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Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
In case anyone's wondering WHY these were discontinued, I talked with a dealer earlier today who called up Viscount and happened to find out. Apparently they were too expensive, both to make and too few were sold for it to be worthwhile for Viscount to continue making them. Sad. I guess that means we might never see a successor.

Only the K4 was interesting.
K5 w/ Fatar TP100 was not.
In addition, most people hated the blue finish which their old OB12 VA synth introduced already .
I bet they sold more when it were black or oberheimish cream color.
2 MIDI In, thru, 8 MIDI Out and several USB and all the pedal connectors might have been overkill for the most.

If I were Viscount, I´d swapped 1 MIDI-In, 7 MIDI-Out and 4 pedal connectors into D-Sub connectors cutting costs,- then sell breakout-snakes.
I´d also cut 2 USB host connectors,- leaving 2 and the USB "device" connector.

The biggest mistake was the EX module connectivity.
Being the engine of the Physis Piano H models which had comfortable touch sensitive UI for programming,- the K4/5 haptics weren´t the ideal interface for the tonegenerator.
In addition, boottime of K4/5 EX models rised up to 90 seconds which were reduced a bit later, but not very much.
So, when they designed the mainboard w/o EX module connectivity, also eliminating the need to adapt firmware and software for EX module, that wuld have cut cost too.

I´d never buy a EX model.

And,- their marketing is questionable anyway.

Soundwise, the Viscount Vintage 70 seems to be improved and when choosing the 88-keys model, there´s enough frontpanel space for the "External" - MIDI module.
I´d observe how this module improves.

A.C.

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Originally Posted by Al Coda
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
In case anyone's wondering WHY these were discontinued, I talked with a dealer earlier today who called up Viscount and happened to find out. Apparently they were too expensive, both to make and too few were sold for it to be worthwhile for Viscount to continue making them. Sad. I guess that means we might never see a successor.

Only the K4 was interesting.
K5 w/ Fatar TP100 was not.
In addition, most people hated the blue finish which their old OB12 VA synth introduced already .
I bet they sold more when it were black or oberheimish cream color.
2 MIDI In, thru, 8 MIDI Out and several USB and all the pedal connectors might have been overkill for the most.

If I were Viscount, I´d swapped 1 MIDI-In, 7 MIDI-Out and 4 pedal connectors into D-Sub connectors cutting costs,- then sell breakout-snakes.
I´d also cut 2 USB host connectors,- leaving 2 and the USB "device" connector.

The biggest mistake was the EX module connectivity.
Being the engine of the Physis Piano H models which had comfortable touch sensitive UI for programming,- the K4/5 haptics weren´t the ideal interface for the tonegenerator.
In addition, boottime of K4/5 EX models rised up to 90 seconds which were reduced a bit later, but not very much.
So, when they designed the mainboard w/o EX module connectivity, also eliminating the need to adapt firmware and software for EX module, that wuld have cut cost too.

I´d never buy a EX model.

And,- their marketing is questionable anyway.

Soundwise, the Viscount Vintage 70 seems to be improved and when choosing the 88-keys model, there´s enough frontpanel space for the "External" - MIDI module.
I´d observe how this module improves.

A.C.

You know, I really like the blue look. Of course, I also like white boards (yet I don't own any lol). I mean, Nord has their whole "red keyboard" thing going and it hasn't hurt them. What I hate is a dull gray on a keyboard (i.e. Korg Triton, Motif ES, lower-end Yamaha DPs for a while). You know what I really like? The grips for moving it around!

I think the breakout idea would be less than ideal, particularly if it required a custom part that would eventually no longer be available, not unlike various audio interfaces with SPDIF/Midi pigtails. Not a fan of that for durability either. Likewise for a pedal connector. 8 midi outs is a ton though.

The EX seems to be the only version that some vendors have a few stock remaining of, so if I get one and give up on the Hammer 88 Pro I'll have to get an EX. I'm used to longer boot times from my Motif XF and Korg Krome anyways. Plus having a few sounds doesn't hurt even though this is for a rack rig. It does seem like from the EX module standpoint there isn't actually that much depth to some of it, where something like the Kronos has plenty of loading and such going on that accounts for much of the boot time (still awfully long on that one though!).

I do think that Viscount's marketing is easily half of the problem - apparently they did release some updates that improved things, but never put out any videos about it. And the videos that do exist aren't much good honestly. They couldn't even do a product demo video!

The Legend '70s seems like a neat board but it's all wrong for my needs in almost every way. I wonder what their sales figures look like for that one.


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I've wondered whether the Legend 70s sounds are the same as the sounds in the EX. It actually might be interesting to co-market the two... i.e. you could get the sounds in a dedicated retro-vibe board with direct controls for all the sounds, or you could get the same sounds in an 8-zone super flexible MIDI controller. The existence of each one could potentially support interest in (and therefore sales of) the other as well.


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Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
You know, I really like the blue look.

Matter of taste for sure.
I myself, I don´t like to have each keyboard in different color in the rig.
And stagelight designers prefer black or white/cream.
P.ex.,- flood a red keyboard w/ blue light and it looks like a turd ... grin

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
You know what I really like? The grips for moving it around!

Viscount did a lot of stuff right w/ the K4/K5 design !!!
Also it´s MIDI functionality is surpassed by Miditemp PMM 88E processor only.
This is what I still use and why I don´t urgently need a K4.

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
I think the breakout idea would be less than ideal, particularly if it required a custom part that would eventually no longer be available, not unlike various audio interfaces with SPDIF/Midi pigtails.
Not a fan of that for durability either. Likewise for a pedal connector. 8 midi outs is a ton though.

Once you´ve figured out the pinout of a breakout cable, you can always make your own.
It´s not that difficult.
The Tascam standard balanced (typically 8-channel) D-Sub>XLR/TRS snakes are very reliable and available elsewhere in the world.
For touring pros, who need all the bells & whistles, it´s easy soldering required connectors to their pedal´s cables and make MIDI cables w/ 5-PIN DIN on one end and XLR connector on the other.

B.t.w., they cold also cut the 3rd wheel, because w/ enough pedals on the floor you don´t need.
Playing large rigs requires hands on the keysn and not on the wheels most of the time.

Anyway,- I only wrote because they said manufacturing the K4 was too expensive and they didn´t sell enough.

Users not owning many hardware modules but rackmount computer or laptop instead, they don´t need that much physical MIDI I/Os when there are 2 USB host connectors in addition.
The USB duplicates physical MIDI anyway in most cases.
And when there are 2 physical MIDI-In, Thru and Out, that´s still enough for the most.
The more or less rare "others" cann liove w/ the D-Sub / snake solution for sure.
It´s all about the MIDI software functionality this keyboard offers.

In fact, they could also make an ext. MIDI processor box w/ that technology and were actually unique because the Miditemp gear is discontinued since a long time.
Connecting your prefered keyboard actions to such toy would bethe best IMO.
I hope they do !


Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
The EX seems to be the only version that some vendors have a few stock remaining of, ...

True.
And when these aren´t supported anymore, what´s then ?
For how long do you expect to get replacement parts from Viscount ?

smile

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The keyboard is similar in look and functionality as my Gem Equinox. The Equinox has 2 MIDI In, 2 MIDI Out, 2 MIDI Thru. Also supports MIDI Merge, so no MidiSolution Merge box is necessary, instead take the MIDI Out of another keyboard into the Equinox's MIDI In, turn on Merge, and the Output of the MIDI Out of the Equinox is its own generated MIDI data plus the MIDI In data received. Ideal for my Voce V5+ where it only has one MIDI IN but I want to send the MIDI data of two keyboards; no need for a midi merge box, the Equinox does the merging. Same color and look, although my Equinox 88 is a beast from a weight perspective. My 76 key is reasonably weighted.


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I've been close to buying a K5EX for a while now. I have its predecessor the Oberheim-Viscount MC2000 and have come to love and rely on its MIDI capabilities, although I've outgrown the action and now want a fully weighted one. FWIW, the things that stopped me from pulling the trigger:

- Not hugely impressed by the sound in the demos, particularly the AP. So I'd be buying it purely as a MIDI controller (although it doesn't seem possible to find a "non-EX" version).

- Uncertainty about the action (and inability to try it as noone stocks it in my country). They say it's fully weighted, but not that it's the same as the K4 (and from comments above, apparently it isn't). I'm really interested in the idea of a proper, fully weighted, high quality piano action but in a 73 key format. Eg Kurzweil Forte 7 (although that also seems impossible to get now, except on order new for far too much money). Words used to describe the actions across the range seem inconsistent and unclear.

- While the MIDI spec is generally fantastic, I note it only has 128 program locations to save to, which is a bit restricting for something you want as the MIDI "brain" of a rig, where you should be able to save every possible combination of connections for instant recall. Even my MC2000 has 256, and its (equally old) bigger brother the MC3000 has over a thousand!

When it first came out I read someone say that the 8 MIDI out ports are a legacy of the same feature on the MC3000 - that they were reusing leftover parts, or the same circuit technology or something. No idea whether that's true, but it does seem a wierd choice of feature to spend money on in these days of USB, soft synths and smaller rigs due to each box being able to do more. I'd be surprised if anyone ever used them all.

It's a shame it didn't take off, as there's not really anything else like that on the market at the moment.

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Originally Posted by confidence
- While the MIDI spec is generally fantastic, I note it only has 128 program locations to save to, which is a bit restricting for something you want as the MIDI "brain" of a rig, where you should be able to save every possible combination of connections for instant recall. Even my MC2000 has 256, and its (equally old) bigger brother the MC3000 has over a thousand!

I do agree it seems a little sparse. I will say that each of those 128 program locations has 4 "scenes" within it, which apparently are equivalent to individual Combis or Multis or whatever we might call them on other boards. What I'm wondering is if a person can copy individual scenes between performance locations. I could see that being very useful for making a set list, with up to four songs in a row in a Performance and then up to 10 of those performances chained.


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Yes the scenes thing looks useful, but I would see that mainly as a way of managing changes of setup within a song (eg moving from verse to chorus). Not sure why you would save some song setups as separate presets and others just as scenes within those. Seems unintuitive.

It just seems like they made some weird choices in designing the board. Noone is going to use eight MIDI outs or four simultaneous USB ports, but a lot of people are going to frustrated by filling up 128 preset slots and then have to bugger about saving things externally and reloading them. Hard to understand this when the memory used for such things is surely not that expensive.

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Originally Posted by confidence
... the scenes thing looks useful, but I would see that mainly as a way of managing changes of setup within a song.

exactly !

Originally Posted by confidence
Noone is going to use eight MIDI outs or four simultaneous USB ports, ...

Many did,- mid 80s, 90s and longer,- physcal MIDI ports, not USB, because it didn´t exist.
Tony Banks (Genesis) used 2 Miditemp PMM88E,- cascaded by optical fiber connection, 16 MIDI-In and 16 MIDI-Out, 2x 128 MIDI channels.
Michael Jackson´s keyboardists used Sycologic M16s together w/ a "Midi Mapper" processor.
Peter Gabriel used Sycologic M48,- 16 In / 48 Out.
Rick Wakeman uses several Sycologic M16 up today

But they only did because they used so many keyboards, 19" rackmount MIDI modules and MIDI controllable FX gear.

But then, it makes more sense to have the physical MIDI ports in a 19" rack unit too and can connect to the masterkeyboard by a single multicore snake.
That´s why I´d prefer the Tascam standard D-Sub solution and only the 2 MIDI inputs, 1 Out and 1 Thru as well as the USB ports in the keyboard controller.
Today, USB host ports make sense because you can connect all kind of add. keyboard-, bass-pedal-, pad- and whatelse controllers to the masterkeyboard.
But IMO, 2 of these are enough for a keyboard controller already offering 3 wheels, 8 pedal/switch connectors, all the sliders, pots and pushbuttons.

A.C.

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Originally Posted by Al Coda
Originally Posted by confidence
...

[quote=confidence]
Noone is going to use eight MIDI outs or four simultaneous USB ports, ...

Many did,- mid 80s, 90s and longer,- physcal MIDI ports, not USB, because it didn´t exist.
Tony Banks (Genesis) used 2 Miditemp PMM88E,- cascaded by optical fiber connection, 16 MIDI-In and 16 MIDI-Out, 2x 128 MIDI channels.
Michael Jackson´s keyboardists used Sycologic M16s together w/ a "Midi Mapper" processor.
Peter Gabriel used Sycologic M48,- 16 In / 48 Out.
Rick Wakeman uses several Sycologic M16 up today

But they only did because they used so many keyboards, 19" rackmount MIDI modules and MIDI controllable FX gear.
...
A.C.
See, that's the kind of thing I didn't know. smile All before my time so that itself is actually nice to know.


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