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Is the Z1 still worth it?


Goldberg

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Please quick responses-I've got a fairly good chance to buy a Z1, but only in a matter of hours. So can someone tell me a few things: 1)How would you rate the Z1's capabilities to create warm pad sounds? 2) How are the keys? I'm not looking for perfect, but I expect something that at least will hold up a while. 3) I accept the fact that it won't be the easiest thing to program. But, would you say that it's somewhat obselete now, or is there still some really high points to it? And finally 4) I know, this synth won't have unpareleled (sorry for the spelling) realism, but I've heard some positive remarks about their trumpet sound (which is what I'm after for realistic sounds-Roland just doesn't hack it). So, is it at least better than most? Thanks for any help!
"Bach is ever new"-Glenn Gould
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Striker, I love the Z1. I'm FAR from the most experienced synth hand around here, but there is much joy to be had in this machine.

 

1. Very fine Pad machine, IMO. Good at thickish analog pads (I often prefer a thinner digital pad, but if you want thick, it's here). Because of all the programmability and real-time control, you can create very eventful evolving pads. I'm not sure what an expert would say, but I'm pretty positive that pad building is NOT a weakness of the Z1.

 

2.The Keys, and overall build, seem very solid to me. I like the action for a non-weighted. In fact, the only action I prefered in the store was the Motif's.

 

3. OS IS NOT NEARLY AS HARD TO GET AROUND AS SOME WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE. There. I said it. What you do with all its programmability is a different story, but accessing everything and understanding the layout is really not a problem. If *I* can learn it...and I have learned its layout pretty completely.

 

4. The trumpet, and brass in general, can be impressive compared to some samples. As can some of the saxes. The solo brass instruments are lively (wait, let me call one up here and make sure I'm not BSing you...) Nope, pretty cool solo trumpet sounds. There's two "realistic" one: Bold Trumpter and Classical TP, though there's nothing about the classic one that would keep you from using it in other styles. I also have a pretty good additional trumpet patch that came on the ZSC card that I found on eBay. perhaps I could send you that patch (pending technical and legal investigation....)

 

Some other notes.

 

5. Presets are a real mixed bag. Some find them uninspiring. I've found enough that I like. Plus tweaking is so automatic with the 18 knobs and groovy X-Y pad.

 

6. It's a great "freak out" machine, a great tool to learn sound design. I have some softsynths for that purpose, but I still turn to the Z1 more often than not.

 

7. Not known for its EPs or organs, but I don't think they're bad at all, and they have a decidedly different sound and response than sampled EPs and Organs. The Wurli is especially good--blows away my QS 8 and any other sample I've got in that department.

 

8. Bowed string model SUCKS, but plucked string is pretty good. There are some outstanding bass sounds on this board. Thick, lively, plucky. I play real bass, but sometimes I turn to the Z1 for the strength of its bass sounds.

 

I got mine new for US 900. It's the standrad 12 voice polyphony, not the expanded 18.

 

Web resources are slim, but there's a little out there. www.lfo4.com (a reference to the 4 lfos...) is the best Web resource.

 

Have you read back threads here? If Not search "Z1" just in the subject and you'll zoom in on some good discussions. Dave Bryce and Anderton both have Z1s. Soapbox owns one too, and really digs it.

 

What else have you been looking at? Are you committed to a new synth or is this a surprise opportunity?

 

The feeling I get from the Z1 is it will not satisfy all your needs and you may never know exactly what you think of it, but you will never own another board like it. It will always occupy a unique space.

 

Hope I've been of some help, and sorry I didn't even bother to proofread! Just trying to get this out ASAP. PLEASE tell us what you decided.

 

John

 

Originally posted by Striker1080:

Please quick responses-I've got a fairly good chance to buy a Z1, but only in a matter of hours. So can someone tell me a few things: 1)How would you rate the Z1's capabilities to create warm pad sounds? 2) How are the keys? I'm not looking for perfect, but I expect something that at least will hold up a while. 3) I accept the fact that it won't be the easiest thing to program. But, would you say that it's somewhat obselete now, or is there still some really high points to it? And finally 4) I know, this synth won't have unpareleled (sorry for the spelling) realism, but I've heard some positive remarks about their trumpet sound (which is what I'm after for realistic sounds-Roland just doesn't hack it). So, is it at least better than most? Thanks for any help!

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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I've got one. I like the instrument a lot. Very unique sounding synthesizer. I don't use it for its instrument emulations, though...much more for the odd electronic sounds - I think that's more of it's strong suit. In all fairness, it's got some nice EPs, though...

 

Craig Anderton has one as well, I believe.

 

dB

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Great summary John! Personally, I use my Z1 much the way that Dave said he does. However, the trumpet and Wurli sounds John mentioned are quite nice. I particularly like the gliss that the trumpet patch makes while holding a note and sliding a finger down the X/Y pad. (I have yet to use it, but I like it!)

 

The Z1 has two advantages that make it a "go-to" synth for me. One is how easy it is to tweak patches. It's fun, for instance, to sequence filter sweeps on the fly, adding a lot of life to what would be a basic patch. The other advantage I feel that the Z1 has over most VAs is its warmth. While I wouldn't say that it is as warm as most real analog synths, it does make for satisfying pads and synth bass timbres.

 

Good luck Striker!

 

Best,

 

Geoff

Enthusiasm powers the world.

 

Craig Anderton's Archiving Article

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Correction...I WAS going to buy it on ebay... :rolleyes: But unfortunately the one I would've bought first was sold a few hours after I posted my first message, and there was one guy who seemed particularly interested in it (it seemed like if I wanted it, I'd have to go all the way-so I let it go at $750). Next in line (the one I decided I WOULD definately buy-today) was sold before I even got up this morning. It was one of those "buy now" things-for $775, which included shipping, and it had been upgraded to 18 voice polyphony. However, someone beat me to it-it had about 5 days left too-I couldn't imagine someone quite as desperate as me!!! Oh well. In the time being, while I wait for ANOTHER Z1 to pop up, could someone suggest another synth that is a worthy opponent to the Z1, is at the same price range, and is as easy to find as the Z1? If not, the Z1 sounds like the perfect synth for me right now. Also, keep me updated if you find a Z1 up for sale...Thanks!
"Bach is ever new"-Glenn Gould
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Originally posted by Rabid:

I just scanned a Jan Hammer interview in the new mag. He still uses one and likes it very much.

 

Robert

Which magazine, Robert? I'd like to pick one up. Haven't heard anything about Jan lately. I'm curious what he's up to these days.

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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I love the Z1. I don't have one, but every time I play one I get lost in it for hours, or for as much time as I have available to get lost in a keyboard. When it came out it was one of the only bona fide synthesizers in a world of ROMplers. At sub-$1K prices it's well worth having, and I intend to get one someday.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

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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Originally posted by Rabid:

I saw a Yamaha AN1x in a small town music store two weeks ago. It was new and they were asking $1200. At that price it may be there a long time.

 

Robert

Rabid-at the local GC there's a used Nord Lead2 with several minor scratches/bumps, etc(really not in too bad of condition, and the keys are fine, as are the actual knobs) listed for that price-$1200 (!). It's been sitting there for several months now-can't you find them brand new online for about $1000 now? Come to think of it, that's not such a bad idea...
"Bach is ever new"-Glenn Gould
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Heads up, Striker! There's an 18 voice Z1 on Ebay right now. There's no reserve, and the price is pretty cheap. For the moment, anyway. Check it out! :)

 

Disclaimer: I do not work for Ebay, nor am I the seller of this keyboard. I have nothing to gain from this notice, so it should not in any way be interpreted as spam! :D;)

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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Originally posted by Superbobus:

I have two arms and a 64 voice CS6x! :):D:thu:

And if you select a 4 element patch (the better ones anyways), you have 16 note polyphony.

 

Is it that much of an advantage?? ;):P

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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Originally posted by soapbox:

"Get it while it's hot!"

 

...Actually, maybe that wasn't the best choice of words! :D

LOL! :D

 

On the same page as the ad I was describing, somebody else had a Triton ProX for sale that was described as "HOT!" The bidding was only up to $1400, so it kind of made me wonder if he meant it literally! :eek: Better check out the serial# before you bid! :D

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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I have a 12 voice Z1 and think that's fine. I would not class it as a multi-timbral sound source, it's more of a lead/performance synth.

 

As for the polyphony business, it will play 12 notes regardless of the number of oscillators used in the patch. As each voice can use up to 4 oscillators, this does not seem too bad when compared to the likes of a 64 voice CS6X or MC505, which will give 16 voice polyphony using 4 oscillators per patch. I hope that makes sense.

 

JS

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