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Good USB sound module?

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Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:05 pm
by ConcertinaChap
Hi all,

We have a Yamaha P115 which the pianist in my wife's band uses. She (the pianist) has a hankering after playing more sounds than the small set that comes with the piano. The piano's MIDI connection is USB. Is there such a thing as a sound module or expander that can connect to the piano? The module would have to have a type A port because the piano's USB port is type B. Ideally it should be jolly easy to use (I'm not always going to be around), have some good sounds and be battery powered (sound will be provided by a Bose S1 Pro).

Is there such a beast?

TIA,

CC

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:18 pm
by Dan LB
I don't know of any off the top of my head, but you can get USB to MIDI converters (aka USB MIDI hosts) from the likes of Kenton and Hobbytronics and there was also one reviewed in last months SOS from Retrokits:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/retrokits-rk-005

If you had one of these it would allow you to use any MIDI sound module with a DIN input.

Kenton USB MIDI host review in SOS:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ke ... i-usb-host

Hobbytronics MIDI USB to DIN converter:
http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/audio-mid ... -converter

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:19 pm
by The Elf
I'm not aware of any synth module with a USB host port, though that doesn't mean one doesn't exist somewhere.

One option would be to attach to something like a Kenton USB host/MIDI converter. Once you have that you can attach to any MIDI module that takes your fancy. That avoids a computer at least. But...

...what's the budget?

Dan beat to me to it!

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:29 pm
by Jumpeyspyder

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:02 pm
by Sam Spoons
So you buy a USB-Bluetooth adapter which needs plugging into both the instrument and a wall wart? You might as well use a wire :headbang:

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:14 pm
by ConcertinaChap
Unfortunately you're confirming what I thought the score might be. I'm already using a Hobbytronics USB-MIDI converter to connect the piano to my Philip Rees 5x5 MIDI switch (yes, there's people still using them) in my studio setup but I was hoping for something simpler for non-techies to set up and without requiring lots of power bricks. Never mind ...

Cheers all.

CC

PS budget not a significant issue. Ease of use is.

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:32 pm
by The Elf
ConcertinaChap wrote:PS budget not a significant issue. Ease of use is.
Then I'd go for a Roland Integra 7 module. If you can't get a decent sound from that it probably doesn't exist!

(Please buy two and send one to me too!)

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:36 pm
by Folderol
Good Lord!
I just looked that up.
Not exactly a cheapy is it?

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:39 pm
by ConcertinaChap
"That's got me theer", he said, wit' poozled look in th'eye.

I could see me justifying it (after a lot of shekel counting) for my own use but not for the band - easy to use or no it looks scary.

CC

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:23 am
by rurs
There's this jobbie:
https://www.dv247.com/en_GB/GBP/Miditec ... 004675-000

I can't imagine the sounds are amazing, but at least there's a selection. 3.5mm output is never ideal either, is it?

At the other end of the spectrum, how about a granular synth...

https://www.schneidersladen.de/en/tasty-chips-gr-1.html

I'd love to try this one myself.

I'm sure I've come across other "boutique" modules with USB host ports, but I can't place them off the top of my head.

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:50 am
by James Perrett
ConcertinaChap wrote:PS budget not a significant issue. Ease of use is.

Embedded PC with a touch screen that automatically boots up into your favourite virtual synth?

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:33 am
by ConcertinaChap
Rurs, you're spot on what I'm looking for in terms of facilities. I have to say as you do the Miditech Pianobox Mini doesn't look too promising on the quality front but hey! at just 75 squids I might just give it a whirl anyway!

Cheers,

CC

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:58 am
by Wonks
They missed a trick by not having a hardware MIDI out. As most non-analogue synths and keyboards already have a GM sound set somewhere inside them, it seems rather a strange product.

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:22 am
by Logarhythm
CC, I've got a Yamaha MU128 sat doing pretty much nothing, that you're welcome to try if useful?
Not of the same calibre as the Integra but suspect it'll outperform the Miditech unit.
You'd still need to use a Kenton unit or similar to deal with the USB B to DIN conversion for MIDI.

PM me if potentially useful :thumbup:

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:33 am
by The Elf
ConcertinaChap wrote:"That's got me theer", he said, wit' poozled look in th'eye.

I could see me justifying it (after a lot of shekel counting) for my own use but not for the band - easy to use or no it looks scary.
It's actually trivially simple. If that doesn't suit then I'd still suggest an older JV (JV-1080 etc) or XV module, which are cut-down versions of the same idea. You'd just leave it in single sound and choose a sound with the wheel. It really is that simple - I know, because that's how I use 'em! Essentially they're just a huge bucket of good sounds.

Then there are the old Emu Proteus modules - again, just leave them set to single sound and turn the wheel to go up/down the patch list.

I know they look a bit scary, but they really aren't.

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:48 pm
by ConcertinaChap
Look, everybody, I'm sorry, I sent the discussion down entirely down the wrong path by mentioning ease of use. FWIW I have a Hobbytronics USB to DIN converter and a JV1080 and a JV1010, believe it or not, both fully loaded with expansion cards.

What I'm really interested in is simplicity of setup. So many keyboards nowadays don't come with MIDI DIN ports, only USB, Including my wife's, that I found myself wondering if there were any sound modules capable of USB hosting, i.e. a type A port. Such a sound module could be connected to a keyboard by USB with no need for a computer or a USB/DIN converter or anything else except a piece of cable. Battery operation and ease-of-use are nice-to-haves that unfortunately got picked up by people. Very much my fault there.

What I am getting from you, though, is that USB hosting in sound modules is pretty rare. This surprises me as with the world gradually moving away from the venerable DIN plug to USB I would have thought this a genuine sales point.

Sorry, chaps.

CC

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:09 pm
by The Elf
Yeah, I know what you mean, but the standard currency for instrument-to-instrument connection remains DIN, and long may it continue to be so! Personally I'd replace the piano! :lol:

A decent Kurzweil would give you all the piano you'd ever need AND all the other sounds!

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:50 pm
by Sam Spoons
Or one of those utterly wonderful (and unashamedly red) Nord Stage Pianos :D

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:15 pm
by ConcertinaChap
OK, so I know what to expect for Christmas from you wonderful lads.

Er, lads? Lads?

CC

Re: Good USB sound module?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:13 pm
by ef37a
I am not really in the present company but I have dabbled with MIDI for son and know at least what a Sound Module is!

I would therefore like to put my spoke in heavily and say "MIDI users of the world rise up!"

"They" are trying to get rid of the DIN. USB is fine but it cannot do what DIN in and out can ("thru" might be a lost cause?) SO many AIs are now made sans MIDI and many are quite expensive models. RME, bless 'em, still fit DIN ports on almost all their AIs (two sets on some) and breakout sockets where space precludes. There is a move to 3.5mm stereo jack, better than nothing I suppose.

BTW I have an 80 quid MIDI Ekeys 49* controller that is USB but also sports a DIN out and I KNOW it can run MIDI to two computers simultaneously coz we done it!

*Borrowed by grandson who is now in China. Must retreive that from his mum's pad!

Dave.