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Brainpick on some new synthesisers (hardware) Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 26th December 2010
  #1
Brainpick on some new synthesisers (hardware)

I've been out of the hardware-purchasing for a while, hence my asking you guys!

To cut a long story short, I've had a flood in my studio and am claiming for some replacement kit.

My studio has a dual-role: programming/production & live performance practice.

Kit list is
MacBook Pro running Logic studio 9 and pretty much every plugin (it's easier to say that!), MacPro with software as above, MOTU 828mk2 & Emagic Unitor 8
A80 & KX88, MicroKorg, Fully loaded Kurzweil K2000, Yamaha SY77, Roland XP30 ,Roland XV5050, Roland TR626, Korg X5dr, Korg Wavestation A/D, Access Virus B
Shed loads of outboard - eqs, dynamics and fx.

I use the XP & K2000 with the Mac laptop (running Mainstage) for my live rig.
I'm looking at some dual-role synths. Budget of around £3.5K

Narrowed it down to -

76-note Korg M3r (with additional Radius module)
Roland Juno Stage (rank outsider due to lack of aftertouch)
2nd-hand V-Synth GT
Nord Stage Compact?
Can't say I'm convinced with the Yamaha Motif though. The issue I see is that most of the new stuff comes with a sequencer that I can't see myself using (at least with the M3 it links to the Karma2 setup)

Am open to buying used kit too (OASYS?)

Thanks in advance,

Dan
Old 26th December 2010
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
So you have 6 romplers and you want to add... a rompler

You consider a Juno Stage with that budget while it's a knocked-down Fantom.

What are those roles you're looking for?
What sounds do you need?
What can't you get out of your current rig (besides minimal space) and what can't you get out of your laptop?

If you don't need the sequencer but like the Motif sounds - they've got S70 XS , S90 XS | Synthesizers | Products | YamahaSynth.com for that.
Old 26th December 2010
  #3
Thanks for the quick reply - the reason for more romplers is simple.
I produce for a great many artists, and a wide sound palette is reall important.

FWIW, the XP30 & K2000 are for my live rig only (don't really use them in the studio)
The XV5050 is used as a studio equivalent of the XP.
The Wavestation is unique - for wave-sequencing and vector-synthesis.
The X5dr gets used for the old 90's M1 sounds (piao etc)
The SY77 is used 99% for FM creation.

The Juno Stage was moreso just because I was going through the manufacturers' websites and it looked intrguing.
But I hadn't considered the Fantom - good point

The Mac is a great tool for live, but after doing several world tours with big bands, I always employ double-redundancy - if the lappy dies, the show still has to go on!! heh
Hence something with sample-memory. I have been using the K2000, but it's getting a bit long in the tooth tbh.

With reference to sounds, I'm always after new stuff in terms of sonics and inspiration. And FWIW, I've gone through the phase of "real" analogue stuff (jupiter 8, SH101, MS20 etc etc), and whilst fun, the space is huge(!) and I've got plugins for most of this and the Virus......

Make sense?? heh

Dan
Old 26th December 2010
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Makes perfect sense .

Another option without a sequencer would be the Kurzweil PC3x. It even has a virtual analog of sorts built in. In terms of versatility, while the Nord Stage is really nice its set of sounds is restricted (piano, EPs of various kinds, organs) - you're not going to find sampled strings in there, and you probably want those.

I've got the XP30 myself - it's a real workhorse and it's lightweight - and its follow-ups don't feel half as good, IMHO. Its sounds are however also not that fresh anymore.

Do you want to replace both with just one or can one of 'm stay?
Old 26th December 2010
  #5
Interesting! Another mate mentioned the PC3x!
My only issue with Kurzweil is that their build quality is SHOCKING.

I know what you're saying about the Nord - a GREAT bit of kit. The sounds it does, it does VERY well (imho), but there aren't many of them for the money (and I still detest the pitchbend/mod wheels!)

FWIW, both the XP & XV can stay - the XP is a great keyboard live, and the XV sounds are a higher sonic quality than the XP, so work well in a mix.

If they end up being put out to retirement, I wouldn't mind - they've done their tour of duty!! :D

The daft thing is that performance keyboards seem to be a rarity - unless you want an excessive sequencer. Hence my thought of a V-synthGT instead of the Juno Stage. (My disappointment being that the GT doesn't have the D50 card - always nice!)

Dan
Old 26th December 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Westlaker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Another option without a sequencer would be the Kurzweil PC3x. It even has a virtual analog of sorts built in.
This is surely going to give Kurzweil fans a heart attack -- if the "without a sequencer" doesn't get them first, then calling the VA1 a "virtual analog of sorts" is certainly going to push them over the edge! heh
Old 26th December 2010
  #7
LOL!!! heh

FWIW, I love my K2 - even now the synthesis engine is phenomenal.
The build quality is woeful. But I love it. Got even better once I ripped out the floppy drive and stuck in a Zip drive.

The PC just doesn't seem for me. Perhaps it's because I've been burnt by them before. Plus I'm in the UK, and the support ain't brilliant (sorry UK).
Old 26th December 2010
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CfNorENa View Post
This is surely going to give Kurzweil fans a heart attack -- if the "without a sequencer" doesn't get them first, then calling the VA1 a "virtual analog of sorts" is certainly going to push them over the edge! heh
Argh, I saw them always praised for their sounds and keyboard quality, and the PC2x didn't have a sequencer in there. Oh well, still perhaps a nice choice to add to the list.

As the "of sorts", that's unfortunately worded - it's as much "of sorts" as the Radias plugin or the AN PLG is.
Old 26th December 2010
  #9
No worries, fwiw, IF I was going to take an 88-note live, it would be my A80 (lighter action than the KX88). BUT they're BOTH so fookin heavy!!! :D

I use them both in the studio (strangely, the A80 for jamming, and the KX88 for composing/recording - the Yamaha has such a nice feel to it. Beautiful)

Dan
Old 27th December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Westlaker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Argh, I saw them always praised for their sounds and keyboard quality, and the PC2x didn't have a sequencer in there. Oh well, still perhaps a nice choice to add to the list.

As the "of sorts", that's unfortunately worded - it's as much "of sorts" as the Radias plugin or the AN PLG is.
All in good fun, Yoozer -- and in any case, I was actually taking a (gentle and good-natured) shot at the Kurzweil fanboys...
Old 27th December 2010
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Perhaps my gaffe will even entice some of 'm to chime in heh
Old 31st December 2010
  #12
Well, interesting day yesterday. Went to my "local" (50 miles away!) music shop, PMT in Birmingham (PMT Online | Home page make music for less)
Used to deal with them many years ago when I was with UB40, but it was refreshing to see that their attitude to customer service hasn't changed - still A1!!
I was in there for nearly 3 hours, with no pressure - just friendly advice and coffee!

I've come to some conclusions:

Roland Juno Stage - I'm dismissing this as (much to my annoyance with a great amout of Roland kit right now) there's no aftertouch implementation. In both my performance and production, I use aftertouch a lot. So, thanks, but no thanks.

Nord Stage - also being dismissed due to a couple of things. A VERY good sounding keyboard, BUT (and I hate this will ALL Nord stuff) a combo of tree and stone for the pitch/mod wheel is a BIG "no, no" for me! :D
There's also the cold fact that you pay dearly for Nord sound quality, at the expense of versatilty.

The Motif XF was interesting BUT, it is replacing a Yamaha SY77, of which over the years, I'd totally re-programmed with new FM sounds.
Motif only uses AWM2/similar stuff - no FM/AFM. And whilst the Piano was very good, it's a lot of money for multisampled piano & drums! (I'm being flippant here, but the sound palatte just isn't for me)

I'm dismissing the Kurzweil, as I've already got a K2000, and whilst a good workhorse, I don't know, but I think I'm just board of Kurzweil. I also don't have much faith in the UK support network.

I played the M3....... and really liked it. The Karma engine is very impressive and adds a great deal of dynamic intricacy to arpeggiations. I also liked the implementation of wave-sequencing. The XY controller also gave access to Vector Synthesis-esq control....
The sounds were very good too. The sequencer aspect, well, kind of pointless when I'm using Logic, but nice to have as a notepad/scratchpad. I really liked the touchscreen too and found it quite intuitive to use.
A thought-process was in my mind - more on this later.

I was then introduced to what I considered a rank outsider (even more than the Juno Stage) - the Fantom G.
The initial impression was "impressive screen"! Then immediate disappointment that it wasn't touch screen. However, once I got the hang of it, I was moving around the OS quite quickly.
Very well laid out. Good collection of useable sounds. For me, a totally excessive sequencer, but it was good to have the option of audio tracks to record to though.

However, the most intriguing aspect was that of the "Live" mode. Currently, I'm using my XP30 for live performances, and I've used up all the memory allocations. And it can be a bit awkward to program. The Fantom was a REVELATION in setting up live performances. Even better with a my Kensington Turbo Mouse I hope.


Soooo....... where does this leave me?

Well, the whole flood thing has also given me chance to take stock if what I'm doing musically/professionally.

I've currently got a Korg X5dr that can now be sold on. (replaced by the M3)
I've also got a Roland XV5050 - that can be sold on (replaced by the Fantom)
The Roland XP30 could also be moved on due to the Fantom taking over Live duties.

Pricewise - a Fantom G6/7 is virtually 1/2 price on Ebay. I've also got a friend @ Roland who can possibly get me discount.
The Korg M3 is also roughly 1/2 price too.......

With the sale of the XV, XP & X5dr, I could get myself a V-synth too.

This also leaves me with some extra for other toys should the need arise.....

Just need to see what the Insurance company say now.
Old 31st December 2010
  #13
Forgot to add - this will give me a healthy balance of existing upgrade of sound palette for both studio and live, whilst giving me the functionality of live performance & production stuff....

I think!
Old 21st January 2011
  #14
Addendum..... update really.

OK, looks like the insurance will be sorting everything out. The room is on it's way to being restored to its former glory.

Which leaves me with the contents

I don't really need any new toys, but even the Wife has said, "use it or lose it" - she has enough of my money anyway without my losing more heh

So, I'm still looking around. I've sold my Roland XV5050 and Korg X5dr in the meantime.

I've seen a NEW Roland V-synth XT for £700.... which seems too good to miss.
I've been offered a BRAND NEW Roland Fantom G6 for the same price as a used one....... a VERY good price, but would I use it?

Still have the option of an M3ex.
But I'm glad I waited, as the Kronos is very high on my want list.


Like I said, I don't NEED any of this kit, but it's a want-list now.

Waddya think (apart from nice position to be in! thumbsup heh )

Dan
Old 21st January 2011
  #15
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omegaomega's Avatar
 

The V-Synth is great, but I don't know if you have the time to experiment with it...
I like the Motif range VERY MUCH. I think soundwise beats most workstations, you could get a Mo6, great sound palette, no sequencer or sampler, just great motif sounds for a very low price, if you can find one second hand they are around 500-600 euros.

As for the Kronos, well, I think you MUST get this one.
Actually you could just get this one and be over with it.

Good luck
Old 21st January 2011
  #16
Gear Addict
 
modularjack's Avatar
 

You seem like the type of guy who is capable of making his own decisions cause you know how you work and what you like. It seems like you decided on the Fantom G. But w 3500 pounds isn't that like 7 grand? Why not buy a Korg too? Roland and Korg tend to have somewhat different sound qualities that compliment each other well... Korg more so in the highs and high mids, Roland down low.
Old 21st January 2011
  #17
thanks guys thumbsup
Yeh, it's gonna work out about $7000(USD) ish. Like I said, this is a "want" rather than "need" list, but I'm thinking about the future too, hence really going to town on the choices.

I have got the time to delve and edit. I spend money on toys so infrequently, but when I spend, I buy to last. So the V-synth seems intriguing as it's a hardware synth itch that I can scratch (if you see what I mean).

At $1100, this seems like a good bet - even if I don't like it, I'll be able to move it on without too much of a loss.

Perhaps the same applies to the Fantom - at $2200, again, this seems like a good deal. Not as useful on the editing side, but perhaps as a keyboard for live use, maybe. But it would be a worthy successor to my XV5050 & XP30.

I was set on this with an M3, until the Kronos announcement..... could get one of these (which I'm very interested in) - this gives me more for my money imho.

This faltered my opinion on the M3 too.... I think a new purchase of an M3 now is a bit daft (due to the Kronos launch). A used item could be an interesting option as a replacement for my X5dr (I know they're not in the same ball park, but timbre-wise etc)

Perhaps I'm just getting cold feet over this purchase. I want to get it right, that's all.

TBH, I haven't really considered the Motif range - kinda dismissed it as a replacement/successor to my SY77 because of the lack of FM.
But I think I'll have to go and have a play with it - the store that is selling the V-Synth also has the Motif range set up. thumbsup

Thanks again

DAn
Old 22nd January 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
 

read up on the new Korg Kronos.
Korg Product Details
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