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"FretTrax" Bass to MIDI interface

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by nnavarro, Jun 28, 2016.


  1. nnavarro

    nnavarro

    Jun 27, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Director of CX at Source Audio
    I've just tried the latest addition to the "Bass to MIDI interface" market, and it is AMAZING! The latency is inconceivable, and it's a trip to play. I've often wanted to track my bass lines while simultaneously having them notated by software, and this will do the trick. Also, I'm looking forward to plugging this into my computer and seeing what sounds I can come up with to play via my bass, once the system is installed on my Spector. Here's a clip of Lee, the creator of FretTrax, showing me the system for the first time. The transition is seamless!



    What interfaces are you guys currently using, and how is the tracking?
     
  2. Witness412

    Witness412

    Oct 7, 2015
    Excited to see what this brings!!!!
     
  3. Very cool! I've been using Jam Origin's MIDI Guitar (Jam Origin | MIDI Guitar 2) on my DAW with some very impressive results. The polyphonic capabilities are incredible! Would like to see how well it would hold up to the FretTrax system.
     
  4. I use the sunnus i2m musicport. It works ok. Definitely usable for pads and slow lines, but the tracking isn't fantastic.

    What's the deal with this FretTrax thing? Is it just an interface to usb/MIDI, or what? Also, any idea of street price? (14 seconds on Google gave me nothing).
     
  5. nnavarro

    nnavarro

    Jun 27, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Director of CX at Source Audio
    Sorry, no idea on street price, but I think at least a couple grand. They have a message section on FretTraz website for a quote; I think your bass' model might influence the installation price. So yeah, it's an on board system that needs to be added to your bass via a luthier. FretTrax is working with Rybski bass, which I tried for the first time last weekend and am very impressed with.
     
  6. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    nathannavarro likes this.
  7. Witness412

    Witness412

    Oct 7, 2015
    @nathannavarro Any updates to talk about here. How the system working? Are you using it with hardware or software synths? Can you use the solemon as a midi controller with hardware synths? Doesn't do pitch bends or open string notes right? Hows the latency? Sorry for all the questions but I am about to order a Rybski bass with this system. Not a lot of info out there on these and not a lot of people have them yet, so looking for info where ever I can get it.

    Thanks
     
  8. nnavarro

    nnavarro

    Jun 27, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Director of CX at Source Audio
    Hi, @Witness412. Sorry, not much to report for now. I'll pm you.
     
  9. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    NYC
    I just sent my Nordy VPJ 5 string to Lee to get retrofitted with the FretTrax system. Now the 6-8 week wait....
     
    seamonkey likes this.
  10. wes stephenson

    wes stephenson Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    Dallas Texas!!!!
    Wow man I'm really excited about this. Any of you guys that get this installed please report back here with reviews and clips!
     
  11. wes stephenson

    wes stephenson Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    Dallas Texas!!!!
    Also, what's the cost of having this done to your bass?
     
    twocargar likes this.
  12. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    NYC
    I'm getting my bass done and will hopefully have it back in a few weeks.

    Cost varies depending on instrument. I suggest you reach out to Lee at FretTraX.
     
    wes stephenson likes this.
  13. wes stephenson

    wes stephenson Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    Dallas Texas!!!!
    Thanks for the response! Please post vids of it!
     
  14. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    NYC
    Definitely will. If you didn't do so already, you should check out their FB page. They have some videos up there. There was a new one posted today where Victor Wooten talks about the technology.
     
    wes stephenson likes this.
  15. wes stephenson

    wes stephenson Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    Dallas Texas!!!!
    Will do.
     
  16. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    NYC
    I've had the FretTraX system for about a month now and it does deliver exactly how Lee the developer designed it. However it does take time to get adjusted when playing patches with quick attacks such as a percussive bass sound. You definitely need to adjust your technique and adjust the latency of the tracking depending on the patch. As for flutes, and such, it plays lovely right out of the box. Superb tracking. I was shredding in minutes doing my best Ron Burgundy impersonation lol. And shredding for me that is lol.

    Remember this is a Fret sensing technology, not a pluck detection technology, so it doesn't track open strings. The notes need to be fretted in order for them to trigger. This system I believe was designed more for the soloist/tapping player in mind. With that being said I have had several conversations with Lee and provided him many suggestions and ideas for the groove oriented player, some of which came to fruition and luckily I have on my bass which he did custom for me.

    I have mentioned to him that I am mainly a groove player, not a soloist and would love to see pluck detection added, which he has been working on. He also said that he has worked on some fixes for the occasional false trigger/chatter, and there are many other great things to come. The main thing that bugs me is the ability to play fast 16ths on one note. Since it doesn't do pluck detection, the only way to do this is to quickly Fret and de-Fret on the note which can be extremely difficult to do at a fast tempo.

    I have gigged with the system a few times and it has performed flawlessly. I'm only using it on a few tunes throughout the night; songs I might add that I used to play synth on. I'm so glad I don't have to set up a keyboard anymore. Sweet! I am basically playing these tunes with just my left hand or for the fast stuff such as Bizarre love triangle by New Order, I've been using two hand tapping. It has worked really well.

    I don't use it with my Future Impact. I am presently using it with my Alesis Nanobass and my Korg X5DR. I have tried it with the FUture Impact and it triggers fine, but most of my patches on the FI have bass blended in and need to react by how hard I pluck for the filter to open and close. I rely on the dynamics of my attack with my FI, something FretTraX presently cannot do since it is not velocity sensitive.

    Even with these few hiccups, the FretTraX system is a great addition for my gig, and I'm happy I made the purchase, especially since I was able to add some custom options. Such as...

    Vari channel which gives me The ability to change the midi channel of my bass... Two modes of split Fret which trigger synth above the 7th Fret and bass below and vice versa. Split channel which gives me the Ability to trigger two midi channels. One midi channel above the 12th Fret and another midi channel below the 12th Fret.

    Lee Young is an amazing individual and truly listens to your ideas. It's been a pleasure working with him. Truly a gem.

    I know some have asked for videos of the FretTraX system. I'm truly sorry I have not posted any. I have been swamped and just haven't had the time to record anything. I will try to do so in the near future.
     
    seamonkey likes this.
  17. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    NYC
    My Nordy VPJ5 with FretTraX system installed. So happy that I can leave my keyboard home now!

    FullSizeRender.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
    arrowsun and Farrin D like this.
  18. Bassheart365

    Bassheart365 Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2014
    Northern California
    "A good bassist determines the direction of any band." - Ron Carter
    I am getting FretTrax installed on my DINGWALL NG2.

    At first, Lee said he couldn't do it. Not because of the fanned frets, but because it (and all other Dingwall basses) come with "banjo" frets, which are relatively small. He apparently needs more metal for proper contact with the sensors. So I just had it re-fretted with standard size frets. Estimated time for installation of FT is sometime in August. In the meantime, I have my Future Impact, which revolutionary in an of itself. Looking forward to having polyphonic capability with the FretTrax. Not sure what synth module I'll be using. Any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
    maisbass likes this.
  19. ofajen

    ofajen Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    92.4W 38.9N
    Mainly just that it should be able to deal with patches that have replicas of a sound that receive separately on enough MIDI channels that you have one channel per string and that each channel can operate in mono mode as well as poly mode. Also preferably that it has some type of a real synthesis engine, rather than just sample playback.

    A bass is different from a keyboard and offers expressive modes that keyboards lack. These qualities will allow you to play and have the synth parts follow your slides, rather than retriggering at each fret and to have a sound that responds in an interesting way to playing touch.

    There are a lot of (mostly older) Yamaha modules using FM synthesis that would do this. I'm rather out of touch in terms of newer stuff, but I'm sure that are some that meet these criteria.

    Otto
     
    arrowsun likes this.
  20. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    NYC
    Unfortunately this is not the case presently with the FretTraX system. When you slide, it does re-trigger. The system is based on a Fret sensing technology.

    If your module has legato mode, some of the older fm modules do, you can ask Lee to add a Legato mode to your system.
     

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