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A good time to be a keyboard player


marino

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Well, I could have titled an equally valid thread "an awful time to be a piano player", and that would have been right.

But since I'm feeling optimistic today, I'd like to look at the fact that a lot of great keyboards are about to be shipped - and despite being a piano player first, I'm also a keyboard nuts. Maybe I'm just becoming senile... but I feel a bit like a nine-year old kid waiting for new toys.... even though I'm not going to buy them, not right away at least. :)

 

I must admit that my recent purchase of a MEK and the short stint into prog rock has reawakened my interest in playing and programming synths... and looking around, there's a *lot* of new stuff I'm interested in.

 

- Korg Kronos, of course. First time ever I'm interested in a workstation (last one I bought was the XP-80). Fact is, I really love the piano sound. Tight but round. The EPs too. And it seems to have enough synthesis power to keep me busy for a while. If it sounds as good in person as in the demos, for the first time I could consider having an instrument for (almost) everything. 73 weighted keys is the right concept for me. Of course, we don't know what Kurzweil is going to come up with.... :D

Now, just one doubt... the other day I was in the music store, and played both the Korg SV-1 73 and the 88. Well, I'm almost certain that they didn't have the same weighting: The 73 felt quite a bit lighter to me. Could anyone confirm this?

If they would do the same on the Kronos, the "weighted" 73-key version would be less appealing for me.

 

- Hammond SK-1. What, am I gassing for a clonewheel?! Well, yeah. For the first time, I hear a clone that sounds exactly as I like a Hammond to sound. For example, I never liked the Nord sound too much (*any* Nord, for that matter) *This* is my idea of a B3! If I ever get an organ-heavy gig, this is the board I'd get. And it's light too!

 

- Solaris! I've played it at some lenght at NAMM 2009, and fell in love with both its sound and its concept. When I have some money in my pocket... :freak:

 

For the (real) analog fanatics, there's just an embarassing wealth of options, mostly from Europe.

 

- First, for the "Impossible Dreams" section, there's that Schmidt monster thing... what can I say, it's just good to know that someone is designing and building stuff like that. Like a Bosendorfer for good pianists, every serious synthesist *should* have one. :D

 

- The GRP A8 from my very own city of Rome is also an incredible machine. Expensive as hell too.

 

- On a more down-to-earth level, the Helmtronics Challenger looks and sounds very desirable. 4 oscillators, two filters... yum.

 

- Even more affordable is the new MFB Dominator. (Urgh - what an ugly name for a synth!) Is seems MFB have a better built quality for this one, and the demos sound impressive. It's going to cost less than the Challenger, but it has memory, dedicated LFOs, etc.

 

What about you? What new synths are you interested in?

 

 

 

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What about you? What new synths are you interested in?
With the news about the latest OS fixing the dynamics problem with the CP-5 Wurly, I have a bit of GAS building for one of them. Hopefully I'll get the chance to check one out on Sunday or Monday when I'm in a city with a couple of stores that actually stock a decent supply of keyboards.

 

The SK-1 and 2 also have me thinking a little. I have the XK-3c, but the SK's seem a very interesting alternative.

 

The Slim Phatty is also very intriguing to me. I could see getting a few of those to go with my Little Phatty just to have a 4 voice Moog.....

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Over the last years I've become a keyboard junkie of the worst (or maybe "best" as I'm in similar company I suspect ;)) kind..

 

The Kronos and Solaris are the two keyboards I'd love but I already have dozens of other boards that I should play more...

 

I was thinking of getting the Solaris as a replacement for the Matrix 12, but the Matrix has that voice pan feature that is just so killer... and that combined with the filter types and basic sound really stops me from selling it. All I need to look into now is the modulation stuff...

 

With the Kronos, I could probably sell everything I own... as I suspect it could probably do 99% of all the stuff I'll ever need.

 

For me my crucial setup is probably simply Rhodes MkII, V-Synth GT and PolyEvolver (though those encoders frustrate the hell out of me) with perhaps the Voyager getting a look in too..

 

 

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Yeah, kronos is very tempting especially this 73 keys fully weighted version. I am seriously considering selling my motif XS which somehow I never could master enough (thanks to yamaha weird logic work flow) and switch with my recording sessions to kronos.

Also bug touch screen is something I got used to after using iPod and iPad.

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I like specialty instruments, so both the SV-1 and SK-1 / SK-2 have caught my eye. For more general purpose machines, the Kronos & Jupiter 80 look pretty interesting too. By the time Thing 1 & Thing 2 are out of college and I can start thinking about buying something again, I'm sure them 'boards will have been long replaced though. :(

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

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I've already started keyboard fund #2 after buying a used Nord Stage classic compact a couple months ago. By the time I'm ready to make a purchase in a year or so, who knows what will be available. A 73 key Kronos is high on the list, though there are so many features I'd never really need. I also want to see what Yamaha has to offer. An S70XS, while older technology, has a lot of the tools I need for my live gigs.

 

I'm liking the SK1 more and more, but the synth section of the stage offers too much to go in that direction right now.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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The Slim Phatty is also very intriguing to me. I could see getting a few of those to go with my Little Phatty just to have a 4 voice Moog.....

 

Pan 2 left, 2 right and you can have stereo! :love:

 

Seriously, I have chained two moogs together (Voyager and SP) for two voices and that alone opened up a lot of possibilities. :thu:

 

I have a space in my rack for another SP...

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

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My Professional Websites

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One day I'd like to sell my Voyager RME, and get an actual Voyager. I picked up an 8U rack box to bring the RME out live, but it sits too low for me to practically use in that situation.

If I did do this, I could fill the empty spaces with a couple of SP's...

Threads like this are best ignored by me.

I'm happy with my present setup, really I am.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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Threads like this are best ignored by me.

I'm happy with my present setup, really I am.

 

+1

 

Now that I'm only working part-time and just making ends meet, no keyboard purchases in the foreseeable future.

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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I am looking for a new master board. Oddly the two products that seem to most fit my needs are both older technology. The S90XS and the PC3X ( do not need to do sampling). I realy want 4+ zone sliders and a weighted set of 88's and a wide pitch bender range. Plus I am just a weekend warrior clearing about $100 a night. July is a very busy month but I still only have 11 gigs in July. I just doesn't make sense to buy a $3500 keyboard but I may spring for a $2500 board.

 

 

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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VAX 77 is still THE BEST controller and worth every penny

"I have constantly tried to deliver only products which withstand the closest scrutiny � products which prove themselves superior in every respect.�

Robert Bosch, 1919

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VAX 77 is still THE BEST controller and worth every penny
I heartily +1, of course!

 

I am excited about the imminent arrival of my Solaris- I first really saw it the same NAMM where we had the honor of meeting Carlo/Marino in person (and tortured him with our version of Italian food at what must have been 5 AM his time!), and ordered one right there. They are finally in production and getting out to the patient pre order crowd.

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VAX 77 is still THE BEST controller and worth every penny
I heartily +1, of course!

 

I am excited about the imminent arrival of my Solaris- I first really saw it the same NAMM where we had the honor of meeting Carlo/Marino in person (and tortured him with our version of Italian food at what must have been 5 AM his time!), and ordered one right there. They are finally in production and getting out to the patient pre order crowd.

Wow, I didn't realize that you had ordered a Solaris right there at NAMM! If my finances had been a bit more solid, I would have ordered one as well. A fantastic musical instrument.

 

Also... as I have said many times already, I enjoyed the different kinds of food in L.A. greatly. :) Maybe not the canonic Italian things, but that certainly wasn't what I was after! :D

 

About the VAX 77, I can't share your enthusiasm. The action felt weak and inconsistent to my fingers.

 

 

 

 

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Marino, the VAX77 you played in 2009 was absolutely terrible, I played the same boards you did and was very disappointed. They completely redesigned it for 2010 and it now has an entirely different feel and is weighted, if you get a chance to check one out I imagine you will be more impressed.
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It is a great time to be a keyboard player, even a piano player if you gig and carry your own.

 

People think I drag a lot of gear, but every time I move my whole rig alone in 3 or 4 easy trips, I thank whatever gods may be for modern technology! Sure beats lugging the CP70, Rhodes, and synth(s) du-jour.

 

I need to replace my Ensoniq MR76, which is collecting problems. I use it as lower tier for piano under NE2. Mostly piano, some strings, and occasionally minimoog-style leads or vibes. So, I'm keeping a beady eye out and trying the latest gear.

 

The Kronos looks like more than I need, as does the PC3. I like 73 keys, or at least, something that's less than 53" long and fits in my rigid foam case.

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Come to think of it, when is it NOT a good time to be a keyboard player?

 

The only time I ever regret my instrument of choice is loading in and loading out and then I just would rather been a sax player, or better yet a female vocalist (they usually don't even have to bring a mic and can just walk in, walk up and sing).

 

Beyond that, we've got better selection of gear than we ever had. The prices are lower than ever (from a bang for the buck standpoint . . . remember the 70s synth prices?), and the stuff continues to get lighter (even though we still bitch about moving a 45 lb stage piano, as if it were a CP-70, or a B3).

 

Yes, its a good time to be a keyboard player!!! (sung to . . . damn it feels good to be a gangsta).

 

 

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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Now, just one doubt... the other day I was in the music store, and played both the Korg SV-1 73 and the 88. Well, I'm almost certain that they didn't have the same weighting: The 73 felt quite a bit lighter to me. Could anyone confirm this?

If they would do the same on the Kronos, the "weighted" 73-key version would be less appealing for me.

 

 

It would be odd that there are intentional differences between the 73 and 88. Dan Phillips at Korg has posted that the RH3 action on the Kronos is using different rubber parts for a smoother feel.

 

Busch.

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Well, the Korg site lists the same action for both the 73 and the 88. But I perceived a difference - not a huge one but a definite difference. And the salesman (a knowledgeable guy whom I have known for 25 years) confirmed it!

Strange.

 

 

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Marino, the VAX77 you played in 2009 was absolutely terrible, I played the same boards you did and was very disappointed. They completely redesigned it for 2010 and it now has an entirely different feel and is weighted, if you get a chance to check one out I imagine you will be more impressed.

Well, I have put my hands on one very briefly at a music store about a month ago, and once again, I found its action way too light for me. Maybe they had the older version?!

 

 

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Marino, the VAX77 you played in 2009 was absolutely terrible, I played the same boards you did and was very disappointed. They completely redesigned it for 2010 and it now has an entirely different feel and is weighted, if you get a chance to check one out I imagine you will be more impressed.

Well, I have put my hands on one very briefly at a music store about a month ago, and once again, I found its action way too light for me. Maybe they had the older version?!

Hard to say, the 2009 version never was put into production, and the current version is only sold directly, I am not sure if they have established any European distributors yet. The current version is a bit light, but does work well for both piano and organ/synth playing. I always tell people if they are looking for a true piano action, to go with a keyboard designed specifically for that. The VAX77 works well for me, and replaced my Kurzweil MidiBoard.

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Even more affordable is the new MFB Dominator. (Urgh - what an ugly name for a synth!) Is seems MFB have a better built quality for this one, and the demos sound impressive.

 

Hi.

I googled the "MFB Dominator" and found nothing. I also checked the MFB site, and couldn't find any synth there, named "dominator".

Could you please send a link to where you found it and its demos?

 

Thanks

Vermona Perfourmer mkii, Nord Stage 3 76
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Sorry for that.

 

BTW, this demo is just blowing my mind. It sounds like one of the most diverse monosynth out there. The sound is just so friggin huge. I wonder how much $$$ it will be.

The kraftzwerg is 899$ at novamusik. So the dominion x shouldn't be much more.

Vermona Perfourmer mkii, Nord Stage 3 76
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To clarify...

 

First, I apologize for the mistake: Yes, it's called Dominion. I think Dominator was an early name which was then discarded. It will have a keyboard; Dominion X is the name of the desktop version. Easily the best-sounding synth designed by Manfred so far. (Manfred Fricke Berlin = MFB) He licensed the Schlippman filter, and improved the construction and overall quality.

Rumors say that the keyboard version will cost about 1500 Euros, which makes it highly desirable. Three oscs with fm and ring mod, dedicated lfos, *that* filter (which is multimode btw), analog envelopes, patch memory, and maybe even an onboard delay.

I'll be watching the development of this thing quite closely. :)

 

 

 

 

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To clarify...

 

Rumors say that the keyboard version will cost about 1500 Euros, which makes it highly desirable. Three oscs with fm and ring mod, dedicated lfos, *that* filter (which is multimode btw), analog envelopes, patch memory, and maybe even an onboard delay.

I'll be watching the development of this thing quite closely. :)

 

 

Me too. This means that the desktop version will be cheaper. And it sounds sooo delicious.

Vermona Perfourmer mkii, Nord Stage 3 76
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