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#2264818 - 01/20/11 07:04 PM Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? (or alternate?)
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
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The Kronos 61 is the only size I would consider, the others being too heavy. But I would then want a good weighted keyboard underneath for triggering the piano sounds, as well as for the other benefits of 2 boards in general.

I was thinking that the VAX77, MIDI'd up to the Kronos, might be ideal. People here have raved about it being a great feeling board for piano, and also a good feeling board for organ (a rare feat, and helpful in this case for double-manual organ work as well); it's only *slightly* heavier than I'd like; the foldability, while not necessary for me, does keep it compact; it has a flat surface that could probably allow the Kronos to be placed over it very nicely; and... here's the clincher... you get polyphonic aftertouch. Has anyone else thought about mating a Kronos with a VAX77? I'm not all that familiar with it, and would be curious if there are some good (or bad) points I'm missing.

Some other possibilities for underneath... As I mentioned elsewhere, the Nord Stage 2 76 might be a good feeling piano and organ board, is a fun and flexible board to work with, has some very nice sounds of its own (possibly some better than Kronos equivalents, we'll see), and has the nice Sample Library.

Or, if on a budget, just something like a Yamaha P95, a light, nice feeling piano board, which actually gives you a full 88 besides. Or a Casio PX3 if you want the bottom board to still have some additional MIDI controller functionality of its own.

But I've always wanted to play with polyphonic aftertouch... the few people who use it seem to really get addicted to it!

Any other thoughts about the perfect companion for a Kronos 61?


Edited by AnotherScott (01/21/11 06:14 AM)
Edit Reason: added to subject line

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#2264826 - 01/20/11 07:33 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott


I was thinking that the VAX77, MIDI'd up to the Kronos, might be ideal.


Id say, a perfect gig rig is what you can replace or repair quickly if it fails.
Korg, Yamaha, Roland, NORD, Hammond/Suzuki & Kurzweil youll find in almost any big city or all over the world in shops to buy or for rent if your rig fails and you find authorized service centers easier.

If you have something "boutique", it fails and you have to send it to your dealer or (worst) the factory,- well, better you have two.

I think, the VAX77 is such a boutique piece of gear, even its a very interesting device.

A.C.
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#2264830 - 01/20/11 07:58 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
burningbusch Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott


But I've always wanted to play with polyphonic aftertouch... the few people who use it seem to really get addicted to it!



Problem is you have to have a synth on the other end that responds to polyphonic aftertouch and I'm quite certain the Kronos does not. Even with soft synths it's rare. Spectrasonics just announced it for Omnisphere.

Busch.

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#2264838 - 01/20/11 08:23 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: burningbusch]
Marzzz Offline
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Originally Posted By: burningbusch
Originally Posted By: AnotherScott


But I've always wanted to play with polyphonic aftertouch... the few people who use it seem to really get addicted to it!



Problem is you have to have a synth on the other end that responds to polyphonic aftertouch and I'm quite certain the Kronos does not. Even with soft synths it's rare. Spectrasonics just announced it for Omnisphere.

Busch.


Not exactly rare (Logic ES2, Zebra2, Alchemy, CS-80V, Omnisphere 1.5, ImpOSC2ar), but certainly uncommon. That seems to be changing though.

As far as a perfect gig rig, I could make do with a VAX77 and MacBook Pro/Mainstage.

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#2264839 - 01/20/11 08:23 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: burningbusch]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: burningbusch
Problem is you have to have a synth on the other end that responds to polyphonic aftertouch and I'm quite certain the Kronos does not.

According to what I've seen on the web, and my understanding of a slightly cryptic MIDI implementation chart, the OASYS does support polyphonic aftertouch, though its own keyboard does not generate it. So it would seem likely, I think, that the Kronos will as well... but you're right, we don't know for sure.

There's an interesting thread here...
http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2219626/

I don't think I formatted the link quite right, but scroll down to #2219626 -- interesting post quote there about the OASYS having polyphonic LFOs that can be independently triggered via velocity, in its Mod-7 engine. Very cool. I assume/hope that's in the Kronos as well.

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#2264842 - 01/20/11 08:32 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Al Coda]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Al Coda
Id say, a perfect gig rig is what you can replace or repair quickly if it fails.
...
If you have something "boutique", it fails and you have to send it to your dealer or (worst) the factory,- well, better you have two.

That's a fair point. However, I do have other boards around. If I had to be without it for a while, I'd still be able to gig with some other, if less ideal bottom board until I got it back. I could live without poly-AT for a while I'm sure!

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#2264843 - 01/20/11 08:37 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
Marzzz Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Originally Posted By: Al Coda
Id say, a perfect gig rig is what you can replace or repair quickly if it fails.
...
If you have something "boutique", it fails and you have to send it to your dealer or (worst) the factory,- well, better you have two.

That's a fair point. However, I do have other boards around. If I had to be without it for a while, I'd still be able to gig with some other, if less ideal bottom board until I got it back. I could live without poly-AT for a while I'm sure!

In further defense of the VAX77, it was built by engineers with a passion for music (and in consultation with a famous musician with a passion for engineering) and has exactly 3 moving parts- all of its sensors are non-mechanical and will not be prone to wear or breakage. They designed it specifically to handle the rigors of touring. I dare say it will hold up very well.....

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#2264864 - 01/20/11 10:45 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
Geoff Grace Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
People here have raved about it being a great feeling board for piano, and also a good feeling board for organ (a rare feat, and helpful in this case for double-manual organ work as well

This is definitely a try before you buy aspect. For my personal taste, the action is too light for piano.

Of course in all fairness, I doubt it's possible to design an action that pleases all people for all types of playing.

Best,

Geoff
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#2264870 - 01/20/11 11:15 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Geoff Grace]
MAJUSCULE Offline
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Originally Posted By: Geoff Grace
Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
People here have raved about it being a great feeling board for piano, and also a good feeling board for organ (a rare feat, and helpful in this case for double-manual organ work as well

This is definitely a try before you buy aspect. For my personal taste, the action is too light for piano.

Of course in all fairness, I doubt it's possible to design an action that pleases all people for all types of playing.

Best,

Geoff


Infinite Response offers a 14 day money-back guarantee and two choices of action, Standard and Heavy. Of course, YMM(still)V. But at least they're trying to satisfy their customer base, as the vast majority of customers won't have a chance to demo it before buying.
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#2264874 - 01/20/11 11:41 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: MAJUSCULE]
Analogaddict Offline
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if you're considering a weighted controller with no sounds, I'd say get a cheap one. If you have all your sounds/splits in - for instance - a Kronos 61, you could use any available backline 88-note controller and only have to carry the sound generating synth. That's how I'm planning my new rig - I'll use my PC3 as midi central along with my rack and a weighted 88. I'll probably get 2x Fatar SL-990 since they're cheap and easily replaceable and feel pretty good to me. When I'm travelling, I can leave the weighted keys @ home... The VAX is VERY tempting, but the PC3 os 2.0 is such a powerful midi processor that I couldn't justify a VAX right now.

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#2264876 - 01/21/11 12:00 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: MAJUSCULE]
Geoff Grace Offline
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Originally Posted By: MAJUSCULE
Infinite Response offers a 14 day money-back guarantee and two choices of action, Standard and Heavy. Of course, YMM(still)V. But at least they're trying to satisfy their customer base, as the vast majority of customers won't have a chance to demo it before buying.

That's great, and I wish them the best of luck. Their product is certainly innovative, and the new MainStage integration is an added plus. They seemed like nice guys when I talked to them on Sunday at NAMM.

BTW, my understanding is that they've stopped making the lighter action because the heavier one was outselling it 20 to 1. There are still lighter action models; but when they're gone, they're gone. You may want to double-check this, but I'm pretty sure I heard correctly.

FWIW, it was the heavier action that I found too light for my liking. But of course, YMMV.

Best,

Geoff
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#2264913 - 01/21/11 06:13 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Analogaddict]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Analogaddict
if you're considering a weighted controller with no sounds, I'd say get a cheap one. If you have all your sounds/splits in - for instance - a Kronos 61, you could use any available backline 88-note controller

Compared to using a cheap 88, the biggest appeal to me of the VAX77 is the polyphonic aftertouch. There's little-to-nothing to choose from for that feature, new or "used-but-reliable", especially at 37 pounds, which honestly, is still heavy for my taste. Though the funny thing is, I've never even played a poly-AT board, so it's appeal to me is completely theoretical. It's possible I could try it and not care about it!

The second biggest appeal is that it might be a board that feels good for piano *and* for organ, according to what some people here say, and that would be a nice benefit, adding something to the Kronos 61 that feels good both for triggering its piano as well as when functioning as the "lower manual" of the organ. But of course, keyboard touch is a personal thing, as again attested to by Geoff's comments.

The Nord Stage 2 might give me the second of those two benefits, but not the first, and at higher cost. But it adds the appeal of its own strong sounds (including its downloadable Sound Library) and the nearly modeless immediacy of its knob-and-button interface. As for action, again, there is personal taste... some people don't like the Nord action for piano, even though it is weighted. So far, I've only had the chance to play it briefly, but it did strike me as the first board I'd played that might actually work for piano and organ.

But both would be "luxury" choices, and my view is being colored by having a very good month at the moment! The more "sensible" choice, avoiding the law of diminishing returns, would be, as you say, a cheap 88. I already have two nice Casio 88s that would be fine, albeit not so good for organ. I have an older one, which I really like the action of (and has, to my ears and fingers, a killer EP), and a PX3, which isn't quite as nice in the action department, but does have some strong MIDI controller functions which, as long as I have them, could come in handy. Either of these, besides being much cheaper alternatives (actually "free" since I already have them), also actually have advantages over a VAX77 in being a full 88 keys and much lighter weight.

I'm also not yet convinced that I won't want to still integrate an external sound module or two into the rig, from my current inventory. Despite all the Kronos' features, I'm not ready to assume that all its sounds meet or exceed what I already have. Plus you do get used to having certain sounds. So, not being able to really play/hear a Kronos yet, I'm going into this exercise from the perspective of, at a minimum, the Kronos 61 is a lighter weight CX3 organ (which I like), with a cool Set List function, which--even if some of its other sounds don't thrill me--would make a nice controller for my other stuff. If I'm lucky, it might replace other stuff too, but it's too early to tell.

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#2264917 - 01/21/11 06:30 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Al Coda]
richwhite9 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Al Coda

Id say, a perfect gig rig is what you can replace or repair quickly if it fails.
Korg, Yamaha, Roland, NORD, Hammond/Suzuki & Kurzweil youll find in almost any big city or all over the world in shops to buy or for rent if your rig fails and you find authorized service centers easier.
A.C.


Ask a backline company for a VAX-77

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#2264919 - 01/21/11 06:31 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
Toano88 Offline
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AnotherScott,
I was thinking along the same lines. The PX-3 is a decent controller, available almost anywhere. I saw one in "Best Buy".
And I rather like the action. My SP4-7 would be a nice bottom board. But since the Kronos is way out of the range I could sensibly justify, not gonna happen here! The price represents a year of gigging at the cheap venues I play! Besides, I'm currently very happy with what I have. Thinking about getting a GAIA or SuperNova though laugh
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#2264921 - 01/21/11 06:42 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
Marzzz Offline
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Aside from the wonderful PolyAT implementation, the VAX77 also supports MIDI CC#88 High Resolution Velocity (16,000+ steps instead of 128), and just this week Modartt implemented this in Pianoteq- I have just installed the update but haven't had a chance to play it extensively- but I can't imagine it wouldn't completely wonderful to have that much resolution. Previously, I had posted this regarding the VAX77 on the Pianoteq forum:

Quote:
The keys are textured, and feel expensive- more like ivory than plastic. They are weighted, though lighter (I have the Heavy version) than a real piano. The action is still pretty firm, but there is no escapement bump. However when playing Pianoteq, your brain automatically adjusts to the slightly different feel, and you can play very expressively- I am very happy with the piano feel, though if it were just a bit heavier it would be perfect. The action is very fast- I can play things like the intro to Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man" without any problems. If someone were looking for a perfect piano controller, they would be better off with a dedicated 88 key instrument that tries to exactly duplicate a piano action. The VAX77 has the advantage of being smaller and lighter, and can also be used effectively for synth/organ.

Personally, I wouldn't be satisfied with a "cheap" 88 key controller- this is my interface with my equipment, and I want it to be good as possible. I had a Kurzweil MIDIBoard for over a decade, and don't miss it. Also, there is a really cool feature on the VAX77 of being able to jump an octave at the touch of a pedal- so you can quickly grab that top octave if you need it. Works very well with a minimum of practice.

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#2264930 - 01/21/11 07:11 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: richwhite9]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: richwhite9


Ask a backline company for a VAX-77


If Id do that here in germany,- theyll ask me "whats that ?".

If VAX77 will establish in europe, offering authorized service locally,- Im in.

A.C.
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#2264935 - 01/21/11 07:20 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Marzzz]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Marzzz
Personally, I wouldn't be satisfied with a "cheap" 88 key controller- this is my interface with my equipment, and I want it to be good as possible.

The variable there is that "cheap" doesn't necessarily mean that it's not "good." If I'm looking just for a weighted action that I really enjoy for piano playing, to my fingers (and I know this is personal taste), I haven't found anything I like better than my older Casio or the similar feeling Yamaha P-95. I should qualify that by saying that I won't even *consider* anything that weighs 40+ pounds, so that reduces the pool a bit. Nevertheless, I really have no complaints about the feel of those boards. (Apart from the fact that they are entirely unsuitable for my organ playing, but that's a given, and I'd always bring a second board--also lightweight--for that.)

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#2265004 - 01/21/11 10:23 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Marzzz]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Marzzz
you can play very expressively- I am very happy with the piano feel, though if it were just a bit heavier it would be perfect. The action is very fast- I can play things like the intro to Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man" without any problems. If someone were looking for a perfect piano controller, they would be better off with a dedicated 88 key instrument that tries to exactly duplicate a piano action. The VAX77 has the advantage of being smaller and lighter, and can also be used effectively for synth/organ.

I am wondering whether you've ever tried the action on a Nord Stage 76 or 88 (not the 73). As I mentioned, though I didn't have much time on it, that's the only board I found that I thought might be acceptable for piano and organ (I haven't played a VAX77). I'd be curious to hear from someone who has played both of these, the VAX and the Nord, and get some feedback about how they compare both as piano boards and as organ boards.

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#2265022 - 01/21/11 11:21 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
burningbusch Offline
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I stand corrected on poly-aftertouch on the OASYS. As I read it it clearly does support it and as it's one of the standard controllers supported, it seems that you could use it just about anywhere, though it's going to make more sense some places and not others.

Busch.

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#2265065 - 01/21/11 01:17 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Al Coda]
Marzzz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Al Coda
Originally Posted By: richwhite9


Ask a backline company for a VAX-77


If Id do that here in germany,- theyll ask me "whats that ?".

If VAX77 will establish in europe, offering authorized service locally,- Im in.

A.C.


Actually, when I spoke to Van and Glenn Chandler at NAMM, they told me the VAX77 is selling extremely well in Europe, and they were quite surprised about that- even better than in the USA. They are now working on getting regional distributers, including Europe, so that they can get some VAXen into stores.

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#2265075 - 01/21/11 01:33 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Marzzz]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: Marzzz

Actually, when I spoke to Van and Glenn Chandler at NAMM, they told me the VAX77 is selling extremely well in Europe, and they were quite surprised about that- even better than in the USA. They are now working on getting regional distributers, including Europe, so that they can get some VAXen into stores.


I was in contact w/ Glenn Chandler when it came out, since then Im waiting.
If they sell well in europe these may be direct sales.
Not any dealer in germany has it listed up to now.
Maybe the situation will be better after Frankfurt Musikmesse,- I hope so !
Next question will be the price if there are distributors and local dealers in between.
They price may rise up to EUR 5.000 then, similar to Receptors and Open Labs Nekos which are/were extremely expensive here.

Best buy would be in the US for dollars + shipping, paying the VAT and customs here and have a service here for the emergency case.
I trust your former statement its well built and I have rarely gear to service except its vintage and needs some refurbishing.
I also treat my gear w/ care if I can, but I have seen what roadies and stagehands did to my gear while I was riding on a bus or was in a hotel room. Aaaarghhh !!!

A.C.
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#2273373 - 02/13/11 08:23 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Al Coda]
AnotherScott Offline
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I just picked up a used Roland A50... really just because I wanted to try playing with polyphonic aftertouch. If I do like it, it will be a whole lot less expensive than a new VAX77, and weighs about 10 pounds less... but I suspect it is a poor action for piano. Does anyone have any experience with it? I guess I'll know soon enough...

I still won't get any Kronos except the 61 because of the weight.

So here's an odd scenario: If I really like the poly AT, I may end up wanting to set up, the Kronos 61 with a combination of the A50 and my Casio 88. Compared to the VAX77, I'd be splitting the Poly AT and piano-suitable action into two separate units. But I'd have my poly AT, plus a full 88 keys for piano, and nothing over 28 pounds, and at significant cost savings. Though how many of my gigs I'd actually bring all three to would remain to be seen...

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#2273379 - 02/13/11 08:29 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
Sven Golly Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
I just picked up a used Roland A50... really just because I wanted to try playing with polyphonic aftertouch.


FYI, Scott, some early A-50s had a problem with AT sensitivity; some folks found they almost had to stand on the keys to trigger AT. It's a (relatively) simple fix, swapping out a single resistor, if memory serves, so if you do find that AT is tough to coax out of it, don't give up. smile
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#2273401 - 02/13/11 09:51 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Sven Golly]
Marzzz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Sven Golly
Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
I just picked up a used Roland A50... really just because I wanted to try playing with polyphonic aftertouch.


FYI, Scott, some early A-50s had a problem with AT sensitivity; some folks found they almost had to stand on the keys to trigger AT. It's a (relatively) simple fix, swapping out a single resistor, if memory serves, so if you do find that AT is tough to coax out of it, don't give up. smile

Both the A-50 and the A-80 (which I owned for nearly a decade) had a relatively awful polyAT implementation- you needed hands of steel to activate it, and the endpoint was very solid (in a bad way)- it was like pressing your fingers into concrete. The resistor fix helped somewhat (the Roland approved mod used a specific resistor, but many people put in a finely adjusted variable resistor), but it was still extremely difficult to play.

A nice, cheap keyboard with very good PolyAT is the GeneralMusic S2 or S3; They are solidly built controllers with a decent keyboard and multiple sliders, and they also sound pretty good. The only downside is you have to load the settings on a 3.5" floppy disc so that it loads on startup, otherwise you have to menu-dive to turn on the PolyAT each time.

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#2273432 - 02/13/11 11:22 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Marzzz]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Marzzz
A nice, cheap keyboard with very good PolyAT is the GeneralMusic S2 or S3;

Thanks for the info... I've already bought the Roland so hopefully I'll like it! The S2 and S3 do look really cool, though heavy at a bit over 40 lbs for the 73 key (35 lbs for 61), so that's another reason to hope the Roland works out...


Edited by AnotherScott (02/13/11 11:24 AM)

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#2273439 - 02/13/11 11:47 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: AnotherScott]
burningbusch Offline
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Marazz, what are the dimensions of the VAX77 when set up? I can't seem to find that info anywhere.

Busch.

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#2273561 - 02/13/11 07:12 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: burningbusch]
Jazzed Offline
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Originally Posted By: burningbusch
Marazz, what are the dimensions of the VAX77 when set up? I can't seem to find that info anywhere.

Busch.


Only place I've seen it mentioned is this post from Inifinite Response's forum, which says it's 47" long, 15.5" wide, and 3.5" tall (119 by 40 by 9 for those of us who find metric easier to visualize).

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#2273720 - 02/14/11 10:32 AM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Jazzed]
AnotherScott Offline
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There's a thread on korgforums where some people were just talking about a side benefit of at least some polyphonic aftertouch implementations... they can also provide more realistic velocity sensing.

http://www.korgforums.com/forum/phpBB2/v...sc&start=66

see the comments by Kayemef and danatkorg and Randelph

There's also some interesting stuff about poly AT at

http://www.midi.org/cgi-local/forum/forum.pl?m-1207748998/s-all/

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#2275860 - 02/21/11 03:34 PM Re: Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77? [Re: Marzzz]
AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: Marzzz
Originally Posted By: burningbusch
Originally Posted By: AnotherScott


But I've always wanted to play with polyphonic aftertouch... the few people who use it seem to really get addicted to it!



Problem is you have to have a synth on the other end that responds to polyphonic aftertouch and I'm quite certain the Kronos does not. Even with soft synths it's rare. Spectrasonics just announced it for Omnisphere.

Busch.


Not exactly rare (Logic ES2, Zebra2, Alchemy, CS-80V, Omnisphere 1.5, ImpOSC2ar), but certainly uncommon. That seems to be changing though.


Maybe I've just lucked out, but support for polyphonic aftertouch doesn't seem to be quite that rare in actual hardware either. In anticipation of my Roland A50 (and knowing that I'll have no Kronos to possibly mate it with for some months yet), I checked into what I might have that might support polyphonic aftertouch. As it happens, my Yamaha Motif Rack XS, Roland SonicCell, and Korg Microstation (of all things!) all support polyphonic aftertouch! Unfortunately, my Kurzweil and Nord boards don't, but that's not a bad success rate.

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