Piano & Synth
I use a Kurzweil PC88 piano, because of the great piano action and sounds, switch on ready to play with minimum fuss, no need to connect to external sound modules. It has the following specifications:
Keyboard: 88-note, two-piece weighted keyboard with mono pressure.
Controllers: Pitch wheel, modulation wheel, 4 front panel sliders, 3 front panel switches (momentary or toggle, software selectable), 4 continuous control pedal inputs, 2 footswitch inputs, mono pressure.
MIDI: Transmits on 4 channels, Receives on 16 channels. In, Out, Thru (hardware switch able to copy of MIDI Out).
Max Polyphony: 32 (64 with the VGM option), dynamically allocated.
Internal Voices: 64 Internal Voice programs, including Grand Piano, Tine E. Piano, FM E. Piano, Ensemble Strings, Drawbar Organ, Harpsichord, Clav, Vibes, Marimba, Electric Bass & Acoustic Bass (with and without layered Ride Cymbal), Acoustic Guitar, Synth Pads.
Effects: Stereo digital multi-effects processor with 40 effects algorithms (reverb w/ eq, chorus, delay) with real-time control via MIDI.
Outputs: 2 Outputs (1/4 in. jack Left/Mono and Right), Stereo headphone out.
MIDI Setups: 128 user programmable MIDI setups, each with 4 independent zones, effects and arpeggiator settings. 32 factory programmed MIDI setups (64 with the VGM option).
Arpeggiator: Full-featured MIDI note arpeggiator with multiple latch modes, selectable play order, velocity, duration, tempo, and sync functions.
Power: 9V AC external power supply.
Accessories: KFP-1 Single Piano-Style Footswitch.
I began experimenting with Guitar Synthesizers in 1979 with the first Roland Guitar Synthesizer GR-500. The GR-500 used an analog synthesizer expander-type module with a modified guitar/pickup system. The synthesizer module itself was a simple analog affair with Bass, Solo Synth, and String sounds based on previous Orchestral and analog mono-synths from Roland. There were plenty of sliders to adjust the VCO, VCF, VCA, and LFO sections but no memory to store edits. The guitar utilized a special pickup system that connected to the synth module via Roland's own 24-pin interface and controlled it using CV/GATE signals generated by the guitar's pickup system while playing the guitar. In addition to the modified pickup, there were magnets under the face of the guitar that could increase its sustain. Performance accuracy could be temperamental but was good for the time and and pre-MIDI.
Since 1979, I have followed Roland's developments of the guitar synth and now use the following.
To connect guitar to midi devices I use the now discontinued Roland GI-10. The GI-10 is a half-rack space guitar-to-MIDI and pitch-to-MIDI converter. It Requires a Roland GK-2A driver, or can be used with a microphone. The MIDI Out can be used with any MIDI sound module, and the MIDI In can be connected to a MIDI keyboard for easy parameter access using System Exclusive messages.
The GI-10 lets you control touch sensitivity and pitch bend data. You can connect an expression pedal or hold pedal for further MIDI control. The voice-to-MIDI conversion allows you to connect a microphone to the Mic-In jack and control a MIDI source with your voice or another instrument. The GI-10 also includes a built-in tuner. Along with the Singer-Songwriter software which came with the interface it provides excellent connection to the computer world.
Roland's now discontinued synthesizer module, the GR1 is a 'floor' module design that features internal sounds from Roland's Sound Canvas. Compatible with the existing GK2 guitar pickup, the GR1 features 24 note polyphony / 4 channel multi-timbral operation, 64 patch internal memory, 200 internal tones, built- in 4 track sequencer, footswitches (1 - 4 plus up/down), built-in reverb / delay / chorus, and more. An optional expansion board will double the internal tones to 400. Connectors include L(mono)/R audio outputs, guitar return L(mono)/R, guitar out, volume pedal, expression pedal, headphones, memory card slot, and midi in/out.
o 200 PCM tones, expandable to 400 with optional expansion board
o Digital reverb, delay, chorus and flanging
o Four-part multitimbral via MIDI / 2000 note internal sequencer
Until the release of the Roland VG-8, I used an extensive collection of guitars for all the variety of playing situations.
The Roland VG-8 is a guitar processor that uses advanced modeling technology to emulate the most popular guitars and amplifiers in music history, as well as produce some unique new sounds of its own. Thanks to Roland's Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM) technology, the VG-8 combines multiple "sound objects"--different guitar bodies, pickups, vintage and modern amplifiers, and effects algorithms--to create a perfect reproduction of these components that can be played from any guitar equipped with a Roland GK-2A.
Since the VG-8 uses the actual guitar waveform itself, all the nuances of picking, bending, and even the simplest vibrations are perfectly translated without any tracking delay.This amazing system has now been updated to include new acoustic and hollow-body models, pickup variations, amp variations, and more.
It has the following features:
VGM (Variable Guitar Modeling) allows guitarist to create self-contained guitar processing/modeling system which recreates a wide variety of guitar, amp, speaker cabinet and microphone sounds using a standard electric guitar equipped with a GK-2A or compatible pickup.
Now includes a variety of hollow-body and acoustic guitar models for instant switching between electric and acoustic guitar sounds
HRM (Harmonic Restructure Modeling) allows guitarists to create new synth-type sounds while preserving a guitar's natural expression
Converts the actual waveform produced by each guitar string into a totally new sound in realtime; no tracking delay or lost playing nuances
Polyphonic Intelligent Pitch Shifter instantly recreates the sound of user-defined and open tunings, 12-string guitars, bass guitar emulation, etc.
Superb onboard digital effects processing includes reverb, chorus, hexa-pan, delay and parametric EQ-all available simultaneously
Extremely intuitive operation with helpful operational graphics and icons
Offers 160 Preset and 64 User patches total, including newly-developed 32 factory patches