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Would you be more likely to buy a Motif/Fantom/Triton if...


aeon

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Yamaha, Roland and/or Korg offered this in their next round of ROMpler/RAMpler workstations?

 

RAM+HD subsystems and partnerships with leading sound design companies such that libraries like Spectrasonics Atmosphere, Scarbee RSP73, Yellow Tools Culture, Garritan Personal Orchestra, Drumkit From Hell, etc. could be loaded and stored internally?

 

I ask because it seems this is one of the biggest gaps between the workstations of old, and the PC-based RAMplers that are the new way.

 

For the purposes of this discussion (and these are big assumptions!), lets assume that these samples would be fast-loading (as fast as a fast PC is in loading from HD), integrated into the OS of the workstation in question and have protections as it regards piracy and unauthorized copying which would be unobtrusive to the user.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

I ask as someone who owns none of these types of workstations, and as someone who might well be influenced to buy one if the makers took this kind of initiative.

 

cheers,

aeon

Go tell someone you love that you love them.
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This is the concept behind things like the Open Labs Neko, but their approach is somewhat the reverse: build a custom keyboard with buttloads of real time controls around a serious hotrod of a PC.

 

Ironically, what attracts a lot of music-minded startups to doing sample libraries or software instruments is the low overhead when compared with getting circuit boards printed etc. Now, if Aeon's wish is indeed widely shared, it would seem we want that functionality from familiar hardware platforms.

 

I'd welcome it... though I don't know if the software companies would. It seems with the market they've established, they'd be competing with themselves. Still, "convergence" is a big buzzword with, well, everything these days, so who knows. They're already getting the message about putting in lots more wave ROM than in very recent days.

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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I personally like them (Fantom/MOTIF/Triton workstations). They more than serve their purpose, in ways better than their soft counterparts, and in other ways not. Adding those capabilities wouldn't weigh at all with me. It'd be cool, but the Triton still works for me, with its 32MB ROM/16MB RAM and all.

Peace

If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking 'til you do suck seed!
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Well, workstations try to be everything at once by definition, but of course, they can't do everything well.

To me, a workstation is only useful when I'm playing live. At home, when I need imitative stuff, I use samplers and multitracking; for recording, my computer or the Akai multitrack; for mixing, I got a large mixer and good outboard.

The only workstation I have ever bought is the Roland XP-80. Stuffed with 4 expansion boards, and maybe layered with a module (most often the Kurz MicroEnsemble or the Wavestation rack), it still covers all the bases very well. Of course, I've spent time to program my own sounds on it, and they're quite a bit richer than the presets.

So I don't feel the need for a more modern workstation. When playing live, I usually bring the basic setup described above, plus another synth or two according to the type of gig. For example, the AN1x, or the Kurzweil.

So what I would look for in a new workstation? A weighted keyboard, coupled with real portability and good real-time controllers.

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I suspect that that the next generation of ROMplers will have large on-board libraries and real-time streaming. Isn't that the natural next step in their evolution?

If not, then what? More polyphony? :bor:

 

dB

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I think workstations will continue to hold a place in both live performance and the writing process.

 

I watched the Peter Gabriel DvD a few nights ago. One thing that stuck out was the computer monitors. They had 2 Kurzweils and a Korg on stage, but those monitors kept giving me the feeling that not everything was live. That may be the worst thing about having a computer on stage. You may only use it to play VSTis, but the audience is always going to question how much is live and how much is sequenced. Just the presence seems to take something away from the live performance. JMHO

 

As for writing. Take a Motif ES, 512 meg of sample memory, a 60 Gig USB HD, FM and VA expansion boards, and a USB connection to your computer. How much more do you need? Nothing kills the creative mood faster that running out of CPU power. And when a 6 note chord on XPhrase sucks up 50% of your CPU, it is easy to max out a computer. When you are writing a song do you really need all those VSTis? Sometimes it is nice for inspiration but most often a good ROMpler gives you everything you need to move the notes from your head to a sequencer. Especially now that most good ROMplers have 128 osc polyphony. And once the song is down, then you start going through those VSTis and improving the sound.

 

Last of all, no matter how big and powerful your computer system, you still need a good keyboard and good controls. A lot of USB controllers are made cheaply, feel cheap, and have small keyboards. The cost between a good, full size controller with quality equal to a Motif or Fantom would not be all that much cheaper than a workstation. I think we will see even more movement of workstations to add controller features.

 

So when you have a workstation with USB connection, good controls, and streaming samples you will have the pinnacle of controllers.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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I think we will see even more movement of workstations to add controller features.

As I'm always interested in the "controller" features of these workstations, I'm amazed that the "big 3" (or is it 4) cant do something as simple as splitting the keyboard to allow some notes to play an internal patch while other notes play an external module(s) through some other MIDI channel(s). Or am I just missing where this function exist?
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My Alesis QS7.1 can do this. It would shock me if the Big3 couldn't.

 

To do it, you simply assign splits on separate MIDI channels. On the split you want to trigger an external source, you make sure that split is on the same channel as the source - and then set the internal volume of that split to zero OR set "keyboard = off" and "midi out = on" for that split.

 

Originally posted by Markyboard:

I'm amazed that the "big 3" (or is it 4) cant do something as simple as splitting the keyboard to allow some notes to play an internal patch while other notes play an external module(s) through some other MIDI channel(s). Or am I just missing where this function exist?

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.

 

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I would be leery of putting my samples on a hard disk on a stage instrument. Even though drives are much more reliable nowadays than they used to be, they're still prone to getting nicked of you have trouble getting the keyboard onto the stand. Not only that, but electronic memory is inherently faster than physical storage. Given how cheap memory is nowadays, I'd want to see the manufacturers find a way to put massive amounts of the stuff into a keyboard. Or they could use the USB memory model - how about four USB ports on the back of the workstation? A 512mb grand piano in one, a 256mb Rhodes in another. And stream those into workstation memory as needed. It would certainly kick butt on 16mb ROM carved up into 800 different sample sets....

 

Originally posted by DKeenum:

What if you could load these large sample sets from some type of flash card? The idea of a Scarbee Rhodes or Wurlie or the piano of my dreams being used inside my stage instrument is facinating. The trick would be doing it without increasing the cost too much.

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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To do it, you simply assign splits on separate MIDI channels. On the split you want to trigger an external source, you make sure that split is on the same channel as the source - and then set the internal volume of that split to zero OR set "keyboard = off" and "midi out = on" for that split.

Of course you do - duh. What was I thinking??? I kept hunting around the utility section to do this. It seems so obvious now. :o

 

Thanks.

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Originally posted by coyote:

I would be leery of putting my samples on a hard disk on a stage instrument. Even though drives are much more reliable nowadays than they used to be, they're still prone to getting nicked of you have trouble getting the keyboard onto the stand. Not only that, but electronic memory is inherently faster than physical storage. Given how cheap memory is nowadays, I'd want to see the manufacturers find a way to put massive amounts of the stuff into a keyboard. ...

Of course this is an even bigger worry with using a computer on stage.

 

Robert

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Computers are cheaper than synths these days. I just bought a smokin PC (2.6GHz Pentium 4 with 1GB RAM) for around $500. (I already had a few hard drives around, although I'm buying more soon.) This was with an Antec Sonata case, which is designed to be whisper quiet. The hard drives even float on little neoprene bumpers to dampen the sound. And GS3 running on this thing is closing on 300 voices of polyphony with real-time convolution reverb.

 

Windows doesn't have to be scary. After all, your parents probably use it. :eek:

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Originally posted by Markyboard:

As I'm always interested in the "controller" features of these workstations, I'm amazed that the "big 3" (or is it 4) cant do something as simple as splitting the keyboard to allow some notes to play an internal patch while other notes play an external module(s) through some other MIDI channel(s). Or am I just missing where this function exist?[/QB]

TRITON does it easily in COMBI mode: you get eight parts and can choose external or internal sound, midi ch, transposition, controller assignments and key range (if you want int/ext layer or something)

i havent played w motifs that much but this korg implementation of master keyboard functions is one of the best, not to mention arpeggiator that can play external modules as well.

it is an often overlooked function of such a type of kbd workstation.

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kurzweil is also very good as a controller keyboard.

 

i was going to start another thread called 'why i don't use workstations', but might as well continue here.

 

i use cubase and wavelab for recording/editing/'mastering' midi and audio.

 

i'm really spoiled with using these as compared to the facilities available in workstations.

 

last time i tried to use a workstation, you still had to edit midi thru a 'list' type function.

just giving a keyboard a 'piano roll' type display with graphic editing of controllers would go a long ways toward making them more usable/friendly.

 

i always look specifically for keyboards that aren't workstations, because i can't see paying extra for features i won't use.

 

i imagine it would be the same with 'streaming' samples. if workstations use a substandard implementation of this function, why bother. easier to sick with computers for this.

 

arps and the ability to play back pre-recorded sequences will always be useful for the live performer, but why struggle with inadequate means of creating them?

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i havent played w motifs that much but this korg implementation of master keyboard functions is one of the best, not to mention arpeggiator that can play external modules as well.

it is an often overlooked function of such a type of kbd workstation.

I think I would be setting up many combis/performances configuring for external modules only. Maybe one for playing each module by itself over the whole keyboard range, then various splits and various layers. On my current controller I have one program set up for layering any combination of modules with each module assigned to a different zone. I can then turn on or off each zone with a single button push. I assume these workstations have a facility for sending a program change to any external module specified with out affecting the current internal combi selection?
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Hmmm,

 

Seems to me the perfect company to deliver something like this would have been Emu. But it seems they're totally departing from the hardware market.

 

Believe it or not my E-synth was very close to what you described except for the lack of ram, and slow HD loads. But I still think it was a pretty awesome concept, they just never expanded upon it. Also what really killed them was the use of the same old 16bit EIII samples.

 

Kurzweil could have pulled it off, before Yong Dong wacked all of R&D.

 

Dallas

http://TrilogySound.com

 

Reading, PA

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