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Keyboards with Alternative tunings?

Any music gear discussions that don't fit into one of the other forums.

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colorsinwaves
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Post by colorsinwaves » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:05 am

Hpi do a tuning box that will retune any synth via midi (pitch bend).

http://www.h-pi.com/TBX1features.html

I don't think there are many poly HW synths out there that accept tuning files. Korg Oasys is one, I think. For Analog, I know the MKS-50 has a mode that accepts notes on multiple midi channels. So that would work for polyphonic retuning via midi.

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Post by TallKite » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:34 pm

colorsinwaves wrote:I don't think there are many poly HW synths out there that accept tuning files. Korg Oasys is one, I think. For Analog, I know the MKS-50 has a mode that accepts notes on multiple midi channels. So that would work for polyphonic retuning via midi.
Hardware synths are usually retuned by sysex. Or by using the knobs and buttons on the front panel. To retune one with a tuning file would require loading the file from a flash drive or a smart media card or something. I've never heard of one that can do this.

The mode that accepts notes on multiple midi channels is called multi-timbral mode. This is the usual workaround for retuning untunable keyboards. Full multi-timbral is called 16-part multi-timbral. AFAIK every HW synth except the very low-end stuff is 16-part, except for the Nords, which are 2- or 4-part.
alt-tuner: a microtonal midi plug-in
www.TallKite.com/alt-tuner.html

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SubliminalSandwich
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Post by SubliminalSandwich » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:56 pm

Tempest has lots of alternate scales..

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Post by mmarsh » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:58 pm

Moog Sub Phatty.

*EDIT* - quick demo, same sequence, I change the tuning on the fly:

Sub Phatty Alt Tunings

A little Deflector Sheild in there as well :)

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colorsinwaves
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Post by colorsinwaves » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:52 pm

TallKite wrote: The mode that accepts notes on multiple midi channels is called multi-timbral mode. This is the usual workaround for retuning untunable keyboards. Full multi-timbral is called 16-part multi-timbral. AFAIK every HW synth except the very low-end stuff is 16-part, except for the Nords, which are 2- or 4-part.
The MKS-50's mode is called Guitar mode (or something similar). Not multitimbral. It allows the synth engine to be played from 6 different midi channels..but doesn't separate each voice as a timbre. The synth is still just one set of controls. One patch. Must have been for a midi-guitar interface or something.

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Post by Robert » Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:57 am

vstace wrote:Korg Z1
and Prophecy...

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Dave Kendall
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Post by Dave Kendall » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:31 am

For those who may be interested - a note on how the Kurzweil K2000/2500/2600/PC3K can do microtuning.

Each program has up to 32 LAYERS, each of which can have its own range across the keyboard, and only respond to a chosen velocity range, or be full range, or any combination of the two - as you like.

Each of these LAYERS has one or two KEYMAPS. A KEYMAP is where the samples (ROM or USER) live. It can have up to 127 samples - one for each MIDI note, and each sample has its own keyboard range, level and coarse and fine tuning. The tuning is in semitones and cents, so you can easily create custom tunings and save them as your own custom KEYMAP.

Any sample can be used - custom or ROM. All this automatically gets loaded when you select a program, and KEYMAPS can be freely used in any program once created, so you only have to create the custom tuning once - you can change any of the samples in your custom keymap at any time, whilst still preserving the level and tuning settings.

I believe the newer PC3LE also allows this. The main difference between this and the PC3K series is reduced polyphony and effects, and no user samples, but the rest of the kurzweil VAST sound engine can be freely accessed and programmed.

The older Kxxx series don't keep user samples in memory on power-down, but everything else is retained. The newer PC3K keeps everything in memory, even user RAM samples when powered off. Quite handy :)

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Jaytee
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Post by Jaytee » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:53 am

My Casio SK-8 doesn't support alternate tunings out of the box, but there was a really obscure asian ("oriental") variant that supports quarter tones called the SK-8a. Turns out the normal SK-8s are exactly the same circuitry, they're just missing a physical switch and a space for it on the front panel.

In other words, a few hours of mod work and you could have an 8-bit quarter-tone sampling keyboard.

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Post by NickLimegrove » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:16 am

The OB Matrix-1000 has a guitar mode as well. You can use, for example, Scala to re-tune incoming MIDI data (via pitch bend) and pass it on to the Matrix. I'd assume this approach possible (or at least: worth trying) on every synth that accepts incoming notes on more than one channel (›omni‹ mode), since MIDI pitch bend messages are channel-specific.

My TX802, like the entire DX family, works well with alternate tunings, natively. It's really a breeze to set up. Scala will export your tunings as DX7-compatible sysex files.

What hasn't been mentioned yet is the ESQ-1 and SQ80. While you can neither do ›scale tuning‹ (as Roland usually calls it), i.e. adjust the pitch of the 12 notes of an octave, nor full-keyboard tuning (i.e. mapping the 128 MIDI notes to precise, and arbitrary, pitch values, like in the DX series) -- what you can do is use ›KEYB2‹ as mod source for pitch (OSC-specific), in order to adjust the size of a semitone (there's also KEYB without the ›2‹, which is similar but different and slightly less useful for our purpose here).

The default setting for KEYB2 is 0. What this means is the pitch produced is not affected any more or any less than usual by the pitch specified via the keyboard key (or MIDI note message) when regular 12-tet is assumed (i.e.: moving up a key = moving up a semitone). So a semitone is the usual 100 cents in size. If you adjust KEYB2 to a value above 0, the effect of the note messages upon the actual OSC pitch will be in increased. Moving up one key will move the actual pitch up by more than 100 cents (or: one semitone). You can for example set KEYB2 to a value that produces semitones the size of 1200/7 = ~171 cents, so you get a 7-tone equal temperament, common in south-east Asia.

Or, in order to tune your patch (tuning's done on patch level, pretty cool!) to, for example, 31-tone equal temperament, you would set KEYB2 to -41. The size of a semitone (i.e., the distance between the pitches produced by, say, the notes C4 and C#4) is now reduced from 100 cents to ~39 cents.

The popular 19-tet you'll get when KEYB2 is set to -23 (that's what I gather from my experiments; still investigating the maths behind it).

So while I wouldn't call them properly microtonal, what you can do with the ESQ and SQ80 is create pretty much any alternate tuning that's part of the family of equal temperaments. Which is a lot already.
Last edited by NickLimegrove on Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by NickLimegrove » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:20 am

--- double post ---

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Post by DiscoDevil » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:46 am

OB6 has selectable tunings.

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Post by Annwn » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:24 am

Not particularly elegant but the Blofeld has selectable key tracking %age on the oscillators. This lets you divide a keyboard octave into a huge number of microtonal intervals.

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Post by Zealot Vague » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:29 am

Annwn wrote:Not particularly elegant but the Blofeld has selectable key tracking %age on the oscillators. This lets you divide a keyboard octave into a huge number of microtonal intervals.
Kurzweils have this too, set in cents. Fun with orchestral and piano patches. Threnody for the Victims of Rompling :banana:
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Post by ndkent » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:08 am

GovernorSilver wrote:
ndkent wrote:
GovernorSilver wrote:
jonah wrote:
dougt wrote:K2000/2500/2600
So the sampler works with alternate tunings...Back on my to buy list. :lol: Any other samplers do this?
Yes, but only equal-tempered tunings. If you want just intonation or other tunings that are not based on equal divisions of the octave (eg. certain ethnic tunings), you'll have to approximate them with an equal-tempered tuning:

http://www.microtonal-synthesis.com/micro_gm.html
That's not correct. It's a tune each note of the 12 note octave alternate tuning but not microtonality. You can do Werkmeister, Just and infamously Carlos scales with missing higher intervals (you really need microtonality and ideally separate octave transpose to do them correctly)

Basically you have 4 situations.

12 tone equal temperament (not microtonal) which is standard tuning. you have 12 evenly spaced intervals per octave.

Alternate Equal Temparament (is a subset of microtonality) where that number per octave is a number other than 12. Voltage control is perfect for this. Equal spaces between notes.

Alternate tuning within the octave (not microtonal) - found on some vintage synths and good for historic scales. Divide down gear can do this if implemented though the P5 isn't though has it

Full microtonality. Each interval can be anything. Tom Oberheim's Marion synths are a rare example of a (mostly) analog synth. A subset is each interval is limited to be higher than the last for technical reasons. The rare Moog Scale programmer is an example.
I'm sorry, because you went through some effort to type the above information, but could you try again to explain to me exactly how I was incorrect?
Though this is years ago, for the sake of completeness, there are two facilities on the Kurzweil K2X00 gear.

There is an intonation editor. You can tune the 12 notes of the octave in 1 cent intervals and transpose the whole thing so you can play in a different key, so you definitely can do Just to something far better than an approximation. This is duplicated on each octave so you are fixed to 12 adjustable steps per octave, you can't use this editor for some number other than 12 intervals per octave.

The other method is discussed here http://www.microtonal-synthesis.com/k2x00eq.html
You can program to get equal temperament in a number other than 100 cent intervals and compensate for keymapped samples defined in 12 notes per octave.

To respond to the comment, you are not going to get even an approximation of Just via equal divisions, instead you'd use the Intonation Editor to get a 12 note per octave Just that is a respectable 1 cent accurate. Now if the goal is say 17 interval per octave with arbitrary tunings, then no you can't do that with any accuracy afaik, you can only do 17 interval per octave ET.

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Post by hairbow » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:26 am

DX11 is great for this.

Composing in a DAW or program like Max/Pd is much easier for this, though. Trying to apply a different set of tunings to a 12-TET keyboard is a clunky affair no matter what you do, apart from maybe 24-TET.

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Post by binray » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:01 pm

viewtopic.php?t=164474&sid=2ec13fbaf558 ... 3d31e12913

You could try this m4l device with any synth that has a guitar/mono mode

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Post by panthera86 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:16 am

the ensoniQ machines can do that - ASR10, EPS16+
i guess other of their machines too

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Post by nostalghia » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:28 pm

Affordable ($300 USD) analog mono synth that wasn't out yet in 2016 when this thread was last active: Korg Monologue. Supports alternate tunings, including microtuning. User tunings can be stored. Quote from SOS review of the Monologue (https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/korg-monologue):

"On a patch-by-patch basis, you can choose the regular well-tempered scale or any of 20 alternatives, from Kirnburger, Werckmeister and Slendro to Pelog, Aeolian and even ‘reverse’. I confess to understanding only a few of those on sight, but you won’t be surprised to learn that reverse turns the entire keyboard upside down and across the full range of transposition. A certain Richard D James was involved in the micro-tuning implementation and has contributed some of his own tunings, specifically AFX001-006. These throw notes around not only within the scale but with variations across different octave ranges.

If this kind of thing gets your juices flowing, there are eight user scales to experiment with. Each note in the scale can be retuned within a range of -50 to +49 cents or even remapped on a note by note basis. Even if you have no immediate urge to try alternate tuning, it’s brilliant fun to switch notes around — eg. you could trigger a G4 each time C4 is played but have a C5 generate an Ab4."
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Post by ElTonerino » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:43 am

The E-MU PK-6 has full alternate tuning support. Any note can be anything.
The other keyboards in the range plus the rack mount and command station versions do too.

Roland JV-1080 and Akai S5/6000 only support tuning the 12 notes in the octave.

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Post by sizone » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:37 pm

should be noted that the tuning resolution on the proteus line is 1.5 cents, which gets unusuably coarse pretty quick. same problem with yamaha synths.

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Post by justintonation » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:08 am

sizone wrote:should be noted that the tuning resolution on the proteus line is 1.5 cents, which gets unusuably coarse pretty quick. same problem with yamaha synths.
The yamaha synths have better resolution than the emus. 1.12 cents vs 1.57 cents. The Ensoniq MR-61, ZR workstations and asr-x have .37 cents resolution.

Looks like the new korg minilogue XD has microtuning now along with the monologue. Also the Novation bass station 2 and Novation peak have microtuning (thanks Aphex Twin!).

Also the Deckards Dream, is implementing microtuning. The new Waldorf Quantum and all DSI synths have microtuning.

In the modular world Mannequins Just friends (with teletype (just type)) can do microtonal harmony. The patch chord has just intonation, harmonic series and subharmonic series modes. Also 4ms SMR can load scala files and also output chordal quantised cv. The mutuble tides 2 some of their other modules have just intonation features. Also big shout outs to tubbutec u-tune, ornaments and crime and expert sleepers disting which can all do microtonal quantising.

It really is an excellent time to be doing microtonal music.

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Post by BipTunia » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:37 pm

Annwn wrote:Not particularly elegant but the Blofeld has selectable key tracking %age on the oscillators. This lets you divide a keyboard octave into a huge number of microtonal intervals.
This would be awesome. But I can't find that in the manual, and it doesn't make sense with the menus.

Can you please give us more exact directions, like "push this button and this button, go to this menu and pick ______, go to that menu and pick ____."

Would be amazing.
Thanks!
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Post by strangeowl » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:08 am

Prophet rev2

Novation peak

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Post by Annwn » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:41 am

BipTunia wrote:
Annwn wrote:Not particularly elegant but the Blofeld has selectable key tracking %age on the oscillators. This lets you divide a keyboard octave into a huge number of microtonal intervals.
This would be awesome. But I can't find that in the manual, and it doesn't make sense with the menus.

Can you please give us more exact directions, like "push this button and this button, go to this menu and pick ______, go to that menu and pick ____."

Would be amazing.
Thanks!
I don't have the Blofeld anymore unfortunately, sorry. I just had a quick scan of the manual and it falls under "Keytrack" settings.

Start here. Hopefully that helps and works as expected. It's been a couple of years since the Blofeld:

"Oscillator Edit Menu
To access the Oscillator Edit Menu press the oscillator button shortly (if Auto Edit is set to on) or for some time (if Auto Edit is set to off). Use the Selection dial to scroll through the corresponding menu pages. The name of the page is shown in the top of the display."

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