Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Gibson to Embed Guitars with Ethernet

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the bass-is-lagging dept.

Technology 474

caseyuw writes "Gibson is planning to roll out their Magic this year with the delivery of guitars using Cat 5 instead of analog cables to connect instruments and amplifiers. The debate over the quality of digital vs analog signal processing is not new, but using a 'Magic' Les Paul would force you entirely into the digital domain." We mentioned this last year, but the above article has much more information.

cancel ×

474 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Can you imagine... (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165846)

... a Beowulf cluster of these?

Re:Can you imagine... (0, Funny)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165868)

Yep, I'd call it Slipknot.

Uhhhh (5, Funny)

l810c (551591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165848)

Let's DOS the basist.

Re:Uhhhh (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165863)

My drums are running L.O.A.F...

But seriously (-1)

PedoPeteTownshend (641098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166018)

As a world renowned musician, I have had the chance to play with some prototypes and found the music quality to be lacking. Digital sampling loses a lot of the subtle tones found in analogue reproduction. Not only that, but the overall fragility of the guitar means that you have to be extra careful with it. Don't get one if you're going to be throwing it around on stage.

However, the Ethernet port means it's trivial to be able to use it to store copious amounts of child pornography to keep me entertained on the road.

Wireless? (5, Interesting)

dpete4552 (310481) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165849)

Would it then be possible to send the info wirelessly (sp?) to the amp? Seems kind of cool.

Re:Wireless? (1)

l810c (551591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165869)

You may run outta bandwidth at the current wireless speeds. The article talks about getting to Gigabit by March.

Re:Wireless? (4, Informative)

Chainsaw (2302) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165941)

Let's see... If we transfer standard CD quality, you would get (16*44100)/1024 == 689 kbit data per second. Stepping up to 24*96000, 2250 kbit is used. The maximum limit for 802.11g is about 5400 kbit.

As a guitarist, that seems good enough.

Re:Wireless? (5, Informative)

chrome (3506) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165962)

The latency is too high. I usually get around 11ms to my wireless 11mbit network at home. Had the same on my apple airport (actually, a bit slower, 15ms).

Might be that 54mbit wireless has good latency though.

One thing that annows me about the main post is the statement that Magic will 'force' people into digital. This is nonsense of course.

From the article: Those initial Magic guitars will also have traditional analog pickups. "It will essentially be two guitars in one: You don't have to go digital if you don't want to," said Arora.

Haven't you ever been to a concert? (5, Interesting)

10e 999 (128948) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165892)

The info can already be sent wirelessly through the amp via VHF and UHF.

Ever heard of a wireless microphone? Same concept, except connected to the pickups on the guitar.

same _basic_ concept...different demands (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165978)

From the article:

"New team member Alexei Beliaev will help rev the spec to version 3.0 by March, adding support for video and 1-Gbit/second speeds, up from 10/100-Mbit Ethernet today. Magic uses the Ethernet physical layer and Category 5 cables to provide thirty-two 32-bit bidirectional audio channels with sample rates up to 192 kHz, jitter less than 80 picoseconds and latency as low as 250 microseconds across 100-meter point-to-point links. The protocol uses a UDP-like packet held to a fixed packet length and transmission rate. Magic conforms to the 802.3af spec for providing power over Ethernet."

In terms of connection vs. usage, this particular concept is a bit ahead of the curve. As much as I endorse 802.11g, I don't think it will cut it for these guys. Wonder if they've tried FireWire 800?

Re:Wireless? (5, Funny)

1ridium (220238) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165910)

Just as long as no one in the audience is sitting there with a laptop and a Pringles can.

Re:Wireless? (1)

v2 (34783) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165923)

Yeah they could. But they do that already, with analog. You know, they work kinda like walkie-talkies, those things you talk into and the sound comes from the second one.

I FAIL IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165850)

Imagine (0, Offtopic)

TaoTeCheese (643669) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165852)

Imagine the harmony you'd get from a Beowulf cluster or those!

Beowulf? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165853)

so does this mean we can have a cluster....
ah, never mind.

Why not wireless? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165854)

Why are they wasting time with Cat 5? I assume that the same could be accomplished with 802.11a or g??? Why teather the performer to a fixed point with a wire when wireless is so easily avalible? Is 54Mbps not enough? Can they not power a WiFi on the guitar? The Cat 5 wouldn't have the power to power the electric guitar, right??

Ethernet, not Firewire? (2, Interesting)

Thenomain (537937) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165855)

Why not use Firewire, which is more common for A/V devices?

Re:Ethernet, not Firewire? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165878)

Isn't the spec for FireWire like 15 feet? I'm sure I've seen longer instrument cables than that. Sure, I'm sure you could use a signal booster, but that'd be a) expensive and b) noisy.

Just guessing. : )

Re:Ethernet, not Firewire? (4, Informative)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165883)

Firewire currently tops out at 800Mb/second, and is a relatively new techology. Cat5e can handle 1 GB/sec, and has been around in its current incarnation for quite a few years.

Also, the max length of a FireWire cable is 4.5 meters [firewiredirect.com] , while Ethernet can do 100 meters [homenethelp.com] before needing a repeater.

Not sure how much bandwidth a gee-tar takes up, but I'd bet that cable length was the deciding factor in this design.

Wrong... (3, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165988)

Firewire currently tops out at 800Mb/second, and is a relatively new techology. Cat5e can handle 1 GB/sec, and has been around in its current incarnation for quite a few years.

Also, the max length of a FireWire cable is 4.5 meters, while Ethernet can do 100 meters before needing a repeater.

Not sure how much bandwidth a gee-tar takes up, but I'd bet that cable length was the deciding factor in this design.

From Apple's Firewire 800 [apple.com] page:
"FireWire 400 delivers data over cables of up to 4.5 meters in length. Using professional-grade glass optical fiber, FireWire 800 can burst data across 100 meter cables."

-T

Re:Wrong... (0)

ikewillis (586793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166002)

"FireWire 400 delivers data over cables of up to 4.5 meters in length. Using professional-grade glass optical fiber, FireWire 800 can burst data across 100 meter cables." If fiber optics were used, how would the guitar's pickups and DSP be powered (not to mention the Firewire transciever)? A separate input for power? I don't think this is nearly as ideal a solution.

Re:Ethernet, not Firewire? (1)

ikewillis (586793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165995)

"Firewire currently tops out at 800Mb/second, and is a relatively new techology. Cat5e can handle 1 GB/sec, and has been around in its current incarnation for quite a few years."

Why is data transfer rate even an issue? Let's assume they use a 24-bit DSP with a 192kHz sampling rate (which is probably far superior to the DSP they'll be using in these guitars). Doing the math, that's:

192000 * 24 = 4608000 bits/sec

10bT would be suitable for those purposes.

"Also, the max length of a FireWire cable is 4.5 meters [firewiredirect.com], while Ethernet can do 100 meters [homenethelp.com]before needing a repeater."

Now this is a good point. However, why not use USB? USB has a maximum cable length of 80 feet. Furthermore, remember that the DSP and pickups on the guitar are going to need power, most likely using Power over Ethernet. If this is the case, the length restriction on Ethernet becomes more like 100 feet (depending on how much power is injected).

Furthermore, this will probably require nonstandard Ethernet frames (unless they intend to embed a TCP/IP stack into the guitar) thus making any use of this guitar with computers (which would probably be seen as one of the benefits of using Ethernet) only possible through custom software. Furthermore, Power over Ethernet is a nonstandard technology, whereas USB provides bus power to devices standard.

If the guitar were USB, you could plug it into any computer and it would work out of the box as a USB audio input source.

Given these considerations, I think it's ludicrous for them to use Ethernet over USB.

Re:Ethernet, not Firewire? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166012)

Nope.
The parent post linked to a site that sells IEEE1394a cables.
IEEE1394b (or Firewire 2) uses 9 pin (rather than six pin) cables (in the Apple implementation).

1394b also defines a new high speed mode called S1600, with a data rate of 1572.9 Mbit/s. The signal can be carried by copper wire, glass fibre, or plastic fibre. The maximum cable length is now 100m, rather than 4.5m.

This is not to say that Apple computers can transmit at S1600 over 100m distances, but this article [e-insite.net] indicates that 1394b does not always imply 800 Mb/s over 4.5 m of copper.

1st p0st (1)

lsd4all (526675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165864)

As a guitar player, this sounds like a bad idea. whenever you create more connections/contacters which rely on a fixed signal, your fudge factor increases. I have broken so many guitar cords in my life by just stepping on them and/or falling off the stage.

plus- how are roadies going to figure out the wiring sequence? Pin 1 >> Pin 3 Pin 2 >> Pin 6 Pin 3 >> Pin 1 Pin 6 >> Pin 2

Re:1st p0st (4, Funny)

l810c (551591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165876)

plus- how are roadies going to figure out the wiring sequence? Pin 1 >> Pin 3 Pin 2 >> Pin 6 Pin 3 >> Pin 1 Pin 6 >> Pin 2

Easy, quit smokin pot and it's pretty simple.

Re:1st p0st (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165960)

Easy, quit smokin pot and it's pretty simple.

So I repeat the question... how are roading going to figure out the wiring sequence? :-P

Or. . . (2, Funny)

D+iz+a+n+k+Meister (609493) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165965)

Smoke more pot and it's even simpler.

Re:1st p0st (2, Insightful)

kdgibson (626349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165902)

With what they're talking about, sounds like you'd only have one cable going from guitar to amp. Wouldn't need your effects pedals anymore, it'd either be in the guitar or amp digitally. If that's the case, your fudge factor is minimal.

Re:1st p0st (1)

lsd4all (526675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165917)

i guess i should have included my love for the analog sound in my original post.

turn offs : digitally processed effects and rude people

turn ons : valve amplifiers and walks on the beach

Re:1st p0st (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165990)

They address this explicitly in the article. The engineers are comfortable with the fact that not everybody is going to like this. Nobody's going to take away your vacuum tubes. : )

Seriously, I think that anybody who wants to use new technology to make new sounds is cool in my book. Music didn't start, nor shall it stop, with the electric guitar.

Re:1st p0st (2, Interesting)

juicy_pants (642263) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165926)

While this might not be the best idea for live shows, think about the implications that this could have for recording studios, esp. electronic music.

If digitizing of the analogue signal can be perfected at the instument end of equipment, the possibilities for signal loss/distortion are greatly diminished. A digital signal from the guitar can be sent directly from the guitar to the recording equipment.

This allows for a more pure signal to be recieved, and recorded. While there are people who object to digitizing music (give me a 'pure' analogue signal!), it is hard to deny the reality that ALL recorded music (on CDs) is digitized. By digitizing earlier on in the process, Gibson is mearly allowing for the listener to hear a sound that was sampled from a more pure origonal than current methods allow.

I don't really see how someone can object to studio use of technology like this, and as another poster pointed out, there are plenty of uses for such tech in things like the addition of live effects during concerts, etc..

And maybe, just maybe this will help to get us away from the current bland techno beats, as this *does* give better access to instuments to the button pushers.

CAT5? (3, Interesting)

forgoil (104808) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165867)

If we are going digital, wouldn't it make far more sense with built in wireless lan instead? The argument for those pesky cables has been the analog sound, I'd think most people would be hardpressed to find problems with wireless vs Cat5 these days.

Well, there will surely be those who claim that since it IS a cable, it must be better. But with the same information being carried over, I hardly think that they can make much of a case, other than being pesky.

Re:CAT5? (2, Interesting)

seanw (45548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165908)

I don't have a definitive answer, but I would guess that latency would be a problem. in a live or recording situation, you really can't have your guitar solo lagging behind the rhythm section. latency has to be very small, whereas wifi introdcues larger and more unpredictable degrees of delay.

Re:CAT5? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165966)

quote:
in a live or recording situation, you really can't have your guitar solo lagging behind the rhythm section
End quote

You obviously haven't been in a rhythm section before. I think going wifi would finally bring the guitarists back to playing on the beat.

Re:CAT5? (2, Interesting)

grahams (5366) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165911)

Think Spinal Tap [imdb.com] ... Remember the scene at the military base? Obviously radio interference would manifest itself differently with MAGIC, but it is still a concern, and one that roadies and performers probably don't want to have to worry about.. On top of that, MAGIC supports up to Gigabit Ethernet, bandwidth that current wireless networking can't really approach..

Re:CAT5? (4, Interesting)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165920)

First of all: Wireless isn't getting nowhere near the transmission speeds you achieve with a cable.
If you want fast and realtime communication, you also get 2 extra conversion steps while using wireless transmission. Extra conversion is extra delay.

And reliability is a factor too. Wireless transceivers for analog audio signals have a bad reputation for reliability and audio qualitiy, and you should avoid them until you have the means to invest the monetary value of, say a medium sized car, into it.

No guitarist is going to ever touch that equipment if it fails him/her onstage, ever...

How about BlueTooth? (1)

meitsjustme (415702) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165870)

its a cool badge to put on a guitar anyways, oh well, maybe not for gibson guitars.

OH YEAH! (2, Funny)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165873)

I can't wait until I can digitally UNLEASH THE FOCKIN' FURY!!!

neat-o (0)

seanw (45548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165874)

this is a solution, searching for a problem

I do not want to run fucking windows CE on my amp, thanks. BSOD = horrible screeching feedback noise, maybe?

RIAA? (1, Redundant)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165879)

Does this mean if you try to play a copyrighted work, the RIAA will DOS your guitar?

Jason
ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]

Re:RIAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165958)

Nope, it doesn't.

When a really bad band comes on in concert....... (1, Funny)

SirCrashALot (614498) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165882)

I'll just pull out my handy-dandy 802.11 jammer :)

Does this mean... (5, Funny)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165884)

...I'll be hit with a classmates.com ad every time I strum G#?

Re:Does this mean... (5, Funny)

littleRedFriend (456491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165952)

No, but it does come with DRM. This will prevent you from playing tunes on your guitar that have been copyrighted.

Better to strum a G$ (1)

Soporific (595477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165980)

Than to strum a sharp G$.

~S

Has to be said (4, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165885)

At least now "Let's hack the Gibson" will be a legit h4x0r saying...

offtopic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165888)

i love how some of the stories come with previous story links (presumably) to avoid repeat story flames.

have we really driven it this far?

we don't mean to hate (at least i don't), a duplicate story is twice the fun, really. no disclaimer required. sorry if i sound like a hypocrite.

I would take one in a second (5, Interesting)

Soporific (595477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165890)

The ability to buy cheap CAT-5 versus hugely overpriced 1/4 cable is just one reason. Being able to control amps and effects, let alone anything else you would be able to connect to a network together is just a bonus.

Of course you will see all the "purists" noting that it doesn't have any tubes in it, therefore it must be useless. However I would love to be one of the first people to play one.

~S

Re:I would take one in a second (1)

amigaluvr (644269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165933)

Could you make an ethernet subsystem made of tubes to keep things a bit purer sounding?

Re:I would take one in a second (1)

Soporific (595477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165942)

Only if I rewired the doohicky to include a flux capacitor.

~S

cool possibilities (1)

phantomwolph (552305) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165891)

I for one would like to check out something like that. I play bass myself but I'm sure they would add bass guitars to the lineup if the product took off. Why go analog to digital when you can start off digital.

Sounds (1)

inviagrated_amnesiac (455650) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165893)

more like a cleverly disguised laptop inside a guitar to me..

No way! (1, Troll)

Blixten (645070) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165897)

This is utterly repulsive. I really hope I will not ever see or hear any of these abominations. You will find me in my home "office" with a stack of vintage Fender amps, a few Telecasters and a sip of Jack D.

"Less is more" /Blixten

Re:No way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165906)

Great, you and all the other vintage hogging whores can keep em. Consider yourself above reproach because you have the $5K to buy an old amp.

Re:No way! (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165999)

I'll bet you a quarter that somebody thought the same thing about the first heretic to bolt an electric pickup onto a guitar.

What the heck is the matter with making something new? How does this change your life?

Did Anyone Think...? (3, Funny)

Aldurn (187315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165901)

My fist thought was:

I didn't know Steve Gibson [grc.com] played guitar!

Re:Did Anyone Think...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165932)

No, they didn't.

Die die get in the coffin die

Re:Did Anyone Think...? (1)

juicy_pants (642263) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165939)

Did Anyone Think...? My fist thought was:

I didn't know Steve Gibson [grc.com] played guitar!


No.

Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165907)

Now you can REALLY hack the gibson!

More annoying cliches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165909)

In Soviet Russia, Linux kernel recompiles YOU!

Not the problem (2, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165913)

You can have it going over ethernet if you want to, but the probelm is the noise introduced by the pickup of choice, not the 1/4 inch cable.

Wow... (1)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165914)

Jack in with the ethernet, man, and score a gibson! ...

Hey there's a video presentation (4, Interesting)

t0qer (230538) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165916)

They also go into why they chose cat5. It has something to do with packet and jitter control.

Apparently it's compatible with all existing ethernet devices. So in theory you could connect any kind of tranciever you wish. Want Fiber? Just get a tranciever, want wireless? Just buy a tranciever. Want to route it across the internet through a tunnel.. Holy sheep shit batman!

I know a lot of bands, the worst problem they have is finding a studio to practice in. You could set up a "virtual studio" just by tunneling and building VPN's between their houses.

Things like latency could be transformed into delay effects..

Anyways, sounds really cool. I'm gonna post the story on my site and try and get an interview.

Re:Hey there's a video presentation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5166014)

This idea is just plain silly. First, consider who is creating this standard? Who is promoting this standard? Is this in any way necessary? Are there any benefits that can't be realized with current technology?

It is my belief that simply adding "digital" to the standard guitar design does little more than claiming my shiny red bicycle runs on java. In fact there may be more immediate negative consequences than positive ones.

The guitar pickups, as far as I can tell, will still be analog. Thus, every guitar must have an A/D converter in the body. Having digital output will limit you to digital signal processors, unless you first convert back from D/A. You will find countless arguments supporting analog sound quality, I won't even attempt to address that issue. However, what quality do you think the onboard converter in the guitar will be? I doubt (considering size, power, and cost constraints). that it will even begin to approach that of a hide end DSP effects box. Unless of course these are meant prohibitively expensive play toy gadgets. Not to mention these prohibitively expensive gadets will only work with other prohibitively expensive gadgets that are compatible with the same format. Using a guitar to control other devices is not a novel idea, there are plenty of midi conversion kits. With a little technical know how, you could replace the knobs already on your guitar with others to send midi signals (providing you have the appropriate card and install a midi output). The author of the article took a naive view of midi, making it sound like a total failure. Although it might not be the most beautiful solution for communication between instruments, it is successful. You'll be hard pressed to find any quality synthesizers or processing gear that don't utilize the MIDI standard. You'll be hard pressed to find any entry level synthesizers or processors that don't use the standard. A qoute also appears in the article that all instruments and related equipment will be digital in ten years. You'd expect synthesizers to be the first to bring about this revolution, considering the construction. I suppose that is why MOOG is still such a powerful name! The article seems little more than an ill informed response to the intersection of two fields that the author fails to comprehend as a whole.

When a guitarist... (0, Interesting)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165918)

...is frantically setting up his equipment before a gig in a fit of nervousness and adrenaline, the last thing he needs to worry about is a lot of fancy technology.
I'm sure the geek culture thinks this is cool, but most musicians will probably shrug and think, "So what?"
And there are the audiophile types who will condemn the ditigal format as sounding too processed and impersonal. There are some things you can do with analog that digital will never be able to touch.

Don't expect this to take off like the next revolution. It will likely be a nifty toy to play with and nothing more.
I know that after playing guitar for over 10 years, I could really care less about cat5 in my guitar. It is more complication than I need when I'm on stage troubleshooting minor problems.

The latency on this is unacceptable. (1)

Blaede (266638) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165924)

It's bad enough that you will be listening to a sampled version of your guitar, but 250 microseconds delay on your sound is the best case scenario? 1/4 second delay? As a mucisian, even one millisecond of delay is not accepable.

Never mind the 1/4 second bit, wrong figure. (1)

Blaede (266638) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165935)

I caught my mistake too late. Still, just the sampled output thing is enough to make me not interested.

Re:The latency on this is unacceptable. (1)

hpa (7948) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165944)

250 microseconds (s), not 250 milliseconds. 250 s is 1/4 of a millisecond, or 1/4000 of a second.

Re:The latency on this is unacceptable. (0, Redundant)

MannyDixn (557653) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165956)

that's micro-seconds, 250 of which is 1/4 of a milli-second. That's probably reasonable, delay-wise.

Re:The latency on this is unacceptable. (0, Redundant)

Space Coyote (413320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165973)

It's bad enough that you will be listening to a sampled version of your guitar, but 250 microseconds delay on your sound is the best case scenario? 1/4 second delay? As a mucisian, even one millisecond of delay is not accepable.

Lunky for you you're ont a mathematician. 250 microseconds = 1/4 millisecond Harely noticeable. Though I think I'll stick to my old setup for now as well.

Hmm, was getting away from digital (1)

Kataklyzm (237583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165928)

Hmm, this seems 'interesting' at best.

I know I've spent the last year finding I really love the sound of analog gear to a lot of digital gear. I've moved from Digitech 2101's and asundry sorts of pedals to Marshall JCM800s and EL34 Dual Monoblocs. I absolutely love the sound I get out of this type of analog gear and cranked valves. I'm not sure I'd want to start playing in a situation where my sound passed through an ADC right in the guitar. That seems to limit some sounds and tone related options quite a bit.

Tho, I'm sure in time as ADCs and DACs get better and sample rates get higher I won't be able to tell the difference. And in fairness newer gear like the Prophecy guitar system are quite impressive.

but for the time being, get your stinking digital off my guitar, you damn dirty engineer! ;-)

Open Architecture rocks (pun intended) (1)

bsdbigot (186157) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165929)

I noticed that the Specification is offered for a Royalty-free 10 year license. The MaGIC developers seem to have a very strong sense that the only way for music to go digital is to have an Open Architecture. Sounds familiar... At any rate, I've downloaded the PDF Spec; very logically split up (chapter X for hardware guys, chapter Y for net hackers, and chapter Z for app developers) - can't wait to start! I wonder if they'ld mind if I hooked my Strat up with it ;)

Re:Open Architecture rocks (pun intended) (0)

m1chael (636773) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165972)

when you do intend the pun yo dont say you do. you only mention the pun was you dont intend it.

WOW! Does this mean we can finally... (0, Redundant)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165940)


...hack the Gibson?

I'll be damned (2, Funny)

jarkko (40871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165950)

If I'm going to start replacing the cable during a hot solo (screaming chicks, crowd going wild) and the stupid plastic clip on the RJ-45 breaks off.

OTOH, the only time I've ever seen screaming chicks is when they run away.

Digital can duplicate analog sound exactly. (2, Insightful)

deathcloset (626704) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165954)

Does anyone still actually argue that analog is superior to digital?

I mean, the only thing analog has going for it is "warmth". Of course this "warmth" is a result of the limited frequency and dynamic range of analog and can be easily duplicated.

Tell you what. Have an expert put on headphones and listen to an analog recording, then have them listen to a 32 bit 96khz digital copy of the analog recording. Do you think they are going to be able to tell which is the original? No, of course they won't because the digital copy is IDENTICAL in frequency and dynamic range to the analog signal.
The only difference is that the analog recording is using the full dynamic and frequency range of the medium to reproduce the recording and the digital recording of the analog recording is using a mere fraction of it's potential dynamic and frequency range.

So if one is a superset of the other why even use the other!?

Don't we already have these? (1)

cabra771 (197990) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165957)

ummm...they're called synthesizers. Reading this story gives me cringing thoughts of those horrid keyboard-guitar hybrids from the 80's. If it's going to be digital then keep it on the good ol' horizontal keyboard synth. I like my guitars just the way they are.

Anyone know the over/under until... (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165968)

the first web server appears on one of these things?

And the first copy of Doom that is controlled by the guitar?

Re:Anyone know the over/under until... (1)

deathcloset (626704) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165993)

Oddly enough the simpsons sound effects engineer uses a guitar with a midi pickup for insertions!

isn't that weird?

Re:Anyone know the over/under until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165997)

No, not off the top of my head, but send your email address and you'll be the first to know.

I want the first Slayer branded controller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5166013)

That way I can be sure to send my enemies to everlasting Doom.

Can give a whole new meaning to... (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165975)

to the song "Communication Breakdown"

Don't Write it Off Yet! (3, Interesting)

Hasie (316698) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165977)

Remember that many of the arguments against this technology are the same as the orginal arguments against electric guitars (pioneered by Les Paul if memory serves), electronic keyboards, and most other tech-based revolutions in the music industry. Yes, guitarists are traditionally very conservative, but they adopted the electric guitar, so why not the electronic guitar?

RJ45 Connector Durability Issues (2, Interesting)

farfisa69 (526335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165979)

There is no way that RJ45 connectors would be able to endure any kind of live stage abuse. At least mLAN uses Firewire cables which are possibly a little more durable. Why don't they update the MIDI protocol to include all these extra things. In a MIDI lead two of the five pins don't do anything anyway. Everyone's gear already has MIDI connections, so I reckon it would take a while for the new protocol to take off.

All in all though, new technology such as this will create some totally wild new music and some awesome new stage shows. I am excited! (Big Kev excited!)

Some related technologies:

Yamaha mLAN [yamahasynth.com]

CobraNet [peakaudio.com]

Steinberg System Link [steinberg.net]

Re:RJ45 Connector Durability Issues (1)

Soporific (595477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166001)

Well, I guess instead of one loop around the guitar strap they could do two. Honking out a 1/4 in. cable is easier than pulling an RJ-45 jack.

Please, lord. . . no! (2, Flamebait)

Skadet (528657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165981)

"They are more focused in finding ways to recreate the sounds Led Zeppelin or B.B. King laid down in the '60s or '70s," said Thompson

And there's my big problem with digital amps. Jimmy Paige didn't need them, nor did B.B. or Eric Clapton. Why do you need a computer's help getting killer tone? Hint: It's because you don't know how to do it the 'real' way. It's expensive to get real good, real loud tone no matter what instrument you play, and this digital crap is just a shortcut -- a pretty lousy sounding facsimile of a shortcut for the most part.

In other words, this is for the script kiddies of the music world.

Besides, my cat5's connector inevitably snaps off after a decent amount of use. Could you imagine the number of connectors a gigging band would go through, plugging and unplugging those a hundred times a day? As said before, it's a solution looking for a problem. Unless Gibson has something else up their sleeves we don't know about... Hmm...

Nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165984)

We'll see whether a working technology will be accepted by the musicians. This seems to be one of the countless aproaches to make the world of eletric guitars use standard technology. Up to now, Gibson is earning (do they ?) money with guitars rebuild along the specs of these late 50 myths. Surprisingly the technology of these instruments has its origins in the 1920's. How to get from there to CAT5 ?

Cheap home recording!! (3, Interesting)

tgrotvedt (542393) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165985)

This could be really, really good for young bands and such who are making demos so they can get signed to *gasp*, a major label, or even indie recording. Most people assume that it would be very easy to record guitar and get a good sound. Well when I set about recording a demo for my band, I found out just how wrong I was.

'Till now, if you wanted to record on a PC (and some of this also applies to 8-tracks and tape systems), you'd either need a really good stack, a proffesional pre-amp, or one of those new-fangled V-Amps. But none of those come dirt cheap, so lots of people have to download software amp sims from Kazaa, and stick with that. Not great.

In a few years, if this tech makes it into low-end guitars, beautiful, full, well equalised tones for everybody! And I also imagine that when this becomes common place, it will bring the quality of cheap & expensive axes much closer together.

Nowadays, alot of rich kids, or kids with parents or brothers or whatever in the industry make it because they are the only ones that get to prove themselves. Even without being conscious of it, the A&R rep at the studio will prefer a real nice sounding, well produced demo than something cheap, because it makes the songs sound better, and in music, what else is there? In the long run, this technology could be really beneficial. But for now all the struggling artists will have to keep hearing audiophile elitists crapping on about how anything mastered at anything less than perfect 96khz audio hurts their ears.

major label? (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166011)

You speak as if being signed to a major label is a good thing...

I can see it now - Screw the Marshall stack, (4, Funny)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165986)

Give me a Cisco Stack!!!!

Cool... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165994)

...Now I can blame the guitar for having a lousy ping, when I screw up at a gig!

I can see it already... (1)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 11 years ago | (#5165996)

During some guitar contest, the losing geek can launch a DoS attack against the leader

Acoustic Vaporware (TM) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5165998)

This idea is just plain silly. First, consider who is creating this standard? Who is promoting this standard? Is this in any way necessary? Are there any benefits that can't be realized with current technology?

It is my belief that simply adding "digital" to the standard guitar design does little more than claiming my shiny red bicycle runs on java. In fact there may be more immediate negative consequences than positive ones.

The guitar pickups, as far as I can tell, will still be analog. Thus, every guitar must have an A/D converter in the body. Having digital output will limit you to digital signal processors, unless you first convert back from D/A. You will find countless arguments supporting analog sound quality, I won't even attempt to address that issue. However, what quality do you think the onboard converter in the guitar will be? I doubt (considering size, power, and cost constraints). that it will even begin to approach that of a hide end DSP effects box. Unless of course these are meant prohibitively expensive play toy gadgets. Not to mention these prohibitively expensive gadets will only work with other prohibitively expensive gadgets that are compatible with the same format. Using a guitar to control other devices is not a novel idea, there are plenty of midi conversion kits. With a little technical know how, you could replace the knobs already on your guitar with others to send midi signals (providing you have the appropriate card and install a midi output). The author of the article took a naive view of midi, making it sound like a total failure. Although it might not be the most beautiful solution for communication between instruments, it is successful. You'll be hard pressed to find any quality synthesizers or processing gear that don't utilize the MIDI standard. You'll be hard pressed to find any entry level synthesizers or processors that don't use the standard. A qoute also appears in the article that all instruments and related equipment will be digital in ten years. You'd expect synthesizers to be the first to bring about this revolution, considering the construction. I suppose that is why MOOG is still such a powerful name! The article seems little more than an ill informed response to the intersection of two fields that the author fails to comprehend as a whole.

Line6 already won in this domain (3, Informative)

mirko (198274) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166000)

Line6 offer a better choice for most guitarist with their GuitarPort [guitarport.com] : it allows one to use its existing guitar with computer which'll model the required amp/cabs sounds...

Now, the laziest could also check out Steinberg's Virtual Guitarist [harmony-central.com] ...

Think of the possiblities when they add memory... (3, Interesting)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166006)

to the guitar.

It would be just like adding a sequencer to a drumkit.

The guitarist can play lead and rythm parts on the same guitar.

No more problems when lip synching or playing the music off a tape. Simply save the packets on the guitar and send out. How would the audience or the anyone know?

You could actually buy a guitar that played EVERY Stones or Rush song perfectly.

Cover bands everywhere are celebrating.

Re:Think of the possiblities when they add memory. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5166022)

Yes, except that when the guitar plays a Rush song, it will still suck.

Does this mean... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5166007)

Does this mean Microsoft will require a EULA for all music played in the key of C# ?

*rimshot*

Thanks I'll be here all week!

So what? (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166016)

This doesn't seem like a very useful product. As far as I can tell, the advantage to this is:

1) Able to use CAT5 cable instead of normal cable. That's cool but no big deal.

2) Effects can be controlled from an on-guitar dash-board, instead of foot pedals. Foot pedals are convenient and can be manipulated while playing the guitar, which is important. Also, so far, all-in-one digital effects aren't so great. So it might be useful for beginners, but it doesn't sound like the technology is being aimed at beginners. (Worth noting that Gibson experimented with controlling effects from the guitar in the 70's, but the guitars didn't sell well.)

Regardless, any guitarist would have to be prepared to play in a situation that uses normal equipment. So why bother having the second technology?

It's not a blanket opposition to digitalizing guitars... the Variax [musiciansnews.com] seems like a pretty cool guitar, if overpriced, and the basic technology has obvious cool applications that haven't been exploited yet. But Gibson's new technology doesn't seem to have a good reason to exist.

Is Ethernet the best choice? (3, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5166019)

I mean, Ethernet isn't really designed for real-time connections. I realize that it can work when you get to the really high speeds, but wouldn't that be expensive.

I guess what I'm wondering is, why did they chose Ethernet rather then Fire wire, or even S/PDIF? Do you need to use special switching hardware that insures real-time communication? What about packet loss?

Personally, I'd like it if everything used Ethernet, it really does seem to be the most convenient form of networking out there. Hopefully all the work put in by Gibson will be adopted and we'll be able to plug our stereo, TV, VCR and everything directly into our home gigabit LAN. It would make things a lot easier, that's for sure.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?