Frequently asked questions

  1. How do I connect my keyboard to my PC to be able to analyse my performances in Gigajam Analyser?

    Go to our Getting Started MIDI Keyboard section.

  2. How do I connect my drum kit to my PC to be able to analyse my performances in Gigajam Analyser?

    Go to our Getting Started MIDI Drums section.

  3. How do I connect my guitar to my PC to be able to analyse my performances in Gigajam Analyser?

    Go to our Getting Started Guitar section.

  4. Do I need a MIDI interface to connect my Yamaha EZ-AG to my computer?

    If you have a Yamaha EZ-AG you will need a MIDI-USB interface.

  5. What type of MIDI interfaces have been used with Gigajam software?

    You have a number of options on MIDI-USB interfaces.

    • The MOTU Fast lane is solid and works without problems on both PC and Mac. The downside of this one is that it has separate MIDI leads and USB lead - so there a few cables to manage. But it does have 2 channels and a MIDI through switch - so it has uses beyond the immediate Gigajam course. This is our personal favourite at Gigajam, it is very robust.
    • The Yamaha UX-16 works well especially since Yamaha have recently updated the drivers.
    • The M-Audio Midi Sport UNO which, like the Yamaha,is an all in one device.
    • M-Audio also make the MIDI Sport/1x1 which seems to work fine.
    • The other common interface is the Edirol UM-1. We have had no problems with this.

    It's really a matter of personal choice. With the guitar, we like the all-in-ones because it minimises the number of cables. The MOTU is great, but because it is an interface as opposed to an all in one cable then you have 2 midi cables and a USB cable to handle. There is a whole range of cheaper devices out there called Tbox, which are getting good reports from our educational users.

  6. My Gigajam software cannot see my MIDI interface after I unplugged it?

    PCs sometimes install drivers to a specific USB port. So if you install your interface plugged into a USB socket, it may not work in another socket without re-installing the driver on that particular socket.

  7. When I play my guitar through my PC there is a delay in hearing the sound?

    If the sound card/synthesiser being used cannot handle/process the data quick enough, then you may hear a delay in hearing the sound back from your PC. This can also lead to your performance appearing late in Analyser.

    Solutions

    • If you are using a Yamaha MIDI instrument (EZ-AG/DD-65/PSR-E413 or similar) there is no problem with latency, as it has its own hardware synthesiser built in. You just need to make sure that you select your MIDI/USB interface in the SETUP list in Xtractor. Go to Testing Your MIDI Setup.
    • If using the Fender/Roland set up you will need a decent sound card/synthesiser.
    • If you are using an Apple Mac - the software synthesiser it comes with (Quicktime) is fast enough for there not to be a latency issue.
    • If using a PC with a decent built in sound card that handles General MIDI - there should be no problem.
    • If using a PC without a sound card or a laptop - it is likely that you will only have 'Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth' available. This has latency and reduces the effectiveness of Analysing performances. The solution in this case is to buy an external USB soundcard. If this is plugged in to the laptop it will appear in the SETUP dialogue in Xtractor (press the SETUP button) and, when selected, there will be no latency.
    • We use an external Creative 24 bit Sound blaster Live USB Soundcard which works very well.
  8. Why does Gigajam use MIDI for analysis as it looks great, but I only have a real guitar?

    The only way of inputting data for analysis is via MIDI. We have looked at products that claim to be able to analyse an audio stream from a guitar - but none of them can analyse with 100% accurately.

    The problem is that a guitar, indeed any stringed instrument produces a multi-tonal output. That output is made up of the individual sounds produced on the 6 individual strings (plus harmonics etc). To analyse, you have to disaggregate the sound, back to what was produced on each string (and then filter out the harmonics, etc). But there is no information telling which string produced which note (and on a guitar, the same note can be produced by several strings - e.g. top E on an open first string or on the 5th fret of the second string or .....etc).

    So, the only way is to have the output of each string sent separately. This requires 6 pickups and the data from each pickup to be kept separate until it reaches the computer for analysis.

    The Yamaha EZ-AG MIDI guitar does this, as it is a MIDI controller.

    The other alternative we have discovered to date is to use a Roland GK2/3 (latest version is the 3A for guitar and 3B for Bass) divided pickup and a GI-20 midi to USB converter/interface.

    The GK2/3 is positioned just in front of the saddle on the body of the guitar. A 16 pin lead goes from the pickup to the GI-20 and a USB lead from the GI-20 to the computer. There are a number of schools which use these with their guitars etc.

    The GK + GI costs £299 PLUS the cost of the guitar PLUS the cost of a decent sound card for the computer that handles General MIDI to avoid latency issues. They also need careful setting up and the GI-20 needs to have the sensitivity adjusted for each string on each guitar for maximum efficiency. You might consider having one guitar and one bass equipped with these.

    This is one of the reasons we recommend the EZ-AG for schools - and particularly for the early stages of playing the guitar (learning shapes, no sore fingers, always in tune, etc - there is a posting by me on the relative benefits on the Gigajam support forum - technical - on the web site).

    You can use a standard guitar, or any real instrument for that matter to do everything in any of our courses except the recording and analysis. You can still play along with the virtual band in Xtractor, watch the videos, etc.

  9. Will I be able to play through the microphone without a midi device in the guitar Xtractor?

    Not at present, but you will of course be able to play along with Guitar Xtractor and practice each exercise along with the virtual band. You won't though, without a MIDI enabled guitar, be able to record your performance into Xtractor.

    You may be interested to know that a single track of recorded audio is a planned feature for Guitar Xtractor version 4 though, which will allow you to play back your performance. This is in development and planned for the first quarter 2008.

    If you wish to use Analyser to analyse your performance then I'm afraid MIDI is the only way, as the technology required to determine from an audio recording which strings are playing what notes has not been solved by anyone yet, mainly due to the complex harmonics involved.

    The core content of our offering is the well structured professionally written lessons and not being able to record or analyse your performance will certainly not stop you benefiting or learning from any of Gigajam’s courses.

  10. How do you get MIDI from a bass guitar?

    You have three options:

    1. Electric bass > Roland GK-3B MIDI pickup mounted just in front of the saddle > signal goes via 13 pin cable (supplied with pickup) to Roland GI-20 MIDI converter/interface > data goes via standard USB lead (supplied with GI-20) to computer.
    2. Electric bass > Roland GK-3B MIDI pickup mounted just in front of the saddle > signal goes via 13 pin cable (supplied with pickup) to Roland GR-20 MIDI converter/synthesiser > data goes via MIDI/USB interface (see below for options) to computer.
    3. Yamaha EZ-AG (set to sound 14 for Bass) > data goes via MIDI/USB interface (see below for options) to computer.
  11. The links in the lessons don’t open when I click them on my Apple Mac.

    Preview is the default PDF reader on Apple and won’t allow you to open files. We recommend that you download Adobe reader for free from here.

  12. I have an old version of the Xtractor software, can I get the latest version?

    Yes, you can download the latest Xtractor software suite directly from here.

  13. What improvements are there in the latest suite of Gigajam software?

    See the Xtractor X5 page.

  14. I cannot watch the videos, they don’t seem to be working when I click on the video icon in the lesson?

    If you are a Windows user then download and install the latest version of Windows Media Player for free from here.

    Windows Media Player for OS X is no longer required. Instead we recommend that you use the Flip4Mac plug in for QuickTime, it works seamlessly and saves having an extra media player installed. You can download this for free from here.

    Apple users should make sure they have the latest version of Quicktime by downloading and instaling the latest version for free from here.

  15. Xtractor software doesn’t open in Windows Vista?

    You should upgrade to the latest version of Xtractor X5. Download it here.

  16. Does Gigajam work on Intel Macs as well as Power PCs?

    Gigajam works on Apple on Mac OS X 10.3 Tiger or higher.

    Gigajam software works on both Intel and Power PC Macs. The Mono framework is now a universal binary and will install on either and run natively. Xtractor and Analyser have been tested and found to be working perfectly under Rosetta.

  17. How do you interpret the analysis in Gigajam Analyser?

    A red note is basically either the wrong note/drum, or it is the correct note/drum but either much too late, or much too early. Black is perfect. Green is nigh on perfect, yellow is fine, orange is alright. Red though needs to be looked at carefully and reviewed.

    The analysis table is shown on the left hand side of your Analyser screen. If you have the wrong drum then it will automatically be red. However, the analyser, analyses three things: the position of the note, the length of the note (largely irrelevant for drums) and the note’s pitch.

    The green, yellow, and orange essential measure the timing of your note, so if you are yellow and before the note (to the left of the note on the lesson stave), then you have played a little bit early. If the note is orange and to the right of the note on the lesson stave, then you are playing after the beat.

  18. My Xtractor is not receiving a signal in ‘Your performance’ .

    If you don’t have a signal in your Xtractor you can quickly go through this simple checklist for connectivity:

    1. Ensure that you have your MIDI in and MIDI out cables connected to the correct MIDI ports.
    2. Make sure you have selected the correct MIDI out device in the SET UP dialogue box on your Xtractor.
    3. Ensure you have installed the correct drivers for your MIDI interface and that it is plugged in to the correct USB port.