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new Vox Continental - Some thoughts #2887531 10/28/17 11:54 AM
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teashea Offline OP
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New Vox Continental. Some thoughts.
This is a an unusual instrument. While Korg/Vox markets this as a Vox Continental, that is misleading. True, it does have an excellent Vox Continental sound, but that is a small part of what it does. This is a multi dimensional stage keyboard that is focused on a very specific target market. I don't think that is is going to appeal to the mainstream market, but to rather to a certain narrow group.
First, the build quality. Excellent. It is solid and well constructed. The knobs and switches have a good feel, with no wobble. I personally don't like hard plastic knobs so I replaced mine with Chroma Cap knobs (as I have done with dozen of my synths). I also removed the chrome "Vox" logo and the "British" logo. I think they put these on to add to the retro look, which is not quite my cup of tea. Other than that the aesthetics are something that I like very much. By the way the color is red, with some orange in it. It is not the orange color that it appears to be under the lighting of some of the videos and photos.
There are four main sound sections, two of which can be layered or split. Organ, Piano, Electric Piano and Key/Layer. There are four buttons that are used to turn these on and off. Very simple and very clear.
Each of the four main sound sections has a selection of instruments. For example, the organ sound section has three instruments - Vox (of course), CX3 (B3 family) and Compact (Farfisa). For each instrument you can select any of several variations. This is done by simply pushing a button to select the main sound section, another button to select the instrument and turning a dial to select the variation of the instrument. It is very easy and fast to use.
Layering requires nothing more than pushing the two main sound section buttons that you want. Selecting a split is done by pushing a button. Simple. Each of the four main sound sections has a separate volume knob so you can adjust the relative balance between sections.
There is also an effects section that is easy to use. There are insert effects and master effects. The layout is thoughtful and clear. There is also a 9 band equalizer.
Instead of drawbars there is a section of led touch sensors. These control the organ section instruments, as you would expect. They can also be used to control the nine band EQ and the Key/Layer sound parameters. I had never used led touch sensors before. They are quite easy to use and they do have the advantage of always showing the position of what is actually being played. Of course, they don't have the tactile feel of drawbars.
There is also a Leslie simulation, which Is good but not a Vent. There is no need for a half moon switch because the Leslie simulation is controlled by a bend lever (which also controls tremelo and pitch).
The sounds across the spectrum are clean and rich. These are Korg sounds, so you know if you like them or not. In fact the basic innerds are from the Korg Grandstage.
There is also a drive which uses a Nutube vacuum tube. Nicer than a digital drive.
I will add some more specific comments on specific issues. Overall I really like it but it is only going to appeal, I think, to a specific group of players. It does not have the deep adjustments that other clones have. In fact it does not have a screen - Just some led readouts to show the selection numbers for the instrument variations. No menu diving here.


Thomas Shea
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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: teashea] #2887537 10/28/17 12:12 PM
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When you layer, can you set key range for a split?
Is there any way to do a split?
Can you transpose, by octave in particular?


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2887542 10/28/17 01:07 PM
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Apart from a couple of minor details, sounds like the precise description of a Nord Electro.

Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Spider76] #2887548 10/28/17 02:12 PM
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AnotherScott Offline
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Originally Posted By: ElmerJFudd
When you layer, can you set key range for a split?
Is there any way to do a split?
Can you transpose, by octave in particular?

From the manual, it looks like the only split available is for upper and lower organ drawbar settings.


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: AnotherScott] #2887555 10/28/17 04:25 PM
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I have to take a closer look.
So it can take lower manual midi in from a stage piano or controller?
But I I'm guessing not pedals right... or maybe so?


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: ElmerJFudd] #2887560 10/28/17 05:23 PM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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Thanks for such a helpful review. I can't believe I spaced on this while at GC yesterday -- I didn't visit the keyboard room, thinking there was nothing new. I'll check their website to see if it shows up as in stock. Your review has bumped my interest in this model.


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: teashea] #2887810 10/30/17 07:16 PM
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VOX Continental Performance Keyboard 61-Key | Reverb Demo Video



A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: davedoerfler] #2895030 12/11/17 01:55 AM
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Adan Offline
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I've had my Vox Continental for a couple days so I'll add my thoughts. Actually my thoughts are pretty much the same as Teashea's. This is a gem of a keyboard, but it's a niche board, not likely to appeal to a wide market. It's a high quality, great sounding piece of gear, but it's one you have to accept on it's own terms because it's not going to do your laundry for you.

I'm not even sure what niche it appeals to. It's got great Vox and Farfisa emulations, but are there really many players who want a board focused on that? The B3/Leslie sounds are excellent, but it lacks the adjustability of most clones. The piano and epiano sounds are Korg's best, meaning they are outstanding, but it's a waterfall keyboard, and you can't split different sounds, only high and low organ registers, so who will buy it for the piano sounds? There are some really nice synth sounds but you're rather limited in what you can do with them.

I feel certain the Continental is going to work for me, but its hard to see it catching on with legions of players. It's more likely to inspire a devoted cult than a broad fandom.

But let me talk about the good stuff, starting with the keyboard. It's a wonderful waterfall keybed, very light action with a buttery feel. I like it much better than the Electro. Pianos are very playable on it, helped by the adjustable velocity curves and the dynamics knob. The control surface is not tremendously deep in flexibility, but is very well designed for stage use. The tube is great for adding warmth and some grit. My memory of the SV1 tube is that it can get extreme very quickly but was not as good for just adding some warmth (maybe Korg has tweaked it since I owned an SV1?). The nutube in the Continental is kind of the inverse of that: subtle and warm, but not really able to achieve an in-your-face screech, at least not that I've found.

And then there is the stand, which for the time being at least is sold as a package with the keyboard. It's a wonderful stand, well engineered, but not super easy to fold up and transport. Maybe if there was a dedicated gig bag for it, it would be easier, but there is not. And it can't hold another keyboard, so unless the Continental is your only board (which is unlikely since it doesn't split), you'll have two stands. I'm curious though whether the Continental can be stacked into the Grandstage stand, that would start to make a bit more sense.

Despite its shortcomings, I'm pretty excited to have this board. The Electro has some big advantages in be splittable and more flexible. But the Continental has a vibe and personality all its own. I don't think Korg is going to sell a ton of them, but I think lots of folks who buy them will be happy with it.


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2895031 12/11/17 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted By: Adan
I've had my Vox Continental for a couple days so I'll add my thoughts.


nice review, Adan. Thanks for posting. thu


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: davedoerfler] #2895035 12/11/17 02:37 AM
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Mark Schmieder Offline
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Adan, great review. Do you know if the keybed is Fatar or home-grown? I know Korg has at times done their own keybeds. Is it the same as what was on the CX-3 towards the end, or did you ever try that one?


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2895045 12/11/17 08:48 AM
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Nice review, Adan.

Originally Posted By: Adan
The B3/Leslie sounds are excellent, but it lacks the adjustability of most clones.

I'm not sure adjustability is such a big deal in the broader market. It has often been said that many players never change the factory presets on their boards, and I would not be surprised if most clone-players never tweak the more deeply tweakable settings many of them have. And of course, a real tonewheel organ doesn't have so much typical end-usr adjustability either.

Originally Posted By: Adan
The tube is great for adding warmth and some grit. My memory of the SV1 tube is that it can get extreme very quickly but was not as good for just adding some warmth (maybe Korg has tweaked it since I owned an SV1?). The nutube in the Continental is kind of the inverse of that: subtle and warm, but not really able to achieve an in-your-face screech, at least not that I've found.

That's probably a good thing, in that the SV1 tube was probably most useful in the low end of its range (and finer amounts of gradation there could have been helpful). I'd be curious to know how these EPs compare with SV1, and also how much of an improvement the tube can offer to the CX3 engine.

Originally Posted By: Adan
unless the Continental is your only board (which is unlikely since it doesn't split)

I wonder again about how relevant that is in the broader market. Korg seems to have sold a lot of non-splittable SV1s, and Nord sold a lot of Electro 2/3/4, I'm curious what percentage of them are gigged by themselves vs. as part of multi-board rigs. I've definitely seen people gig with just an SV1 or just an Electro.

Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
Do you know if the keybed is Fatar or home-grown? I know Korg has at times done their own keybeds. Is it the same as what was on the CX-3 towards the end, or did you ever try that one?

FYI, my understanding is that the last CX3 was a Fatar TP-8O. (I actually preferred the earlier lipped version.)


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: AnotherScott] #2895065 12/11/17 11:40 AM
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teashea Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Nice review, Adan.

Originally Posted By: Adan
The B3/Leslie sounds are excellent, but it lacks the adjustability of most clones.

I'm not sure adjustability is such a big deal in the broader market. It has often been said that many players never change the factory presets on their boards, and I would not be surprised if most clone-players never tweak the more deeply tweakable settings many of them have. And of course, a real tonewheel organ doesn't have so much typical end-usr adjustability either.

Originally Posted By: Adan
The tube is great for adding warmth and some grit. My memory of the SV1 tube is that it can get extreme very quickly but was not as good for just adding some warmth (maybe Korg has tweaked it since I owned an SV1?). The nutube in the Continental is kind of the inverse of that: subtle and warm, but not really able to achieve an in-your-face screech, at least not that I've found.

That's probably a good thing, in that the SV1 tube was probably most useful in the low end of its range (and finer amounts of gradation there could have been helpful). I'd be curious to know how these EPs compare with SV1, and also how much of an improvement the tube can offer to the CX3 engine.

Originally Posted By: Adan
unless the Continental is your only board (which is unlikely since it doesn't split)

I wonder again about how relevant that is in the broader market. Korg seems to have sold a lot of non-splittable SV1s, and Nord sold a lot of Electro 2/3/4, I'm curious what percentage of them are gigged by themselves vs. as part of multi-board rigs. I've definitely seen people gig with just an SV1 or just an Electro.

Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
Do you know if the keybed is Fatar or home-grown? I know Korg has at times done their own keybeds. Is it the same as what was on the CX-3 towards the end, or did you ever try that one?

FYI, my understanding is that the last CX3 was a Fatar TP-8O. (I actually preferred the earlier lipped version.)


I agree with you. I don't see it becoming broadly popular. For certain players, including me, it is delightful. I continue to really like mine. And it has been flawless.


Thomas Shea
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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: teashea] #2895080 12/11/17 12:15 PM
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I had a CX-3 many years ago, when they first came out. The action on the Continental is not that action. I thought I saw some advertising language suggesting it was Korg's action, but I could be wrong. In any case, it's an interesting combination of keys that have the dimensions of piano keys (longer and slightly narrower black keys as compared to a B3), but with waterfall fronts. Again, I think the action is a major selling point.

So is the tube. Imo, it works extremely well with both organ and ep's, or anything really. Very adjustable in the lower range of intensity where you are just adding warmth and character.

I'm one of those players who uses a lot of B3 but doesn't change register much. I like 8888 and just leave it there most of the time. But I'm a piano player first, organ player second (maybe 3rd). I have a hard time imagining a serious B3 player comparing the Continental to a Mojo and getting the Korg.


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2895164 12/11/17 05:00 PM
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I think the Connie is the same action as the Kronos LS. SW calls the Connie action LS in their marketing info. I played the Kronos LS at NAMM and very briefly played the Connie (it was still listed as "don't touch") and thought them to be the same. Different key caps, that's all.

And I assume this is a Korg action.

Busch.

Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: burningbusch] #2895182 12/11/17 06:39 PM
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Thanks for the nice reviews. thu

How adjustable is the height of the Korg Stand? Does it allow someone to play the Continental in a standing position?

Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Tusker] #2895199 12/11/17 07:04 PM
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It's sounding more and more that this keyboard, like the SV-1, is designed primarily with "players" in mind, and not necessarily those that gig a lot.

I would say that 90% of the musicians I know rarely if ever gig, and most of them are WAY better than I am because they didn't drop out of music conservatory in favour of math and science as I did, and many did spend at least a number of years in top orchestras.

Even amongst the non-classical players, I know more who don't gig than those who do. They want a simple setup with good feel and sounds, and a good stand that is also easy to transport if they go to a friend's house for a jam or rehearsal.

As for studio work, those needs are more often than not met by software these days, but a good keybed feel is critical, and that's why I will always own a Hammond clonewheel (even if I upgrade now and then) even if someone tells me I have to check out the latest software emulation.

Exactly for that same reason, the keybed ergonomics of this Continental may well be a selling point for me, as I do not currently own an appropriate keybed for NEW parts -- I mostly am refining OLD parts and layering new parts atop them via clever tricks, HEAVY manipulation of MIDI, or CC's and other refinement of parts entered from the Minimoog Voyager.

Years ago, I babysat someone's Hohner Clavinet for a year, and despite all of its quirks and mechanical problems, it felt like an INSTRUMENT to me, which most MIDI controllers do not.

I hope one of our local GC's gets one of these in at some point. Otherwise, I'll have to check out Adan's gig schedule and see if I can make it to one of them. :-)


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2895233 12/11/17 09:55 PM
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I believe the Vox Continental stand will allow for standing up playing, but that's just my eyeball assessment, I haven't tried it yet. I will do so soon and post here again.

I can tell you that if you set up the stand and keyboard in your living room, your 20-month old daughter will try her best to climb up on it, and that if she succeeds, you will be glad that the keyboard attaches to the stand with screws so that she cannot send it crashing.

Mark, Bananas at large in San Rafael has a Vox Continental on display. I actually didn't know this before ordering mine. You'd also be welcome to come to my house in Larkspur and try it.


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2895280 12/12/17 02:04 AM
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Adan, thanks for the info -- I used to go to Bananas monthly when I worked down the street at Autodesk. Now I go roughly once every two years. :-) Great store, but I rarely can sacrifice half of a Saturday to go.

Didn't remember you had moved from SF to Larskspur. Thanks for the offer. I'm having trouble figuring my priorities at the moment, due to complications in maintaining a proper quorum for the gigs I get offered. So I'm debating whether to get back into keyboard playing so I can do it myself. :-) Haven't had a full-sized keyboard since selling that Kurzweil I bought from you, to Phil Lesh to use at his club in San Rafael.

Last edited by Mark Schmieder; 12/12/17 02:05 AM.

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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Mark Schmieder] #2909689 02/14/18 10:18 PM
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Just set up a new Vox Continental in my office and started my Sweetwater 30-day timer. Will try to answer any left-over questions I see in this thread; if you have some of your own, please post here.

It's a very interesting hybrid keybed; not a Fatar TP/8O. It *looks* like piano keys with the little 45-degree corner knockoffs, not square-smoothed organ waterfall. The keys *do* have a lip, but it's no thicker than a sheet of paper; you can barely catch it with your fingernail. But it does cast a slight shadow which gives the illusion of a full piano-key lip when you look at. Obviously intentional, and quite subtly clever if Korg was trying to make pianists a little more comfortable. Semi-weighted, but felted underneath so it doesn't clack badly, and not too stiffly sprung. Different than anything I've ever played, but so far I kinda like it.

More to come...


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Brad Kaenel] #2909702 02/14/18 11:25 PM
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I was in GC today, just messing around, playing the Vox and the Electro that were next to each other. The Vox keys feel a bit longer, the black keys a bit more rounded at the top, relative to the Electro. The Electro keys work better for organ licks, and for that I don't mind as much how tightly sprung they are. For piano or epiano, the Vox keys feel better. No surprise there, it's clear these are the Kronos all-purpose keys, not keys designed for organ specifically.

It's interesting that, having had my Vox for awhile, I really gravitate towards playing the epianos on it. The feel of the keys and the finger to sound connection works really well for that.


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2909849 02/15/18 02:13 PM
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I think the answer is "no", but just to confirm - can you play the Vox (lets say "strings") while playing another sound (EP) using external keyboard at the same time?

Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: gg22] #2909854 02/15/18 02:21 PM
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No, you can't. Can't split either. Can only layer.


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2909859 02/15/18 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted By: Adan
[the stand...] can't hold another keyboard, so unless the Continental is your only board...you'll have two stands. I'm curious though whether the Continental can be stacked into the Grandstage stand, that would start to make a bit more sense.


I see this quite differently. The stand is the same one available for the GrandStage, and is way more robust and than it needs to be to support the 18-lb VC. The crossbar assembly you get is designed specifically to fit the VC (specific holes for the feet and mounting screws), but the corresponding GrandStage crossbar could also be attached -- the vertical poles are tall enough to accommodate at least to two platforms. So you could easily stack both the GS and the VC on this stand. And if a "generic" crossbar assembly was offered, other keyboards could be used as well.

In fact, it looks like a generic version of the stand is already available: Sequenz Standard M-SV stand
Though I'm not sure who "Sequenz" is, nor why it's more expensive than the Korg version: Korg Standard M-SV stand

I agree it's a little fiddly to fold up and transport because of its unusual shape and design; a custom bag would be welcome. thu

Also, the expression pedal you get with the VC is no cheapie. It's a Korg XVP-20 (re-branded as VOX V861). Dual IN/OUT jacks for controlling volume, a trim knob, and the expression jack. Steel construction, and just as robust as an FC-7, if just a skosh narrower.

Kudos to Korg for providing $400 worth of quality accessories with the VC. Though I'm sure many of us would still welcome an option to purchase the board sans-extras, at a lower price.

Last edited by Brad Kaenel; 02/15/18 04:21 PM. Reason: correction on pedal model

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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2909860 02/15/18 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted By: Adan
these are the Kronos all-purpose keys, not keys designed for organ specifically.


Ah, I didn't know that. So this is the same keybed used in the semi-weighted versions of the Kronos? I haven't touched a Korg board since the Tritons disappeared...


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Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2909861 02/15/18 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: Adan
I was in GC today, just messing around, playing the Vox and the Electro that were next to each other. The Vox keys feel a bit longer, the black keys a bit more rounded at the top, relative to the Electro. The Electro keys work better for organ licks, and for that I don't mind as much how tightly sprung they are. For piano or epiano, the Vox keys feel better. No surprise there, it's clear these are the Kronos all-purpose keys, not keys designed for organ specifically.

It's interesting that, having had my Vox for awhile, I really gravitate towards playing the epianos on it. The feel of the keys and the finger to sound connection works really well for that.


Did you turn on the high trigger point on the Vox, before doing that test?

Makes quite a difference

Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Brad Kaenel] #2909864 02/15/18 03:02 PM
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EscapeRocks Offline
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Very cool they include the pedal. If one wants to buy it separately, it is the Korg XVP-20 Not cheap.


David
Gig Rig: Casio PX-S3000 | Yamaha MODX6 |

Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: EscapeRocks] #2909874 02/15/18 03:42 PM
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Responding to some of the above:

I have both the Grandstage 73 and the Vox Conti, and both came with stands. Strangely, the cross bar is a different length for each. It's not apparent why. So you'd have to order a separate crossbar to have two the same width. Not a huge problem.

I like the stand, it's high quality kit, sturdy, and not much more trouble to set up than some other popular stands. Negatives are the larger footprint and won't work for 2 boards if you want to play standing. The footprint is the only reason I might be hesitant to gig with it, if I don't know how spacious the stage is going to be.

The Vox has a high trigger option and I did turn it on. My feeling that the Electro is better for organ licks has solely to do with the shape of the keys. The Vox is good, but I felt I had a slight advantage on the Electro. I wouldn't call this a major reason to get the Electro over the Vox -- there's many other more important variables before you get to key shape.


Crumar Mojo 61, Vintage Vibe 64, Yamaha CP73, a bunch of melodicas

roccoromanucci.com
Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2909875 02/15/18 03:49 PM
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Adan Offline
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For that matter, you could put just about any keyboard on the stand that comes with the Grandstage, it's not specific to the GS. The Vox stand on the other hand has an attachment that allows you to screw the Vox to the crossbar, which is useful if you're one of those frenzied Vox rockers who might knock it onto the floor, or if you just want to put it at a skewed angle.


Crumar Mojo 61, Vintage Vibe 64, Yamaha CP73, a bunch of melodicas

roccoromanucci.com
Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: EscapeRocks] #2909885 02/15/18 04:22 PM
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Brad Kaenel Offline
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Originally Posted By: EscapeRocks
Very cool they include the pedal. If one wants to buy it separately, it is the Korg XVP-20 Not cheap.


Thanks, ER; fixed above. thu


Forte 7, Vox Continental 73, SV-1 73, Mojo 61
Rhodes '73 Mark I Stage



Re: new Vox Continental - Some thoughts [Re: Adan] #2909887 02/15/18 04:30 PM
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Brad Kaenel Offline
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Originally Posted By: Adan
Strangely, the cross bar is a different length for each. It's not apparent why. So you'd have to order a separate crossbar to have two the same width. Not a huge problem.


Ah, here we go. Sequenz is the stand manufacturer, Korg is a distributor. You can buy the frames and tiers separately: Sequenz Keyboard Stands

Photos may be early renderings. Only the silver add-on tiers show the handle that makes them tilt-able. But the tilt assembly is backwards from the one I have, with the handle on the inside and the thumbscrew on the outside of the frame. I actually kind of like that arrangement better -- I wonder if mine can be re-assembled that way.

Adan, are yours the same? Curious...


Forte 7, Vox Continental 73, SV-1 73, Mojo 61
Rhodes '73 Mark I Stage



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