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MMD > Archives > March 1997 > 1997.03.14 > 11Prev  Next

Ampico Expression Levels
By Craig Brougher

Damon Atchison asked about how many expression levels the Ampico has. The most direct answer is seven. However, the direct answer is also wrong. The (so-called) crescendos are able to raise the pump level from the nominal 20" (which is reroll level) to the top pump level (depending), say from 32" to 40" or so. That part of the circuit is analog, so you might say that you have, in effect, an infinite number of steps between pppp and ffff.

Duo-Art has sixteen 16 different levels of expression, while Ampico has only seven. However, Duo-Art normally didn't use real-time "on the fly" expression, either. So for the most part, Duo-Art was a binary changing machine. That was ok, since the finest musicians can only detect about seven or eight discrete expression levels, anyway. (I realize we think we are much better than that). But the stuff in the music that really makes the difference is the phrasing and pedaling. That takes an instrument that has been thoroughly fine-honed and fussed over for weeks! You do _not_ achieve that in a couple of hours of adjusting.

The actual number of steps of expression isn't really that important in reproducers, as long as there is also an analog component involved. The human brain and fingers combine to build a system which is both digital and analog, too. One day, computer engineers are going to realize that their logic has been fuzzy (that's really bad, I know) and will decide then to incorporate analogic into some of their transducing. I think they have already done this in many applications. In other words, more and more they will start to "put the 'feel' back into their stuff."

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Fri 14 Mar 1997, 22:16:35 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ampico, Expression, Levels

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