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What is the worst keyboard you've ever owned?


Robert Smedberg

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As a follow up to "your favourite keyboard" I now wonder what keyboard you have own, that you consider to be the biggest piece of crap?

 

For me it's, without a doubt, the Kawai SX-240.

http://www.code404.com/synths/images/kawai_sx240.jpg

 

Sounds no good, feels no good but is good at nothing.

 

[ 11-06-2001: Message edited by: Robert Smedberg ]

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Oh, there are so many. The battery powered little Casio with two octaves of mini keys and 12 presets was NOT the worst keyboard I played. With it I knew what I was getting and it worked well. My worst is a toss up between

 

Oberheim Matrix 6. - After my Rhodes Chroma and MemoryMoog went up in flames all I could afford was a used Matrix 6 from mail order. Once I got it I realized the Oberheims digital oscillators sound nothing like their analog oscillators. It sounds thin and flat compared to my previous keyboards. Later I tried to use it just as a midi controller because I like levers, but the midi resolution is so low that any pitch bend results in a zippering sound. Now it sits in my basement gathering moisture.

 

MemoryMoog This keyboard was so close to being awesome, but rushed production created many problems. Once a week I had to take the back off and tune the oscillators, all 18 of them. You had to adjust base, range and curve of each oscillator and slowly zero in on correcting tune and scale. At some of our jobs it was useless. Fluctuations in heat and power caused tuning to go crazy. In those same situations I could hit the auto tune button on my Rhodes Chroma and keep on going. If an oscillator on my MiniMoog went out of tune I could adjust a knob and keep on playing. On the MemoryMoog you loose this ability because adjusting a knob changed 6 voices, not one.

This post edited for speling.
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I've owned so few it's hard to say. Either the Korg Delta or the Korg Poly-800 MkII. But both of those boards have their good qualities and useful sounds. In fact, I would pay to have my Delta reparied if:

 

A) it weren't broken *in every way it could be*

 

B) I could find someone to fix it

 

C) I could get it fixed for something less than 20x the $10.00 I paid for it. Right now, the Delta is my 4 year old son's make believe space command center, and is doing wonderfully in this capacity.

 

The Poly 800, btw, is terrific for a 50s sci-fi ambiance.

 

John

 

[ 11-06-2001: Message edited by: Magpel ]

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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The Alpha Syntauri digital synth (1981). Used a Mountain sound card in an Apple II Plus. It's software was about 20 years ahead of it's time, but since computer processors back then were about as powerful as some calculators are today, it's sound was really bad. I'd have to say the Crumar Stratus(1982) wasn't a stellar performer either.
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It would have to be the Korg Poly-61, which is like a Polysix with no realtime control. Always sounded thin and flat. The early version I owned had no MIDI, either.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

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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The worst musical instrument I've ever come across so far in this business was an electronic piano often referred to as a "Insta-Piano". What did I think of? Of course I bought it without listening to the instrument, only the salesweasel "- this is a real bargain, everybody is buying one!"

 

I really hated to play it and it sounded like shit, but it was all I could afford. Hated it so much I don't even recall what brand it was (but it might as well have been an RMI). To make things worse, the darn thing nearly electrocuted me every now and then. Ohhh the horror :(

 

BTW, are there any real lemons for sale new nowadays?

 

/Mats

 

[ 11-06-2001: Message edited by: mats.olsson@rockfile.se ]

http://www.lexam.net/peter/carnut/man.gif

What do we want? Procrastination!

When do we want it? Later!

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Originally posted by Steve LeBlanc:

Oh btw, I know lots of you probably love them but I think the Korg M1 is easily amongst the Top 5 worst sounding pieces of shit ever made.

 

Steve: What didn't you like about the M1?

Michael

Q:What do you call a truck with nothing in the bed,nothing on the hitch, and room for more than three people in the cab? A:"A car"....
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Originally posted by Steve LeBlanc:

My old Univox Compaq keyboard.

 

 

I do miss it though :)

 

I second that! Had one 26 years ago. It had three sounds. They all sucked. I also 'miss' mine :D

Kurzweil PC3, Hammond SK-1 + Ventilator, Korg Triton. 2 JBL Eon 510's.

 

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Steve: What didn't you like about the M1?

 

The way it sounded. ;)

 

Thin...Emotionless. Lots of synths circa 1988-1992 (and some new ones too) just sound like crap...the attempts to emulate real instruments are just pathetic IMO.

 

I've been forced to play Korg M-1s more than any other synth...got so frustrated I stopped playing synths altogether for a long time, I still don't play them often. Now if I had an Andromeda or something it might be different. Seeing how I'm pretty poor these days...I'm sticking to Vintage stuff.

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Originally posted by keyoctave:

 

I second that! Had one 26 years ago. It had three sounds. They all sucked. I also 'miss' mine :D

 

My first keyboard was a variation of this one. You could split the keyboard, but it was still the same three tinny sounds available on either side of the split. The only halfway decent sound I could get out of it was by running the clavichord preset through a wah-wah pedal for a kind of "poor man's" clavinet. I dumped it as soon as I could afford a Rhodes, just in time to do my first gig.

 

And Steve, I don't get why you dislike the M1 so much. I mean, I know it sounds dated by today's standards, but I have to wonder what you're comparing it to that you liked so much better at the time it came out.

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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Jeez...I can't believe no one has mentioned my all-time favorite... Magnus!!! :D

 

The thing made sound w/a fan or some such nonsense, and the volume was controlled via a plastic thingy that covered up the vent for the fan. I learned all of the tunes from the first two ELO albums on that piece of crap!!

 

And don't even ask about the 'one button chord' feature...

 

Steve

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And Steve, I don't get why you dislike the M1 so much. I mean, I know it sounds dated by today's standards, but I have to wonder what you're comparing it to that you liked so much better at the time it came out.

 

hehe, well that's the thing I didn't like much from that time, I'm not comparing it to anything else...just bitching about the fact that I hated M1s and since they were all over the place I ended up playing them a lot.

 

The T1/T3 series was a major improvement...I actually enjoyed playing my old D-50 at times...the early Samplers got some good sounds (Ensoniq, Roland).

 

[ 11-06-2001: Message edited by: Steve LeBlanc ]

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Here's a couple of stories.

 

When I was 15 I was desperate to own a synthesizer. One of my friends owned a Minimoog, and I was in love with THAT sound, but I couldn't afford to buy one. So I saved all I could, and bought a Davolisint. Davoli was a P.A. manufacturer - they made cheap P.A.s too. :) The first version of the Davolisint had... ONE oscillator... and... NO filter. The sound was... seriously similar to a broken vacuum cleaner... I played it for a few days, then when I got sick of pitch-bending (the only "synth" thing you could do on it, really - and it was done with a *slider*!), I had to resist a serious temptation to smash it into a million pieces, and resold it to get some of my money back.

 

Many years after, my PPG 2.2 broke down as I was about to begin a marathon recording session for a theatre show - 80 minutes of music. Tech "support" (a big music store) said: "We have to order parts from Germany, and we don't know how long that's gonna take - so we're gonna lend another synth to you." I thought, "OK, it will be no PPG, but it will help to get the job done."

They gave me an *AKAI AX-60*, which sound I can describe as a drunken cat with laryngitis - I couln't program anything decent on it. I brought it back the next day screaming, and all I obtained was an AX-80, its bigger brother; not great, but usable.

 

A last one : About 10 years ago, an opera singer friend called and said, "I got a recital at a nice festival in central Italy, want to be my accompanist?" I said sure, we reharsed a program of arias, and went to this lovely little medieval town. It was a theatre summer festival, with some music thrown in. Kind of low budget, mind you...

Well, to make it short, they had provided a "piano" for the concert. What was wrong, you ask, maybe it wasn't in tune? An upright piano? A digital piano? Much, MUCH worse - it was a CRUMAR "ELECTRONIC PIANO" from many years before. The sound was abysmal, and the keys weren't even dynamic!! Plus, it was battered to death. I said "I'm not playing classical music on this thing, sorry." It turned out that on the contract didn't mention a "real" piano, so they threatened to sue and forced us to play - and the place was packed! It was torture - I will remember it all my life.

 

marino

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it was a CRUMAR "ELECTRONIC PIANO" from many years before. The sound was abysmal, and the keys weren't even dynamic!! Plus, it was battered to death. I said "I'm not playing classical music on this thing, sorry." It turned out that on the contract didn't mention a "real" piano, so they threatened to sue and forced us to play - and the place was packed! It was torture - I will remember it all my life.

 

HAHA, kinda sounded like my Univox Compaq I bet :)

 

I imagine every serious piano player has been in the same or worse situations...not fun.

 

[ 11-06-2001: Message edited by: Steve LeBlanc ]

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RMI electric piano takes first place. Fairly heavy, same basic harpsichordish sound but I used the organ (longer decay) mode a lot.

 

It went further and further out of tune. Paid $400 used in 1970.

 

Ace Tone organ takes second place. Ace Tone later became Roland. Paid $200 used in 1968.

 

Roland RS5 takes third place. Yup, the newish very cheap synth. The "real time" knobs will move if you play hard. The keyboard as no aftertouch, you can barely edit a patch and it feels so cheesy and cheap everywhere. Paid $550 new, returned in 3 weeks.

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Originally posted by Steve LeBlanc:

Oh btw, I know lots of you probably love them but I think the Korg M1 is easily amongst the Top 5 worst sounding pieces of shit ever made.

 

Like it or not, the M1 was the forerunner of most of what's on the market today - multitimbral architecture based on sampled waveforms, internal effects, limited front panel controls, etc. How do you feel about the legions of the M1's decendants from Korg and other fine companies?

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Originally posted by dansouth:

How do you feel about the legions of the M1's decendants from Korg and other fine companies?

 

I have disliked most of them, but I love my Roland JD-990 and I also like a couple of the E-mu sample-playing boxes with their unique filters.

 

Worst keyboard I have ever owned: Roland D-70. The action was actually decent, but the synth engine and OS was, um...suX0r.

 

My local dealer setup a deal for me with another guy so I could sell the D-70 and give the dealer that cash and an additional $1 to get the first JD-800 he got in. It was a great improvement for me. :D

Go tell someone you love that you love them.
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The Yamaha CS6x. That thing had such promise (it had pretty good sounds), but the operating system, and the overall user interface design was so frustrating that I sold it after a few months. God, did I take a bath on that deal - I had already bought two "expansion boards". I put that in quotation marks, becuase rather than expanding the capabilities of the synth, what they really did was push me over the edge because they were so poorly integrated into the operating system. I understand the expansion boards on the Motif still work the same way - Motif owners, be warned.
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