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Osmose - Nice Ideas/Features to maybe "borrow"

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Jason
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There's another thread that's getting a bit divided discussing, as the OP opened, a particular Montage/MODX "how to" and then later some Osmose discussion not necessarily helpful to the OP. So hopefully, I can provide here a thread to discuss everything Osmose. What it does that Yamaha keyboards don't as maybe preparation to formulate an ideascale entry -- or just to vent/wine/praise/what-have-you.

Where we left off in another thread - there was a discussion that was around glide and glide acting differently in different parts of the keyboard. Certainly Portamento in MODX/Montage can do this sort of thing since every sound can have a note limit and so if that sound has portamento - then portamento will only occur within a given range for that sound. And if you really wanted the same sound to glide in one area and not in another - then you'd set up duplicate parts (one with Portamento on and one with it off - both with different note ranges).

I just post the last paragraph to provide some context since it's worth noting that the Osmose has an interesting feature where if a note interval is wider than some amount then glide will (or will not) happen - and if the note interval is closer then the glide will not (or will) happen. This kind of thing cannot happen with MODX/Montage currently. Yes, you can define a range - but you can't use interval as a deciding factor. Adding interval to the mix for Yamaha synths would open up a lot of new possibilities keeping your hands on the keys and not having to use ASSIGN buttons to get what you want (or some other workaround). Osmose isn't the first device(or VST) to do this - there are modeled instruments that utilize interval as a way to tell the engine to do one thing vs. another (I'm thinking things like SWAM - or also there are VSTs for pedal steel that do this, etc). Interval intelligence (outside of arps) would be a great addition to Yamaha synths.

 
Posted : 07/06/2023 3:21 pm
david
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I'm not sure how it works on the MODX but Osmose has something I was calling continuous sensor not sure how it can literally seesaw but if you defined a key position as having 10 (for simplification) or unlimited intervals the glide will both gradually occur and is speed dependent. How does this work if key sensors are limited?

So you can actually glide or seesaw either slowly, gradually or speed up the glide or reverse directions etc. seemingly without limits. You can also use the technology to strum strings like a real guitar using the key and increase and decrease the velocity like a real guitar. The Osmose MIDI assignments also allowed me to control my YC73 and assign a "cc" command to the aftertouch such as the effect ring modulator.

Not only did I have normal improved YC performance on any voice but I could change something about the voice using either pressure or aftertouch or both. That was cool to experiment with and of course the YC LED spins around depending on what you assign to that function (you can set the range on the Osmose) so because YC has the one-button-on-function UI. I could bring in the YC organ by pressing down if I wanted, etc. .They haven't yet added side-to-side to change the pitch but that is probably coming. I did change the pitch by pressing down. Of course it does impact all keys not like the YC is MPE but still works depending on how you intend on playing. I thought modulating effect parameters gave interesting results.

I thinking that this continuous sensor action provides expression and control beyond a typical keyboard or one that only has aftertouch in the traditional sense. The YC73/88 was introduced a year later and had a different built quality. Them not having at least aftertouch is again silly, Yamaha tends to cut corners but how much does aftertouch really drive up the unit price? I think a stage board of this quality could benefit from aftertouch but some Yamaha rule of thumb book (Never have touch screen, never have batteries/speakers (meaning pro level equipment), never have XLR I/Os, etc. seems to change rapidly when forced to do so) doesn't allow for stage board aftertouch.

In many areas Yamaha follows the other leaders when they should set the standards. I think their technology forces them to cut back, just think AWM2 and FM etc. is too expensive that they have to shave off typical bells and whistles you get with others. YC73 did have XLRs thankfully. The upside is Yamaha sounds better in those areas but I'd pay an extra $300 for the better upgrades but that budget/profit margin wags that puppy. I mean Nord prices are nuts and they sell a ton of those so a little more for a Yamaha isn't going to sink that ship. Might convert more customers actually. Someone mentioned the new management not being risk takers vs the way it might have been. CK should sell a ton so the philosophy of half risk and half safe isn't a bad approach.

I like my Yamaha workstation module idea. Focus all energy into the totality of the sound/music making unit and drop the keys and all that associated expense. Everyone has a dang keyboard or controller these days many of which they prefer. Stop wasting energy on keys and form factors and make the greatest module the world has ever seen. Like I always say if you don't do it someone will. We've had modules but more like romplers and certainly not the end all be all of the universe.

Now there is something for everyone but best to own all three: (4th category being arrangers & organs/Electone which are typically far less affordable)

1) Stage boards are fantastic with one-to-one relationship but never enough voices or layers. Dare I suggest a stage board should sound better than a workstation because of it's tight focus and limited sound pallet.

2) Workstations are almost unlimited but often too complicated and too many voices (lots of fillers or "similars") that might as well go back to a stage board just to play music instead of searching and thinking too much. Lots of distractions but great for inquiring minds. Depending on how complex your Montage voice was I think one time I could only get 3 or 4 max voices playing at once of the 8 slots. Fantom could do 16 internally without such limitations (except only 1 V-piano) but I'm sure M+ will be even better.

3) Osmose for what it can do fills in that gap where expression has been lost in all the features, tedious programming, menu diving, complexity, limitations etc. it shifts your attention back to playing music instead of analyzing it. I enjoyed the Osmose the most using the YC for layering since a single Osmose voice needs a supporting cast.

 
Posted : 07/06/2023 7:18 pm
david
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You can fact check Wik but they have this posted:

"The Greek composer Vangelis used the Yamaha CS-80 extensively. He described it as "the most important synthesizer in my career — and for me the best analogue synthesizer design there has ever been ... It needs a lot of practice if you want to be able to play it properly, but that's because it's the only synthesizer I could describe as being a real instrument, mainly because of the keyboard — the way it's built and what you can do with it."[6]"

So then imagine in the last 47 years you tell every player that has ever played that their synth isn't a real instrument. We understand the point. The Osmose is even better because the keyboard does much more. Took long enough but most oddly Yamaha didn't even exploit it further in an affordable way in 47 years that I know of. Was something like $7K in 1976 and now about 40K. Only flagship premium Yamaha boards even offer aftertouch. ASM has polytouch and it's very affordable.

We'll see if in the near future if Yamaha decides to do something similar or go in another direction, however I'm not sure there's is another direction now that Osmose has changed the landscape in an affordable way. Affordable is the key word or concept because now every regular person can experience total expression on a keyboard. That's pretty special IMO. I mean how many of us know someone who have a CS-80 sitting around? It couldn't even do FM or acoustic modeling.

So I did have to purchase (2) Osmoses' to get a double layer but that's still affordable. I think you might not really need (2) as long as you layer it with almost anything else you have available. Controlling (2) might get crazy but then again it could be totally awesome. You have the ability to simplify and not always go nuts with every voice. Eventually it will likely have a double brain and more keys. A double manual is still pretty special.

 
Posted : 07/06/2023 11:18 pm
david
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Sound on Sound excerpt for another perspective:

Forward Osmosis
It’s a massive achievement for any company to bring a successful, well‑rounded product to the market. To do that for an MPE‑type instrument, which is normally so niche in its appeal, which rewrites the rule book again, and can’t draw on much if any existing tech, is extra‑special. With that in mind, I think what Expressive E have achieved with the Osmose is truly staggering. Personally, I think it’s one of the most exciting electronic instruments to appear in a long time — I’m even tempted to say ‘ever’ — and there are a few reasons for that.

First, that remarkable keyboard action, which simultaneously feels so familiar, works so intuitively, and yet can support such a wide range of novel gestures and playing techniques. And which could open up whole new worlds of expression and sound interaction for keyboard players and composers. I was concerned at first that the lack of front/rear position sensing represented a step backwards compared to other MPE products out there, but in real terms, very little flexibility is lost. Thinking about ways continuous surface controllers are played, Y‑axis movements are often made subsequent to the initial touch, so in that sense implementing them in an aftertouch‑like phase in the Osmose makes little difference in the real world, and is probably easier to control to boot.

Second, the built‑in sound engine. Yes, it’s currently a good challenge to program, but more importantly the integration with the keyboard action is pretty much flawless, sometimes apparently magical, and it is both super‑flexible and extremely nice sounding. The quality and consistency of the factory presets is high, and the combination of touch‑ and macro‑driven sound variation should mean that you will neither immediately sound like the next guy/gal, nor constantly be wishing you had a full synth‑like control panel in front of you. Being able to play the Osmose without a computer in sight, if necessary, feels right in keeping with a broader aesthetic of simple, direct, immediately realised expressivity.

 
Posted : 08/06/2023 12:27 am
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