Benn Jordan doesn’t actually tell you everything you need to know about MIDI guitar, though he gives you a fair introduction. But he pulls no punches in his review of the Boss SY-1000. His dismay at the presets is more understandable when, later in the review, you get to hear his own presets, which, unlike he Boss ones, sound more like something you might have heard in the last 20 years, and harness the emotive potential of synthesis in a way that the Boss presets fail to do.
I have to disagree on this one: This review is so full of incorrect and incomplete assertions about how guitar synthesis works that I’m frankly stunned that it would pass muster here. Mainly I have issue with how Matt, who I would think would understand these issues very well, convolves the world of Guitar Synthesis and MIDI Guitar. His assertion that the Roland 13pin system and GK series pickups are “MIDI Pickups” is just incorrect and really leads people who don’t understand what’s going on down inside devices like the SY-1000 down the wrong path. The implication from multiple moments in this video is that the signal from the GK pickup is converted to MIDI before being using inside the SY-1000. In fact at one point he says that the signal is converted to MIDI before being sent into Roland’s modeling engine. That level of misunderstanding really does obscure some important details about how these devices work that are essential to players understanding what they might expect from these devices.
While it may seem esoteric to assert that there is a big difference between converting sound to MIDI and usign a MIDI sound generation engine to product the sound and simple taking the individual signals from each string and using them directly in a modeling and processing engine, it ends up that this distiction is essential to understand.
Comparing a SY-1000 to a Pitch to MIDI conversion device is a true apples-to-orange comarison. Then again, asserting that Pat Metheny playing a GR-300 is the King Of MIDI Gutiar when there isn’t a spec of MIDI on the GR-300 kind of reveals where Ben is coming from and that seems to be the world of “Guitar Synth = MIDI Guitar”.
While I really apprecaite the time that Matt takes to do these reviews, and his passion for MIDI gutiar is admirable, I think that articals that perpetuate misconceptions about how guitar synths and guitar processing works actually work against the overall advancement of the art.
Who is Matt?
This was informative and funny. Benn does a nice job with his videos. I too wonder why presets on gear is usually so awful and over the top.
I think it is because they want to make them sound as “dramatic” as possible to punters trying the gear out in noisy music stores, whereas serious musicians are more interested in subtly emotive sounds like the ones that Benn creates