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A new, old Fantom


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I'm still using my Roland XP-80 as my main unweighted master keyboard live, layering its own sounds with external modules. Now, I've the chance to pick up a Fantom (the original model) for a rock-bottom price. Not that I feel a need for the change - but next summer, I'm planning to play at some dance shows with the aid of the sequencer, and I think the extra resolution of the Fantom sequencer (480 ppq) could be of help.


Here comes the problem: My XP is fully expanded with four cards from the JV series (the old ones). I use the cards heavily in my programming, especially the World and Vintage cards. Now, I'm told that the original Fantom (not the S, I believe, nor the X) can accept JV series cards, but nobody was able to tell me just *how many*. I can't find that info online, either.

Does anybody know for sure how many JV-series cards the original Fantom can hold? And how many from the newer SRX series?


A secondary, related question: I've read that the XV-5080 is patch-compatible with the XP-80... To my understanding, that should mean that if I shot my patches via MIDI from one machine to the other, my sounds should translate, more or less, on the XV-5080... Does anybody know if this applies to the Fantom, too? That is, is the Fantom patch-compatible with the XP-80? I could live without that function, but better to know beforehand... :)


Also: How is the Fantom as a master keyboard? On the XP-80, I find very easy to build a Performance for live use: For every part, I just assign Local and/or MIDI, channel, program change, key range, volume and transpose, and that's it. I often use eight or more parts/zones (including layers :) ).


Thanks a lot in advance!

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Originally posted by b3keys:

Why don't you just keep the XP80 and use an external hardware sequencer?

I'd rather keep the number of boxes which I have to carry around to a minimum. Plus, the XP-80 is rapidly losing its value on the used market, so since I can have the Fantom for little money, maybe it does make sense to upgrade now.
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Hi there,


I had exactly the same problem: Needed a sequencer and my XP-30 does not feature one. I considered buying another master keyboard, but then again many of the boards I do like have no on-board sequencer (on-board sequencers of good quality seem to have become kind of out of fashion these days...). After thorough research I found out that Yamaha offers this wonderful little (and light) machine, the MDF-3 Midi player. Got mine used for a mere USD 150, and never regretted my decision. Have a look at it at http://www.zzounds.com/item--YAMMDF3. Looks old fashioned, but works pretty well.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
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according to the Roland US and Roland IT websites, the Fantom S can accept 4 SRX expansion cards; no mention of JV cards, though.






So my advice would be: buy the Fantom S, if the price is really a bargain, but keep your old (and faithful) XP-80, even because this way you don't have to go through the ordeal of reprogramming your patches .

BTW, I am more or less in your situation, since I have on order a Fantom XR but own already an XV-3080, with two JV cards. Since the XR can hold six SRX cards, but no JVs, I am going to keep both. Crazy, uh? :eek:

Korg PA3X Pro 76 and Kronos 61, Roland G-70, Integra 7 and BK7-m, Casio PX-5S, Fender Stratocaster with Fralin pickups, Fender Stratocaster with Kinman pickups, 1965 Gibson SG Standard
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According SDM ( Fantom Link Here ), the original Fantom (not S or X), which is what I believe you're talking about, can take 1 SRJV card and 2 SRX cards. Thus, you'd either have to invest in one or more of the SRX compilations to replace some of your SRJVs, or just use one at a time. Obviously, not the best solution, but, if the price is right, that may work out for you overall.


As far as a master keyboard, I'm not sure I can help you much there. I have the S88 and I use that as a master and really like its capabilities as such. The original is synth-action, I believe, so perhaps that will be a factor for you. However, I believe the sequencers in the original Fantom and the Fantom-S are very similar (if not basically the same), and, if so, you'd be able to do a lot with Performances, patterns, etc. from the Fantom as a master while still playing other parts directly from the keyboard.


Good luck!


"I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to."

-Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

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Hi Carlos,


I can help you a bit with this one since I also traded my XP-80 for a Fantom 76 a few years ago.


First of all, the Fantom 76 will hold 1 of the older cards that you use in the XP-80, and 2 new SRX cards. In the states the SRX cards sell for $219. So you may be able to sell your older cards buy the new expanded cards with just a little more money. You will appreciate the expanded patches in the SRX world and vintage ROM's. Goto the Roland US website for a good demo of the SRX cards. At this time I have the SRX-03 Studio and SRX-07 Ultimate Keys ROM's in my Fantom, along with the discontinued dance ROM that was built upon Spectrasonics samples. At one time I had the SRX-09 World Collection in the Fantom but have since moved it to the XV-5080. After much experimenting I decided that the ROM's that I use solo work best for me in the Fantom and the ROM's that I use for backing multiple parts are best in the XV-5080.


Here is a little comparison of the Famtom 76 and XP-80.


The Bad - When I first changed keyboards I was not totally happy playing the Fantom. The sliders just above the pitch lever of the XP-80 have been moved so that are not as easy to make a quick edit with the left hand and jump right back to the joystick. The D-Beam controller also drives me wacky. I have not found a way to turn it off permanently. It sits right next to the group of control knobs and buttons where it is easy to accidentally pass your hand over it when grabbing a knob. When stacked, any keyboard above the Fantom may also affect the D-Beam. At least it can be turned off in user edited patches.


The Good After some use I really began to like the user edit buttons that sit below the knobs. With some thought I get some great user control. You can assign a button to turn glide on and off, and the corresponding knob can control glide rate. Buttons can be used for mono/poly switching, modulation on/off (which means controlling the rotary effect), and most any parameter. Same for the knobs. Once I got used to them I would never want to go back. The Fantom allows you to set 8 banks of favorite patches for quick access. This is the best implementation of any workstation I have tried, and I have tried everything but the Kurzweil series. You will find the large screen great for editing patches. Best of all, the Fantom sounds a little better than the XP. To my ears it is a bit smoother and has a rounder bottom end. I think this is also the only Fantom that has a floppy drive for storing or loading patches. The OS is also updated by floppy.


Roland did address my biggest complaint with the first OS. Any ROM patches had no controls assigned to the four knobs and buttons. After the update they assigned standard controls such as filter amount and resonance, mono/poly and glide to the user controls. I guess it does pay to complain.


So the short version, when I first traded my XP-80 for a Fantom I was a bit regretful. After a few months with the Fantom I would never go back to the XP-80.


If you have any other questions just post them. I think there are a few of us here that own the original Fantom 76. I'll try to give more information later. My boss just got back from lunch so I have to get back to work. :P



This post edited for speling.
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Thanks a lot everybody for your responses, especially Robert for his detailed description.

All I had to know is that the Fantom can hold just one old-style card... So I'm going to stick with the XP80 for now, just because I would have to reprogam too many sounds. I'll settle for the limited timing resolution of the XP80 sequencer. In the future, I could get an XV5080, which holds four JV cards and four SRX cards, and get something else as a master keyboard.

(Hey Yamaha, do I have to repeat it once again? 76 fully weighted keys, wheels, aftertouch, 2-3 MIDI outs, velocity curves, programmable zones, not more than 33 lbs... please :D:D )


Thanks again!

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