (this is how you do splits), and response to MIDI input (the mechanism for doing layering). Adding this "metadata" to a program creates what Korg calls a "timbre." So far, that's pretty standard for any multi-timbral synth.

                  There are several ways to call up a Combi, including hitting front panel switches, using MIDI program change commands, or even using a footswitch - handy if you're playing live. There are 384 (3 banks x 127 programs) of factory presets, and another 1,408 user programs. As with programs, you can rummage through categories to find specific types of Combis although also as with programs, there are no deep search functions like using keywords or other tags.

                  As you go through the various factory Combis, you'll note that they have drum tracks and KARMA functions. The KARMA options are on a separate page, but again, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

                  The first image shows the Program Selection page for programs 1-8. There's a second page for programs 9-16 which is essentially identical. From these pages, you can select a program for each channel by touching the Category or Bank/Program parameter for that channel. You'll also see a row of Play buttons, which if you touch them, turn into Mute buttons. These are paralleled by the eight buttons above the real time control faders so if you're controlling parameters with the faders, your fingers don't have far to travel to select play or mute. They're also significant because another button lets you choose whether these buttons control channels 1-8 or 9-16, so you can leave (for example) the screen showing channels 1-8 but have the buttons controlling the mute/play function for channels 9-16.

                  The row below has Solo buttons if you want to listen to individual channels. The Solo buttons are additive, in the sense that you can solo multiple channels at once.

                  The second image shows the mixer page for channels 1-8, and again, there's another almost identical page for channels 9-16. Here the main features are pan and volume faders. If the control surface Mixer page for the corresponding page of channels is selected, then the control surface works the faders. Although the faders themselves aren't touch-sensitive with respect to level, you can touch one and control it with the Value fader, data wheel, or typing in a value with the numeric keypad. So, if the control surface isn't controlling the faders, you can still do "spot adjustments" for individual levels.

                  I couldn't find a way for the mixer control surface page to control pans; you touch the pan control and use the value fader, data wheel, or numeric keypad.

                  Note the "Hold Balance" on-screen button: It's basically a grouping function (in fact, why didn't they just call it "Group"?) where moving one fader moves all the others ratiometrically (not linearly, which is a good thing). In other words, if you move one fader down to half its values, all the other faders will go to half their volume as well. There's a bit of a "memory" function as well: If you bring all the faders down to zero, then bring them up again, their relationship at the time you clicked on the Hold Balance will be preserved.
                  _____________________________________________
                  There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                  Comment


                  • #39

                    From what I understand, there's a lot of the OASYS under the hood with the M3. If that accounts for the clarity of sound, I wouldn't be surprised. However, and maybe Jerry Kovarsky can chime in on this, I think the OASYS is designed to be more upgradable as there have already been several updates with additional forms of synthesis. Admittedly, the M3 has gone from V1.0 to V1.2, but I think this is more about making additions to what's already there than adding entirely new synthesis engines. However, as to future plans for the M3, that's not something to which I'm privy.


                    There is a "connection" between the M3 and the OASYS - it starts with the fact that we developed the chip for the EDS system at the same time that we decided to test the waters with making the STG (software-based tone generator) approach at the heart of the OASYS. So we developed the main PCM synthesis architectures to be very similar. This means you can look at the M3 synthesis as being very close to the HD-1 engine of the OASYS.

                    Of course the OASYS does add it's own special power to that, with even higher fidelity, wave-sequencing and the ultimate envelope/LFO speed and resolution in our product offerings. But overall they are very related designs.

                    We did work hard on both platforms to improve the interpolation/aliasing all too common in PCM playback synthesis, and that is part of what you are hearing.

                    As for expandability you are correct. The software basis of the OASYS allows us to do much more in adding new forms of synthesis technology as compared to any chip-based system. That's why we have been able to start with three main forms of synthesis in the OASYS, and then have added four more since its release.

                    On the M3 we add new synthesis through hardware, not software. In time you'll be getting into exploring the EXB-RADIAS so I won't do a commercial for it now. But that's the approach.

                    And we can add additional PCM libraries through USB PCM expansions, which are upcoming. Keep the review alive for a while and who knows, we might just be able to include one...

                    :-)

                    And of course we can upgrade aspects of the operating system and functionality as we have been proud to do for many of our products over the last ten years.

                    OK - I'll go back to lurking - I'm here when you need me.

                    Regards,

                    Jerry

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      I find it ironic that many software samplers can't sample: They can only import files you've already recorded. There are some exceptions (e.g,, E-mu X2) but they're the exception.

                      So while pureplay hardware samplers have faded into the background over the years, now we have keyboards like the M3 picking up the slack, and incorporating traditional hardware sampling options within a workstation context.

                      The M3 can record through the two unbalanced analog inputs (see attached image), via SPDIF digital, or thorough FireWire (if the FireWire expansion board is installed), as well as "rip" from CDs playing back in an external USB CD-ROM drive. (The M3 doesn't have a CD drive, which doesn't bother me given the option to add any kind of CD drive you want via USB.) Sampling rate is 48kHz/16-bit.

                      The main limitation in the sampling audio input section is that the input impedance is fairly low, which means you can't sample electro-mechanical instruments like guitar and bass directly. Well, that's not quite true. You can, but the highs and level will take a serious hit. Bottom line: If you're not using a mic or line level signal, you'll need some kind of impedance converter (buffer, stomp box compressor, etc.).

                      A secondary limitation is that the mic input doesn't have a balanced XLR jack but an unbalanced 1/4" jack, and doesn't offer +48V for mics requiring phantom power. Then again, I think that if someone is really a purist about this, they'd likely use their mic preamp of choice, and treat it as a line input.

                      So, what do you sample to? There are several choices. The internal memory that comes stock with the M3 is 64MB, which is enough for almost six minutes of stereo sampling (11 minutes, 40 seconds of mono sampling). You can add another 256MB with the optional EXB-M256 memory expansion, which adds another 23 minutes of stereo sampling. However, this is a separate block of memory. You can't, for example, spread a single sample across both blocks of memory.

                      If you need more time, you can sample to an external USB device. I'm going to try doing this with a memory stick instead of a hard drive, just to see if I can. It shouldn't be a problem; granted it takes longer to write to a USB stick than read from it, but asking it to record two tracks doesn't seem too onerous.

                      Oddly, the maximum file duration you can save to a USB device is about 80 minutes (mono or stereo). I don't think this matters; I somehow can't picture people taking an M3 around to do remote recordings of a two-hour concert. And if you want to capture the full decay of a piano note, if 80 minutes doesn't do it for you, nothing will. Besides, that's more than enough to record a full-length CD.

                      As to the total number of samples you can stuff into memory at one, that's spec'ed as 4,000 individual samples or 1,000 multisamples. Somehow I don't think that's going to disappoint anyone.

                      You can also import samples, as opposed to record them. Supported formats are AIFF, WAV, Akai S1000/S3000, SoundFont 2.0, and Korg's own proprietary format. Hey - no Ensoniq format import! Oh well.

                      Another element of sampling is what Korg calls "In-Track Sampling." They don't call it "hard disk recording" because with a stock M3, it isn't; it's "RAM recording." But the end result is the same: If you sample something like a vocal part while listening back to a sequence, the M3 will create a trigger to play back this sample at the same point in the sequence each time. So yes, you CAN overdub acoustic guitar parts or vocals.

                      Finally, before turning from theory to practice, it's worth noting that you can sample straight into the M3, or through effects. You can also resample sounds you've created in the M3 - for example, resample something with KARMA effects added. Whatever you sample, it can then play back through the M3.
                      _____________________________________________
                      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        It's not difficult. First of all, there's a dedicated Sampling button among the various Mode buttons. So if you want to do sampling, you...hit Sampling.

                        Once you do that, you'll enter sampling world, which has a variety of pages (first image)- the ones of interest to us right now are Recording, Sample Edit, and Loop Edit.

                        The Recording page (second image) is where you'll start off. I went up to the Menu and selected the Auto Sampling Setup page (third image). This shows that recording is being set up through the audio input (as opposed to resampling through effects), the source is Audio instead of S/PDIF and it's listening to the left input only to create a mono sample. The audio will be saved to MEDIA, which in this case, is a USB stick although you can also save to RAM (which is the default).

                        I decided to record a guitar string. It took me a while to figure out how to record by setting a threshold, as shown in the second image; I think there may be an error in the manual on page 113 - step 1 under Record should say "Press the SAMPLING REC switch and then the START/STOP switch." At that point, when I wanted to sample, I just played and when the signal exceeded the threshold, it got recorded. Hitting the Start/Stop switch again terminated sampling. At least that's what worked for me.

                        If you just do traditional, non-threshold-based sampling, it's obvious: Hit Start/Stop, play note, hit Start/Stop - simple. Note that no matter what way you decide to sample, the M3 is always sampling, so you can set a "pre-sample" time to make sure you don't miss a crucial attack transient. This is a wonderful feature.

                        Another useful feature is that the display will show you when the A/D converter is being overloaded, even if you aren't in Record mode. This lets you set the level control on the back so the signal level is "in the ballpark." You can also monitor through the headphones, and if you hear distortion, you'll know to turn the control down; apparently monitoring occurs after conversion, which is a VERY good thing. After all, you want to know what's happening after the signal hits the input stage, not what's happening before it goes into the M3.

                        Creating additional samples is easy: You just flip back to the main Recording page and create a new "index" (basically, a container for a sample. Another cool feature is that after recording, you can just hit trigger pad 1 to hear the sample play back - you don't have to futz with finding the right key.
                        _____________________________________________
                        There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Yup, you can do it. When I first plugged in a USB stick, it wasn't recognized. I thought maybe it needed to be formatted, so I did, but I think as long as your stick is FAT16 or FAT32 you're probably okay. What seemed to make the difference was turning on the M3 with the USB stick inserted. Once I did that, it was recognized.

                          There may be some more efficient way to get the M3 to recognize the USB stick other than powering-up with the stick inserted; I hit the Media button to see if there was anything there, like "click here to recognize newly inserted media," but didn't find anything like that. Calling Mr. Jerry K: If you have any advice about this, let me know in case I'm missing something obvious.

                          BTW samples saved to stick are WAV files, so you can also just remove the stick and put it in a computer-based digital audio editor, then put it back into the M3, which will think it's the original sample. Cool!
                          _____________________________________________
                          There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Well I've already gone over my allotted time for today, so I'll get into the details of sample editing later. But I couldn't resist seeing how far I could get with editing just by poking around, and the answer is: Pretty far.

                            I had recorded one sample without using the threshold option, and wanted to cut some "air" off the beginning. I figured the "Sample Edit" page was the place to go, and it was (first image). I just touched the Edit Range Start parameter, and spun the data wheel so that the area of the sample I wanted was within the sample range (the blue overlay in the picture). Then I hit the zoom buttons so I could make sure I was at the exact place I wanted to trim the sample.

                            Hmm, what's next...right! Check the Menu options. Sure enough, there was an option called Truncate, and invoking that removed anything that wasn't in the designated region - the air was gone.

                            Flushed with success, I called up the Loop Edit page (second image) and zoomed in. This shows a guitar string sample, and if you've ever tried to loop a cycle at the end of the decay, you know it's a hit or miss proposition. I first tried loop points in between the two big cycle waveforms, but couldn't get a good loop - there was a little bit of buzzing. When I switched to the loop points shown in the image, perfect! The loop was smooth, on-pitch, and ready to rock.

                            More to come...but suffice it to say, the sampling is really pretty easy, and the editing options and ability to zoom mean you can do your editing right in the M3.
                            _____________________________________________
                            There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              I would like to mention something I really appreciate about the M3 line, the M3M. Lighter than a keyboard, more usable than a rack. A true tabletop workstation. It is a great way to refresh an old keyboard. I have a Fantom76 at my parents' house that is worth more as a controller than the current market value of an outdated workstation. When I visit for the weekends I take my M3M and connect it to the Fantom. From bedroom studio to back deck to parents' house to sitting in with friends. I can take the M3M and connect it to what ever keyboard is available. That gives me consistent sounds, splits and interface without having to carry a bulky keyboard. Not to mention the ability to work on a song at any of those locations or in a hotel room and keep the same familiar unit.

                              Robert
                              <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="Red"><i>My friends have big houses and new cars. I own music equipment.</i></font></div>

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Yes, I agree 100% - the M3M is a great box, very versatile and a good way to bring the M3 mojo into an existing setup. But I also need to add that the M3 keyboard has a fantastic feel and the aftertouch is nothing short of amazing, as shown early on in this review...so if you need to upgrade your controller as well as your sounds, the M3 has a lot to offer.
                                _____________________________________________
                                There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                                Comment



                                Working...
                                X