I first saw this at the recent Music Live show in the UK, there was a big pile of them selling like hot cakes at a special show discount - the demo rig had a small crowd of people eager to try it out. I immediately thought we should test one out.
This kind of falls into the small, nifty, gizmo category and is one that Sonuus, a new(ish) UK based company have used to showcase their own pitch to MIDI algorithm.
What it does is take a monophonic (single voice) audio input from your guitar and translate that into MIDI that you can use to drive MIDI equipped instruments - real or virtual.
The box is a simple looking device, with two 1/4 jacks (guitar in, audio thru) and a MIDI out port. In addtion, there's a signal level boost - in case your guitar is quiet and four LEDS.
One bright green LED for power indicator and tuning duties - yes this is a basic EAGDBA tuner too, a red Low Battery indicator (the unit powers on as soon as a guitar jack is inserted), a red CLIP LED for getting the signal level right and a yellow MIDI LED - showing MIDI activity.
Plug and Play
Quite simply, plug your guitar in, take a through signal to your amp or audio interface, a MIDI out to your equipment or MIDI interface, line up an instrument to play and off you go...
As with all guitar to MIDI stuff - where pitch analysis is involved and especially with monophonic ones, playing style is crucial - you do need to be quite precise and clean with your technique or you'll get false triggering and the like. But when you get used to it, it works as you'd expect. There will be an increase in latency the further down the neck you travel as due to the laws of physics, lower notes have longer waveforms and therefore take longer to figure out what the pitch it.
The unit is designed to track guitar notes, a bass will not do - unless you play right up the neck, however velocity information is transmitted - with reasonable sensitivity if you set up the recieving sound to respond to your playing style. Pitch bend is also transmitted with effective two semi-tone bends and slides well translated. Pitch bend is constantly transmitted - presumably making small pitch adjustments - filtering it out of the MIDI stream makes the note triggering more jumpy - it's best left in.
I found the Sonuus G2M eminently usable, although I'm not really a guitarist, in the hands of one who can play and is able to modify their style to meet the needs of the converter, it's got a lot of potential uses.
I'm hoping they dont want it back - it's a useful thing to have around.
£79.95 UK $129.95 US MSRP
$99.00 at MusiciansFriend.com