Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

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Rhelsing
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Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by Rhelsing » Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:13 am

I am new to this site, and play (or actually haven't been for years but just started again) an Elka. I did have an ER44 sound unit but just gave it away and added an Orla xm300 to replace it. This thread seems to be primarily Roland players which seems to be primarily a Midi controller and a medium quality accordion (don't know for a fact, just what I am picking up from this thread ). The Elka is a quality accordion first, and then a Midi controller built in to it. At any rate, does anyone here have an Elka and compare it to a Roland? Also interested in anyone with a Concerto Midi and comparing it to a Roland.

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JerryPH
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by JerryPH » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:32 am

First off, a Roland V-Accordion is a 100% digital instrument powered by batteries. No power source, no sound. Though it is a self-contained unit and has drum sounds integrated in to the bass, it has no rhythm section so units like a Roland BK-7M are still a good addition. The big thing with a Roland accordion is the number and variety of sampled digital sounds it contains. This means that the sound output is of high quality and as mentioned, when using units like the FR-8X, you have MIDI in and out.

I own both an Elka 83 (they're really made by Iorio) and it's earlier cousin the Iorio "H" series accordions. First, both are real accordions, with reeds and bellows and without any power source, can be used as any basic accordion can. The Elka 83 differs from the older generation by having better reeds, better layout (master wrist bar and more registers) and the addition of Cassotto, which gives it a more mellow sound and is a bit louder when compared to the older generation. Of course the electronics in the newer unit are far more advanced thanks to an additional external tone generator. Where the H-series was basically the "Cordovox killer" of it's time, the newer one had way more sounds and ways to layer up to 4 groups in to many combinations.

However, they have integrated within them, not digital electronics but older style analog electronics. These stopped being made in the late 80's - early 90's. The Concerto is basically an updated, more modern Elka 83. It is what the Elka would be today if they were still around, but they still use a tone generatir and have the latest version of MIDI integrated.

Now MIDI had come around to being in the late 80's and some Elkavox accordions either had it integrated or added as an afterthought. This is a less advanced form of MIDI. It basically only sends a "NOTE ON" and "NOTE OFF" command and the newer instruments (both Roland and the Concerto) have the latest implementation of MIDI that permts things like controlling the volume of the MIDI notes via bellows pressure and key velocity (how hard or soft you kit the key determines the volume of the note). The Elka has neither, but obviously since I never had this option, I never missed it and even if offered the newest version would not even be interested in key velocity, but the bellows volume control might be intriging to me. For rhythm, I have a vintage Solton Programmer 24 that works perfectly and a more modern Ketron X4.

Where the digital V-Accordion (virtual accordion), is the state of the art today, the old guard MIDI accordions like the Elka and Concerto are likely still more attractive to the older generation where a real accordion with reeds and no batteries required are used. Me, I am a wierd duck... lol. I am an older guy with a hard techie bend and see the advantages of both. I am still very much pro-reeds and feel my accordions should have them, but one day I may pick up an all digital accordion as a secondary instrument.

Pictures and music that I recorded of my Elka 83 are on my personal blog site.

Strangely, there is very little info out there about the Concerto, and I could not find a single YouTube video of one in action and I do not think there is a Concerto owner on this site.

There is at least one other Elkavox user here on this site that I hope also adds his 2 cents. :)
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by fjsys » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:30 pm

Well that would be me as the other Elkavox owner. I own an elkavox 83, and mine is a little less optioned than Jerry's. Mine isn't a tone chamber and only has the machine made reeds, but I don't have a problem with that.

Compairing an elkavox (or any other accordion) to a Roland is not a fair comparison in my opinion. They both do different things for different people.
If you are really into making an accodion not sound like an accordion then the roland is probably the best option. I have never really liked any of the accordion sounds on the roland (I own a 3x) and have found the bellows strange and stiff. I could get used to them if I wanted to, but I don't.

As of late I have really fallen out of love with MIDI accordions, and the roland sits in the corner asking if I am going to use or sell it.
The Elkavox is a good accordion and a nice Musette tuned and so I mostly just use it without the Midi.

As to the concerto I have seen a few of them, they are local to me. The person responsible for them is based out of SLC, UT named Paul Pasquali owner of Accordions International. The website is at:
http://www.accordionfactory.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
and has some good information about the concerto.

Here is a youtube of him playing one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1pO3dw7i5g" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I purchased my 3x from him and at the time he was making sure that it wasn't my only accordion saying that they are more of a "second" accordion. But he is a little biased...
HTH
Ben

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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by Rhelsing » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:53 pm

Thanks, Ben. Your post showed up just as I finished my post to Jerry, so I won't repeat that. Paul seems to be still working hard to keep improving the Concerto. I love the accordion without the Midi, which is why I like the craftsmanship and hand made reeds in the Elka, but for some more modern songs - I love the versatility the Midi box brings to the instrument. Not sure once indust the cobwebs off again if I will pay the freight for the Concerto, but definitely no longer going to consider the Roland. I do agree with you, however, if Midi is someone's main desire the Roland is probably a good solution and the price is far less than the Concerto.

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JerryPH
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by JerryPH » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:27 pm

One can literally take ANY accordion and make it MIDI, this is just a bunch of sensors and an interface. MIDI by itself is just a digital pathway to/from the computer or modules.

What makes the Roland (and similarly the Bugari Evo) different is that they are totally digital, and yes they also have MIDI capabilities, but it is all those sampled sounds integrated inside them that they use, that is what MIDI of itself lacks. MIDI always connects to some kind of module to make it's sounds, it is these modules that most other MIDI accordions, other than the Roland, lack. It is how I can connect my Elka to a MIDI capable device like the Ketron X4, Orla 300, 800, etc... or a Roland BK-7m and have it all work together. :)

If Roland ever wanted to shoot themselves in the foot, they would come out with a module that has all the V-Accordion sounds and then every MIDI accordion in the world would sound exactly as they do... and I would be one of the first to purchase that... lol.

I like how a Roland V-Accordion sounds, and I like the fact that they took the time to make high quality samples of various accordions like the Dallapé, Steiriche and musette accordions (and hundreds of others), and have them reproduced electronically. That is very cool.

Ben is so right... a digital accordion is not an acoustic accordion, and visa-versa. Each is a different market segment meant for different kinds of players and each has vastly different resulting sounds and of course they work way differently. Not everyone is a candidate for a fully digital accordion, and it is expected that especially from people that grew up with an acoustic accordions, this is the segment that will be the least interested in a fully digital instrument, which in a way is a bit sad, because that is exactly the market that Roland hopes will consider their product.

Each has advantages and disadvantages and as I said, I am a bit of a strange egg in that I can live with a foot in each camp and be happy. That said, lately, I have really been enjoying the simplicity of a single acoustic accordion that was made to be an accordion, and most of my few practice sessions have been with the Hohner Morino VIN and I have been really happy with it.

That said, I won't forget my Elka, because I it does take skills that the Hohner does not require, like a coordination between the right foot for the drum breaks/solos and an intimate knowledge of your electronic equipment and how to make it all work together harmoniously. :)

Ben did mention something that did ring true for me. Perhaps not for everyone, but for the majority of all accordionists that I know or see or have heard, the Roland is not their sole instrument, and they own at least one or more acoustic accordions, and have no desire to become a Roland only owner.
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

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JerryPH
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by JerryPH » Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:51 pm

fjsys wrote:As to the concerto I have seen a few of them, they are local to me. The person responsible for them is based out of SLC, UT named Paul Pasquali owner of Accordions International. The website is at:
http://www.accordionfactory.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
and has some good information about the concerto.

Here is a youtube of him playing one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1pO3dw7i5g" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The video is over a year old and only 131 views... he really should make a few more with different people playing them and market them a bit differently so that the Concerto gets the popularity it well deserves. :)
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by acordiansam » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:48 am

First let me say that if I was only gona play jazz or cowboy country I would only play my Sonola SS6 double tone chamber box. Just love the bassoon sound and the keyboard. But it's a one trick ponie. With all the different music and accordion sounds that I like. Pluse liking to play in fun loud bands (I am also a strang one)feed back was always a nightmare not only that but with the no feed back setup you lose fidelity. So even though the Roland's sound can not match the perfect mike down in A studio. It's way better live and way more consistent sound for amplification. In an high SPL atmosphere. Of course this is just me and my 2cents. With most of the vox boxes you get good at riding the volume pedal!

Oh, I have one old electravox, one midi'ed honor vox4 W/solton x4, and my 3x. Pluse 6 more acoustic boxes too. It all depends what you like. But my 3x has been my goto box for almost 2 years now. No regrets and happy camper!

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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by Rhelsing » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:20 pm

Finally got the Orla xm300 and hooked it up with my Elka (I have the Elka Midi II). Pretty good results. I can still use the 50 preset registers on the Elka (and pretty much restricted to the first 99 GM Midi sounds since the ELka can only program two digits. Volume slides for bass, chords, and treble 1 and 2 work to control the midi - so does split, transpose, and octave. Tempo does not and needs controlled on the Orla. However, on the Orla you can program 520 sounds into 20 preset banks, and upload them to USB's almost without limit. On the Orla the presets can also register temp, rhythm, etc. so between the two are all kinds of possibilities, and you can jump back and forth between Elka presets and Orla presets. Now, I just need to start resetting all my presets because the old ones for use on the ER44 are no longer usable because they go to different sounds. Anyone got any preset combinations that sound good that they would like to share? I may start a different thread on that.

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JerryPH
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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by JerryPH » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:44 pm

Rhelsing wrote:Anyone got any preset combinations that sound good that they would like to share? I may start a different thread on that.
I am not sure anyone here has your exact combination, however, feel free to make a little video that shows your settings and sounds, I know that at least I would be interested in hearing this combination. If you wanted, I could do a similar demo on the Solton Programmer 24 and Ketron X4.
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com

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Re: Anyone playing an Elka or Concerto?

Post by Rhelsing » Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:58 pm

Thanks. I will do that as i get them set up.

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