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Re: learn to use the gear I have.

On the other hand, sometimes you have gear that doesn't quite do what
you want it to.  For instance, I've always been very into synthesis, but
not keyboard playing.  I've always just liked the guitar as my main
sound making interface.  Get a guitar synth, right?  Sure.  Money being
an issue, I ended up with a GR-30.  At the time they were being blown
out due to the GR-33.  For a long time I thought, "Huh, this think kind
of sucks in the sound dept."  I blamed myself for not spending enough
time getting into it and tweaking the sounds.  I resisted getting
another sounds source because I thought I had to "learn to use the gear
I have."

Well, I finally learned that the GR-30's sounds (IMO) SUCK.  No amount
of knowledge about how to tweak that box is going to make it what I
wanted.  This seems to be a pitfall of modern gear.  It comes with
presets.  They can be good or bad.  Sometimes, bad, but with great
potential.  Sometimes bad with no potential.  How do you know?  My knee
jerk reaction is to blame myself, as how could an old and respected
manufacturer put out anything less than stellar?  Most synth
manufacturers are making "ROMplers" where there isn't very much
tweakability in the sound, not compared with analog (or analog modeled)
synths.  My advise is that with modern gear, if the presets aren't doing
it for you, don't waste your time with a piece of gear.

Anyway, the end of the story is, I did some more shopping and ended up
purchasing a dedicated synth module.  Ironically, I went with another
Roland product, the VX-5050.  Straight out of the box, I found a ton of
very usable sounds, and most of my tweaking involved setting the pitch
bend of each patch I liked to match the pitch bend of the GR-30 and
getting the effects synched to my midi clock (having no way to globally
do this sure did suck!)  The end result of all this is that I'm SO much
happier with my setup.  My wife instantly remarked at how much better
the overall sound was, and she tend to be very critical in this

So the lesson learned?  I'm not sure there is one, but beware for poorly
designed gear.  Since quality of sounds is totally subjective, be
prepared to hunt for your tools.  Be prepared to make some mistakes.  Be
prepared to evolve.  Most importantly, be prepared to give up on a piece
of gear that's too complex to do what you want easily.  If a piece of
gear is so hard to figure out, maybe it's not worth it.  Someone once
gave me a Brother (right, the word processor company) MIDI sequencer.
It had tons of features, but was a disaster in UI design.  I spent HOURS
and HOURS trying to make what should have taken minutes.  Again, I
blamed myself.  When I purchased my Ensoniq TS-10, I realized that it
wasn't me, it was the gear.  Even though it had the features I wanted,
it was unusable.  The TS-10 was a dream to use.  I was very quickly
doing exactly what I wanted.  Sometimes a design flaw can be exploited
to make great music.  Sometimes, it's just a pain in the ass.

Mark Sottilaro

Pedro Felix wrote:

> snips
> --- Evan Meyers <evanmeyers@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > > >
> >
> > agreed, and not only that, but a concept i've posed
> > to> the group in the past.  be careful though, some
> > folks> are touchy about what the gear is used for
> whether> it> be for show or actually for making music
> or better> yet, sounds (i don't think that the word
> sound can> be> interpretted nearly as much as the word
> music, so i> think it is safe to write it)...i'm still
> impressed> by
> > the lights and nobs though, and don't forget
> > switches,
> > gotta have switches!
> >
> Evan, et al. -
> most of us (all of us?) don't like to think we're on
> the wrong road, thus the touchiness.
> but ya know I agree with you.
> If someone has talent then their gear will not get in
> the way, and if they are lacking in that regard, well
> their gear won't hide it either.
> best, Pedro
> hey, did you get to Chama on Sat.?
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