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Midi Sound Modules? What has become of them?
Old 9th March 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Midi Sound Modules? What has become of them?

I am wondering whatever happened to the concept of standalone midi-based sound modules (without the keyboards)? They seem to have all but disappeared, just when we all bought standalone keyboards (with no sounds).

I am looking for knowledge of: the most recent midi sound modules available used (brands, model numbers, etc) so I can pick one up on eBay. There are many there, but they don't give much info on how old they are. I don't know the historic evolution of different synth architectures (Roland vs. Emu, etc.) so I can't tell what is most recent.

All I want is a sound module that will play sounds like: Hammond Organ, Rhodes Piano, Strings, Harmonica, Sax, Brass, etc. I would prefer samples; but I don't know if those exist in modules. If I have to go with "FM modulation" (an old Yamaha system as I recall) that would be Okay.

It does not have to multi-timbral, generally one mdi-channel & sound at a time is enough. Can I PLEASE get your help? Here is a link to Midi Sound Modules? What has become of them?sound modules for sale at eBay now. Please just tell me what I'm looking at what is best for me.

Here is my application:

I KNOW most sampling has gone to computer based, but quite often a computer is not conducive to live performances - hardware is more durable and sound patches tend to load faster.

I have a Fishman midi pickup for my guitar, which sends midi information out to a USB receiver meant to go into a computer to play DAW midi plugins. I found a USB hub to translate Midi out from USB to 5-pin Midi in. (This was harder than you might think, but Kenton makes one).

But NOW I can't find a suitable midi-sound module. I can plug into midi keyboards and it works fine. But I don't want to carry around a keyboard.
Old 9th March 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Roland integra 7 if you got the money, if not a roland jv1010 is a very nice allrounder. Most often cheaper in local ads then on ebay
Old 9th March 2014
  #3
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BobTheDog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
These are pretty good INTEGRA-7 - Synths Β» Sound Modules - Roland UK
Old 9th March 2014
  #4
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BobTheDog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Snap
Old 9th March 2014
  #5
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jaxman12's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Desktop and Rack Mount Sound Modules are very much in production.


Roland Integra7

Yamaha Mofif XS

Roland Fantom Rack

These 3 are probably the most popular for what you are looking for
Old 9th March 2014
  #6
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yes, Roland Integra-7 is arguably the latest and greatest. There's also the Yamaha Motif Rack XS. But if you are a guitarist, you might want to consider a guitar synthesizer system, like the Roland GR-55
Old 9th March 2014
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
SORRY - I guess I did not make myself clear. My fault.

I didn't say I wanted the "latest and greatest." These things cost something like $2000. I said I just want a simple sound module to send one midi channel at a time - this is not for multi-timbral sequencing of entire songs - it is just a way for my guitar to play a one-channel midi-based sample at a time.

Hence my link to the used ones on eBay - which ones in the under $300 range are the most recent and best sounding?

I am sorry if I am asking for something below your current state-of-the-art area of expertise here, but this is information I need. (I am a lead guitarist) so it isn't vital to what I do but it is something I would like to add to my onstage abilities.

I hope someone here will give me a realistic answer based on what I need, it isn't as if I haven't already heard about the latest & greatest. If you (a keyboard player) wanted to play a single guitar lead in one song, would you want people recommending the latest PRS guitar for $4000 and a $5000 ENGL amp? No, you would want a $300 made in Mexico Strat with a $200 POD plugged straight into the PA.

Quote:
But if you are a guitarist, you might want to consider a guitar synthesizer system, like the Roland GR-55
I already described the exact system I have - the fishman midi pickup for guitars, but it does not come with a synth module, all it does is send midi information out via USB. It is made for DAW recording, but I want to use it live (no computer).
Old 9th March 2014
  #8
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robotunes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
industry standard rackmount synths back when rackmount synths were cool (with approximate ebay prices):

Korg Triton rack (about US$400)
Roland XV5080 (about US$475)
Motif Rack about (US$575)

in the '90s, these were the industry standards:
Roland JV2080 (about $300)
Roland JD990 (about $350)

avoid the Roland JV1080. It sounds OK, but in quiet passages, you can hear sounds fizzle as they fade out.

and this one was well liked:
Alesis QSR (about $200-$250 when they show up, which is rarer these days)

hope this helps.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #9
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robotunes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisemates ➑️
Hence my link to the used ones on eBay - which ones in the under $300 range are the most recent and best sounding?
i posted before i saw your under-$300 request.

your best bet is somewhere other than ebay. search for the modules i suggested above, but look in the classified section here, at vintagesynth.com and similar sites. if you're in the US, consider musicgoround.com

those prices will be a little lower than ebay prices, which means you can get the rackmount that sounds as good as you'd expect.

the modules you linked to sound OK but not great. however, if you're doing comping duties instead of playing the lead role, maybe that's OK?

what's your style of music and what role do you want this module to play in your band's setup?
Old 10th March 2014
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
By the way - thank you for this: Roland JV1010 - this is what I need - any more suggestions?

Midi Sound Modules? What has become of them?Roland JV 1010: Musical Instruments & Gear | eBay
Old 10th March 2014
  #11
Lives for gear
 
xanderbeanz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
New ones:

Roland SD50
Ketron SD2 & SD4

They can be used for computer stuff but have normal MIDI ports for stand alone use aswell
Old 10th March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Check out the old Alesis Nanosynth. They're what now- 100-150 dollars/euros? And probably just what you're looking for, plus physically tiny and sound good.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #13
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robotunes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobro ➑️
Check out the old Alesis Nanosynth. They're what now- 100-150 dollars/euros? And probably just what you're looking for, plus physically tiny and sound good.
excellent suggestion. i'd recommend this over the jv1010 for size and ease of use.
Old 10th March 2014
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Thank you for reading my upgraded message (after editing) - I didn't realize I was not clear at first. I think I got what I need here, I will check them out. Although I just read up on the jv1010 and it sounded pretty decent for my applications (generally a pretty loud rock band. But I will also check out Alesis. I am hoping to get the most realistic sounds I can get, but at the right price.
Old 10th March 2014
  #15
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jaxman12's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Something to note, is that the modules you are looking at can be resold if they don't fit what you want them do. It is a good time to be able to buy/sell equipment. And if you get tired of what you bought and just want to try something else for fun, your trade-ups are not very costly.
Old 10th March 2014
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
i have an alesis nanosynth and if you're just looking for your basic general midi sounds, it has them and does them well - it actually does quite a bit more than that, but you need software to edit it and it's fiddly - but if all you're looking for is basic, classic sounds, you needn't worry about it

you will need rca jacks for the output - i got mine a year or so ago for 90 bucks

a roland sound canvas 55 might do a basic general midi job for you, too and those are well under 100 - ebay sellers tend to be greedy - also a yamaha tg100 is a fair general midi module, although i think the roland sc55 and nanosynth are better

you could get all three for under 300 and still have money left over
Old 10th March 2014
  #17
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skyshaver's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The EMU Proteus 2000 has all kinds of sounds, good midi implementation and I've seen them go for as little as $75 recently. Which hurts because I paid $1100 for one in 1998.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
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choond's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisemates ➑️
By the way - thank you for this: Roland JV1010 - this is what I need - any more suggestions?

Midi Sound Modules? What has become of them?Roland JV 1010: Musical Instruments & Gear | eBay
If you can swing it, I'd suggest the XV2020 over the JV1010. I owned both, fell in love, and now have a fully expanded Fantom XR rack. Absolutely love it.

I recommend the XV 2020 more for the SRX boards you can put in the XV series- those newer SRX board usually bundle 3 of the JV boards into one, so you get a lot more for your money. Also, the 2020 has the updated sound engine, and I noticed the difference....but even if you got the JV 1010, its a great module.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyshaver ➑️
The EMU Proteus 2000 has all kinds of sounds, good midi implementation and I've seen them go for as little as $75 recently. Which hurts because I paid $1100 for one in 1998.


Ow!

I had no idea they'd become so cheap. It would be interesting to know just how many hours of television soundtrack music, and pop music for that matter, came straight out of that box.

At that price definitely another contender for the OP, if he finds one with the right soundset(s).
Old 10th March 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
choond's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Missed that! those E-mu modules are fantastic. I had the xtreme lead and the orbit V2, but they cost $250 each just a few years back. $75 is a great price!
Old 10th March 2014
  #21
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anigbrowl's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah get an Emu Proteus and go home. They're great-sounding modules, and while they can be a little aggravating in multitrack mode (odd FX routing and so on) they scale well. Also they're laughably underpriced right now, except for a couple of rare ones that are ridiculously expensive.
Old 10th March 2014
  #22
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donsolo's Avatar
You know what came to mind for me? The. Yamaha QY-100. That is a GM sound set not much bigger than a guitar tuner. If you must go rack-mount, though, I'd actually recommend a TX81z. They're dirt-cheap and can do a ll of those sounds.

My thing is this: if you can't afford the Integra, then don't go for realistic-sounding. Get the cheese factor going. No MIDI sax ever sounds like a real sax so it might as well sound like a synth sax. Plus, if OP decides to delve into synth noises later, it's not too shabby.

As for the fish an pickup, I don't know it, but a GK-2a and a humble GR-9 will also perform the requested functions. OP could get a GR-55 and run it as midi, rather than buying the GK pickup. And actually, if you want to go down that rabbit hole, there's better hex pickup systems than the Roland that are roland-compatible...
Old 10th March 2014
  #23
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slaughtrhaus's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I use the Roland xv2020 for this purpose. Really nice sound, small footprint. Got it on eBay for a little over 200 bucks.
Highly recommend.
Old 10th March 2014
  #24
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Other choices worth mentioning are the Yamaha MU50 and MU80 tone modules. I got an MU80 back in the 90's, and still have it.

Old 10th March 2014
  #25
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
MU100r seems the best one, a polyphonic multi timbral XG tone module, Monophonic VL physical modelling voice (woodwind etc) and a decent effects processor all bundled in there
Old 11th March 2014
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
OP here...

Quote:
You know what came to mind for me? The. Yamaha QY-100. That is a GM sound set not much bigger than a guitar tuner. If you must go rack-mount, though, I'd actually recommend a TX81z. They're dirt-cheap and can do a ll of those sounds.
Small is fine - I don't need it to be rack size.

Quote:
My thing is this: if you can't afford the Integra, then don't go for realistic-sounding. Get the cheese factor going. No MIDI sax ever sounds like a real sax so it might as well sound like a synth sax. Plus, if OP decides to delve into synth noises later, it's not too shabby.
It seems to me that the cost of the integra is for things I don't need - like 1024 voices and thousands of patches. I would prefer "real" sounding instruments however, and that is really why I came here - to see what's out there. The last true (sample) player I had used 3-1/2-inch floppy disks. It took five disks just to load the French Horn (literally about 90 seconds). I know sample playing modules had evolved, I am just not too sure when they suddenly started costing $2000.

Quote:
As for the fish an pickup, I don't know it, but a GK-2a and a humble GR-9 will also perform the requested functions. OP could get a GR-55 and run it as midi, rather than buying the GK pickup. And actually, if you want to go down that rabbit hole, there's better hex pickup systems than the Roland that are roland-compatible...
I like the Fishman pickup a LOT. It looks almost exactly like the Roland Gk-3, but it easier to mount and comes with a transmitter/controller you mount on your guitar so you don't need any cable at all. The receiver is a USB dongle (that transmits midi into a computer USB port (the short & wide shape, not the D-shape) like a new M-Audio keyboard does for DAWs). The challenge was finding a way to change that USB midi to 5-pin, but I did that with a Kenton USB midi hub. Now I can connect directly to any midi device and navigate its sounds via my controller onboard my guitar. I can transmit one midi or six midi channels (one for each string).
Old 11th March 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
donsolo's Avatar
That's the thing about the Integra,

You're paying for a lot of stuff you don't need, but dedicated guitar synths boomed and busted back in the late 90s. The reason I like the Roland guitar floor pedal types like the GR-9 that I use is that you can patch-change very easily with your feet.

The pitfall with any other device is your hands have to come off the guitar to make that change. Plus, remember, no matter what you get, you'll need some sort of pedal to mute it (unless your Fishman pickup has some sort of off switch).

But, back to the Integra. It's too expensive and I get that being a broke musician myself. But, if you're not of the same opinion as me (no matter what, it's going to be goofy so go full cheeseball), then it's got all of that SuperNatural or whatever they call it scripting so it's not just triggering sax sound at velocity x. The new engine actually detects what you're playing and adds all sorts of nuances based on that if that makes sense. Behavior models is the term.
This video covers it pretty briefly:
Old 11th March 2014
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Check out the old Alesis Nanosynth. They're what now- 100-150 dollars/euros? And probably just what you're looking for, plus physically tiny and sound good.
This actually looks like exactly what I want - I could use the user pre-sets because the transmitter tends to go through the patches one at a time - so I could just set up the patches I need in the correct order.

But on eBay the Alesis Nanosynth are going for $345 right now.

There is an Emu Proteus 2000 for $249.

Yamaha QY-100 is $299, but has to be shipped from Japan.

Roland JV2020 is $249 and is available from US - but it seems bigger & more dated (expansion cards? - I wouldn't want to find out I need to buy these to get the sounds I want).
Old 11th March 2014
  #29
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was silents's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
What about the new Farfisa FX-1000?

Here's the manual. I think it's pretty much what you're looking for. $220 on Amazon.

The list of GM sounds are here on page 22.
Old 11th March 2014
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Just to be clear - it is common for these midi modules to have USB D-connector OUT like the Farfisa has, but my midi comes out of a standard usb port (same as what would be at the other end of the cable you would plug into that Farfisa).

So - the Farfisa USB does me no good. I looked everywhere for a sound module with the standard USB in - but they didn't make any before this current generation of mondo-expensive modules.

Hence I bought the USB hub (which was over $130 on its own). If all I want is general midi (and there is nothing wrong with that) I can just go 5-pin midi in into the cheap Yamaha child's keyboard I have here at the house for which I paid $150 - that works fine.

But my gut says some of the last generation sound modules from about 1999 are going to sound much better, plus they are programmable so I can make my user pre-sets and put them in order - so then all I have to do is navigate to the first one and go through my set.

Thanks for the suggestion, though.
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