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A question for all you MIDI gurus, and a quesiton on the Fantom


Ian Dorsch

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My current keyboard rig consists of a fully expanded Roland XP-50, a Korg Wavestation EX, a Roland XV-5080, a Roland MBD-1, and a Korg Wavestation SR. When I play live, I put the XP and the WS EX on a two tier keyboard stand, and take MIDI out from the XP into the EX and then thru to the XV and the rest of my rack. I like to have the option to play both keyboards simultaneously.

 

Now, the XP is my main songwriting tool, and I have pretty much outgrown it. I've been looking lustfully at the XP-60 and 80, but I figured as long as I'm going to spring for a new workstation, I may as well go with the Fantom which will still be compatible with all my stacks of disks from the XP-50 but sound a hell of a lot cooler. The problem is, the Fantom only has one JV expansion slot, and I only have two JV slots left in the 5080, so if I replace the XP with the Fantom, I lose an expansion card, which sucks, because all of my JV cards get a lot of use.

 

What I'm wondering is...if I replaced the Wavestation keyboard with the Fantom in my live rig, I would keep all my expansion slots and even gain a few more. Cool. The Fantom would replace the XP as my controller, and then I could use the Wavestation SR, which I don't usually bring to gigs, to supply all the Wavestation patches I need. But. Since do a fair amount of simultaneous playing on the XP and WS live, I need to not only have the SR MIDIed to the sequencer in the Fantom, I need to have the SR patches playable on the XP as well.

 

To my knowledge, the current MIDI setup I have would not allow that. Is there some way to make this fly? Maybe with a MIDI patch bay?

 

Also, does anyone have any extensive experience with the Fantom? The main selling point for me is its compatibility with my older Roland gear...and I already know I like the XV soundset. Is this a pretty solid axe, or should I be looking at Karma or Triton instead?

 

This makes my brain hurt. Any feedback is much appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Ian

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A midi merger product would do this. (Basically merge the routing out of the Fantom and XP keyboards).

 

I am aware of one by MIDI solutions:

 

http://www.zzounds.com/love.music?p=p.MSLQUADMERGPROC&z=1275800684113

 

Haven't used it but I have used some of their other stuff, which works well. Also there may be other porducts out there.

 

So let me ask you. Aren't you concerned that too much Roland will give you a one dimensional sound? I recognize that you have the wavestation, but still.......?

 

Cheers,

 

Jerry

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Originally posted by Ian Dorsch:

Since do a fair amount of simultaneous playing on the XP and WS live, I need to not only have the SR MIDIed to the sequencer in the Fantom, I need to have the SR patches playable on the XP as well.

 

To my knowledge, the current MIDI setup I have would not allow that. Is there some way to make this fly? Maybe with a MIDI patch bay?

 

A midi patchbay may do the trick for you, and some synths have a midi merge function.

 

I currently have a patchbay that has to be switched manually, but there are some that the routing can be changed by a program change. The Digital instruments MX-8 comes to mind, and I'm pretty sure it also has a merge function. Roland and Yamaha used to make them in the early 90s, but I'm not sure about model numbers.

 

http://www.dacs-audio.co.uk/prod03.htm

 

Check this link. I bookmarked this a while back.. never used one, but it looks like it could be useful - at least for me.

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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There's something to be said for having instruments from different makers. Even synths from the same company can have a different sound, which is one reason keyboard players usually have stuff from different companies. Having said that, gosh Roland sounds good...

 

If Roland sound compatibility is the main thing, I'd get the Fantom, and save up for a JV-1080 or 2080. That would give you the sound expansion you want. And heck, the Fantom sounds fantastic.

This keyboard solo has obviously been tampered with!
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Thanks for the input, guys. I think that MIDI merger might do the trick.

 

Jerry, as far as the "too much Roland" thing...it has crossed my mind. For my current situation, I don't think it's an issue. The JV engine in the XP-50 sounds quite a bit different from the XV engine in the 5080, and the WS adds a little gritty charm to the whole mess. I also do a fair amount of processing through my Ensoniq DP-4, which adds a little more variety to the mix.

 

Would the Fantom added to that be total Roland overkill? Very possibly. I certainly don't need duplicates of all the sounds in the 5080. But I really like the fact that it will be backward compatible with all the work I've done on the XP over the last five years. Plus I already know my way around the Roland gear to the extent that it doesn't interfere with the actual act of making music, which is a big bonus since I don't have a lot of time to learn a new interface.

 

Like I said, it makes my brain hurt. :(

 

I really do like the sound of the Triton...but it's more expensive, has a bunch of features that I will never use, and everybody and his brother owns one...

 

Ian

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Originally posted by Ian Dorsch:

Would the Fantom added to that be total Roland overkill? .......Plus I already know my way around the Roland gear to the extent that it doesn't interfere with the actual act of making music, which is a big bonus since I don't have a lot of time to learn a new interface.

 

Ian:

 

It sounds like you have thought through it. I have spent several years with the Roland rompler framework too. I agree with the wisdom of reusing frameworks where possible.

 

:)

 

Cheers,

 

Jerry

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As a Fantom owner and someone that has been through a few MIDI patch bays I will add a few things.

 

The Fantom is nice and I like it for the big programming window. As for the expansion ports, it sucks when using expansion ROMS. The XP 80 has dedicated sliders for filter, amp, etc, and two or three programmable sliders, and dedicated octave shift buttons. The Fantom has four programmable knobs and four programmable buttons. All internal sounds have assignments to these such as filter and octave shift, but interal expansion ROMS have no such assignments programmed, nor can defaults be set. As it is, if you want to use the knobs or buttons for ROM patches you have to edit those patches and assign these controls, then save the edites to your limited number of user presets. I was extreamely upset when I found that I could not set up default button assignments for octave up, octave down, and modulation on/off (for organ patches). It also bothers me that many programs have D-beam defaulted ot ON, and to prevent movement and lights from effecting the patches I have to turn it off when I switch to many programs. So in short, unless you want the Fantom for ease of programming patches on the large display there are better options. I like my XV-5080 better than my Fantom, much better.

 

For MIDI merging I like the MOTU MidiTP AV. It may be overkill but I have found no other 8X8 midi patch bay that I like better. It will hold 128 programms and patches can be set up using the supplies computer program.

 

If you like expansion ROM's as much as I look at the new Korg and Emu products. The new Tritons with 7 expansion slots sound great, and I am happy with the two expansion ROM's in my Karma. The Emu expansion ROM's are probably the best value on the market with up to 4 banks of 128 patches in most ROM's. Like the Korg, they give you a different sound than you get from Roland.

 

If you find a mint used XP80 consider it over the Fantom. With the difference in price you can pick up some more ROM's, a rack mount Emu, or even a Kurz PC2 Rack for more sound variety.

 

Robert

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Thanks, Robert, that is good to know. That's just like Roland to overlook stuff like those button assignments...sometimes I just shake my head and wonder. As much as I love my 5080, I can't imagine why they GOT RID of some useful features from the JV-1080/2080. For instance, the ability to set a Performance tempo, instead of having to waste a goddam user patch every time you want to sync a factory preset to MIDI. Sigh...

 

My thinking has actually swayed a bit in the past few days toward a Karma or a Triton for a new workstation, but I would be very content with an XP-80. Maybe I should just go with that...Hmmm...

 

Ian

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I have a Karma to go with my Fantom. They make a nice combo sound wise. I chose Karma because I could not quite afford the Triton at the time, and because I prefer keyboards that use joystick or lever rather than wheels. Some day I may trade up to the new expanded Triton line because the large screen would be nice for programming. I will not be considering the Triton LE because of the lack of expansion ROM ports. I already have the two ports in my Karma filled and wish it had a couple more empty slots.

 

Robert

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