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Korg Pa1XPRO-Any thoughts?


Dank

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First off, I am a guitarist in my early 40's, and my live gigging days are far and few between. I have a well-equipped recording studio which includes three keyboards and one sound module: Triton Studio 88, Ensoniq MR-76, Yamaha SY77 and the Yamaha Motif Rack. My recording medium includes a Roland VS2480 and a Pentium 4 PC which runs Sonar Producer's Edition and Acid Pro 4.0. I used to have a Korg i2 keyboard and then an i40m. They were fun to use for developing song ideas but seemed limited after awhile.

I received the current edition of Korg Proview and lo and behold, I saw the Pa1XPro. It looks like (on paper at least) that the arranger keyboards have really evolved. Who owns this keyboard or has played it? Any thought for using it exclusively in the studio? Thank you for your time. Dan.

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Hi Dan,

 

The PA1X is a very nice instrument. You are correct in that arranger keyboards are not the same as they once were. They are much more akin to what is referred to as a workstation with the addition of a built-in drum machine and phrase player, etc.

 

I would like to invite you to also take a look at the Generalmusic Genesys Pro. The Genesys has even more right out of the box than the other newer arranger keyboards. Here is a link to the Genesys info http://www.generalmusic.us/Pro/genesysPro.htm

 

If you have any questions about the Genesys Pro or how it fares up to the competition, please feel free to ask.

 

Best Regards,

 

Dave McMahan

Keyboard Product Manager

Generalmusic USA

 

PS- I would like to add that I hope no one minds me doing a short commercial like that. It is just nice to see someone in these forums ask about this new breed of keyboard. I have the feeling most of the members are more on the pro side of things and normally would not think twice about a keyboard that includes arranger features. But the Genesys is quite a bit more than just an arranger keyboard, so I took the opportunity. Thanks.

Wm. David McMahan

I Play, Therefore I Am

 

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Well... nice way to hijack a thread before it evens gets started Dave!!

 

I usually hold back from making a commercial even when it's about MY product to allow the real users to talk a bit so I didn't jump in, and lo and behold, my buddy comes along with a commercial for another product...

 

sigh...

 

Regards,

 

Jerry Kovarsky

 

Originally posted by DaveMcM:

 

PS- I would like to add that I hope no one minds me doing a short commercial like that. It is just nice to see someone in these forums ask about this new breed of keyboard. I have the feeling most of the members are more on the pro side of things and normally would not think twice about a keyboard that includes arranger features. But the Genesys is quite a bit more than just an arranger keyboard, so I took the opportunity. Thanks.

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Hi Jerry,

 

Well I did include an apology for throwing in a plug. And I kept it very short and unobtrusive. But if what I did is considered to be in bad taste, then again I offer an apology.

 

And don't forget that first paragraph read;

"The PA1X is a very nice instrument. You are correct in that arranger keyboards are not the same as they once were. They are much more akin to what is referred to as a workstation with the addition of a built-in drum machine and phrase player, etc."

 

And one point I was trying to make was;

"It is just nice to see someone in these forums ask about this new breed of keyboard. I have the feeling most of the members are more on the pro side of things and normally would not think twice about a keyboard that includes arranger features."

 

The new high-end arranger instruments offer some pretty cool benefits over a straight workstation. They are not just for gigging at retirement homes and offering renditions of As Time Goes By. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Those are good paying gigs and the people really enjoy themselves.

 

And I do think the PA1X is nice. It has some similarities to our instruments which makes sense since some of the engineers who designed it originally worked for GEM.

 

I didn't realize that you visited this forum but I see from your profile that you joined in April of this year and have posted 22 times. You have more tenure that me. I joined in June of this year. But with 136 posts to date, I guess I am just more vocal. 135 of those posts were providing help or answering questions about our products and any other brand/model that I am familiar with.

 

Nice talking with you,

 

Dave

 

PS. I don't quite get your statement " I usually hold back from making a commercial even when it's about MY product to allow the real users to talk a bit ". I am a real user and so are you. Yes we both work for keyboard manufactures but that doesn't diminish our validity in being considered a keyboard player. And as I remember back when we both worked for ENSONIQ, you could really tear it up on keys. :)

Wm. David McMahan

I Play, Therefore I Am

 

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Hi Dan,

 

Sorry for taking your thread in the wrong direction.

 

What you said is true "arranger keyboards have really evolved". Please go check them out.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dave McMahan

Wm. David McMahan

I Play, Therefore I Am

 

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GEM GEM GEM, everywhere you look. :freak::D

 

what are there now, 5 players and counting? :confused:

 

I'm just impressed with anybody who knows what buttons to push on those arranger boards, I don't care what brand they are! :thu:

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Dave, no offense taken, I assure you. Your thoughts were very helpful. Does General music offer additional Syles? Does the keyboard have buttons for intros, outros, variations and fills? Can these buttons be controlled via a footpedal? Thank you. Dan.

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Originally posted by Dank:

Dave, no offense taken, I assure you. Your thoughts were very helpful. Does General music offer additional Syles? Does the keyboard have buttons for intros, outros, variations and fills? Can these buttons be controlled via a footpedal? Thank you. Dan.

Hi Dan,

 

Yes to all of your questions. If you would like to talk about the Genesys please feel free to contact me at 630-661-3183. I will be happy to fill you in on the instrument.

 

BTW, that is an amazing collection of guitars you have. I am surprised to not see a Lowden in the lineup. If you enjoy the Taylor guitars (and who doesn't?) you would probably appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into the Lowden instruments. I just tried their website, but it appears to be down at the moment. I am not sure what that means and I hope they are just updating as opposed to having difficulties. They are wonderful guitars.

 

Best Regards,

 

Dave

Wm. David McMahan

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Dave, I have no room left for more guitars; my guitars take up every available bit of wall space in my studio. Nevertheless, you've piqued my curiosity. I'll guess I'll have to go out and try a Lowden!

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I'm going to take this thread back on-topic for a minute... the Korg PA1X-Pro is badly overpriced IMHO, and like the Korg Triton that it's sound engine is based on it is limited to what Korg calls "a generous 62 notes of polyphony". The idea behind an arranger is that it can play accompaniment either in the form of styles or SMF's while you play live over top on the same keyboard. That's going to eat some serious polyphony, and the Korg PA1X-Pro is forever non-expandable (you can add samples via their expansion cards but not polyphony).

 

A far better pro-level arranger IMHO is the discontinued Yamaha 9000 Pro, which is based on the Motif sound engine. It not only came with 128 notes of polyphony native but you can add expansion boards that really do add more polyphony (including Yamaha's upcoming new PLG150-AP 64-note polyphony acoustic piano board). The 9000 Pro's user interface is laid out more logically than the PA1X and since the 9000 Pro is discontinued you can find them for half the price of the PA1X-Pro. It's a great gigging instrument.

 

Yeah - the new generation of arrangers are good for "gigging at retirement homes and offering renditions of As Time Goes By" as Dave said, but if you look beyond the stereotypical applications you'll find that they do double-duty as a workstation for band use or as a soloing instrument. And BTW: my 9000 Pro helped me create a very contemporary and unique version of "As Time Goes By" that works with a wide range of audiences... that's what's cool about arrangers is their ability to let you try out many different ways of playing a song. They are masterful at improvisation.

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Thank ypou, The Pro. You have raied good points. I will look into the Yamaha, as well.

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Ooo, I knew I shouldn't have used that As Time Goes By example. :)

 

To The Pro,

 

You are right about arrangers being great to try out different styles on familiar tunes. A Latin version of A Train is kind of cool.

 

Polyphony is one of those things that can make peoples heads spin. The number of voices that an instrument can produce simultaneously is called polyphony. The term voice refers to how many different single sounds can be reproduced at the same time. The problem is it all depends on how many voices are being used to create one particular sound. All of the instruments out there have the ability to use multiple voices to create a single sound. As an example, some companies will use two voices to create a single acoustic piano sound by triggering the same sample twice from a single key strike and panning one of the voices hard left and the other hard right to create a wider, fuller piano sound. In this case playing a single key is actually using up two of the available voices that the instrument can produce. 128 voice polyphony suddenly turns into 64, 62 turns into 31, and so on. Believe it or not, this is common practice among a lot of the manufactures out there. One reason this is done is because the samples in those instruments are fairly small and cant really hold up on their own. This isn't the only reason of course. Sound programmers want to create the best sounds possible, and they will tend to use all of the programming potential of an instrument to accomplish this.

 

I am not picking on any particular brand here. Everybody has done this at one time or another. It is important to know that the polyphony that is in listed the spec sheet, while accurate may not be telling the entire story. The number of voices stated doesnt necessarily mean that you can play that many individual notes at the same time, either from the live keyboard or from a style or MIDI file.

 

I have read posts on another forum from owners of the PA1X and Genesys alike, who were current or former owners of the 9000, and they all agreed that polyphony is no more an issue on these instruments than on the 9000.

 

Just food for thought.

 

Best Regards,

 

Dave

Wm. David McMahan

I Play, Therefore I Am

 

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Hey folks, welcome back to the Dave and Jerry show...

 

:-)

 

Seriously, Dave, I considered long and hard about whether to even say anything and maybe I should have done it privately. No real harm or offense taken. I know your heart was in the right place.

 

It's just that you work for a competing company - I work for the company that makes the product - in these instances when someone is looking for opinions from users/members I don't think we're the first people who should be answering, even if it is nice, respectable, fair etc. If it were technical questions or problems then of course we're the type of people to do this.

 

Anyway... you and I have been friends for a long time, we've worked together, jammed together and you're a lucky "catch" for Gem/Generalmusic. You do a great job for them and I respect your work ethic, your "heart" and your chops!

 

Regarding the polyphony issue - Dave is right - all product can have differing limitations. But it's best to decide this not by reading specs sheets etc. but by playing the instrument itself.

 

To find out all the good (and some of the "not as good" about a given instrument I suggest you look for user groups for that specific product. The Pa-series has a nice group of users at www.irishacts.com (http://www.irishacts.com/forum/phpBB2/index.php) and on Yahoogroups.com (http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/don48splace/). Another good site for arranger keyboards in general is http://www.awarenessengine.co.uk/phpBB2/index.php.

 

Finally - have you visited our www.korgpa.com site?

 

I hope this helps.

 

Regards,

 

Jerry

 

Originally posted by DaveMcM:

Hi Jerry,

 

Well I did include an apology for throwing in a plug. And I kept it very short and unobtrusive. But if what I did is considered to be in bad taste, then again I offer and apology.

 

And don't forget that first paragraph read;

"The PA1X is a very nice instrument. You are correct in that arranger keyboards are not the same as they once were. They are much more akin to what is referred to as a workstation with the addition of a built-in drum machine and phrase player, etc."

 

And one point I was trying to make was;

"It is just nice to see someone in these forums ask about this new breed of keyboard. I have the feeling most of the members are more on the pro side of things and normally would not think twice about a keyboard that includes arranger features."

 

The new high-end arranger instruments offer some pretty cool benefits over a straight workstation. They are not just for gigging at retirement homes and offering renditions of As Time Goes By. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Those are good paying gigs and the people really enjoy themselves.

 

And I do think the PA1X is nice. It has some similarities to our instruments which makes sense since some of the engineers who designed it originally worked for GEM.

 

I didn't realize that you visited this forum but I see from your profile that you joined in April of this year and have posted 22 times. You have more tenure that me. I joined in June of this year. But with 136 posts to date, I guess I am just more vocal. 135 of those posts were providing help or answering questions about our products and any other brand/model that I am familiar with.

 

Nice talking with you,

 

Dave

 

PS. I don't quite get your statement " I usually hold back from making a commercial even when it's about MY product to allow the real users to talk a bit ". I am a real user and so are you. Yes we both work for keyboard manufactures but that doesn't diminish our validity in being considered a keyboard player. And as I remember back when we both worked for ENSONIQ, you could really tear it up on keys. :)

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Originally posted by jerrythek:

I work for the company that makes the product - in these instances when someone is looking for opinions from users/members I don't think we're the first people who should be answering, even if it is nice, respectable, fair etc. If it were technical questions or problems then of course we're the type of people to do this.

I'm inclined to agree....

 

We kind of have a policy on the forum regarding those of us who work for manufacturers that we don't use the forum to push our products. There's a big difference between answering a question that has already been posed about products you represent and jumping into a thread where other products are being talked about and doing a "commercial" for your own competing product.

 

Besides participating on the forum as a musician (which of course anyone is most welcome to do), if and when a question comes up specifically about a specific manufacturer's product I'd be honored to have someone representing that manufacturer answer it in their official capacity. However, I think we have to keep it to that...Dave, wouldn't you be bummed if Jerry jumped into the ProMega thread and started doing commercials for Korg pianos without having anyone in that thread ask about them?

 

I really value having you guys here, and I truly hope you'll continue to hang out; however, I'd be most grateful if no one would push or talk about their products unless you are called on by name and/or there is a specific factual and/or technical question asked about your products. I would also request that you feel free to correct any misinformation posted about your products.

 

I work for two MI manufacturers now, and I hold myself to this same standard.

 

Originally posted by DaveMcM:

I did include an apology for throwing in a plug. And I kept it very short and unobtrusive. But if what I did is considered to be in bad taste, then again I offer an apology.

:cool:

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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The polyphony limitation is less significant in the Korg engine than you'd think. Of the big three Japanese manufacturers, I'd say that the Triton engine creates the thickest timbres. Now, you may say that part of that is due to effects, but the Motif and Fantom also have effects, and they don't sound nearly as thick.

 

This may not even be desirable in some circumstances, but it definitely reduces the need for more polyphony in some cases.

 

I've always felt that the best use of arrangers comes from paring down the style to the bare essentials: bass, drums, pad. All the other flourishes like horn stabs and the like make it sound cheesy.

 

Hey Jerry, have you seen Ken Zemanek lately? What's he up to?

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Originally posted by zeronyne:

[QB]

I've always felt that the best use of arrangers comes from paring down the style to the bare essentials: bass, drums, pad. All the other flourishes like horn stabs and the like make it sound cheesy.

QB]

As a long time arranger owner, I absolutely agree! :thu:
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Jerry: Since I already have the Triton Studio, will I simply be duplicating the sounds on the Korg Pa1XPro?

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OK, so I felt a little apprehensive about posting that in the first place which is why I included the PS. I guess I should have gone with my gut and deleted the entire message.

 

Dave Bryce, your suggestion is duly noted. I will be happy to stick around and answer questions as I have in the past about any brands and products that I am familiar with.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dave McMahan

Wm. David McMahan

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Originally posted by Dank:

Jerry: Since I already have the Triton Studio, will I simply be duplicating the sounds on the Korg Pa1XPro?

Hi Dank:

 

Not at all. The Pa1X series has a lot of different sounds (different samples and programming) and it features a number of really expressive velocity-switched sounds which include real performance nuances and "noises" that the Triton can't do. So it's quite different.

 

As Dave mentioned in his post there's a different approach to Arranger keyboards from a regular MI workstation and for songwriting and making backing tracks to play your guitar along with an Arranger is a great asset. The ability to use all or just parts of a Style (just the drums with patterns changes and fills, or a small trio accompaniment) is such a boon to writing and playing.

 

If you're more concerned with writing melodies and harmonic progressions and don't want to have to tell the bass player and drummer every thing to play then an Arranger-approach is just the ticket. Record your ideas and then if you want to go back and change a chord or two you can just type them in and the whole accompaniment changes to match. No event editing needed!

 

If you want to practice it's so quick to get a song in and start playing rather then sequence all the parts, after which you're too tired to play!

:-)

 

So in these situations an Arranger offers more instant satisfaction for the composer and performer, not just the one-man band playing gigs.

 

End of commercial.

 

Regards,

 

Jerry

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Hi Zeronyne:

 

I having spoken to him a year or so. As far as I know he's still gigging with his Beatles tribute band (his first and true love) and has done some cool things with them. They won some competition a few years ago and got to go to Abbey Road and record s few tunes using some of the same gear the Beatles did. A "died and gone to heaven" experience for him!

 

Other then that I've lost track of him. Too bad - he's a great guy.

 

Regards,

 

Jerry

 

Originally posted by zeronyne:

Hey Jerry, have you seen Ken Zemanek lately? What's he up to?

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Jerry: Thank you for answering my question. I'm going out to audition the Korg today.

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Jerry: Thanks for answering my question. I am going to audition the Korg today. By the way, I'm a die hard Beatles fan (as you can see from my collection of Beatles guitars). One of the best Beatles bands I've ever seen was The 1964 Tribute Band. Absolutely stunning! I've also seen Mccartney on a number of occasions, the last being on his last U.S. tour. I can't wait for the Spring 2005 tour!

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Gibson J-160e

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Ric 350V63

Ric 360v64/12

Ric 4001VP Fireglo

Gretsch '62 Tennessean Rose

Grtesch '62 County Gentleman SP

Epi John Lennon Revolution

Godin Mlutiac

Anderson Hollow Classic Drop Top Custom

PRS Custom 22 10 Top

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'76 Strat

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