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Which keyboard should I not buy?
  #1  
Old 05-19-2004, 12:30 PM
David Offline
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Default Which keyboard should I not buy?

Hi there fellows!

I wanted to see if I could get some information from you guys...
It's about the well know "which keyboard?" subject! :D
Which keyboard should I buy? (sorry about the misleading subject)

I'm looking for a keyboard with 88-note weighted keys. I'm interested in the K2600XS, but would like to know more about other brands.
From what I see, the three leading brands are Roland, Yamaha and Korg. But I don't know which models that suits my needs.
I want a keyboard where you are able to program your own sounds in a good way, with lots of possibilities (Effects etc). With the "switch sounds with the pedal"-feature. A keyboard with good sounds, for different music. I'm not interested in the Techno, house, Hip-hop sounds at all...
I want one with good piano sounds, and good strings, bass, etc.
And good key-action...

I've found the following models, but don't know much about them:
Roland Fantom X8/ Fantom S88
Yamaha Motif 8/ Motif Es8
Korg Triton LE88 / Triton Extreme 88

The one I've checked out the most is the Fantom X8. It looks great, with the color screen, sampling stuff etc. And the piano sounds great. It looks interesting...

What about these models? I guess some of you own one or more of them. And It would be nice to hear from you, what you think!

Thanks in advance!

/David
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2004, 05:47 PM
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These are the keyboards to consider. How you choose between them could be a matter of taste and needs. Some things to consider:

The interfaces are different between them (ribbons, wheels, sticks) for example.

The Yamaha has phenomenal rom samples and an expandable synth architecture. I haven't yet tried out the Fantom X but I hear it has good samples too. The K is the deepest in terms of synth architecture. This is a double edged sword. If I was looking for something deep, I would get the Kurz. If I was looking for good sound out of the box the Yammie and the Roland. For convenience the Triton. (Though I hear the Roland interface is pretty cool.)

Questions for you:

- Do you plan to gig, or use in home studio?
- Do you plan to have any other keys, or use one keyboard? What about other modules?
- Do you plan to learn programming in a comprehensive way?
- Are you good at programming computers?
- What is your taste in synthesis (e.g. will you be comfortable with a general purpose lead or will you spend several months tweaking all kinds of flavors into a sound)?

Best,

Jerry
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2004, 03:24 AM
David Offline
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Hi Jerry!

First, to answer your questions:

- I think I'll use the keyboard mainly at home, but if I'll get gigs, I'll use it there too. Probably use it when practising with a band. I know it isn't the easiest to carry around a 88-note keyboard, but It will work for now, because I'd really need a keyboard with 88-note weighted keys.

- This will be the only keyboard for now, but I'll probably buy other keyboards, or modules, in the future when I can afford it (maybe a lighter keyboard for playing in a band, or at gigs).

- I would like to learn programming... in a pretty comprehensive way. Would be nice with a keyboard, where you could program alot. Use samples, and tweak them. Good effects etc
.
- I've worked pretty much with computers. I haven't done any C+ or similiar programming. But I would like to learn more about synth-programming.

- I would like to be able to tweak my own sounds and leads. And it would be cool to have alot of possibilities regarding this. Though, it would also be good if the keyboard has good sounds, and leads in the beginning. So you could use them too.


I've seen the differences regarding the interface (ribbons, joystick etc).
What I really want is a separate wheel for the pitch, and for the modulation. But I dosen't seem to exist, at least not on the Roland and the Korg. Is Yamaha the only one with separate wheels? But I think I could live with a joystick... what your opinions? Haven't used a Joystick before...

I've thought about the polyphony... is it a big problem to have only 64 voices? I would really like 128 voices, as you seem to be able to use more layers and stuff, right?
For example the Fantom S88 has 64, and the Fantom X8 has got 128 voices.

Have you used the Motif/Motif Es? If so, what can you tell about it?
What about the possibilities to add, for example, effects on a sound. How many effects are maximum on the Motif, as well as on the other keyboards?

And regarding expansion possibilities. What are the possibilities on the different keyboards, and what quality do you get.
I've listen to some examples of the different SRX-roms for the Roland. And it sounds very good.

And about samples... It seems very easy to work with, with the USB connection on the keyboard. Do all new keyboard have this feature? And what about SCSI, if it dosen't have it, would you then not be able to store samples to use live?

One more thing.... about the Wave Rom. I guess 128 is much better than 64, but what does it really mean?

I know I'm asking alot... but If someone (Jerry ) know anything about it, I would really like to know. I've searched the net, but can't find all the information there, and it's nice to hear your oppinions.

Thanks! And have a nice day! :D

/David
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2004, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
- I think I'll use the keyboard mainly at home, but if I'll get gigs, I'll use it there too. Probably use it when practising with a band. I know it isn't the easiest to carry around a 88-note keyboard, but It will work for now, because I'd really need a keyboard with 88-note weighted keys.
A good decision. I take it you are a pianist. I have a Steinway and thus I purchased the unweighted synths, on the theory that I could always play my piano. The downside of this decision is that I've have to re-learn technique (staying relaxed on an unweighted keybed is still hard for me) and it doesn't "count" toward the piano chops. (Glissando has been a lot easier to explore on light keys though. You can do some amazing things with gliss.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
- I would like to learn programming... in a pretty comprehensive way. Would be nice with a keyboard, where you could program alot. Use samples, and tweak them. Good effects etc
Two comments:

Set your expectations. I started with a Roland rompler and it took me three years till I figured out synthesis. (And yes I was doing database programming at the time.) Sometimes the simpler synths teach you more, faster. A VA or analog would have yielded the secrets much faster.

Secondly, there's a lot more to shaping sound than the "effects". Most modern synths have a "synth" architecture and an "effects" architecture. The sound travels from the former to the latter in the synths you are considering. The "effects" architecture is a lot like a guitarists effects. They typically don't stop or start (i.e. shape) any aspect of your sound, they simply color it. The synth architecture is where there is most to learn, usually. If your primary focus is to use interesting samples and process them with effects, your learning curve will be faster than if you are trying to learn the synth architecture. In terms of synth architecture, the Korg is the simplest (sample => resonant filter => amplifier). One step up is the Roland (IMO). It goes sample to resonant filter to amp like the Korg, but it also includes booster, frequency modulation and ring modulation algorithms. The Yamaha is a step up even though it's core synth is simpler than the Roland and similar to the Korg (sample to resonant filter to amp). Why? Because you can plug-in additional boards with complete synthesis systems such as the VL, VA, and FM boards. Each of these boards has a synth (with different architecture) in it. The kurz, well the kurz has a true variable architecture, sample to "any of several choices" to "any of several choices" to "any of several choices" to "any of several choices"... to amp.

BTW "sample to resonant filter to amp" is a three step simplification. There are things called low frequency oscillators and envelopes that can control (i.e. modulate) a number of facets in each of the three steps. Try some reading on the web for more.

The effects architecture in increasing complexity are Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Kurzweil.

Despite the amount of space I have dedicated to architecture, I think the interface and sound are more important for you (a beginner) than the architecture. Why? Because each of these synths have more than sufficient architectural complexity to keep you busy for several years. Interface and sound will be subjective assessments you will make. Each manufacturer has a definite sonic identity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I've seen the differences regarding the interface (ribbons, joystick etc).
What I really want is a separate wheel for the pitch, and for the modulation. But I dosen't seem to exist, at least not on the Roland and the Korg. Is Yamaha the only one with separate wheels? But I think I could live with a joystick... what your opinions? Haven't used a Joystick before...
The sticks versus wheels debate is an old and familiar one.

The Kurz and the Yamaha use the more "american" wheels (mod and pitch), while Roland and Korg use different types of joysticks. The Kurz (large) ribbon is a fantastic controller. The Roland D-beams are not all that useful. I use the small Yamaha ribbon for pitch and love it!

I started on a Juno 106 and got used to the joysticks. Some people swear the wheels are better. In my listening experience, I haven't heard synthesists who use one kind sounding better than ones who use another. It really depends on what you are drawn to and how much energy you put into mastering it.

For example, it said that it is convenient to have a mod amount (the wheel) stay where you put it. That is true. But the counter argument (the stick) is that that action can be done by a slider, and the benefit of a joystick is the speed of wiggle, and the fact that you can bend into a modulation at the same time that you are bending pitch. The Korg joysticks are more complex than the Roland ones. I like ribbons more than joysticks or wheels. Your opinion may differ and it's the one that counts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Hi Jerry!
I've thought about the polyphony... is it a big problem to have only 64 voices? I would really like 128 voices, as you seem to be able to use more layers and stuff, right?
For example the Fantom S88 has 64, and the Fantom X8 has got 128 voices.
The X is voiced much better from what I hear. The S was rushed out to compete with the Motif and doesn't stack up nearly as well. Don't worry about polyphony, With resampling and a digital recorder, it's really not a consideration, unless you plan to play debussy arabesques with the pedal down. There are more important considerations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Have you used the Motif/Motif Es? If so, what can you tell about it?
What about the possibilities to add, for example, effects on a sound. How many effects are maximum on the Motif, as well as on the other keyboards?
I've tried it out enough to evaluate it. The effects processor is adequate. I don't have the info in front of me ( I stuck a thread below with some actual info), but I recall thinking that it is better endowed than the roland. The people who really provide a large number of insert effects are Korg. As I mentioned above, effects are less of a consideration to me than the architecture. You can typically get a better quality of effect from a plug-in (software) on your computer ... or a dedicated effects module. The exception, to me is the Kurz effects section (KDFX on the K2600), which is professional grade. These my opinions. It hasn't prevented lots of people from using the onboard effects directly onto a CD project. (Oh wait, I've done that too.) :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
And regarding expansion possibilities. What are the possibilities on the different keyboards, and what quality do you get.
I've listen to some examples of the different SRX-roms for the Roland. And it sounds very good.
I like Yamaha's ability to stuff a VA synth and an FM synth and a physical modelling synth into the Motif. Ditto for Korg's MOSS board which has some VA and physical modelling in it. The Roland SRX are my favorite ROMs. However they do not expand the architecture, only the sounds that can be processed by the architecture. I'm not familar enough with the Kurz packaging and price points to offer an opinion on what is option these days. (The K2661 comes with a number of Rom upgrades, but you are considering the K2600.) Ask Brett. :D

So, have I dodged you question on which synth to buy? Actually I'm ready to give you some advice. It's good to get yourself educated on the issues, but the best decision will be the one you make on the basis of your personal experience with the synths. Have fun!

Jerry


PS: Here are some links to similar discussions. Bear in mind, that there are several "camps". Most people recommend the synth they own:

http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/u...;f=18;t=003647

http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/u...;f=18;t=009766
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2004, 12:58 PM
merijn Offline
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Difficult. Well My experience with Korg Triton karma etc, are many techno things. The best would be Kurz. But for good sounds and programmability, not a k2600XS is necesairy. If you can affort it, it;s great! But for less, a Pc2X for instance, has great piano and strings etc. And programmability.
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Re: Which keyboard should I not buy?
  #6  
Old 06-02-2004, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Which keyboard should I not buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Hi there fellows!

I wanted to see if I could get some information from you guys...
It's about the well know "which keyboard?" subject! :D
Which keyboard should I buy? (sorry about the misleading subject)

I'm looking for a keyboard with 88-note weighted keys. I'm interested in the K2600XS, but would like to know more about other brands.
From what I see, the three leading brands are Roland, Yamaha and Korg. But I don't know which models that suits my needs.
I want a keyboard where you are able to program your own sounds in a good way, with lots of possibilities (Effects etc). With the "switch sounds with the pedal"-feature. A keyboard with good sounds, for different music. I'm not interested in the Techno, house, Hip-hop sounds at all...
I want one with good piano sounds, and good strings, bass, etc.
And good key-action...

I've found the following models, but don't know much about them:
Roland Fantom X8/ Fantom S88
Yamaha Motif 8/ Motif Es8
Korg Triton LE88 / Triton Extreme 88

The one I've checked out the most is the Fantom X8. It looks great, with the color screen, sampling stuff etc. And the piano sounds great. It looks interesting...

What about these models? I guess some of you own one or more of them. And It would be nice to hear from you, what you think!

Thanks in advance!

/David
I have an RS-9 which has "semi-weighted keys". Since it uses an external power adapter rather than on-board, it makes the whole thing lighter and easier to carry and setup. The onboard piano and sounds are nice. There is a good variety of patches. It's out of production now, so you may want to check e-bay for a used one, or consider that Fantom, which is probably nearest replacement and maybe even nicer with the enhanced features.
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  #7  
Old 06-02-2004, 10:28 AM
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have you thought about buying a module and a midi controller?, I really think that it`s a cheaper option (for example MOTIF RACK: $1000, M-AUDIO KEYSTATION PRO88: $500), you`ll get the same motif sounds for just $1500 instead of almost $3000. And if you get bored of the motif you can sell it and buy yourself another module, as for example the TRITON RACK $1500....

Anyway it worked for me
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  #8  
Old 06-02-2004, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
I've tried it out enough to evaluate it. The effects processor is adequate. I don't have the info in front of me ( I stuck a thread below with some actual info), but I recall thinking that it is better endowed than the roland. The people who really provide a large number of insert effects are Korg. As I mentioned above, effects are less of a consideration to me than the architecture. You can typically get a better quality of effect from a plug-in (software) on your computer ... or a dedicated effects module. The exception, to me is the Kurz effects section (KDFX on the K2600), which is professional grade. These my opinions. It hasn't prevented lots of people from using the onboard effects directly onto a CD project. (Oh wait, I've done that too.)
The Motif and Motif ES and dramatically different in their capabilities so just to be clear, try to make sure you don't refer to the Motif ES as "just another Motif". :)

The Motif ES, has the same Rev-X algorithms of the new SPX-2000 effects processor. It also has new vintage effects algorithms developed by the same team that did the Virtual Circuitry modeling for the DM2000 series mixers.

The Motif ES has 8 dual (thats 16) insert effects available. Plus 2 system effects and a Master effects section. Thats a total of 19. There are also EQ's on all 16 tracks, plus a Master EQ.

The Korg Triton series (all the models) have 5 insert effects and 2 system effects, plus 1 Master effect.

In regards to the K2600. No doubt that KDFX sounds wonderful. Having worked at Kurzweil for 6 years, I have both a KSP8 and K2600 at home and have no plans on getting rid of them. The Rev-X and other effect algorithms from Yamaha compare favorably to.....excellent quality but different in character. Keep in mind KDFX on the K2600 is very complex.

As an example, if you are sequencing on a K2600 and after recording a few tracks you decide that you want an organ track with a rotary speaker effect. By default is the sound on track 1 is controlling the effects for everything that is happening on the K2600 at one time. You have to edit the effects studio for track 1, to change the effects that you are hearing on other tracks. Once you've done this, you still have to set up "FXMODS" to get the realtime control over the leslie effect itself which at this point can only be controlled from Track 1, not while playing the Organ sound itself. There are other ways around this delima (changing the effects control channel to be the same as the organ track) but this would then change most of the other sounds too. :? Other things just as tempo synced effects can be difficult to set up. It sounds great and its very flexible but it takes ALOT of planning.

On the Motif ES, 8 of your 16 sequencing tracks have the SAME effects as they do in voice mode. There is nothing you need to do other than choose your sounds to make this happen. Personally the ease and speed of which I'm able to grab sounds and put together a song on a Motif ES is unmatched by anything else on the market.
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2004, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Martin
The Motif and Motif ES and dramatically different in their capabilities so just to be clear, try to make sure you don't refer to the Motif ES as "just another Motif". :)
Don't mess with the Yamaha-guy.... :)

:lol:
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  #10  
Old 06-03-2004, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Martin
The Motif and Motif ES and dramatically different in their capabilities so just to be clear, try to make sure you don't refer to the Motif ES as "just another Motif". :)
[/quote]

Hi Mike. Good to see you here. That's some helpful information. Thank you.

Yes I was referring to the Motif ES specifically. It's a great synth with the best factory rom and sampling capability of the three. And an adequate effects processor (sonically) in the areas where I compared it closely with the other two workstations (Fantom X, Triton Extreme).

Jerry
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