Re: Diff. between Coyote and Sforzando

D F Tweedie

David ...

How good does 'good' have to be? There are now several 'mini MIDI' modules on the market, i.e., size of a paper back book.

One that has gotten a lot of love around BIAB circles, though I have no direct experience, is the Ketron SD2. I do note it gets mixed reviews on Amazon, but who knows what the individuals reviewers' backgrounds really are to judge?

I note that Amazon, Guitar Center, Sweetwater, etc., all have similar products ... though I can't vouch for any of them. 

I myself have a Roland JV-1010, which I find very useful. It has the several soundbanks, including GM, as well as a slot for an expansion card. It is half-rack and has less gain than the larger Roland units, but plenty enough for PA in small to medium venue.

When it comes to live use, there are at least two meanings: you are using MIDI backing tracks while playing a free standing instrument such as a horn, guitar, etc.; or, you are using your MIDI keyboard to play along with your backing tracks using the same sound source.

I am doubtful any laptop will be powerful enough to run a virtual instrument with acceptable latency in the latter case.

Here are a few links for soundfont Genral MIDI banks. The members of MIDI-Kar, the Yahoo group focused on MIDI sequencing, highly recommend the Timbre's Of Heaven General MIDI soundbank. I haven't used it, but it is free.


From: "'David H. Bailey' dhbailey52@... [Band-in-a-Box]"
To: Band-in-a-Box@...
Sent: Friday, January 6, 2017 1:41 AM
Subject: Re: [Band-in-a-Box] Re: Diff. between Coyote and Sforzando

On 1/5/2017 10:30 PM, D F Tweedie bienpegaito@... [Band-in-a-Box]
> The answer is a qualified yes. Qualified because you are essentially
> limited to one MIDI port and specific channel and patch assignments in
> BIAB. For example, if I recall of the top of my head, BIAB will always
> output its Bass instrument on MIDI channel 2 and, depending on the style
> chosen, default to a GM bass patch # between 33-40, where acoustic,
> electric and synth bass sounds reside. Now when you load your Miraslav
> bank into Sample Tank, you will no longer be in General MIDI and the
> bank will have other patches assigned to those specific patch numbers.
> Accordingly, it won't sound right.
> You will need to then learn how to reroute patches within BIAB ... a
> sometimes daunting task.
> The ideal way to 'play' with BIAB MIDI arrangements is to get a good
> external sound module with high quality GM sounds. Then you have no
> latency and can quickly listen to different arrangements you produce.
> When you like something you can then export the MIDI file as a Type 1
> file with separate tracks and specifically select the option to not have
> the patch numbers written into the files ... so that when you open them
> in your DAW you can assign any patch you like from Sample Tank 3 or any
> other virtual instrument without worry or confusion as to why your
> chosen sound keeps switching to something else.

This is very "sound" advice (if you'll pardon the pun) -- external midi
modules have always been the best way to get the BIAB midi-styles
played. Having said that, for many BIAB users, there isn't always an
easy way to have an external midi module available. For example, my
main computer for working with BIAB is a desktop in my studio which
powers a Yamaha digital "portable" grand, the DGX-650, but I just bought
a very small, lightweight but very powerful HP x360-13T 2-in-1 notebook
computer for working when I'm away from my studio. I'd rather not have
to carry along a midi module, so working with high quality sounds which
are loaded onto the computer is the best thing so that I can use either
midi or real styles.

While the Coyote sounds are adequate for listening to the arrangements I
put together, they are not all that great for performing with. So the
promise of the high-q sounds for Sforzando is very enticing. But it's
not all that easy to work with. Unless I'm missing something. And I
found the same to be true of SampleTank when it was included with BIAB.

So I have two questions for the members of this group:
1) what are today's high quality external midi modules? Are any being
made new or do we have to purchase used?
2) what are the secrets anybody has discovered for getting BIAB sounds
into Sforzando? Knowing the channels that BIAB uses for various
instruments helps, but we still have to manually load each sound into
the appropriate channel, don't we? Or are there high-quality soundfonts
that are in GM format which will work, including the drums? (I guess
that's a lot more than two questions, but so it goes.)

Thanks for keeping this discussion going -- BIAB2017 is a very good
improvement in many regards and I haven't found any problems in using
it, other than these questions about Sforzando.

Thanks to the person who sent the link to the Sforzando manual -- I've
downloaded it but I have yet to read it. Perhaps once I get a chance to
read it this weekend I'll understand better.

David H. Bailey

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