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Anderton

Is Creativity in Decline?

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Didn't want to hijack the "latest music industry battle" thread, but dboomer's comment caught my eye:

 

Big manufacturers like Yamaha or Peavey' date=' who make everything could easily step in. And by controlling all the steps in the process they could actually end up with higher profits even with lower revenue.[/quote']

 

Is it just me, or is the way of the world to maximize profit on what you already have, rather than innovate? The record industry, the instrument industry...everyone's so damn conservative.

 

You could argue that Gibson tried not to be conservative and failed. But in retrospect, I think it wasn't eschewing conservatism per se that was the problem.

 

I went to the Fender site to see what they were selling direct: Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters. Of course, they're fine guitars...but they've been fine guitars for over half a century. Is that really all there is? Have we reached the end of the line?

 

Are there really no new guitar shapes possible? Do computers still need to have a mouse+qwerty based OS that hasn't changed conceptually in 35 years?

Is the "gold standard" for samplers really piano sounds?

Will there ever be a new musical style (even EDM and EDM are over three decades old)? Will Hollywood decide that there's $$$ beyond franchise-based blockbusters?

 

I dunno. The French have a saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I think that may need to be changed to "the more things stay the same, the more they stay the same."

 

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If I may continue blurting, AI will make humanity self conscious. As far as industry goes there's only so much that will be pertinent to mass consumption. So, welcome to the same old world in that regard. Stopping short of doomsaying... oops... lol

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I went to the Fender site to see what they were selling direct: Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters. Of course, they're fine guitars...but they've been fine guitars for over half a century. Is that really all there is? Have we reached the end of the line?

 

You need to visit the Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin.

There are a lot of new shapes and ideas there.

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

 

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Is it just me, or did you try something radical when entering the post to which I'm replying? When I replied with a quote, it was full of HTML-like instructions for positioning, fonts, and colors.

 

Is it just me' date=' or is the way of the world to maximize profit on what you already have, rather than innovate? The record industry, the instrument industry...everyone's so damn conservative.[/quote']

 

I don't think it's "conservative," but rather complacent with what they've been able to sell.

 

My 20 year old countertop microwave oven died a couple of months ago. I was hoping that there would have been some progress in the technology that had entered the market but I was really disappointed. There's Panasonic's "Inverter Technology" which actually regulates the power level of the magnetron rather than, if you wanted to heat something at half power for 30 seconds, turning on full power for 15 seconds and then turning it off for 15 seconds (and then turning off cooking because the 30 seconds was up). So I bought one, tried it for a couple of weeks, and nothing that I tried with its preset cooking programs worked right - admittedly, the only one I ever used consistently was for rice, and my old oven cooked that perfectly. Defrosting took twice as long as with my old oven and it wasn't any better. And I had to press an extra button when entering cooking time if I wanted something less than an integral minute between 1 and 6 minutes. And it STILL didn't have a back lit control panel so I have to turn on an overhead light to see what I'm doing.

 

I returned it and bought the same brand as my old one, the model that was as close as I could find to my old one, hoping that it would be like the old one. But was there any innovation over the 20 years? Yeah - the same "instant cook" for 1-6 minutes, a 30-second button (that's actually handy), and its rice program makes overcooked or undercooked rice every time, for the same amount of rice and water going in. I've been looking for something I'd like better, but I'm flummoxed - they're all the same. There does seem to be some progress in built-in microwave ovens, but I'm not going to renovate my kitchen just to get a #!@%&* new microwave oven!

 

And I've probably already said that I can't find a recording console to replace my Soundcraft 600 because now they're all digital (a major innovation for sure), but they're all the same - no creativity, no allowance for someone who wants to use something other than a computer as a recorder. I told PreSonus how they could make their StudioLIve console into a really useful studio console with only some software changes to make routing easier to work with, and add a meter bridge. But they kicked me out instead.

 

Creeping meatballism! That's what it is!

 

Are there really no new guitar shapes possible? Do computers still need to have a mouse+qwerty based OS that hasn't changed conceptually in 35 years?

 

There certainly have been new guitar shapes over the years. Some are actually functional like electric guitars that fit your body more comfortably, or cutaways on the body so you can reach those high notes. There have been experiments with different body shapes and materials for acoustic guitars (think Ovation, for instance), but for most people, they're no better than the conventional designs. We've had MIDI guitar controllers that have used at least three different methods of figuring out what note to play when you put your fingers on the strings, but they never got very far. Every couple of years at NAMM I see electric guitars as artwork, a guitar shaped like a machine gun or a biplane, and there were Prince's guitars, that didn't sound any different, but they were part of his image - but would one be part of your image?

 

Mice and keyboards just work, at least for the kind of work I do. I don't want to have to talk to my computer to tell it what to do, and I find that the touch screen on my phone or tablet makes anything but selecting an object very tedious. If I was speaking this reply rather than typing it, it would either read absurdly or I'd constantly be saying to the computer "Oh, I didn't mean that. Delete that last sentence. No, no, the one before that one . . . " It would take a lot of artificial intelligence to know what I really meant to write. Maybe then I could just say "give me an article on phase" and I'd just sent it off to the editor (who could have done the same thing himself).

 

How would you like your computer to work?

 

Is the "gold standard" for samplers really piano sounds?

 

As long as samplers are most often controlled by piano keyboards, probably yes. But if I was playing a wind controller, I probably wouldn't use any piano samples with it.

 

Will there ever be a new musical style (even EDM and EDM are over three decades old)? Will Hollywood decide that there's $$$ beyond franchise-based blockbusters?

 

Sure, there will be a new musical style. Hollywood probably won't last forever, and there are plenty of movies that aren't blockbusters.

 

 

 

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Are there really no new guitar shapes possible?

 

 

Actually (as you know...), both Fender and Gibson have tried releasing new guitar body styles, as well as other things such as MIDI equipped models and models with advanced electronics, only to have them rejected by the market... so I really don't place all the blame at their feet - the players don't seem to be very accepting of "something new" - they keep wanting to stick with the tried and true.

 

Musicians can be surprisingly conservative and traditional in some respects.

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I went to the Fender site to see what they were selling direct: Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters. Of course, they're fine guitars...but they've been fine guitars for over half a century. Is that really all there is? Have we reached the end of the line?

 

And how long have they been making the "65" Twin Reverb now? Will they progress to silverface amps?

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Actually (as you know...), both Fender and Gibson have tried releasing new guitar body styles, as well as other things such as MIDI equipped models and models with advanced electronics, only to have them rejected by the market... so I really don't place all the blame at their feet - the players don't seem to be very accepting of "something new" - they keep wanting to stick with the tried and true.

 

Musicians can be surprisingly conservative and traditional in some respects.

 

On the subject of guitarists, most of the ones I see around here are down right dinosaurs! Old tube amps required for lengthy Hendrix style "noodle fests".

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Well....if you read up a bit on amps and guitars - re: the electronics and the basic functionality - they are fairly simple gizmos, electric guitars particularly. Once the transducer was discovered/invented, and the vacuum tube was developed, and they figured out how to smooth out AC to a nice, silky DC signal...99% of electric guitars and amps were a done deal. Solid state was the next stage that didn't really outperform the originals....so the changes since then have been incremental, not fundamental.

 

There's an apparently infinite market for pedals that make marginal changes to the tone that guitars and amps produce...but they are the icing, not the cake.

 

Playing styles, 'tho, have really changed. Pop types who used to just be able to play a few chords chunka-chunka, followed Clapton and others into increasing sophistication and expressiveness. Early rock lead players played mostly downstroke stuff as fast as they could, and then up/down pickers like Al DiMeola and John McClaughlin took that about as far as that can go....then Danny Gatton kicked off the hybrid technique...not to mention the shredding and tapping techniques that came along...the best electric guitar players (almost) rival the flamenco and classical players in sheer technique.

 

For interesting advances in music, my money's on the players, not the manufacturers. I mean it was the synth fiddlers that took a total turkey of a "bass replacement" synth like the TB-303 and found a way to make amazing sounds from it.

 

nat

 

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Mike ... It's not you. I can't quote and respond. I worked my way arounf all the HTML but then as I try to post it tells me i need a valid URL. Something is messed up tonight

 

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Real innovations come infrequently, and often are rejected at first or even rejected for good. The Dvorak keyboard is a prime example. It's quicker, easier, and even better for your hands, but it floundered.

 

Also when items mature, there seems to be fewer really good innovations. The Strat shape guitar is the end of the evolution as far as I'm concerned. It's balanced, high fret access is good, it's contoured to be comfortable, and balanced so there is no neck dive. My Parker made a few innovations on that shape, piezo under the bridge, better tuning stability, hardened stainless steel frets, but a non-guitarist wouldn't notice.

 

What more innovation do you need on a microwave oven? I never use the pizza, popcorn, or other food specific buttons. The tray goes around in circles, I can adjust the heating intensity and time, what more do I need?

 

My kitchen sink dispenses hot and/or cold water. The old washer problem has been fixed it and it just sits there and works for year after year. What innovations? Perhaps I could speak and say, turn the water on to 126 degrees at 60psi. But then there are unnecessary systems to break, and just wait until the hacker gets your info.

 

Creativity and innovation usually comes in new and adolescent fields. Today that might be robotics, self-driving cars, AI, space exploration, and so on. In the 1990s it was anything Internet. Early 2000s 'smart phones'.

 

Older, more mature fields and products get innovations slowly because most of the good/easier ones have already been implemented.

 

I don't think we will lose creativity, it will just find different places to express itself.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

Edited by Notes_Norton

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Real innovations come infrequently' date=' and often are rejected at first or even rejected for good. The Dvorak keyboard is a prime example. It's quicker, easier, and even better for your hands, but it floundered.[/quote']

 

And Ogg Vorbis didn't get traction, even though it was open source and MP3 required a licensing fee! Go figure.( Wendy Carlos uses a Dvorak keyboard and loves it.)

 

Also when items mature, there seems to be fewer really good innovations. The Strat shape guitar is the end of the evolution as far as I'm concerned.

 

Well, here's a question: do we really need the "horn" on the treble side? I'm not sure it makes any difference to the tone, you don't need it for a strap button, and it just adds weight. Seems we could just eliminate that and make the guitar a little lighter. I don't think it would mess too much with the balance, but wouldn't know unless I tried it.

 

And I do believe there's room for innovations with mature items. Pickups have been around forever, but the Fishman Fluence pickups are genuinely different - like a Strat with no hum! Also the dual voicing is cool, and you get consistency along with the characteristics of overwound PAF pickups without the usual high-frequency loss.

 

I also think Gibson's cryogenic fret treatment is brilliant. It reduces fret wear dramatically, which is especially important for those who want to use chrome-plated strings. And, I'm a big fan of Richlite fingerboards (so sue me, LOL). Although a lot of ill-informed consumers think the idea of a "paper" (sic) fingerboard sucks, ask a real luthier what they think, and most will tell you it feels better than ebony, doesn't warp with temperature changes, uses sustainable materials, and you can re-fret them without tearing the fingerboard apart.

 

Granted, guitars have been refined to the point where they don't necessarily need changes...but the ones referenced above are pretty cool IMHO.

 

 

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If it ain't broke, don't fix it?. Creativity is based on individual use of available resources (rejiggering also). Finding new and interesting ways to create with them works fine, no?... Ultimately, we still only have the brain we evolved with, and evolution is a slow process. I personally don't want to see AI take a step too far and eliminate the chaos that is the human creative process :).

Edited by Makzimia

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<...snip...>

Well, here's a question: do we really need the "horn" on the treble side? I'm not sure it makes any difference to the tone, you don't need it for a strap button, and it just adds weight. <...>

 

 

Good point.

 

The Fender Jazzmaster pretty much eliminates it, but those are heavy guitars as well. But with the minimized horn, they don't look bad or unbalanced at all.

 

My Parker DF weighs about 5 pounds. That's good for me as I am a sax player who doubles on guitar. On stage I play about 1/3 sax, 1/3 wind synth, 1/3 guitar and a couple of songs on the flute. I might pick up a different instrument for almost every song. It depends on the immediate needs of the audience.

 

I like the Duncan P-Rail pickups that can sound like a P90, Rail, Series Humbucker or Parallel Humbucker. The Rail is a little on the weak side but if you use both rails it sounds very strat-ish. The P90 and Humbucker tones are nice to my ears. The Piezo under the bridge that can be blended with the mag pickups was another nice innovation for me. Dialing a little of that in puts a bit of tele-ish grit/twang into the tone.

 

The upper horn is nice for balance. Gibson SG and ES guitars have some neck dive when you take your hands off. For a light guitar, the strap button at the base of the neck is a nice, strong place to put it, but I find with those guitars, I'm constantly readjusting them.

 

Personally, I don't think creativity is on the decline, just going to fields where there is more room for it.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Didn't want to hijack the "latest music industry battle" thread' date=' but dboomer's comment caught my eye:[/size']

 

 

Is it just me, or is the way of the world to maximize profit on what you already have, rather than innovate? The record industry, the instrument industry...everyone's so damn conservative.

 

You could argue that Gibson tried not to be conservative and failed. But in retrospect, I think it wasn't eschewing conservatism per se that was the problem.

 

I went to the Fender site to see what they were selling direct: Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters. Of course, they're fine guitars...but they've been fine guitars for over half a century. Is that really all there is? Have we reached the end of the line?

 

Are there really no new guitar shapes possible? Do computers still need to have a mouse+qwerty based OS that hasn't changed conceptually in 35 years?

Is the "gold standard" for samplers really piano sounds?

Will there ever be a new musical style (even EDM and EDM are over three decades old)? Will Hollywood decide that there's $$$ beyond franchise-based blockbusters?

 

I dunno. The French have a saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I think that may need to be changed to "the more things stay the same, the more they stay the same."

 

The problem here is you're asking for "innovation" on old products. why SHOULD there be innovation when it comes to electric guitars, PCs or microwave ovens? Those things were only ever innovative to the degree they were completely new. Different shapes or keyboard layouts are just bells-and-whistles.

 

Innovation comes when we see completely different technologies and products. Something that makes everything that came before obsolete or at the very least creates it's own space in the marketplace. Microwave ovens didn't replace conventional ovens but every new home now has a built-in slot for one. Powered speakers didn't completely replace traditional amps-and-speakers---at least not yet! Digital mixers have probably all but replaced analog models?

 

THESE are innovations because they create a new niche or represent a major leap in the technology. But simply trying to introduce a new body style on a guitar? That's just fashion. not innovation.

 

 

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I think without the stratocaster there would have been much more design innovation but once it was there it was extremely hard to improve upon. It reminds me of the 1955 Citroen DS. So far ahead of it time it just blew everything else into the weeds.

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"custom","height":"650","title":"M2W-Citroen-DS-gear-patrol-lead-full.jpg","width":"970","data-attachmentid":32416793}[/ATTACH]

Edited by Chordite

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Great car for its day.

 

There is a lot of creativity and innovation in automobiles today. Better hybrids, batteries, charging systems, regenerative braking, computer assisted systems, and so on. And self-driving cars are coming (like it or not).

 

I guess creativity isn't dead, it just moves around where it's needed. Right not it's needed in cars and not guitars.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Didn't want to hijack the "latest music industry battle" thread' date=' but dboomer's comment caught my eye:[/size']

 

 

 

Is it just me, or is the way of the world to maximize profit on what you already have, rather than innovate? The record industry, the instrument industry...everyone's so damn conservative.

You could argue that Gibson tried not to be conservative and failed. But in retrospect, I think it wasn't eschewing conservatism per se that was the problem.

I went to the Fender site to see what they were selling direct: Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters. Of course, they're fine guitars...but they've been fine guitars for over half a century. Is that really all there is? Have we reached the end of the line?

Are there really no new guitar shapes possible? Do computers still need to have a mouse+qwerty based OS that hasn't changed conceptually in 35 years?

Is the "gold standard" for samplers really piano sounds?

Will there ever be a new musical style (even EDM and EDM are over three decades old)? Will Hollywood decide that there's $$$ beyond franchise-based blockbusters?

I dunno. The French have a saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I think that may need to be changed to "the more things stay the same, the more they stay the same."

 

 

 

 

 

I think studio technology will venture into virtual reality within the next 3-5 years. We will all be working in virtual studios by 2030. Companies like UA, Waves, Slate, etc... will sell all sorts of studio packages. For example, you will be able to buy the Abbey Road Beatles Collection which will give you access to all the gear the Beatles had in the virtual world. You'll put your VR goggles on and be able to manipulate all the gear by hand.

 

And honestly, I have said this for at least the last 5 years but I'm not about to go digging through my posts but we don't need any more guitars, we don't need any more headphones, compressors, mic pre-amps, or EQs. No gear has come along in the hardware world that turns heads any more. As digital technology improves, speeds up, and becomes more like the analog, we will no longer purchase hardware unless we have $$$ to burn.

 

Guitars are no longer the primary instruments used in popular music. Companies like Fender will stick around but they will downsize. They will have to if they want to stay in business. Same goes for all manufacturers of compressors, EQs, etc... they will downsize or they will transition into software.

 

How many microphones do we really need? The Germans perfected the microphone in the 30s and 40s. How many countless mics have been manufactured since which don't come close to those mics? We don't need another microphone but people have some sort of sickness for them.

 

The funny thing is, we have so much incredible power sitting in our DAWs these days. We can make a record in our homes that sounds incredible but so much of the stuff being produced today is deliberately made to sound distorted or lo-fi. Its interesting... its almost as if clean, beautiful records are out of style in popular music.

 

So yeah, we have all this technology but we love the sound of those mono crackly records make a hundred years ago.

 

I think what I'm trying to say is: we don't need more technology, we need more soul.

Edited by Ernest Buckley

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I think studio technology will venture into virtual reality within the next 3-5 years. We will all be working in virtual studios by 2030. Companies like UA, Waves, Slate, etc... will sell all sorts of studio packages. For example, you will be able to buy the Abbey Road Beatles Collection which will give you access to all the gear the Beatles had in the virtual world. You'll put your VR goggles on and be able to manipulate all the gear by hand.

 

And honestly, I have said this for at least the last 5 years but I'm not about to go digging through my posts but we don't need any more guitars, we don't need any more headphones, compressors, mic pre-amps, or EQs. No gear has come along in the hardware world that turns heads any more. As digital technology improves, speeds up, and becomes more like the analog, we will no longer purchase hardware unless we have $$$ to burn.

 

Guitars are no longer the primary instruments used in popular music. Companies like Fender will stick around but they will downsize. They will have to if they want to stay in business. Same goes for all manufacturers of compressors, EQs, etc... they will downsize or they will transition into software.

 

How many microphones do we really need? The Germans perfected the microphone in the 30s and 40s. How many countless mics have been manufactured since which don't come close to those mics? We don't need another microphone but people have some sort of sickness for them.

 

The funny thing is, we have so much incredible power sitting in our DAWs these days. We can make a record in our homes that sounds incredible but so much of the stuff being produced today is deliberately made to sound distorted or lo-fi. Its interesting... its almost as if clean, beautiful records are out of style in popular music.

 

So yeah, we have all this technology but we love the sound of those mono crackly records make a hundred years ago.

 

I think what I'm trying to say is: we don't need more technology, we need more soul.

 

Very good points, EB.

 

The VR thing might be interesting. Waves Audio recently put out a plug-in called "Nx" a virtual mix room, which is supposed to mimic the acoustics of a professional studio through the use of your own headphones. Never tried it, but it sounds interesting, might be something I'd consider if I had to do mixing while on the move. There's the novelty of it, but anything to give you an edge and stay productive is a good thing I think.

 

In general most plug-ins are pretty good these days, most people seem to be moving away from hardware units and doing most things ITB. My primary recording setup only has like 2 pieces of hardware, my audio interface and one external mic preamp; anything compression, EQ or effects I do it ITB with plug-ins. I'm still pretty traditional when it comes to recording things though, I still make a point to record a real drum kit, there's just some things that virtual instruments can't reproduce.

 

I think its pretty true when you mention guitar no longer being the primary instrument in pop music. I barely even use much guitar in my own songs these days, and if I do, then it is mainly a backing instrument like rhythm or occasional fills. I listened to a lot of guitar-based music growing up, but for some reason I'm not as interested in that sound as before. Like if I hear any music made today that is guitar driven, it almost sounds dated or cliche to me, I guess the innovation of guitar playing has already peaked and people are just deriving their guitar licks on the same old influences. There's probably more innovation on the electronic music front, but honestly it can get kinda monotonous and tiresome as well.

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We need a saxophone

1) that plays in tune without the player having to adjust lip pressure for each individual note

2) sax pads that never leak and never wear out

3) cork and felt part replacements that don't wear so the sax stays in alignnemt

4) a sax finish that won't tarnish or peel off with age

 

Here is some challenges for the creative :D

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We need a saxophone

1) that plays in tune without the player having to adjust lip pressure for each individual note

2) sax pads that never leak and never wear out

3) cork and felt part replacements that don't wear so the sax stays in alignnemt

4) a sax finish that won't tarnish or peel off with age

 

Here is some challenges for the creative :D

 

Why don't saxes have a locking mouthpiece collar with enough travel that you could get all the way in tune instead of almost in tune?

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We need a saxophone

1) that plays in tune without the player having to adjust lip pressure for each individual note

2) sax pads that never leak and never wear out

3) cork and felt part replacements that don't wear so the sax stays in alignnemt

4) a sax finish that won't tarnish or peel off with age

 

Here is some challenges for the creative

 

Other than #1 (which I thought was part of the beauty of the instrument), your other wishes could almost certainly be fulfilled by using modern materials. Thing is that there's tradition here, and some players just wouldn't accept Teflon joints, plastic pads, and an anodized aluminum alloy body.

 

Or you could solve all your problems with a MIDI breath controller, but it would be like learning to play a new instrument.

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Re: OT

Creativity has been subverted by convenience. People, if they craft at all, do so at a reduced, modular resolution.

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I do play a wind MIDI controller. It plays perfectly in tune until I purposely want it sharp or flat by adjusting my pressure on the reed. For all the saxes I have ever owned, I have to adjust my lip pressure on the read for each note just to play in tune.

 

It's no biggie though, I'm used to it. But the wind MIDI controller got me thinking about that.

 

Learning the MIDI controller wasn't difficult, learning how to emulate other instruments within the limitations of each synth patch is the challenge. Each synth patch reacts differently, and must be learned as a new instrument.

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