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Subrick
Metal freak

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:27 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:28 am 
 

Someone said that there wasn't a section for the keyboardists here. So I, being a keyboardist myself, decided to make this topic so all us keys players have a place to discuss the instrument.

Now then, discuss.
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Astrotoast
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:45 pm
Posts: 4
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:55 pm 
 

Hello. This finally motivated me to make a new account since I've forgotten my old account info. What are some techniques or anything that one would suggest for a keyboardist just starting out. It would help if anyone who first learned the guitar (like me) and then also learned the keyboard could give their tips.

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emperorlives
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 67
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:55 pm 
 

The best thing to do is learn the notes all up and down piano.

Also, download TuxGuitar, and learn the scales with the piano view program on there.

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Nightwisher1990
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 478
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:17 am 
 

I am learning keyboards and I can play some actually. :D
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emperorlives
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 67
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:28 pm 
 

Someone please sticky this thread....

Also, yeah I'm slowly learning keys too... Mostly play dark ambient with them for now, though.

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:56 pm 
 

Hello, my name is CorpseFister, and I am a synthesizer addict.

I currently own quite a few - Roland Juno-G, Roland SH201, Korg R3, Korg Lambda, Korg DS8, Moog LP, plus a lovely Hammond M3 organ (got it from the original owner who had kept it in excellent condition) and a digital piano Roland produced in the early 70s (it doesn’t sound that much like a real piano, but still has quite a nice tone).

I don’t have much to say on playing, other than do your best to learn proper technique from the start. I am currently working on unlearning some bad habits I developed after a few years of self-teaching.

Anyone else here collect hardware synths (digital or analog)?

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LordOminous
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:17 pm
Posts: 466
Location: Oosterhout, Netherlands
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:46 pm 
 

CorpseFister wrote:
Anyone else here collect hardware synths (digital or analog)?


Synthtard here reporting in. Hardware4lyfe! Can't be doing with VST's anymore.

Roland SonicCell
Korg KARMA
Korg Trinity Rack
Korg MS 2000B
Korg Poly-800
Korg Kaossilator
Roland AX-7 (two of them, actually)
Yamaha Clavinova organ of some description

That's my collection so far. Really want to get something proper and sexy and analogue though when I can afford it (got my eye on a Dave Smith Prophet 08).

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rexxz
Retired

Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:45 pm
Posts: 8756
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:50 pm 
 

I'm in the reverse of that process. I started with nothing but analog and started to abandon it somewhat in the past couple of years. I still like a few of my modules but nothing will replace my top DSP items.

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:17 pm 
 

rexxz wrote:
I still like a few of my modules but nothing will replace my top DSP items.


What in particular are you using? I use a lot of analog modelers but I'm not really familiar with digital signal processing.

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rexxz
Retired

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:32 pm 
 

Depends on what in particular you're talking about. If you're asking for straight synthesis, I use z3ta+, Gladiator and Vanguard a lot. There are some other ROMplers I like too... Absynth is also particularly nice and it's modular as well so you can really get very deep into the synthesis to create some very intricate patches, which is something I'd never be able to do with an analog module (well, there's actually a few that are modular as well so that isn't entirely true; but it's definitely the norm). I could probably spend 5 pages talking about everything I use, though. Don't even get me started on effects and EQ ;)

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:35 pm 
 

Ah, seen. For some reason I thought DSP might refer to something more specific. I have a friend who really likes Absynth, but Ive never had a chance to use it much myself.

Digital has a lot to offer and is definitely more versatile, but do you find there are some things that just sound better with analog?

LordOminous, I assume you use the AX-7 for playing live? What are you controlling with them (they did put an internal synth into it until the next model correct)?

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rexxz
Retired

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:08 pm 
 

I actually don't think certain things sound necessarily better with analog, only different. Likewise with digital. There are a lot of digital functions that an analog synth just won't be capable of reproducing. Plus you factor in the cost of upkeep with vacuum tubes and repairing transistor connections when they go bad, as well as the lack of portability, space... this is why I have a minimal amount of hardware now opposed to some years ago. I know of the pros and cons other analog fanatics will cite about their favorite gear; that's fine. It just isn't for me.

DSP is really a catch-all term for anything that uses digital computation to manipulate or process audio. It can be a VST, DX, AU, RTAS or whatever other format you prefer. It can be synths, effects, dynamics, EQ, etc.

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:29 pm 
 

rexxz wrote:
DSP is really a catch-all term for anything that uses digital computation to manipulate or process audio. It can be a VST, DX, AU, RTAS or whatever other format you prefer. It can be synths, effects, dynamics, EQ, etc.


Gotcha.

Yeah, just different is probably the best was to look at analog vs. digital. A few years back when I got the Moog Little Phatty (good synth, but just the worst name ever… I usually refuse to call it that) I briefly became convinced that analog was the only way to go. So I started looking around online for some old gear, didn’t really find much I could afford/wanted, but then I saw a Korg DS8 for dirt cheap and grabbed it on a whim. It was Korgs answer to Yamahas DX7, but its interface is designed to make FM synthesis a bit more accessible. The presets are balls but after getting a feel for it I made some really unique and rich tones that just cannot not be produced using an analog synth.

Since then I’ve had an appreciation for both analog and digital synths, using them in different ways. I still love the moog lowpass filter though… that’s one thing none of my analog modellers can quite match.

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phibzy
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:48 am
Posts: 290
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:28 am 
 

Good to see a topic for the Keyboard players out there. :)

I myself have had a couple years experience of Piano/Keyboards in my primary school years, however as my musical tastes have begun to drastically broaden, I have started teaching myself the guitar(sorta), however I also find going back to some keyboard playing appealing as well, as I am interested to see if I can play any simple metal songs. All I gotta do now is just dig out the old keyboard from the attic.
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elf48687789
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
Posts: 1632
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:27 am 
 

CorpseFister wrote:
Digital has a lot to offer and is definitely more versatile, but do you find there are some things that just sound better with analog
In terms of electronic music, analog is better for chillout/ambient/atmospheric (although FM also has its place), and digital sounds better for harder stuff like hardtek, in my opinion anyways.

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:42 pm 
 

I would probably lean the opposite way. Using something digital, with higher polyphony and more waveform choices makes for more complex and interesting pads. Same goes for sound effects or ambient noises. At the very least using digital increases the sonic possibilities- the incredible range and depth of sounds that the roland juno-g can make is absolutely mind-boggling, so its perfect for making textured, complex ambient music. But for something like hard techno or industrial I’d want deep, cutting bass sounds and that’s a time when I’d probably turn to my moog for the sharpness of the analog filter.

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rexxz
Retired

Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:45 pm
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Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:48 pm 
 

CorpseFister wrote:
I would probably lean the opposite way. Using something digital, with higher polyphony and more waveform choices makes for more complex and interesting pads. Same goes for sound effects or ambient noises. At the very least using digital increases the sonic possibilities- the incredible range and depth of sounds that the roland juno-g can make is absolutely mind-boggling, so its perfect for making textured, complex ambient music. But for something like hard techno or industrial I’d want deep, cutting bass sounds and that’s a time when I’d probably turn to my moog for the sharpness of the analog filter.


Pretty much this.

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Haevitetty
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:25 am
Posts: 78
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:19 pm 
 

Does anyone know any good, free piano soundfonts?

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elf48687789
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
Posts: 1632
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am 
 

analog:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbmgcLtlc9A

digital:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRuy7QXD ... u_in_order

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LordOminous
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:17 pm
Posts: 466
Location: Oosterhout, Netherlands
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:45 am 
 

CorpseFister wrote:
LordOminous, I assume you use the AX-7 for playing live? What are you controlling with them (they did put an internal synth into it until the next model correct)?


Correct, there is an internal synth in the new model (the AX-Synth), but it's a huge and clunky thing and the batteries don't last very long. Not a fan.

I run my AX-7 via a Midijet Pro wireless system into the Roland SonicCell these days for live gigs. It's a sexy setup. Need to work on my patches a bit though, not really that used to the roland synth architecture yet.

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Nightwisher1990
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 478
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:40 pm 
 

I don't know why I am writing this, but I don't know I am feeling like that what you guys have written is not english, seriously, I can't understand anything about Synthesizers , is those stuff related to sound engineering or something like that ? and where can I learn about Synthesizers and stuff like that ? ( I know some terms like ADSR ) ...?
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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:36 pm 
 

elf48687789 wrote:


Posting two examples really doesn't say anything. Anyone with good gear and the knowledge to use it could produce something similar to both these tracks, regardless of whether they were using analog or digital.

A few notes though- the analog example was produced with six different pieces of equipment. An experienced producer could create that track using a single digital machine these days- korg oasys or roland fantom, for example. And if they were using those synths, they would have options that were not available on the six machines originally used.

As far as the digital one, the bass line is a perfect example of where I'd use an analog filter. It sounds good on this track (a testament to the power and flexibility of digital synthesis these days), but it might sound even better with the sharp edginess of the classic moog LP ladder filter. Have you played one before? It sounds just deadly on heavy bass sounds, like its tearing through the frequencies.

Anyway, I don't think it makes sense pining analog or digital to a specific genre of music. It comes down to what particular player wants to hear and how they go about getting that result.

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Razor_Shark
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:55 pm
Posts: 225
Location: Albania
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:54 am 
 

I have been "playing" for a year, and I am able to play some stuff that sounds really pretty (to me) but I have no idea what I am doing, anyone have any tips, should I take a community college class or something to help me out?

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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
Posts: 3654
Location: At the Heat of Winter
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:40 pm 
 

Good to see this back for us.
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Nightwisher1990
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 478
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:27 pm 
 

Does anyone knows any method that can help out improving keyboard technique ??
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MoonPenatrator
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:43 pm
Posts: 559
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:32 am 
 

Besides how it looks, what is the difference between a keytar and a keyboard? Like the way a keytar looks it looks like you can't play chords, at least the way you do on piano/keyboard.
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LordOminous
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:17 pm
Posts: 466
Location: Oosterhout, Netherlands
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:33 am 
 

MoonPenatrator wrote:
Besides how it looks, what is the difference between a keytar and a keyboard? Like the way a keytar looks it looks like you can't play chords, at least the way you do on piano/keyboard.


Most keytars (apart from the crappy new AX-synth) are just midi controllers, so you plug them into whatever synth you wanna run through and it'll sound however you want it to sound. You can play everything you can on a normal keyboard, it just takes an adjustment of technique. Usually you just do one-handed stuff, but if you wanna be all gay and use 2 hands, just rotate the board a bit and it's quite reachable with 2 hands.

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Nightwisher1990
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 478
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:57 pm 
 

well , I am having a trouble playing one note (16th - 120 bpm) with my thumb , this finger is really slow and It stops whenever I try to go faster, is there any proper exercise to increase the thumb speed at playing one note ?
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Obituar18
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:04 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:28 pm 
 

Great! It's great to see a post like this =D anyway, I see there's a lot of people who use and own synths and talk in a way I think a very few understand, well, for those who don't understand the words and stuff like that, just read about, talk about, learn about, do all you can to "grow" in this world, is not that hard =P

And well, about techniques for playing, I can say that practicing chords and scales are the best exercises, learning classical piano pieces from different composers, will help you a lot! Search for some DVD's from different keyboardist like Jordan Rudess or Vitalij Kuprij, using Guitar Pro also will help for those who doesn't know how to read scores/tabs, anyway, there are a lot of ways everyone can learn to play by their own! Just remember the key to the success: keep practicing and practicing and practicing and practicing.

Greetings from a Mexican keyboardist/metalhead \m/

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:04 pm 
 

So LordOminous has mentioned that he plays keytar in a band before, and I play synths in a post-punk/new wave band, but I'm wondering who else plays live with other musicians.

Specifically I'm curious about keyboard players working in metal bands, since its not a common choice of instrument for metalheads.

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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:17 pm 
 

Played live plenty of times. I would never play a keytar though, mainly because it is just a midi controller and I don't find that worth the price point (does Roland even make their model anymore?).

I do, however, have to employ the keyboard "tilt". Headbanging takes some getting used to but once you've got it down you'll be having just as much fun as everyone else.

Here I am with my old band The Vala:
Image

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LordOminous
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:17 pm
Posts: 466
Location: Oosterhout, Netherlands
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:25 pm 
 

Diamhea wrote:
Played live plenty of times. I would never play a keytar though, mainly because it is just a midi controller and I don't find that worth the price point (does Roland even make their model anymore?).


The current roland model, the AX-Synth, costs 1000 pounds and has a built in synth engine. The discontinued model that was only a controller, the ax-7, was only 230 retail. I wish they still made it. I'd buy 5 right now.

Making the keytar look cool:

Image

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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:52 pm 
 

Ive never been a fan of the tilt, as a performer or an audience member. I mean, I guess its cool you can see what the keyboardist is doing, but its really not the most compelling thing to watch.

I suppose for myself it just wouldnt work- I use two synths on a double tiered stand, and I do lots of knob tweaking and live modulation so I want my synth controls to be as accessible as possible.

As far as head banging and other performance elements, Ive just always been rather energetic on stage, I just cant help it, ha. It usually gets a pretty good response as most people do not expect the synth player to be rocking out the hardest.

Question- do you guys use amps or do you run direct inputs to the PA? I use DIs, but imagine playing in metal band it would go over better to use keyboard amps.

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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:18 pm 
 

i've always just used the pa
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Nightwisher1990
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 478
PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:26 am 
 

I've played the song "Ariel" by rainbow alone , but when I went to a rehearsal I fucked up and I made the guitarist go wrong :( , I am just desperate of getting the live level , I just write my own songs and record, but when it comes to live It's really so so so hard to learn .
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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:54 pm 
 

Well, like any instrument it takes a lot of practice. I wrote, programmed, and recorded with synths for years before I started playing live, and I found it was a difficult step.

Just keep at it! Practice playing scales and different chords. Eventually you’ll develop a physical memory with your fingers and it will start getting easier and feeling natural to play things that you might struggle with now.

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LordOminous
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:17 pm
Posts: 466
Location: Oosterhout, Netherlands
PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:43 pm 
 

CorpseFister wrote:

Question- do you guys use amps or do you run direct inputs to the PA? I use DIs, but imagine playing in metal band it would go over better to use keyboard amps.


Always DI into the PA. Keyboard amps are really just for those guys that play on cruise ships :P

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Nightwisher1990
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 478
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:27 am 
 

CorpseFister wrote:
Well, like any instrument it takes a lot of practice. I wrote, programmed, and recorded with synths for years before I started playing live, and I found it was a difficult step.

Just keep at it! Practice playing scales and different chords. Eventually you’ll develop a physical memory with your fingers and it will start getting easier and feeling natural to play things that you might struggle with now.

well actually I decided going in the technique way, I've got Hanon's book the 60 exercises :) I guess it'll help a lot developing techniques.
I HAVE A STUPID QUESTION, when playing keyboard strings or anything other than piano is it necessary to use touch or we should turn it off ? I find it easier to play without touch especially If it's a fast scale or sth like that.
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CorpseFister
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1936
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:01 pm 
 

Now now nightwisher, there are no stupid questions ;)

Whether or not you use velocity sensitivity (I assume that’s what you mean by ‘touch’) will really depend on what sound you are going for. It makes for a more natural sound when playing something like a piano patch, and it does add expressiveness to your playing. Personally, I don’t try and replicate acoustic instruments, my sound is much more electronic music oriented, so I don’t generally use it.

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LordOminous
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:17 pm
Posts: 466
Location: Oosterhout, Netherlands
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:21 am 
 

With most synths touch sensitivity is not simply "on or off", you can usually define some sort of velocity curve, so that for example a big change in finger pressure results in a small change in note velocity. Helps give a more consistent sound without sounding too monotonous.

Generally I have touch sensitivity on for all sounds apart from solo leads, since when you're playing fast solos it's kinda difficult to control the velocity accurately.

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