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Buying a Music Workstation

Paul K.

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I have been thinking about buying a music workstation but know nothing about them. I have played with a triton le, but have not delved into it too deep. These things seem intimadateing to me.


Since I am starting out, should I buy a used one, or look for a reasonablely priced new one? To see if it's something I would be interested in?


I have had people recommend: The Karma, Triton le, and the new Korg TR. I even had a guy at guitar center suuggest the Yamaha Motiff 6, but I was unimpressed with it.


How do musicians use music workstations?

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Which workstation you buy is a very personal decision, based on very personal criteria. What style of music will you be creating? What kinds of sounds will you need? Will you need to load samples into it? Will you be using an internal sequencer or a computer sequencer? How important is the physical keyboard action? Will you need a weighted 88 key action, or will a cheap synth action suffice? How good are you with the technical side of things?


How you answer these questions (and many more like them), help determine which keyboard to buy. For instance, the Motif series is known for it's emulation of acoustic instruments. The Triton is known for it's electronic sounds. The Fantom series is somewhere in between. (One man's opinion...)


If you find workstations intimidating, I wouldn't consider the Karma. If easy multi-timbral sequencing from an internal sequencer is important to you, I wouldn't get the Motif. If a touch screen would be helpful, then consider the original Triton; not the Le version. It has a graphic interface with a touch screen that is very intuitive to operate. But again, it's better at electronic sounds than acoustic ones.


As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into this decision. But regardless of which keyboard you choose, you have to decide to make a commitment to sitting down with the manual and really learn it. Too many people expect to buy a keyboard and just be able to [guess] their way around on it. Invariably, these are the people that seem to complain the most about how "terribly hard" it is to operate a particular keyboard. Sure, some are WAY more intuitive than the others. But you still have to be willing to tackle the learning curve.


Hope this helps.

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I suggest you start with a used workstation. New models usually just mean more polyphony (maximum notes) and bigger sounds. Also, look for something with a big screen and user friendly interface. I would NOT recommend the Motif as a first workstation because the learning curve is very steep. Go for a used Korg Triton or Roland Fantom. Not the LE versions. Get the model with the big screen. Both have sequencers that are very easy to learn. The Triton has a touch screen and the Fantom uses buttons at the bottom of the screen to drive the menues.



This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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I'd recommend educating yourself about the terminology and what it means. I'd also suggest you dive into your Triton LE and use it as a learning tool to familiarize yourself with the different features found on keyboards. Once you do this you'll get a feel for what different things do and what you need and don't need.


The sounds and action will be the easiest thing to figure out for yourself, but you really should educate yourself on the different features and terminology so you understand what your buying.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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