Hi expressivo Folks…
Greetings from a noobie in sunny Bulgaria.
I just got half of an Eigenharp Tau . I have the body and case and cables , and the base station half should (hopefully) be delivered next week.
As a long time Starr Labs Ztar devotee and user, I thought to post my first impressions of the Tau compared to my Ztars. This is only my initial impressions of holding the controller and trying to play on the ‘neck’, and does not compare expression, or sound manipulation abilities at all.
Firstly, those ‘keys’…
Why oh why did they have to be so ‘rubbery’? I would have thought that sticky rubber was the last thing for them to have been made of. (yes, I admit to not being able to spring for an Alpha, and that wonderful -feeling ebony real-estate)
They feel sticky and very slow and draggy compared to Ztar keys. ( Things I can play easily and very fast on the Ztar neck will never ever be possible on the Tau. ) This is a big problema for me.
Even bakelite keys would have been an improvement.
I had thought of spraying a little silicon on a cloth and lightly polishing them and see if it makes a difference, and as with Ztar, I know not to spray anything directly onto the keys.
Secondly, that awful ‘neck profile’
A cold and hollow aluminium bar feels nothing like a neck, (at least to me as a lifetime geetar player) and in this aspect, the Tau again becomes a poor looser to Starr Labs Ztars (which have plastic-sheathed or wooden, shaped necks).
This Eigenharp thing looks more and more to me like an instrument designed by a committee and investors, and not musicians, or players. (my appollogies Geert)
I admit that the Ztar has been around for nearly 40 years now, and folks have bought them and mastered them and become virtuosos on them, and this leads me to wonder whether the Eigenharp will ever attain that level of ‘playability’ and virtuosity. I think not.
Thirdly, the length and switch layout.
I have three Ztar mini’s, (one is like the black Mini that the wonderful Bianco plays) One is a ‘double neck’ This is not to say it has two necks, rather that it has a double row of ordinary neck courses of 144 switches… So 288 ‘buttons’ in all, and is tuned generally in the manner of a Grand Chapman Stick.
With this in mind, for me, the Tau neck should be just like the Ztar mini, with the ‘drum’ keys thrown away, and a normal double octave of a guitar-like neck adopted and the Eigen-switches incorporated.
I wonder, isn’t the market a bit limited, aiming sales at Billy Sheehan, Stanley Clark, or Mark King wannabees.? Only four courses in a bass-type neck is a severe limitation (and irritation).
“I know! If four ‘courses’ of switches isn’t enough then they can pay out an extra 4 grand and buy an Alpha! and get five!” ( I say, jolly good marketing, what?)
The Tau is also too long to be sensible, and could easily have have survived with the form-factor reduced and compressed.
In closing (sorry for this interminable rant) and in spite of all, I would still say that I am still looking forward to getting the base station and connecting it all up.
However, the 'trying to be all things to all ‘persons’ in an instrument, doesn’t work for me at all.
I have hardware sequencers and ipad sequencers (some of which have very decent drums and use-able midi voices and both step and realtime input.)
Why would I want the Tau software to do all that?
ALL I WANT is an expressive instrument that can send 5-pin DIN midi properly, and has a playable geetar-type neck.
Is it (the Tau) supposed to be a multi-track recorder? Ummm yes, I suppose so (to a very limited and slow extent)
Is it supposed to be a drum machine ? again I suppose so (again in a limited fashion and with no GUI at all, unless you count very difficult to remember flashing combinations of lights as an ‘interface’).
Is it a soundfont player, with limited soundfonts and very little map-able midi control (especially compared to Ztars) Again, I suppose so.
Lastly, after all of the above; Will the bloody thing be even playable at all when I get it ???..
I sincerely hope so, or I’ll have to spring for two Joue’s and velcro them together…