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Nord worth the price of admission?


simajanpa

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I also had the VK8m and that organ is good but not great and I'd like to find great at this point.

I wouldn't let Roland's less than state-of-the-art organ put you off the VR700. You can put a Ventilator or Burn on it to greatly improve it.

 

I took the Hammond SK1-73 off the table because of the lack of a pitch & mod device. And considered the Numa organ because it had them.

I like the Numa, but one limitation that is not immediately obvious about it is that it is really designed to work in two modes... as 61-key organ and a 73-key MIDI controller. There is a third mode that ostensibly lets you combine the two, but it has some pretty significant limitations... like you only have access to 61 keys in that mode, and you can't use the mod wheel for your MIDI controlled sound without changing your leslie speed. It's nice that the mode is there at all, for the occasional time it may come in useful, but I think that for all intents and purposes, you should really think of it as either an organ OR a MIDI controller at any given time, and generally don't think about splitting or layering its internal organ sound with any external sound, it just isn't very well designed for that. Just a head's-up...

 

Thanks for the info on this, but I think I could live with it's short comings IF I was go that route.

 

And I really don't care for the idea of having to spend more $

for a Leslie sim. My VK8m had the SoundSide upgrade and it sounded better than the VR-760.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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So it's quite obvious that I need to get out there and try thinks out. Maybe a train trip to NYC would do the trick.

 

Anybody out there know what's left for stores in the Big Apple that carry a large assortment of brands that I can sample?

 

Is Mannys still there?

Are there any others that would make it a worth while trip?

 

Thanks

Paul

 

 

 

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... Nord family of synths really warrant the high price tag?

 

I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds. Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

 

At this point in my life, I only plinker at home alone, and jam

once or twice a month with friends. (Blues/Classic Rock)

 

I play more piano than organ, but always on a synth keybed.

 

I'm not a pianist or a Jazz guy, just an old retired musician of 63, lusting for the sounds I used to get from the REAL instruments I played in bands in my much younger days.

 

I know I have to go out and touch these boards, but that's very difficult here in little Rhode Island, even most of the larger Boston stores don't carry these synths.

 

I'm actually going to try and answer your original question :)

 

You sound a bit like me. Long story short, if I were you I'd take a close look at the Nord Electro 4 SW73 or the Electro 4D. Unlike me, you seem to be OK playing APs and EPs on a non-weighted keyboard (drives me nuts, but hey), so there's your answer.

 

You'd get some very nice sampled acoustic pianos, some nice rhodes and wurlies, plus a wonderful set of organ sims: Hammond, Vox, Farfisa, etc. Perfect for the sounds of the 50s, 60s and 70s, among other things.

 

Regarding sound, playability, etc. I wouldn't dare claim "best" in fear of triggering a flame war, but it's safe to say that none of the sounds are slouches, nor is the keybed feel.

 

As mentioned elsewhere, Nord has this great library when you can download all manner of sampled pianos, exotic synths, etc. which has proven to be very useful. In particular, the horn samples are finding their way into all sorts of numbers from that period :)

 

Bias alert: I have gravitated to an all-Nord setup over the years. Plenty of great keyboards out there (to each his own), but I use a combination of three different Nords depending on the gig: a Nord Piano 2, a Nord Electro 4D or a Stage 2 with hammer action.

 

Love my Nords -- for me they're worth every penny, since I don't go looking for something better the next month.

 

The Stage is a riot of functionality, layering, splits, synths, samples, etc. -- lots of fun when doing the orchestral thing or playing modern songs. But if I'm only doing blues, jazz, roots rock, country, motown, etc. it's all overkill, and I go back to two single-purpose boards: piano and organ.

 

It seems you can get all of what you want from a modern Electro without stepping up to the Stage, based on what you wrote. Unlike you, I want an acoustic piano weight for APs and EPs, and a B3 feel for the B3.

 

You won't be able to layer or split with the Electros: you'd either be playing a piano, or an organ, but not both. I would find that limiting, hence I use two boards. Layering and splitting on the Stage can be a bit distracting unless I'm paying close attention.

 

The 4D is probably a bit small for you (61 keys) but it has B3-like sliders vs buttons, and I found the compact size less limiting than I would have thought. If you're willing to scrounge around a bit on eBay, you can get the previous Electro 3 for a bit of a discount (but not much) and save a few $$$.

 

I live near you in Mass, and -- you're right -- there is nowhere you can go try these boards unless you're willing to schlep down to NYC. I bought mine largely on faith and return privileges. Haven't sent one back yet.

 

And when you go looking for amplification, may I suggest you consider one or two QSC K10 amongst your other choices? Getting the amplification right took me a long time ...

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If you don't play LHB, I'd get a Nord Stage 73 and be done with it. Assuming you connect with the action, it seems to meet all of your needs. There's a reason these keyboards are so coveted, and as Nord Stage (classic) owner playing in a classic rock band, the extra $$$ has been worth it....and then some. You may find a keyboard with better a piano, organ, and synth, but the Nord Stage has the higher (combined) average score.

 

I'll echo the suggestion to order one from a retailer with a generous return policy. That way, you can spend some time with it in your home, using your sound reinforcement, etc. I initially didn't connect with the Stage, but it is so "tweakable" with so many options available for free download (e.g., piano) you are bound to find something that works for you. Good luck!

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

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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If you don't play LHB, I'd get a Nord Stage 73 and be done with it. Assuming you connect with the action, it seems to meet all of your needs. There's a reason these keyboards are so coveted, and as Nord Stage (classic) owner playing in a classic rock band, the extra $$$ has been worth it....and then some. You may find a keyboard with better a piano, organ, and synth, but the Nord Stage has the higher (combined) average score.

 

+1

 

If you do a search on ebay, you can get a new full-warranty b-stock model for 2800-3000 from a variety of places...which isn't all that bad. I got my Stage 2 88 new for 3300 (compared to 4200 at most standard retailers). Although the Nords are a tad expensive, those prices don't look all that bad once you add up everything you are getting.

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Get the Stage, you won't regret it. I have an original 73 compact and it's the perfect compliment to my S70XS and is a great single board for blues jams and projects that lean towards the sounds you require.

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If you don't play LHB, I'd get a Nord Stage 73 and be done with it. Assuming you connect with the action, it seems to meet all of your needs. There's a reason these keyboards are so coveted, and as Nord Stage (classic) owner playing in a classic rock band, the extra $$$ has been worth it....and then some. You may find a keyboard with better a piano, organ, and synth, but the Nord Stage has the higher (combined) average score.

 

+1

 

If you do a search on ebay, you can get a new full-warranty b-stock model for 2800-3000 from a variety of places...which isn't all that bad. I got my Stage 2 88 new for 3300 (compared to 4200 at most standard retailers). Although the Nords are a tad expensive, those prices don't look all that bad once you add up everything you are getting.

 

BTW, what exactly does B-stock mean?

 

Paul

 

 

 

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Oh it was fine for organ, you just couldn't get it to "connect"

with most other sounds. I did like the in between feel of the keybed, not the player to sound connection. Perhaps I'm not stating my case fully. I want whatever keybed I'm playing to respond to my playing and connect me with the instrument.

You know it's not only about the tone but how a board talks back to you while playing it. I realize that a weighted action will be nicer for piano sounds but I am not used to that action and am willing to give it up for good synth action. I have never owned a board with weighted action out of the dozens I've had through the years.

If you can give some examples of synth action boards you've had over the years that you felt did connect for you on playing piano, that might help in people's suggestions.

 

And I really don't care for the idea of having to spend more $

for a Leslie sim.

A VR-700 plus a Burn/Vent is far cheaper than a Nord Stage 2. So in total, you'd be spending less money, not more.

 

Is Mannys still there?

Are there any others that would make it a worth while trip?

Manny's was bough by Sam Ash, who basically eventually took over the whole block. And now they've moved, I haven't been to the new location yet. But the old one had a great selection, there wasn't much you couldn't find there. There's also a Guitar Center on 14th street or thereabouts, which also has a decent selection, not as much as Ash, but might fill in the occasional gap.

 

And getting back to the weighted actions, spend some time playing them as well. Most of us find that having a piano-style and synth-style action on two boards is far preferable to playing both from a single board, and there are other advantages as well. And in the Nord Stage 2 budget, it's not impossible that you might find such a pair of boards that will fill your needs better than any one board.

 

Also, with a second board in the picture, it will not be such a limitation to have only 61 on your organ board, which opens up more possibilities. And with MIDI, you could also re-route and combine the functions of the two boards in various ways. So you could be okay with an organ board without pitch/mod controls if your weighted board had them, or with a weighted board that didn't quite have an EP sound you liked if your organ board had them.

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. ;-)

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If you don't play LHB, I'd get a Nord Stage 73 and be done with it. Assuming you connect with the action, it seems to meet all of your needs. There's a reason these keyboards are so coveted, and as Nord Stage (classic) owner playing in a classic rock band, the extra $$$ has been worth it....and then some. You may find a keyboard with better a piano, organ, and synth, but the Nord Stage has the higher (combined) average score.

 

+1

 

If you do a search on ebay, you can get a new full-warranty b-stock model for 2800-3000 from a variety of places...which isn't all that bad. I got my Stage 2 88 new for 3300 (compared to 4200 at most standard retailers). Although the Nords are a tad expensive, those prices don't look all that bad once you add up everything you are getting.

 

BTW, what exactly does B-stock mean?

 

Paul

 

This is where it gets a bit tricky. I always thought that B-stock was a unit with minor cosmetic blemishes that came from the factory. These are often referred to as "Factory B-Stock". But sometimes it is applied to open-box items, factory refurbished units, damaged packaging, etc. I think the important thing is to see how the seller defines B-stock, ask exactly why it is classified as b-stock, make sure it has a full warranty and that there is a reasonable return policy. Typically, the detailed description on E-bay will tell you why it is b-stock...but you can always email the seller if not.

 

I've bought many B-stock units over the years. Some have had minor blemishes, but many have had nothing visibly wrong with them. I'm sure there are occasionally bad transactions (as with anything) but I've never had a problem.

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Oh it was fine for organ, you just couldn't get it to "connect"

with most other sounds. I did like the in between feel of the keybed, not the player to sound connection. Perhaps I'm not stating my case fully. I want whatever keybed I'm playing to respond to my playing and connect me with the instrument.

You know it's not only about the tone but how a board talks back to you while playing it. I realize that a weighted action will be nicer for piano sounds but I am not used to that action and am willing to give it up for good synth action. I have never owned a board with weighted action out of the dozens I've had through the years.

If you can give some examples of synth action boards you've had over the years that you felt did connect for you on playing piano, that might help in people's suggestions.

 

And I really don't care for the idea of having to spend more $

for a Leslie sim.

A VR-700 plus a Burn/Vent is far cheaper than a Nord Stage 2. So in total, you'd be spending less money, not more.

 

Is Mannys still there?

Are there any others that would make it a worth while trip?

Manny's was bough by Sam Ash, who basically eventually took over the whole block. And now they've moved, I haven't been to the new location yet. But the old one had a great selection, there wasn't much you couldn't find there. There's also a Guitar Center on 14th street or thereabouts, which also has a decent selection, not as much as Ash, but might fill in the occasional gap.

 

And getting back to the weighted actions, spend some time playing them as well. Most of us find that having a piano-style and synth-style action on two boards is far preferable to playing both from a single board, and there are other advantages as well. And in the Nord Stage 2 budget, it's not impossible that you might find such a pair of boards that will fill your needs better than any one board.

 

Also, with a second board in the picture, it will not be such a limitation to have only 61 on your organ board, which opens up more possibilities. And with MIDI, you could also re-route and combine the functions of the two boards in various ways. So you could be okay with an organ board without pitch/mod controls if your weighted board had them, or with a weighted board that didn't quite have an EP sound you liked if your organ board had them.

 

Ah yes, another small fish gets swallowed by the bigger fish.

Not surprised there. So Sam Ash and GC in NYC, sounds like that road trip I spoke of before.

 

As far as two boards go, I only have space for one keyboard...that's why I was mentioning modules to compliment my main board.

 

As I said before I have a Kronos 61 that I probably will keep because it's nice to have and I got it new and for a very good price. That said I still don't think the sounds of the Kronos respond anywhere as well as when I'm MIDI'd up to my Yamaha XS rack. The Yamaha sounds just play better. So it's not that I dislike the feel of this or that keyboard it's in the overall playing experience. If my tired old memory serves me right, I believe any of the older Korg synths I had felt better and connected better than most of todays boards. Some old boards: O1w/fd, M1, T3,i3, all the Tritons, Roland XP80, Motif es7.

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd sell my XS rack and maybe go for a Yamaha XF7, I have no doubt that that would be a nice playable board.

 

Well it's time to stop the madness in me and get my A$$ down to NYC and play all these contenders for myself.

 

Thanks everyone for your input.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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....BTW, what exactly does B-stock mean?

 

Paul

 

B-stock refers to a item that's been out of the box - possibly used as a floor demo, manufacturer's demo, or it may be a customer return. If there is any question about condition or playability - which happens on occasion - the unit is refurbished to factory spec and sold with a full warranty. My Yamaha S90XS and Nord Stage 2, 76 were B-Stock; both appeared at my door in mint condition.

 

Paul, while it can't hurt to try out an Electro model when you take your road trip, there are a couple of things you stated that point toward a Stage 2, 76 being a stronger choice: the importance of having pitch/mod controls, and that you are a piano player who likes to 'connect' with the instrument. The basic Electro and Stage 2 73 keyboards have an organ style, waterfall action; though with Nord's velocity implementation the keys are weight scaled - depending on organ or piano sound selection - to provide the best feel for playing. I'm not 100% certain that the Roland VR-700's waterfall action affords the same function, but I believe that it does. Still, having played piano from both the Nord and Roland waterfall actions, I prefer the piano style action as found on the Stage 2, 76 and 88 key models.

 

Overall the Stage 2's sounds and layout fit well to your wish list. The front panel layout is optimized for sound control, and effect and tone editing; plus there is a synth engine with lots of knobs and buttons. It's very quick to get around, and the manual - when needed - is excellent.

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having played piano from both the Nord and Roland waterfall actions, I prefer the piano style action as found on the Stage 2, 76 and 88 key models.

Yes. In action playability, I'd rank them this way:

 

For piano:

Nord Stage 2-76/88, then VR700, then Nord Stage 2-73.

 

For organ:

VR-700, then NS2-73, then NS2-76/88.

 

But in most cases, I'd rather play organ on the NS2-76/88 than piano on the NS2-73. Especially with the OP being more piano-focussed than organ-focussed, I would definitely suggest he give those weighted Nords a try. And while clearly not ideal for organ, those weighted Nords are more playable for organ than most weighted actions are. (Though I thought the previous generation, i.e. Stage EX, was better in this respect.)

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But in most cases, I'd rather play organ on the NS2-76/88 than piano on the NS2-73. Especially with the OP being more piano-focussed than organ-focussed, I would definitely suggest he give those weighted Nords a try.

+1

 

I would have recommended the NS-76/88 as well, but the OP seems adamant about a non-weighted action.

 

....And while clearly not ideal for organ, those weighted Nords are more playable for organ than most weighted actions are. (Though I thought the previous generation, i.e. Stage EX, was better in this respect.)

I have the opposite experience with the Stage 88 classic action. I feel it is better for piano than the NS-2, with the NS-2 being better for organ.

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

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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I have the opposite experience with the Stage 88 classic action. I feel it is better for piano than the NS-2, with the NS-2 being better for organ.

Interesting! Just goes to show again how individual these judgements can be...

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. ;-)

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Now, once you add the possibility of a keyboard plus a module, of course you open up more options. (An iPad could be an auxiliary sounds source, too.) Which does point to the fact that you can always find way to upgrade the sounds. But you can't do anything about the feel of the action (or the travel weight), so maybe you want to focus on making sure you're happy with that on the board itself.

 

This is closest to my advice. First, find the board you want to play, that feels good to you, whether new or used. I found my second Alesis QS7.1 in an estate sale in like-new condition for $225.00. I love the synth action, as I love the synth action on my Fusion 6HD and the king of synth actions, the Roland A-70, with it's 'organ touch' action.

 

Once you find the board that makes your fingers happy, it is much cheaper to pair it with the sounds you want, whether it's a Nord rack, a Roland Integra, or a Motif rack.

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It sounds like I'm in the minority on the Stage 2 Compact/73 keybed for piano. I've gotten quite used to it. A lot of people don't like the sponginess of the action, but I find that it gives enough resistance that I can get decent velocity control, while still be light enough to play organ on.
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Dare I ask this question of you all, but do the Nord family of synths really warrant the high price tag?

I don't see to many of them ever for sale, so I gather current users love them, and won't part with them.

 

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds.

Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

 

At this point in my life, I only plinker at home alone, and jam

once or twice a month with friends. (Blues/Classic Rock)

 

I now have a Kronos 61 and a Yamaha XS rack, which I am going to keep....but I miss those extra keys.

 

At the moment I am thinking of a few different setups.

 

Numa+Korg M3m OR Korg M3-73+KeyB EXP module OR for the same price, a Nord Stage2 SW73.

 

I realize that the keybed of the Korg M3 is the same as my Kronos, which I find just Ok.

 

I play more piano than organ, but always on a synth keybed.

I'm not a pianist or a Jazz guy, just an old retired musician of 63, lusting for the sounds I used to get from the REAL instruments I played in bands in my much younger days.

 

I know I have to go out and touch these boards, but that's very difficult here in little Rhode Island, even most of the larger Boston stores don't carry these synths.

If money were no object, I guess I wouldn't be rambling on like this!

Anyway, with my reasonably high expectations, do you think the Nord could be my one and only?

 

Thanks

Paul

 

The more I think about this, the more practical it would be to have the KeyB EXP module for a truly portable organ.

 

So how would you rate the sound engine in the Nord Stage2 to the KeyB EXT sound. My guess would be the EXP is a step up from the Stage2 but is it really night and day or a subtle difference. If say the KeyB EXP=10 would the Nord Stage2=8 all things considered?

 

Thanks again

 

Paul

 

 

 

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So how would you rate the sound engine in the Nord Stage2 to the KeyB EXT sound. My guess would be the EXP is a step up from the Stage2 but is it really night and day or a subtle difference. If say the KeyB EXP=10 would the Nord Stage2=8 all things considered?

The KeyB should sound much like the Numa. At https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2533433/ I did a comparison of the Numa and the NS2. The big difference to me is in the sound of the internal leslie sim. If you use an external sim (i.e. the Burn as I did in that demo), I think the difference is negligible.

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. ;-)

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Dare I ask this question of you all, but do the Nord family of synths really warrant the high price tag?

I don't see to many of them ever for sale, so I gather current users love them, and won't part with them.

 

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds.

Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

 

At this point in my life, I only plinker at home alone, and jam

once or twice a month with friends. (Blues/Classic Rock)

 

I now have a Kronos 61 and a Yamaha XS rack, which I am going to keep....but I miss those extra keys.

 

At the moment I am thinking of a few different setups.

 

Numa+Korg M3m OR Korg M3-73+KeyB EXP module OR for the same price, a Nord Stage2 SW73.

 

I realize that the keybed of the Korg M3 is the same as my Kronos, which I find just Ok.

 

I play more piano than organ, but always on a synth keybed.

I'm not a pianist or a Jazz guy, just an old retired musician of 63, lusting for the sounds I used to get from the REAL instruments I played in bands in my much younger days.

 

I know I have to go out and touch these boards, but that's very difficult here in little Rhode Island, even most of the larger Boston stores don't carry these synths.

If money were no object, I guess I wouldn't be rambling on like this!

Anyway, with my reasonably high expectations, do you think the Nord could be my one and only?

 

Thanks

Paul

 

The more I think about this, the more practical it would be to have the KeyB EXP module for a truly portable organ.

 

So how would you rate the sound engine in the Nord Stage2 to the KeyB EXT sound. My guess would be the EXP is a step up from the Stage2 but is it really night and day or a subtle difference. If say the KeyB EXP=10 would the Nord Stage2=8 all things considered?

 

Thanks again

 

Paul

 

So I thought I'd send out a quick update.

I took a ride today up the GC in Boston and tried the Nords that where there. I was told that there was a Stage2 SW73 to try on the floor but of course there wasn't. Even though I called twice to check that there was, they only had the Electro4D and Electro4 SW73.

Anyway I figure the action is the same on both the Stage SW73 and the NE4 SW73 so at least I got to "feel" the action of the thing. Well I didn't really care for it, I thought it was too stiff. Yes I maybe could get used to it, but that's not what I want to do. Plus I didn't think I would care about the lack of drawbars, but I did. Enter the SK1 that was sitting just above the two Nords. Now THAT felt great to me. It also sounded (organ) to me quite a bit better all around than the NE4D.

If the Hammond had Pitch and Mod controls my search would be over. So I will not be getting a Nord Stage2 but I still am up in the air on what to get.

IF I can find the room in my home setup, my new rig might be: PX5s+SK1 OR PX5s+Numa I know I said that I don't want weighted action, but the PX5s

was very light to the touch, so I think I could use it for piano stuff and not kill my hands.

 

The quest continues.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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my new rig might be: PX5s+SK1 OR PX5s+Numa

Either would be a very nice setup. SK1 would give you some alternate Piano/Rhodes/Wurly sounds you might like, better MIDI controller functions (i.e. the ability to set up and store 3-way splits between internal and external sounds), more organ sound customizability, better manufacturer support, visual display of the organ preset registrations, and if you go with the 61, a lighter and more compact box. Numa gives you the pitch/mod wheels and, when not playing its organ, the 73-key C-to-C keyspan (which I find better than the SK1's 73), plus many people feel it has the better organ sound (often mentioning the C/V and/or the rotary sim). But you've heard the SK1 and know you like its sound, so it's a good bet you'd be happy with the sonics whichever way you go.

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. ;-)

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I usually like to know how something has played out for someone.

So if you care to read this, I will share what I have done.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I finally got to a GC that had the Nord and Hammond to try. Also the PX5s

 

Didn't care for the Nord and loved the Hammond. Still wanted something more than the Hammond for drums, synth, and the like.

Decided that I still couldn't handle playing on a real weighted action keybed, so the Casio was out too.

 

Final outcome was the purchase of an SK1-73 and Korg M3-73.

I reconfigured my home studio space to accept two keyboards.

One board just wasn't going to do it for me.

 

Now I just have to sell the Kronos 61, and I'll be able to finish paying for this splurge.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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How about a vr09, pitch and mod paddle, arguably the best synth,high-quality other instrument sounds, drawbar/transistor organ, 12 lbs, less than $1000.00.

 

Had a Roland VK8m and two Vr760s, wasn't going there again.

I am done buying for the moment :)

 

Final outcome was the purchase of an SK1-73 and Korg M3-73.

I reconfigured my home studio space to accept two keyboards.

One board just wasn't going to do it for me.

 

Now I just have to sell the Kronos 61, and I'll be able to finish paying for this splurge.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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