1 - General Guide Notes
Download Procedure of Converted Technics Composer Patterns
In order to download files from this web site it is necessary to understand the need for certain actions before proceeding. These files come in a compressed format to minimise memory space needed and download time, it is therefore necessary to uncompress them before your keyboard can use them. It is also important to recognise that the 3.5" disc memory capacity of your computer is likely to be greater than that of your keyboard, which for the KN2000 for example, is 720k.
Assuming use of PC using 'MS Windows 98', the steps needed before downloading are as follows:
1. If your computer hasn't already an uncompressing / unzip programme, you can down load one from this web site. The 'Power Archiver' programme works well and is free.
2. Check the capacity size of your 3.5" 'A' drive discs, if more than 720k and most are, tape over the bottom right hand hole in the disc to be used.
To format the disc to 720k, place into 'A' drive, open Windows click on 'program' and scroll down to MS DOS prompt, press enter.
Type in format a: / f:720 and press enter. Wait for formatting to finish and exit.
3. Load up the web site and on the home page click on 'Select a KN' in the options box, scroll down the list and click on your board type. This will give you a list of the converted styles/patterns available for download to your keyboard.
4. On the converted styles listing page, click on any one icon / file you want to download, on the file download, click on 'open this file from its current location' and click on 'OK'.
5. After down loading has finished, the Power Archiver programme should automatically load up with the downloaded file in its archive, showing a list of file / icons now available to uncompress and transfer to your 3.5 disc.
6. Highlight the file you want, or click on edit in the menu bar and click on 'select all', place prepared disc in 'A' drive and click on 'Extract' from Power Archiver menu options, check that this is the drive path (a:) that the file is being extracted to, press enter.
7. After uncompressing has been completed and files copied to 'A' drive, remove disc and load to your keyboard in the usual way.
2 - My way with Sound Edits
If you have already succeeded in downloading some of the Composer patterns / styles, congratulations, I do hope the down load notes may have been some help.
The question now is how best to use them, the following notes are written from ten years experience of using a KN2000 board, but the basic principles apply to most other boards too. Now I know there are many experienced users out there who need little guidance from me, but for the benefit of any newcomers to the Technics keyboard and by way of sharing experiences, I thought it might be useful to jot a few options down as they occurred to me.
The first thing you will have noticed is that the sounds used in the composer pattern will only be the nearest KN equivalent to the originals whatever their source, they might sound OK without change, on the other hand I found some improvements could be made by changing some of them.
The Right Hand accompaniment sounds however are usually the original initialised board sounds which to my ear are very uninspiring. (Why do the board designers do that when they can be so much better?). Anyway my approach is to use a master disc of edited sounds that I have developed over the years which I load up after the composer load, taking care to load only sound and panel memories options so as not to overwrite the composer patterns you have just loaded.
Which sounds to choose is your other decision, a clue can be found by first listening to the composer introduction and matching or choosing something complimentary to those of the introduction, on the other hand you might have already decided to change some of the introduction sounds anyway. The composer sounds are usually always from the board's standard sound memory banks as opposed to the edited sound memory banks.
A lot of adjusting of volume levels and general panel settings are invariably required at this stage, to get the best sound and acoustic effects that you require. A good range of edited sound types from organ, guitar, accordion to big band etc, nicely set up and balanced on a master disc can cut down the time factor quite a lot and is recommended. Always remember to save your hard work using the 'save all' option, before turning off the keyboard!.
Another thing you may have noticed is that some composer introduction and endings are superbly written and played at a high standard which can make your playing ability (for the bit in the middle) sound very amateur by comparison, so it doesn't always pay to choose the most complex sounding patterns unless you can fortunately play at a similar high standard.
Talking of board settings, sometimes you might find it more relaxing to just play without auto rhythms, in this case setting up a nice accompaniment LH Chord sound as well as RH sounds and acoustic effects makes all the difference.
I realise we have covered a lot of ground in general terms without going too much into detail, if anyone has further questions to ask, just use Gunnar Jonny's MessageBoard for your question or post at the Technics related forums such as Technote or SynthZone, I and no doubt other board users, may be able to help you with that difficulty that has been bothering you, good luck.
3 Notes on Orchestration settings & Performance
I dare say to many expert musician / players out there, much of what I'm saying comes as second nature when considering how to set up the board to give a memorable rendition of a piece of music, so to them let me apologise in advance, the good old English expression for it is "don't try teach your granny to suck eggs", so I wont!.
What I do wish to do at least for the less experienced player, is to share a few thoughts and ideas that perhaps you might not have considered when setting up the keyboard for your favourite piece of music. The whole process assuming you know how, can still be a bit 'mind blowing' when considering all possible options now available on the modern keyboard.
The 'mechanics' of the setting up options are already well covered by such excellent books as "Exploring the KN 2000" by Lutz Deterra and Bob Hendershot's notes on 'How to' with the KN 5000 that Gunnar has kindly added to this web site.
What the books don't tell you or explain, is why you might want to make such setting options and what you might want to achieve as the end result. It is this aspect of the process that I feel needs a little more explanation and discussion if the best results are to be realised.
Perhaps by now, you have already downloaded some of the excellent converted composer patterns that Gunnar kindly provided on this web site and you will have noticed that some of them are brilliantly written and performed using different instrumental sounds for each part. Now when using a composer rhythm to accompany your performance, good as it might initially sound, it is inevitable that it will get a little repetitive and mechanical without some way of adding a little variety.
When you listen to a live performance of a group the usual technique to provide variety is to break up the backing accompaniment by allowing various instrumentalists in turn to come in at various stages with their individual performance and the whole process building up to a finale with all players playing along together at the end.
So how can we attempt something like this with our keyboard, one technique that I have used, is to first set up the foot switch to control the panel memories and then utilising the 'advanced' pattern within the composer (containing the most variety of instrument sounds) and by turning down the volume of each instrumentalist to zero. Start with the simplest rendition of say one instrument sound and base rhythm and save this to one of the panel memories along with a well chosen RH 1 accompanying sound in the same memory.
Now using the same composer pattern, turn up the volume to an appropriate level, of a second rhythm instrumentalist and save this along with another RH 2 accompanying sound in the next panel memory, you now have the makings of a little more variety as the performance progresses. The whole process can then build up to a grand finale with all guns blazing in the next sound panel memory all at the touch of your foot switch as you play.
Now add to all this, carefully chosen and edited masterpiece instrument sounds from your sound memories together with the right touch of reverb and atmospherics etc, save everything to disc using the 'save all' option and you might have a recipe for success, all that remains is your playing ability to interpret the music and perform the masterpiece, ah well that's another story!
4 - My way with Sound Edits - Part 2
The subject of sound and what we perceive as a certain sound must be one of the most complex, under estimated and over stated issues amongst the music playing and listening community. The scientific approach to sound measurement and analysis requires a multitude of measuring instruments oscilloscopes, sound proofed rooms etc, that are well beyond the means of most of us, but there is one very sophisticated instrument coupled to an equally sophisticated computer that we are fortunate to have ready access to, in the form of your 'ear' and 'brain'. So for the purposes of this discussion we will take the easier option and let your 'ear' be the judge.
Some knowledge of the technicalities of 'sound' however can help avoid some basic errors in our efforts to achieve that magical something, that when we hear it, you instinctively know what you like and dislike, what sounds good, bad or even 'special'.
Firstly an appreciation that any one instrumental sound is not just, to put it in technical terms 'a simple sine wave formation', but a whole host of undertones, overtones, reflected sound, vibrato, tremolo and room acoustics etc, which add such commonly used descriptive terms such as 'colour', 'richness of tone', 'depth', 'clarity' etc, not to mention the playing 'expression' an accomplished musician can also add to the final outcome.
Many of these terms are almost impossible to quantify in absolute terms, but put together in the right quantities make up that magical sound that we know when we hear it, or do we?. One of the commonest errors made, is to rely on our memory of what we think a certain instrument sounds like. You might get a close approximation to the original, but unless you have perfected a trained 'musical ear', your memory is likely to play tricks on you.
For the purposes of this exercise in sound editing, we will therefore make continuous reference to a known sound source played upon a quality instrument by an accomplished musician. We will endeavour to replicate a sound using all the means available of the editing features of the Technics keyboard. Full credit should be given to them for the original sound sources provided and the setting options available to edit the sounds, which might allow us to replicate it, providing we have the knowledge of how to go about it.
This is what the exercise is all about, many of the principles and procedures equally apply and can be used for most instrument sounds, but as an example application for which we have an excellent comparative source we will take one of the reed instruments provided on the keyboard namely the Clarinet.
The Bb Clarinet
For our comparative sound source I have used a CD recording of Acker Bilk's 'Stranger on the shore' of which I'm sure most of you will have particular memories of how this had a lasting affect after hearing it for the first time. To my ear this had a particular haunting 'ear catching' quality of sound that I think well worth replicating if we can achieve it. Now the clarinet sound source of our keyboard in its basic form, is a good starting point, but when compared to the CD recording, might be considered to be somewhat lacking in 'depth' and quality.
As a starting reference point, making sure you have nothing you wish to save on your board settings, 'initialise' the board back to its original settings, select the 'Jazz Clarinet' for RH 1, (this seems closer to Acker's sound than the 'classic clarinet') and save this to panel memory No 1. We can now make a start in the editing process, the results of which can be saved in panel memory No 2 as an instant comparison as we progress.
Play and listen carefully to the CD recording and start to make mental notes of the differences in the sound quality to our clarinet sound in panel memory No1. Press the sound edit button, tone edit, and tone options, and note the three tone settings being used. In most basic settings all three are seldom used and this is where we can begin to add some 'depth' to the sound.
Stage one - Choose your tones
The basic sound is always in one of the tone options but for the other two there are no guidelines as to what you might use. If you have made some mental notes of the recorded sound difference to the keyboard sound it is usually evident that another complimentary tone might add more depth to the sound and a lot of experimentation is often required to find the right effect. You may have also noted from the recording, how the instrument is played by the use of a 'tonguing technique' to give a more punchy effect to the start of each note. A third sub-tone can be added to try to simulate this effect, again by experimentation.
The three tones I have used to reasonable success, (you may well find others) are:
1st Tone : (Group H) - Jazz Clarinet. With no Key or Tune changes
2nd Tone : (Group I) - Pan Flute. With no Key Change & -2 on the Tune
Subtone : (Group L) - Pick Noise 1 with -12 Key & +2 Tune
Once you have selected your Tones set them to 'on' and revised the settings, click on the 'write' option, give your edited sound a name and save to a sound memory.
Stage two - Set the tone parameters
The next stage whilst in the tone edit / options mode is to revise the setting parameters of each tone of level, envelope, EKF, and FLT, to produce the sound characteristics that best emulate the CD recorded sound. Those that I found best were as follows:
Key Shift : 0 Level : 105 Detune : 0 Cut Off : 122 Touch : +14 Curve : +2 Slope : +1
Attack: 2 Decay1 : 32 Decay2 : 42 Sustain1 : 47 Sustain2 : 20 Release :18
Pan Flute :
Key Shift : 0 Level : 105 Detune : -2 Cut Off : 122 Touch : +16 Curve : 0 Slope : -1
Attack : 2 Decay1 : 38 Decay2 : 36 Sustain1 : 44 Sustain2 : 20 Release : 18
Pick Noise 1:
Key Shift : -12 Level : 92 Detune : -2 Cut Off : 112 Touch : +15 Curve :-2 Slope : -1
Attack : 0 Decay1 : 26 Decay2 : 15 Sustain1 : 7 Sustain2 : 2 Release : 5
Set EKF (Envelope Key Followers) for Attack, Decay & Release
Tone 1 : Slope : -3 Key Limit C0 - G8
Tone 2 : Slope : +20 Key Limit C0 - G8
Tone 3 : Slope : +8 Key Limit C0 - G8
Tone 1 : Slope : +20 Key Limit C2 - G8
Tone 2 : Slope : +20 Key Limit C2 - G8
Tone 3 : Slope : 0 Key Limit C2 - G8
Tone 1 : Slope : +5 Key Limit C2 - G8
Tone 2 : Slope : +5 Key Limit B5 - C6
Tone 3 : Slope : 0 Key Limit C2 - G8
Set FLT (Filter parameters) for Type, Cut, Touch, Curve, Slope & Key Limits
Tone 1 : Type : 0 Cut : 122 Touch : 33 Curve : +1 Slope : +1 Key Lim : C0 -C8
Tone 1 : Type : 1 Cut : 122 Touch : 33 Curve : 0 Slope : -1 Key Lim : C0 -C8
Tone 1 : Type : 0 Cut : 112 Touch : 8 Curve : 0 Slope : +24 Key Lim : C0 -C3
We now need to consider some of the general effects and acoustic settings of the keyboard to try to emulate that haunting effect that we hear in the CD recording.
Stage Three - Set General & Effect Edits
General Edit :
Octave Shift : -1
Vibrato : On Pitch & Depth :5 Vol & Mod Depth :5 Speed :19 Delay :13
Auto Bend & Trill : Touch
Modulation : Off
Distortion : Off
Glide : Off
Wheel : Vib
Rev Depth : 7
Effect Edit :
Type : Solo Effect 2
Distortion : On
Touch Depth : 46
Depth : 26
Intensity : +4
Rev Depth : +3
Stereo : On
Digital Effect : On
Digital Reverb : On
General Acoustic Settings :
Press Sound button on the keyboard menu
Select Reverb - Set to 'Hall 2'
Set Reverb Depth to : 7
Select Touch Sensitivity : Set to 5
By now our edited sound should be sounding closer to the real thing, it only remains to set up one or two more board parameters according to how you prefer to play, for example with or without auto rhythm, fingered chord etc. The final and most important thing of all as always, is to save all these parameter settings to the sound memory and finally 'save all' to disc before switching off.
Any comments or questions? Please post about it at GJ's MessageBoard.