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Topic: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

  1. #1

    What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    I noticed that Hans Adamson and, I think, Michiel Post have made references to specific keyboard controllers in the development and/or use of their sample libraries. It started me wondering - are sample libraries better suited to some hardware over others.

    Bearing costs in mind, what general hardware do sample developers recommend for use with their libraries; monitors, keyboards, etc?

    Luck to all

  2. #2

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    Personally,a good professionaly weighted 88 note controller is always better when playing our Ultimate Yamaha C7 or Steinway Upright Collection or any other multi velocity piano sample library.

    I have personally fallen in love with my new controller which is a YAMAHA S90, I tested all of the $2000.00 + controllers and personally the Yamaha was the best by far for my taste,much better action than my previous Kurzweill PC88.

    I also strongly suggest getting some good monitors for playback. You don\'t need to buy the most expensive ones but they are crucial to hearing the libraries the way they were intended to sound. My short list of monitors : Event 20/20 Bas (the ones I use now), Dynaudio BM6 (the ones I want next) and while I personally dislike them from my personal experience with them, the Mackey HR series monitors are getting strong reviews but personally I do not like the way they sound, also obviously the Genelecs and Spendors sounds great and are the best I\'ve experienced in the sub $5000.00 category but are way too expensive.

    A professional soundcard is also required. You can make do at the very cheap price point of the spectrum with a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 card which has ASIO drivers, I use them succesfully for Live. For the studio I use the Echo Audio Layla 24/96, I highly recommend all the cards from Echo Audio. I have had only bad experiences with MOTU cards and I/Os and PCs, maybe they work better now or work better on a Mac. Maudio cards are also nice but I prefer the Echo Audio series of cards, rock solid performance at reasonable prices.

    Hope this helps,


  3. #3

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    Good on you Franky. That was useful.

    Looks like no one else wants to own up, which is a pity.


  4. #4

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    Originally posted by Franky:
    I have personally fallen in love with my new controller which is a YAMAHA S90
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">The same happened to me but it was in the form of a YAMAHA Motif ES8, which suppose to be the same keyboard. Made in Japan. Never thought I was going to own a Yamaha. Suddenly you\'re in control and that\'s a nice change from playing several years on a Roland JV-90.

    Good luck, Keith, with your quest for knowledge. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Alex Cremers

  5. #5

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?


    I use an S-90 for most things piano and love it also. I use an Oxygen-8 for pretty much everything else but the action leaves a lot to be desired. I bought it primarily for portable use with my Powerbook. Eventually, I\'ll be in the market for a synth-action keyboard with anywhere between 48 and 61 keys - something with more range and better velocity tracking. Most of the Oxygen-8 type keyboards that I\'ve tried do not have consistent tracking throughout the keyboard IME.

    For monitors, I can\'t help you. Franky feels that Genelecs, et al are way too expensive. I feel that monitors are one of the most important pieces of your studio if you do a lot of your own engineering and mixing (which I do). I, personally am not much of a fan of the Genelecs myself. The Dynaudio\'s are nice (BM-15A\'s) but my ultimate favorites are A.D.A.M. I own a pair of S-2A\'s and would ultimately love a set of S-3A\'s. These are the best monitors that I\'ve tried in the $3K range. They have great imaging, a wide sweet spot, and a really nice tight bass response.

    If you have the chance to listen to a pair, you\'ll be blown away.


  6. #6

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    Kip, Martin, & Franky,

    Can\'t argue there. Your entire monitoring chain is important and, I guess the thing to stress is that you will sound as good as your weakest link. I replied specifically on the monitors because that was what was asked about.

    Anyway, all of what you mentioned is extremely important. In some cases, it is very subtle to the untrained ear. Sometimes all of the subtleties added up make a huge difference.

    I still think that monitors are important and I know that when I tried monitors in the price range of events, Mackies, etc. I found things that I didn\'t like about the various brands that I compared. In some cases, the imaging didn\'t seem as good as others, in other cases, they lacked bass, and in others, they were too harsh.

    I guess that something that goes along with the subject of monitors is that they are very personal. What may work for me may not work for you. As always, let your ears decide as well as your budget.

    Best regards,

    p.s. - I\'m a fan of the Lynx cards also even though I\'m currently using RME.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    Ditto on the room treatment. You can buy the best monitors money can buy, and make lousy mixes if the room is fooling you.

    Believe it or not, I still mainly mix with my JBL 4412 midfields. I\'ve also got a set of NS-10s that mainly collect dust. I get great mixes from the 4412s...always have for years and years. If your room is designed right, they rock!! But the reason I got the NS10s in the first place was that after I gave up my studio and started working from the house in 1992, the JBLs were resulting in horrendous mixes...they couldn\'t have been more horrible sounding. Turns out that my current room had really serious problems. At the time I couldn\'t solve them, so I needed to work with monitors that didn\'t engage as much of the room\'s air.

    That\'s essentially the whole nearfield \"theory,\" that you\'re engaging little enough air with them that the room\'s characteristics don\'t really get involved.


    That idea has pretty much dissolved again with the latest designs in nearfields. They\'re so well designed that they engage air just like the big boys, and the need to treat your room is back with a vengeance.

    The rough guide is this: Absorb heavily from the front (where you face) of the room to the mix position. Diffuse the ceiling behind the mix position to the rear wall. If the rear wall is close, absorb it heavily. If it\'s a fair distance back, mix absorption with diffusion. Absorb lightly on side walls behind the mix position, enough to kill flutter (i.e., stagger absorption so that only one bounce survives before being picked up by absorption on the other side).

    Bass Traps usually need to go in every corner, and at all corner junctions at the ceiling in a typical project/bedroom studio.

    Auralex will always do a free consult...you can get more info on that at their website. They have more elaborate impulse-based custom treatment options as well--you shoot impulses of your room, and they work back and forth with you until the room is right.

  8. #8

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    A nice pair of pro headphones (like the Sennheiser HD-280 PRO for about $99) is the cheapest way to get accurate sound. No need for room treatment or power amps.

    That said, you will still want good monitors in a decent listening space. Headphones don\'t tell you anything about imaging and phase.

    Headphones are nice when there is ambient noise and you really want to listen for a detail. They can also be a good way to sanity check the mix from the monitors. I\'ve done mixes that sound fine through the speakers and bad through the phones. I can adjust it for the phones and make it bad through the speakers. When I make it sound good through both, then I know I\'m on the right track.

    There\'s no better $99 set of studio monitors than a pair of good headphones.

  9. #9

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    Franky mentioned the Event 20/20 Bas monitors. I think Bruce once wrote that they were good for orchestral samples, albeit with some issues (?).

    Event have upgraded the 20/20s. According to Paul White\'s SOS review (online), the new Event TR8s apparently have improved frequency response etc etc. Looks good for the price (500 GBP).

    I intend to shop test them and the Alesis M1 actives with a CD comilation of official sample demos from VSL, SAM, etc. That should sort the men from the boys.


    P.S. A pity this topic was moved as it does pertain to libraires and their proper usage. Ah well...

  10. #10

    Re: What hardware (Kbds, monitors etc) do developers recommend?

    Monitors are important, but your audio hardware is even more important. The best monitors in the world will not sound nearly as good if you are using lower quality audio hardware, while inexpensive monitors will sound a great deal better if you have quality audio hardware. If you are wanting a PCI card only solution, the Lynx Studio cards are the best. They provide very solid digital synchronization, which is the most important link in the chain in order to make your music audio sound as good as possible. Some of the Lynx cards also have high quality analog i/o\'s as well, which provide quality A/D and D/A conversions. The next step above a self contained Lynx Studio card containing high quality A/D and D/A conversions would be to invest in Benchmark converters, which are the highest quality, best sounding, and most reasonably priced converters in the world. The next best solution behind the Lynx Studio audio cards would be the RME cards.

    On my web site I have a very limited selection of high quality professional grade audio hardware that is available for sale from Bardstown Audio because I am only interested in selling products that work and sound the best. I have personally found the Lynx Studio and Benchmark products to fulfill this need with RME falling into second place.

    Regarding keyboard controllers, I find that the Fatar controllers work very well. The best of both worlds is to have both a Fatar weighted keyboard controller plus an additional weighted synth action keyboard such as the Fatar SL-161.

    As with all software and hardware products sold by Bardstown Audio, I am available seven days a week for customer service and tech support by either telephone or email.

    Kip McGinnis
    Bardstown Audio

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