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Your Worst Bang for the Buck Keyboard/Synth That You...


Markyboard

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...That You Absolutely Love! I'm talking about the one that more than a few would think (if not actually say) "...that's crazy - for that kind of money you could get...."

 

Cross posting from the Behringer thread that inspired this:

 

If it has 6 voices and costs half a Prophet 6 or OB6. What then???

Then we see what it sounds like. And how well it's built. And how good it feels under the hand....

 

To me, those are pretty much the only things that matter. What an instrument costs is (largely) beside the point. It has been my experience that when an instrument feels and sounds right to someone, they frequently find a way to get it even if it costs more than other similar offerings.

 

dB

 

 

So my worst BftB synth has got to be a mono, in part because I've seen numerous posts over the years with the sentiment that you can always take a nice feature-laden poly and use it in mono. I've got 2:

 

Macbeth Elements- way over-priced according to many on one of the other popular synth forums, missing numerous CV points, pulse width modulation, patch memory, standard pitchbend/mod wheels, and no real keys. And Love Love Love this synth - both sound and form & function (especially the touch-plate keys). Maybe my favorite these days.

 

http://www.schneidersladen.de/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/400x400/040ec09b1e35df139433887a97daa66f/1/3/130396_1.jpg

 

Cwejman S1 Mk2: Bought this one in 2012. Again a mono that sounds so different from anything else I own and while it bleeds functionality, a modular for similar money would exceed its functionality for the same money. Only I'm not into modulars, they just take my brain too far to the left. But a semi modular where you can opt to patch stuff or not is my favorite.

 

sibjxquj4wqgvgmiqhll.jpg

 

So what's yours?

 

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Cwejman is among the most expensive in the Eurorack modular arena. I've have a few pieces. Luckily I bought used and got my money back for the pieces I sold.

 

Edit - (Changed my mind.)

 

Worst bang for the buck for me right now is the Yamaha Montage 7. With 2 synth engines providing a total of 256 polyphony, I assumed I could sit this on top of a nice 88 key hammer action controller and have a great setup. Not so with the crappy MIDI implementation of the Montage. It is not designed to be the main sound source of a stage setup. It's an island. In addition, no sequencer, no sequencer controls for working with a DAW. A modern keyboard in this price range should do much better at communicating with other keyboards or DAW. I'm really disappointed and wishing that I had bought a Kurzweil Forte 7 instead.

This post edited for speling.

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Cwejman is among the most expensive in the Eurorack modular arena. I've have a few pieces. Luckily I bought used and got my money back for the pieces I sold.

 

Edit - (Changed my mind.)

 

Worst bang for the buck for me right now is the Yamaha Montage 7. With 2 synth engines providing a total of 256 polyphony, I assumed I could sit this on top of a nice 88 key hammer action controller and have a great setup. Not so with the crappy MIDI implementation of the Montage. It is not designed to be the main sound source of a stage setup. It's an island. In addition, no sequencer, no sequencer controls for working with a DAW. A modern keyboard in this price range should do much better at communicating with other keyboards or DAW. I'm really disappointed and wishing that I had bought a Kurzweil Forte 7 instead.

 

While I agree with what you are saying, it is what it is. Pretty decent as a stand alone board or controller. Unfortunate on the rest. It does sound good, and the action is acceptable....

 

Montage 7, Mojo 61, PC-3, XK-3c Pro, Kronos 88, Hammond SK-1, Motif XF- 7, Hammond SK-2, Roland FR-1, FR-18, Hammond B3 - Blond, Hammond BV -Cherry
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Yamaha VL1 - 2 note polyphony. Unbelievable and I guess will not be improved by Yamaha.

$5000 at release. Still amazing.

Korg Kronos, Roland RD-88, Korg Kross, JP8000, MS2000, Sequential Pro One, Micromoog, Yamaha VL1, author of unrealBook for iPad.

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Yamaha VL1 - 2 note polyphony. Unbelievable and I guess will not be improved by Yamaha.

$5000 at release. Still amazing.

 

I worked in music retail when that thing came out ('95ish?), so I got to play with one quite a bit. Wow, fricking wow, even by today's standards.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

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Casio AX-Synth. About $1100 new. 128 voice polyphony -- but monotimbral. Absolutely useless as an extra sound module. I suspect it was intentionally crippled by Roland so as to not compete with other boxes.

 

Still, when I pick it up and play it as a "no string bass", people go nuts.

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Yamaha VL1 - 2 note polyphony. Unbelievable and I guess will not be improved by Yamaha.

$5000 at release. Still amazing.

 

This one escaped my RADAR. Not sure why but I don't think I ever laid my hands on one. Maybe they were never on retailer's floors? :idk

 

I sure would love to check it out now.

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Yamaha VL1 - 2 note polyphony. Unbelievable and I guess will not be improved by Yamaha.

$5000 at release. Still amazing.

 

This one escaped my RADAR. Not sure why but I don't think I ever laid my hands on one. Maybe they were never on retailer's floors? :idk

 

I sure would love to check it out now.

 

The VL1 was definitely fun.....never owned on but got to mess with it on a number of occasions ...

Montage 7, Mojo 61, PC-3, XK-3c Pro, Kronos 88, Hammond SK-1, Motif XF- 7, Hammond SK-2, Roland FR-1, FR-18, Hammond B3 - Blond, Hammond BV -Cherry
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The Kawai K5 additive synth. Weighed two tons, had a laughable, non-backlit display, offered a mere 256 partials and a keyboard that was like playing planks. I believe Chickenhead Systems offered a program that would convert Akai sampler data into the nearest equivalent the K5 could muster, but that was pre-computer for me. The base patch set was tantalizing in a few spots, but it was a total misstep for a newbie who was only three steps along with analog. Its not a slam, either, as Akai has made some great synths. This one was simply a bit ahead of its time and way ahead of MINE! :hitt:

 

The smart money for really useful additive now goes to NI's Razor and Prism. They both offer smart bridges between the massive detail of additive and analog grab-ability. There are other places to go if you really WANT to hand-pick your own partials at great length, but these are ideal for hands-on players. You also now have many resources for additive/FM/wavetable-y waves in numerous synths. That route is obviously more static than an evolving Razor patch, but its my right as an American to possess the glassy pads of my choice.

 

 

Lab Mode splits between contemplative work and furious experiments.
Both of which require you to stay the hell away from everyone else.
This is a feature, not a bug.
Kraftwerk’s studio lab, Kling Klang,
 didn’t even have a working phone in it.
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>>>> Worst bang for the buck for me right now is the Yamaha Montage 7. With 2 synth engines providing a total of 256 polyphony, I assumed I could sit this on top of a nice 88 key hammer action controller and have a great setup. Not so with the crappy MIDI implementation of the Montage. It is not designed to be the main sound source of a stage setup. It's an island. In addition, no sequencer, no sequencer controls for working with a DAW. A modern keyboard in this price range should do much better at communicating with other keyboards or DAW. I'm really disappointed and wishing that I had bought a Kurzweil Forte 7 instead. <<<<

 

Do you ever get the feeling that many synth manufacturers never ask actual musicians to do a real-world beta test before committing to the production version? By now, I would think that certain things would be well-known as either highly-sought or much-hated. I remain baffled when I see a synth design decision so bad, even my dog would know better and he's only a vocalist. :rolleyes:

 

 

Lab Mode splits between contemplative work and furious experiments.
Both of which require you to stay the hell away from everyone else.
This is a feature, not a bug.
Kraftwerk’s studio lab, Kling Klang,
 didn’t even have a working phone in it.
       ~ Warren Ellis

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Do you ever get the feeling that many synth manufacturers never ask actual musicians to do a real-world beta test before committing to the production version? By now, I would think that certain things would be well-known as either highly-sought or much-hated. I remain baffled when I see a synth design decision so bad, even my dog would know better and he's only a vocalist. :rolleyes:

 

Today´s "real" musicians are the cohortes of DJs, bedroom producers and "sounddesigners" producing noises being triggered by 1 finger and using arpeggiators and step sequencers to make a sound alive and move.

 

That´s why we see mini-keys, 2-4 oct keyranges, crappy actions, 4-voice analog synths and/or 4-voice DSP re-issues of former analog synths and so on.

 

Always when watching demos of Yamaha Montage, it appeared to me to be for the EDM musician.

 

It can do more and they COULD do a better MIDI implementation, but they don´t have to.

They want to sell MANY items and what we here understand a real musician is, is the minority.

 

A.C.

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Good point A.C. I think more than ever one should not assume that just because the previous version/product line had a particular capability implies the next one will carry that forward. You have to research this stuff, especially when laying down the heavy dollars.

 

But...this thread wasn't intended to be about disappointments or gripes (plenty of other threads about that). It supposed to be more about buying into known limitations maybe at a significantly higher than expected price because what the synth/keyboard does offer is a must have. Apologies if I wasn't clear.

 

IMO The VL1 is a very good example. :thu:

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... It supposed to be more about buying into known limitations maybe at a significantly higher than expected price because what the synth/keyboard does offer is a must have. ...

 

My thought here is "256 polyphony restricted to a single keyboard." Total overkill if you cannot drive some of those voices from other keyboards. I do hope that in the future they will update setups that they add a field for each part indicating K for keyboard or 1-16 for MIDI channel. They did market this as the evolution of the Motif.

This post edited for speling.

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