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Look At All This MIDI - Part 2

Look at this. Look at this wonderful UI. This the Korg M1 UI (this screenshot being the iM1 app in particular):

From working with iM1, I began to understand more and more complex patch creation that I hadn't before, such as the LA synthesis from the MT-32 I had bought years earlier. And I wanted more to play with. I began to amass some more hardware, building out a rack with multiple units in it. With the MT-32 now crazy pricy, I sold that off for much more than I originally bought it for, instead grabbing a roughly equivalent D-110. I also got newer Roland JV-2080, and a few expansion cards, and a Korg Triton Rack. Soon I had amassed a massively complex setup of multiple rackmount units, a mixer, a MIDI switch, and more... And that became a hassle I quickly grew tired of.

It was time to downsize. I gradually sold off all the hardware (except the D-110, because nobody wants to buy those), replacing it all with one single unit: the Roland Integra-7. The Integra-7 is a superset of their JV line, with the internal ROM of the XV-5080, and every single commercial expansion board ever made for it, as well as another set of un-editable presets on a special expansion ROM (including another return of the Touhou fandom's favorite patch RomanticTp, which I also since learned originated from one of the JV expansion boards before ZUN made it famous in the SD-90). The full JV library is all I was originally interested in, but it also has a second synthesizer engine that's meant for much more realistic natural instrument sounds. And it also has a third synthesis engine too, a Virtual Analogue synthesizer, which gives even more options. Way more than I was expecting to get out of it originally, it really is an insanely nice all-in-one unit, that's going on more than eight years of being manufactured because Roland's not made anything to succeed it.

Because I do travel a lot (or, well, did, stupid pandemic), there's a number of software plugins I use as well as the Integra. I've still got the SC-VA which I use occasionally, as well as the Korg Gadget collection of plugins, and their software Triton which they introduced last year. Additionally there's a few more retro plugins I use when I want to make older-style sound, such as a few chip simulators, a VST emulating the Ensoniq SQ-80, and there's a VST version of the Munt MT-32 emulator, too. I've got a number of songs that use multiples of those together, which sometimes my DAW doesn't like and crashes and I have to reload a few times until it opens correctly (not actually sure which plugin exactly is the offending one). The particularly nice thing is working together with the Integra-7, because that's an ASIO device so I can route sound out from my DAW into it to play together with the Integra, and while I only just recently finished the setup for this, I can have everything playing out from the Integra through my monitor speakers without a complicated setup like with my previous rack hardware.

There's a couple more pieces of hardware I have still: keyboards. Before I sold the Triton Rack back off again, I needed a replacement screen for it, because I bought it cheap as-is/parts only because it had bad lines. I had originally found a local listing for a Korg Karma and saw it had the same screen, and was going to buy it and swap them, but it sold before that. But as I read about that keyboard, being a Triton engine together with a crazy music generator, that sounded interesting on its own, so I bought one from an online dealer. The Karma engine is cool, but really complicated to use, and I've been on-again-off-again interested with it, and right now I'm sitting at not interested anymore and want to sell it off again. I also threw in the EXB-MOSS virtual analogue board in the Karma, after originally buying it for the Triton Rack and holding onto it, and while that's a crazy board and part of why I kept holding onto the Karma, I'm ready to part with it (but if Korg makes a VST version of tht unit someday I'll be dropping for it in a heartbeat).

The second keyboard I don't have as much of an excuse for. Last year in summer going pandemic stir crazy led me to buying a Roland FA-06, which is basically a keyboard with a stripped down version of the Integra-7's three engines. That doesn't really give me any benefit though, being a little nicer to edit patches directly on the unit than it is on the Integra's tiny screen, but more limited in ROM size so only 2 expansions can be loaded at once, so I finally got over it and will sell it again. Because of their bulky size, I don't want to try and ship them, so both keyboards are waiting for until I feel safe selling them locally because of the pandemic. Hopefully soon I can get vaccinated.

Maybe somebody will want the D-110 then, too.

Date posted: 22 March, 2021
Tags: musicmaking
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