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Opinions? XV-88 vs. Kurzweil PC2X or K2600XS


wayne_dup3

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Hello All,

 

Trying to decide between these 88-note controllers/synths. I would like to hear from any owners or players with time on these boards. Mine will be used primarily for hobby-related home recording vs. gigging/professional studio production. I do not currently own any other modules, so extensive MIDI control is not an immediate need. I have considerable time playing the XV-88, and like it very much, especially the action! I have much less time invested with the Kurzweils, especially the K2600XS (difficult to find a local retailer who knows their way around this one). Am I crazy to consider something as complex as the K2600XS given the learning curve, time resouces involved, etc.? The main reason I'm even considering the K2600XS is due to the recent price decrease - I can pick up a new one for $1250 more than the XV-88. Any thoughts...comments...advice regarding my decision is appreciated. Thx!

 

Wayne

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Wayne,

 

This is a tough one, I like Roland gear but unfortunately I have very little experience with the XV-88. Now the Kurzweil we can talk about, I spent 6 months trying to decide whether I should get a triton prox, a k2500, or a k2600. After 6 months I ended up with none of the above, instead I purchased a Kurzweil PC2X and an Emu Esynth keyboard (maxxed out) for $2K less than I could have gotten a k2600. The kicker is I toke the PC2X to a friends studio in San Deigo, and plugged it up beside the K2600, and managed to really piss a close friend off. I purchased the PC2x on ebay $1700 dollars, and it literally blew the $7000 k2600 out of the water. He loved all of the triple strike presets, pads, and take 6 voice samples. No it cant sample but it has a new 24bit sound rom, which the k2600 doesnt have(still 16bit). And in addition, the synthesis engine on this beast is awesome I can design new presets in a flash. The action is heavy enough to give you a serious workout, but won't slow up your articulation. Mike from kurzweil says that they are coming out with a rom board which will give the 2600 the new 24bit rom sounds that the PC2X has, and with all the added synthesis, sampling, and effect options the 2600 should regain the pole position. But IMHO the PC2X is the best sounding instrument when it comes to the simulation of acoustic instruments like pianos, strings, horns, or for the B3 organ sounds on the market at this time.

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Interesting that you ended up with the PC2X after extensive looking at the K2500/K2600 models. I'm guessing higher pricing at the time was also a consideration? I'm looking at $1K difference between the PC2X and K2600. I too have read Mike's post somewhere about the new 24bit ROM board for the K2600. That will certainly add new luster to a proven soundset - any idea how soon it will be available, and how much?
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Wayne,

 

From what I've gathered from Mike, in April/May we should be seeing new rom boards for the K2600 and the PC2X. Also at that time the new OS for k2600 will be surfacing, and the price will supposedly go back up. Their's a 2600XS on ebay right now for $3500, a couple of months ago if they would have been that low I probably would have gotten one. But for now I'm loving the combo of the PC2X/Esynth, and the $4K I spent on them was well worth it!!!!

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With the three boards listed, if you need a sequencer, the K2600 is the only one that will do the job. You can also check out the Triton ProX, if you haven't already. The other factors are sound and feel, and you're the only one who can determine if it's good enough. You're talking about pro boards, not child toys, so they'll all do similar functions. What sounds best to you? What feels best to you?

Bill Murphy

www.murphonics.com

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Pro boards for sure! Perhaps a little "too" pro (K2600XS) given my newbie learning curve, etc. Murph, I do need a sequencer, but it does not have to be "on board" - might take the computer-based route? Any suggestions here? Regarding action, I really do like the Roland, but in all fairness, I need to spend more time behind the Kurz's. All sound terrific! Expansion boards for the XV-88...CD-ROMs galore for the K2600. It seemed so easy when all I had to do was haul my Yamaha CP-70, Prophet 5, OBX-a and B-3 (just kidding http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif). I did see the K2600XS ebay post at $3500, but I don't want to pay more than I have too. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif Thanks for the great feedback!

 

Wayne

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Murph,

 

I hate to burst your bubble, but you are high. The Emulator 4's, any of them from the 6400 up to the platinum have the best onboard sequencer on any piece of hardware short of the mpc 2000/3000. The sequencer in the Esynth was the prime reason why I didnt get a 2500/2600 or a triton. I needed a Sampler/sequencer and the Kurzweil just couldnt cut the mustard and the triton was even worse. Its quite obvious that you havent stepped within 10 feet of a new emulator or you would not have made that statement. In fact the sequencer on the E111 is better than the sequencer on the K2500/2600. The 2500/2600 do not enough sequencer memory, they lack the necessary editing features, and get bogged way day when you begin doing intricate sequencer. On the Emu you can have configurations of 2, 8, or 16 meg of flash ram which you divide between your presets and your sequencer. And its adjustable: all sequencer, all preset, or anywhere in between. And the EOS 4.1 editting/sequencing software manual is over 400 pages long.

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I have an XV-88. It is a great "instrument"! I emphasize that word because there may be more complex engines such as the Kurz, but I think that in general the basic piano, electric piano, organs, strings etc. are much more versatile and natural sounding in the XV-88. That's why I bought one. I did add the Concert Piano expansion board, which is quite nice; but even the stock piano could get you by for quite a while. It was based on personal preference - not $$$.

Just my .02

Tom

Tom

Nord Electro 5D, Modal Cobalt 8, Yamaha upright piano, numerous plug-ins...

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Murph,

 

I read over my post and I need to apologize I didnt mean to sound so aggressive. I guess I'm just overly estatic about my gear. Sometimes you come up with a brain storm and act on it and end up very disappointed. This time around the brain storm was magical for me. I have Logic Audio and I just hate it, so I decided to stir away from computer sequencers, the last one that I found logical/efficient was Vision by Opcode.

 

I had $5k to spend and at the time it was either a triton , 2500XS, or 2600XS(which would have eaten the whole 5k)and I wanted a good onboard sequencer. This is what I ended up with the PC2X,( Emu Esynth w/9 gig harddrive-128MB sampling Ram-8MB Flash Ram-16 MB of sound Rom-killer onboard sequencer /editor), last but not least a Yamaha SU700. Sorry the S80/Virus combo with any sequencer would get eat alive by this setup!!!!

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I need to clarify a couple of things -

 

Callen - The PC2 series has a 24 bit digital out. Its new engine, board design signal path give it a dynamic range of 117dB. You've obviously noticed to the signal quality. But the samples in the PC2 are not 24 bit. They are 16 bit just like the K2600 series. The processing inside the PC2 is actually higher than 24bit, but then its dithered to the bit depth that you select. The PC2 has all new samples that were specifically developed for this new instrument. It is true that many of these new samples will be available for the K2600 series on ROM expansion boards.

 

In addition the K2600 series comes with twice the amount of sequencer memory as the K2500 series and is expandable much further too. My K2600 does not have the expansion and though I use the sequence quite often for my own writing and product clinics, I've never needed the expansion. I agree that it was quite neccessary on the K2500 series. The K2000 sequencer could get "bogged down" as you say, if you were doing some complex things. But the K2600 can easily run complex sequences while editing samples or programs at the same time!

 

Last but not least I should also mention that the K2600 series are now shipping with the Synth-tek instructional CD-ROM which takes you through nearly every function of the instrument. Its excellent for anyone buying their first Kurzweil instrument. Here is a link that has some more information www.synth-tek.com

 

 

------------------

Mike Martin

Kurzrep@aol.com

Kurzweil Music Systems

www.kurzweilconnection.com

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

Mike Martin Photography Instagram Facebook

The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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This is exactly the kind of user feedback I was hoping to receive - BIG Thx to all!

 

Mike - appreciate the clarification. It's great to have the "Mighty Kurz God" jump in and participate. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif Synth-Tek CD-ROM tutorial sounds like an answered prayer for Kurz newbies, and maybe even a veteran or two. I understand the 2001 production models are shipping with this software - is there any way to determine if dealer inventory has it included in the box? Also, any idea how soon the K2600 expansion RAMs (PC2X) will be available, and projected pricing?

 

Keep 'em coming......

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I believe that the ROM boards will be the same price as our others which are $399 retail. I don't have a concrete release date for any of the new expansion boards for either the K2600 or PC2 series. I suspect that we will begin seeing them in April.

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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To answer your second question. Yes all 2001 model K2600's should have the Synth-tek disk in the box (I don't know if this applies outside of the US). If you were to purchase one and it wasn't included, just contact me and I'll make sure that you get the CD.

 

One last comment. If you like Roland sounds (Yes I like some of them too), you can easily load them up on a K2600. Many of the sounds from Roland's keyboards or expansion boards can be found in either Rolands own CD-ROMs or one of the Spectrasonics/Ilio CD-ROMs. Many of the 8MB cards sell for the same price as the CD-ROM (200MB+) with the same title.

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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Hello All,

 

Well Mike's the man, we all have to concede to the product specialist. This kinda pisses me off because when I was looking at the 2600 the salesmen told me that the 2600 had the same sequencer memory capacity as the 2500. Now I'm hearing this isn't so, that makes a big difference. I'm also shocked to find at the knowledge that the samples used in the PC2X are 16 bit!!! (yikes). Mike, what are the max configurations for sequencer memory in MB's for the 2000 vs 2500 vs 2600.

 

Thanks Mike

 

On another note, I've always had a special adoration for samplers, but it seems as if we have been stuck in stasis for the last 10 years. No one wants to make the jump to 24bit samples and I find this disturbing!!! I find this same problem exist with Emu, Akai, and all of the sampler manufacturers. When I got my Esynth I was stunned to find that all the samples located in rom and in most Emu CDROM librarys use 16bit EIII samples. This stuff was created 10 years ago!!!! Why give a device a 24 bit digital interface, 32 bit or more internal processing if you going to arm the puppy with 16 bit samples. Yes 24 bit samples will probaly require 5X the memory. OH Well, give us a gig of ram, a 40gig hard drive, and a $10K price tag!!! At least it would be worth it, Someone needs to be a leader here in this field!! When the EIII first hit the market I didnt have the $8K to drop on the thing, but somehow I managed to get the money why. It had 16 bit sampling (which was supreme then), it 128X oversampling, had a killer onboard sequencer, multiple outs, and plenty of memory. Someone needs to build us a next generation box instead of rehashing 10 year old technology, 16 bit is 10 year old technology and midi is 18 years old. I'm almost at the point were I'm going to refuse to by anything that cost more the $2K if its not 24bit and equipped with Lan/fire wire, cause in 3 to 4 years anything thats not is going to be obsolete!!!!

 

Just Venting Guys!!!!

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K2000 - standard 120k, expandable to 720k

K2500 - standard 256k, expandable to 1.2MB

K2600 - standard 480k, expandable to 1.5MB

 

Let me take a moment to explain the way that PRAM (sequencer memory) works on a K-series keyboard. PRAM is both sequencer and program memory. The more programs you load in at once, the less sequencer memory you'll have. The more you sequence, the less room you'll have for additional sounds. The delima is that many of the sound files that are out there contain about 100 programs. Many people load up their synth with hundreds of sounds to find something that they're looking for. Then they'll only use a couple. If you take the time to delete what you're not using, you're freeing up all that memory for sequencing and it really shouldn't be an issue. I think we've spoiled our users by giving them all that blank space for loading in sounds. On every other synth that I know of, if you load in sounds or edit sounds you're erasing sounds that are already there. Anyway, through proper memory management, you can really extend your sequencing time. As I said earlier, I've never reached the limit on my non expanded K2600.

 

Next topic-

You're shocked to find that the samples in the PC2 are 16bit??? Name an instrument that has samples higher than that? Would it suprize you to know that the Triton for example has both 8 and 16bit samples?

 

Here is my opinion on the subject. There is little dynamic range found in samples in today's keyboards. The samples are processed, compressed, normalized and looped. The major advantage to bit depth is dynamic range. By the time the samples get put into a keyboard, there really aren't any dynamics left. This is going to happen within the synthesizer itself. The synth takes the sample, filters it, modulates it, apply envelopes, effects processing...etc until it responds the way that is needed. THIS is where high bit depth makes a difference. This is where the PC2 exceeds. That is why the PC2 has its dynamic range of 117dB, and is the only keyboard/module with a 24bit output. Make sense?

 

------------------

Mike Martin

Kurzrep@aol.com

Kurzweil Music Systems

www.kurzweilconnection.com

 

This message has been edited by Mike Martin on 02-15-2001 at 06:10 PM

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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WOW! That's an awful lot of brain processing for this propsective Kurz newbie. And yes Mike, it does make sense. Great suggestion regarding loading favorite Roland (or other maunufacturer's) library patches into the Kurz. Sounds like April 2001 will be a big month for Kurzweil - new O.S....ROM expansion updates...and did I hear something about a return to more "normal" pricing? (please correct me if wrong?) Plan to spend a few hours tomorrow going thru final board auditions - stay tuned....

 

Wayne

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Prices will likely go up with the next OS update for the K2600. We used to do this with the K2500 series as well. It won't be a dramatic increase, but enought to pay for the additional features.

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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Mike,

 

As always you cut start to the chase, I guess I'm just waiting for the next "just gotta have instrument", and its not here yet!!! And you also justified the reasoning for 16bit samples being the accepted norm. Not minimalizing the dynamics issue, but with a 16 bit sample isn't there a limitation on the frequencies which can actually be replicated, 1/2 of the actual sample rate. So for a 16bit sample everything above 8Khz is an artifact or may not be a true representation of the original sound.

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Callen,

You're incorrect when you talk about 16-bit and 8k limit. Sampling rate, not bit depth has to do with frequency response. For example if a sample is taken at 44.1kHz, the maximum frequency range of that sample is half...approximately 22kHz. Think about it, the audio CDs that we listen to everyday are recorded at 16bit 44.1kHz.

 

Sorry if I cut to the chase in my posts. You wouldn't believe how many things I'm trying to do at once. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

BTW Callen, you already own the latest "gotta have" instrument, the PC2.

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

 

 

 

This message has been edited by Mike Martin on 02-15-2001 at 06:19 PM

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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Originally posted by callen@gowanco.com:

Murph,

 

I read over my post and I need to apologize I didnt mean to sound so aggressive.

 

Apology accepted. I certainly wasn't high, and I haven't seen the new Emulators. I have tried earlier E-mu sequencers and I couldn't stand them--- that's my opinion, of course. I can get around on the Kurz's like nobody's business, and haven't been restricted with regards to amount, due to the fact that I only need to sequence a couple of tracks per song. Realize also, I never gave any opinions in my first post. I was merely pointing out that one needs to enjoy the keyboard that one buys, whatever it is. Sounds and feel are the biggest factors.

No harm, no foul!

Bill Murphy

www.murphonics.com

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Mike,

 

Once I again I am corrected by the great guru, the Sampling rate/bit depth issue was something that I knew and over the years have gotten confuse. Thanks again, for reminding me how all of this stuff fits. So I guess we will never see a 24bit sampler since bit depth equates to headroom and the general consensus is we dont need more headroom in our keyboards.

 

Interesting Thread

Lets Start another one guys

Carl

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So I guess we will never see a 24bit sampler since bit depth equates to headroom and the general consensus is we dont need more headroom in our keyboards.

 

I never said that. There are certain applications for 24bit samplers and that technology is in our future. However in a ROM based instrument such as the PC2, I don't know how practical 24bit samples would be and again, the synth engine itself is creating the dynamic range.

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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