ForumsHardware ← Beginner Advise needed best - soundplane instruments

Hello folks, im quite excited to have jumped in on the next batch of Soundplanes, Im interested in some opinions from people on what route they think i could/should go to maximise my sound-plane experience. I have seen the impressive demo from the soundplane using OSC with Kyma, I'm very much looking forward to the Aalto 1.3 update but am also very tempted to begin a eurorack and use Siletway OSC to control it via the sound plane.

Im interested in peoples thoughts of where they think the Soundplane is most valuable and where they think it is headed. Will i be able to get the most out of it as just a midi controller for existing softsynths and Aalto?? can i make the most of OSC control with softsynths?

I have very little experience or strength in synthesis and or midi/OSC programming but am willing to learn and would like to get into some more of my own sound design, generally i use soft synths and tweak presets with fx for my ambient,synth & folky sounds. I like organic, expressive sounds hence i see great value in the Soundplane IF i can pair it with the right sampler or synth that will allow its expressive performance via midi or OSC.

Should i start a eurorack modular? this seems like a good hands on way to learn more indepth synthesis and get some very unique, organic analogue tones. this could also be an expensive/addictive undertaking although i see the use of Silent way OSC will allow more options and resolution to use the sound plane more to its potential than perhaps it would be as a simple midi controller for soft synths?

Should i buy Kyma? i have read that this is fantastic for synthesis and sound design, and far easier to learn than say Reactor or Max. Does the sound quality compare to a top quality eurorack? I am tempted by a couple of the desktop synths currently around but figured the modular is needed for the silent way OSC and therefore i may aswell start a modular at the same time.

Can i get the most out of the soundplane with softsynths or should i go down the track of an OSC capable modular or Kyma and dive in and learn the nuts and bolts.

advice/opinions welcomed. sound quality and expressive control is ultimately my highest priority.

thanks folks, looking forward to posting more regularly and learning all the possibilities of the Soundplane.

Hello and welcome aboard!

Well, this is a pretty general question and I think more of the answers will only come in a little time, after you have tried different things with your Soundplane yourself.

We are all just beginners with this instrument, so if you dive in, you'll quickly be as much of an authority as anyone!

I designed the Soundplane to make a new level of expressive control possible for software synthesis. I think a computer is the best way to try a lot of different sounds and setups and approaches to the instrument, especially since you already have one. It certainly offers enough room for a lifetime of exploration. You could use your Mac, really dive into it, and eventually think about what's missing, if anything.

A Kyma would offer more polish in terms of the synthesis software-- it has a very high quality of synthesis algorithms and dedicated DSP for a very solid platform.

Though my softsynths and others are getting really good, analog modules still offer a real kind of punch and unpredictability that is hard to duplicate in software.

That's my view from 10,000 meters.

Thanks Randy - i think kyma perhaps might just be a bit beyond me at the moment although i will consider a small modular to help me work on a hands on approach to learning more synthesis basics and hopefully achieve some of the sounds i'm after. Eager.

I think you'll find that as you learn any of the available tools for synthesis, you'll probably be able to apply the Soundplane to it as an expressive controller.

So far, I have connected the Soundplane to a 1978 Sequential Circuits Pro-One via the Encore Electronics Expressionist MIDI-to-CV converter. This setup was limited by the fact that the Pro-One has only two inputs for expression: pitch and filter. Thus, it was not possible to use pressure and y position at the same time.

The next round involved a 1984 Oberheim Matrix-12 via MIDI. The Soundplane used all available MIDI expression for this device, allowing pitch, channel aftertouch, and channel modulation. Up to 16 touches with 3 dimensions of control were possible with this combination. I was surprised to discover that the Matrix-12 does not implement polyphonic aftertouch, but this ended up not being a limiting factor because there was still a way to access all expressive dimensions.

There are endless other combinations of hardware or software that would work with the Soundplane. I don't think that I'm taking the easy way out by suggesting that there is no "best" or "maximum" combination. That said, you would do well to study any synthesis engine that you're considering to discover its limitations. As I learned in my own experiments, it's a matter of mapping from the available Soundplane OSC and MIDI messages to the available modulation options in the given synthesizer. The better you know your synth, the better your Soundplane performance can be.

Personally, I'd recommend against dropping a lot of cash on new instruments until you've learned your way around the Soundplane. I always tend towards the frugal side and assume that cash is finite. As Randy says, software instruments are probably your best starting point. As you work with your computer and learn more about programming new synth patches to take advantage of the Soundplane's expressive capabilities, you'll eventually be better prepared to make a purchasing decision for a perhaps more advanced synthesis engine. Maybe some day the KYMA will be what you choose, or perhaps something else will be more to your liking. You can certainly learn quite a bit with Aalto before you commit to anything else.

Finally, note that a typical eurorack will limit you to monophonic synthesis, although you'd surely have plenty of modulation inputs. I suppose if you configured a rack carefully, you could build a polyphonic setup that would work with the Soundplane, but this might be a rather challenging way to start. At the moment, a convenient collection of modules does not come to mind, but perhaps someone else here could suggest a useful setup. Again, the built-in polyphonic capability of Aalto makes it more suited for multi-touch pressure sensitive control. In the physical analog world, you'll probably need to use the multi-mono mode feature of MIDI for polyphony with 3-dimensional modulation capabilities (as I set up with the Matrix-12). I am not familiar with the MIDI-to-Eurorack options that would support multi-mono mode for polyphony, but I'm no eurorack expert.

could you use the experter sleepers modules to get soundplane data into modular systems?

yes, os from expert sleepers has a soundplane and is using them together. he posted a video on muff's forum.