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MIDI Guitar - how much would you pay for zero latency?


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Just curious how much people would be willing to pay for a guitar that has a zero-latency MIDI pickup in it (if such existed)? It's been a few years since I owned a MIDI guitar and I was not impressed with it (mind you, it was OLD technology). What's the best thing going right now?

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Originally posted by Blackbelt1

The Variax is zero latency. It's not midi though.




~Blackbelt



Yeah, if you want to model a variety of guitars, Variax is a good way to go. I wouldn't have any interest in a zero-latency midi guitar because the only application is can see is to use the guitar as a trigger for other instrument sounds. I'd rather do that with a keyboard controller. I had a friend that used to do that with a Roland VG-88 (or whatever the model was). He'd be running over the fretboard making flute sounds...I didn't get it then and still don't.

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It's not the pickup, it's the box that the pickup is sending signal to that causes the latency. The Roland VG-8 & VG-88 actually process the sound produced by the vibrating giutar string - thus, no latency. The other Roland guitar synths have to determine the pitch of the string in order to trigger their sampled sounds correctly. That's why you get delay & glitches.

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I've got the VG-8 and several GK2-A guitars, some factory some built on my own. What wedgehed said was right about the VG series, they don't do any midi processing it is all COSM (composite object sound modeling) or something. Basically it is a fancy way to process the sounds close to realtime, one string at time.

I've been thinking about getting a MIDI controller for my guitars, because I have realized I suck at keyboard and probably always will. This would make it easier to lay down some stuff in MIDI on an instrument that I am more comfortable with, yet still suck at playing.

If you do find something that you like let me/us know because it is a new arena for me. I know just about enough to go out and pay twice as much as I should for something that won't meet my needs.

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Originally posted by progrules

Godin claims to have the best/fastest midi pickups in the market


This axe makes me horny
:o

http://godinguitars.com/godinlgxtp.htm



I have one of those and it makes me horny too.

I also have an Axon AX100 guitar to MIDI converter which tracks faster and more acurately than any Roland. You can get zero latency from something like a Ztar, but I won't or maybe can't pay for one. The Godin & Axon combination is as good as I need it to be.

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Roland may not be the best, but they do keep improving. I originally had a GR50, then a GR30, and now a GR33. Each one seems to be better than the last. I use a Fender "Roland-ready" Strat with the built in synth pickup to trigger it.
It's definitely not the ultimate setup but it works for me. I mostly do ambient electronic music with it - pads, atmospheres, textures, etc. so tracking isn't as much of an issue as doing fast leads. It depends on what kind of music you are using it for. I'd like to eventually get a Godin or Brian Moore for a controller, but this is fine for now.

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so what I think I'm hearing you say is that the axon ax100 converter, used with a piezo pickup like the brian moore guitars use, would be the best setup offered today. is that right? and if so, who offers a good piezo midi pickup by itself so that you can put it on/in the guitar of your choice?

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I have a new GK-3:
Fender_strat_1.jpg


and a Roland GI-20. I use this for composing only and I can only say the tracking is good enough. You can check two of my songs where I play Rhodes solo with my guitar:
Bluazz
New Try

If you ask me this is fast enough... but you will have to adopt you playing style a little.
...sorry, I had to, yours is probably fine
:D

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Does anyone have the Ghost system installed and working? Can anyone compare it to the RMC system?

I'd like low latency +5ms or so. And better tracking than I get with the GK pickup.

I've seen it suggested to string a guitar up with all high e strings, then pitch them in the converter, anyone try that?

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Originally posted by Rocktopus

so what I think I'm hearing you say is that the axon ax100 converter, used with a piezo pickup like the brian moore guitars use, would be the best setup offered today. is that right? and if so, who offers a good piezo midi pickup by itself so that you can put it on/in the guitar of your choice?



Yes.


RMC - rmcpickup.com

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Originally posted by Mighty Coogna!

Does anyone have the Ghost system installed and working? Can anyone compare it to the RMC system?


I'd like low latency +5ms or so. And better tracking than I get with the GK pickup.


I've seen it suggested to string a guitar up with all high e strings, then pitch them in the converter, anyone try that?



The Graphtec Ghost system is getting a good reputation for MIDI tracking - maybe as good as RMC.

The Axon AX100 will give tracking latency somewhere between 3 and 13 milliseconds.

Stringing with all E strings is an old trick. Good in theory, but too much of a kludge for the limited benefits it brings.

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I have a GR-33 and a Brian Moore i2.13 (RMC piezo system). They work pretty well together. To me latency (time between pick and sound) isn't as big a problem as accurate tracking (hitting a note and having it misfire another note or make no sound). Technique helps the latter alot. The GR-33 works great for home recording...cause you can do retakes. It is only adequate for live use: You can get the job done, but occasionally you loose a note or two, which usually isn't noticed that much.

 

Less you think I am ragging on it, I will say the GR-33 is becoming one of my most essential effects units..just wish it worked just a LEEEETTLE better. Which gets back to the original thread question:

 

 

how much people would be willing to pay for a guitar that has a zero-latency MIDI pickup in it

 

I could see easily paying $2000 for a guitar of good quality, equivilant to a $1000 Gibby of Fender, that has a MIDI out that works dead accurate. So I would pay $1000 for the MIDI part.

 

That answer the question?

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Originally posted by cincy_cosmo

I have a GR-33 and a Brian Moore i2.13 (RMC piezo system). They work pretty well together. To me latency (time between pick and sound) isn't as big a problem as accurate tracking (hitting a note and having it misfire another note or make no sound). Technique helps the latter alot. The GR-33 works great for home recording...cause you can do retakes. It is only adequate for live use: You can get the job done, but occasionally you loose a note or two, which usually isn't noticed that much.


Less you think I am ragging on it, I will say the GR-33 is becoming one of my most essential effects units..just wish it worked just a LEEEETTLE better. Which gets back to the original thread question:





I could see easily paying $2000 for a guitar of good quality, equivilant to a $1000 Gibby of Fender, that has a MIDI out that works dead accurate. So I would pay $1000 for the MIDI part.


That answer the question?



Well, the new Terratec Axon AX100 Mark II will set you back around $700 and will track your Brian Moore noticable quicker and more accurate (especially when viewed in a sequencer) than any Roland.

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The Roland GK3 pickup comes with special brackets to anable you to mount it to a Les Paul. This will work fine with either Roland or Axon converter. Better would be a piezo pickup installation from either RMC or Graphtec, but that is getting complex and more costly.

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Originally posted by jeffsfrey

Just curious how much people would be willing to pay for a guitar that has a zero-latency MIDI pickup in it (if such existed)? It's been a few years since I owned a MIDI guitar and I was not impressed with it (mind you, it was OLD technology). What's the best thing going right now?




Actually the BEST they have to offer right now IS the GHOST pickup system (you or a luthier has to install this on a guitar of your choice...a strat is the best according to graphtech) and the axon AX100.

I have a Roland GR-33 and Brian Moore 81.13 MIDI guitar and the RMC pickup on it is adequate for live use. But I want to get a guitar built with the GHOST pickup installed....that pickup is supposed to be WAY better than the RMC pickup used on the Brian Moore and Godin guitars. But whatever you do....DON'T GET A ROLAND MIDI PICKUP like the GK2 or GK3! They simply do not track well at all! I have had a GK2 and also a fender roland ready strat and the problem is that you can only adjust the pickup on one side or the other up or down....not for each indivudial string! Very limiting and way too limiting to play live....for me anyway! And I tweaked, tweaked and tweaked the stupid thing! I had to eventually get rid of the roland pickups altogether and go with an RMC pickup equipped guitar that I have...the Brian Moore 81.13. It cost $750.00 with gig bag from musicians friend when I ordered it, but they have them used on ebay for half that.

Graphtech (the people who make the GHOST pickup) have a video on their site that shows a guy playing an organ sound and this guy has NEVER USED a MIDI guitar before...he is just playing like he always does.... and he is ripping off some notes very fast...you cannot do that even with a Godin or Brian Moore with an RMC pickup, because it does not track the notes that accurately through the Roland GR-33. But the guy on the video is going from a ghost equpiied strat to a Roland GR-33 and the tracking is AMAZING! The pickup DOES make a difference! Contrary to what others have stated.

As far as how much for zero latency? I would pay about $1,000 for a guitar and another $1,000 for the unit itself....about $2,000.00. But they do not make a zero latenbcy MIDI guitar system that I know of, so the point is moot!

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Originally posted by myname1

But they do not make a zero latenbcy MIDI guitar system that I know of, so the point is moot!



'Zero latency' is not possible in a pitch-to-MIDI conversion system. No matter what else you do, you need to sample enough of the waveshape from the pickup to determine its pitch prior to sending the MIDI 'Note On' command, and this takes time.

What CAN be done is to make the pitch determination algorithm better, able to work with a smaller 'wavelet' (portion of the sampled waveform), and run the algorithm on a faster processor. There are DSP techniques that COULD be used (I haven't seen them in production yet) to get down to a consistent time below 10 msec, even on the lowest notes, but it would be VERY expensive to get much faster than that - particularly if you're building a system that can handle a 7-string or low tunings.

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My rant:

I wouldn't pay anything at all for the option even if we talked about acceptably low levels of latency (which are feasible) rather than zero (which no instrument has).

Latency is not the biggest issue to overcome.

I can't see MIDI ever being a solution for an instrument which is as analogue as a guitar. The protocol is just too simple and coarse grained to be able to accurately capture and reproduce the nuances of the instrument.

MIDI has its place - it works fine, but is over complex, as a control protocol. It's adequate for simple percussive instruments (where triggering samples of the real thing can be quite convincing) or effects and rubbish for everything else. If you can play the guitar then learning the keyboard is not so difficult and it is much better suited as a MIDI source.

I'll maybe take a look at the next generation of technology, but this one I'll skip.

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Originally posted by walfordr

My rant:


I wouldn't pay anything at all for the option even if we talked about acceptably low levels of latency (which are feasible) rather than zero (which no instrument has).


Latency is not the biggest issue to overcome.


I can't see MIDI ever being a solution for an instrument which is as analogue as a guitar. The protocol is just too simple and coarse grained to be able to accurately capture and reproduce the nuances of the instrument.


MIDI has its place - it works fine, but is over complex, as a control protocol. It's adequate for simple percussive instruments (where triggering samples of the real thing can be quite convincing) or effects and rubbish for everything else. If you can play the guitar then learning the keyboard is not so difficult and it is much better suited as a MIDI source.


I'll maybe take a look at the next generation of technology, but this one I'll skip.




Well I can say that you do not know WHAT you are talking about! PERCUSSION?? I NEVER play percussion on my GR-33! Nor do I play synth sounds.

I play a variety of flutes, horns, sax, strings and they sound every BIT as convincing as if I were to play the same thing on a keyboard.

And it IS MUCH harder to learn keyboard than to learn how to play MIDI guitar if you already play guitar! You are having to learn another instrument all over again with a keyboard, which is a piano with different patches basically!

Mabye in the 80s when roland came out with the MIDI guitar they were hard to play...but not now! And with what they have today, you can hook up to a keyboard and play the exact same sounds on a guitar and not have to learn another instrument. If you took a axon ax100 and a strat with a GHOST pickup...you could hook that to ANY keyboard or rackmount keyboard module and get the same sounds with VERY little latency...so low that you would never be able to tell it anyway. And as far as the GR-33 with the GHOST pickup from the video I saw the guy was playing very fast licks and you could hear every one. And he had never played a MIDI guitar before, so he was basically playing it like a "regular" guitar.

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Originally posted by SteinbergerHack



'Zero latency' is not possible in a pitch-to-MIDI conversion system. No matter what else you do, you need to sample enough of the waveshape from the pickup to determine its pitch prior to sending the MIDI 'Note On' command, and this takes time.


What CAN be done is to make the pitch determination algorithm better, able to work with a smaller 'wavelet' (portion of the sampled waveform), and run the algorithm on a faster processor. There are DSP techniques that COULD be used (I haven't seen them in production yet) to get down to a consistent time below 10 msec, even on the lowest notes, but it would be VERY expensive to get much faster than that - particularly if you're building a system that can handle a 7-string or low tunings.



Well I did not meany ANY latency at all,I should have phrased it differently, I just meant latency even smaller than what axon now offers.

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