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  1. Jonathan
  2. Getting Started with MIDI
  3. Friday, 18 August 2017
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Hello,

I'm looking to buy a Xylosynth in the next month or two. It's going to be a shared instrument between myself and my father. My dad is not very tech-saavy and I am new to MIDI tech as well - so I've come here to have a second set of eyes.

I contacted the (extremely helpful) Wernick folks and they highly recommend using a laptop with Focusrite device combined with sounds from Pianoteq (they offered other options for Apple products, but I already have a few Win7/Win10 machines around so I'm going that route). Would the Scarlet 2i4 be the appropriate product?

Would I need any additional equipment (aside from the amp)?I want to make sure that I'm looking at the correct equipment and not missing anything before I actually get started so that I can budget accordingly.

I'm also looking for alternative input - if someone has other product or setup suggestions I'd love to hear. My budget isn't infinite, but I'm willing to spend a bit more if the end result is significantly better in some way.

For my dad, I'd like to have a "magic black box" onto which I can load some good voices so that all my dad has to do is plug the Xylosynth into the magic box, and the magic box into the sound system, and then not have to worry about anything else. Can you recommend any products?

Thanks!
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Yes, the Xylosynth is basically a Midi controller.

Looking at the info on the mfg web page, I see that the XS does NOT come with any sounds of it's own, but for an extra fee some can be supplied, but they admit that the sounds they can supply aren't that good.

As you say, the computer could be used as a sound source, maybe there are some good digital sounds available that way, but it seems to be a far more complex solution than necessary. Maybe not so bad if you already have the PC, and other bits, and experience of linking them all together.

Maybe you could go that way. But I'm not sure you should go that way immed.

I would suggest you check out some of the modules. Possibilities by Roland, Yamaha, Korg, but there are others. Many possibilities available 2nd hand, prob for less that the mfg charge for their (??) sounds.

Each of the modules will give you basic Marimba, glock, xylophone patches (sounds) to choose from, plus prob other alternative/similar patches, plus the ability to edit the sounds, plus possibilities to use effects and overlays (i.e. playing the same or similar patches using the same notes on different channels, but with maybe slight differences between the two to fatten/modify the sound. Lots of things to experiment with.

BUT, you need to take note of the (fairly sophisticated) midi controllers that the Xylosynth can generate, and you need a tone module that will respond to as many of those controllers as possible. You're paying a LOT for that sophistication, you don't want to waste it by using a unit that disregards the info because it doesn't know about it.

Then, you keep things simple. XS midi out plugs into module midi in. Module audio out plugs into amp in. Yes, there are some possible complications with channel info sent be XS and recognised by module, and how to set sounds on module, but those things can be set and readily activated.

Geoff
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Getting Started with MIDI
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Howdy,

I greatly appreciate your stepping in to help.

The end goal will be performance with a small jazz band, as well as some solo work. The instrument itself should be capable of producing vibraphone and marimba sounds (though not necessarily at the same time).

but what's the pc/laptop for.
My understanding (please correct me here if I'm incorrect) is that the Xylosynth is a MIDI controller, and that it would interface with additional hardware that will produce the sounds which then go out to the amp. The recommendation was that a laptop serve that role, using sounds from Pianoteq.

I think a standalone device would be a MIDI sound module, but I've also seen other terms that seem to relate to the same hardware - or perhaps they're all slightly different and the nuance is lost on me. There's a lot of terminology to learn and I'm pretty sure that I'm getting a few things wrong, but that's why I'm here.

Thank you very much!
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Getting Started with MIDI
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Hmm, interesting. Never heard of the 'Xylosynth' before. I take it it's, in effect, an alternative to the usual keyboard controller.

You don't say what you hope to do with this setup. If you see this as a musical instrument to be played, like a normal xylophone, or piano, then fine, but what's the pc/laptop for. And the usb interface? I'd have expected to use USB/midi to connect the Xylophone to a tone module of some type, i.e. one that does various xylophone/marimba/etc voices, and then connect the tone module audio output to an amp or tape recorder, and off you go. Of course, if you're going into all sorts of extra things, then you'll need a DAW or suchlike and then you'll need a PC and things will be a LOT more complicated.

So, a little more detail on your intentions please.

Geoff
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Getting Started with MIDI
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