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I bought a hardware synth module in the year 2021


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Who uses those anymore? I bought a later model Roland Sound Canvas module, an SC-8820. I've had a long "love affair" with the Sound Canvas 'cause way back in ancient times (the nineties) I bought a Sound Canvas "daughter board" that mated with a mulit-pin connector on my computer's sound card. This upgraded the MIDI sounds over the built in cheesy FM chipset the SoundBlaster cards used. This mattered back then because a lot of games used MIDI music. Over the years, Windows has been upgraded numerous times so that my soundcard is no longer supported, so no lovely SoundCanvas MIDI music unless I boot my computer into Windows XP. 

Stumbled across a Sound Canvas module for sale on my local Craigslist, took a while before I got around to purchasing due to a cash-flow problem, but I figure no one else would buy it, and I was right. The seller's emails were short and abrupt, and it seemed he wasn't experienced selling things on Craigslist. Once we agreed on a price, he just gave his home address and told me to come by (!). I showed up at his house, an old woman with a thick Russian accent in a housecoat answered and beckoned her husband. I asked him to demo the unit for me, which I then regretted because the old man moved slow and seemed to struggle with simple stuff like plugging in a USB cable. Turns out the old guy had a "mild stroke" an isn't able to play guitar anymore. I paid, thanked the man and left. 

I tested the unit out with it's MIDI input jack and my USB to MIDI interface. Then I was able to get the unit's USB interface to work on Windows 7 with a Windows Vista driver. I'm planning on getting a MIDI controller keyboard and using the Sound Canvas for drum and "standard" synth sounds for my home recording setup. 

I have to post pointless "content" like this to get my post/credibility rating to improve before I'm subject to a random perma-ban. 

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Wait. . .what? What's "random perma-ban?"

Regardless, that sounds like a lot of fun.  I haven't made any changes to my rig in like 12 years!  And I've not been able to come up with any reasons why I should. 

 

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22 hours ago, Tullsterx said:

What's "random perma-ban?"

Relax, "random perma-bans"  are only a figment of my over-active imagination. A sarcastic joke about this forum, similar to the old "Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the lights" type thing. 

I need  want to buy a MIDI controller keyboard now so I can use my SoundCanvas module to make my own music instead of just listening to MIDI files recreationally. I have an old cheapo MIDI controller, I'm pretty sure I bought it at a computer store and not a music store. It's a Quickshot (brand) MIDI Composer, I think it's 49 keys with modulation and pitch bend wheels, 3 digit LED display, and some buttons that are supposed to do stuff. I've discovered that I can record MIDI data to my DAW (Reaper), but can't play the SoundCanvas in real time. :confused2:  And I can't figure out how to call up different patches via the MIDI controller. I've long since lost the manual for the MIDI Composer so I'm just completely lost. The only copies of the manual I can find are on one of those creepy "file sharing" sites.

Looking at buying a 49 key controller from one of the big companies, it's about $230 and comes with a bunch of bundled software. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For audio, a Mackie "Big Knob" interface; for MIDI, I just bought a Roland/Edirol "UM-1" , a typical USB dongle type with a the two MIDI plugs on the end of skinny wires.

I was previously using a Roland UM-3, which has 3 sets of MIDI ins and outs, but it was very finicky to use with Reaper. It's not that I'm a big user of virtual synths or anything like that, but even a little control surface interface like the Korg NanoKontrol that I somethimes use to control Reaper is actually a USB/MIDI device.  My SoundCanvas also uses USB to support two MIDI streams, so I suppose that counts as two MIDI devices. I've read that Windows 7 still has "MIDI mapper" buried in the system but it's parameters are not viewable or adjustable, so I had to download and install some  "MIDI configurator" freeware. There seems to be a hard limit on the number or MIDI streams/connections that Reaper will support. 

I've been using Reaper for at least 3 years, and there's still TONS of stuff left for me to learn. 

 

 

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I would recommend updating to Windows 10. I did a couple of years ago and saw an immediate boost in performance. My live key rig is on a laptop and the load times with Windows 10 are measurably faster. I posted about it on HC and I think it was flagged as spam or something and taken down. Total BS. It was easy and free to do the update, but that was years ago. Anyway. . .

I've never worked with Reaper. I know in Studio One or Sonar Home Studio with using a Tascam 1641 midi/audio interface, I've never run into many problems. From my experience midi/audio interfaces can be really flaky. I've gone through probably 3-4 different interfaces that never worked right, and banged my head against the wall trying to figure out if it was my controller or software, then finally just went back to the Tascam 1641 and everything works perfectly. I've tried other interfaces and I've not found one that works as well. I have three Tascam 1641's. You can get them on Ebay for a couple 100$.

 

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I used to gig a Roland Sound Canvas SC55 Model (an older one than yours) back in the 90s, after a friend who ran a home recording studio introduced me to one. It was like having one of Roland's JV type keyboard sounds in a little box.

 

The first SC models came out just around the time that the MIDI Instrumentation Standard (GM) was founded. So it was the first synth or module I ever owned that had all the sounds organized and categorized into groups (i.e. Pianos, Organs, Synth Leads, Synth Pads, FX, etc.).

 

It had very limited editing capability (mainly you could adjust envelopes and a few other things). No deep editing of sounds. You got what you got.

 

Back in the day, it sounded pretty good... but quality of its sounds has long been surpassed since then (especially the "organic" sounds like Piano, Organ, EP).

 

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