[Harp-L] DM-48 midi harmonica

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Wed May 10 09:13:31 EDT 2017

 David Fairweather wrote:
<So here are some of my impressions of the DM-48 after owning it about a
<1.  It's a bit cumbersome to set up with Windows.   I had to download the
<REASON, free demo version which won't save anything, which means I have to
<reset all the midi configuration doo-dads every time I restart the program.
 < That's a bit of a pain.   I also paid $13 for the collection of "Electro
<Acoustic Waves" patches recommended in the DM48 manual.  More on that in a

Dennis Michael Montgomery wrote:
<Can it sound like an acoustic or 12-string guitar? If not a harmonica how
about a clarinet or an obo?

Starting with the last question: a DM48 is a MIDI controller.  It does not
make a sound--it has no internal circuitry to make sounds.  It sends
instructions (as MIDI messages) to electronic instruments (hardware or
software) such as samplers, synthesizers, etc., and the electronic
instruments make sounds accordingly.  So if you want to sound like a guitar
with a DM48, you need a synthesizer or sampler that can accurately
represent a guitar.  Certainly there are software and hardware instruments
out there that can do that.  Playing a harmonica or any other wind
instrument in a way that sounds like skilled guitarist is another issue
entirely.  (How do you make fret noise on a wind instrument?)

Note that in addition to acquiring a software instrument, running it on a
computer demands that the computer have an audio interface, a MIDI
interface, and a "host" program that will allow you to run software
instruments that are delivered as "plugins" (usually in VST format) rather
than standalone programs.  Some software instruments (such as IK
Multimedia's Sample tank) can be acquired for free, and include standalone
as well as hosted (VST) versions, which eliminate the need for a host.

Which brings us to David's comments.  It appears that David's setup issues
are about setting up the synthesizer (Reason), not the DM-48 per se.
Anyone who has NOT worked with software or hardware synthesizers is going
to go up a learning curve on those with the DM-48.  I suggest two important
(and low-cost) sources of information and synthesizer resources for anyone
who has to go up that learning curve:

1) Computer music magazine (available at computermusic.co.uk): this
magazine publishes monthly, and it is an extraordinary resource for anyone
working with software and music.  Among other things, every issue comes
with a very wide assortment of software synthesizers and FX, plus detailed
instructions on how to install and use them.  I've used some of these
instruments in my own productions, and by and large they're pretty damn

2) kvraudio.com is a well-known (to electronic musicians) site where you
can access literally hundreds of free software instruments and FX, along
with lots of user reviews, free sets of sounds for the instruments, and so

The sheer number of synthesizers available from both free and paid sources
is extraordinary and can be very daunting and confusing.  It's also all too
easy for the electronic musician to fall prey to GAS (gear acquisition
syndrome), in which the sufferer spends hours every day searching for
exactly the right instrument to express new and exciting sounds--hours that
could be spent playing and composing music.  For those who have little to
no experience in this area, I suggest that getting the latest copy of
Computer Music magazine, and experimenting with the instruments included
there, is a low-risk high-reward approach to getting started.

Regards, Richard Hunter
Check out our 21st Century rock harmonica record "The Lucky One" at

Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
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