Author Topic: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat  (Read 3411 times)

Viktor Benev

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Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« on: December 13, 2015, 01:41:21 PM »
Greetings everyone,

I've been struggling with the vibraphone sound of my Kat for years now. I play on a MalletKat 7KS with integrated Kurzweil Sound Module. I find the sound not organic enough and for me it lacks the vibrato, characteristic for vibraphones(being a fan of Milt Jackson). I'm thinking of buying a separate effect to try simulate that vibrato and i've stopped myself at Harley Benton's Vintage Tremolo. Can you give me any impressions on using such effects on your Kats and perhaps rate this particular product?

Also, practicing at home or solo is pretty much fine as much as dynamics are concerned, but i play in a quartet with drums and not being able to control the volume quickly enough like guitarists make it hard to balance out the sound. Either i cover the bass solo, when the dynamics are soft or i'm covered by the drums when soloing. Changing the volume through the menu isn't quick enough, not playing live. If i could make a suggestion to future models i'd really love to see a volume knob integrated in the instrument. Since that lacks, the volume pedal is also quite difficult for me to use when i'm occupied with the sustain pedal all the time. I've found this acoustic EQ that has knobs and should be easily manipulated in real time and it could give me the same possibilities like those of a guitarist. Artec acoustic outboard. If anyone could give me any feedback, i'd be more that grateful. For example how you treat this problem when playing live.

P.S. The EQ is also needed in my opinion to fix the high frequencies, which with a combo always sound much louder than the rest from my experience.

Thanks in advance for your time.

Viktor Benev

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« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 09:31:10 AM by gmbydmit2 »

Viktor Benev

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 12:19:56 PM »
Alright, i understand that perhaps no one used this kind of effects. I'll try to look elsewhere, but didn't anyone have any problems with the dynamic range of the instrument when playing in a band with drums? Do you have any solutions for controlling the volume levels? Do you use the built-in menu? A pedal? I'm rather curious.

Thanks for sharing your opinions.

gurney

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2015, 05:23:39 AM »
Hi,

I've had good success by plugging my KAT to may computer and using a software phaser effect to emulate the vibrato.

Regarding the volume, I purchased a Yamaha Foot controler, and configure it to control MIDI CC 11 (expression).

If you need equalizing, then you can achieve this with a computer equalizer or within some limits from the mixing table, can't you?

Viktor Benev

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2015, 02:37:06 AM »
Well, the problem is that firstly i intended using the instrument by itself. Then, after a while i decided to try out connecting it to my computer, i bought a simple midi to usb cable, but unfortunately the cable is not working properly, so now i don't have any connection to my computer, before i can afford an external sound module. How do you connect your Kat? Perhaps there's a not very expensive way i don't know about?

I tried with a pedal, but i find it quite frustrating, because i use my sustain pedal(+ one controller) all the time and using a 3nd pedal really messes up my balance. That's why i wanted something i can manipulate with my hands. Using a computer to emulate the vibrato and equalising though is not a bad idea. When there's a mixing table - yes, but when i play gigs in bars there are usually only combos with very basic EQ, which doesn't really work.

gurney

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2016, 10:41:41 AM »
For this to work, you need to ship the audio output of the KAT to the PC, not the MIDI. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 external sound card for this.

I'm pretty sure that if you don't want to involve a PC in your setup, you can use an effect pedal for this, such as a Digitech SP-7 Hardwire Stompbox Stereo Phaser.

What I'd recommend to you if you're in the Paris area is to take up your kat to one of the hardware resellers in the Pigalle area (I remember one which used to be not very far away from La Baguetterie) and try out stuff and ask for advice.

Viktor Benev

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2016, 11:50:17 AM »
Thanks for the help. I did finally decide and bought a Focusrite Saffire sound module. So, now i'll be testing out some program based FXs and EQs to see what i could achieve. Perhaps, you could share what programs(DEWs) you're using for the effects, or EQ. I'm a bit familiar with Ableton, i'll test it out, but i'm particularly searching for a light-weight program, cause my Mac is quite old. If you fellows have any ideas i'd be happy to read them.

almapercus

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2016, 09:12:35 PM »
The best sounding vibraphone I know is from SonicCouture and it needs Kontakt to be played.
In any way to get heard you'll need a PA or a very-very good amp. You're right about the volume pedal, on the MK it's not so practical.

If you don't want to use the computer, a multi effect like the Line6 Pod or else will help you to be heard easily. You can use the vibrato or the chorus and add volume by having a louder solo preset. It will also help you to deal with the overall sound. Don't forget that it's not an acoustic vibe. Guitar players are dealing with amps, pedals and effects so maybe you'll have to try some to find what's best for you...
 

gmbydmit2

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2016, 04:15:04 PM »
FWIW....a dude I ran into at NAMM was raving about these samples:

https://vsl.co.at/en/Percussion/Percussion_Complete

I have no idea whether this will help you or not, just my 2 cents

T

gurney

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2016, 04:15:22 AM »
Thanks for the help. I did finally decide and bought a Focusrite Saffire sound module. So, now i'll be testing out some program based FXs and EQs to see what i could achieve. Perhaps, you could share what programs(DEWs) you're using for the effects, or EQ. I'm a bit familiar with Ableton, i'll test it out, but i'm particularly searching for a light-weight program, cause my Mac is quite old. If you fellows have any ideas i'd be happy to read them.

Hey Victor,

I'm a Linux boy, so I'm running Ubuntu Studio on my music laptop, and using things from Calf Studio Gear: http://www.linuxmao.org/Calf+Studio+Gear (french) http://calf-studio-gear.org/ (english) which are good looking and fairly easy to use.

Not sure if these are available on MacOS. OTOH, I'm pretty sure there are nice ableton plugins achieving similar effects.

ChristianW53

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Re: Making the vibraphone sound more organic on a MalletKat
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2016, 08:04:46 PM »
I have tried out several flangers, phasers and so on, but they all are relatively noisy. At least I had found an anolog one, very expensive, but sounds great : google for TC Electronic SCF. DoesnĀ“t make any unwanted noises at all.
There are some acoustic amps already containig such effects:  f.i. the AER 60  Combo,  similar to the fishman amps, but I didnĀ“t try the fishmans out.

The wanted potentiometer to change the volume:
There is a little external equalizer from Fishman availabe You can connect between the output of the MK and the amp. Probably there is a posibity to mount that at Your stand. But thatĀ“s mono ( not stereo) .

Cheaper but some more work: a little aluminium case in which You can mount a potentiometer. I donĀ“t know the output impedance of the Soundcard, maybe something like  5 KOhm (?). Take a Potentiometer of round about 20 Kohm log. as a potential divider. Add a resistance ( without knowing the output impedance: something like 1 K Ohm might work) from the potentiometer to the ground  to avoid total short circuits for the signal by the potential divider.  If You have some remaining  space in the case, make the cable symmetric ( on both sides) if possible. In case that You use stereo outputs take one stereo potentiometer. Ok, now You get the problem how to mount that aluminium case. I am a fan of self adhesive belts. Hope that helps.