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Need Some Kurz advice.


SteeVtheRipper

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First the back story....sorry.

 

I have had a Yamaha PSR520 since I can remember. And over the past few years I have been endlessly researching new boards and trying to learn all this new technology. Midi is something I am just starting to understand as I never used it on the Yamaha. I thought I had found the "right" board numerous times, CP300, RD700GX, Nord Stage, Electro, CP5. And then one day I saw a video of Stephen Fortner touring Kurzweil RD, did some research, played a PC3LE at Sam Ash and that was it I was in love and I KNOW Kurz is the way to go for me. I have never been so engulfed by the sounds on a keyboard. I LOVE that besides the numerous amazing presets, there is a complete B3 model with drawbar control, and a complete VA synth. And the endless editing ability is very respectable and attractive. It's everything a boy could ever want!

 

Now the dilemma....

 

As I said I am a pretty novice user when it comes to keyboards. For most of my life I have just sat at my lowly Yamaha, picked a sound and played. Now that I have decided to go with a Kurz I must admit I am a little intimidated. I view it as an investment and an opportunity to learn and grow. I won't be getting another board for a while hence why I decided on the PC3X. I have already dled the manual and have been reading through it, mind you I'm baffled by most things, especially the synth stuff, I have no idea what oscillators are and all that other techno stuff, but I'm trying to learn while I save for the board. The temporary price drop of the PC3X is also attractive.

 

Now there is the PC3K. I guess what I want to know is since I am going down the whole "one board to rule them all" road do you think as a novice programmer and board user that it is worth going to the PC3K for the ability of adding my own samples and older Kurz samples? I mean I don't even know anything about the older Kurz and from what I understand there's 20 years worth of sounds at my disposal. I also understand people are making sounds for the PC3 that I can load in my board. Are the sounds people make for the PC3 on the same level as the older sound, like similar enough where it wouldn't matter? I do also like the idea of adding my own sounds I just don't know if as a novice if I'd be biting off more than I can chew. Or if it is just a handy thing to have for the future, another tool.

 

Also I wanted to know are all the software updates and additions going to be the same more or less for the K and the X? Are updates something that happen regularly in the Kurzweil world? I also know it has expansion slots, but I have heard that Kurz hasn't been very consistent with releasing them. Is that true? Or is that something that may have been an issue years ago but is better now? What kind of things would be released on an expansion card?

 

Another concern is I know the next great K series is around the corner. Do you think that's something worth waiting for or do you think the PC3 line is more than enough for me? Do you think OS updates and add ons for the new higher end board would be accessible to the PC3? I also read on sonik matter that the PC3K will replace the PC3. Should I just get the PC3K?

 

And one more question. If I am using the Kurz to control a software instrument, can I only play that instrument or can I layer in some Kurz presets. If not is toggling between a software instrument and the presets something that is easily done? Like a one button job? Or if I had a midi controller I could slap like a preset Rhodes on that and use the PC3 to control like an Ivory Bosendorfer? I like the idea of splits, but I also prefer in some cases to have a full range of keys accessible to me for two instruments so if i wanted to switch to playing one completely I could.

 

Thank you for reading and I am sorry for the lengthy post.

1974 Rhodes, CP70B, Polivoks, Dominion 1, Behringer D, Mother 32, DFAM, MS20 Mini, Folktek Mescaline, Nord Lead 2x, KArp Odyssey, Jv1080, Digitakt, Hydrasynth,
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I'm sure the Kurzes (I wouldn't go for the half polyphony and less effects LE versions) are interesting instruments with musical potential: can hardly go wrong with that.

 

I wouldn't call the (I presume Yamaha) CP5 "lowly" at all.

 

The current Kurzweil developers regularly have a whole pantheon of thoughts about "their" instruments which doesn't make everthing easy or like with other manufacturers, and I find certain sound aspects not as warm and deep as could be, but there are some pretty good sounds on the PC3 (which I use), and I've made some more myself, and then the original Kurz legacy (e.g. Mara chips) is in the machine, too, and there have been updates promised (albeit a YEAR ago..) which even allow the K2* soudns to be somewhat loaded, so for the current prices I'm sure a lot of instrument. I use a Yamaha S90 (amoung the earlier Motifs, weighed keyboard) over usb midi to play the PC3 (76 keys), which works cool, and the combined instruments can sound cool too.

 

Theo

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Short answers:

 

Check back on the sonikmatter forums for more Kurz-specific stuff. Many of your questions answered there.

 

- The PC3X will carry you VERY far. Current prices are a KILLER deal. Don't stress about lack of sample loading. You have crazy amounts of sound-making power onboard with the delivered ROM samples.

 

- Software updates should be the same for both machines (that's the plan), except where sample-related code is involved (obviously). Updates regular? They have been so far, but remember: you are buying what's useful/good NOW, not promised. OS2.0 WILL see the light of day, though, and it's looking mighty fine.

 

- Expansion board: 64MB still in the works but hoping to see it very soon.

 

Last question: yes, there's all kinds of master keyboard control possible. You could toggle entire full-keyboard zones on/off with button pushes. You need to set this up, but it can be done with a button push if desired.

 

The flexibility comes at a price: complexity (relative to other Big 3 workstation boards).

 

Advice: go slowly. RTFM. Watch the tutorial vids.

 

-John

I make software noises.
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I think all of your questions have pretty much been answered above.

 

Some additional points....

The consensus is that the PC3 sound set is the highest quality we've done to date.

The K series presets were nice, but many of them did not take advantage of the 32 layer architecture or the more advanced effects.

While it's cool to have the ability to load samples, I don't think you'll miss this feature if you go with the PC3x.

It is true that the prices for the PC3x right now are really, really good.

 

The new OS for the PC3 is basically the same as the new OS for the Pc3K.

The only difference is the ability to load samples.

We do release new OS updates for all of our products.

For the more full-featured products like the PC3, these often include new sounds and features in addition to bug fixes.

 

The 64MB ROM option is coming, and it's going at about the same pace as past ROM expansions we did for the K series and PC2. PC2 was released in 2000. The Classic Keys ROM expansion for it was not released until 2003.

Developing ROM, especially with all of the extra steps we take, simply takes a ton of man hours. At the end of the day though, all the extra work we put in makes 64MB of Kurzweil ROM seem like a lot more - sort of like human years vs dog years.

 

Regarding the questions on MIDI control, splits and layers.... it can do everything you asked for x1000.

 

As far as learning about synthesis, oscillators, filters, etc, you probably want to do some additional reading on some other websites.

Maybe start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesizer

I'm sure the folks on this forum can recommend some other good sites.

 

For the record, an oscillator is a sound source, much like a sample.

While a sample is a "snap shot" of an actual acoustic sound wave, an oscillator generates a simple wave form, like saw wave or square wave.

Both samples and oscillators can then be sculpted by using filters.

Things like LFOs and envelopes can cause filters or pitch to vary over time.

 

For Kurz-specific info, here are a few links:

http://kurzweil.com/KnowledgeBase.php?product=37 (knowledge base)

http://kurzweil.com/Product.php?id=37 (Tutorial videos -click on the VIDEO tab in the middle of the screen)

 

And here's our facebook page - there are a few more videos posted here, in addition to articles and interviews. Most recent interview was with Jon Carin, who's currently on tour with Roger Waters. He explains how the signal flow inside VAST actually closely resembles that of classic old analog synths.

http://www.facebook.com/kurzweilmusicsystems

 

Also, there's the sonikmatter forum dedicated to PC series.

http://community.sonikmatter.com/forums/index.php?/forum/83-pcxx-series/

They can be a bit hardcore and crazy, but it's a very useful forum with a ton of Kurz experts.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Kurzweil has pretty good support"

 

If you don't mind a slight patronizing component here and there..

 

And the latest update really has been a YEAR ago! Not that the update is needed, but I reported an annoying complicated FM sound bug, and there really has (except for a beta program) NO FIX to it for a YEAR. No sh*t, literally true.

 

Anyhow if you want some warmer sounds after you buy one, I've made a number of free ones with demos on my server ( http://www.theover.org/wiki/index.php/Kurzweil_PC3_info ).

 

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Based on your explanation above: The PC3X (or PC3 if you don't need the 88-key weighted action) will do an excellent job for you. Learning to program it is rather deep, but you start out with over 800 factory patches - even if you only use one in ten, that is still way over the number of patches most of us would use in a gig. For my own purposes, the factory patches have had a higher success rate than most instruments I've ever used or played.

 

Since you don't already have a library of the older K-series patches, you probably won't get a lot extra of use by buying the PC3K instead. Several reasons: some of the commercial patches are no longer being made, some of the older K-series patches don't sound as good as the PC3 capability.

 

I am part of the beta test group for the PC3 OS 2 - at this point, Kurzweil is coordinating the operating system for the various boards from the SP4, PC3LE, PC3, and PC3K - with the intent that whatever capability each of the lower end instruments has will be used. A future flagship - very likely to have to get away from the existing limits of the K architecture, and perhaps even from the PC3 architecture.

 

The PC3 has extensive MIDI controller capability. Making good use of that capability requires not just a knowledge of the Kurzweil, but of the attached devices and MIDI itself. There are those on this board and on Sonik that have gone much farther than my present capability in that area.

 

Lastly, the reduced price (temporary) - the PC3K will come in at a substantial price premium. Right now, once can buy a full PC3 for about the same price as the closest LE version. Very good time to buy. I'd be getting a third one (a PC361 probably), but just bought an acoustic piano, and a third one is more of a want than a need - the PC2 that I leave at church is quite adequate for the job, and I can carry the PC3 any time that its additional features are needed.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Thanks guys, especially dave. I posted the same topic in the sonic matter forum too. I have watched all the tutorials and videos on the kurz site and youtube, listened to all the audio demos 100 times, joined the sonikmatter site to learn as much as I can. I just wanted some opinions from other people who know more than I do. I was pretty confident in my decision with the PC3X and I think I still am. I am still curious as to what the next flagship board will be, however the price of the PC3X is very enticing, too bad there's no real way to know how long it will last. If it goes back up before I have enough I may just go with the PC3K, I like the black and wood. Or just wait for the new flagship.

 

1974 Rhodes, CP70B, Polivoks, Dominion 1, Behringer D, Mother 32, DFAM, MS20 Mini, Folktek Mescaline, Nord Lead 2x, KArp Odyssey, Jv1080, Digitakt, Hydrasynth,
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I doubt that I would buy a KB because of the color, but that's me. The added feature of the sampling capability is the added bonus of the PC3K. If you've never used anything other than ROM sounds in previous KB's you've owned, the PC3 is at a great price right now.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Thanks guys, especially dave. I posted the same topic in the sonic matter forum too. I have watched all the tutorials and videos on the kurz site and youtube, listened to all the audio demos 100 times, joined the sonikmatter site to learn as much as I can. I just wanted some opinions from other people who know more than I do. I was pretty confident in my decision with the PC3X and I think I still am. I am still curious as to what the next flagship board will be, however the price of the PC3X is very enticing, too bad there's no real way to know how long it will last. If it goes back up before I have enough I may just go with the PC3K, I like the black and wood. Or just wait for the new flagship.

 

Shoot me an email when you have a minute.

davew@ycrdi.com

 

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I doubt that I would buy a KB because of the color, but that's me. The added feature of the sampling capability is the added bonus of the PC3K. If you've never used anything other than ROM sounds in previous KB's you've owned, the PC3 is at a great price right now.

 

 

Mike T.

 

Just for the record I would NEVER just go out and buy just any board bc of the color. :cool:

 

Obviously that isn't a good reason to buy a board, if that's your only reason. I meant that if they both ended up being the same or very close in price, like when the price drop inevitably ends, sure why not buy the PC3K bc it's black? They're pretty much the same board except for, what, two features and the color? So I think color is a justifiable reason at such a close if not the same price point when there's only a two feature difference. Besides it really does look sharp with the black metal and wood end cheeks! Kudos to Kurz!

 

For example, if I had a choice between buying a Nord Lead 3 and a Nord Lead 3 anniversary edition with reverse color keys I'd go with the latter.

 

 

 

 

1974 Rhodes, CP70B, Polivoks, Dominion 1, Behringer D, Mother 32, DFAM, MS20 Mini, Folktek Mescaline, Nord Lead 2x, KArp Odyssey, Jv1080, Digitakt, Hydrasynth,
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