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CAMELOT PRO: On Stage Test! 1024 682 audio modeling

CAMELOT PRO: On Stage Test!

What are the needs of a keyboard player today? Probably one of the most important is being able to take advantage of all the available technology, without reading having to read many manuals or spending hours watching YouTube tutorials. Someone has chosen for setups entirely composed of virtual instruments but complains about the lack of a certain feeling and reliability during the execution. 

Someone prefers to use only “real” hardware keyboards, but the cost is higher and  you miss the undoubted advantages of virtual instruments. Camelot Pro allows to get the best from both worlds, having them all sitting at the same round table, no matter who the manufacturer is or if they are hardware or software!


Camelot and other options


I joined the Camelot Pro beta testing program exactly one year ago. Camelot Pro is a software that already bodes very well from the premises. Last year I published an article about Camelot Pro in SM Strumenti Musicali (a renowned Italian magazine about musical instruments), which was born straight after the first impressions on such collaboration. At that time, I was using NI Kore 2 (now discontinued) on stage and had recommended the most recent Cantabile and Mainstage to many friends. My cover band live performances require many sounds that replicate with accuracy the original records. But having three or four keyboards would have made my setup difficult to carry and inconvenient to use.


Hardware or software?
The eternal dilemma!


Playing only virtual instruments allows to comfortably present oneself on stage or in the rehearsal room with a simple laptop, a couple of master keyboards and a few cables. I can instantly recall all the sounds I want at track change with just one click. However, this solution has never given me the same satisfaction as playing real instruments. Furthermore, acting on a laptop is not the maximum immediacy in case of emergency or tweaking during the live. I had assigned the main parameters to some sliders and potentiometers of my master keyboards, but some operations always required acting on the Host GUI. NI Kore had the convenience of having a hardware interface replicated in software that increased its usability. Returning to “real” keyboards would have meant accepting compromises on the available timbres, weight and losing Total Recall.


The transition to Camelot


One of the first Camelot features that blew my mind is the ability to manage a keyboard like a virtual instrument. Moreover, its native graphic interface for touchscreens is like a big display of a workstation from which I can control everything, including virtual instruments, without a mouse. It’s as easy and intuitive as programming a keyboard. Camelot is so simple that in the beginning you get the impression that it is limited to a few functions. Instead, there is everything you need! So I started reprogramming the whole repertoire of one of my bands on Camelot. The operation was long, but quite simple: with just a few clicks and thanks to the Template feature, layers are created in which to insert virtual instruments or so-called hardware instruments “maps”, which are sort of drivers that command a keyboard or an expander.

A Setlist is a list of Songs that can be ordered as you like


Maps


Through a hardware instrument map I can browse preset lists of my keyboards. Clicking on it, Camelot recalls that preset. In the past, I had to take the manual, read the commands to send and enter them manually. Which I’ve never done, because it was faster to type in the preset number on my keyboard. This is definitely not the best choice, especially if you have three or more keyboards and if you need to change sounds quickly during a medley. A Map can also change the mode of the machine from Performance / Combi to Program / Preset. For those who know the Kronos Set List Mode or the Montage / MODX Live Set, this is practically the same thing, but extended to all our machines, virtual and “real” ones.

The list of maps is constantly expanding. For models not yet supported, custom maps can be created


The Refresh (dynamic maps)


What if I have saved User sounds on my keyboard or have I uploaded personal libraries? No problem: Camelot is able to connect to the keyboard and download the names of personal sounds via the exclusive system. Inside the maps there are also some faders that allow you to modify the parameters, such as the volumes of the parts of a performance, or some summary parameters via Control Change. Parameters that vary from instrument to instrument. Because in Camelot every tool has its own dedicated map.

Opening a Layer, you enter the modification of some parameters, in this case of a Montage Part


PDF


Camelot features a very simple function, essential in my opinion: you can upload scores or personal notes in PDF format. Before using Camelot, my notes were written on paper or in Kore’s Notes window. Both solutions were not perfect, so I began to use an iPad on which I displayed scores or scans of my notes. Camelot allows you to import standard PDF documents and match them with a Song or a Scene, also selecting which part of the PDF to show. In this way, the focus on the PDF changes as you play your piece, Scene after Scene. If necessary, you can add annotations to highlight difficult passages or mark notes to apply corrections to  the PDF file when you get home.

Camelot allows you to import standardPDF documents and match them with a Song or a Scene, also selecting which part of the PDF to show


Archive, Song and Scene


All the created songs are stored in the archive. There, you can build the setlist or the repertoires. Playing with different bands, for example, I created various playlists with the entire repertoire. Based on performance, you can create specific setlist very quickly and easily. Once the Songs are added to a setlist, I use a normal pedal switch to move from one another. If necessary, you can also use a double pedal, to move backwards in a setlist. And what about the Scenes? I personally use them for two purposes. The first is to differentiate the setting of the instruments within the structure of the piece: e.g. activating and deactivating instruments, modifying the relative level between verse and chorus, acting on the split points, transpose and other parameters. The second use is to quickly change between tracks in a medley. The change is immediate and uses, for those who have them, the technologies of transition from one sound to another without interruption.

A complex medley with several scenes


An integrated Master Keyboard


In Camelot, each Layer and each Item have a section that we could call “masterkeyboard”. Here you can filter certain MIDI commands, create layers, split, set semitone or octave transpose, connect MIDI IN and OUT as desired and perform routing of MIDI channels. Let’s better explain this feature with some examples.


MIDI filtering


Did you ever layer a piano with a pad? I guess millions of times. How annoying is the fact that sustain pedal also acts on the pad, mixing the sound? The (elementary!) solution is to enable the Control Change filter 64 within the item that contains the pad sound. I can filter any MIDI message, to satisfy every need. Obviously there is also transpose by semitones and octaves, global or for each Layer or Item.

I can filter any MIDI message, to satisfy every need


MIDI routing


All keyboards can communicate with Camelot by connecting via USB or via traditional 5-pole DIN ports or virtual ports. Camelot sorts all the messages generated by our keyboards or controllers, and can send them to a virtual instrument, or to the hardware tool we are playing, maybe after filtering or transposing a tone. Alternatively, you can send them to another keyboard instrument, because – this is my case – you have a weighted Master controller to control and play the piano sound generated by a synth, and you want to use the latter  (equipped with synth action keys), to play a virtual instrument or a connected expander.

MIDI Patchbay 


Layer and split


We can create as many layers as we want and assign a different sound generator to each one, to enrich a sound. Or we can open as many Items as we want within a layer and assign them to as many generators as our CPU can feed. In the Items, we can load maps of hardware and software instruments. Just use the “handles” on the keyboard, shown at the bottom of the window, to create split points. It is possible to layer more sounds at different Velocity levels, as well. This is a useful option for having Hammond and Mellotron in layers, enabling the latter to play only when the Velocity is above 100. This way, I can add it or not, by simply…playing.

An example of a layer with three sounds splitted by range and velocity


Only for keyboardists?


The Camelot community is continuously expanding thanks to the timely technical support of the AudioModeling team. Camelot begins to appear also on important stages: among these, the one of Vasco Rossi (one of the most loved Italian pop/rock artists), where all the setup by Alberto Rocchetti (Vasco’s historic keyboardist) was managed by Camelot, expertly programmed by Fabio Nuti (his keyboard tech). Not to mention Jordan Rudess, who took part to the early stages of Camelot Design supporting it personally. So far, we only talked about keyboard players. Nevertheless, other musicians can also rely on Camelot for the selection of presets, management of scores, singer’s multi-effect and in future also Backing Tracks. Even my drummer is interested, because Camelot allows him to manage the metronome tempo changes within the medleys! That has been my experience so far, I warmly recommend to everyone to download the free version for Mac and Windows and sit down at the Camelot round table!

We can associate a metronome tempo to each Song and Scene, set it with Tap Tempo, synchronize it to an external application and send the audio click to a separate output dedicated to the drummer

Article written by Stefano Airoldi and published on the magazine SM Strumenti Musicali (a renowned Italian magazine about musical instruments)

How to play the Viola in an expressive way 1024 641 audio modeling

How to play the Viola in an expressive way

Have you ever wondered what does it mean to play expressively with the Viola?

We asked Danilo Rossi, Principal Viola at Teatro alla Scala in Milano.

According to Danilo Rossi, to play in an expressive manner we need to keep in mind 2 things: a technical clear idea (of what we’re doing to be expressive) and a clear musical idea about the phrasing, the tension, the direction: all the components that make a phrase really expressive.

The requirement is that the expressive idea has to be generated by a need, as far as the technical part is concerned, according to Danilo Rossi, there are some fundamental techniques to be taken into consideration, first of all the creation of a phrase “line” that never stops.

Any strings instrument player has a great chance to play a phrase “melody” like a lead vocal singer: the most natural line that teaches us better what’s the phrase, what’s the expression. However, singing has a limit: the breath ends!

Acoustic strings players have the same limit, because the bow actually ends! Trained players have developed a skill to compensate and hide the “bow change” action on the sound…without any audible interruption. So in this way, the bow becomes infinite, and it’s a great result! Said that, the melody, should be considered as an imaginary “line” that never ends and it is so strong that never breaks.

The bow management it’s fundamental for the expression, with important additions: the bow weight, the bow speed and how the players balance and modulate them.

The bow speed is closely related to the amount: if we use more bow, it is because we are using it faster, given a unit of time measurement. Even if we use the bow slower, given a unit of measure of time, we will use less bow. So speed and quantity are related.

Another bow factor is the point of contact (bow position): playing closer to the keyboard is different from playing closer to the bridge, but the player always makes the choice before playing.  

According to Danilo Rossi, playing in expressive way is the same thing to act a poem. There is a substantial difference in performance by an ordinary person or by a great actor. The words, or in the case of music: the notes, will always remain the same, but what makes the result completely different is the expressiveness (given by the actor or the musician).

To play with expressiveness we need to consider another important variable: the vibrato. For Danilo Rossi the vibrato is the best and the most important sound accessory and it allows to characterize even more a melody. But it has not so much sense reasoning about vibrato, without first considering the basics, the fundamentals of how we can create the sound.

This is the reason why – Rossi says – the most important technical things are: practice the gesture, with the long duration notes, so the long and slow gesture of the right harm in relation with the string strength. 

Regarding the Viola there is a very important details which is an essential key point: when we play closer to the bow frog we naturally are heavier because the arm is bent, so the more we move closer to the tip, the bow gets lighter, so our weight is reduced.

A second Viola’s crucial aspect, is that each string has a different sound emission and behaviour: to get the same kind of sound, the violists must know that in the G string needs a certain weight and a certain speed, and the more the player goes towards the first string, the weight decreases and the speed increases; so it is inversely proportional to get the same type of sound.

What does it mean? It means that in reality, each string has its technique. On the basis of these fundamentals we are going to create a tension and then we go to choose what kind of expression we want. At the end we can say that without the basics (we just spoke about) the results are almost limited, or probably random.

Artist: “Dino Soldo” 1000 667 audio modeling

Artist: “Dino Soldo”

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Stop listening, start playing 800 450 audio modeling

Stop listening, start playing

SWAM Instruments provide the control every musician needs.

Have you ever composed or played with a sample library? The way a sax or violin sound evolves is the result of studio recording. It’s a kind of “picture”, taken from another musician playing a sax or a violin for you. You can combine it with other sounds, tweak it, and get inspired from it, but because someone else has recorded it for you (even if very well), can you really express yourself totally with it?

SWAM is not just a great technology for modeling acoustic instruments: it is a philosophy of making music with digital instruments. Our aim at Audio Modeling is not only to replicate accurately the sound of an acoustic instrument. We also want to provide its behaviour – how the instrument reacts under the hands of the musician – and to recreate the bidirectional feeling and link between the artist and the instrument.

Now that you have the power of the SWAM acoustic instrument model, how can you interact with it?  How can you best express your musical ideas on the digital instrument? You need one or more controllers.

Using the MIDI protocol, controllers communicate with computers and digital instruments. They are able to tweak the instruments’ parameters that affect the sound generation. There are a huge number of MIDI controllers on the market but we would like to focus especially on continuous controllers.

A continuous controller is the hero of the SWAM engine instruments story because it is capable of sending real-time messages, for example, to set the expression (dynamic) level, the bow or breath pressure, or the speed of the vibrato. The result of this is that the musician gets the natural behaviour he or she has in mind.

Here are the controllers we will describe in more detail over the coming weeks:

  • Expression Pedal
  • After touch & Pressure
  • Breath & Wind Controller with “Bite” feature option
  • Knobs and Faders
  • Ribbon and Pads
  • Modulation Wheel
  • Pitch Bend Joystick
  • Accelerometers on Rings shape controllers and other devices
Ready to change history? 1000 667 audio modeling

Ready to change history?

Meet Audio Modeling, the almost-futuristic project based on the talents of Stefano Lucato and Emanuele Parravicini, two men described by ROLI as “the maestros of virtual acoustic instruments”. In order to understand why Audio Modeling and its solutions are ultimately always one step forward, first we need to move a step back, and explore its origins.

The Beginning

Although Audio Modeling was founded on March 17, 2017, and began selling its own products on November 22, 2017, its real inception dates back to 2003, when Stefano Lucato began his collaboration with Giorgio Tommasini. The project “Stradivari Violin” was the milestone that generated the butterfly effect, ending with Audio Modeling itself.

Stradivari Violin” was a revolutionary, virtual violin based both on an innovative technological process created by Giorgio Tommasini and on a series of techniques (created by Lucato) that allowed a real-time control of the instrument. The enjoyed

immediate success.

The Next Steps

While Giorgio Tommasini and Peter Siedlaczek, through their Samplemodeling project, began  work on developing “The Trumpet”, Lucato began his own work on a series of Saxophones, “The Sax Brothers”: a sample library for Kontakt with an extensive scripting and sample processing.

The Sax Brothers” was a unique project based on proprietary technology called SWT – Synchronous Wave Triggering, which is able to model efficiently the samples both in dynamics and pitch. Yet, the platform did not support the implementation of specific techniques that would allow Lucato to achieve exactly what he had in mind: complete realism.

Time to Move On

In 2009, Lucato decided to create his own platform, and got in touch with Emanuele Parravicini. It was the beginning of a solid, long-lasting collaboration and friendship. It was also the root of SWAM – Synchronous Waves Acoustic Modeling, born from Lucato’s idea and Parravicini’s active contribution.

What is SWAM? Simply put, SWAM is a new way not only to conceive virtual instruments but also to process samples and implement Physical models. SWAM is not “just” a technology, but more like a philosophy: a modus operandi aiming at the overall coherence of any musician-instrument. SWAM offers versatility, flexibility, and a more natural playing experience: in one word, realism.

Toward Audio Modeling

After years of fruitful collaboration and the implementation of a new series of saxophones, clarinets, flutes, double reeds, solo strings, it was time to push the envelope even further. It would then take more than two years before the ideas and vision became what we know now as Audio Modeling: the leading brand in the technological evolution of the music industry.

Partnerships

Talent loves company. Good products and groundbreaking technologies not only find their place in this world of constant progression, but also in the audience’s widespread appreciation. It may not surprise you to learn that, in just over a year of activity, Audio Modeling has already established several international partnerships with renowned brands such as ROLI, Fatar, Yamaha, Enhancia, Aodyo, and many others. The company is also an active member of the MMA (Midi Manufacturers Association) and boasts a network of resellers all over the world.

Camelot

For Audio Modeling, being the reference point in the expressive acoustic instruments field is not enough. In 2015, Lucato and Parravicini met with Simone Capitani, a talented UX designer.  Camelot, born as a result of Simone Capitani’s innovative vision and the contributions by Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater keyboardist), is the multi-platform software designed for live performance management, allowing the interconnection of hardware and software tools in a simple, immediate way that has never developed before. Camelot is developed and marketed by Audio Modeling, in partnership with and Fatarworld leader in keyboard manufacturing.

Education

Being talented is great. However, sharing your know-how is even better. That’s why Audio Modeling is especially dedicated to Music Education. We collaborate with different educational institutes and universities, and with foundations whose goal is to help people with disabilities find absolute joy through musical expression.

All students and teachers can benefit from a 50% discount on all Audio Modeling products.

The team

Audio Modeling is its people. Our team is constantly growing, to the point that we will soon inaugurate a new headquarters. We will celebrate, together!

A new online platform

Audio Modeling’s new website aims to express the peculiarities and complexities, the vision and mission of the brand. Also available in its mobile version, is a more complete, clearer and interactive platform that will allow users to understand fully what the entire project is about.

Our new online Community is a place for sharing your ideas, opinions, presets, and demos. Our Customer Portal allows you to download the latest version of our software along with manuals and tutorials and also offers complete management of your license keys and product activations.

The future? It starts today

Tomorrow begins now, and Audio Modeling is already on board. We are constantly working to design and create new products, and our next project is to complete the main orchestral instruments within the entirety of the Brass family. We also are very much aware of the importance of deploying solutions for mobile devices, and are therefore moving in that direction.

But what about Camelot? Well, we expect to release it very soon, and it will propel us to another, wider, industry. Just wait and see.

We are already writing the new chapter of our history. Are you with us?