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AFAIK that´s the company who supplied Wal Basses with the Midibass system which has been released in the 80s.

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Same fella took it to Peavey after Wal. Saw the Wal version getting demo'd at BMF 88/89,couldn't make head nor tail of it.

Don't know why it got handed to me,near run a mile xD I've had the Peavey version almost a year,should have run a mile that day too. Still can't make head or tail of it. Insides are scary too.

 

midibase guts.jpg

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It looks like this newer iteration has much less bulky hardware; on the bass body the only differences are the output jack and the LCD on the top horn. 

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Put some RMC piezo pickups and electronics in your bass, these are the best ones you can buy with zero latency. Factory fitted by F-Bass, Fodera, Ken Lawrence, Zon, Klein, Conklin, Roscoe, Sadowsky, Lull, Dingwall, Leduc, Drozd,... to name a few.

http://www.rmcpickup.com

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26 minutes ago, Quatschmacher said:

It looks like this newer iteration has much less bulky hardware; on the bass body the only differences are the output jack and the LCD on the top horn. 

You must remember, the midibase near 27 year old tech. Same principles. Friend of mine at Peavey worked on the fret triggers.

Thing's built to last,I was in a car smash the day I picked it up. It was in a gigbag on the passenger seat when a crazy old guy tore the passenger wing off with his Audi. Bass came off better than I did :D

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I forgot Godin and that it works with any fretless instrument, check Alain Caron using the RMC system !

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Just a heads up that's the RMC system isn't actually MIDI but basically a polyphonic system that can be easily converted to MIDI. It uses a 13 pin output which is comparable with many systems. 

I have the Roland version in two instruments and use them to drive a dedicated GK unit rather than anything MIDI - so you get all the benefits like polyphonic effects but none of the latency. 

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Indeed, like any other system it needs the MIDI conversion card which is the Poly-Drive connected to the standard 13 pins output and then to your midi device. The difference between the hexaphonic Roland GK pickup and the RMC polyphonic piezo is the latency which is close to 0 in the piezo based systems or optical based systems like the Lighwave.

Try the low B latency on a Roland  GK and you'll understand why the MIDI bass master named Alain Caron uses now only the RMC's... He also used the excellent fret recognition based system, but it was impossible to use on fretless bases as the MIDI data is electrically recognised and it won't work with nylon strings either. And he stopped using the Roland GK because of it's too high latency.

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There’s no latency on the GK either. It works just like a magnetic pickup; there’s no conversion going on so the sound is instant (at least when using Roland GR system interfaces, like the Vbass which I know he used/uses)

The only benefit with the piezo based system is the lack of an extra pickup but that’s never bothered me. 

A lot of Caron’s work is recorded using the VB99 and original Vbass before that, which people assume is MIDI but is in fact basically like having an effects pedal for each string. 

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I used a GK3 with a VBass and there was latency on the notes lower than the E. The GK3 had been fitted by Christophe LEDUC who also made the MP-5555 for Alain Caron in the early days of MIDI basses (0,33 second latency on the low B !).

caron.jpg.866930c0a57ab17bb1c6623edb07adef.jpg

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Well I don’t know what to tell you because all it does is transmit the signal from a magnetic pickup to a 13 pin output in exactly the same way a normal pickup does, but with all strings into one output. There’s no latency because nothing is being changed at all, there’s no processing on board, no triggering etc. I can only assume your external unit wasn’t right. I’ve been using GK basses for years and if there was even a tiny bit of latency I wouldn’t touch them. 

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That’s correct- there’s no latency in a pickup. The latency arises when you try to use the signal from that pickup, analyse it for volume and frequency and then send an appropriate midi note message for it. A GK pickup/ Vbass setup does no midi conversion so no latency but also no actual midi.

The Industrial Radio/ Peavey/ Wal setup uses frets split for each string with resistor chains all the way up the fingerboard for note sensing. So again, no audio analysis is performed for pitch sensing- just for note volume information so very low latency and consistent across the entire fingerboard but does actually send midi.

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Just looked at that FretTrax video with Victor Wooten - very impressive.

A lot of ideas taken from the Industrial Radio system like using a different notes to send patch changes and left hand only triggering. The big innovation here is that it doesn't need split frets - there must be some sort of analysis going on to determine which string was fretted for each note, including multiples. Also noted from their website that it does not do open strings - only fretted. It's a long time since I hooked my Wal up to the midi interface but I'm pretty sure it does open strings as well as fretted.

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Not working for open strings would be a bit disconcerting. I've emailed to clarify and to ask if it works with a zero fret, will post reply if I hear back.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ikay said:

Not working for open strings would be a bit disconcerting. I've emailed to clarify and to ask if it works with a zero fret, will post reply if I hear back.

The Frettrax will not trigger on open strings. The triggering is done by the string making contact with the fret.

By contrast, the industrial radio does trigger open strings. This is because (in one mode) the string touching the fret only gives the pitch information; the triggering comes from the sensor in the bridge which detects string movement.

You might be able to use a zero fret on Frettraxx (only as a non-midi note) but only if that fret is not electrically wired up to the others (otherwise it’d be always on).

Edited by Quatschmacher

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Posted (edited)

Here's the reply from FretTrax about triggering open strings and zero frets:

"Thanks for getting in touch and for your question.  I get that question a lot but unfortunately the answer is 'no' - a zero fret doesn't help at all.  I already know, without a zero fret, when a string is open - a string is open if it's not fretted (that's how I turn off a previously fretted note).

So, I could turn on open notes easily without a zero fret - the issue is knowing when NOT to turn them on and when to turn them off.  Otherwise, every open string would ring all the time unless you have a mechanism to SELECTIVELY turn on/off open notes.  And, that mechanism is 'pluck detect' where a right hand pluck triggers a note - and that note can be open or fretted.  That feature is in the works and then FretTraX will have opens, velocity, etc.

All the videos were done with fretted notes only.  Some pretty wild things can be accomplished.  But, when we add pluck detect (still quite a ways away), things will get even wilder!"

Edited by ikay
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There seems to be a lot of confusion is this thread about how the different methods work and what they actually do.

First off there is no pitch detection system that has zero latency. You cannot change the laws of physics which say that you need a minimum one full wave cycle to detect the pitch of a note. In practice, with guitars and basses because of the rich harmonic content of the notes produced by a plucked string, you actually need more than a single wave cycle to guarantee pitch stability, and the very best systems will need a minimum of one and a half cycles plus some clever programming along with it being set up the suit each player's individual style.

This would normally rule out using any bass instrument as the latency for all but the highest notes is going to be easily audible. What generally happens with musicians who persevere with these systems is that they learn to play very slightly ahead of the beat to counteract this built-in latency.

So what has happened is that a couple of alternative systems have been developed to try a get around the pitch detection latency. Industrial Radio use fret sensing to derive the pitch combined with trigger detection from plucking the string.

The Roland V System and the Line6 guitar and bass use signal processing of the individual strings to produce their sounds, so there is no pitch detection needed. The Roland V System in particular works very well until you try and use the MIDI output to drive an external synth, at which point you end up with all the pitch detection problems outlined above.

On top of that in practice all the different systems will require you to modify your playing technique to some extent in order to get the best out of them. Some more than others. The further  you go from plucked string type sounds the more you will need to modify how you play the instrument, to get anything usable out of it.

IME having been seriously interested in using guitars to produce synth type sounds since the first serious commercial models appeared in the late 70s, I've still to be even 75% convinced by any of them. The guitar is for me a very tactile and immediate instrument and many of those qualities fail to translate adequately to synth-type sounds. If I want to produce synth sounds I still find it easier to use a keyboard-base synthesiser. Even with my very rudimentary keyboard technique I can still get results faster and more consistently than try to use a guitar (or bass) to achieve the same thing.

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This is a Chapman "The Grid" version of The Stick.

OzO43Lm.jpg?1

The built-in Roland GK pickup senses the Melody register strings. 13-pin cable into Roland VG-99. Job done. Admittedly, it does feel odd to be triggering low register sounds from plain steel strings.

In my opinion, the best feeling tracking was always the Roland GR-300. Over the intervening decades, I have had the dubious pleasure of trying numerous pitch-to-MIDI systems. I would rather use one of the Electric-Harmonix "9" series pedals.

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2 minutes ago, Funkfingers said:

This is a Chapman "The Grid" version of The Stick.

OzO43Lm.jpg?1

The built-in Roland GK pickup senses the Melody register strings. 13-pin cable into Roland VG-99. Job done. Admittedly, it does feel odd to be triggering low register sounds from plain steel strings.

In my opinion, the best feeling tracking was always the Roland GR-300. Over the intervening decades, I have had the dubious pleasure of trying numerous pitch-to-MIDI systems. I would rather use one of the Electric-Harmonix "9" series pedals.

Looks cool - how about a second 13 pin output and pickup for the bass register, into a VB99 ;)

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8 hours ago, BigRedX said:

There seems to be a lot of confusion is this thread about how the different methods work and what they actually do.

First off there is no pitch detection system that has zero latency. You cannot change the laws of physics which say that you need a minimum one full wave cycle to detect the pitch of a note. In practice, with guitars and basses because of the rich harmonic content of the notes produced by a plucked string, you actually need more than a single wave cycle to guarantee pitch stability, and the very best systems will need a minimum of one and a half cycles plus some clever programming along with it being set up the suit each player's individual style.

This would normally rule out using any bass instrument as the latency for all but the highest notes is going to be easily audible. What generally happens with musicians who persevere with these systems is that they learn to play very slightly ahead of the beat to counteract this built-in latency.

So what has happened is that a couple of alternative systems have been developed to try a get around the pitch detection latency. Industrial Radio use fret sensing to derive the pitch combined with trigger detection from plucking the string.

The Roland V System and the Line6 guitar and bass use signal processing of the individual strings to produce their sounds, so there is no pitch detection needed. The Roland V System in particular works very well until you try and use the MIDI output to drive an external synth, at which point you end up with all the pitch detection problems outlined above.

On top of that in practice all the different systems will require you to modify your playing technique to some extent in order to get the best out of them. Some more than others. The further  you go from plucked string type sounds the more you will need to modify how you play the instrument, to get anything usable out of it.

IME having been seriously interested in using guitars to produce synth type sounds since the first serious commercial models appeared in the late 70s, I've still to be even 75% convinced by any of them. The guitar is for me a very tactile and immediate instrument and many of those qualities fail to translate adequately to synth-type sounds. If I want to produce synth sounds I still find it easier to use a keyboard-base synthesiser. Even with my very rudimentary keyboard technique I can still get results faster and more consistently than try to use a guitar (or bass) to achieve the same thing.

You got it right, but nobody will ever read it as they claim there is no latency whatever system used. And you are right again, every MIDI bass player is anticipating that latency, and again just ask Alain Caron why he stopped playing MIDI bass for years...

The other solution is to buy a SynthAxe, but there are only two guys able to use it : one is dead, the other is crazy...

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15 minutes ago, Hellzero said:

You got it right, but nobody will ever read it as they claim there is no latency whatever system used. And you are right again, every MIDI bass player is anticipating that latency, and again just ask Alain Caron why he stopped playing MIDI bass for years...

The other solution is to buy a SynthAxe, but there are only two guys able to use it : one is dead, the other is crazy...

Yes but you said there is latency with a GK + Vbass, which there isn’t :)

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On 08/01/2018 at 22:49, ped said:

how about a second 13 pin output and pickup for the bass register, into a VB99 ;)

That would require;

  • a new slot to be cut in the polycarbonate for a second GK pickup.
  • a GK hexaphonic pickup to be modified to pentaphonic and re-cased with the required string spacing.
  • space on the edge of the instrument to hang a second GK-3 or -3 control body.

To be honest, I like the bass register half of The Stick for its own sound. More importantly, I do not possess a Roland VB-99.

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