Korg Oasys PCI Card?

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Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by Saul » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:43 pm

Was wondering if anyone on the forum had ever used a Korg Oasys PCI card and if so what did you think of it?

http://i.korg.com/services/products/oas ... syspci.htm
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by Derek » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:13 am

I haven't used it myself, but there was a guy over on EX5Tech who had one in the day and swore by it.

And of course it paved the way for the OASYS workstation and then the Kronos. I think the original (computer based) architecture paved the way for Korg to develop workstations based on computer components as opposed to custom integrated circuits and DSPs, which is why I have a synth with 9 integrated sound engines with none of the restrictions that the EX5 had (and which were fixed in its DSP code).
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by Saul » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:40 pm

Thanks for that Derek. I had never come across the Oasys PCI card until browsing yesterday. Would be interesting to try one but as far as I can tell they don't work with modern OS's so the people who have them install into old machines which are dedicated to just that one thing. Might look out for one and perhaps stick it in an old iMac at some point. Need more room first of course. No room here for old computer projects!
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by Derek » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:47 pm

Gordon Reid did an interesting history on OASYS in Sound on Sound and the first part covers the first concepts

http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/korg-oasys-part-1
http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/korg-oasys-part-2

And the following is interesting in general, which covers the OASYS era

http://www.bandrecording.net/SOS/2002/0 ... g40th3.pdf
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by abruzzi » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:44 am

I have one, but honestly haven't fired it up for years. The windows 98/MacOS9 requirement is a bit of a pain since it basically needs its own computer. It can sound very nice, but it runs out of processer pretty quick. There a number of synth models and FX models that come with it. There are a few people that made and sold their own, in fact, my understanding is some of the very early Solaris prototypes were done on the OasysPCI before moving to a different card (I forget the name) then to hardware. I think some of third party models are still available.
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by Saul » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:19 am

Hi abruzzi, welcome to the forum :)

So you have a Oasys PCI card? how does it compare in usability with a hardware synth? I mean obviously you need a dedicated computer to use it these days but if you had that and a controller keyboard is the Oasys PCI easy to use?
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by abruzzi » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:56 pm

Its relatively straightforward to use once you get it set up. I have a Mirrored Drive Door G4 Mac running MacOS 9.2 with the OasysPCI installed. The card has a couple breakout cables--one for analod I/O and one for digital. It can do ADAT output and includes wordclock input (the I/O is very similar to the old Korg 1212io card.) You need to get MIDI in and out. I use a MOTU 2x2 USB MIDI interface and FreeMIDI (MOTUs OS9 MIDI software.) With all that installed, the software works on a mixer paradigm similar to DAWs and VSTs. You add channels, select their synth model, midi input channel, audio out. You can use the OasysPCI for FX as well by creating aux channels. It can get very complicated if you want, but if you're used to the modern DAW/mixer layout its straightforward. Since its got a lot of I/O, you could theoretically bring a bunch of channels in for processing, or send your sound out to external hardware and return it back in. You could also layer multiple different synth engines just by creating multiple mixer channels listening to the same MIDI channel.

In its day it was very powerful and pretty easy, today, to biggest challenge is all the old tech (how many people remember FreeMIDI or OMS today, let alone where to get it and how to set it up?) and if you buy a used bare card, the challenge of setting the machine up from scratch. (also if you find one for sale, make sure it has both breakout dongles--otherwise its not terribly useful.)
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Ca

Unread post by mmtuk » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:25 am

Following on from the last paragraph of the last post from abruzzi......

I have been on the acquisition trail of old gear for use with my EWI 5000. My latest purchase is a complete MDD dual 1.25GHz G4 Mac that contains an Oasys card booting to both OS9.22 or an early PowerPC compatible version of OS X. I sold another Oasys card that I had a few years ago but regretted doing so shortly after I parted with it. That card was in a Windows 95 PC which was unable to run the associated Mac only Synthkit software.

I already have a Yamaha VL1m and to date have found no other sound source that feels so much a part of me like a real acoustic instrument. It is incredibly responsive to whatever I ask it to do in real time, at times I am in awe of what It outputs. I played brass instruments over 3 decades so breath control is second nature to me. The VL1m responds in every way like a REAL instrument. I also have a VL70m with the Patchman Turbo ROM but don’t use it at all because it is so sonically inferior to the VL1m. Other sound production gear is Yamaha’s EX5r, Motif Rack ES with a PLG150-VL, MU100r with a PLG100VL, numerous outboard effects units & MIDI data processors, and Behringer FCB1010 & Yamaha MFC2 foot controllers. Most of the time I only use the VL1m connected straight through to my powered speakers, I don’t need the other stuff!

Fortunately my background as a computer techie since just before the very first IBM PC’s arrived has served me well. The connection with abruzzis item is that I have chosen to control all the MIDI data processing via 2 Opcode Studio5 LX MIDI controllers (giving me a 16x16 matrix) under OMS/OS9. I struggled at first with OMS but it was worth it. The highly programmable filtering and routing of MIDI data and equipment via OMS and the Studio 5s is awesome, with 128 environment presets subsequently recallable on the Studio 5s without the computer being attached or powered up. These presets can be called up as a patch change from a DAW on another computer or from the front panel. It’s very much a set it and forget it.

i’ve chosen to go down the path of distributed processing (different computers for individual tasks) to minimise the risk of latency, MIDI or audio, entering into the system. I have several computers attached to the Studio 5s as slave or host MIDI devices, the Studio 5s having an old MacBook (running OS9/OMS) solely for control of their own functions.

Modern computer setups, where 1 box does all, rarely achieve near to zero latency because they are being asked to do so much parallel processing. They’re not only dealing with the demands of DAW environments with all their plugins and VST’s but also the demands of the operating system and hardware. It’s no wonder bottlenecks, and therefore latency, occur. All this is of paramount importance to the needs of the real time musician who needs an instant response to performance demands, anything less cannot be tolerated and should not need to be compensated for. When did anyone have to think of their soundflow being interrupted whilst playing a clarinet, flute or trumpet?

My equipment may be old, but it is of excellent quality, affords me an incredibly flexible environment with a level of latency so low I am never aware of it. The introduction of the OASYS card can only serve to enhance the range of sounds, tools and effects at my disposal. Anybody needing help with the configuration of old systems?............
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by Saul » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:45 am

Thanks for that incredibly interesting post mmtuk. I have often looked at the Oasys card over the years but never owned one and since I mostly play acoustic guitar now there is probably no point in me searching one out. That was a fantastic find in the G4 with the Oasys card on-board already!

As for latency I have not experienced any of that for well over 10 years. Can't actually remember the last time I needed to think about it. Modern computers do indeed handle a lot of things at the same time but multi-core processors, large amounts of fast ram and ssd drives are more than able to cope.

I run a mid 2010 iMac and the easily manages anything I need it to to. Back when latency was an issue it was often more to do with drivers than hardware and the emergence of Asio4ALL pretty much took care of that.

I also run a 2010 Windows PC with Win10 installed and that also doesn't suffer from latency.

I do applaud your use of older gear and getting it do do what you need it to do though. ((i)) ((i)) ((i))
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Re: Korg Oasys PCI Card?

Unread post by Derek » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:37 pm

Hi,

Just because kit is old, doesn't mean to say it goes lame (look at us!), otherwise why would people be after 40 year old MiniMooogs?

My studio is a careful selected mix of old and new, and of course it is all getting less new as time goes on. It's scary to think my AN1x is over 20 years old now, but it is still one the best sounding virtual analog out there. My EX5 and FS1r are similar vintage and my SY77/TG77 are now nearly thirty years young. My Nord G2 Engine is a young pup at 12 years.
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