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Do you focus on one brand? Do you still depend mostly on hardware?


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For those who have a large setup, do you tend to focus on one brand or is your setup spread across multiple brands? Why? Has this changed lately with the proliferation of software?


I am a bit focused on Roland. Most likely because my favorite dealer sales Roland. I get good support and my questions are always answered. Also, I like the feel of the keyboard and the joystick. But, my Roland setup is as much about electronic drums as keyboards. The Fantom and XV-5080 are the most expensive items in my rig, and are joined by a Handsonic, SP-11 kit, and TD-8. Yamaha, E-mu, Korg, Clavia and Novation are all represented. For some reason I dont have any Alesis or Kurzweil instruments in my setup.


My spending habits have changed quite a bit lately. I no longer look at expensive keyboards. If I want an expensive sound I get it in software. Now when I look at hardware I look at two areas. Is it easy to use and control? Does it free up a lot of CPU cycles from my computer. In the past year I have picked up a lot of low end items that sound good and easily replace things I was doing on computer. The Yamaha DX200 and FS1r make a great alternative to FM7. The Emu XL-7 is almost like FruityLoops in cheap hardware. Some sounds that come from my $260 used Wavestation SR would take 50% of my CPU if done on a VSTi. At one time I considered hardware to be the basis of my music and software to be filter. Now I consider hardware to be for writing and filler, and software for those special sounds.



This post edited for speling.
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I depend completely on hardware (though any digital keyboard is as much software as hardware). It's mostly coincidence that the Rhodes MK80 was actually made by Roland, who also made my JP8000. But aside from those, I'm using:

Hammond A100

MotionSound & Marshall amplification

Alesis QS7.1

Kurzweil ExpressionMate

Red Sound Darkstar


So I really have zero brand focus. I couldn't care less WHO makes something, as long as it does what I want. I cannot imagine going to the store saying "I'd like to buy the newest piece of Roland gear, whatever it happens to be". (Though if they took a renewed stab at SA synthesis, I'd definitely be curious.)

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.


This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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This reminds me of the "keyboard stereotypes" thread where one choice is the "psuedo-endorsee." :) I used to be kinda like this ...


Anyhoo, I don't know how you define large setup, but no matter how I'm sure mine doesn't qualify. However, I have a perspective I think would contribute, so allow me to pontificate: :)


When I was younger I had all Roland gear: Roland Juno 106, Roland U20, Roland Cube 60 amp. Then I needed organ sounds. Best in my budget: Voce Micro BII. I had that setup for years.


Then recently I upgraded. I am still hardware-based because my main use is for gigging, and I am leary of relying on a laptop for my sounds live. Tried all sorts of keyboards. I ended up with Nord Electro for organ and E piano, because they way they sampled that stuff, I dunno, it really has some balls. More aggressive than any other board I tried, and because I'm in a world-rock/fusion quartet, I really got a lot of sonic space to fill. Then I needed a nicer piano and string/pad dealy-bob than the U20, so I looked at XV88, Yamaha S90, Kurzweil. I ended up with Kurzweil because I really wanted detailed natural sounds. Yamaha was similar on this mark and I would've been happy with either board, but I just got a good deal on the Kurz PC2 so I took it.


The Roland VX sounds were a bit hypey for my tastes to be my only board for strings and piano. Didn't care for how it handled those. Lots of sounds I even recognized from my U20.


NOW: If I were to buy a module for more sounds, I'd probably buy either a Roland XV or a Korg something-or-other, because both those manufacturers have strengths in certain sounds that would compliment the Nord (fat, but only does limited sounds) and the Kurzweil (rich, natural and detailed, but limited in synthy sounds and performance features). I don't need those sounds quite yet (and my bank account doesn't need the expense!), so I'm holding off.


So, my point is, different manufacturers, different sonic strengths and weaknesses. Short answer (good God, after all this a short answer??) is no, I do not gravitate to just one manufacturer.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby


"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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I mainly compose (using Logic and a pair of MOTU 896s) as my DAW. As far as my sound generators, I have samplers and ROMplers by Kurzweil, Yamaha, Roland, AKAI.. On the software side, I use EXS24 - Gigasampler - Sonic Synth - Kontakt and Reason.


My last project was a score for a SONY playstation game (Jak & Daxter 2). They wanted mostly an orchestral film score sound. I find myself relying on a Kurzweil K2600XS, a Kurzweil K2600RS, EXS24 Logic Sampler and Gigasampler for this job. This is mostly becasue of the extensive libraries I have for these formats.


Their are two instruments in my arsenal I probably will never give up which are a Yamaha DX7IIFD and a Yamaha VL1M. These are unique in timbre and for certain sounds (FM or Physical Modeling) seem better than any software substitute.


I'm thinking of adding the new MOOG Modular plug-in to my system.


Remember that latency and polyphony are still issues when using EXS24, Gigasampler and Kontact.


When using my Kurzweils, I'm only at 48 note polyphony, but there is no latency other than 3 ms of MIDI triggering as in all my tine generators. Plus I do quite a bit of VAST and KDFX programming to tweak every sound within a cue to be just right. That's something my software samplers can't do yet.


Take care all,


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I am thinking to use these three virtual instruments, plus the Bardstown 2.5 GIG piano and the Scarbee "Rhodes"


"TRILOGY" (3 gigs of basses, and synths)



"STYLUS" (thousands of groove elements, loops and samples, with interface for creating your own grooves) http://www.spectrasonics.net/instruments/stylus/demos.html


"ATMOSPHERE" (pads, ambient textures and tons of powerhouse synths, interchangeable layers)


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I've done almost exactly the same thing...stopped looking at hardware, but it's not because of cost, it's because of function and space. Right now there isn't anything in the way of hardware that I really need. (Well...maybe that Andromeda.) And I really don't have anywhere to put another stick of gear. I'm also blessed to already own some really cool stuff. So hardware lust has left me temporarily.


I, too, like the Roland stuff but I don't get to use it much at home. The Roland rig is on the trailer and doesn't come home until the end of the tour season, if then. But the Roland gear sounds very good, even when squashed to hell by the f.o.h. engineer's bandpass filters and compressors. Roland gear has also proven to be extremely roadworthy. At home I'm using more and more software, and other than not being able to enjoy the wonderful action of my RD-700, I get almost everything I need out of Gigastudio, B4, and the Voyager.


Software lust, on the other hand, has taken the place of hardware lust. I just gotta have more samples for Giga, as well as Sonar 3. Just have to wait a few billing cycles to clear up the card...



9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it



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Currently using one of each: Kurzweil, Yamaha, Nord, and Emu.


I've had three Roland pieces over the years but their manuals were so poor I sold them in frustration; I had a Kord EX-800 :bor: but haven't purchased anything else, no real reason. My current Yammie (EX-5) is so buggy and slow I've probably given up on them too.


Agree with a previous post that each manufacturer has their strong and weak points, but my memory is stronger than my pocketbook and my list of acceptable manufacturers grows smaller the older I get.


Oh, and I'm hardware only, as I'm just a live musician.


"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will


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Hardware only - Mostly still playing live these days, and I haven't had a chance to 'upgrade' my setup. Did buy a new computer, installed a demo of gigasampler - haven't had a minute to work with it. Oh well.


Never really focused on one brand - I've never owned a Roland product, for no particular reason. Everything I own is spread out between different manufacturer's, although alesis gets the prize.

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


American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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My performance rig is all hardware based - (Voce v5 / Yamaha motif rack / Kurz pc2R / Noah). Yet I use mostly VST's at home....hmmmm. Maybe I just need to get a laptop computer that I can take "on the road" and run my NI or giga stuff live.


As for the manufacturer, I don't really care who makes it, I just want it to sound good and be reliable. So, I guess I'll never be a gear-endorser!!

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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I'm not really focused on one brand, simply because there's no brand for me that makes the perfect synth, stage piano AND organ for me. What's the perfect synth anyway? I just bumped into stuff I liked and bought what I liked.

But I tend to lean to brands, like for stage pianos buy Yamaha. Want a clonewheel? Go Roland, Voce or B4. Need a computer? Apple without a doubt. DAW? Logic...



Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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I used to feel that having a variety of hardware pieces from different manufacturers was preferable (sonic variety). But now, because I'm so software based, the hardware doesn't really matter than much. Like Synthpro, my VL1 is here to stay but the other digital hardware just goes through a revolving door.


I've pretty much settled on Yamaha as it and the Roland weighted keyboards are about all I like. Right now I have a the VL1, S90 and Motif ES8 (plus the analogs and electro-mechanicals). While some may have issues with the Yamaha UI, having all the same brand actually makes things simpler--once you get it, you've got it on all of them.


Right now the S90 is for live. I was toying with the idea of using the ES8 instead, but the Sony laptop is working so well and the sounds are so superiour there's no turing back. I'd still rather carry the S90+laptop than the Motif8. Using V-stack I'm running concurrently: the B4 (to a Leslie 21), two instances of Atmosphere, FM7, Pro53, Kontakt (running a modified version of the PMI Bosendoerfer 290, Sonic Implant strings, QL Brass, some stand out guitars from a variety of libraries plus drum loops and other things). I do streaming off the 4,200 RPM internal drive with no problems. Amazing sound and versatility.



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Originally posted by burningbusch:

.... While some may have issues with the Yamaha UI, having all the same brand actually makes things simpler--once you get it, you've got it on all of them.


That is sort of how I feel about Roland and E-mu. I use them enough to know my way around and to dig pretty deep into patch programming. I don't have the time to know everything as well as I like, so I keep it focused on two brands. Other than the VA's most everything else is preset machines. One thing I have yet to find is a software sampler that has programming as deep as a Roland or Emu.



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My last keyboard purchases have been Yamaha (DX7, then a couple of DX7II) due to the reputation of a good instrument with a bitch of a user interface. Yes, I had to have the worst possible user interface possible, preferably one that is legendary in that respect. :) I've been reading that the Roland D50 also has a nightmare user interface, so I may have to get one of those. Good sound, lots of parameters to tweak, as non-intuitive as possible, that's the ticket for me!


Heck with the logo on the back, just give me the sounds & features I need.

"shit" happens. Success Takes Focus.
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I'm pretty much split down the middle.

Lately I've been buying a lot of soft-synths (Absynth & Kompakt), but back in February I bought a used S80 that I've always wanted.

I use Giga for my pianos, and I guess I'll try out Kompakt for this as well, but like others, I tend to use the soft synths for the specialty sounds, so as not to tie up the cpu.

I have gear from Yamaha, Roland, Emu, Kurweil, Korg, Crumar, & most of the soft synths are NI.


What we record in life, echoes in eternity.


MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.


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Simple questions, simple answers. :)


1) No, I don't like to focus on one brand. I tend to have a liking for the way Kurzweil does things, but I like to blend differents colors, even on a single sound. So I use all my stuff to the most.


2) I'm still a 90% hardware guy. This may change in the future; when I get a good computer and soundcard, I envision maybe a 50/50 situation. Frankly, I don't care if a synth is hardware or software, as long as it sounds good to me. The only problem is, I have spent a long time programming all my hardware synths, so I have an huge collection of original sounds. For this reason, the turnover rate in my home studio has always been very slow. The only thing I will consider when purchasing a new synth, hard or soft, will be quality.

Presently, I have the desire to buy just a couple of hardware synths: A K2600 (to replace the two K2000) and an Andromeda.

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My last keyboard purchases have been Yamaha (DX7, then a couple of DX7II) due to the reputation of a good instrument with a bitch of a user interface. Yes, I had to have the worst possible user interface possible, preferably one that is legendary in that respect. I've been reading that the Roland D50 also has a nightmare user interface, so I may have to get one of those. Good sound, lots of parameters to tweak, as non-intuitive as possible, that's the ticket for me!

Dude, you need an FS1R in the worst way. It's a DX7 squared, in a 1U module with just a few knobs and buttons to program with and a manual that pretty much tells you, "here's what the buttons do, you're on your own from here". Plus, it's a new type of synthesis with scant documentation. It's the most beautiful nightmare you will ever have.
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Robert asked:

...do you tend to focus on one brand or is your setup spread across multiple brands?

Multiple brands, simply because each device was purchased on its own merits, and there is good to be found from many manufacturers IMHO.


I have Clavia, Elektron, Korg, Yamaha, Waldorf, Access, Roland, E-mu and Dave Smith Instruments (for the synths). Other makers in my setup include Apple, t.c. electronic, Lexicon, Sony, Line6, Digidesign, Allen & Heath, MOTU, Peavey, B&W, Bryston and Oberheim.


Robert asked:

Has this changed lately with the proliferation of software?

No, because I have a 20th-century computer, hehe. :D


That said, I do love NI FM7.

Go tell someone you love that you love them.
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I have instruments from Ensoniq, Korg, Yamaha, Kurzweil and Oberheim, but mostly Roland. You can't go wrong with almost anything in this time, but I have to confess that Roland does sound fantastic, in the synth engine, effects, and the raw samples.
This keyboard solo has obviously been tampered with!
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I've been more focused on new software products than hardware products in the past year. Here are some of the reasons why -


- Software synths have taken a quantum leap in quality since the early VST2's.

- You can buy a very fast computer with a ton of memory now for a reasonable amount of money.

- Mac samplers began to samples reasonably well within the last year.

- Programs are being ported to OSX (finally).

- I like to work on a laptop when I'm commuting or traveling.

- I don't have ROOM for any more hardware, and the hardware that I have sounds fine for my purposes.

- I don't feel that hardware has moved forward in quality enough to justify replacing what I currently use.

- The economic climate is not great, and I don't want to spend more than I have to.

The Black Knight always triumphs!


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Active gigging gear: Clavia Nord Electro 61 along with Clavia Nord Lead 2 and Korg CX 3, Akai XL3000S sampler, Alesis Quadraverb effects board.

Ideal gear (stays at home...): Hammond L 100, Rhodes Suitcase, Multi Moog.

I thing i have a special affection with Clavia, but i' not that fanatic about it. I would easily prefer to trade my instruments with a powerfull and fast laptop along with my 2 Clavias -good for the back...-, but i have to act fast and that takes time... So i'll stick with my rig. In any case i do believe that gear is something we have to stick to for a long time: there are so many possibilities in every piece of synth/sampler/laptop, so we have to really "feel" them before we use them live. And, on the other hand, it's only because of the increasing number of music gear companies and the battle in the market place, that we have to "face" so many new technology coming up every month. Who really believes that he has to buy every new product in order to be creative?

Best regards from Athens


Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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