DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Sam Bo » Wed, 25 Jun 1997 04:00:00



Having read a lot about quality of the DB50XG I bought one. Either I've
done something wrong or the instrumental samples are not very good. The
strings, clarinet, brass etc sound not much better than the 2meg sound font
I was using. The piano sound clangy above C2 above middle C. The violin,
viola and cello sound horrible as well and the vibrato is most unreal.

Am I expecting too much? If so, what makes the DB50XG so good?

Would I have been better off with an 8Meg sound font?

Sam

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Sean Coad » Thu, 26 Jun 1997 04:00:00



> Having read a lot about quality of the DB50XG I bought one. Either I've
> done something wrong or the instrumental samples are not very good. The
> strings, clarinet, brass etc sound not much better than the 2meg sound font
> I was using. The piano sound clangy above C2 above middle C. The violin,
> viola and cello sound horrible as well and the vibrato is most unreal.

> Am I expecting too much? If so, what makes the DB50XG so good?

> Would I have been better off with an 8Meg sound font?

> Sam

Sam,

I have a DB50xg on an AWE32 and I am very happy with it although I think
I know what you mean, some of the sounds are a little off putting (This
is compared to my professional keyboards costing up to $5000).  I guess
the main advantage is the Yamaha XG side of it, the different ways that
you can change those on board sounds is vastly superior to the GM
controls you have on the AWE.

I you haven't already, have a listen to some of the better XG sequences
available on the net, original pieces by Keyboard Wizard (Michael
Walthius(hope I spelt that right)) and David Kelly really show off what
the XG standard can do.  And if that doesn't convince you, try changing
the MIDI output of Windows to your AWE and compare them.  The modulation
options and controls are what really make this board shine over just
about everything else that is out there, especially at the price.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, no IMO you have not made a
mistake.

Sean Coady

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Sam Bo » Thu, 26 Jun 1997 04:00:00


[Snip]

Quote:>  I guess
>the main advantage is the Yamaha XG side of it, the different ways that
>you can change those on board sounds is vastly superior to the GM
>controls you have on the AWE.

[Snip]
> original pieces by Keyboard Wizard (Michael
>Walthius(hope I spelt that right)) and David Kelly really show off what
>the XG standard can do.

Thanks Sean,

My main use for sound is to play classical & folk music in the way I wish
to hear them. I've picked up a lot of midi files and entered a few of my
own and I'm trying to get them to sound better. I find working on a tune
rather hard when the sound is irritating!

I've heard some original stuff and demos for XG and, indeed, they sound
magnificent - but I can't work out how to make individual instruments sound
good let alone magnificent. I suppose, to get a more realistic sound, I
need several different sounds for each instrument - but I want to put more
effort into the music rather than the sound. I play a violin and, having
got enough technique, I can just make music. I'm trying to make music with
a sound card, hoping to get a box of instruments I can play together.

Quote:>So I guess what I am trying to say is, no IMO you have not made a
>mistake.

Thanks. Do you still think so after reading this?

Sam

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Mark Harro » Thu, 26 Jun 1997 04:00:00


Sam,

Quote:>My main use for sound is to play classical & folk music in the way I wish
>to hear them.

It's very hard for any sound module to stand up to the scrutiny of a
solo. Most great sounding midi files conceal the sonic shortcomings of
the module by clever arrangement and effects processing.

I think the DB50XG is best of its kind but, with the sort of application
you have in mind you might be better off using it for background
arrangements and use the soundfont facility you have on the AWE to load
in high quality (ie big!) samples of the instrument(s) you want to solo

--
Mark Harrop

The Uncertain Music Corps - http://www.umcorps.demon.co.uk
"It don't mean a thing if it aint got that doubt"

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Sam Bo » Fri, 27 Jun 1997 04:00:00



>Sam,

[snip]

Quote:

>I think the DB50XG is best of its kind but, with the sort of application
>you have in mind you might be better off using it for background
>arrangements and use the soundfont facility you have on the AWE to load
>in high quality (ie big!) samples of the instrument(s) you want to solo

Do they really need to be big?  I don't need lots of drum samples (the odd
bit of percussion), I'd be happy with only one or two bass instruments but
it'd unlikely for a piece to require an electric bass _and_ a string bass.
As long it they _sounds_ pleasantly accurate I suspect a string bass would
do for most music.

Sam

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Mark Harro » Fri, 27 Jun 1997 04:00:00


Quote:>Do they really need to be big?  

I didn't mean big in the sense of having huge numbers of instruments
available in a given soundfont. I was actually thinking of a single
instrument soundfont that used high quality samples.

If you are looking for accurate sounds you need to use samples with
sufficient detail for the job and detail=information=size.

For example, I've spent the past few days putting together a cello
soundfont which is based around a sample of each the open strings. It
sounds pretty good but, as the sf2 is just under 2mb so it should! I
plan to make a second one shortly that will not need the samples to be
looped which will probably push it the wrong side of 6mb. The point is
that I can exploit the onboard memory of the AWE with this kind of
luxurious use of memory and rely on other modules (like the DB50XG) to
provide the less critical parts of the arrangement.
--
Mark Harrop

The Uncertain Music Corps - http://www.umcorps.demon.co.uk
"It don't mean a thing if it aint got that doubt"

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Timothy Kel » Tue, 01 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Hi All,
   An Awe32 combined with a good db is a good combo. One can use the
daughterboard of ones choice, also the soundfonts one wants.
   As far as the XG strings go, the Roland cards still have better
sounding strings, both the GS violin and fiddle bend and slide quite
nicely.
   Like most soundcards, many of the factory sounds and settings are
nothing to get e*d about. On the both the GS and XG soundcards, one
can get in there and improve the sounds 100% by learning to do some
simple sound editing.
   With the awe's you dont have as many editing options, because you
load in your own samples, same for an external sampler.
   One can custom edit ones samples in any sample editing program
before uploading to the soundcard anyway.
   Happy Sounds
   Timothy Kelly
   MidiVox
--
MidiVox - Worlds 1st Real Time Voice to Midi. BioSensor Neckband
+ Rack Mount Brain.

Hum, Sing, Scat, Talk, Rap, Croon. AES Best in Show. EM's
Editors Choice. Keyboard "MidiVox Roars."

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by S9 » Wed, 02 Jul 1997 04:00:00




> >Do they really need to be big?  

> I didn't mean big in the sense of having huge numbers of instruments
> available in a given soundfont. I was actually thinking of a single
> instrument soundfont that used high quality samples.

> If you are looking for accurate sounds you need to use samples with
> sufficient detail for the job and detail=information=size.

> For example, I've spent the past few days putting together a cello
> soundfont which is based around a sample of each the open strings. It
> sounds pretty good but, as the sf2 is just under 2mb so it should! I
> plan to make a second one shortly that will not need the samples to be
> looped which will probably push it the wrong side of 6mb. The point is
> that I can exploit the onboard memory of the AWE with this kind of
> luxurious use of memory and rely on other modules (like the DB50XG) to
> provide the less critical parts of the arrangement.
> --
> Mark Harrop

> The Uncertain Music Corps - http://www.umcorps.demon.co.uk
> "It don't mean a thing if it aint got that doubt"

As an aside at this point, the DB50XG is IMHO _far_ superior to the
AWE32 (My DB50 sits on my AWE32). Does anyone making quality tunes
actually use the AWE32 for anything but putting samples on? The drums
are poor in the extreme (cf the DB50) and many of the sounds lack
that quality of the DB50. One thing you should try and do is not
use the DB50's sounds 'dry'. Add a bit of reverb and chorus to it
and they really come into their own. They beat the AWE32's hands
down any day (but the AWE32's fine for playing games).

I'm still not convinced unfortunately that the AWE32 is even that
good for playing samples though. While it's fine for most stuff,
I've noticed that it can't reproduce the bass particularly well.
I've got some great 909 bass drums that are well wicked when played
using, eg Goldwave or Cooledit, but after I shunt them onto the
AWE32 the sound goes to shit. The bass disapears and I'm left with
this crappy drum sound. Utterly pathetic really.

l8r,
g

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Mark Harro » Wed, 02 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Quote:>As an aside at this point, the DB50XG is IMHO _far_ superior to the
>AWE32 (My DB50 sits on my AWE32). Does anyone making quality tunes
>actually use the AWE32 for anything but putting samples on?

Well....I think I do some of the time :) BUT....I rarely use the AWE in
its "out of the box" state. You can get some quite interesting sounds
out of the EMU8000 on the AWE if you are prepared to get messy with
NRPNs. In fact, I find the EMU8000 is more programmable than the DB50XG.
Some of the effects I have achieved relatively easily using, say, a
pitch envelope on the EMU8000 are difficult to duplicate on the DB50XG.

The main problem is in programming the EMU8000 with any ease. It amazes
me that Creative Labs have not produced a decent editor for the AWE.
Most of my work with the AWE is done using Koan Pro which, happily,
makes it dead easy to get at all of the features of the EMU8000 in some
very powerful and flexible ways. If you haven't done so you should check
it out to see what sort of noise you CAN get from the AWE with the right
tools.

Better still, get yourself a copy of Koan web (its free) and check out
some of the pieces on the AWE page of the Uncertain Music Corps (end of
shameless plug)

Quote:>Add a bit of reverb and chorus to it
>and they really come into their own. They beat the AWE32's hands
>down any day

Agreed. The effect module of the DB50XG is worth the price of the card
alone.

Quote:

>I'm still not convinced unfortunately that the AWE32 is even that
>good for playing samples though. While it's fine for most stuff,
>I've noticed that it can't reproduce the bass particularly well.
>I've got some great 909 bass drums that are well wicked when played
>using, eg Goldwave or Cooledit, but after I shunt them onto the
>AWE32 the sound goes to shit. The bass disapears and I'm left with
>this crappy drum sound. Utterly pathetic really.

Not clear what you mean here. Unless you have another card fitted,
CoolEdit is putting .wav out via the AWE in any case. If you are doing
what I think you mean, the problem arises because once you convert a set
of samples to soundfonts, they are passed through the envelopes, filter
and effects (ha!) on the EMU8000. Once you have imported your samples
into Vienna try playing with the resonance/filter cutoff settings (for
starters) until you find the sounds that you want. In my experience
there can be a considerable variation between how a soundfont sounds
under contruction in Vienna and how it sounds when actually used in
anger. I have no idea why this should happen but it does. Again, this is
where something like Koan Pro helps because you can carry on tweaking
the sounds in realtime

--
Mark Harrop

The Uncertain Music Corps - http://www.umcorps.demon.co.uk
"It don't mean a thing if it aint got that doubt"

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Sam Bo » Wed, 02 Jul 1997 04:00:00



>As an aside at this point, the DB50XG is IMHO _far_ superior to the
>AWE32 (My DB50 sits on my AWE32).

Compare oboe,  clarinet,  violin and  french horn. The DB50XG sounds not
much different to an AWE with a 2meg sound font. I think the massed strings
sound worse.  When playing a duo for oboe and basson both devices sound
horrible at times.

Quote:>I've got some great 909 bass drums that are well wicked when played
>using, eg Goldwave or Cooledit, but after I shunt them onto the
>AWE32 the sound goes to shit. The bass disapears and I'm left with
>this crappy drum sound. Utterly pathetic really.

It's relatively rare for drums to be significant in the  music I like,  but
some timp notes do sound better on the DB50XG.

Sam

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by Pete Col » Fri, 04 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Hi !

Quote:> As an aside at this point, the DB50XG is IMHO _far_ superior to the
> AWE32 (My DB50 sits on my AWE32). Does anyone making quality tunes
> actually use the AWE32 for anything but putting samples on?

Well, yes ! :-)

Check out http://www.sseyo.com/genmus1.html ... no less a guru
of the musical treatment than Brian Eno, has released an album
of music *specifically* for the AWE32 - "Generative Music 1".
And the key here is that it does *NOT* use samples. :-)

Instead, Brian was able to tweak the standard sounds on the AWE
to get exactly the effects / moods he wanted, by extensive
manipulation of the many built-in AWE NRPN controllers ... something
that is really easy to use BTW using SSEYO's Koan Pro software
(http://www.sseyo.com/kprobroc.html).

So - a major facet of the AWE cards is that they are so programmmable.
Letting you change the standard sounds into something really unique.
Not something that Creative or many other people seem to have publicised
or picked-up on much, but there you go. This IMHO is one of the problems
with most other Wavetable cards - there is little you can change in the
basic
sounds due to the general lack of controller support (the XG range does
of course have *excellent* controller support, again directly supported
by Koan Pro).

Just my 2 cents ! ;-)

All the best,

Pete

 
 
 

DB50XG, have I made a mistake?

Post by S9 » Wed, 09 Jul 1997 04:00:00



Bond) writes:

> >As an aside at this point, the DB50XG is IMHO _far_ superior to the
> >AWE32 (My DB50 sits on my AWE32).

> Compare oboe,  clarinet,  violin and  french horn. The DB50XG sounds not
> much different to an AWE with a 2meg sound font. I think the massed strings
> sound worse.  When playing a duo for oboe and basson both devices sound
> horrible at times.

Perhaps on their own, but I've recently been playing Warcraft II and have
you compared the AWE32 sound with the External MIDI option (ie the DB50XG)?
The drums are _far_ superior and have a better depth to the sounds. Also,
the AWE32's strings aren't particularly well looped in places and these
are really noticeable in some pieces. The only problem I have with the
DB50 is that its sounds aren't that hot unless you apply some fx to them,
especially for solo type stuff, and I hate messing around putting all
those numbers into Cubase's List box... On that note, some versions of
Cubase don't seem at all good at sending all the MIDI data at all. I've
got a _really_ good Voodoo Chile MIDI that simply plays like shit through
Cubase 1.0, is fine with Orchestrator Plus, Cubase Score and Cubase 3.0
but refuses to play with 1.0. The 3.0 version's a demo btw.

I think the main problem is what people expect from their sound/daughter
cards. The AWE32 (or AWE64 which, from what I can tell, simply improves
on the noisy parts of the 32) is alright for game playing but at over
100 quid (UK) it's pretty expensive. The DB50 is about the same price
and offers far better sounds than the 32, but only if you're prepared
to work with it. You _have_ to learn to play with XGEdit and mess around
with all the SYSEX bollocks if you want great sounds. Compare the really
good XG files with any of the best AWE32 stuff. It's no comparison.

Compared to, say, the current crop of sound modules, alright, they're
not much cop, but for the price they are superb. A DB50 will set you
back about 100quid. It's getting difficult to even find AWE32's any
more, and the AWE64 is over 100 quid (UK pounds), add to that about
30quid for a memory upgrade and is it really worth it, especially
since the upgrades are now propriety ones. If Yamaha were to make the
DB50 as a standalone card with sample capacity on it it'd be a killer.
At least then we wouldn't have huge hiss, pathetic downgrade of sample
quality when put on the board and an unfair price because Yamaha know
what they're doing. The DB50 truly brings power without the price.
You get FX processors, a huge sound set and XG support. It beats the
AWE32 IMO.

Quote:> >I've got some great 909 bass drums that are well wicked when played
> >using, eg Goldwave or Cooledit, but after I shunt them onto the
> >AWE32 the sound goes to shit. The bass disapears and I'm left with
> >this crappy drum sound. Utterly pathetic really.

> It's relatively rare for drums to be significant in the  music I like,  but
> some timp notes do sound better on the DB50XG.

> Sam

The point of me saying that was because the AWE32 simply can't handle
bass samples put on it properly. The deep bass sounds I'd love to use
sound like *farts once on the AWE32. This simply shouldn't happen
really, but that's the price for choosing a game soundcard.

l8r,
g

 
 
 

1. having trouble connecting my MIDI keyboard to my PC

Here is what I have:
A EP-693A VIA Apollo pro133 AGPset motherboard with an inbuilt
MTU-401/Gameport Joystick connector (little thing similar to a serial
port but with a different number of pins)
A RadioShack MD-981 MIDI Keyboard which has standard MIDI in and out
connectors (round connectors with a semicircle of pin holes)
A cable thats labeled "MIDI cable" and is currently plugged into the
MIDI in/out ports on my keyboard and into the MIDI port on my PC.
And A copy of Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 (full version)

The problem is that I dont get any sound out of my keyboard when I
send data to it and I dont get any data in Cakewalk when I record and
I play something on my keyboard. The MIDI cable is plugged in the
correct way around so it cant be that.
Cakewalk is correctly detecting the VIA MIDI External Port as both an
input and output device and its selected in both cases.
The keyboard does output sound when I play on the keys.
Cakewalk plays sound through the MIDI mapper and Microsoft GS
Wavetable Synth output devices no problems.

I just cant get the 2 devices to talk to each other.
Anyone got any ideas what to try? I have tried everything listed under
"troubleshooting" in the manual for my keyboard and in the Cakewalk
help but that didnt help either.
Do I need some other piece of hardware that I could be missing?
Could it be that my MIDI cable is stuffed?

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