Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Some random thoughts on hardware/software upgrades.....


Moonglow

Recommended Posts

So we went from the original Motif to the ES, then the XS, then the XF. Weve also observed the Trinity, the Triton, the Triton Extreme, etc.....and similar product evolutions from Roland, Kurzweil, and Nord. Of course, weve been seeing this forever with computers.....

 

What are your thoughts regarding this issue? Is it intentional, driven by advances in technology....both? Have you ever been a victim?" The one that nailed me was the Hammond Xk-3 to the Xk-3c.....no software upgrade. Seems some companies are better than others (Ive really enjoyed all of the upgrades to my Nord Stage classic and PC3).

 

Ive been thinking about a Kronos and/or Jupiter 80, but Im afraid of forking over that kind of dough for a product that is so fresh in its life cycle. How soon until we see a Kronos 2 or Jupiter 80-A? Or are keyboard manufacturers starting to get that offering periodic software upgrades breeds customer appreciation/loyalty?

 

I understand it's always a risk, but when in a keyboards life cycle do you guys reach for the credit card? What is the trend of hardware/software upgrades?

 

Thanks.

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 32
  • Created
  • Last Reply

When Nord Stage came out i sold my Electro 61 - then i sold to the same guy my Nord Lead 2. One year later i call him back and i trade my Stage with my old gear. For me the Stage just did not make it right, so i had to come back to the instruments i knew and respect.

I try to keep it simple. When an instrument keeps me happy with my projects, i stick with it. I try to upgrade with my software, but i do it less and less these days - after all even my old VST's have not been fully explored by me until now.

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roland and Yamaha are the absolute worst. You might get one OS update to fix severe bugs, but then they will add a couple of bells and launch a new product instead of including them in an OS update.

 

Of course it's intentional, just like Nord's opposite philosophy is intentional.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been upgrading when reliability becomes an issue. I upgraded from a Hammond XB-2 when I started to fear the units reliability and the fact you could no longer get important replacement parts. I thought XB-2 had a lot of balls for rock organ uses but no way in this world would I want to go back at all.

 

I replaced the RD-500 when the keyboard was starting to wear out.

 

I like action on the Kawai's but I am not as happy as I would like to be with the piano sounds in a band setting. In first quarter 2012 I plan on upgrading to a new stage piano. This will be the first time in a long while I feel I may be making an upgrade that is not justified. Upgrades to me are a cost-benefit based business decision. If I want artistic satisfaction I will stay home a play my Baldwin or fire up my Hammond console. In an objective sense the Kawai gets the job done but I want something with nicer sounds because I don't think I will be gigging much longer. I'm getting old you know.

 

When you gigged with a RMI piano, anything made after 1990 becomes gravy. LOL

"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

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the long board I want, (Kawai) The action is pleasent and I use what ever VST. I'm not all that happy with the upper tier though, (korg TR76) the keybed just doesn't get it. I am finding Myself leaning towards Roland. The A70 seems appealing to me and I have a BCR2000 for knobs. If only I could build my own as easily as a PC.

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I upgrade/acquire when money permits. I'm pretty happy with all my gear. The only products on the radar for me are a Mopho Keyboard and Reason 6. Eventually, I might get a bigger controller.

 

Since the selection around here can be skinny, depending what you're looking for, I don't usually buy gear until at least a year after the product is released. That gives people around the forum and the internet at large time to evaluate, the company time to repair any bugs as well as demonstrate if the product is upgradeable. I have plenty of time to watch videos, read the manual and maybe even find a model somewhere. I find it's a decent timeline.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's face it - we can usually make due with hat we have. For me, each of my upgrades have been to add capabilities that will significantly improve my sound, or my work flow/productivity. Every upgrade I've made has immediately been lacking in something that I would want in my ideal keyboard, and everything missing has been a feature that has already been offered on another board, just not all in the same board.

 

I haven't received my Kronos yet, but I already know 3 things I would want to be different for it to be my ideal board:

1) shorter boot time

2) A70 key bed (76 key semi-weighted)

3) ability to load sequences and samples from SSD into RAM FIFO on demand without need to "pre load"

 

#1 would be possible, but would require different hardware, an OS update wouldn't have significant impact

#2 exists, just isn't offered. I got the 61, I'll be stuck with that

#3 was accomplished by Alesis on their Fusion almost 10 years ago. Why other manufacturers dont do this, I'll never know. It's how our computers work anyway...click a file, it opens it and loads into ram. This MAY be doable with a future OS, but I'm not holding my breath.

 

I'm sure if they offered a Kronos Extreme with these features, I'd ditch the Kronos and get it.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Upgrading when we really need to avoiding that impulse to have the lastest and greatest is the answer I think. If you love the sound of something and it's working well, even though it maybe has a few operational niggles, it might be better to live with it than changing over for the sake of it. Obviously if something is falling apart it's time to buy again. There are so many products out there that researching can be overwhelming. I found this when I decided last year I would return to hardware for live gigs, and I had no idea where things were at in that world. Keyboards do a lot these days, really advanced in some ways and weirdly limited in others. Waiting until something is out for a bit unless you really need it is probably a good idea too. I did this and picked up a fully expanded Fantom G6 second hand as it suits my needs well, and saved me a few bucks. I also had familiarity with Rolands and that factored in too. Having been 100% computer based for live it will be used along side that setup or standalone anyway, so I've sort of side stepped the upgrade issue. Upgrading software is far cheaper and the developers are faster. At any rate, I can't think of any else I could possibly need right now, aside from a fully weighted board, which I have no room for and can't fit in my car for gigs anyway. I can see the Kronos and JP-80 are probably great choices for a working musician right now, if you like their workflow (sorry to use a horrible post production term, working with Pro Tools all day everyday kind of brainwashes you...). That's why I got the Fantom G. it works for me in all areas I needed it too, I know it's shortcomings that will probably never be fixed and if I want Kronos/JP-80 like sound engines, I reach for Logic. As with all software and hardware there'll always be a disappointment somewhere! The upgrade to Lion does scare me a bit, so I'll probably stick with Snow Leopard for a bit. My computer is also 4 years old, but it's still going well. I am waffling? Anyway hope this provided some insight into my experiences with this lately... It also helps that I'm a massive tightwad when it comes to spending cash... LOL
Roland Fantom G6, D-70, JP-8000, Juno-106, JV-1080, Moog Minitaur, Korg Volca Keys, Yamaha DX-7. TG33, Logic Pro, NI plugs, Arturia plugs etc etc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My random thoughts -- we are finally in the end game on this stuff.

 

The Japanese MI guys are in trouble and will need to change their business model on electronic instruments.

 

Japanese MI will get hit as hard as Sequential, Oberheim, and Ensoniq were in the 80/90s. A $300 tablet and $500 of software will sound as good as a $5,000 Nord or Yamaha.

 

OTOH Sonar/Roland might put it together quicker than some others and offer a Sonar Tablet and controller for under $1,000 that frankly is more than adequate. The tablet replaces the sheet music stand and the user simply gestures to show Scorch or Cakewalk or your VST rack or Effects rack or midi/zone maps or songs list or to turn pages or drill down. If CME or Fatar ever figures out how to build a good controller the Japanese MIs are in trouble in the commodity digital market.

 

Something similar is happening with Television and PC maker convergence as Television adds Android and Windows OS. HP wanted nothing of a 2015 world where 55" inch TVs with an O/S, Bluetooth, App Store, and USB 3.0 will be selling for $999 and good Tablet TVs will sell for $199 or under. The dedicated PC becomes a specialty item for dinosaurs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Japanese MI will get hit as hard as Sequential, Oberheim, and Ensoniq were in the 80/90s. A $300 tablet and $500 of software will sound as good as a $5,000 Nord or Yamaha.

 

Maybe, but a tablet isn't as cool as a hardware synth or workstation. And... I don't know any serious keyboardists who would "play" a tablet live onstage.

 

:laugh:

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm really between both worlds now due my experiences in the last year or so.

 

I agree that the Japanese MI are getting hit, as my MBP I am typing this on can blow away most of their sound engines in terms of flexibility. Until the Kronos and JP-80, software has been streets ahead, maybe with the exception of unique things like the V-synth and specialised analogue stuff. I think Korg has worked this out hence the Kronos and their plug-ins, and Roland is sort of coming around in their own way with their supernatural stuff. The FG6 is powerful though, but the sound engine, although very useful, is an old one. On the plus side they've done all the workflow work for you, which you have to do yourself is you use Mainstage or something like that. Makes you appreciate how much work Roland etc have done for you. And of course no latency!

 

The frankly poor MIDI controllers is one barriers to a mass migration to things like Mainstage and iPads. My Fantom G6 makes a brilliant controller/audio interface, and has a fantastic build quality. It's just professional. If they get the sound engine modernised then they're back in the game. Not that it sounds bad, it actually stands up well against some of my mainstage patches. I think most people would rather play something that feels like and instrument than a computer. That's what I found anyway.

 

The fiddly nature of computers and latency issues also helps the hardware guys, but with thunderbolt and faster computers, even this problem may get minimised soon. The hardware makers really need to catch up on the software side (including OS updates!), but I'd hate to loose their quality in hardware builds though. Diving back into hardware I couldn't work out why even a cheap computer can run alls sorts of VA, modelled EPs and B3 etc all at the same time and a hardware keyboard couldn't.

Roland Fantom G6, D-70, JP-8000, Juno-106, JV-1080, Moog Minitaur, Korg Volca Keys, Yamaha DX-7. TG33, Logic Pro, NI plugs, Arturia plugs etc etc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Upgrading when we really need to avoiding that impulse to have the lastest and greatest is the answer I think.....

Yeah, one's ability to manage GAS would certainly appear to moderate purchase decisions relative to any potentially looming hardware update!

 

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My random thoughts -- we are finally in the end game on this stuff.

 

The Japanese MI guys are in trouble and will need to change their business model on electronic instruments.

 

Japanese MI will get hit as hard as Sequential, Oberheim, and Ensoniq were in the 80/90s. A $300 tablet and $500 of software will sound as good as a $5,000 Nord or Yamaha.

 

OTOH Sonar/Roland might put it together quicker than some others and offer a Sonar Tablet and controller for under $1,000 that frankly is more than adequate. The tablet replaces the sheet music stand and the user simply gestures to show Scorch or Cakewalk or your VST rack or Effects rack or midi/zone maps or songs list or to turn pages or drill down. If CME or Fatar ever figures out how to build a good controller the Japanese MIs are in trouble in the commodity digital market.

 

Something similar is happening with Television and PC maker convergence as Television adds Android and Windows OS. HP wanted nothing of a 2015 world where 55" inch TVs with an O/S, Bluetooth, App Store, and USB 3.0 will be selling for $999 and good Tablet TVs will sell for $199 or under. The dedicated PC becomes a specialty item for dinosaurs.

Some rather provocative thoughts there, richwhite9. Good stuff!

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to the Kronos versus Jupiter-80 thing, perhaps due to the way the operating system is laid out, I can easily envision Korg offering additional "modules," similar to the recent upgrade....which may instill a little more confidence that future product enhancements will be offered via software. I'm less sure regarding the extent to which a D-50 engine, for example, could be added to the Jupiter-80 in absence of supplemental hardware.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think in principle they should do whatever they please, the world would run better if certain groups of potential customers and some producers of equipment and software would for instance control their enslavement to their big brother complex...

 

In theory if some universities and music schools do a few new piano sampling projects (18 layers, etc) and write some modeling software for organ and EPs and clavinets and trons it would be a huge dent. The momentum at the begining of the decade is lost. Likey because there isn't enough money in it unless the product is really good.

 

Reaktor and SynthEdit and SynthMaker seem to be slowing down in popularity. NI could make the Reaktor library available to Reaktor Player suers for distribution. That would be another step forward to spur some new ideas.

 

Why buy a synth or effect when you can create and dress your own Barbie?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being pretty sure there were some greater than average men (I think exclusively, but I don't necessarily prefer that) who were responsible for the early developments of sampling and some software engines and that the whole development as such has been significantly influenced by not too many people, it appears necessary to create proper leadership for these interesting subjects.

 

Probably the interest in the magic of sampling isn't the best idea on earth, but of course fun. The amount of money to do one "idols" show is probably enough to make some people who are good at it make quite some interesting progress, but neither in science nor in for instance the Unix computer world it has proven a good idea to give some school roosters in the province the freedom to define the future by latching onto yet another hype. Of course in the Open Source movement it is normal that all kinds of universities, R&D orgs, schools, clubs and what-else-have-you take part in the (re-)development of useful software, but at the moment it seems to me that is still a useful but not very efficient practice experience in the honourable subject of *democracy* than quite a lot of other things.

 

Theo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Theo, yes, really. You know this is not the first time you've had this reaction. No need to get defensive.

 

Fewer parenthetical asides, appropriate punctuation, and greater concision should help the rest of the English-speakers grasp what may be important points.

 

That said, operating systems: for a hardware device, I expect it to do whatever it's specified to do, and do it reliably. A feature tweak here and there is nice, but when I buy hardware, I don't tend to ask more of it than what's currently in the manual. It doesn't bother me if the manufacturer chooses to do new stuff with new hardware.

 

-John

 

 

 

 

I make software noises.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That said, operating systems: for a hardware device, I expect it to do whatever it's specified to do, and do it reliably. A feature tweak here and there is nice, but when I buy hardware, I don't tend to ask more of it than what's currently in the manual. It doesn't bother me if the manufacturer chooses to do new stuff with new hardware.

 

+1

 

Updates and new sounds are icing on the cake. I don't recall fussing over the lack of such things back in the day after I bought my JX-8P, ESQ-1, or D-50.

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My random thoughts -- we are finally in the end game on this stuff.... A $300 tablet and $500 of software will sound as good as a $5,000 Nord or Yamaha.

 

I believe that. But we're not there yet, and I'd bet we're still at least a couple/few years away from something usable.

 

I spent the weekend AB-ing the ipad2 garage band keys via a newly acquired Alesis iodock to the Nord Stage2 and C1 and VB3.

 

My assessment - the raw organ tones can get pretty close and the Leslie is actually pretty good but the interface (assignable midi channel, drawbars, even a volume pedal!) are a long ways away. The wurli, rhodes and acoustic pianos are not even in the same league. Yuck!

 

Still, it is pretty impressive for a $4.99 Ipad app. The Leslie sim beats that in my 2009 $2000 rompler, and even some 2011 releases!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My random thoughts -- we are finally in the end game on this stuff.... A $300 tablet and $500 of software will sound as good as a $5,000 Nord or Yamaha.

 

I believe that. But we're not there yet, and I'd bet we're still at least a couple/few years away from something usable.

 

I spent the weekend AB-ing the ipad2 garage band keys via a newly acquired Alesis iodock to the Nord Stage2 and C1 and VB3.

 

My assessment - the raw organ tones can get pretty close and the Leslie is actually pretty good but the interface (assignable midi channel, drawbars, even a volume pedal!) are a long ways away. The wurli, rhodes and acoustic pianos are not even in the same league. Yuck!

 

Still, it is pretty impressive for a $4.99 app. The Leslie sim beats that in my 2009 $2000 rompler, and even some 2011 releases!

 

The iPad 2 Garage Band Rock Organ has become a staple in the 2nd tier of my quick setup rig: Motif XF USB B to iPad USB A, via iPad camera adapter. Set the Motif output to USB, select my go-to Master with an external zone assigned for GB organ/internal assigned to a Motif lead synth Voice (my 'Walk of Life' setup), and I'm good to go. Even easier to set up with the Casio PX3 as a USB MIDI controller, for iPad or Receptor.

The touch screen drawbars and controls are not too ergonomic (?) in live use; makes me appreciate the LED's/buttons on my Nord Stage, circa 2006 :crazy:. But the sound, control, and rotor sim does beat the Motif organs, and most other romplers, workstations, etc.. (excepting the PC3, Kronos, and JP-80).

 

I'm encouraged by the new Kronos software releases, the emergence of more sound engines for the iPad (..am wanting to check out that iPad synth that Mike Martin posted about last week), and items like the iConnectMidi.

The earlier mention of Yamaha and Roland being the worst for upgrades does ring true, to a degree. It's good that Yamaha offers the Flash option for the Motif XF, but the Motif Racks have been a tad disappointing in terms of being a basically closed system (An XF rack with Flash, and other Motif front panel 'goodies' would be great; but I'm not holding my breath...). The Roland RD-700NX been, in my experience, the ultimate 'closed system' keyboard. Thankfully, SuperNatural is highly programmable, and the synth engine is fairly tweakable too; so far, so good. Still, it would be great to see Roland and Yamaha follow the upgradability shown currently by Korg (and in all fairness, Kurzweil and Nord) in their next generation keyboards.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And... I don't know any serious keyboardists who would "play" a tablet live onstage.

 

Yet.

 

I know someone posted a "concert" with people using iPads or iPods exclusively awhile ago that looked more comical than anything else.

 

As a supplemental sound source... I'm sure we'll see tablets onstage, but as your only axe? No way.

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I would have a problem running a tablet+controller setup. To be honest, it sounds much more lightweight than my already pretty light rig and compact as hell. Once the software is ready, I think it'll be a rapid invasion. People have already been using laptops on stage, so the trust is already there and the troubleshooting has happened. One good controller with a few solid knobs/sliders and the rest of the UI on the touchscreen. Solid, IMO.

 

The joke is when someone tries to play a guitar/bass or drums on a tablet. Our "instrument" is still there via the keys. They need the strings/skins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The joke is when someone tries to play a guitar/bass or drums on a tablet. Our "instrument" is still there via the keys. They need the strings/skins.

Check out midisticks...

 

http://www.midisticks.com/

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...