Tuesday, 2 October 2012

More GTK Studio Bits and Changes!!!

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (hereinafter referred to as GAS) has struck again - quite unexpectedly so as well I can tell you. And as a consequence of this, I've had to make some changes, yet again, in the GTK Studio.
First up are three (yes, three, 3, one after 2, one before 4 etc etc) new synthesizers that have come to me courtesy of my good friend David Wright and the amazing UK composer, Bekki Williams. They are a Kawai K4r (David Wright) and a Korg Wavestation SR and Yamaha TG55 (Bekki Williams), all of which are rack-mounted digital synthesizers.

The Korg Wavestation SR is a classic piece of 1990's rack-mounted digital technology, and broke a lot of ground when it was first introduced in 1992. It gives all the classic Wavestation sounds you could want and has the same advanced vector and wave sequencing synthesis methods employed in the bigger keyboard version. Considering it's essentially digital synthesizer and some 20 years old, it sounds amazing and very warm.
The Yamaha TG55 is the rack-mounted version of the Yamaha SY55 synthesizer and uses sampled waveform layering as the basis of it's sound architecture. The TG55 enables the user to create sounds by  arranging and processing the preset sampled waveforms through a dynamic filter, pitch and amplitude envelope generators and a bank of programmable effects. Again, as with the Wavestation SR, the TG55 is a digital synthesizer that can sound very full and very warm with sounds that are still as relevant today as they were when the unit was released in 1989.
The Kawai K4r is a rack-mount version of the Kawai K4 - bet you couldn't have guessed that :-D The K4r is a sample-based digital synth, with sounds that are nicely and weirdly industrial, derived from 16-bit preset PCM samples of acoustic instruments. The K4 has really nice digital filter section that makes it nice and flexible, giving it s nice warm and fuzzy sound. According to the review and write-ups, the K4r is capable of strange, new and unique sounds with plenty of flexibility and analog-style sound shaping and control. I'm looking forward to putting it through it's paces.

Lastly is an absolutely essential piece of outboard equipment, namely an Emagic Unitor8 MIDI Interface. And why is this bit of gear so important? Well, it's because it allows communication between the external MIDI synthesizers, MIDI keyboard controllers, MIDI-enabled effects units and the GTK Studio Computer. This now means that I can edit/play/control all MIDI-enabled equipment from the computer and two MIDI keyboard controllers without having to unplug anything. Setting it up has been something of a challenge as it's MANY years since I used MIDI in any real sense other than connecting a keyboard to a synthesizer, but it has been totally worth it.

I've also put together and installed a 12U DIY cabinet (which hasn't fallen apart yet) and I am lost in a sea of cables - MIDI and 1/4" jack. This is all a far cry from when I started out six years ago, not wanting to go down the hardware route because I knew how it would go. But, once your set your foot on that particular slippery slope, it truly seems there is no stopping it.

GAS is now on hold, maybe I can start making some music once again......

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