Questions regarding the SonicCell

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Questions regarding the SonicCell

Postby unaHm » 04:23, 26 October 2014

Dear all,

I've recently stumbled upon the SonicCell, and it's a very interesting device!

I have a few questions:

1. Is the audio returned to the computer able to be divided per track? For example, if I have 8 parts, can I return 8 or 16 channels to the computer to be recorded (frozen)?

2. Can I use more than one Drum Kit at a time? Or, is it restricted to only using MIDI channel 10?

3. Are there any alternatives to it? Anything newer, or (dare I say it) better?

4. Are there any websites or YouTube videos that show the SonicCell being used at its best?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Kind Regards,

Posts: 2
Joined: 04:09, 26 October 2014

Re: Questions regarding the SonicCell

Postby rcraven » 07:34, 26 October 2014

Hi Dan
1. The SC is a 2 track (stereo) audio device. That is, 2 inputs and 2 outputs.
You can have any number of audio tracks on your computer (up to what your software and hardware can cope with) that are mixed and sent to the SC audio device.
The SC can playback stereo (2tracks) audio from the USB drive.

2. There are 16 Parts and any Part can be on any Midi channel and any Part can be a drum kit. So if you assign all Parts to the one channel you can get a max of 16 Drum Kits at any one time from your keyboard.
A kit is made up of sounds on up to 128 Midi notes.
Each note that makes up a kit can have up to 4 waves (not necessarily a drum sound). So max drums is 16 kits with 128 notes and 4 waves per note.
Usually the waves in a kit are set so the sample is swapped depending on the velocity of the key played, but multiple ones can sound at the same time.

3. Alternatives? From Roland - If you just want a desktop unit to play back backing tracks there is the BK-7M or the Mobile Studio Canvas or the VIMA JM-5. Their sounds can't be edited very much . For more powerful synthesis than the SC there is the Integra 7.
There are lots of others from other manufactures. You have to determine what you want to do and find the machine that will do it.

The SC inherits it's architecture from many earlier Roland synths, but each has it own sound.
I have an XV3080 and a FantomS and a Fantom X8 and the SC. They all have their own great sound. They have a lot of depth in sonic possibilities, and are now relatively cheap.
I fear most people don't take the time to get to know their synths as you would a clarinet or violin and it worries me that you are already looking for something 'newer and better'.
There are always alternatives, but by the time you learn a little bit about that one there will be a better one available. Continue this way and you will only ever have a surface knowledge of what are powerful sonic machines.

If you are looking for an original sound you will never find it in someone else's patches no matter how good the synth is. So if you don't spend the time exploring you will never know what is 'better'.

4. I'm not sure what 'its best ' is as it can be so many things.
There are some early general vids on
Here is a vid of some of the sounds

Look for the FantomS and FantomX videos as in most cases you can get their sound on the SC, but the SC can do a few things they can't.

All the best
Posts: 494
Joined: 14:36, 9 September 2007
Location: Melbourne Australia

Re: Questions regarding the SonicCell

Postby unaHm » 16:24, 26 October 2014

Thanks for your very informative response Royce! I apologise that some of the questions might have been a bit too basic or vague, but nevertheless the response you gave was useful :)

In terms of the sounds that the Sonic Cell has, I'm sold! For me, it's more just the functionality of the unit, and how Roland geared its use.

It wasn't specified in the manual with regards to returning tracks (the audio output of each MIDI channel) to a host computer (apart from the audio from the mic/line ), so I can only say that I was hopeful. The idea I had was to eventually be able to record the 16 MIDI channels back as audio into the DAW (if, for some reason that would be necessary...), rather than just an overall stereo mix.

I suppose the goal with the SonicCell is that it can be taken anywhere, and can be plugged into any machine (or keyboard/controller for those who perform live), so all you'd really need is a stereo mix coming back to the DAW, but there may be some studios that are pedantic, and want each channel separated so that they can use their own effects on them ;) I suppose recording each individual part to the DAW wouldn't take too long, but it would certainly be less hassle to record all of the separate tracks simultaneously.

As for being able to use more than one Drum Kit at a time, that's really good to know. I haven't used MIDI hardware extensively for a while, so I wasn't sure if the 'channel 10 only' limit had been overcome...but, times have progressed a lot since then :)

I did look at the Integra-7, but it's quite a way beyond my budget, and doesn't seem to have as much of the DAW integration as the SC (even though the SuperNatural capabilities of it are phenomenal!). I looked at the Yamaha Motif Rack XS as well, which can return 16 channels of audio back to the computer, but I tend to prefer the sounds from Roland.

Also, I'm not necessarily looking for something 'newer and better'; it's more that I was wondering if there was something out there that I'd completely missed, as I did with the Sonic Cell! I mistakenly purchased a few Sonic Core (CreamWare) cards a few years ago, only to sell them this year as I'd ran out of ideas on what to use them for. They were geared towards mixing and effects, and while they could run synthesisers and samplers, I would often end up with system crashes, running out of DSP resources, or just not the result I wanted.

I'm not much of a keyboard player, so I spend a lot of time working within the sequencer. The idea of coming back to a sound module is tempting to me, because I don't have to continually search for sounds! Original sounds are something I'll create maybe now and then, but I use a lot of factory sounds in my work :)

I hope that fills in some of the gaps! Thanks again for your response!

Kind Regards,

Posts: 2
Joined: 04:09, 26 October 2014

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