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Fantom-Xa: To buy or not to buy?


Hytanon

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So I'm seriously concidering getting the Fantom Xa, it's the only board of it's kind in my budget. Is this a good board? or would it be infinitely better to just save up and get an X6? Does the Xa have all the same presets/sounds (vocals, etc) that the entire X series has? Not sure where to find this information!? I'd appreciate any help I could get!

 

~Anthony

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Search around as I believe that there is another thread on this. FWIW - I just bought an S for $400 less (street price) than an XA and with better capabilites for what I need so you might think about that route. :idea:
Hammond B3, Leslie 122 - is there anything else?
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I was planning on buying an Xa for a long time, then I played it. The keybed is awfully cheap feeling, the pianos are, in my opinion, awful. And I had trouble navigating the board. But I'm not very synth/workstation savvy. I prefer the electro's route of everything being right there. But it does contain some decent sounds, not the same soundset as the x-series though. You might want to take a look at a motif "classic" 6. Similar features for around the same price.
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Originally posted by blue and white:

And I had trouble navigating the board. But I'm not very synth/workstation savvy.

You might want to take a look at a motif "classic" 6. Similar features for around the same price.

:eek:

 

Sorry, but are you seriously suggesting that the Fantom is hard to navigate, and a Motif might be preferable? (I'm a Motif ES owner, so I feel I can speak to this subject with some authority...)

 

The Motif, while being a wonderful instrument IMO, is definitely lagging behind the Fantom series in usability and interface design... :(

 

SG

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Originally posted by shakeyeraz:

Search around as I believe that there is another thread on this. FWIW - I just bought an S for $400 less (street price) than an XA and with better capabilites for what I need so you might think about that route. :idea:

I did the same thing...bought a used S61 with two expansions on E-Bay, then put a third one in (the new piano)...all for about the same price as the Xa. I'm very happy with my decision....heartily recommend going that route if what you want is a Fantom.
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The XA has the same ROM and patches as the Fantom S, but the XA also has twice the polyphony. Also be aware that early modles of the S series had some problems with pads and they are not as sensative as the pads on the Fantom X.

 

On the plus side for the S series, it has a better interface and the sampling option is easier to use than on the XA.

 

I would probably go with either a Fantom S or save up for the Fantom X. I think the interface on those machines is great for sequencing, sampling and editing patches.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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Sven,

I wasn't suggesting that the motif would be easier to navigate, I was just noting another similar keyboard in the price range. I couldn't navigate my way around either of those boards :D

 

One major thing that turned me off of the Xa was that when i went looking for an ep patch, I couldn't find one in any of the listed categories. I know they were there, theres demos of them and theres plenty of them listed in the tones list in the manual. I also couldn't figure out how to turn off a simple layer that someone before me had turned on. It could have just been common sense kicking me in the head, but I wouldn't want to be stuck in that situation on a gig where i needed to change patches quickly.

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My assumption is your looking for opinions. My first suggestion is always trust your own. My personal opinion is to save up and get Fantom X6 or Motif ES6. Better sounds, more options. Now if youir not going to use the sequencing and sampling then your on the right track. Fantom Xa or Motif 6. Check them both out and compare the sounds to see which works best for you. As Sven Golly stated the interface on the fantom will probably easier to use but your going to have a learning curve with both.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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The sounds of the Xa, are exactly the same as all the other X's......MINUS the premium piano. It can only take two expansion cards, where the S can take 4. But with two cards in the Xa, you can still access 512Mb of sampling RAM. with the S, you'll get a Max of 288Mb, and you'll be limited to two cards to get that anyway. The keybed on the Xa, really does suck, think Yamaha entry level PSR. The sampling pads on the S, aren't really that much better, I don't use them for drums anyway, they work better as sample triggers, you'd want constant velocity anyway.

For the money, the Xa is really hard to beat, and I can see why someone would choose it over an S(I didn't). If you have a good computer set aside, for audio only, or a good digital multi-track, then go and get the Xa, if not, save your cash, and get the X6.

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I reviewed the Xa a while back, and while there was significant feature-trimming to keep the price down (no aftertouch, and pads aren't velocity sensitive, for example) it's a damned decent value in an entry-level workstation. The sampling, in particular, is really full-featured. I agree, though, the regular X series makes a strong argument that the extra few paydays' wait is worth it.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

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 think the biggest disappointment on the Xa to me was that they kept the same waveform ROM from the S and didn't use the expanded ROM of the X. That's really why I went with a used S...as I said above, for the same money I got four times the ROM and thousands of patches by picking up a used S and SRX expansion boards. The biggest thing I'm missing to me is the 128 polyphony, but since I'm using this as a live performance board it's not a big deal. With the Xa's 1990s style OS and cheap keyboard, I was really suprised that you gave it a Key Buy...but not the S or X when you reviewed them earlier.

 

As mentioned by Rabid, the pads on the S are not the best for playing drums on, but you can program them to do all kinds of other things...I have several pad banks of program and setup changes and use them in live performance for that. It's a great feature...they are a relatively large surface that's hard to miss when you're gigging...no more fumbling around. A new pad bank of 16 will load in seconds.

 

There's a lot more to the new waveform ROM of the X than the new piano BTW...of the 256 new waves, only 80 are that. The rest are an assortment of things...a new nylon guitar designed to compete with the mega-voice one on the Motif ES, basses, strings, brass, and percussion...

 

Something else to think about though...with the Fusion just released and a new Motif rumored to be just around the corner, it might be a good idea to wait a bit if you're thinking about a $2000 workstation, but something in the $1200 range might be a little safer.

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