Music Industry News Network [02-01-2014]
KBD-Infinity Releases The Accompaniment Machine 2.0, Companion For The Yamaha PSR E433
The Accompaniment Machine 2.0 (AMac) is a low-cost Windows program that provides rich enhancements to the popular Yamaha PSR E433 digital keyboard. The Yamaha instrument provides exceptional value, combining a keyboard with a high-quality synthesizer at a cost of only about $250. The compact, portable keyboard is an attractive option for music students or those returning to music later in life. With auto-accompaniment and auto-harmony features, casual musicians can create professional-sounding songs.
The PSR E423 does have limitations, set mainly by its internal programs:
* The built-in set of accompaniment styles becomes repetitious after several months of playing. Although there are 10s of thousands of styles available on the Internet, it is difficult move them to the keyboard. Furthermore, the device has a limited capacity and cannot accept files larger than 50 kB.
* Style files may contain up to four variations, but the keyboard recognizes only the first two.
* The number of stored song presets is too limited to perform extensive programs.
* To play MIDI file songs, they must first be ported to the keyboard with the Yamaha MusicSoft Downloader software.
* It is necessary to press identically-shaped buttons on the console to change accompaniment sections, a difficult and risky operation during a performance.
One solution to alleviate the limitations is to replace the keyboard with a workstation that may cost thousands of dollars. An alternative is to expand the functions of the E433 with the Accompaniment Machine, available for less than $30.
AMac runs on any Windows computer (XP or higher) attached to the E433 via the USB port. The program interprets MIDI signals generated by the performer, computes accompaniment and harmony notes and drives the keyboard synthesizer. The basic role of AMac is to bypass the internal processor of the keyboard. This approach offers two advantages:
* All resources (accompaniment styles, MIDI songs, voice specifications, song setups...) are stored on the computer and need not be transferred to the keyboard. Resources are more accessible and number is unlimited, and they are much .
* Features are built into the program rather than the keyboard hardware, so there are endless possibilities.
AMac gives the PSR E433 capabilities comparable to a top-of-the-line workstations. Performers can:
* Employ the complete set of sections available in accompaniment styles (MainA, MainD, IntroC...) and use style files of any length.
* Instantly play songs on different keyboards or with different computers with the program's standardized resources.
* Listen to style files and organize collections with the built-in Style Organizer. See how the styles sound with different tempos and chord shifts.
* Change between a main and alternate voice set during a performance for dramatic effects.
* Create song files that contain complete information to restore setups.
* Create sequences of operations (like style-section shifts) before a performance. During the performance, they step through the operations by pressing a single control key without removing a hand from the keyboard.
* Choose between different fingering systems to guide style harmonies (Yamaha easy chord with enhancements, Casio and direct chords). There is also a unique KBDI system to generate the 10 most commonly-used chord types in modern music with simple finger combination.
* Employ advanced sequence options such as fades, stop-on-first-beat, alternate voices, volume changes and tempo shifts.
* Organize voices, styles, songs and sets in the familiar environment of the computer's file system. Resources can easily be transferred to a different computer or E mailed to a colleague.
* Create new voices with full control over GM and XG MIDI parameters or capture voice settings directly from a keyboard. Save custom settings in permanent voice files for latter use.
* Build accompaniments to play during performances with the built in MIDI player. Advanced features include saved playlists, lyric display, sequence options and an equalizer to level the volumes of a set of MIDI files.
AMac uses the same fingering conventions to guide style harmonies as the keyboard, so performers can start using the program immediately. The program is fully documented with a textbook-quality 56-page manual. For detailed technical specifications and sales information, see http://www.kbd-infinity.com. KBD-Infinity is not affiliated with the Yamaha Corporation.
KBD-Infinity was founded in 2012 to develop performance software for digital keyboards. The company, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, supports several educational programs for music students including MIDI Microscope. The company also maintains a blog of useful tips for digital keyboards at http://kbd-infinity.com/kbd-infinity-blog/. KBD-Infinity is currently developing Style Master, a graphical MIDI editor to compose or to optimize accompaniment styles. KBD-Infinity is not affiliated with the Yamaha Corporation. Link to home page: http://www.fieldp.com/company.html.
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