The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Are Romplers / Workstations still worth it now that theres VST romplers everywhere?
Old 2 days ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Are Romplers / Workstations still worth it now that theres VST romplers everywhere?

My favorite composers used romplers and a few of them cited on why to use them when theres software is (I can quicky go through the patches, I can get ideas down quickly, the sounds aren't great but not bad either, they are "safe", they enable me to compose fast"

Now, there's XV, JV, Triton, Halion, all in software VSTi, but you have to go through the presets with a mouse still I think, and I find it takes a bit of time to search through them.

I use to own a Roland FA08, and the spinning wheel and clicking the preset buttons and changing sounds/sets was so fast, I ended up making songs pretty fast and felt like I came up with alot of stuff I wouldn't of mucking around with a mouse in Halion Sonic or so.

But I sold it as I couldn't make the payments lol

My question is for you guys, is it really worth getting an Motif XF rack, or a Integra 7, or even a rompler keyboard again like a FA or other equivalent? Does it really speed up workflow or was I just imagining it as it was a brand new toy then?

I feel like getting one again, but I remember how annoying it was to transfer the sounds to daw multitrack on the FA. Maybe an integra with a VST editor and 8 outs would be better, but I don't know, the keyboard version had a "16 track screen" that was really easy to navigate and change sounds, maybe it was only the FA that was easy and quick for me.

Whats your guys opinion, do you use them? Have you used them? Is it worth buying one solely for "auditioning sounds, getting a song done fast" ?
aka
I want to make a house song, throw some orchestra in, then some rap beats
So I would click drums, sellect 3 kits,
go to orch section, get all the stuff i need,
go to fx section, get some vinyl and stuf

then im good to go. On software, I feel like I would spend all day, putting together a house drum kit, eqing it trying to make it sound good, then i'd go try to find the other stuff
then goign through kontakt orch section, and loading all the libraries (I could use VSTI rompler too, load multiple instances and sellect the sounds)

TBH it seems like pretty much the same workflow, but I feel like a hardware rompler / workstation would allow me to find everything "instantly" and just get things done fast.

I could "produce" the sounds later, focus on making a demo now. What's you guys opinion?
Workstation or Rompler worth it compared to VSTI Romplers or not?

Integra, Motif, both 1000$ LOL, XV,World Expansion,SRX Keys,JV and all that other sutff is like 10$ a month on roland VSTI subs.
Old 2 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
I feel you and I was a hardware workstation guy as well. But, I switched from hardware workstations to DAWs because are more flexible giving me more options in music production.

With so many quality vsts and sound libraries available you make better production by using just a good midi keyboard, a DAW, some vsts and your computer instead of having a traditional hardware workstation.

I understand your point that you want immediacy and an intuitive workflow, to not be obligated to use the mouse all the time, because you lose your creativity etc. So, the solution is to find some intuitive midi keyboard and midi controller to inspire you and to help you to eliminate the mousing.

So, in regard to this I think nowadays we have some good options. To me the best midi keyboards in terms of the intuitive workflow are the Arturia Keylab 49 – 61 keys and Keylab Essential 49 -61 keys, and the Akai Advance 25 – 49 – 61 keys. The Arturia keyboards come with the Analogue lab software and through the keyboard’s screen you can choose the sounds of the Analogue Lab and to assign them on which midi channel of your DAW you want, without the need to watch at your computer screen or to use the mouse. On top of that you can adjust the parameters of the sounds from the keyboard as well, and simultaneously you have a good control of your DAW straight from the hardware.

Similar and even better results you will have with the Akai Advance midi keyboard controller, which permits you to organize your vst presets from the controller, to chose them to assign them on the midi channels of your DAW, and to switch parameters from the hardware, and you have and DAW control on top of that. So, basically you don’t even need to touch the mouse.

Of course all depend of what DAW you’re using, to me the most intuitive are the Ableton and the FL studio, and this is why I’m using both of them.
Old 2 days ago
  #3
I love ROMplers. So, YES!
Old 2 days ago
  #4
Gear Addict
 

If they have user waves answer is always yes
Old 2 days ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nice187 View Post
I understand your point that you want immediacy and an intuitive workflow, to not be obligated to use the mouse all the time, because you lose your creativity etc. So, the solution is to find some intuitive midi keyboard and midi controller to inspire you and to help you to eliminate the mousing.
After writing this I thought the same way.

I was looking at the Komplete Kontrol 2 61 keys for around 500 to 700$

it looked just like I'd be using a rompler but with "omnisphere / Kontakt" Maybe they'll let you use roland vst too?

then when I thought about spending 700$ for a midi keyboard I'm like...... I could get a workstation!

But theres many pluses and minuses here lol

With the workstation, I'd have to render out, also if I disconnect it the midi in the project wouldnt play the sounds, and all this other stuff

then on the plus it lets me audition, use it standalone, play with all the sounds on it and stuff...

With komplete kontrol 2, I'd have a screen and able to go through all the presets instantly (with a ssd) also, but since it's midi I wouldnt have to worry about rendering it out and other things.

Your right though I need a better controller of some kind lol
Old 2 days ago
  #6
Lives for gear
For me right now, I am very happy to have vsts, when I need them. I have Roland cloud and the Arturia V synths, and aside from those bundles, which cover a ton of ground, some AAS stuff and Ana2. I use the vsts fairly often but mostly to plug one or two holes per song.

I have a mixer, where all the hardware always is routed, so when I walk into my music room, I turn a synth on, and as soon as it boots up I can hear it.

Right now my belief is that I will make better *songs*, if I am limited to more physically plausible tools. When I work ITB too much, gain staging, sound design, and other non musical concerns start to take over, because it’s all “so easy”. It’s really a giant time suck and I will end up with something that sounds interesting but if you print it out to sheet music isn’t really a composition.

I have a Korg Kronos an emu p2500 and a Roland Integra as my main Romplers. I get all kinds of sounds from them simultaneously, pretty easily. I had a motif rack es but I sold it, probably a mistake, to fund a hydra synth, which apis one of my “extra” hw synths like the Korg minilogue, matrixbrute , and system 1m.

This was not meant to be a studio tour, I am trying to explain my current mostly OTB hybrid approach. I still record midi into and sequence from the DAW, so I am not completely OTB. But only rely on the computer for sequencing and recording audio, not running tons of vsts.

Rereading this it’s not very convincing, but I will say that the sounds from my ROMplers tend to be more polished and my tracks, even the rough demos, sound much better, I don’t really feel like I need to mix them much, because I was already adjusting levels during the “play through “ stage. I also try to avoid using headphones when I can, and everything has to pass the Sonos test.
Old 2 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
breakmixer's Avatar
 

I honestly think in your case to try Roland Cloud subscription, see how it goes. You can cancel if it's not for you and maybe just buy individual LT licenses of what you did use.

I'd also recommend Arturia Spark or Sparkle for additional drums if you're on a budget, be warned its not being further supported. It's like having a drum machine/drum rompler in one.

Tal Sampler for user samples. Cheap as chips and simple to use.

Additionally. If you can stretch Arturia V Collection offers much bang for buck and the Analog Lab part works like a Rompler for the collection.
Old 2 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
If you play keyboards, you need a keyboard. Better to have a keyboard with sounds in it than without them.

If you're talking about sounds in a rack unit vs. sounds in a computer,
it depends on how you plan on using them, I guess.

Last edited by felis; 2 days ago at 07:32 PM..
Old 2 days ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Hi!

I have the Integra and I have loads of vstis.
My 5cents:
Sound variety and sound quality is broader with the software instruments. I mean, so many vendors and so many different offerings. You can get any instrument and sound you're looking for as a vsti.
Hardware romplers definitely give you that fast and intuitive workflow on the other hand. It's not only that 'mouse thing'; loading times are significantly slower on a computer, even with good specs and SSDs and all that.
If you use too many vstis or instances in a song, your computer can be pushed to its limits, too. That's what I'm experiencing right now.
So, summed up, I'd say a good rompler (the integra IS a good rompler) has got relevance. Each time I use it, I find it nice, to REALLY scroll QUICKLY through its presets.
I combine both worlds.
Old 2 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmbeatz View Post


Hardware romplers definitely give you that fast and intuitive workflow on the other hand. It's not only that 'mouse thing'; loading times are significantly slower on a computer, even with good specs and SSDs and all that.
Load times are only slower when your loading large amounts of data. Things like Wavestation and M1 vst can change presets instantly, just like the hardware.
Old 2 days ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

Not sure about the Integra but stuff like the old JV's, Wavestation and M1 sound different from the VST's, which would be worth the price of admission for purists or people who just enjoy hardware. 80's and 90's digitals/romplers are vastly undervalued, watch them soar once the vintage analogs start dying for good.
Old 2 days ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
chaocrator's Avatar
for me, the question sounds like:
«are Command Stations, Roland Handsonic HPD-15, Yamaha DTXpress still worth it now?»

of course they are. and btw, they sound good out of the box, short after one presses power button — which is priceless when the goal is to come up with some idea quickly.
Old 2 days ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaocrator View Post
for me, the question sounds like:
«are Command Stations, Roland Handsonic HPD-15, Yamaha DTXpress still worth it now?»

of course they are. and btw, they sound good out of the box, short after one presses power button — which is priceless when the goal is to come up with some idea quickly.
While I’m also on this journey to find my workflow, this is such a strong argument. I never start in a daw. The Fantom 8 (which I have midi mapped to DeepMind12 on... zone 12, sirin on 13, then over to the mixer, which has sends for analog heat and eclipse v4) is so fast for getting started. Once I have my idea starting to take shape the shift to daw takes a decent chunk of setup time, but I’m more efficient there.
Old 2 days ago
  #14
ROMpler pluses:

• Tons of polyphony.
• Zero CPU-load.
• Zero OS- and DAW-compatibility issues if using S/PDIF, TOSlink, or class-compliant USB audio.
• Zero noise-floor when using digital I/O, available on many flagship ROMplers (S/PDIF, TOSlink, or audio-over-USB).
• Patches load quickly.
• Plug-n-play: Turn it on, and it just works.
• Lots of fancy presets.
• Tons of built-in, high-quality effects.
• Touchscreen UIs on latest models.
• Most offer dedicated or mappable cutoff/resonance and ADSR hardware knobs.
• Some offer optional three-pedal, piano-style foot-controllers.
Old 2 days ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 

If you have the space anything that helps you write faster is worth it. The creative part of the process - writing melodies, chord progressions, hooks etc is the part you need to nurture. Everything else is just perspiration and grind.
Old 2 days ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 
enossified's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HREQ View Post
is it really worth getting an Motif XF rack
If you can get one, let me know. Yamaha never released an XF rack

Yes, it's worth having the full hardware keyboard in many cases because of the UI. I used Motif ES and XF for 6 years each and could zip around them easily. Deep editing, both of MIDI and patches is of course slower than with a plugin GUI, but most other aspects were much faster. I can only speak of Yamaha but all the menus were context sensitive, so depending on what mode you were in, what was visible on the screen and what the buttons controlled were related to the task at hand.

If you're a skilled keyboard player, the access to multiple controllers (on a Motif: two wheels, aftertouch, ribbon, 4 or 8 knobs, 4 or 8 sliders, two expression pedals) provides a lot of real time control without complicated mapping. If you're sequencing everything on a grid or with notation on a staff, then automating, I suppose it's of less importance.

BTW the Yamaha racks not only lack the sequencer and sampler, but the real time control would have to be provided by a MIDI controller of some sort and it's likely that even after mapping everything it migjt not be as user friendly. For example, two expression pedals are better for control than two knobs if you are playing the keys with both hands.

Today I use Logic and Reason with a Nektar Panorama controller which gives an experience close to what I had with the Motif. Even with all it's knobs and sliders and tight integration with the DAW, it still misses the mark in some ways. That's not Nektar's fault, rather the DAW and plugin mfrs not allowing access via an API. For example, Logic does not allow tempo control over MIDI (Reason does).

Quote:
Originally Posted by HREQ View Post
XV,World Expansion,SRX Keys,JV and all that other sutff is like 10$ a month on roland VSTI subs.
That's $120 a year. After enough years, an Integra will be paid off but you will be still be paying $10 a month (or more if/when Roland jacks up the subscription price) for eternity.

BTW numerous dealers offer interest free financing. I can get 4-year financing on an Integra for $37 a month. Yes, that's more than $10, but I'm not paying $1750 up front either.

Just a different perspective to consider.

BTW I no longer use any hardware myself, I am totally ITB.
Old 2 days ago
  #17
I replaced mine with Sampletank4 (already had komplete ultimate)

I still like the idea of a workstation, away from the studio, but to be honest there are better portable versions nowadays for my basic needs. The two Ive had recently were at the budget end, FA and Korg Krome, were just two clunky compared to my MPC Live...which when paired with a decent keyboard (Ive got a Hammer 88) and a sound module (MC101 and win 10 tablet running v collection and ST4) theres no real need for me

Sure they are bits and pieces but they become their own instruments when unplugged from each other or have secondary uses
Old 2 days ago
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Workstations were from a different time, when use of and integration with DAWs was far trickier.

Now, there are so many sound libraries out there, and MIDI controllers, and DAWs come with such a plethora of built-in options, I don't really see the utility value of using a 90's workstation VST emulator, except for nostalgia purposes.

You can get the original workstations quite cheaply now, too, so there's really no point chasing the latest and greatest there if you need the instant convenience.
Old 2 days ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 
grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HREQ View Post

Now, there's XV, JV, Triton, Halion, all in software VSTi, but you have to go through the presets with a mouse still I think, and I find it takes a bit of time to search through them.
FWIW there is no Roland JV VSTi. What Roland has on the cloud is a kinda sorta maybe sounding XV VSTi with a JV Skin.

And both the XV and laughable JV plugins do not have the same effects as the hardware

On Romplers so much of the sound design power comes from the effects

The Roland XV Romplers for example have the SRV reverb algos so when using them its like also using a classic Roland effects processor

My Motif ES rack has things like the Yamaha Symphonic Chorus that first came out on the classic SPX line and are not available in plug in form

My Integra 7 allows me to layer up to 16 patches on top of each other and with motional surround I can put each layer anywhere in the stereo field and by sequencing MIDI CCs have them move around while playing

There are many reasons to use Romplers not the least of which is plugins can not recreate what the actual hardware sounds like
Old 1 day ago
  #20
Here for the gear
FWIW the Advance like of keyboards work really well as an ITB keyboard workstation. I like it even better since I can load it up with my U-he synths. My only gripe with it is that Akai still hasn't updated it for Catalina support
Old 1 day ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
ROMpler pluses:

• Tons of polyphony.
• Zero CPU-load.
• Zero OS- and DAW-compatibility issues if using S/PDIF, TOSlink, or class-compliant USB audio.
• Zero noise-floor when using digital I/O, available on many flagship ROMplers (S/PDIF, TOSlink, or audio-over-USB).
• Patches load quickly.
• Plug-n-play: Turn it on, and it just works.
• Lots of fancy presets.
• Tons of built-in, high-quality effects.
• Touchscreen UIs on latest models.
• Most offer dedicated or mappable cutoff/resonance and ADSR hardware knobs.
• Some offer optional three-pedal, piano-style foot-controllers.
Then again, it's not like I never considered dumping all of my expensive ROMplers and replacing them with two Native Instruments' Komplete Kontrol MIDI controllers (weighted and synth-action), and putting that dough into some premium Orchestral Tools' Metropolis symphonic libraries and a copy of Komplete 12. At least for selecting patches, any NKS-compatible plug-in (e.g., UVI Falcon) would show up in the NI's color display, enhancing usability/accessibility, closer to that of a hardware ROMpler. If I were to start all over again, I may have gone this route.
Old 1 day ago
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
FWIW there is no Roland JV VSTi. What Roland has on the cloud is a kinda sorta maybe sounding XV VSTi with a JV Skin.

And both the XV and laughable JV plugins do not have the same effects as the hardware

On Romplers so much of the sound design power comes from the effects

My Integra 7 allows me to ...
This reminds me of my issue with modern Roland romplers (Integra, Fantom).
Previous units had a 'patch mode' where all the available effects were combined to make that one patch sound as good as possible. The downside was that you didn't have sixteen of these complete effects blocks when in performance mode which only shared a single Reverb/Chorus.

Fast forward to the Roland gear today - which claims to have all the SRX sounds onboard etc - they don''t reproduce the old patches faithfully because they now totally ignore the Reverb/Chorus settings from before! How is this progress?

This is frustrating when the Cloud XV5080 does a better job at this than the new £2k+ Fantom or Integra.
Old 1 day ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
Then again, it's not like I never considered dumping all of my expensive ROMplers and replacing them with two Native Instruments' Komplete Kontrol MIDI controllers (weighted and synth-action), and putting that dough into some premium Orchestral Tools' Metropolis symphonic libraries and a copy of Komplete 12. At least for selecting patches, any NKS-compatible plug-in (e.g., UVI Falcon) would show up in the NI's color display, enhancing usability/accessibility, closer to that of a hardware ROMpler. If I were to start all over again, I may have gone this route.
This direction looks really appealing. Especially given the tactileness of the plugin through hardware
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump