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MIDI Pickups

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Josh Curry, Nov 1, 2004.


  1. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Does anyone have any experience with either the Roland or Yamaha MIDI pickups for bass? I'm considering adding one to my Spector Legend 6-string. I am mostly concerned about latency and responsiveness, especially on the low B.
     
  2. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    they are not really " midi pickups" but they send info to a midi converter , or a Roland V Bass ( NOT midi)
    i have had the Roland and a while back the Yamaha- i even had an Axxon for a day or two. My personal experience has been that when you convert bass to midi, there is always delay and latency. The Roland V bass has zero delay or latrency because it is a modeler , not a midi converter.. i am curious about using the BD1 pickup with the half rack Roland misis converter, but i expect delay and latency as with all midi conversion, so far...
     
  3. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Yeah, I know it's not really a 'pickup', but that's the closest thing to reference it too. I am mostly considering the Roland GK-3B / GI-20 setup. It's also half the cost of the Yamaha setup.
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    The latency and responsiveness is more a function of the guitar-to-midi converter rather than the pickup itself.

    As Adrian said, there's always 'some' latency. The Axon is the best converter I've heard to date. The rev. 2 version of the Roland GR-20 is very good, has more sounds than the Axon unit with built in sounds, but it's not nearly as configurable as the Axon.

    In general, when using midi converters I've used the transpose down feature and played parts in higher octaves to get quicker response time.
     
  5. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    yesp, i have been looking at the G120... i expect delay with the BD1-
    i have been told the RMC bridge saddle setup is the best way to track with those- even at the Roland booth, they had some Brian Moore basses with the rmc setup... if there was a way to remove the delay, i'd be all over it... but the lo bass notes take a lot longer for the converters to "recognize"
    i'm feeling ya, bro-- the only way i have been able to track midi well has been thru a wired-fret system like the old Peavey Midibase or some midi-ed Wals that have that system.. i think a guy named Steve Chick designed it. I contacted him a while ago - i believe he is in Australia.. he told me he is not offering it anymore.. :(
     
  6. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    hi, David- we were typing at the same time.
    i think John Turner has found the Axxon to work well for him- i had one with a midied Conklin foe a coupel of days- i could not get it to track well enough and that could have been my poor learning skills... but man, i need a super stable system- once the notes glitch.. you lost me.
    That is why the V bass was so nice... but alas, could not access the wonderful sounds in my Korg Karma, for instance..
    once you have heard a bass tracking a synth sound well ( as in the Peavey and Wal systems) you will become obsessed... mixixng in real bass works best for me- but the sounds are amazing tracking with the bass. too much fun! i almost went for the Wal 5 - but i could not get into the tone of the Wal bass itself :bag:
    and forget about the Peavey bass! they should have put it in one of their better basses.
     
  7. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Yeah, I feel ya, I have a Novation Supernova II and a Waldorf Q. Basically, I want to be able to play those with my bass :)
     
  8. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Wow, the Axon stuff isn't cheap!
     
  9. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    well, i am having a bass built by Carey Nordstrand. This midi thing has been a wish since it came on the scene many years ago. Just for the sake of precaution, i just called him and asked to include a saddle system with a 13 pin out jack. Originally I was thinking RMC piezos, but Carey tells me Rick Turner has something out now that looks very promising. Since I have 4-5 weeks of construction yet, I guess I will know when the bass is done if it works well with a V Bass or the G120 converter, at any rate, as systems get better, i will have a 13 pin jack waiting to be used. We are looking into it right now...
     
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    IIRC JT is using the RMC, is that what you tried?
     
  11. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    yep. there seems to be some confusion about wether you have to use the entire rmc preamp for that system. I want and F Bass preamp in my bass. I am not really interested in adding the SOUND of a piezo pickup, all i am after is a 13 pin jack-
    in an updated report, in my case, Rick Turner suggested to Carey Nordstrand to just use a Roland gk kit and rewire it to the saddles on my Hipshot bridge, then installing their retrofit system. A lot cheaper and simples. And the Roland pickup, when I used it with the VBass, "tracked" beautifully. So it seems we will go with this setup.
    I think Fhodshon did this with a Lightwave bass... you out there, bro?
     
  12. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    OK, so, I'm a little more familiar with how this all works I think. The so called MIDI 'pickup' really 6 mini pickups in a single housing, and the 13-pin connector is actually sending a seperate signal for each of the mini pickups (each string), and the rack units, or floor units ( V Bass) actually perform audio to MIDI conversions for each 'line'. That's where the latency comes from, the conversion, right?

    OK, so, any 'pickup' is compatible with any converter, because they all use the same 13-pin connection? Does that kind of sum it up?
     
  13. It's not 100% clear that just because they all use the same 13-pin connection that they all wire those 13 pins the same way. Seems like with the V-bass, there were warnings that it wouldn't work with the Roland GK guitar pickups, for instance. But anything that's designed to be compatible with the Roland bass system should work, as far as I know.

    Mike
     
  14. IIRC the vbass pickup (GK) and accompanying software does not convert anything to midi. Not sure what it does but I don't think its midi. If it were midi output then why do you need the Midi convertor (GI20). Also there appears to be no midi from the vbass, its just a modeler.
    I'm having a set of RMC piezos (and 13-pin output) put into my new Dingwall just to drive the vbass. IMO the Gk pickup was too intrusive, and the install kit required additional holes to be made into the bass facade. (by the way i have a internal GK unit up for sale), but disassembling the GK and installing the individual saddles seems like a better way.
    it looks like the only real way to get latency-free midi from your bass is using the fret-wired system that steve chick made (like in the Peavey cyberbass)
     
  15. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Gee, FCM3- i think i pretty much said everything in your post in my earlier post, no? about the V bass not being a midi converter, but a modeler? that the only way to avoid latency and delay was to go with the Steve Chick designed system? yes? no? am i dreaming? is this thing on? :)
    at any rate, if you have the internal system for sale as in GK-kit-GT kit
    as the one pictured here-
    http://www.rolandus.com/products/details.asp?catid=6&subcatid=0&prodid=GK-KIT-GT
    i would be very interested in taking it off your hands...
     
  16. elros

    elros

    Apr 24, 2004
    Norway
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    This is very interesting to me, as I am in the process of figuring out how to put piezo pickups on my new seven string bass.
    Could you give me more information on this new stuff by Rick Turner, or alternatively give me a nod in the general direction where I may find more info? Sould I perhaps e-mail Carey Nordstrand? Or even :eek: Rick Turner?

    thanks
     
  17. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    exactly. Apart from the VBass doesn't do MIDI conversion. The Axon and GR-20 etc do MIDI conversion
     
  18. If you strung your bass up with a piccolo tuning, wouldn't it have less latency issues? Just wondering if that is a good way to achieve a compromise. Since you're using MIDI, the sound of the strings themselves doesn't matter too much.
     
  19. In fact, many folks took that apporach back when MIDI bass and guitar were in their heyday (so to speak). The problem with that is that lots of players would like to use both the genuine sound of the bass combined with the MIDI sounds.

    Mike
     
  20. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Gloucester County, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I have the Axon pickup on my 6-string bass, been doing MIDI bass for a couple of years now. My rig consists of the Yamaha G50 converter MIDI'd up to an Alesis NanoBass synth module. (I figure, I AM a bassist, right? :) )

    So anyway, a few points:

    The Roland, Axon, and Yamaha pickups are functionally identical and have the same pinouts. You can mix and match the pickups and converters from each. Whether or not the Roland V-Bass uses some of the unused pins (thereby requiring that you use their pickup only) I don't know... but for the MIDI converters, apples is apples.

    There is a fairly substantial (in musical context, anyway) delay, and there's no real way around it other than to use a wired fret system, which is expensive and complex. I actually find that the lower strings track better as far as glitching due to the higher metal content, but because of the size of the waveforms they do take some time for the initial tracking.

    The bridge piezos from RMC are supposed to be more accurate, but I doubt they track much faster; you're still limited by the size of the waveform - enough of it has to develop for the hardware to recognize the note.

    I heard that LightWave (those optical pickups) had been working on a Midi conversion, and that was supposed to be "the bomb" - reducing lag by quite a bit... but haven't heard anything recently.

    All of that said, you learn to live with it. You can "anticipate" notes and choose patches that suit the latency and minimize its effect. I've also found, as counterintuitive as it sounds, that certain patches track better. It should have no effect, but it does. Perhaps it's because you play the instrument differently... :eyebrow:

    Anyway, hope this helps...