DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

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DLQ
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DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by DLQ »

Hi all, just recently got my first MIDI guitar in general…

I tried googling this but was hoping for the simplest answer to:

Which Roland or other guitar synth unit is a good one to start out with / test the electronics? What kind of cable is needed to go from the synth unit to the amp?

Trying to keep it as low cost a purchase as possible as I’m completely new to MIDI.

Thanks!
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mmmguitar
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Re: DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by mmmguitar »

DLQ wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:40 am Which Roland or other guitar synth unit is a good one to start out with / test the electronics? What kind of cable is needed to go from the synth unit to the amp?
Firstly, congrats! I know others here are also into 13 pin stuff. So, until they chime in:

Whichever synth unit you end up going with, you'll need a 13 pin cable from the guitar to the unit, and then a standard 1/4" mono guitar cable to run from the "guitar" output of the unit to your amp. However, your unit will likely also include an additional pair of 1/4"-outs for routing the internally-processed stereo sounds the unit can produce (intended to be routed to a mixer or amp FX loop). Whichever unit you go with, finding a copy of the manual online will likely be essential to navigating the non-intuitive calibration and signal-routing menus these devices have.

At present, guitar synth users tend to favor one of two approaches: Hexaphonic DSP (ala the Line 6 Variax and emulations of Roland's old analog pitch-to-voltage guitar synths from the 80s) and pitch-to-MIDI conversion. You'll eventually find you prefer one path more than the other; which will determine your subsequent hardware investments.

For someone just getting into guitar synths, any secondhand Roland GR-20 or 30 will likely be the cheapest to invest in that covers all bases, while having the most features in common with current flagship units: Guitar modeling with alternate tunings, internal sample triggering of a range of "synth-y" sounds, and MIDI-outs that can be routed to the MIDI-in of another synth.

For players who prefer hex DSP, the discontinued Roland VG-99 is the pinnacle which some would argue has not yet been equaled. Modern alternatives from Roland include the SY-1000 and somewhat recent GR-55 (which I happen to use). The Antares ATG-1 was another specialized unit that's now next-to-impossible to find. It offered guitar modeling, alternate tunings, and perfect intonation via auto-tune.

For those who prefer pitch-to-MIDI, they'll find that the Roland stuff just doesn't do it as well as it could. The discontinued Axon AX-100 was considered superior to Roland in MIDI conversion tracking, with the modern Fishman TriplePlay pickup currently considered the best pitch-to-MIDI converter setup available. Other hex pickup brands on the market arguably better-suited for pitch-to-MIDI include LightWave and Cycfi.

Note that Roland guitar synths tend to have a setup menu in which the source pickup is specified (e.g., Roland GK-3, RMC piezo, Fishman piezo, LR Baggs piezo, Graphtech Piezo, etc.). Piezo hex setups (such as what's in your DF824) have inherent crosstalk between saddle elements which prevents "perfect" tracking, and various owners have setup or modification tricks to mitigate this (Richard McClish of RMC, for example, sells a replacement board for the Roland GR-55 which filters out some of the common crosstalk frequencies one is liable to encounter with piezo setups).


Feel free to pick my brain here or via PM until you're sick of me. I also recommend diving into https://www.vguitarforums.com/smf/; as Elantric and the rest of the community are the foremost experts on guitar synth tech.
Summary of the Parker Guitars speculator market from 2020 onward: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory
DLQ
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Re: DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by DLQ »

Thanks for such a detailed reply!

Any preference you may have for the 20 or 30 if prices are similar? I saw a 33 also that looks to be in a similar price range, if not less expensive.

Thanks again.
DLQ
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Re: DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by DLQ »

Thanks for the link. Might be a bit pricier than I was hoping for a first go around…

UNLESS:

It is part of the rig from hell videos that mmmguitar posted! I have to watch the rest, I saw just the first segment of the first video and my mind was blown.

I don’t foresee myself with a rig like that any time soon… but for now I may stick with a Roland GR series that look to be priced sub 200.

Patzag do you have any preference for the 20, 30, or 33 from the perspective of just getting started?
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mmmguitar
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Re: DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by mmmguitar »

DLQ wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:57 pm Any preference you may have for the 20 or 30 if prices are similar? I saw a 33 also that looks to be in a similar price range, if not less expensive.
This thread recommends the 33 over the 20 and 30. Then again, it seems the 33 has no COSM guitar modeling ala Variax, as the 55 does. So other than encouraging you to research which features you feel you can live without, I'm afraid I have no personal preference beyond owning a GR-55 instead of the others. I just recommend "buying to try" what works for your budget, with the understanding that you'll likely resell it once you have a better idea of what you want out of the gear.
Summary of the Parker Guitars speculator market from 2020 onward: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory
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Re: DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by Patzag »

The 33 worked. Never tried the 55.
Use to own the GR 50 rack, then the 33.
Always wanted the Axon. Much better than any Roland unit for midi conversion, splits, etc.
Can't comment on the VG series or 55. I bailed from the synth guitar world at some point. Too many false notes with the Roland to be used professionally,
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Re: DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by DLQ »

Thank you mmmguitar and patzag. I’m going to look for a 33 for the moment as an entry point.

Gotta check out more of that rig from hell also. Mmmguitar you may be hearing from me yet!
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Re: DF824 MIDI… suggestions for guitar synth?

Post by mmmguitar »

DLQ wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 10:41 am Gotta check out more of that rig from hell also. Mmmguitar you may be hearing from me yet!
Thanks. I'm happy to shoot the breeze with anyone about gear.
Summary of the Parker Guitars speculator market from 2020 onward: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory
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