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Selecting a church keyboard


Synthoid

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Some of you may recall a thread I started last year about the Kronos I was hoping our church would buy. That time came and went, as the elders said "no." :(

 

However, the pastor brought up the subject again a couple months ago. We had a meeting discussing the merits of the Kronos, and he also asked me if I would train the other keyboard players at church how to use it. The only electronic keyboard they own is an older Yamaha YPG. I play my trusty Triton on Sundays.

 

So there was round two--presenting the Kronos to the elders again--and one of their questions apparently was, "What advantages would this new keyboard have over the Yamaha YPG." (I wasn't at the meeting BTW). While I guess that was a legitimate question, it's ridiculous to even compare the two.

 

Overall, I'm concerned the Kronos might be a "hard sell", and wondering what else to suggest that would cost less. The only other keyboard that comes to mind is perhaps the Yamaha S70XS. The Nords are too expensive and don't offer as many features. Of course I'd like to get a dedicated clone wheel, but we'd still need something to cover everything else... and it has to be sturdy!

 

Let the discussion begin.

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Yamaha CP-4 is a great stage piano. Not sure about the synth pads that most churches like to hear. Depends on style of music your church plays. Pianos or synth pads and more info would help forum members contribute to your question. The Kronos covers everything well.
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They're being logical, and rightly so with the congregation's $. They aren't specialists in this area so they are relying on input from you. Good position to be in if it's you that will play it! :)

 

Let's do it the way we always do...

 

What's the preferred action?

Synth semi-weight, Weighted hammer type, Organ-like? Or a crossover action?

I'd suggest a crossover action is most sellable for congregational keyboardists with piano, organ or synth backgrounds to compromise and be comfortable sitting behind it playing any part. 88 keys preferable for doing splits. Unless the space is small.

 

What sounds types and families are appropriate to cover all the repertoire? What manufacturer and model excels at the most important sounds but doesn't slouch on the rest?

 

Does the keyboard need to do splits and fast program changes without note/patch interrupt? Which models do this and which don't?

 

What's the budget they can handle?

 

I'm thinking a TP-40L with 88 keys like we find on the Kurzweil keyboards. PC3K8?

 

 

 

 

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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Yes, I would be the one to play the Kronos most of the time. :laugh:

 

Anyway--here goes:

 

 

What's the preferred action? A crossover action.

 

88 keys preferable for doing splits. Unless the space is small. Small space--we can get by with 76.

 

What sounds types and families are appropriate to cover all the repertoire? Everything the Triton does and more. Strings, organs, pads, other synthy stuff.

 

Does the keyboard need to do splits and fast program changes without note/patch interrupt? No.

 

What's the budget they can handle? Not sure at this point. $2,000-2,500?

 

PC3K8? No Kurzweil please. We don't get along. :(

 

 

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Do you need any of the Kronos workstation features?

 

Perhaps a trickle down model (Krome / Kross) might be a consideration, or one of the Motif-derived trickle down units (MOX line? MX line even?) The Roland FA line? If you dislike the action on a particular unit, any of these can be MIDI'd to a fine 88 key action (I'm presuming fixed-position use with few occasions for tear-down, moving, etc.) for a formidable rig.

 

I agree with Elmer that I can appreciate the wisdom of church leadership exercising caution with a large purchase where they are not domain experts. To be appreciated a great deal as I've been on both sides of that conversation.

 

When you rule out Kurzweil as a possibility, that rules out some pretty capable candidates. In some ways Kurz is natural first option for church work. Might you care to share why a Forte wouldn't be a candidate for you?

 

 

 

..
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Does the keyboard need to do splits and fast program changes without note/patch interrupt? No.

I think you should reconsider this requirement. The synth is critical to smooth transitions. The ability of the Kronos to change combi's without dropping notes is a huge plus.

 

Also, Setlist mode makes it easy for the occasional keyboard player to step in.

Casio PX-5S, Korg Kronos 61, Omnisphere 2, Ableton Live, LaunchKey 25, 2M cables
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Do you need any of the Kronos workstation features? Not really, but it would be nice.

 

Perhaps a trickle down model (Krome / Kross) might be a consideration, or one of the Motif-derived trickle down units (MOX line? MX line even?) The Roland FA line? Has to be sturdy since the keyboard would live on the stage most of the time. MIDI with other keyboard(s) is out. I'm thinking about the Krome now.

 

Might you care to share why a Forte wouldn't be a candidate for you? Not a fan of Kurzweil from past experience. I've played them twice in a church setting and the signal wasn't hot enough and the sounds were thin. The Forte is too expensive anyway. I just spoke to the pastor and he'd like a $2,000 alternative.

 

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Yamaha MOXF8 - $1699.99

88-key Synth Workstation with GHS Keybed

MOTIF XF Sound Engine

 

The MOXF6 has the semi-weighted action - $1199.99

 

Get the 1GB Flash Card right away, $374

Lots off additional libraries/wave forms available to add to it. Talk to CEB about getting the most out of the Yamaha organs.

Start with https://ksounds.com/yamaha-moxf-format-sound-libraries/

Organimation and possible the Signature Piano

Also, http://shop.motifator.com/index.php/voice-libraries/moxf.html

 

We've gone down this road before here, there isn't much in the 73/76 key area that's not a Nord or a Kurzweil. SK1-73 blows your budget by a few hundred dollars but might be just the ticket as well.

 

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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At my church we were considering (at my behest) an SK2, but the budget folks balked at the expense, so I recommended and they went for a VR-09. I use it midi'd to a Casio PX-330, and find it serves every purpose very well and is completely easy to use. The clonewheel is plenty satisfactory to hear and play. I'm sure the elders would dig the price. Maybe use could use the leftover cash for a Vent.

Yamaha P-515, Hammond SK1, Casio PX5s, Motif ES rack, Kawai MP5, Kawai ESS110, Yamaha S03, iPad, and a bunch of stuff in the closet.

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My top choice for church gigs would be a Hammond SK2. That thing WANTS to be played.

 

I bought a Krome 73 last June, and while it is pretty good as a second-tier auxiliary board, I dislike it for single keyboard gigs. It won't let me dig in, and that's just because of the lousy action. Someone here posted about the oddly pivoted keys, and that is what bothers me as well.

 

 

local: Korg Nautilus 73 | Yamaha MODX8

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Does the keyboard need to do splits and fast program changes without note/patch interrupt? No.

I think you should reconsider this requirement. The synth is critical to smooth transitions. The ability of the Kronos to change combi's without dropping notes is a huge plus.

 

Also, Setlist mode makes it easy for the occasional keyboard player to step in.

 

Yes, I really prefer the Kronos. Anything else is going to be a real letdown.

 

Sigh.

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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How many zones? How many favorites or goto sounds do you need.

 

If I couldn't have a Kurzweil or a Kronos I would opt for a S90XS but I really value the action and build over things like sounds. For the most part sounds have been good enough since 1996. MOXF8 sounds nice but the S90XS plays better, crisper, less sluggish.

 

A Fantom would be really nice but the closest you are getting to that is a FA-08. I would rather have the S90XS action to that also. The RD800 is a stage piano and over budget.

"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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You could always buy your own and bring it to worship. ;)

 

Not gonna happen. I've played the Triton (and my other keyboards for 16+ years). Time for the church to spend some $$$.

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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My related experience would lead me to consider purchasing a used Kurz PC3. Many useful sounds, great KB3 with the double leslie, nice pads, EP's galore, fabulous strings!

 

As long as you had an acoustic piano you wouldn't need the 88 weighted.

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My related experience would lead me to consider purchasing a used Kurz PC3. Many useful sounds, great KB3 with the double leslie, nice pads, EP's galore, fabulous strings!

 

As long as you had an acoustic piano you wouldn't need the 88 weighted.

 

Absolutely this^^^^^^^^

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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If I couldn't have a Kurzweil or a Kronos I would opt for a S90XS

 

Yes, I'm actually thinking about the S70XS because of space limitations. I played the older S90ES at another church and after some tweaking, really like the sounds and action.

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Does the keyboard need to do splits and fast program changes without note/patch interrupt? No.

I think you should reconsider this requirement. The synth is critical to smooth transitions. The ability of the Kronos to change combi's without dropping notes is a huge plus.

 

Also, Setlist mode makes it easy for the occasional keyboard player to step in.

 

Yes, I really prefer the Kronos. Anything else is going to be a real letdown.

 

Sigh.

 

 

Since this is not an emergency situation, maybe just wait until a used Kronos pops up on CL? If you live in PA you are close to several major metropolitan areas. Something will show up eventually, and cash always talks.

 

The church's cash in this case ;)

 

Seamless program changes was always a very desirable feature when I was doing this. I was often asked to transition from a full sound with the band to a soft pad for prayer immediately afterwards, and because of sheet music issues I always tried to do everything from one board.

 

I never took to zones either in praise work because of truncated keyboard limitations, but maybe you're better with it.

 

But every service is different. I've been in several churches that don't to these sorts of transitions at all.

 

Anyway... if you're a Korg guy, you're a Korg guy - just like I'm a Roland guy. I'd hold out for what you want, and just be patient :)

 

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Since this is not an emergency situation, maybe just wait until a used Kronos pops up on CL? If you live in PA you are close to several major metropolitan areas.

 

Anyway... if you're a Korg guy, you're a Korg guy

 

Good idea. I'll suggest that to the pastor as well.

 

And yes, after 16 years with the Triton, M3 and Radias... I really want a Korg at the church. :w00t:

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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I bought a Krome 73 last June, and while it is pretty good as a second-tier auxiliary board, I dislike it for single keyboard gigs. It won't let me dig in, and that's just because of the lousy action. Someone here posted about the oddly pivoted keys, and that is what bothers me as well.

 

It's really that bad?

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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My church rig (which I leave there) is a Kurz PC2 and a PC3. Never had any level problems. The church did not buy these, but they have a PC88MX which is normally not in use, and a SP2X which was purchased along about 2009. The primary keyboardist is the pastor's wife, she almost always uses a Rhodes patch. I handle bass (we have not had a separate bassist for several years, and whatever else fits in, might be Hammond, pipe organ, orchestral, pads. I use a lot of the vintage patches.

 

I also have my setup so that I can easily use my iPad with the PC3 for a controller. Makes a great sound generator. I use Korg Module mostly on it (including the just released Triton patches), also have Korg iM1. AniMoog, iFretless Bass, Galileo, and some other apps. Even have Korg Module on my iPhone 6 now, and plan on a very small 25 note Bluetooth controller - this for the times we travel somewhere and only do a couple of numbers.

 

Occasionally for something that is organ-heavy I will carry my SK1-73, which does an excellent job.

 

Any of the above bought used should fit in the budget.

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

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If I couldn't have a Kurzweil or a Kronos I would opt for a S90XS

 

Yes, I'm actually thinking about the S70XS because of space limitations. I played the older S90ES at another church and after some tweaking, really like the sounds and action.

 

S70XS is a nice board with a great feeling keybed.

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

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I also have my setup so that I can easily use my iPad with the PC3 for a controller. Makes a great sound generator. I use Korg Module mostly on it (including the just released Triton patches), also have Korg iM1. AniMoog, iFretless Bass, Galileo, and some other apps. Even have Korg Module on my iPhone 6 now, and plan on a very small 25 note Bluetooth controller

 

Sounds like fun, but that would probably drive our sound engineer up the wall. :crazy:

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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I think something like a Kronos could end up getting you in trouble unless your church is blessed with multiple players that understand synths. Why? Because you won't be there every week, and piano players faced with something that complicated will default to simply playing piano, and elders will watch the keyboard sit idle when you're not there. That type of thing could haunt you whenever you try to ask for anything else. Something that sounds great, that is super user friendly (easy enough for piano players that don't own any synths) will be an easier sell, especially if presented to the elders that way.

 

 

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You already have a real piano, right? So this will be organ, strings, maybe EP, brass.....probably not much synth stuff unless we're talking pads and stuff like that, right? So the "piano player" will be playing the piano....this would more than likely be played by the "organ player" if anything, right? So first off, why not go with the 61 to get unweighted keys that are suitable for organ. 2nd, the panel sliders for drawbar control are a selling point. 3rd, I'd bet you could come up with a set list full of Go-To patches/combis that would cover 90% of the material on one screen with descriptive names and notes in the text field so that anybody sitting down couple pull up whatever they need. I've only filled in a handful of times with some church bands, but I don't recall there being a tremendous amount of variation in the sounds used for most of the songs other than the occasional oddball. I second the vote for a used Kronos (with the exception that I'd suggest e 61)

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.

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I think something like a Kronos could end up getting you in trouble unless your church is blessed with multiple players that understand synths. Why? Because you won't be there every week, and piano players faced with something that complicated will default to simply playing piano, and elders will watch the keyboard sit idle when you're not there. That type of thing could haunt you whenever you try to ask for anything else.

 

Yes, a valid point.

 

So the "piano player" will be playing the piano....this would more than likely be played by the "organ player" if anything, right? So first off, why not go with the 61 to get unweighted keys that are suitable for organ. 2nd, the panel sliders for drawbar control are a selling point.

 

Actually, I would prefer the 61-key Kronos, but the other two keyboardists I will be training come from a piano background, so the 73-key version is a must. Nobody there is really familiar with organ technology.

 

Our previous worship leader had never heard of a Hammond. Horrors!

 

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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You probably don't want to hear it, but I cannot not say it: I think a Kronos would be overkill for church. You have an AP, and you want a synth for other sounds, but I think e.g. a Korg Kross would really do the job. Maybe you dislike the red, then go with any other synth in that range. Also you say that you need at least 73 keys, but what for if the AP part is covered by an AP. Maybe your church is doing well financially, then of course a Kronos would not be a problem, but any cash spent on synths is cash not spent on other things. I must admit though that I value music in church highly, so spending cash on good music instruments is something that I support of course.
2019 W.Hoffmann T122 upright, Roland FP-50, Roland RD64, Korg Microkorg
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