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Is the Integra 7 still relevant?


rickzjamm
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I want to add more "other" sounds to the YC88 (love the APs, EPs & the great updated organ) and really don't want to lug a second board to the gigs. VSTs are a definite option but I had a bad experience with the" Laptop / MainStage dance" years back so hesitant to do that. I tried the Integra 7 years ago & was impressed (of course that could just be nice selective memories kicking in) and was thinking of pairing the two. Other than the size of a rack mount sitting on or around the YC88 is the I7 worth the effort?

Or should the effort go into the "dance" again? Apologize in advance if this has been asked before, trying to find the least hassle / compact rig possible.

 

Thanks 

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Racks, desktops and rackable desktop synths (analogue and digital) remain popular and are an enjoying a resurgence in studios producing electronic music, electronic  dance music, electro pop, pop, etc.  

 

In other styles and live rigs hardware in general, rackable or not, competes with the convenience, power and storage of “in the box” software like Logic/MainStage and AU/VST/AAX plugins.  


I feel it’s ROMplers and Samplers specifically that have taken a spanking from software.  They can’t compete with multigigabyte multisampled deep velocity layers you get with software user interfaces written for macOS, Windows or even iOS.   
 

That said. If you prefer working with hardware and you like racks.  There’s no reason to blow off the Integra 7, it’s a great rack module.  And since many people have shifted to computer, the I7 and other less expensive racks that interest you may be found at a fraction of their original cost.  

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If you like the Roland sound, it's probably the ultimate rompler. You've got thousands of patches to play with and stack up to create pretty much anything you may ever need. It's got all their Supernatural instruments as well.  It'll be a time sucker because it's got so many sounds in it to audition. That's step one. Step two is tweaking them all (if you're fussy like me) as most of those Roland sounds from the JV/SRX era can be improved upon, and a lot of presets tend to just have reverb and delay on them when there's dozens of other fx and mod options available. Step three is stacking a few together to make some really big interesting patches.  

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I have it. If it's relevant, it's really based on the workflow.  

 

I like the supernatural sounds.   There's some cool dynamics tricks on some of th sounds.  

Honestly, I still enjoy the experience of searching for sounds in a rack module much more than clicking in a VI.  

Sounds mix well

I like having access to the old XP/JV sounds.  

 

With all its power, it has a surprising limitation on user setups, this may be a drawback

As it only allows loading 4 cards at once, this may limit you in a live environment.  

 

Can it be substituted by a VI? Probably.  I'm not selling mine. 

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A Kronos rack, Jupiter, Montage rack.  Would all be great.  I don’t think they’ll do it due to trends and how many they’d want to sell.  It would be nice to see at least one of them test the market again - like Roland did with the Integra-7.  Rackable desktops is where my head is at for hardware instruments.  We don’t need keys on every sound source - MainStage and the like proves that.  As do devices like the Roland Boutiques, Behringers skittles, Korg Volcas- they just tend to be too stripped down for this crowd. 

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I'll admit the I7 sounds are a bit dated but in the heat of the live gig I don't see that as an issue. The SN palette is still a viable resource & mixed with the awesome YC88 should be a powerful yet concise set up not having to set up a second board. Still not sure where to place it.

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8 hours ago, rickzjamm said:

I'll admit the I7 sounds are a bit dated but in the heat of the live gig I don't see that as an issue. 

 

I wouldn't really call the I7 sounds dated. Comparing the I7 to the new Fantom-0, sonically, I think the Fantom wins on clonewheel organ, VA synthesis, and in (I believe) having two available insert effects per part instead of one. OTOH, I7 has many SuperNATURAL Acoustic tones that are not (yet?) available on the Fantom platform, and these are still often the most sophisticated acoustic instrument emulations Roland has to offer (and some are still arguably among the best available in any hardware). To me, the SuperNATURAL Acoustic tones has always been the biggest draw of the I7 to begin with. So I'd still consider it a contender for state of the art for many acoustic sounds, or as close to it as it (or Roland) has ever been. And while the SuperNATURAL Synth is no longer their top VA synth engine, it's still good, and beats the (non-existent) VA engine of a Montage/MODX/YC.

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19 minutes ago, rickzjamm said:

I'll admit the I7 sounds are a bit dated but in the heat of the live gig I don't see that as an issue. The SN palette is still a viable resource & mixed with the awesome YC88 should be a powerful yet concise set up not having to set up a second board. Still not sure where to place it.

I personally think the “dated” content in the Integra-7 is part of the point.  It’s a library of sounds you may need going decades back.  The orchestral stuff, horns, etc. never really get old. Nor do acoustic, electric pianos and bread and butter sounds.  In the mix of a band you can play 20 year old ROMplers still to great effect.  
 

YMMV, but I don’t find the modeled Roland pianos a dramatic improvement in realism timbre wise from the super natural.  In band context the SRX pianos were already quite good compared to previous tech.   Point being, improvements are often incremental with digital instruments.  Just because a unit is 10 years old doesn’t mean it sounds bad.  Nuances like sympathetic resonance are most noticeable in solo performance in ideal listening conditions.  

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12 minutes ago, ElmerJFudd said:

I personally think the “dated” content in the Integra-7 is part of the point.  It’s a library of sounds you may need going decades back.  The orchestral stuff, horns, etc. never really get old. Nor do acoustic, electric pianos and bread and butter sounds.  In the mix of a band you can play 20 year old ROMplers still to great effect.

 Well yes, the Integra and the Fantoms still include the old XV-5080 sounds. And I like when companies include their old legacy sounds, they are often very useful. I hate "upgrading" to a new version of a board only to discover it doesn't have "that" particular sound I really like. And if you're covering older songs, newer "better" sounds can actually decrease authenticity. 

 

This reminds me of something I read where Tony Banks said he only used Mellotron because he didn't have something better to create the kind of orchestral effect he wanted, and that he was happy to move on to more authentic orchestral sounds later, only to discover that people preferred hearing the original mellotron sounds. Or something along those lines.

 

But while it's great to have the old sounds in the new gear, my point was that some of the "new" sounds introduced with the Integra are still among the best sounds Roland (or arguably anyone) has delivered, so in that respect, it's still no more "dated" than anything that has come out since, including Roland's own newer gear.

 

18 minutes ago, ElmerJFudd said:

YMMV, but I don’t find the modeled Roland pianos a dramatic improvement in realism timbre wise from the super natural.

 

I agree. But the thing about a purely modeled piano (like V-Piano or Pianoteq) isn't that it sounds more realistic (it usually doesn't)... it's (hopefully) that it plays more realistically. And, in some cases, you can tweak its parameters in interesting ways that are different from what you can do with samples. I assume that no modeled piano sounds as much like a Steinway or a Yamaha grand as a sample of a Steinway or Yamaha grand, so timbre per se isn't really the point.

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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25 minutes ago, AnotherScott said:

 Well yes, the Integra and the Fantoms still include the old XV-5080 sounds. And I like when companies include their old legacy sounds, they are often very useful. I hate "upgrading" to a new version of a board only to discover it doesn't have "that" particular sound I really like. And if you're covering older songs, newer "better" sounds can actually decrease authenticity. 

 

This reminds me of something I read where Tony Banks said he only used Mellotron because he didn't have something better to create the kind of orchestral effect he wanted, and that he was happy to move on to more authentic orchestral sounds later, only to discover that people preferred hearing the original mellotron sounds. Or something along those lines.

 

But while it's great to have the old sounds in the new gear, my point was that some of the "new" sounds introduced with the Integra are still among the best sounds Roland (or arguably anyone) has delivered, so in that respect, it's still no more "dated" than anything that has come out since, including Roland's own newer gear.

 

 

I agree. But the thing about a purely modeled piano (like V-Piano or Pianoteq) isn't that it sounds more realistic (it usually doesn't)... it's (hopefully) that it plays more realistically. And, in some cases, you can tweak its parameters in interesting ways that are different from what you can do with samples. I assume that no modeled piano sounds as much like a Steinway or a Yamaha grand as a sample of a Steinway or Yamaha grand, so timbre per se isn't really the point.


Sure, conclusion… 
 

If I had an Integra-7 and it was already worked into my rig because I didn’t like using an iPad or Laptop, I’d keep it.  Because the older content in it is useful and the newest stuff in it is on par with what Roland currently offers. The exception being if you are hot for Roland modeled pianos - which one may feel behave more realistically but don’t necessarily sound more realistic.  
 

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Thanks for the great responses... I only plan on using the I7 for "other" sounds, especially orchestral & brass. The YC has the piano & organ  sounds covered & the "touch" action is just what I want. You convinced me, the I7 it is. Now, to find a space on top of the YC for it. ;)  

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12 hours ago, Rod S said:

I have it. If it's relevant, it's really based on the workflow.  

 

I like the supernatural sounds.   There's some cool dynamics tricks on some of th sounds.  

Honestly, I still enjoy the experience of searching for sounds in a rack module much more than clicking in a VI.  

Sounds mix well

I like having access to the old XP/JV sounds.  

 

With all its power, it has a surprising limitation on user setups, this may be a drawback

As it only allows loading 4 cards at once, this may limit you in a live environment.  

 

Can it be substituted by a VI? Probably.  I'm not selling mine. 

I was going to write the exact same thing!

Love mine. Always a sound 'good enough' if ya need to find one in a hurry.

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If you’d like an extra slab of keys with that without too much weight, consider one of the Fantom-06/07/08 keyboards Roland just released. They’ve got most (maybe all) of the Integra-7 sounds in there, and a lot of newer stuff as well. These are the “lite” versions of the big black-and-red Fantom workstation, aimed at live gigging.

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Stephen Fortner

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Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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I like the Studio Set architecture. Each Studio Set is its own 16 space virtual rack.  

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So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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On 3/17/2022 at 5:57 PM, rickzjamm said:

Now, to find a space on top of the YC for it.

Maybe get a rack?  Get something that is like 3 or 4u and then you can put a line mixer and/or a power conditioner in it too.

Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something, Kurzweil PC4-88, my voice

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6 minutes ago, GotKeys said:

Maybe get a rack?  Get something that is like 3 or 4u and then you can put a line mixer and/or a power conditioner in it too.

 

the Integra has enough inputs that I never needed to use a line mixer.

Keys: Hammond SK2, Hammond SK1, Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Waldorf STVC

Amplification: Line6 L3T, Yamaha DBR-10, Presonus Air 10, Leslie 122V

 

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9 hours ago, Stephen Fortner said:

If you’d like an extra slab of keys with that without too much weight, consider one of the Fantom-06/07/08 keyboards Roland just released. They’ve got most (maybe all) of the Integra-7 sounds in there, and a lot of newer stuff as well. These are the “lite” versions of the big black-and-red Fantom workstation, aimed at live gigging.

 

Nonetheless, I´d prefer such new toy in a 1HU rack version.

 

It´s all about my (now very) old keyboard actions work well still and after decades of usage.

Some service was necessary, like replacing key landing felts or such,- but they work and I´m used to ´em.

I really doubt I´d get (for me) better usable actions and more reliable left hand controller units today.

There´s planned obsolescence everywhere.

I also dislike the typical Roland combined and "all sprung" PB / Mod paddle,- just because you cannot leave the "modulation" in a given position like a mod-wheel.

It´s extremely annoying when using (soft-) synth presets where filter cutoff is assigned to "modwheel" and some offset is already set in stone in that preset.

Yeah, we CAN change that by editing that preset,- but it needs time for learning how the assignment works for a given "plugin" or ext. hardware device,- which you don´t have in some situations, especially when it comes to software (VIs).

 

One of the examples is https://surge-synth-team.org/surge/  which often has  parameters assigned not allowing sprung controller.

It´s a really cool synth though ...

There are many more !

 

"Modulation-" controllers shouldn´t be sprung !

 

And,- what I really hate today is,- almost every keyboard instrument comes w/ all the haptics on it´s surface,- so you´re unable to stack the way I prefer,- keys as close together as possible.

I really don´t care "menue diving" much for studio work or gigging.

Once my presets are well organized and MIDI CCs assigned, I don´t need all the haptics anymore,- except for organ.

For synths, I prefer assigning necessary parameters to typical PB/Mod Wheel, CC#4 (foot pedal) and available (momentary) ft.-switches,- or additional controllers like a ribbon.

 

All that "turning knobs" s##t is obsolete for the attractive/big jobs like concert touring,- even studio work, when this exists at all in the manner of the past.

We have all kind of electronic crap like MIDI controller/fader units,- no ?

A Cooper Fadermaster Pro serves me well as well as a bunch of MIDI thru/merge devices routing the data stream,- if necessary at all.

 

That said, I also like my Kurzweil offering lots of haptics on it´s surface,- but we also need bottom-keyboards,- ideally w/ flat top, distance from black-key surface to flat top surface not much higher than about 2 - 3" !

 

Manufacturers ignore we need mor than ONE (their) keyboard and that´s why the investment would be for the bin.

It´s very often little details making gear a "no go" for me.

 

I hope I´m not alone w/ these demands.

 

☺️

 

A.C.

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10 hours ago, Stephen Fortner said:

consider one of the Fantom-06/07/08 keyboards Roland just released. They’ve got most (maybe all) of the Integra-7 sounds in there, and a lot of newer stuff as well. 

Definitely a lot of newer stuff! But not nearly all the Integra sounds.

 

The Fantoms and the Integra-7 do share the XV-5080 sounds and the SRX expansion sounds, but Fantom only has I think well under half of the the SuperNATURAL Acoustic sounds that the Integra does. (Though the Fantom now has a better tonewheel organ emulation than the "missing" SuperNATURAL organ from the Integra.)

 

On the synth side, Fantom's VA capabilities certainly seem to far exceed Integra's VA ("SuperNATURAL Synth"), esp. with the optional models, though if you actually like some of those SN-S sounds in the Fantom, I'm not aware that they have been (or can easily be) replicated in Fantom (or at least, I haven't seen anything like that mentioned anywhere). 

 

The Integra also has the HQ PCM set, I don't know if there's any relation between those and the PCM Zencore sounds, i.e. whether Fantom has none, some, or all of them...? By patch name, it doesn't seem like it overlaps. But there are probably at least lots of things that are comparable.

 

Overall, I think the Integra probably has as much that's not in the Fantom as it has things that are. That said, I'd tend to agree that if someone isn't specifically trying to avoid adding another board to their rig, the Fantom-0 is a tempting alternative, between as much of the Integra that it does have, along with everything of its own that it brings to the table. Hopefully, Roland will bring the rest of the SuperNATURAL Acoustic tones to the Fantom, though the selection they have probably includes most of the more "essential" of them, at least. I mean, for example, it's missing the SuperNATURAL guitars, but since I play with guitarists, I never use those sounds anyway!

 

 

 

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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48 minutes ago, Al Coda said:

what I really hate today is,- almost every keyboard instrument comes w/ all the haptics on it´s surface,- so you´re unable to stack the way I prefer,- keys as close together as possible...I also like my Kurzweil offering lots of haptics on it´s surface,- but we also need bottom-keyboards,- ideally w/ flat top, distance from black-key surface to flat top surface not much higher than about 2 - 3" !

 

I know. It's why my bottom board has almost always been a Privia. And it's one reason I decided to swap out my PC4 (which would typically be a bottom) for a PC4-7 (more often a top). You also may have seen one setup I had with a Vox Continental on bottom, but with the top board almost completely covering its control surface... because one smart thing Vox did there is put all the patch selection buttons right above the keys. So if you want the extensive control surface for pre-gig sound assembly, you've got it, but if you don't need it for live tweaking, you can cover it with your top board at the gig and still have access to all your patch selection. 

 

Though now the YC73 has put me in a quandary. I'm enjoying the board so much, that I just might make it my main bottom, despite its deep control surface.

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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3 minutes ago, AnotherScott said:

 

 I decided to swap out my PC4 (always a bottom) for a PC4-7 (more often a top).

 

 

That´s why I hope for a K2700 w/ 76 semi weighted keys !

 

I don´t think Kurzweil´s market segment is "pianos",- there are MUCH better ones !

So,- the overall package might be better hosted into another kind of "workstation" type of marketing segment.

 

I know, there are a LOT of pianists out there, but when ALL the companies try to get all these customers on their side, it´s contraproductive.

Manufacturers should understand there are pianists and keyboard players,- something I consaider as "different".

 

Not EVERY instrument being released needs the "best" piano (sample or physical modelling).

And WHEN it needs,- give the pianists the very best samples or modelling (for a price),- and leave the  1000+ presets thingy to the keyboardplayers.

 

You know,- i really gave a shit on "acoustic piano" since it started to digitally exist.

Sampled waveforms CAN be interesting in conjunction w/ synth modifiers, but won´t replace real INSTRUMRENTS !

When you REALLY need an acoustic piano,- use one !

 

Otherwise, any of the already available "subs" work to make money ! No?

 

So, I´d appreciate to see a "workstation" w/o focus on PIANO!

 

A.C.

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5 minutes ago, Al Coda said:

So, I´d appreciate to see a "workstation" w/o focus on PIANO!

 

I think the issue is that they also want to appeal to giggers, so many of whom want to be able to do everything on one board, and for so many players, piano is one of their most important gigging sounds.

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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SF, I'm trying to get away from the "gigging two board set up" while still maintaining the integrity of the sound (pun intended) that's why I'm looking at the module / main board set up. I really like the YC88 as my main board & actually have a FA-06 & a MODX6, both decent lightweight options but that's what I'm trying to sail away from.

I also use the Korg Kronos for cover & while the sounds are arguably still the best in the biz it's heavy for regular gigging, hammer action is stiff and the APs, Eps & organ are way behind the YC88 IMHO. I guess what I'm saying is I found good hand to key connection in the YC so I want to work with that but yes, the FA-06 (I know you talking about the latest generation of Fantom) has excellent sounds that are taken from the I7. 

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I’ve always hoped for an clonewheel paired with a multi engine synth (VA, FM, Wavetable) orch/big band samples with a quality organ action and waterfall keys.  I’d use it as upper board with a great slab piano.  

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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11 hours ago, Al Coda said:

 

I´d be satisfied w/ a MODX rack ... 1HU !

 

A.C.

 

If they are do a rack again, I would hope for a a 2U.  The motif racks are 1U but so deep they create havoc in my rack and more clumsy to carry to gigs.  I like the 2U format they used for the CS6r for example.  

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8 hours ago, AnotherScott said:

 

I think the issue is that they also want to appeal to giggers, so many of whom want to be able to do everything on one board, and for so many players, piano is one of their most important gigging sounds.

 

True,- but to change that, THESE warriors can go w/ a DP´s focus on piano and all the extra soundware delivered,- p. ex. a RD2000 or such.

No need for a workstation because most of the customers you mentioned use factory patches, edit a bit (if at all) and rarely dive deeply into a machine.

 

A.C.

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