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have you stopped upgrading your gear?


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anyone out there with endorsement offers, or who can afford to continually upgrade their rig to the latest offering, who decided to get off the upgrade train? I was offered the use of both a yamaha cp-1, and a Roland V-piano but have continued to use a yamaha cp-300 despite that instrument being well over 6 years old. Has hardware technology reached a level where the improvements in sound are incremental at best? Some manufacturers latest models contain the exact same sound engine as previous generations with only added features. Microkorg vs microkorg xl, pc 3x vs pck, hammond xk-3c vs the new sk the list goes on....yes added features, but sound quality? Are the new ones really that much better sounding to justify upgrading? Why does it seem that keyboard manufacturers are simply offering souped up versions of their older models? What does that imply? Have we reached a digital plateau when it comes to hardware instruments?
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Some manufacturers latest models contain th exact same sound engine as previous generations with only added features.

People sometimes do upgrade because they want the features. Or better portability, or a nicer action... it's never just been about sound quality.

 

Microkorg vs microkorg xl

Actually, those two happen to have different sound engines.

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I don't seem to be doing much in terms of upgrading instruments. Once I find a board that is meeting my needs sonically - and is functioning reliably in terms of the keybed, buttons and sliders - I tend to stick with it.

 

I am however, constantly making smaller purchases in the name of "rig improvement" (whether thats to simplify setup, reduce weight, improve aesthetics (i.e., with custom cabling). Expand the scope to include my PA - and it's more of the same. Not much in terms of "big ticket" upgrades - but lots of maintenance $$ being spent.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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I was offered the use of both a yamaha cp-1, and a Roland V-piano but have continued to use a yamaha cp-300 despite that instrument being well over 6 years old. Has hardware technology reached a level where the improvements in sound are incremental at best?

 

It's funny you mention this particular upgrade, because to my mind (and hands/ears) the shift from samples to physical models IS a big change, and probably one of the most significant changes in digital piano technology in years. Maybe sample-based stage pianos had reached a plateau (as you say) some years back, but now suddenly stage pianos are moving into something new and I think it's great.

 

I play Pianoteq 3 these days and it's kind of spoiled me, I immediately feel more constrained on sampled digital pianos, while the one time I've tried a CP-1 I thought it was fantastic, perhaps even better than Pianoteq, but I like my rig and I've invested too much into software to leave it (I liked the V-Piano a lot less than the CP-1, admittedly).

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Stop upgrading? Like, you mean, when we die? :laugh:

 

I confess I don't upgrade often. My first piano was a CP70, in 1980. My next was an MR76, in 1997, and I think it's nearly as good as today's best in its price category (under $2K). But I do plan to upgrade soon since its keys are failing (too many blues jams!)

 

The speed of advances is definitely slowing down a bit; the changes in the mid-to-late 90's through say 2005 were really significant, and future improvements won't be nearly so radical. But there is still a lot of room for improvement, and a LOT of room for form-factor improvements and price reduction -- getting today's top sounds at a fraction of the price and weight, with other features (like quality organ emulations or analog synthesis etc, like the Nord Stage).

 

In any case, I doubt I'll stop upgrading until I stop playing. However, I hope I can continue to get gear that suits my needs for more than a decade. I suppose that means I have two or three upgrade cycles left! :laugh:

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My upgrade cycle seems to be about 10 years. In between that I seem to do a lot of "downgrading." Been buying old synths that I always wanted to play. Don't need them, but having a blast and prices are great these days.

 

Mark

"Think Pink Floyd are whiny old men? No Problem. Turn em off and enjoy the Miley Cyrus remix featuring Pitbull." - Cygnus64

 

Life is shorter than you think...make it count.

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I would upgrade, but can't really afford it. Now I'm doing little workarounds to try and get more out of my gear.

 

What I need is more functionality (assignable outputs for LHB, better split/layer/zone functionality) But for now, I'm using a little Boss A/B switch on my MM8, allowing me to toggle outputs when I go from playing LHB to playing synth/strings/whatever - channel A on the switch goes to my keys submixer, while channel B goes directly to FOH, so it can be leveled and EQ'd separately from my keys.

 

I'm thinking of doing the same thing on both my RS-5 and my CP33, but it might get to be too much setup for each song; occasionally I may forget to toggle the switches. Worst case is the sound still goes out front, but may be coming from the wrong channel, so levels and EQ might be out of whack.

 

Second thing I'm wanting to do is possibly add an outboard FX unit to spice up my sounds a bit, while allowing me to easily switch FX on and off on the fly.

 

I wanted a better organ sound, but couldn't afford a new clonewheel, so I purchased VB3 and an audio interface, and now I use that live. Upgrade in sound :) , pain-in-the-ass setup. :( . $200 or so for an incredible Hammond sound, instead of $2000 for a new clonewheel, though.

 

As noted in my sig, I use 4 boards live. I may be able to get down to three, still being able to play what I want to play on each song, if my boards had assignable outputs and better zone/split/layer/FX functionality. But it's too damn much $$$ to upgrade 3 boards, so I have to do little workarounds here and there.

 

 

Stuff and things.
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Upgrading has definitely slowed down recently, as I start to think "will all the hassle of buying, selling, sorting cases, reading manuals, programming etc REALLY make that much difference."

 

And my previous evolutionary path of Roland upgrades (JV1010 to XV3080 to Fantom Xa, often keeping the same expansion cards) seems to have ground to a halt...

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About 2 years ago I did a complete overhaul, so now I'm good for the bread N butter. I've gone a little boutique-ish in the last few months, but I think I'm almost done.

Emails for software upgrades get flushed on receipt.

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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I would upgrade, but can't really afford it. Now I'm doing little workarounds to try and get more out of my gear.

 

Same with me. My graphic design & sign business has hit an all-time low, so $$$ is tight.

 

On the brighter side, I'm spending more time with my Motif XS, which wasn't getting much use. When I bought it, I wasn't too excited with its less-than-friendly user interface, but things have improved and I've come up with some great new sounds.

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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I was offered the use of both a yamaha cp-1, and a Roland V-piano but have continued to use a yamaha cp-300 despite that instrument being well over 6 years old. Has hardware technology reached a level where the improvements in sound are incremental at best?

 

It's funny you mention this particular upgrade, because to my mind (and hands/ears) the shift from samples to physical models IS a big change, and probably one of the most significant changes in digital piano technology in years. Maybe sample-based stage pianos had reached a plateau (as you say) some years back, but now suddenly stage pianos are moving into something new and I think it's great.

 

I play Pianoteq 3 these days and it's kind of spoiled me, I immediately feel more constrained on sampled digital pianos, while the one time I've tried a CP-1 I thought it was fantastic, perhaps even better than Pianoteq, but I like my rig and I've invested too much into software to leave it (I liked the V-Piano a lot less than the CP-1, admittedly).

I just cant seem to appreciate the trend of now calling units "modeling" as opposed to "sampling". I understand there is a certain amount of features that these so called "modeled" units have over sampled DPs. But I just dont hear noticeable superior sound out of these boards.

 

Feel... that's a different story.... V-piano or CP1 to my fingers feels excellent.

-Greg

Motif XS8, MOXF8, Hammond XK1c, Vent

Rhodes Mark II 88 suitcase, Yamaha P255

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After owning the Roland RD-700 and a Yamaha CP-33, I sold both and settled on a Kurweil SP2X and Kurweil PC1SE. One stays at a private club where I play (PC1SE) and one travels when I perform with a big band that I perform with (SP2X). Soon thereafter, I purchased the Lounge Lizard EP3 which I absolutely love. I predict that I will soon be purchasing the Pianoteq 3 as I have played it on several occasions and I like it more every time I play it. I think the only thing that would convince me to upgrade would be if a manufacturer created a board that had the Lounge Lizard and Pianoteq engines built in so that I would not have to schlepp a laptop. Being that my needs are for organ, acoustic piano, and electric pianos, I don't need all the superfluous stuff that comes packed in the latest workstations. What I need is a decent weighted action and extremely playable piano sounds.

Yamaha CP-73, Hammond SK Pro 73, Yamaha MODX 7, Roland Fantom 06, Roland VK-8M, Yamaha FS1R

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To make sure I have answered the question, yes, for the large part I have stopped upgrading my gear. I much prefer to play than to look at catalogs and websites comparing the latest gear. I haven't really heard any compelling romplers lately. Until you get into modelling, there is very little to be gained from any new romplers, at least to my ears. I really think sampling has gone about as far as it can.

Yamaha CP-73, Hammond SK Pro 73, Yamaha MODX 7, Roland Fantom 06, Roland VK-8M, Yamaha FS1R

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Most of my upgrading is motivated by what SpaceNorman calls "rig improvement." For gigging (which is mostly what I do, as opposed to studio), I don't feel like I have to have the absolute best sounds achievable. And the fact is that most keyboards you buy nowadays sound pretty darn good. What really improves my gigging life is keyboard functionality and interface. Also, I'm very big on touch-to-sound connectivity -- the degree to which a keyboard feels like a real instrument.

 

As my signature indicates, I've done alot of upgrading recently. I'm done, for the forseeable future. There should be nothing that I would be called on to do in the next few years that I can't get done with my current gear. But there is always the possibility that something will come along that hits a strong chord of inspiration. How do you put a price on inspiration?

 

I think there's a huge difference between the CP5 and the CP300. The CP300 still sounds very good to my ears, but the CP5 takes the digital piano to a different level of playability. I almost sold it recently. In retrospect, I'm not even sure why. I think it was just a feeling that I should have fewer keyboards. But I'm glad I didn't.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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I can relate to your XS statement. GAS is just so impulsive...I'm probably not even using 50% of the capabilities of my XS (that I've had 3 years now) yet my eye wanders. Just last week I used performance mode for the first time at a show...what a concept.

 

So I'm standing pat with my current keys lineup, but will be looking at things like in-ear monitors, a k10 and maybe a nice guitar.

Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
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It's certainly slowing down, propelled by the factor Adan refers to, i.e. living with the compromises. However, now I've found I can live with the pianos, there's a big part of me looking at selling the NP88 and Kurzweil and replacing both with an NS2. Hmm. Maybe I'm not done just yet... :o

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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anyone out there who can afford to continually upgrade their rig to the latest offering, who decided to get off the upgrade train?
+1 for the topic.

 

After 10 years I finally upgraded my keys because of two reasons: 1) I was having trouble getting parts; 2) My old stuff was HEAVY. New lines of products (keyboards, amps, speakers) have really gotten the weight down. This will be my last upgrade. I kinda agree that the sound quality factor is incremental at this point. Acoustic/electric pianos are mostly VG as well as the B3 clones; many new releases are typically incremental from a sound quality point of view. Example: Is it REALLY necessary to purchase an SK1 if you already have an XK3C? From a sound quality perspective, how much better is the leslie in the SK1 over the XK3C? how much better is the tonal quality. Is it that much better that it triggers a buy decision? Many people who have a XK3/XK3C have purchased a Vent so the incremental leslie improvement is lost since the SK1 leslie isn't better than the Vent and even if it was better is it so much better that it justifies an SK1 purchase? Probably not. However a 15 lb. clone vs. a 40 lb clone might be a "buy" triggering event if you are a road warrior and have to load equipment in and out of a car alot. There are a number of people in the forum who purchase because they have the money to burn and just have to have the latest and greatest.

 

Ok, now that I got that out, let the bickering begin ....

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Dyin Breed Band

Exit 93 Band

 

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I wanted to replace my Kawai MP-5 but I had a chance to hear it out front last Saturday. What came out of the PA sounded pretty good. Though I think could ditch my whole rack if I went to something like a S90XS or one of those other monster Swiss army knife boards.

"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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I spent close to $5000 in gear upgrades over the last year, but no hardware keyboards. Dedicated music computer, software, sound system stuff.

 

Those are the kinds of things that excite me more today than another hardware keyboard would. I played the Kronos a couple of weeks ago. Nice board? Yeah no doubt about it. Did it blow me away?

 

Well... as I said it's a nice board and I'll leave it at that.

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I can relate to your XS statement. GAS is just so impulsive...I'm probably not even using 50% of the capabilities of my XS (that I've had 3 years now) yet my eye wanders. Just last week I used performance mode for the first time at a show...what a concept.

 

I use Performance mode most of the time since single Voices weren't always cutting through when playing live.

 

I'm more used to how my Triton and M3 sound--they have a hotter signal and sit better in the mix, at least to my ears. Most of the time I use Combi mode with the Korg keyboards, so it made sense to use Performance mode with the XS. You can stack up some great piano and organ sounds that way... plus I've created some nice combinations of EP's & pads.

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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At some point, I'd come to realize that I had been chasing the proverbial perfect sound, perfect keyboard (major GAS). As years passed, and I worked on releasing my expectations of perfection from myself and others, including keyboards. DUH!

 

The most practical way to avoid "upgrading", has been to "look, but don't touch", just like I'd tell my wife about what I'd do with the beautiful babes at gigs. After awhile, I didn't even bother to look...

 

...at new keyboards

Yamaha C2, Yamaha MODX7, Hammond SK1, Hammond XK-5 Heritage Pro System, Korg Kronos 2 61, Yamaha CP4, Kurzweil PC4-7, Nord Stage 3 73, Nord Wave 2, QSC 8.2, Motion Sound KP 210S,  Key Largo, etc…yeah I have too much…

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