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Reedless Accordion Review

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    Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ Overview: Just spent several weeks with the new
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
      Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
      Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

      Overview:

      Just spent several weeks with the new Titano/Master
      reedless accordion. A full review follows this introduction.

      Let's refer to this model, imported and marketed through
      the E. Deffner music company in New York as "rev 3.0" in
      the continuing saga of technical refinment being made
      by MASTER in it's MIDI and Accordion products.

      On the scale of 1 through 10, I'll place the current technical
      level of this reedless, as compared to a professional acoustic,
      as follows:

      bellows sensitivity 10
      overall tone 9
      touch 9

      Taken simply as an Accordion, it reaches the professional level
      with ease - but most remarkably - at a price point well within
      reach of the majority of casual, as well as semi-pro and
      professional players. Other than the fact that it's reeds are
      "Virtual" rather than "Steel" it is simply an affordable Pro quality
      Ax that any Accordionist could feel comfortable with.

      It is, however, a limited implementation focused on a goal.
      If you are wonderstruck by "40 accordions on a chip"
      or the idea of foot-switching through hundreds of
      "programs" on your incredibly complex MIDI accordion
      so you can make your Solton module rotate between
      thousands of different sounds every 4 bars or so, then
      pass this one by...

      if you're curious about a simple Accordion with great touch
      and tone weighing in at 12 pounds or so, read on...

      Ciao Ventura
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    • usenet@d-and-d.com
      Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ Part one - Touch: Let s begin with a brief
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
        Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
        Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

        Part one - Touch:

        Let's begin with a brief discussion of acoustic vs digital pianos.
        OEM's goal has always been to produce a device with all the
        advantages electronics can bring, none of the disadvantages
        inherent to the Acoustic form, yet physically and practically
        essentially indistinguishable one from the other.

        Touch, Tone and Esthetics...
        or if you prefer: Tone first, then Touch, then Esthetics.

        The touch of a well designed, well built, well regulated
        Grand Piano action is their goal. Some top grade Digitals
        actually incorporate a full Renner Grand action.
        Next grade is a version of an Upright Piano action, keeping
        a whippen and hammer of some type on a full length key.
        Then we come to a simple, weighted, piano-shaped key
        and last we find the standard plastic "Synth" type key.

        Of course, there is a wild difference in cost to manufacture
        these different physical keyboards - and musicians who
        desire, need, and can appreciate the touch of a Grand piano
        are thankful they have such luxury of choice. Truly, many
        students who cannot afford an acoustic Grand piano in their
        lives nevertheless enjoy unlimited practice time with true
        Sostenuto pedal, world class action, and headphones in
        small and unassuming rooms around the world.

        Crossing over into the world of Synth's - you find that
        premium engines like the Triton are often available in a
        keyless rack-mount, in a synth-key body, in a simulated
        piano keyed body, or with 88 wooden keys at your choice.

        Well, I am delighted to notice there is finally an equivalent
        to this thoughtfulness in a modern reedless accordion.
        Touch is indistinguishable from a high end Acoustic accordion.
        Why? Simply put, they went to the trouble of taking a quite
        decent quality Acoustic accordion off the assembly line
        just prior to the reed-plate/reedblock stage, substituted a
        single set of really fine "digital" reeds, then fitted clever
        electronic control extensions onto the normal accordion
        action mechanisms to make it all work.

        This is quite a different type install, however, than you will
        find on a typical "Midi'd" accordion. The bass switching mechanism,
        for instance, is installed INSIDE the bellows chamber IN PLACE
        of the bass reedblocks. Solid State Hall effect transistors
        (no moving parts, no solar degradation) are normally biased
        note-off in proximity to a tiny magnet attached to the underside
        of the felt and leather pad which rests over it's respective note
        hole in the bass chamber plate.

        When a bass note is pressed, the normal accordion mechanism
        does exactly the same thing it does on any other accordion... it
        pushes the rod which pushes the lever which lifts a normal wood,
        felt, and leather finished foot - but instead of allowing air to pass
        through a hole to activate a metal reed, now a magnet pulls away
        from a piece of silicon hidden in the "digital reedblock" and the
        virtual reed contained in the sample set is activated.

        Your fingers will not be able to tell the difference... because
        there IS no physical difference. There is no electronic feel to
        the Bass switches, no lightness or plasticness, nothing except
        a completely normal feeling as you play.

        How comfortable!

        The treble action is based on a full dual pivot rod assembly,
        with Wood keys - Pearlized keytops - and normal action-rods.
        This is a nice, dead-level, short throw, quick-as-the-dickens
        action which again has real wood/felt/leather feet that rest on
        an aluminum plate just like any other accordion. Here they fit
        the magnets onto the very tips of the action arms, then lined
        a neat row of the Hall Effect switches along their edge. Very
        clean design, simple, and pretty much foolproof.

        Voila!

        A good Acoustic Accordion with dual pivot rod treble action
        and fully "quieted" bass mechanism is what? at least $4000

        Overall feel:

        One complaint about some reedless models is the bass end
        seems out of normal proportion... usually due to the lighter
        weight electric button switches... but this reedless is nicely
        balanced between treble and bass. The shoulder straps,
        typically mounted, hang the Titano/Master reedless accordion
        off your body in a normal position. Letting it hang free, the bass
        tilts ever so slightly left while the bellows slowly succumb to
        gravity. Again it feels just like an Accordion should.

        Familiarity of operation:

        Shifts are physically the same as on any other accordion.
        Where you usually find plates sliding in a complex matrix to
        slide reed-plate baffles, now you have a slick implementation
        of small reed-switches and magnets... but you'd never know
        it if I hadn't told you. Press a shift and the "reed-banks" adjust
        same as any other accordion you've ever owned.

        In other words, the Titano/Master reedless accordion touches,
        feels, squeezes, works and plays in a manner indistinguishable
        (physically) from any other typical high-end Acoustic accordion,
        except it weighs about half as much and the sound comes
        out of speakers or headphones as you prefer.

        So, if YOUR most important criteria is the touch of an instrument,
        and you are considering a professional accordion in your life,
        then you might want to check this one out.

        Ciao Ventura

        review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
        published in RMMS March 30 2003
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      • usenet@d-and-d.com
        Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ Part 2: Sound Simply put, the basic, pure sampled
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
          Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
          Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

          Part 2: Sound

          Simply put, the basic, pure sampled solo-reed tones on this
          particular accordion are notably clean and clear
          - very pleasing to the ear -
          and just like a fine set of Steel reeds are rich enough tonally
          to never become boring or go out of style...
          you can count on that...
          though these will never go out of tune... count on that too.

          The purity of an electronic sound is critically important,
          especially one based on what is essentially a sine wave.
          Those of you who remember the organ-accordions with
          individual tuning on each note recall how horrible the
          dissonance when using single footage pure tone, then
          playing a chord, when one note is even the tiniest bit out.
          Electronic sounds like this MUST have equal temprement.
          That's why everyone used a Leslie (the chorusing relieved
          the harshness by phasing the waveform enough to smooth
          the jagged dissonance back into a softer waveform) so I was
          very impressed with not just the sweetness of this pure tone,
          but the rock-solid clarity under many styles of play.

          Jazz accordion cats will, I think, find this specific virtual
          reed-set to be worthy of note. It is so clean and clear that,
          though there is a "chambered" solo reed available as well,
          the purity of the un-chambered reed is enchanting enough
          to merit lead use, while the chambered version lead tone
          is just what you expect it should be.

          As far as the blended reed-sounds, they are the product
          of processing, and will be strictly a matter of taste whether
          you feel the soft meusette is too soft or the strong meusette
          is too wet or if you think the porridge is just right. For my taste,
          I did notice artifacts in certain tone blends which might annoy
          me somewhat in general use... but your mileage will vary.

          Note that I am evaluating this instrument through extremely
          high fidelity full range audio equipment in a more or less
          aneochic room. Anyone considering this type of instrument
          should, ideally, demo it through your own sound equipment,
          or equipment close in nature to your own. Remember, you
          have one set of "reeds" in this instrument, so your personal
          evaluation should be based on that fact... do these reeds and
          combinations sound good enough to YOU that you could
          happily use them for a lifetime?

          if YOUR most important criteria lies with the sound of an
          instrument, and you are considering a new Pro Accordion
          in your life, then you might want to check this one out.

          Ciao Ventura

          review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
          published in RMMS March 30 2003
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        • usenet@d-and-d.com
          Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ Part 3: Implementation... we don t need no stinkin
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
            Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
            Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

            Part 3:

            Implementation... "we don't need no stinkin' MIDI"

            There is a certain type accordionist who still, after all these years,
            can't play anything else other than their specific model Cordovox,
            Accorgan or Syncordion. These guys are just not the type to
            program their own VCR's - have a hard time with Computers -
            and probably need help hooking up a Stereo system or
            programming an answering machine.

            Do you prefer things that work intuitively, and have a limited
            number of clearly defined, easily remembered options?
            Does all this MIDI stuff confuse and even bore you?
            Put off by music devices which have that "Tokyo at Night"
            look and thousands of sounds and options to choose from?

            Well, I've got good news for you - this reedless was clearly
            designed with you in mind. The closest thing to your nose are
            four linear volume faders (even Helen can figure that out)
            and right down from them are a full bank of accordion shifts...

            Plug it in, turn it on, Pick it up, put it on, PLAY
            press a shift - solo clarinette
            press another shift - master
            press another shift - chambered bassoon
            etc. etc. etc. down the line

            So how many sample reed-sets can you select from?

            ONE

            just like any other Acoustic accordion.

            How many sets do you need?

            ONE good set will do quite nicely thank you verrrry much

            Of course, with unlimited money we could expand our sample
            banks to include many different flavors of reeds chambered in
            many classic accordions (as I have opined in the past) But THIS
            accordion was NOT designed to be the "ultimate" accordion...
            it WAS designed to give an experience as close to it's fully acoustic
            brethren as craft and a truly affordable price could allow.

            I feel it has accomplished that

            So, if YOUR most important criteria is the intuitive,
            natural simplicity of an instrument, and you are tired
            of paying through the nose to keep your antique,
            overweight organ-accordion on Life support, then
            you might want to check the Titano/Master reedless out...

            is it a sophisticated Digital and MIDI device? well yes... but
            you don't need to get into any of that if you don't care to.

            Ciao Ventura

            review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
            published in RMMS March 30 2003
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          • usenet@d-and-d.com
            Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ Part 4: Construction and Tech talk The design of the
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
              Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
              Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

              Part 4: Construction and Tech talk

              The design of the supporting electronics is quite well done.
              Rugged dual layered circuit boards with large ground planes
              (similar in look to a good Motherboard) a Power supply designed
              for 110 !!! not a dual use tranformer that leaves an extra pound
              of unused copper in your kit! Fuses on all 3 DC voltage legs,
              and one on the mains. Fully shielded Xfmr located on the
              extreme opposite end from the Audio circuitry.

              4 meg general MIDI wavetable chip with FX is used for the
              non-accordion sounds. Dual 64 bit LSIC digital audio processors
              control the accordion samples, DACs, mixer, and reedset
              layering/fx/meusette functions. MIDI control programming is
              on a socketed "bios" type flashram chip. Two large, socketed
              eeproms hold the actual digital reed-set, which is, I think, one
              full set sampled out of chamber and one full set sampled in.
              Gold flashed audio outputs (left, right, headphones) give
              positive contact and it's all housed in a strong steel brick,
              which is likely impervious even to the dreaded Datsun.

              This is definitely "Pro-Quality" construction throughout,
              designed for everyday use.

              Connectors are a standard (detachable) power cord,
              three 1/4" jacks (audio left, right, and headphones)
              MIDI in-out-through
              clip-held quick-connect 9 pin "D" sub cable to the Accordion.

              Esthetics are great too... this one looks really nice with some
              light but tasteful sparkles on a black body - plus it has a
              "blast-from-the-past" old-fashioned "Titano tube-chamber"
              coat-of-arms as it's "branded" emblem.

              the General MIDI soundset in the brick is actually available to
              an external controller - mwhich is why there is a MIDI "in"
              (run your laptop-computer's MIDI-out to the brick, and use
              this high quality soundset for sequences, etc.)

              From the Accordion itself, only a select few of the general
              MIDI sounds are available for use. Upright Bass and a few
              other useful things for the left hand, with a selectl group of
              tweaked Acoustic instrument voices for the Treble side.
              These are all on dedicated buttons, and are about as much
              to learn/use as a Cordovox. You could completely ignore
              these non-accordion digital sounds if you prefer, but they
              are available for instant use if you happen to need them.

              Like a good Digital Piano, the Titano/Master reedless simulates
              the experience of an acoustic instrument... and

              One area where the Digital is able to improve on the Acoustic,
              or rather one deficiency of a reeded accordion which is
              avoided in the reedless, lies in the bellows control.
              With a typical accordion, you cannot sound both the
              Bass and Treble reeds at the same time without the
              air pressure and available reserve volume being
              affected. If you are concentrating on a technically
              challenging passage on the treble, you are forced
              to devote some of your concentration to pre-planning
              the air usage and bellows attack as you lead in.

              One huge advantage of this virtual accordion implementation,
              lies in its ability to control the bellows sensor independently
              for the treble and bass sections of the accordion. In other words,
              you can run the Bass/chord tone on the left at a constant volume,
              and dedicate 100% of the sensitivity the bellows and your skill
              can bring to bear into articulating the treble "reeds".

              Hell, most Chordovox players like me left their Bass
              reeds off 99% of the time and played the string bass sound
              at a set volume against the single set of chambered reeds
              for this very reason - control! So to me this is a great feature
              and a decided improvment over an acoustic.

              By the way, the Bellows sensor works just the way you
              would expect it to... naturally and transparently. The
              bellows themselves are also a nice grade, with deep folds.

              If your criteria includes technical excellence, intelligent
              implementation, high quality architecture, and some
              state-of-the-art silicon you will like what you see when
              you peek under the covers on the Titano/Master reedless.

              Ciao Ventura

              review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
              published in RMMS March 30 2003
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            • usenet@d-and-d.com
              Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ part 5 - The Digital ying-yang: Plays through
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
                Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
                Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

                part 5 - The Digital ying-yang:

                Plays through headphones - but -
                Doesn't play at all if the power goes out

                Reed sound is professional quality - but -
                Sound comes out of speakers, not the accordion.

                Extremely well done imitation of an acoustic instrument
                - but - Not particularly useful as a MIDI controller

                Never goes out of tune - but -
                Cannot be re-voiced (samples not user programmable)

                Completely eliminate Feedback on stage - but -
                Probably can't go more than 30 feet of cable from the brick

                Potential for truly Pristine audio recording even by amateur
                - but - Quality of sound dependant on your audio system

                Won't break your Back - but -
                Can't stroll around the room as you play (it's not wireless)

                Won't break your Bank - but -
                still costs more than a flat Piano-type MIDI controller

                Won't wake anyone up middle of the night (headphones)
                - but - you're still gonna get asked to play "LOS"

                reeds won't get rusty if you live near the ocean - but -
                can't take it on the Beach without a portable generator

                Ciao Ventura

                review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
                published in RMMS March 30 2003
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              • usenet@d-and-d.com
                Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ Part 6: how does it work The accordion has several
                Message 7 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
                  Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
                  Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

                  Part 6: how does it work

                  The accordion has several control sections. Most natural
                  are the accordion shifts, which work in an
                  obvious fashion. On the grille is a nice, flush-mount panel
                  with four main sections. One has Bass sounds on dedicated
                  buttons, a similar section has chord sounds, two larger
                  sections have dedicated buttons for an alternate bank of
                  accordion reed sounds (the sample sets tweaked in different
                  ways by the support chips and programming) plus a pair
                  of octave buttons which are very useful with the reed sounds.
                  the final section is a select group of other instrument sounds
                  (strings, etc.) also on dedicated buttons.

                  All buttons have corresponding LED's for visual tracking

                  There are also buttons for bellows on/off/zoning etc.

                  Close to your chin is a set of 4 sliders like on
                  a mixing board... these control the relative volume
                  of the four sections.

                  You plug a wire into the wall, you connect an audio
                  to the back of a metal brick and plug it into your
                  PA system, you connect a cable from the brick to
                  the accordion. Turn everything on.

                  The accordion defaults to an on condition where one
                  sound from each section is active... you can begin
                  to squeeze and play immediately.

                  There is an air bleeder on the Bass section. It exists
                  because the digital reeds do not need the same volume
                  of air as an acoustic accordion, but if you personally
                  need the bellows to move a lot you can adjust this valve.

                  While this accordion CAN be used as a MIDI controller
                  to external modules, it's MIDI out is mostly useful
                  when recording a performance into a sequencer...
                  remember, you can MIDI back IN to this device,
                  so a MIDI sequence (performance) can play back
                  through the brick EXACTLY as you performed it...
                  which is a neat trick.

                  Ciao Ventura

                  review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
                  published in RMMS March 30 2003
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                • usenet@d-and-d.com
                  Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ Really-From: ~Dream~ Conclusion: Tech heads looking for a good
                  Message 8 of 10 , Mar 30, 2003
                    Really-Reply-To: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>
                    Really-From: ~Dream~ <accordion@...>

                    Conclusion:

                    Tech heads looking for a good combination of
                    Sounds and MIDI control still need a fully
                    implemented MIDI accordion, but folks who find
                    all this MIDI stuff to be a big drag and just want
                    an Accordion that doesn't weigh much, plays great,
                    and is less filling may find the Titano/Master reedless
                    to be just your cup of tea.

                    She is good enough to be someones "Main Squeeze"
                    and in fact may even turn out to be, in some cases,
                    simply the finest accordion you've ever owned.

                    I feel this instrument is nice enough to earn the
                    right to be called, simply, an "Accordion". That it's
                    reeds happen to be mounted on Silicon in a small
                    steel box at the end of a cable is really a minor
                    point when compared to how truly it holds to the
                    traditional model from which it has evolved.

                    There are still a lot of things it can't do, as a be-all
                    end-all device, so we still have a ways to go - and
                    as cost and technology allow MASTER to continue
                    improving their products, no doubt we will see
                    even better versions in the future, but that won't
                    take away anything from THIS model... because
                    it plays and sounds great today, and it will still play
                    and sound great 10 years from now.

                    For further information, you should contact
                    the TITANO accordion company in New York,
                    or drop a note to Faithe Deffner
                    (a member of our Newsgroup)

                    I personally have recieved no renumeration of
                    any kind from either MASTER or the E. Deffner
                    company for this review. I was given the use of
                    the instrument for several weeks, it was sent
                    to me here in the DC area, and I returned it in
                    person over the weekend in New York. It was
                    a pleasure to enjoy the instrument, and I get
                    into technology, so that is payment enough.

                    While in my shop I reverse-engineered every
                    aspect of this accordion and it's electronics
                    to the lowest level practical in order to thoroughly
                    determine the quality level. This included running
                    every chip down to it's OEManufacturer for specs
                    and details. If there were any weakness in this
                    product physically or bug in the programming,
                    I would have found it.

                    While I personally don't agree with all the
                    programming choices made by MASTER, our
                    disagreements are strictly on an esthetic level,
                    and you will evaluate those nuances for yourself.
                    But the basic instrument is a solid player, and
                    if you end up owning one, overall you are going
                    to enjoy it, and get your moneys worth out of it.

                    Ciao Ventura

                    review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
                    published in RMMS March 30 2003
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                  • usenet@d-and-d.com
                    Really-Reply-To: sully5154@aol.com (Tom Sullivan) Really-From: sully5154@aol.com (Tom Sullivan) ~Dream~ wrote in message
                    Message 9 of 10 , Mar 31, 2003
                      Really-Reply-To: sully5154@... (Tom Sullivan)
                      Really-From: sully5154@... (Tom Sullivan)

                      ~Dream~ <accordion@...> wrote in message news:<3E87D66C.F14CF92C@...>...
                      > Conclusion:

                      > Ciao Ventura
                      >
                      > review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
                      > published in RMMS March 30 2003

                      Thanks for the lengthy (both the time spent on the study and the time
                      spent writing) review of the new Titano Reedless.

                      I have a Petosa Reedless, which is a few years old and may not be
                      state of the art of the Titano, - but, all the general comments you
                      made about reedless accordions I have found to be true in my own
                      experience.

                      Congrats for Faithe Deffner and her continual pursuit of business
                      practicality and professional excellence!

                      Tom

                      WWW.TOMSULLIVANMUSIC.COM
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                      Really-Reply-To: John C. Really-From: John C. Great Review! I am really sorry that
                      Message 10 of 10 , Mar 31, 2003
                        Really-Reply-To: "John C." <(delete_this)caps@...>
                        Really-From: "John C." <(delete_this)caps@...>

                        Great Review!

                        I am really sorry that I was not able to get down to see/hear it
                        but I have been
                        really busy here with both work and family stuff. Maybe next
                        time?

                        Thanks for your effort - it really is appreciated and its good to
                        hear an objective
                        evaluation not motivated by sales goals.

                        John C.

                        "~Dream~" <accordion@...> wrote in message
                        news:3E87D66C.F14CF92C@......
                        Conclusion:

                        But the basic instrument is a solid player, and
                        if you end up owning one, overall you are going
                        to enjoy it, and get your moneys worth out of it.

                        Ciao Ventura

                        review copyright 2003 VHM Co. all rights reserved
                        published in RMMS March 30 2003


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