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Anyone who has or gets a Fantom-06, please try this experiment for me


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Please record into a DAW and check the velocities that get recorded.

 

A Piano sound would be ideal I suppose.

 

Here's my problem: I have the FA-06. I don't play "heavy-handed", but the black keys will send out a velocity of 127 with very little effort. The white keys take a bit more effort, but they're still easy to trigger that without "pounding" on the keys or anything.

 

To compare, I have a Roland A-800 Pro which basically has the same keybed and does NOT exhibit this problem. Now, before you go off, it's a known issue and it happens no matter how you set the keyboard sensitivity and the velocity curves.


By contrast, on some of the "heavier" velocity curves in my A-800 (which has 12 IIRC) will not trigger 127 no matter how hard you hit them - at least, I'm not going to hit it any harder than I dare do, and it gets up to 120 ish, but not the tip top.

 

The problem here is that on a sound like the Supernatural Piano sound - the first grand piano in the FA - it "clangs" when it reaches that highest velocity.

 

Now, it's not just the 127, but the fact that it goes from 0-127 faster than a Tesla. Just playing a controlled scale with black and white keys is ilke:

 

C D E-FLAT F G A-FLAT B-FLAT C

 

It takes very little for those black keys to spit out a much higher velocity than the white keys.

 

I actually had the A-800 connected to the FA and was playing both keybeds once and realized that one was different and it took me a second to realize - oh, different velocity curves. So then I started recording into a DAW with them and checking the velocities and sure enough - it's far easier to control velocities (play expressively) on the A-800 than it is on the FA - no matter what you do, it's just always triggering the top end of velocities - and on many sounds that makes a huge difference (on some it doesn't matter of course).

 

I mean you'd really have to play feather light to not trigger them.

 

So I'd love to know about the Fantom-06 - because this is the one biggest thing about the FA-06 I despise - basically I can only use it for fixed velocity sounds.

 

So I'd love to see/hear some average piano playing  (or even that which will test this issue) on the Fantom-06 to see if it has this same issue or not (BTW, the FA-07 keybed is different, so I'm not sure the Fantom 07 is the same as the Fantom 06, so not sure if you 07 owners will be able to confirm).

 

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help out.

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The FA-06 keybed is famous for the black note velocity issue. Hopefully Roland has ditched that design forever. I'm sure they've heard about it over and over from frustrated FA-06 owners. I have an FA-07 and it does not have that issue, so that was an improvement at least. (plus the keys are all a little bigger and the black keys aren't so rounded on top.) The Jupiter 50 had a nice action. It's not like they have to redesign the wheel to include something better on the Fantom 0 series. (Haven't had a chance to try one yet.) 

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3 hours ago, Konnector said:

The Jupiter 50 had a nice action. It's not like they have to redesign the wheel to include something better on the Fantom 0 series. 

 

It is a bit frustrating that Roland had a perfectly nice action that was light enough to use in a lightweight board, and we're getting something lesser instead. A Jupiter 50 calibre action plus aftertouch would have justified another $200, to me... but who knows if that actually would have increased or decreased sales.

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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The ds61 has the black key velocity problem but I think to lesser degree. Plus I'm not much of a piano player so some of it is technique.  Especially my middle finger, I can really clang a loud black note on a fast run through a G pent riff. But is doesn't sound like it's as bad as the OP and his sweet FA. 

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On a pro level keyboard like the Fantom I believe the velocity sensitivity would be a little bit customizable.

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Genres: Jazz, funk, pop, Christian worship, BebHop
Wishlist: 80s-ish (synth)pop, symph pop, prog rock, fusion, musical theatre
Gear: NS2 + JUNO-G. SP6 at church.

 

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On 4/2/2022 at 11:42 PM, Jr. Deluxe said:

The ds61 has the black key velocity problem but I think to lesser degree. Plus I'm not much of a piano player so some of it is technique.  Especially my middle finger, I can really clang a loud black note on a fast run through a G pent riff. But is doesn't sound like it's as bad as the OP and his sweet FA. 

Well, I bet it's probably the same keybed and same issue - or dang close.

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On 4/3/2022 at 1:38 AM, marczellm said:

On a pro level keyboard like the Fantom I believe the velocity sensitivity would be a little bit customizable.

It's a "little bit" customizable on the FA - but that's not the issue. The issue is that the black keys spit out higher velocities than the white keys given the same amount of pressure. You can't customize that out of there. The velocity settings they give - which are actually quite a few - don't solve this issue - which is not very "pro" at all - and seeing as the Fantom -0 series is coming in around the same price level, that concerns me.

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On 4/2/2022 at 3:37 PM, llatham said:

Here's my problem: I have the FA-06. I don't play "heavy-handed", but the black keys will send out a velocity of 127 with very little effort. The white keys take a bit more effort, but they're still easy to trigger that without "pounding" on the keys or anything.

 

To compare, I have a Roland A-800 Pro which basically has the same keybed and does NOT exhibit this problem. Now, before you go off, it's a known issue and it happens no matter how you set the keyboard sensitivity and the velocity curves.

 

I have the same problem with my FA-06. I avoid playing piano on it. I almost always go with 2 keyboards anyway, so piano is always on the other keyboard (usually Electro or VR-09).

 

It's very interesting to me to hear that you do not find the same problem on your A-800 Pro. I've been wanting a controller keyboard just like it but avoided it because of the bad experience with FA-06. Maybe I'll give A-800 Pro another look. If it is playable with a good piano plugins, I might go that route.

 

I assumed it is a poor keyboard mechanism. But if you are right about the 800 Pro, then maybe the problem is only in combination with that piano engine. I don't like the supernatural piano sound anyway. The FA-06 is fantastic in so many other ways, as a synth.

Mike Kent

- Chairman of MIDI 2.0 Working Group

- Co-Author of USB Device Class Definition for MIDI Devices 1.0 and 2.0

- Member of MIDI Association Technical Standards Board

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6 minutes ago, SynMike said:

It's very interesting to me to hear that you do not find the same problem on your A-800 Pro. I've been wanting a controller keyboard just like it but avoided it because of the bad experience with FA-06. Maybe I'll give A-800 Pro another look. If it is playable with a good piano plugins, I might go that route.

Yeah, here's my take:

 

The A-800 has 12 Velocity Curves - there are 4 types, with a light, medium, and heavy for each.

 

I didn't do exhaustive testing or anything but the A-800 can be set so that no matter how hard you hit the dang thing, it won't put out a velocity of 127 - or, at least, I was honestly scared to hit it as hard as it might need to do that.

 

Now, I'll say that's "better" than the 06. But as I'm sure you're aware, it's not great hammer action either. But I do find playing piano-type sounds with the A-800 to be more of a "I don't have to  constantly remind myself not to hit a black key too hard" 😄

 

The A-800 also has aftertouch. If the A-800 was in the 06, it would have been my perfect keyboard.

 

Side note - the knobs on the sliders on the A-800 are easy to take off, or pull off, or catch on something and drag off, and fall on the floor or parking lot and be gone forever 🙂

 

You can still move the sliders without the knob but it's just a little metal shaft. Not a big deal to me but it is kind of a QC thing that leaves me wanting.

 

The Knobs and Pads, as well as the transport style buttons are all good. The pads and buttons are similar to the pads on the FA and I like them. I don't use the pads for drums though - on the FA's 16, and the 800's 8, I used them for switching sounds.

 

The thing that really drove me to the 800 was I needed a controller that would let me program SysEx messages as well as THREE messages - Bank Select MSB, and LSB, and PC - all on one button push - I was controlling one of the old sound canvases that had no front controls. I think it was ReeseKeys here who really helped me out a lot with the SysEx programming.

 

Another cool feature about the 800 is there are 4 buttons that are labelled Layer and Split, but you can actually set them up in the software and have them do either - it's only 2 channels per, but you could set up 8 channels in layers and splits this way.

 

There's a soft thru for MIDI as well.

 

So there was a lot to like about it and it worked great for my purposes.

 

The key size seems to be exactly the same as the FA, but the slopes or rounded edges might be slightly different. But the "feel" is the same basically as the FA, but with better/more useful velocity curves and it doesn't have the black/white key issue.

 

Once I realized the FA was doing that, and the 800 wasn't in comparison, I was heartbroken about the FA.

 

I do love the FA for so many other reasons, but I really just need either a better controller to add to the FA for Piano (but who am I fooling - I can neither afford nor do I have space for a great 88 with piano action) and maybe Electric Piano and Clav etc., but for Synths and stuff I love the FA.

 

I was hoping maybe the new Fantom-06 might use a keybed closer to the 800 - if so, I might go for it.  Or a 76. Or find an FA-07...

 

always a struggle when you're poor...

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I've heard about the FA-06's keybed, actually I think I did check one out at a NAMM show and it did seem much different from my A800.

 

llatham gave a good overview of the A800. I'll add a couple of things - I play mostly piano on it, but I'm very used to an unweighted keyboard. I find the A800 responsive enough, and the velocity settings coupled with curve settings in my piano VIs make it feel fine to play. There's no wobble or "mushiness" to the keys' travel at all - but I would expect that from any but the lowest-end synth keyboards (and the FA-06?!). I've heard the complaint that on the A800 black notes take more force to get the same velocity (or they send less velocity with the same force) but to be honest I have not experienced this. Being a small controller, the fulcrum points are obviously closer to the ends of the keys, and if one plays the black keys nearer to their back ends, it's gonna take more force. Maybe someone will do a science experiment to get to the bottom of this.

 

I've lost knobs on the sliders; bumping around in an airplane hold, things like this happen. Also, the larger knob at the top left can get loose. Problem solved by Ebay - no they're not identical to the originals, but fit snugly – a few bucks gets enough of a supply to keep you twirling and sliding with no worries. Even if you could order replacements from Roland (which apparently you, as an end user, can't do anymore), they'd be ridiculously overpriced anyway.

 

llatham, iirc you reverse-engineered the sysex format for the A-Pro's "keyboard set" memories, right – or was it someone else? Unfortunately it doesn't seem possible to find posts from before our server switch using the old google method.

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21 minutes ago, Reezekeys said:

Unfortunately it doesn't seem possible to find posts from before our server switch using the old google method.

 

The old google method mostly works, but after it finds a hit, you need to hit the three dots and ask it to show you the cached version... which, surprisingly, shows you the new forum version, not the old one... so it seems to see the newly formatted version (i.e. that's the version it cached), but can't take you to it. This site's own search is pretty flexible, but for some reason, still doesn't show you the old pages that the google search shows you. But between the two approaches, you can probably find at least some of what you're after.

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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