Register    |    Sign In    |   
electronic MUSICIAN

 

 

Aug 3

Written by: masterblogger
8/3/2012 12:00 AM  RssIcon

READER QUESTION:

I want to branch out from my trusty Strat and get into some of the new high-tech guitar variations. I’ve heard great things about the Line 6 Variax, but people tell me Roland has really gotten their MIDI guitar synth thing together. How is the Variax for synth sounds?

K. G. Petersen

San Diego, CA

via email 

It’s apples and oranges. A MIDI/synth guitar uses a hex pickup to convert each string’s audio into control signals that send pitch and dynamics data to MIDI synthesizers (either onboard, or external). Limitations are tracking—the accuracy with which the conversion process follows your playing—and latency, as it takes time to analyze a note before generating a control signal. MIDI guitars let you play instruments like piano, saxophone, etc. from your guitar, although it requires practice to play cleanly enough to get good triggering. Guitar synth latency can be as much as several dozen milliseconds for the lower strings.

The Line 6 Variax is a modeling guitar. It also uses a hex pickup, but applies sophisticated signal processing to emulate a variety of classic guitar sounds. There are no tracking issues, as it works on the string signal itself, and latency is not an issue. Unlike MIDI guitar, the Variax can accept any playing style, and handles techniques like hammer-ons or different picking angles. Roland and Fender collaborated on a modeling guitar, the VG-Strat; it’s considerably simpler than the Variax, offering five basic sounds (normal and four models) and six alternate tunings.

If your priority is emulating a wide variety of guitar sounds in a self-contained instrument that nails those emulations, the Variax is ideal. For synth sounds, then you want either a Roland synth guitar system, or their stellar VG-99—which provides MIDI and/or modeling with any Roland-compatible pickup or guitar.—Craig Anderton


Tags:
Categories:
Location: Blogs Parent Separator EM Blogs
Alert to All Users of the Disqus commenting system:
Because of a recent global security issue, the Disqus website recommends that all users change their Disqus passwords. Here's a URL about the issue: http://engineering.disqus.com/2014/04/10/heartbleed.html
comments powered by Disqus

Recent_Entries

Premastering Pitfalls
Paying Tribute to a Studio Legend
The Epic Music of Grand Theft Auto V
NAMM 2014: It's a wrap!
NAMM Day Three Highlights
most popular
Connect with EM
Free eNewsletter
the em poll