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Roland Sound Canvas for iOS?

jkendrick

Member
Messages
9,864
I've been doing some low budget demo tracks and I want to improve the sound quality of some of the instruments. I've just been using GarageBand on my iPad and a cheap Casio keyboard for the horn parts. Those horn parts, predictably, sound just awful. After some light research I'm thinking about the Roland Sound Canvas app. It's only $20 so I may just go ahead and try it, but thought I should seek out some opinions first. Is this my best bet? Is there something better at a similar price point? Goal number one is to find a good trumpet sound.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,164
Not familiar with it. I own an old Soundcanvas SC 88ST Pro and the sounds in it are really quite good (in fact, I think some are better than my modern Roland that boasts some "supernatural" synthesis process).

If they sampled from that line they could still be better than what you have on GB. I'm generally a Roland fanboy, and I think most of their products have professional sound and features (though like every company, there's always some idiotic thing they do...).

Though they could just be reviving the name for an app (SCs were originally designed for "desktop studio" stuff when that first started becoming a thing in the 90s).

Honestly, over the years, I've found the best Brass seems to be Yamaha. They just seem to do it better than Roland IMHO. I'm talking about horn sections now.

I actually had better luck with my Sound Canvas using a Trombone, Trumpet, and Sax patch and arranging it like actual horn parts rather than using "brass" patches.

If you're not already doing this, if you're just playing chords at one time, trying playing each single note on a different track (and with the GB instruments too).
It may help the realisticness. Maybe even layer the Casio sounds with the GB sounds - mix and match to see what you get, or double track both, etc.

It may also help to layer a horn section pad (played in as chords) with the individual tracks recorded as well on the specific instrument sounds.

FWIW brass (and many wind instruments) are very difficult to get to sound realistic - in many ways becuase the instruments themselves are so imperfect and people play them imperfectly and that's such a huge part of the sound. That's why "real" wind players like EWI style controllers for MIDI so it will catch more of the nuances.

Another hint - if you can play them well enough, don't Quantize and don't try to set the velocity to all the same. If you can play them in live as single lines, and maybe add a chordal patch if necessary, all of those errors often sound "better" because otherwise it's too perfect and too sterile.

At that price though, it's probably hard to beat. Anyway to hear samples on line?
 

jkendrick

Member
Messages
9,864
Thanks so much. Yeah I'm not trying for super professional and definitely know horns/wind instruments are tough. But I've been experimenting with arranging and have a single trumpet fanfare that is supposed to be a climactic part of the song and as it was with the Casio (it's literally my kids' light up keys instructional keyboard) it just sounds awful. I'm not looking to spend much on this so at $20 I may just go for it. I just wanted to see if anyone knew of anything better at the price point. I found this review that shows off some of its capabilities if you're interested.

 






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