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DM48 Digital Chromatic Harmonica (lekholminstruments.com)
41 points by troydavis 78 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments

I noticed a Yamaha vl-70m in the first video. That's a very interesting synthesizer that (if I remember correctly) was in continuous production for about twenty years. It does physical modeling of various acoustic instruments. They're fairly rare, but they're popular with those who play midi wind controllers because they allow for more realistic expression control than a more typical "play pre-recorded sample when someone hits a note" digital rompler synth.

Yeah if this thing does MPE its going to be easier to use with an ipad or running a DAW that has MPE compatible plugins like bitwig, logix prox or cubase. Those hardware were hard to find in the 90s when they were new, compared to the dx7 this module only ever say small production runs.

Cool project! But, as with other electric instruments, not quite the same as the traditional equivalent:

"Compared to an acoustic harmonica, the DM48 is less expressive in many ways, as mouth geometry, hands, and classical bending/overblows cannot be used to modulate the sound. [...] the DM48 cannot in any way replace or convincingly emulate an acoustic harmonica."

Yeah it seems like its a nice wind controller with a harmonica style layout but its telling they demo it with anything but harmonica sounds lol.

Also,not sure you'd overblow or bend a chromatic harmonica (I only have diatonics, so, not sure if it's done for colour)

I play both (badly) and while it is possible, I find it a lot harder and often miss the specific pitch I'm trying to bend too (with quite unpleasant results!). I am not sure why this is, but I suspect the slide mechanism and the larger volume make it harder to load the reed just right..

That was my assumption, although I have never been close enough to a chromatic to try (also, I can barely bend on the diatonic yet, I haven't been playing for long). I just looked up more information on bending on chromatics (the harmonica.com forums) and indeed, doable, but not supposed to sound as good as the chromatic on its own. Interesting to know, and thanks for your answer :)

A nice idea, but it sounds as if they're not quite able to get the input latency low enough. It needs to be around 3-4ms or less. Here it seems as if it's more in the 10-20ms range, judging from the demonstration videos. It's enough to throw a performance off, and to make everything sound just slightly behind.

It could be that it's not the input latency itself, but rather the tapered nature of the wind instrument attack curve. If a tapered attack curve is used to set of the playback of a sample, that could in itself also introduce extra input latency. It's not entirely clear what's happening here.

Its a pity that its tethered like that. Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) is low latency and perfect for this use case.

"Low latency" is still like 10-20ms, which is very noticeable for a professional musician.

Then again, mechanical instruments can have quite a bit of latency themselves, for instance: It takes a while for the reed in a harmonica to settle into a specific vibration when activated, especially when bending notes. Same for a string in a bowed string instrument. I find it interesting to see that that mechanical latency is something that a good musician learns to use and becomes part of an instruments "character" and "expressiveness" while digital latency is almost universally considered a bad thing.

oof, not comparable at all. The increased mechanical latency from a cello, compared to a violin, is an incredible source of tonal and musical complexity. First of all, the latency can be felt by the musician, so I don't lose control of the feedback loop. Second, the latency isn't a hard start/stop, but you can feel and hear the string first displacing under the bow and then starting to move. There is zero latency in terms of the physical universe... there is just some more latency between when you start an action and when the note reaches its full steady state.

The comparison is like the difference between driving a truck and a car compared to driving a car with a 500ms delay on its inputs.

That's not latency, though. There is zero delay between the musician initiating an action and sound happening. What you're talking about is the transients or attack at the beginning of a note and those are a profoundly important part of the sound.

Everyone should record a video of themselves reading text aloud, while playing the audio back at a 5-20ms delay into their headphones. It's hilarious!

Same thing happens when you play an instrument.

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