MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Virtual Acoustic physical modeling synthesis mathematically simulates the sound and characteristics of acoustic instruments in real-time. This forum covers the VL1, VL7 and VL-70 as well as the PLG100-VL and PLG150-VL plug in boards.

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2ManyKeys
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MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:50 pm

yamaha_mu2000ex.png
Yamaha MU2000EX
More specifically, would the MU128 or MU2000 EX and two VL cards be ROUGHLY equivalent to the VL1?

As I understand one of the big differences between the VL1 and all the other VL's is the double element capability.

The MU2000 EX has many of the effects of the Motif series and has digital output which even the VL1 lacked. I can't say if the effect resolution is the same but they should be rather good. With dual VL cards it seems it would be possible to create layers much like the VL1 and probably with more flexibility in the effects section.

I understand that the VL1 had some additional modifiers.

Thanks for any opinions. I've always been intrigued by the Yamaha VL technology so I purchased some of the above on eBay in an attempt to get the tech for a lot less than a VL1,7,70.

Thanks,

Scott
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:10 am

After reading some more of this section, I guess the answer is roughly yes. at least on the MU2000 Ex.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by javelin276 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:27 pm

Yes, you are right on all counts. The only difference is the bit depth on the A/D unit in the machines. The MU2000 is 16 bit like the Motif series, and the VL1 is 20 bit. You can hear a difference up to about 24 bit, above that the difference is pretty difficult to identify. An yes, the MU2000 gives you a larger set of Effects than the original VL1 has.
The VL1 has one additional modifier/parameter you can adjust, but I've compared two patches on the VL1 with and without the modifier. The difference was negligible which is probably why it was dropped on all of the units that came after it.
Yes, installing two PLG-VL cards does give you two voice elements that work together just like the VL1.

As a side note, the MU2000 and MU1000 have a USB port which is extremely useful, you can use all 64 midi channels with ease. The MU128 does not.

Another advantage of the PLG-VL cards is the availability of a PC based editor. The new VL-Wizard editor Rudy put together works great on the newer instruments like the PLG-VL cards, the VL70M and the EX5. There isn't a fully capable editor (yet) for the VL1 and VL7, only the simpler visual voice editor the VL1 shipped with.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:58 pm

I wonder how a PLG100-VL and PLG150-VL would play together and if they would work in polyphonic mode like two 150's as you described. One of the cards I'm getting may be a 100 instead of the 150. As I understand, they have the same engine and I assume the same presets. The only difference is the 150 stores user voices in onboard flash. Nevertheless, the MU may not treat them the same.

As far as DAC resolution goes, I'm willing to bet very few could hear the difference between 16 and 24 bit resolution so I'm not too concerned about that being much of a factor. 24 bit really came about not because 16 was inadequate but simply to maintain lower quantization noise during the recording, and mixing stages before audio was mastered back to 16 bit for CD's, etc. The public knows nothing of this and simply thinks more is always better. Most people are quite happy with 128k mp3 which sounds pretty bad IMO. :-)

Yeah sure, I prefer 20 and 24 bit equipment when I can get it but I'm not convincing myself there is anything more than a very subtle audible difference if that. It's amusing when the golden ears go on at length in forums about the huge differences they hear between DACS. These are often the same people that buy $1000 speaker wire and think they have to break it in for the best sound. :-)
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:18 pm

BTW, isn't the VL70m really just a PLG150-VL in a tiny XG box? It sure looks like a chopped MU unit right down to the buttons.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by javelin276 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:01 pm

The circuit design in the VL70m is the same as the PLG150-VL, but the circuit boards are physically different. The VL70m has an interface to the buttons, display, and knobs, and it has a power supply and IO connectors which the PLG card doesn't include. They sound the same, though.

You can use the PLG100 and PLG150 side by side without any differences in an XG tone generator. They might behave differently on startup in a Motif rack, I don't have one of those. If you look at the circuit boards side by side, the PLG100 and PLG150 are identical, only the silk screened printing is different. The components and traces are exactly the same. The only real difference is one firmware command that allows a host machine to download custom user voices on startup from a specific saved file to the PLG150. There isn't any on-board flash memory, the file is stored in flash memory on the Motif host. MU tone generators like the MU100 and my MU2000 do not provide this feature.

Does that help?
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:47 pm

javelin,

Thanks for all the info. The stuff I bought on ebay arrived and I now have two PLG150-VL's!

It's amazing how well the MU2000 Ex integrated both of them essentially like a single two-voice unit. All edits carry across to both boards seemlessly. Really impressive.

Amusingly, no sooner did I set this stuff up then my son comes to me needing me to "improvise" a sax solo for him for the school band. Well I certainly have the right tool. The LiteAlto preset is quite good even without tweaking, right down to the occasional reed squeak. :-)

I should clarify my DAC comments from earlier. The forums I was referencing are the home HiFi type where "tweakers" abound. The engineers like myself become exhausted on those forums trying to refute the wonderous claims of a $1500 cd "demagnetizer". I don't frequent them anymore. I once spent some time trying to explain to a forum member that they simply could not have had any effect on their system by reversing a fuse in the back of their CD transport. You read that right. This person complained that their system was sounding "brash and harsh" and the "pacing" was just off. This is the type of meaningless jargon that floats around those forums continuously. So they popped the fuse out, reversed it and said the soundstage, blah blah, imaging, blah blah, bass impact, etc had all been amazingly improved. The same nebulous descriptions are attributed to DACs as well. You can only take so much of that.

Today's board mounted DACs are so good that it's far more likely some output op-amp, which are far less ideal devices, has a bigger effect on the final sound than a highly linear DAC.

Scott
Last edited by 2ManyKeys on Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by javelin276 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:31 pm

Excellent! Welcome to the world of Yamaha VL!
I would recommend going and getting the Demo version of VL-Wizard, you get upwards of 1000 new patches for the VL boards in the package.

I'm an Engineer too, I stay away from the wackiness on the Audiophile forums. Those guys are nuts.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:36 am

Nuts indeed. :-)

Yeah, I'm going to have to dig in deeper with this thing. It's amazing how stale a sampled sax sounds compared to this 20 year old tech. Came in really handy while writing that solo. I also had to learn writing to the range limits of an alto sax. The transposition was new to me as well as the sax is tuned to Eb. Learned a lot.

I downloaded the demo version. I'm sure I'll be upgrading soon. :-)

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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:57 am

"The only difference is the bit depth on the A/D unit in the machines. The MU2000 is 16 bit like the Motif series, and the VL1 is 20 bit."

I did a little digging into the MU128 service manual. Turns out the 128 has 20-bit Sigma Delta converters on the ADC inputs and 18 bit DACs on the outputs. We can safely assume that the MU2000 has at least the equivalent converters if not better. I don't have the service manual for the 2000 unfortunately.

Also, since the MU128 and 2000 use two of the same processing engines found in the Motif - the monster XS725A0 VLSI chips, I'm willing to bet all the internal processing on those chips is 20 bit if not 24. Nobody is going to hang 20 ADC's and 18 bit DAC's on a system that does all the internal processing at 16 bit resolution.

Overall it would seem the MU2000 (128 maybe) with two VL boards is very close to a VL1.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by sloanefreeman » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:54 am

I am expecting an MU2000 to arrive from Japan soon. The posts on setting up an MU2000 to play like a VL1-m inspired me to gather the gear. I have Rudy's VL Wizard, a PLG100-VL card and a PLG150-VL card. an MU100R and a VL70-m. What do I need to do to get both VL cards to play in unison in the MU2000, or in the cross fade mode like the VL1-m? Which setup would be better? How can you tell if the MU2000 has the EX upgrade? Would there be any benefit in having three VL cards in the MU2000? Would the sound be richer with a VL card in each of the two MU units and the VL70m and have all three play the same patch into a mixer then to the amp?

All help gratefully received. Thanks!
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:55 am

Well that's a question you will be the first to answer. I have two 150's setup and there is no effort in doing so. The MU simply treats both boards as a single two-voice instrument. With a PLG150 and a 100 the MU may do the same but I'm not sure.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:14 am

MU2000 EX will display when the unit boots up.

I don't think any solution beyond the VL1m will actually do the automatic crossfade.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:32 pm

By the way, don't overlook the dual AD inputs. The MU2000 and MU128 both make serious effects processors for external gear because of those inputs.

They both have the Motif effects architecture and 20-bit Burr Brown (now TI) converters on the front end so they are very clean effects boxes with far more flexibility than you find in most rack processors. Two or three bus effects and up to four insert effects!

The 2000 in particular adds tempo sync'd effects like delays.

They also allow in-depth parameter editing on the effects unlike anything you might buy from Lexicon for under $2000. :-)
Last edited by 2ManyKeys on Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MU2000 EX and 2 PLG VL cards = VL1?

Unread post by 2ManyKeys » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:49 pm

Here's a very good article detailing why 24-bit is largely marketing hype.

https://www.mojo-audio.com/blog/the-24bit-delusion/

The writer provides concrete engineering examples and makes excellent points on how even the power supplies of audio equipment make 24 bit resolution impossible. Mostly it's just extra bits of noise though it does help reduce the buildup of quantization noise across multiple mixing sessions.

Getting even full 20-bit resolution on any ADC or DAC is very unlikely.

Certainly, a real synth can generate waves with 24 bits of dynamic range and no noise, but that signal will NEVER make it out of the DAC's without losing quite a number of bits to noise.
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