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Workstation x Synthesizer


Daniel Buck

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Hi there...

This time my post will be in english, not my language as the other time! [o=

 

Well, I really wanna know the differences between a workstation key and a synthesizer key... I know that we have, for example, Kurzweil K2600, wich is a workstation, that does everything that an Alesis Ion does... Is that correct?!?!

 

I wanna know what you think about it...

 

Thanks!

Prog Metal from Brazil... KEEP PROGGIN'

OMEGA ZERO Keyboard player.

http://www.omegazero.cjb.net/

 

Alesis QS8

Yamaha PSR530

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A "workstation" is defined as a keyboard on which you can generate a complete multi-part piece of music, from composition to sequencing / arranging to playback. It does not necessarily have to be able to print the project to a two track audio format (such as with an internal CD writer) although some workstations, such as the Korg Triton Studio, do offer that.

 

I see a "synthesizer" as something that makes a lot of different sounds and allows editing of them. The Ion fits this description, as does a ROMpler with basic subtractive (i.e. filters-n-envelopes) sound engine you can edit.

 

A K2600, Motif, Fantom, or Triton, is thus both a workstation and a synthesizer.

 

The Ion is a synthesizer but not a workstation, as is the Yamaha S90, Access Virus, and other things that don't include an internal sequencer.

 

A semi-pro "arranger keyboard" with great preset sounds you can't edit (e.g. Yamaha PSR or Roland E series) would be a workstation but not a synthesizer, at least in my book.

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 Daniel Buck:

Well, I really wanna know the differences between a workstation key and a synthesizer key... I know that we have, for example, Kurzweil K2600, wich is a workstation, that does everything that an Alesis Ion does... Is that correct?!?!

No, a Kurzweil K2600 won't do everything an Ion does.

Technically, we could call a 'synthesizer' any keyboard with substantial editing capabilities, no matter how the sound is generated - while a 'workstation' is supposed to have a sequencer, effects, multitmbrality... in short, as Steve explained, everything you need to put together an arrangement. So you could say that a workstation, in a sense, 'contains' a synthesizer.

 

But - there are synthesizers and synthesizers. A typical workstation (or better yet, its 'synthesizer' part) is generally based on sample playback, while a synth can have other method of generating sounds. The Ion, for example, is based on Virtual Analog (VA) technology, which aims to digitally reproduce the behaviour or the old analog synths.

 

To confuse matters further, on some workstations you can have a VA section, usually thru an optional card. The Kurzweil 2xxx series also have onboard 'oscillators' which are not sampled, but generated by the system software, giving it some VA capabilities without the need of an expansion card.

 

Also keep in mind that even if two synths seems to have very similar features, they can still sound very, very different. Every instrument has its personality.

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Originally posted by marino:

[Also keep in mind that even if two synths seems to have very similar features, they can still sound very, very different. Every instrument has its personality.[/QB]

"Dave, I'm fightened..... What are you doing Dave?" (H.A.L. from 2001 - I couldn't resist!)
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Originally posted by marino:

[/qb]

...To confuse matters further, on some workstations you can have a VA section, usually thru an optional card. The Kurzweil 2xxx series also have onboard 'oscillators' which are not sampled, but generated by the system software, giving it some VA capabilities without the need of an expansion card.

[/QB]

 

Hi Marino, let me tap a little of your synth knowledge: You have just said that the K2600 does feature a VA section (i.e. dedicated oscillators) which allow for virtual analog synthesis. Can you inform:

a) what is it called in Kurzweil's marketing language (part of VAST, I suppose....)?

b) Is it any good? I mean, on the same turf as the other mainstream VA engines (Nord, Virus, etc.)?

c) Do the new K2661 features this VA capability as well? Any dedicated optional required or it comes from factory on the basic model?

"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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Originally posted by Daniel Buck:

Thank you, Marino!!!!

 

Now, all I have to do is learning english! uhaehueauhaeuhae...My english vocabulary is too poor... But I'm trying!Thanks again... Nice week...

A little OT, but still important and related to the question: Buck, do not be ashamed of your eventual mistakes with the language. You are right on track to learning English in the best possible way: Through usage! All one needs is something of real interest, which happen to be in English...For me it was The Beatles tunes and National Geographic magazines, some 20 years ago...

 

Of course you could learn it the classic way, taking classes, etc. But we know scores of people who did it and were never actually capable of communicating in English, don't we?

 

If that can serve you as incentive, I never had a class myself!

"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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Originally posted by Hartmann:

Hi Marino, let me tap a little of your synth knowledge: You have just said that the K2600 does feature a VA section (i.e. dedicated oscillators) which allow for virtual analog synthesis. Can you inform:

a) what is it called in Kurzweil's marketing language (part of VAST, I suppose....)?

They didn't give any particular name to this capability, which is on VAST synths from the beginning. BTW, it's precisely this feature which allowed Kurzweil the claim to have "max 96-note polyphony" on a K2000 (which is 24-note poly for most pratical purposes); since in certain VAST algorithms you can have two added software waveforms (mainly sines and saws) in addition to the main channel, they simply summed them in the voice count.

b) Is it any good? I mean, on the same turf as the other mainstream VA engines (Nord, Virus, etc.)?

In my humble opinion, it comes close, but it's not as smooth as the best VAs. Of course, you must take into account how the filters sound; The Kurz filters are really excellent for a sample player, but again, not as smooth as the physical modelled filters you find on VAs.

c) Do the new K2661 features this VA capability as well? Any dedicated optional required or it comes from factory on the basic model?

No, as I said, it's standard since the first K2000 models, more than 10 years ago. The K2600 series has the added advantage of Triple Modular Processing, where you can line three different VAST algorithms, and play mind-boggling games with your sound. Among other things, this is very useful to obtain a more authentic "analog" sound, if that's what you want. The K26xx series also has improved overall sound quality.

Back to your original question: Can a K2661 sound like a VA? In my opinion, the answer is no - otherwise, Kurzweil wouldn't have designed a dedicated VA! But it can sound closer to an analog, not to speak of sheer complexity, when compared to most other workstations.
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