Fishman Triple Play

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jaslan
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Fishman Triple Play

Post by jaslan » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:46 pm

I haven't seen much talk of it here and got one at a bargain and I am very pleased with it. It is very responsive and fast and so far works with every VST instrument I have except HALion 6 (which crashes but HALion Sonic 3 works fine). There are many options for sensitivity, MIDI channels (i.e. different channels per string, etc.), dynamics (velocity compression), and how bends, slides, etc., are handled. You can even set up "zones" to trigger different sounds for different strings and/or frets.

I am curious if others have tried it and have any other tips or cool tricks...

Also, anyone get H6 working with it?
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by ColinPark » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:38 pm

I've been reading about it, but have no experience with it. It's on my short list of technologies under consideration for guitar modelling and synth. (The others being the Roland VG-99 (which seems to be available only on e-bay), the Boss GP-10, and the Line 6 Variax.) I'd like to know how it's working out for people as well.
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by jaslan » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:05 am

I did some research too. The VG-99 is an older technology (at least is says discontinued on their website) and the GR-55 is the current Roland flagship guitar synthesizer. I don't know much about the Variax (I didn't really research that one). The Gp-10 seems like a smaller version of the GR-55 and may have some nice features. I know it is also a guitar "processor" in that it can do things with the guitars traditional signal from the magnetic pickups. The SY-300 is called a "synthesizer" but also works in this way in that it synthesizes the guitars normal signal from the magnetic pickups and not like a MIDI pickup would do it. The really neat thing about the Fishman and the GR-55 (with the GK-3 MIDI pickup) is that the MIDI can be fed into the computer and used with software instruments (even things like Groove Agent, etc.)
So, for me, it was either the GR-55 or the Fishman. The GR-55 runs about $799 with the pickup and the Triple Play about $399. The Triple Play comes with some software (The Triple Play engine, Komplete Elements, Studio One 3 Artist OEM, Progression, an East West MIDI Guitar "teaser pack", and some patches for Komplete that are set up and ready to go). But I already own Komplete 11 Ultimate and Absolute VST 3 so I knew it would keep me busy toying around.
The GR-55 is definitely the preferred way to go if one wants to do any performing though. I don't leave the spare bedroom though so for that reason and the price, I chose the Triple Play.
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by ColinPark » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:55 pm

My take on the whole situation. Research findings. Rationales.

I've eliminated the Variax from further consideration because:
  1. The palm-muting problem (most likely due to piexo pickups at the bridge). Users report other problems. One You-tube demonstrates a kind of ugly "scraping sound" on the transients.
  2. You don't get 6 tracks of digital audio (DA) out of it. The RJ-45 connector simply allows it to communicate with what are basically expansion modules, it has no DA. The USB is MIDI/data, not DA.
  3. You have to buy/store/learn/maintain another guitar.
  4. It's architecture is too closed. Too much of a black box.
The VG-99 is often considered better than GR-55 or GP-10, and clearly has the best modelling interface. However, they say the GP-10 has important improvements. (As in this 2014 forum post). My criteria are:
  1. Softsynth (MIDI) control.
  2. Able to model a short list of favored pluck-string instruments.
  3. Able to record each string as DA in the DAW. Able to use the module as outboard processor later on.
  4. Ease of use.
Appropriate Articulation - Questioning Guitar Synths (including the FTP)

The FTP essentially converts the guitar into a guitar MIDI controller. It's clearly the best guitar MIDI controller around, making it the obvious choice if that's what you want to do. But I'm not sure I want to do that.

My principle of Appropriate Articulation asserts that the human interface of the MIDI controller should match the human interface of the instrument. A keyboard controller injects keyboard gestures into a saxophone in a way that the AE-10 wouldn't. Even an unnatural keyboard style designed to mimic sax gestures will still be a little bit off. (It's easier than trying to mimic a guitar, however. Forget about that. At least the saxophone has keys.)

On the other hand, there are fully synthetic sounds (such as we might find in Dark Planet or Auron) which have no natural counterpart. The principle of appropriate articulation may not apply in these cases. (It applies more strongly as the sound of the MIDI program approaches some familiar instrument.) Fully unnatural sounds are intrinsically linked to sound design, and what I consider to be the elephant in that room. Sound design is basically the historic continuation of instrument design. In the evolution of instruments, we movements both toward and away from automation. The general motivation toward automation was improved playability and pitch accuracy. (For example: the mechanization of woodwinds and brass.) The motivation away from automation was to improve expression. (For example: the viol lost 2 strings and all of its frets to become the violin.) Sound designers often seem to ignore the expression issue. It doesn't matter how good your controller is if the MIDI program in the synth is unresponsive. It also diminishes the distinction between controller types (keyboard, guitar, wind, drum, or other). Consequently, a guitar controller doesn't add much if one already has a keyboard controller, unless you're great on guitar and rotten on keys.

Modelling Plucked Strings

Which brings us to modelling plucked string instruments, where the principle of appropriate articulation strongly guitar controllers over all others. MIDI generated sound is even cleaner than direct injected DA. The obvious payoff of well-simulated fretted instruments is more timbres and less learning. You get the sound of a Rickenbacker, a Martin, a mandolin, a Gretsch, a dolbro, a banjo, a 12-string, etc. without having to buy, store, mic or adapt to any of them.

The guitar processor competes with the guitar synth in this area. I have more interest and faith in COSM technology simply because it's different and because it uses the sound of the string to capture what's happening on the string. Since the principal objective is to recreate an alternative plucked string instrument, the reduction of string activity to MIDI strikes me as a step in the wrong direction. Despite the "step in the wrong direction", I'm very impressed by what I've heard in demos of the FTP. Yet I'm left with nagging doubts based on the history of the guitar controllers, especially the need to play guitar in a "controller friendly" manner.

DAW integration - VG-99 seems behind the times

The VG-99 seems worse than the OP-10 in this department, while the FTP is just fine. If the performance of each string is recorded before it's processed, then it can be edited. This opens many possibilities. MIDI is much easier to edit than DA, but there are fewer opportunities to edit. Sending edited sounds back to the processor might be interesting. It's also possible to not send the recordings back for processing, but to handle it all in Cubase. For example: Craig Anderton discusses a "hex fuzz" on page 47 of his 1983 book Guitar Gadgets. It involved distorting each string individually, then mixing them, rather than the other way around (as is very common practice). As I recall from listening to his demonstration record back in the day, it sounded like a chorus pedal, but not quite. Who knows where this kind of thing might lead?

Even if you decide to pass on exploring these frontiers, at least you can change the guitar/amp model and effects before completing the mix. I see this option with the OP-10, but not with the VG-99. You'd have to do another take because you didn't get the dry sound, or if you did, then it was 2 tracks, not 6. This is disappointing because the VG-99 is purported to be in a universe "about 3 times larger than the OP-10" .

Ease of use

I'd rate the FTP at the top, due to its wireless system and less obtrusive pickup wire. The OP-10 has a nice, simple, solid pedal board. The VG-99 requires an additional pedal board, but it's excellent. The connections and setup seem best for the FTP, worst for the VG-99. Everybody has good software. The FTP is very generous, including a lot of software I'd want to have. The VG-99 has the best modelling interface, but demands the most commitment. The OP-10 software (and Boss tone central) seems surprisingly better than you'd think, especially on ease of use.

Amp modelling also counts. All of the offerings do well. While the Cubase guitar amp simulators are fine, it doesn't hurt to have a lot more decent options.

Ease of use is an issue, not because I'm not up for the challenge, but because I'm spread too thinly (and always will be). Knowing that, I'm attracted to efficiency in everything I have to learn or use.

Tentative Conclusion - I favor the OP-10

As a MIDI controller it's inferior to the triple play, but better than the VG-99. However, since I'm primarily interested in simulating plucked string instruments, the MIDI controller role is not my highest priority. DAW integration and DA capture are the primary strengths of the OP-10. Its reduced learning curve and sturdy construction are bonuses.

The OP-10 was a dark horse at the outset. It looks old-fashioned. It carries the Boss name, synonymous with good accessories, but not with serious digital modelling. I'm a bit surprised to be in this position now.
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by NorthWood MediaWorks » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:55 am

I went and watched this https://youtu.be/jfijp9TdQuo and I must say I am impressed.... I recall the first midi guitar interfaces in the 80s, things have improved exponentially.

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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by ColinPark » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:52 am

It's true. Back in the day, They had to put a "stabilizer" onto the guitar, which was like a second neck that ran parallel and maybe 6 inches (15 cm) "above" the neck. "Above" in the sense that the low E string is "above" the high e string. And you couldn't do bends or hammer-ons. It was unforgiving and expensive. I think it contributed to the emergence of the Roland V-8 virtual guitar system, which I first saw at a music store demonstration. It was even more expensive. I've longed for something like it ever since. The FTP is cheap and powerful. If you are good on guitar but bad on keys, it's the way to go. I like the way it handles classical string instruments. (It's a more appropriate articulation than yet get from keys. I spent a few moments trying the violin, and it's not something you can learn quickly, like the harmonica.)

I don't think of it as an either/or choice opposed to COSM technology, other than in terms limits on investment (time and money).
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by knuckle47 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:37 am

I'm sure this discussion can grow far over my skill level but I lay out what I've been doing for more that 12 years. My current operation are thru the gr55 and that is trigger by a Godin concert nylon string with syntax access and 13-pin output. My second trigger is a Brian Moore iGuitar also with 13-pin out. And I have a few Casio PG-380 with midi five pin... making a long story short if I can get the midi track up on the screen and assign any Halion 6 instrument to this track, It works very well. Additionally the GR-33 which is older,does seem to perform even better with tracking and speed. Mechanically they all react well for a midi input device
Last edited by knuckle47 on Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by DaveP » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:29 pm

Interesting conversation guys.

Just thought it might be worth mentioning the Jam Origin Midi Guitar 2 software too as it might just help for some of your requirements.
I got this a few weeks back and have yet to explore all of the possibilities but it works very well with Halion and all the other soft synths that I have.
A positive review in Sound on Sound was what piqued my interest - https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ja ... i-guitar-2

There is a demo version which is restricted to only their own sounds.

Cheers

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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by Frog » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:07 pm

Another vote for the Jam Origin MIDI Guitar 2 app (MGA)
The fact that it is a software converter that tracks better than my Roland GI-20 is really amazing!

I also have the FTP which is simply the best MIDI guitar converter available at this time.

MGA, however, is my go-to app because I can switch guitars (LGX-SA or Gibson SG, or...) and save parameter presets for each.

A few years ago, I purchased a new Roland GR-55 as it appeared to be the ultimate MIDI converter and COSM source of sounds. Tracking was incrementally faster for the internal sounds, which has always been the case with Roland converters. Tracking speed for external MIDI - hardware modules and VSTi - was a major step backwards. Where as I could play bass lines on the open 6th and 5th strings with acceptable latency with the GI-20, the GR-55 latency was unbearable, I had to resort to the old method of playing the bass parts an octave or two higher or on treble strings for better tracking, then lower the octaves in Cubase.

The link below provides comparison data on tracking speeds.
http://www.joness.com/gr300/MIDI_SPEED.htm

Soon afterwards, I traded the GR-55 towards a brand new JTV 59 Variax on which I installed the FTP providing me with the ultimate tech guitar experience - overall excellent COSM sounds and fast MIDI tracking.

Here's another vote for the GP-10 as a excellent source source of COSM sounds and effects. The software editor makes it a breeze to edit and create new patches. MIDI pitch conversion latency/tracking speed is still an issue but useable for short passages or step entry.

On a side note, I have used poly mode vs. mono - a different channel per string - since the days of the Yamaha G10 as viewing MIDI data through the small Alesis MMT8 LCD was quite challenging and I was sequencing "bass", "piano", "organ", "cello" etc. and not string-bending guitar.

At one point I explored the software app that comes with the FTP but never actually used it as my projects are created one track at a time. The MGA, the FTP, and even the GP-10 work great for inputting MIDI in Cubase with HALion as the sound source.
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by scojo » Wed May 09, 2018 4:17 am

Halion 8 also crashes my Tripleplay standalone version. When I run it in Cubase 9.5, Halion 6 works fine. Its the only way I can adjust the Pitchbend for Dark Planet patches. Steinberg support told me to reinstall H6. Didn't help. Any suggestions are welcome.

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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by ColinPark » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:33 pm

I finally have the GP-10. It can do many amazing things, including recording the strings individually and applying modelling and effects upon playback.

However, the MIDI tracking is not fabulous. It can play back chords and melodies, as long as the melodies are played clearly. I haven't had a good look at the latency. But in terms of MIDI tracking (GK-3 pickup system + GP-10) I seriously doubt it's in the same league as the FTP. I'm not disappointed at all, because MIDI tracking wasn't my primary objective. It was a bonus.
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by scojo » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:11 pm

Glad to hear it. I have worked out some of my issues, but FTP has both standalone and Daw application. The Cubase plugin works fine with halion 6 but the standalone crashes when I open Halion 6 as a VSTI. No response from Steinberg they said it was Fishmans problem.
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by jaslan » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:02 pm

scojo wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:11 pm
Glad to hear it. I have worked out some of my issues, but FTP has both standalone and Daw application. The Cubase plugin works fine with halion 6 but the standalone crashes when I open Halion 6 as a VSTI. No response from Steinberg they said it was Fishmans problem.
Were you actually able to play or did it just not crash? Did you use any special MIDI setup in HALion 6 within the FTP plugin in Cubase?
In Cubase, with the FTP Plugin, I can open HALion 6 without it crashing, but I still can't get it to actually send MIDI from the FTP Plugin to H6. I suspect it has something to do with H6 having the four different MIDI ports (ABCD) because HALion Sonic works just fine (in Cubase and in the FTP Standalone App).
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Re: Fishman Triple Play

Post by jaslan » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:07 pm

I just thought it worth mentioning here that the FTP App is not even really required. For playing synths in standalone OR in Cubase.
You can use Hardware mode (or Basic mode, which is just a poly hardware mode) and just open any synth in standalone and play it. The FTP acts just like any other MIDI controller. In Cubase, you can just load your synth as a Rack Instrument or Track Instrument and assign the FTP as the MIDI input. The only thing that using the FTP App gets you is the ability to save “patches” with different synths and different FTP controller profiles and jump around them quickly. If you really want to use Halion 6 (or any other synth that doesn't seem to behave correctly in the FTP App), just close the FTP App, open Halion 6 and assign the FTP as the MIDI input. When turned on, the FTP defaults to Basic mode which is POLY (all notes go to MIDI channel 1). If you want Mono mode (each string goes to its own MIDI channel 1-6) then you just have to hold the D-Pad up while you turn on the FTP and it goes into Hardware mode. The trick to make it really easy is to change the hardware profile #1 to a MONO mode and save it (it is a poly mode by factory default). The FTP App will copy that to the controller and when you power up in Hardware mode, the controller will default to hardware profile #1 (which you have saved as a MONO mode profile. While in Hardware mode, you can switch between about 240 different hardware configurations for poly/mono mode, different sensitivity settings, program change #s, MSB, LSB, Dynamic offsets, etc., but you just need to use the FTP App to set up those different profiles.

So, to summarize, I think two profiles will cover 99% of users applications. A Basic Poly mode, where all notes go out on MIDI channel 1 and a Simple Mono mode, where each string’s notes go out on their own channel (1-6). If you want poly mode, just turn the FTP on and start playing. If you want a Mono Mode, hold the D-Pad up while turning on the FTP and you have it.

All of this works inside of Cubase also, just like any other MIDI controller. Just put your instrument in the Rack or on an Instrument track, and assign the FTP as the MIDI input of the Instrument Track or connected MIDI track.


I also wanted to add that, for any guitarists out there that are just beginners on keys (like me) trying to add keys and synths to their songs in Cubase, a guitar MIDI controller is a huge help. When experimenting with ideas and sounds, there are things you can do on a guitar that can’t be done on keys (and vice versa, of course, hence the need to still have a MIDI keyboard) but most importantly, for a guitar player, you know your way around the fretboard so much better than the keys. Maybe even the final take is done with a keyboard but when coming up with the passages, phrases, etc., more ideas come up on an instrument you are familiar with. It is also just a lot of fun controlling some stuff with guitar. Not just synths either. Sound generators, drums, groove boxes, etc.
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