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Collecting my Kurz SP4-8 today!


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I'm hoping to upgrade from my SP4-7 to this...my SP4-7 had the 'sticky keys' problem that someone else mentioned. It was an odd thing, just a sort of resistance to the key depressing right the top of the action. But v annoying.

 

I've been told if they can't fix it at the factory I can upgrade!

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ok, initial thoughts:

 

The keys are really excellent, great feel, nice action - I took to them straight away.

 

The sounds are very good, there are some really great useable sounds in there.

 

Its fairly heavy, I was using an old Technics P-30 and the SP4-8 seems to be around the same weight..........but hey, I'm a drummer at heart, karting equipment around doesn't bother me!

 

The build quality is good, initially the plate around the pitch/mod wheels would rattle while playing but I found that it was because I didn't have the rubbers on my stand lined up so the board wasn't sitting flat.

 

On slightly closer inspection (I haven't spent a great deal of time with it yet):

 

I don't think i've found my 'go to' piano sound yet, I think I need to do some tweaking - the piano sounds available all seem a bit 'wet' to me and could also be a little brighter - They probably sound great in a classical context but I'm looking for a closer sound for wat I need. I'm sure I'll be able to configure that as the samples that are there are great.

I managed to brighten up the CP-70 patch and save that as user patch, but I did this purely by accident, i'll have to figure out how I did that!

 

I tried to follow the tutorial in the accompanying book, but I found that it didn't follow what was happening on the board. It said something along the lines of "press 'program', select patch 102, press 'split' and you'll get patch 102 assigned to two split zones which are split at middle C" - No, i I follow that I get 102 in the top half and a really quiet piano in the bottom.

At this stage I'm assuming I haven't read something properly......i'll persevere and get back you.

 

USB..........With USB you are supposed to be able to a) have full midi control. b) edit/view/install patches and c) update the OS.

The board doesn't come with a CD and the only reference to downloads in the manual is for the OS updates - I'm not sure how you edit patches.

 

USB midi control hasn't worked at all for me so far, I plugged the board into my MacBook Pro, launched Reaper, made sure that the SP4 was visible as a midi device and set up a track to receive midi on all channels coming out of he SP4, I opened a VSTi and the board seems to trigger random notes on the 'note-off', nothing on the note itself. I closed Reaper and opened a standalone SampleTank and got the same result - really weird, again, I'm hoping this is due to me not setting something right.

 

So, in summary, the story so far; There's a few areas of confusion at the moment that I hope i'll get sorted out.

There are some really great sounds.....the Rhodes, Clavs, Hammond and Tron sounds are great, there's a great CP-70, nice strings, some good synth sounds - for a stage piano theres a really good range of high quality sounds in there.

 

I'd loved to have tried the layering out and also the 'KB3' with a CC pedal but Kurz didn't ship any to the UK distributor, so I haven't got one - i've ordered a Roland pedal as the distributor said it may take a long time to get anything out of Kurz.

 

I'm very excited that this will be a great board for me - first gig on thursday, I'll let you all know how it goes!

Dazzathedrummer

 

 

 

Kurzweil SP4-8 | EMU Xboard 61

Logic | Reaper | Ableton Live

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As usual, the placement of the pitch/modulation wheels at the end of the keyboard is the deal-breaker for me. The Alesis QS8 will always remain in my arsenal!

'57 Hammond B-3, '60 Hammond A100, Leslie 251, Leslie 330, Leslie 770, Leslie 145, Hammond PR-40

Trek II UC-1A

Alesis QSR

 

 

 

 

 

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well I did my first gig last night with the SP4-8. The board performed flawlessly, really great!!

 

I've managed to figure out how to change sounds and save them in a user bank so I've got all the 'go-to' sounds in one place and suitably tweaked for what I need (the stock sounds seem to have a lot of reverb on them which can sound ok when playing on your own, but in a mix, they can get lost or fog the mix if you push them).

 

The keyboard action is really great...what I call 'transparent' - you don't need to think about it, you can just play.

 

I contacted Kurz regarding the USB/midi issue above, they said it was a glitch in the initial OS and sent me the beta for V2, I didn't want to install a beta OS before a gig though so I'll give it a go at the weekend.

 

I'm looking forward to getting into splits and layers and editing 'set-ups'.

Dazzathedrummer

 

 

 

Kurzweil SP4-8 | EMU Xboard 61

Logic | Reaper | Ableton Live

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Sounds great!

 

How much tweaking does the SP4-8 let you do to sounds? Is it just effects or other things as well?

 

And in case you're not aware: you can get a MIDI slider box and rig it up to give you full control of the KB3 Hammond sounds (drawbars etc).

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Sounds great!

 

How much tweaking does the SP4-8 let you do to sounds? Is it just effects or other things as well?

 

And in case you're not aware: you can get a MIDI slider box and rig it up to give you full control of the KB3 Hammond sounds (drawbars etc).

 

I'm still digging into what can and can't be done with sounds, the manual isn't that great.

As far as I understand, there are 'Programs' and 'set-ups', 'Programs' are the stock sounds. You can change 'Timbre', 'mod', 'Envelope', 'effect' and 'reverb' settings on these - saving the changes creates a new 'User' patch.

'Set-ups' - as far as I can tell are collections of 'programs' - either splits or layers. I believe you can specify what the 5 parameters above actually are within a 'set-up', but I haven't got that far yet!

 

So, I think there is a good depth of tweaking that can be done and where I thought the pianos were too distant sounding, I have managed to 'create' dryer sounds that I'm happy with - so it looks like there's a good amount of scope given that I'm only about 30% into this.

 

On the B3 - yes, I happen to have a BCF-2000 midi fader controller, so I might give that a go.

 

The manual doesn't mention KB3 at all, am I to assume that the 4 (or maybe 5) B3 sounds on there are KB3's ??

Dazzathedrummer

 

 

 

Kurzweil SP4-8 | EMU Xboard 61

Logic | Reaper | Ableton Live

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dazz...how do you find the leslie effect on the SP4-8? I have an SP4-7 and find the slow/fast effect (activated with sustain pedal) isn't really 'pronounced' enough. You can tell the difference more clearly with chords, but if you're playing a melody line it's hard to pick out, unlike say the Electro.

 

I think this is due to the SP4 series not really having many fx chains (understandable given the budget) so I'm wondering whether a Neo Vent or Lex Rotary pedal would lift the otherwise excellent KB3 patches.

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dazz...how do you find the leslie effect on the SP4-8? I have an SP4-7 and find the slow/fast effect (activated with sustain pedal) isn't really 'pronounced' enough. You can tell the difference more clearly with chords, but if you're playing a melody line it's hard to pick out, unlike say the Electro.

 

I think this is due to the SP4 series not really having many fx chains (understandable given the budget) so I'm wondering whether a Neo Vent or Lex Rotary pedal would lift the otherwise excellent KB3 patches.

 

I had a quick play around with it, the effect is very subtle, I wasn't sure if it is was the effect or just coincidental harmonic clashing.

 

Hopefully it is something that can be tweaked, NickD's link above shows that there are a lot of parameters that can be tweaked.

 

I'll have a more detailed play about with it tonight.

 

I've got an EMU Xboard 61 that has 16 controllers, I'm hoping to rig it up to the SP4 for live organ work.

Dazzathedrummer

 

 

 

Kurzweil SP4-8 | EMU Xboard 61

Logic | Reaper | Ableton Live

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There are VAST organs on the SP4 series, though my understanding is that there are no KB3 organs. VAST organs will work the same way, you can control the drawbars with an external MIDI box. KB3 is a whole nother way of producing the B3 sounds. So unless the manual says otherwise, you don't have KB3 organs in your rig.

 

Stephen

 

 

 

 

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There are VAST organs on the SP4 series, though my understanding is that there are no KB3 organs. VAST organs will work the same way, you can control the drawbars with an external MIDI box. KB3 is a whole nother way of producing the B3 sounds. So unless the manual says otherwise, you don't have KB3 organs in your rig.

 

On here: -

Kurz SP4-8

 

..in the 'No compromises' paragraph it states that the board includes KB3 sounds as well as in the 4th box down on the right.

 

There are four B3 three sounds in the 'organ' bank - not sure how you'd tell if they're KB3 sounds though?

 

Dazzathedrummer

 

 

 

Kurzweil SP4-8 | EMU Xboard 61

Logic | Reaper | Ableton Live

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There are VAST organs on the SP4 series, though my understanding is that there are no KB3 organs. VAST organs will work the same way, you can control the drawbars with an external MIDI box. KB3 is a whole nother way of producing the B3 sounds. So unless the manual says otherwise, you don't have KB3 organs in your rig.

 

On here: -

Kurz SP4-8

 

..in the 'No compromises' paragraph it states that the board includes KB3 sounds as well as in the 4th box down on the right.

 

There are four B3 three sounds in the 'organ' bank - not sure how you'd tell if they're KB3 sounds though?

 

This is correct - there are 4 KB3 sounds in the SP4 at the moment. More will be included when we release the extra 64 programs with v2.0 software.

 

 

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Hey Dave, it's off-topic but do you know if John Carin is using Kurz on the latest Roger Waters tour of 'The Wall'? And is he using it for piano too...this would lay to rest the whole triple-strike argument. If it's good enough for Roger Waters, it's good enough for anything!
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Yes Jon is using 4 K2600's on the tour.

He also has a PC3K8, but didn't have a chance to get it programmed for the tour.

 

Here's a link to our Youtube channel, with a clip of yours truly visiting with Jon and his keyboard tech Andy Field on stage just before the show at the Boston Garden. About 20 min before the show he called my cell and asked John Teele (head of software) and me to come up on stage. Fun times to say the least....

http://www.youtube.com/user/KurzweilTutorials

 

The fake UK accent you hear was NOT me. :)

 

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...this would lay to rest the whole triple-strike argument. If it's good enough for Roger Waters, it's good enough for anything!

O RLY?

 

Love is blind AND deaf.

____________________________________
Rod

Here for the gear.

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