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Retro midi machine! - Printable Version

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RE: Retro midi machine! - Samulis - 06-27-2018

I was looking into getting a Roland rackmount a while ago (the one I did order ended up being stolen from my doorstep!), but it looks like their Integra-7 unit actually has all of the sounds built in anyway, so the fuss of buying questionable ROMs off Ebay and questions regarding file compression on different versions of VX, etc. would be avoided... that $1500 price tag though... still waiting to see a used one pop up. Big Grin

Lots of great SC and GM-compatible devices though! Always thought having a SC would be fun, although having the actual SoundCanvas .sf2 on most computers these days is sort of a discouragement from that. Getting the TG100 is a very good idea, I think, and it has a great sound. Can't wait to hear a piece you make on it! Smile


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 06-27-2018

Sam, do you have any experience with the Roland D-110 (rack version)? I just spotted a D-110 for $28(!) on the Swedish equivalent of Craigslist. Messaged the seller immediately but it's probably gone already at that price, but we'll see.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Samulis - 06-27-2018

(06-27-2018, 05:50 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: Sam, do you have any experience with the Roland D-110 (rack version)? I just spotted a D-110 for $28(!) on the Swedish equivalent of Craigslist. Messaged the seller immediately but it's probably gone already at that price, but we'll see.

I saw one pretty cheap on Reverb.com a few months ago and almost got it, but went for the Yamaha TX81Z instead (which can still be programmed from a computer via MIDI- crazy!). Apparently the D-110 is super-duper 80's sounding-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urYQt0GPS74

If you like that sound, definitely go for it!  Big Grin


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 06-27-2018

Yeah I watched that very same video when searching for info on it Smile Not really the sound I'm going for but it has a card slot so it got me thinking that it might have some interesting expansions. $28 is not a lot of money and it might be fun to play around with. No response from the seller yet though so I will probably not be getting it anyway, it's likely sold already.

As for the TX81Z, I've had one of those! Literally found it sticking out of a dumpster around 2010. Cool for a freebie but I never liked it so I sold it a few years later. Never been much into FM, whether OPL3 or DX7's or what have you. FM synthesis is good at a few things but extremely bad at all the rest.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Samulis - 06-28-2018

(06-27-2018, 10:00 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: FM synthesis is good at a few things but extremely bad at all the rest.

Hahaha Amen! It does make some really nice clavi and suitably fake electric keys sounds, but indeed, not exactly a very versatile thing, especially when it comes to warmer/rounder sounds like most acoustic instruments.

I'd love to pick up a non-FM synth at some point, preferably GM-compatible... that would be a lot of fun, I think.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 06-28-2018

(06-28-2018, 12:46 AM)Samulis Wrote: It does make some really nice clavi and suitably fake electric keys sounds, but indeed, not exactly a very versatile thing, especially when it comes to warmer/rounder sounds like most acoustic instruments.

Exactly, the TX81Z had some nice basses and bell-type sounds but the rest was underwhelming to say the least. I did load up some custom patches via midi but they weren't much better and I never found much use for it. I like big pads and string sounds, and the TX is simply not well suited for that. Still, it remains pretty popular as a "poor man's DX7" so I guess it has uses that falls outside of what I need synths for.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 06-28-2018

Edit: this will have to do.




RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-07-2018

At last!

[Image: IMG_20180807_162511_086.jpg]

Edit: If I didn't know already that this thing is from 1991, I'd only have to look at the preset list to get an idea of its age: it has 10 different slap bass presets.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-07-2018

OK, first impressions. I haven't made any music with it yet, I've just been browsing presets and trying to get my head around how it works. It's very straightforward overall, but a few things are unintuitive or maybe just badly explained in the manual.

I honestly wasn't expecting much from the TG100 but I wanted something fun to play around with and it was cheap. But during the weeks I was waiting for the guy to get back to me, I listened to a lot of tracks made with the thing and I found myself really liking the sound of it. Sure, it's not the best choice for DOS games and GM playback and it's somewhat maligned in retrogaming circles for this reason -- unfairly so, I think. The original compositions made with the TG100 are actually impressive for such a basic little rompler. Some people nowadays complain about it only having 12 bit samples instead of 16 bit but I don't really have a problem with that. I mean, if you want pristine sound quality why are you messing around with 27 year old hardware? The early nineties lo-fi cheese factor is a big part of its appeal IMO and if you're going to dismiss it because "there are things that sound better" you're missing the point. It is what it is: an early and failed attempt by Yamaha to cash in on the GM game music trend. But it was also made for the burgeoning bedroom musician crowd of the time, and in that regard it's a really cool little unit. Dated, of course, but it has plenty of patches that made me go "nice, I want to use this for something!".

It's easy becoming jaded about technology. Sometimes it's justified -- some things just simply become obsolete -- and sometimes it's not. In the case of music equipment I would say that there is very little that doesn't offer at least something cool, unusual and useable, especially when it comes to synths/romplers. If I try to imagine what 1991 me would have thought of this thing... at the time I was 17, still living with my parents, and the the only thing resembling synth gear I had was a Casio VL-1 (!). That, along with a guitar, a preamp/fx unit, a cheap amp, a 1970's tape deck and a boom box, was the extent of my home studio back then. A computer with a sequencer and a TG100 would have blown my mind! So I think it's good to stay humble about these things and keep an open mind. That way you're less likely to miss out on things that actually have musical value even to this day.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-08-2018

OK, here's a quick thing I did. Not exactly my most inspired piece of music, but I just wanted to hear what various patches sound like together.