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AlenK

Better Leslie Simulation?

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A question for Mike Martin, really: What are the chances that Casio will improve the Leslie simulation in a future firmware update? Can it be improved (i.e., is there enough DSP power)? The drawbar organ is one of the highlights of the XW-P1 and it's a pity that the Leslie isn't up to snuff.

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Not possible.  Honestly the guys that buy the $3,000 Nords and Hammonds are all using the Ventilator pedal.   The XW-P1 + a Vent is a remarkable combination.

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Understood. I didn't really expect to hear "yes." That being the case, is there any technique you can recommend to improve the sound of the distortion in the rotary effect? The "1" setting for gain is barely there and the 2 and 3 settings are excessively "crunchy", IMO. From other posts online I understand that a MIDI expresson pedal will modulate the volume of the "signal" BEFORE the rotary effect. Hence, I am guessing it might also tame the distortion by trimming the "signal" going into it. If that's true can I do the same thing with an assignable knob in performance mode?

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Mike, I find the Leslie rotation to be fine, it's simply the zener diode sounding distortion!  What about the distortion in the PX5S - that sounds pretty good - can we get a software update to swap out the distortion for a partially tube distorted sound?  Please?  Without this on-board, one has to go external (doubling the cost of the keyboard) to get a good distorted organ sound.

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Understood. I didn't really expect to hear "yes." That being the case, is there any technique you can recommend to improve the sound of the distortion in the rotary effect? The "1" setting for gain is barely there and the 2 and 3 settings are excessively "crunchy", IMO. From other posts online I understand that a MIDI expresson pedal will modulate the volume of the "signal" BEFORE the rotary effect. Hence, I am guessing it might also tame the distortion by trimming the "signal" going into it. If that's true can I do the same thing with an assignable knob in performance mode?

I will have to try this midi expression pedal trick - if it works I'll be overjoyed.  I have an old-school midi expression pedal from way back in my Ensoniq days, but it's just a potentiometer in a pedal with a 1/4" plug on the end of it.  I'm gonna have to give it a try.

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I will have to try this midi expression pedal trick - if it works I'll be overjoyed.  I have an old-school midi expression pedal from way back in my Ensoniq days, but it's just a potentiometer in a pedal with a 1/4" plug on the end of it.  I'm gonna have to give it a try.

 

 

From my understanding, the XW only reads pedals from the pedal inputs as "off" or "on"... any continuous control needs to come via MIDI.

You will need to do one of the following to use an expression pedal with the PX-5S

1 - Use a MIDI solutions box

2- Use a  Behringer FCB1010

3- Hook the pedal to a keyboard that read expression, and MIDI that KB to send CC data the PX-5S

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Thanks for clearing that up, Scott. Yes, by MIDI expression pedal I meant an expression pedal plugged into, or a part of, something that outputs MIDI control change messages.

For the record, I read about the XW-P1's response to MIDI expression messages (CC#11) in Craig Anderton's Pro review of the XW-P1 on Harmony Central. Page 14 of the thread in a post by So73 midway down the page:

http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Pro-Reviews/Casio-XW-P1-Performance-Synthesizer/td-p/33037226/page/14

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Thanks for clearing that up, Scott. Yes, by MIDI expression pedal I meant an expression pedal plugged into, or a part of, something that outputs MIDI control change messages.

For the record, I read about the XW-P1's response to MIDI expression messages (CC#11) in Craig Anderton's Pro review of the XW-P1 on Harmony Central. Page 14 of the thread in a post by So73 midway down the page:

http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Pro-Reviews/Casio-XW-P1-Performance-Synthesizer/td-p/33037226/page/14

 

Now I have to start reading that review from the beginning!  :)   What a thorough review by Craig.. Thanks for the link - I will be up for a while reading now!  B)

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I wonder if the XW rotary effect can be improved using the synthesis resources on hand, rather than reaching for an outboard effects unit. Two things got me thinking about this: i) the main problem is that the XWs only simulate one rotating speaker instead of two (AlenK's XW Companion Rev 1, p. 23) and ii) the effect is primarily composed of vibrato and tremolo, 90 degrees out of phase with each other http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb04/articles/synthsecrets.htm.

 

Let's assume that the XW effect handles the rotating treble horn satisfactorily, so the question is: can we simulate the second rotating speaker by layering a suitable bass sine-wave-like tone under the main organ tone? According to (ii), the bass tone should have vibrato and tremolo, but let's say that vibrato is the more predominant effect, which means that any PCM bass tone is a potential candidate because they all have in-built vibrato. The only requirement is to choose a tone that is suitable dull and sine-like.

 

To this end, I created a Performance with an organ with the rotary DSP enabled in Zone 1 and a dull, sine-like bass tone in Zone 2. I also set up three knobs to control the volume, vibrato rate and vibrato depth of the bass tone in Zone 2. By blending these three knobs, I certainly created a richer sound than was available in Zone 1 alone. G1 owners can use one of the PCM organ tones in Zone 1; P1 owners, of course, have access to the full drawbar organ sound source in Zone 1.

 

Maybe an XW owner with a Ventilator or Burn pedal, or a real Leslie!, could make the comparison and let us know how much of an improvement can be made by simply layering a bass tone with the right amount of vibrato.

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I had a few more thoughts whilst dozing off last night:

 

i) Set the Oct. Shift parameter of Zone 2 to -1 for a much beefier bass; although this would effectively create a 32' pipe making it more like a pipe organ than a Hammond.

 

ii) Bass vibrato is easy to create because it's built in to every tone, but I was thinking about how to produce the additional tremolo. One way would be to record a knob twiddle of expression (CC#11) in the phrase sequencer, as described in Section 6.5.2 Tremolo of AlenK's XW Companion Rev 1. Playing back the looped phrase produces tremolo. Master tempo is used to change the speed of the tremolo.

 

iii) The above technique can be expanded to recording two knob twiddles: one for the tremolo and the other for vibrato. The knob controlling the vibrato would be set to one of Performance Zone 2's pitch shifting parameters such as Transpose or FineTune. This technique would allow you to get closer the 90 degree phase shift between the vibrato and tremolo, though it may be difficult to record.

 

iv) For even finer control, with exact 90 degree phase shifting, use two control tracks in the step sequencer sending K1 and K2 values to the knobs in the Performance which are in turn directed to pitch shift and expression of Zone 2, see Section 5 of the XW Companion. You could even create two step sequencer patterns that can be instantly switched from the front panel – one for fast rotary and the other for slow rotary, simply by changing the Step Size parameter of each pattern.

 

v) G1 owners, especially those using my G1 Drawbar http://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/files/file/522-g1-drawbar-pack/ which creates organ registrations via user waves, should note that each user wave has a Pitch LFO for vibrato plus a AMP LFO for tremolo ready and waiting to be applied! You just need to copy DBL88888.ZWT to another user wave slot, set the volumes of splits 2 to 5 to zero, and apply the Pitch LFO and AMP LFO to the wave, which now only sounds split 1, i.e., the bass 16' drawbar.

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I'll preface this by saying I bought the EH Lester K and it has pretty much satisfied my need for a better rotary speaker effect. However, before I added an external effects box I had a much simpler solution to get a serviceable organ, at least good enough for this weekend warrior. I created a Hex layer with four separate organ tones, detuning some slightly along with some other tweaks, then simply used the chorus effect to add that rotating speaker. It's sort of what I used to do in the old days with my string synth and something guitar players have been doing for years. Pretty neanderthal I guess, but it got me by.

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Since looking into the P1 /G1 and eventually purchasing the G1, I have become fascinated by the rotary speaker discussions, and P1 limitations.

 

It made me chuckle to myself though, that despite my interest I have never realized (or at least did not remember) that my old Technics WSA1 has a rotary speaker effect with separate and definable rotor speeds, definable spin up, down (per speaker) drive (distortion) and more.

 

I guess I just got caught up in the flow as clearly it has never been something I paid much attention to in the past.

 

I suppose the real question is does it sound any good. I guess I will have to flip the boards and find out (though I am probably not the best person to judge authenticity).

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Like Mike Martin said, thje P1 cannot be like a Nord C2 :) !

But, let me tell a funny experience: during the last gig I put my p1 into a guitar amp...I played some hard rock tunes ...and the "output" was amazing, really enjoyed that cruchy overdrive...with an 88880000 set of drawbar! ;)

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On 18/02/2016 at 1:23 PM, BrettM said:

iv) For even finer control, with exact 90 degree phase shifting, use two control tracks in the step sequencer

 

Tried this, but it never really worked to my satisfaction, so went back to simply layering a bass tone with vibrato. The tones that seemed to work best were Square Lead 1, shifted down an octave and with plenty of cutoff applied, or Synth Bass 2.

 

Elgin Baylor, thanks for the suggestion about using chorus. This led me to try chorus DSPs instead of the rotary DSP. I especially found the dual chorus+tremolo and chorus+auto-pan DSPs effective, for mono and stereo rotary respectively. They both give precise control over the LFOs involved in the chorus and tremolo/auto-pan. Knobs can be set up to dial in the desired rates for fast and slow rotary effects. The chorus+auto-pan was especially good for creating a real close miked Leslie sound.

 

I'm not suggesting that the chorus DSPs are better than the rotary DSP, but they may offer some viable alternatives.

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I've pretty much abandoned the layering idea. The Chorus+Autopan DSP seems to offer the most hope. At least it has two LFOs for the upper and lower horns and the panning sort of gives that close miked rotary feel. It can get much more in-your-face than the plain rotary DSP. These are the values I've settled on for a fast rotary:

 

ChoWaveform = Sin

Cho Rate = 73

Cho Depth = 43

PanWaveform = Tri

Pan Rate = 78

Pan Depth = 73

Manual = 0

 

Boosting the low mids at 1 and 1.6 kHz with EQ also helps. Speeding up and slowing down is another story.

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I used the XWP1 with a Vent and I think it's awesome.  I tried the Lester K and a few others and found them to be tone suckers and not realistic.  I bought a used Vent online and it's the best money I ever spent to get a great sound.  Just my $.02

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Your $0.02 is easily worth $0.04.  :D

 

Fortunately for owners of the MZ-X500 Casio greatly improved their Leslie simulation, actually implementing dual rotors and full CV. A shootout between an MZ-X500 and an XW-P1 with a Ventilator would be interesting indeed. 

 

(PS. The improved Leslie effect is also in the PX-560 but that product doesn't have a drawbar-organ synthesis engine, only samples of drawbar organs nor does it have a light-action keyboard.) 

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