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S90ES vs Kurz PC2


analogman1

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Hi folks...

As I'm in the market for a new "all in one" axe, these 2 seem comparably priced; and the 76 note size "reduction" is a plus for me, on the Kurz.

Any thoughts?

I've played the Yamaha many times and like its sound.

Haven't tried a Kurz in a *long* time.

OK then...

Tom

Nord Electro 5D, Modal Cobalt 8, Yamaha upright piano, numerous plug-ins...

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Where's Jazzwee when we need him? ;) It's gonna be interesting to read his opinion later.

 

I can't talk about the S90ES, but I know more and more every month what the Kurzweil PC2X (88-key version of the PC2) can do and I'm an old-timer with the Kurz stuff (K250, K1200, etc.). There's actually a lot of programmation possible. :)

 

On the other hand, I don't recommend it to people who don't like to program (as not all presets are great) or to those who have something against the Fatar keybeds, since the PC2 uses a Fatar PC30 light weight and the PC2X a Fatar PC10 more full weight action. The real potential being the sounds, the huge programmability and the very good MIDI implementation.

 

Now should you go for the PC2 or the S90ES? Only you can tell. It depends what are your priorities and, mostly, which sound and feel you prefer when you test them at your local music store. :)

 

Take your time to try them. :wave:

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Me too. I have a pc2. Do not know anything about the S90ES, but I have always liked Yamaha stuff. I love the pc2. It seems to show me something more every time I play it. I do not program it - just use the rhodes and classic add-on board, piano, clav and KB3 organ. It's easy to carry and sounds good. I have B3 sounds covered three ways. I find I'll use it instead of my nord electro 2 rack ot hammond xk3 because it's so convenient and sounds just fine.
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Well to add a little balance: I can't comment on the Kurz stuff but I've owned the S90ES for a year. Usually after a week or two of owning a kb I start to wonder why i purchased it in the first place. But i still love this thing. Even now my bandmates regularly comment on how great it sounds.

JP

1935 Mason & Hamlin Model A

Korg Kronos 2 73

Nord Electro 6D 61

Yam S90ES

Rhodes Stage 73 (1972)

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Originally posted by Cydonia:

Where's Jazzwee when we need him? ;) It's gonna be interesting to read his opinion later.

Cydonia, when I see the Kurweil or GEM compared to an S90ES, I run away because I don't want the Canadian contingent on my tail!

 

analogman1, I am expected to say good things about the S90ES and I do. But I also have respect for the other forumites here who have VERY STRONG opinions about their Kurzweil preference. Thus, I would not ignore them either.

 

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of people that have an S90ES side by side with a Kurzweil, or have had the opportunity to try them out at a store. So all you will have is personal opinion and as you know tastes vary.

 

Within the Yamaha family, I would put the S90ES at the top of the food chain right now.

 

I probably didn't help you at all here.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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PC2 is a great board, features-abound, awesome controller capabilities, has all the 'stock sounds' you'd EVER need (orchestral, brass, percussion, pads, choirs etc etc), and they're really good sounds too! However I personally really dislike the piano sound, and the rhodes sounds, and the clav, and the wurly (the factory presets, that is, I could probably get some improvement out of the instruments mentioned except perhaps the piano sound if I knew how to tweak it, but tweaking on the PC2 a rather ardous process, and it has a nasty tendency of FORGETTING YOUR PRESETS). The hammond sim is good though, as are the pads and strings, but my main gripe is that DAMN PIANO SOUND!!!

 

There's my PC2 rant :D , take it or leave it.

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As a friendly alternative to Clifton's opinion on the Kurzweil's piano, I think Kurzweil's is the most accurate hardware-based piano program on the market. I started with the Kurzweil 1000PX module, then purchased the K2000, and now use the triple-strike stereo piano program found in the PC2X.

 

Many folks here think Synthogy's "IVORY" is one of the best sounding software-based programs on the market. I copied this from their website:

 

Synthogy is a Massachusetts based audio software company founded by George Taylor and Joe Ierardi, former engineers of Kurzweil Music Systems. Together they bring more than 35 years of design experience in synthesizers, musical instruments, effects, and sound design to the field of Virtual Instruments.

 

Of course, it's all subjective. But for years I've always been pleased with my Kurzweil sounds.

 

For those who predicted I would say this, based on maybe one or two previous posts, I apologize. ;)

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Quality wise you're talking about oranges and oranges, so I'm afraid it will come down to personal taste. I'd take the Kurz, but you may prefer the Yammy. Not much help I know, but it's the truth.

Gig keys: Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Crumar Mojo 61, Crumar Mojo Pedals

 

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I have a love hate relatonship with my PC2 - it is an excellent midi controller and I love a lot of the sounds - the classic keys rom is stellar - the main triple strike piano sound is starting to wear on me - I have been using Ivory at home and am getting spoiled I guess - I use the 76 key PC2 and it is light enough for gigging - I midi it to a Motif ES rack and the two together sound great - I love layering the real sounding rhodes - are w still allowed to use the word rhodes without fear of litigation? - with the Motif rhodes - which are clear and bright but don't have the same body as the Kurz.

 

I am just a little tired of the piano sound. It just doesn't feel dynamic and it's a little brittle when amped up loud.

 

However the piano sound on the K destroys the pathetic piano sound on the Nord Stage - that piano sound is awful beyond belief.

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Originally posted by Jazzwee:

Cydonia, when I see the Kurweil or GEM compared to an S90ES, I run away because I don't want the Canadian contingent on my tail!

Hahaha, the "Canadian contingent", I like that. :wave:

 

Too bad indeed we can't meet at a music store, you playing advanced jazz on a Yamaha and me some boring stuff on a Kurz. That would be fun. :)

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I own an S90ES, and played all the other contenders before my purchase, including the PC2X.

 

IMHO, there's no comparison, but it's all a matter of personal choice.

 

My recommendation is for you to go play them both and listen to what they tell you. But if you want an argument, keep reading.

 

The piano samples of the Yammy are superior, and so is the feel of the keys. And the Yammy is a full synth with an huge set of practical effects.

 

The S90ES also has features that Kurzweil can't approach. It has the mLAN audio option that makes the board a high-end 16 track audio processor, also includes Studio Manager hookup to the computer editors and Cubase, and its amazing Arpeggiator stuff for practicing is another reason (the main reason was the new piano sample) that I chose it over the less expensive S90.

 

On the other hand, Kurzweil is a good, solid controller and keyboard, and though I don't use it, from what I recall it would be much easier to use onstage (with the Yammy, even setting up a simple split with octave adjustment requires that you first enter a meditative state of oneness with the menu-essence of the S90ES). The PC2's tonewheel sim is much better than the S90ES's as are many of the presets.

 

I think the choice all depends on your needs. I wanted a board that I can gig with, but that also would for the centerpiece of a home studio. For gigging alone, I would have been happy with Roland's RD300SX, as the action and sounds were just fine for the road, and the 35# weight was very appealing.

 

But in the end, you'll just have to make up your own mind.

 

Enjoy it.

regards,

 

--kwgm

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Originally posted by RonL:

 

However the piano sound on the K destroys the pathetic piano sound on the Nord Stage - that piano sound is awful beyond belief. [/QB]

Have you listened to the new piano sounds made by Clavia for the NS?

They have a fantastic tone and also an incredible dynamic range.

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Hey Cydonia, don't assume I would be playing a Yamaha...I've never played a Kurzweil or a Gem Promega so one never knows... ;)

 

Where's a good beer picture when we need one? This is how we settle debates on the better keyboard! :wave:

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Originally posted by kwgm:

... Kurzweil can't approach... the mLAN audio option

 

But in the end, you'll just have to make up your own mind.

Interesting. I don't know anyone using mLan. I thought it was dead. It's been around since about 2001, which is 5 years. I'm not sure mLan is much of a factor anymore. Not only Kurzweil, neither do any of the other manufacturers.

 

It seems softsynths have lessened the demand for a new hardware interface (especially a proprietary one like mLan). MIDI is fine for a simple controller to a PC.

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Originally posted by Cydonia:

And in case some of you didn't know. Mariah prefers the Kurzs. :cool:

 

So there you have it.

 

How can anyone argue with that?

 

That is SUCH a stunning picture of Mariah endorsing the Kurzweil PC2X. If it was a bit larger I could use it as wallpaper on my computer.

 

But I don't think the folks in Human Resources would think highly of my decision. :rolleyes:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Originally posted by Prague:

Originally posted by kwgm:

... Kurzweil can't approach... the mLAN audio option

 

But in the end, you'll just have to make up your own mind.

Interesting. I don't know anyone using mLan. I thought it was dead. It's been around since about 2001, which is 5 years. I'm not sure mLan is much of a factor anymore. Not only Kurzweil, neither do any of the other manufacturers.

 

It seems softsynths have lessened the demand for a new hardware interface (especially a proprietary one like mLan). MIDI is fine for a simple controller to a PC.

mLAN8 is dead. Long live mLAN16E. It is very much alive in the Yamaha world.

 

Kurzweil is also part of the mLan consortium (KSP8), as is Korg and others listed on the page below, but my only experience is with the Yammy products.

 

See http://www.mlancentral.com/partners.php

 

The Yamma mLAN 16E gives me many things on the MIDI side but what I like best is that it gives me 16 channels of 24bit/96kHz digital audio on a single firewire connection, and integrates with my S90ES and Cubase 3 in ways that continue to amaze me, including VST integration.

 

And for the price, it's hard to beat. To get this kind of interop in my little home studio using gear from other manufactures would have cost three times as much in dollars and headaches, and wouldn't have worked as seamlessly.

 

I'd like to add the Yammy 01X digital mixer as it helps automate some processes, but for now I'm happy with just the mLAN16E in my studio. If you have Yammy ES gear, this board is really is a great way to build a studio.

regards,

 

--kwgm

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I had a PC2 (76 keys) once upon a time. prior to purchasing it though this weird little nome of a sales guy who used to be in product development said "Yeah stay away from Kurzweils

There made like Sh%% these days" and I already knew that the SP line was mfged in Korea.

 

This was of course after Sam's Ass dropped the line for sale. So I figured it was just BS so I would buy what was in the store. But through the years this guy had proven himself to be very cagy in terms of alot of things.

 

So of course a year later a 76 key PC2 I came to decide was a good investment and I could work with the kurz. piano sound that I don't particularly care for.

 

And low and behold (it was Sweatwater B+ stock)

all the key weights started dropping out of the little white and black plastic cylinders from the bottom of the keys and clunking around in the chassis. It was under warranty and they told me initially at the repair shop it was just a loose fitting until a key weight or 2 in the end piece I took off to inspect showed the real nature of the "fitting" problem. It kept happenning and I returned the board to Sweetwater. Their roadworthyness is alittle in question. I liked the action though and the layout and the non-piano sounds are pretty nice. It's not fully weighted.

I have heard other players get very nice results with the Kurz. piano, it's just not my cup of tea! I'd go with the Yammy!

 

lb

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

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I think the keybeds on the PC2 88's are probably a better bet if you r going to look into the PC2 line....

 

You may also want to look into a Nord Stage 76.

 

I really liked the Nord Stage 88 keyboard and the ax itself. I didn't like their early piano samples, think they upgraded them by now. And the organs I find alittle phase distorted. The 88's keyboard felt like it was made out of superior materials, very very nice and crafted very well. I was impressed by that! And the inverse relationship thing on the controllers is no joke! very cool instrument.

 

LB

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

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I think the keybeds on the PC2 88's are probably a better bet if you r going to look into the PC2 line....

 

You may also want to look into a Nord Stage 76.

 

I really liked the Nord Stage 88 keyboard and the ax itself. I didn't like their early piano samples, think they upgraded them by now. And the organs I find alittle phase distorted. The 88's keyboard felt like it was made out of superior materials, very very nice and crafted very well. I was impressed by that! And the inverse relationship thing on the controllers is no joke! very cool instrument.

 

LB

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

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Thanks so far for all of your great replies. Actually, I'd really like to consider the Nord Stage 76; the only thing that scares me is that (according to the usedrs on the nordstage yahoo group) there seem to be a lot of quality control problems.

But truthfully if I thought it wouldn't fall apart, I would have already bought the Nord (and I still might get one, if I try it and can determine that it's built OK).

Any other Nord Stage users out there?? :)

Tom

Nord Electro 5D, Modal Cobalt 8, Yamaha upright piano, numerous plug-ins...

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I bought the PC2X last year, a long-time dream which I saved up for over a two year period, and was disenchanted within a couple of months by the lousy keybed action, so sold it and bought the PC2r rack version. Identical except for slightly more menu-driven, but easy to use for presets and for the add-on boards which are both a must.

 

I have tried the S90 ES countless times in stores and hate it. The piano to my ears is very harsh. I guess it would do well at cutting through a mix on stage, but I find it horribly uninspiring. I should point out that it is an excellent implementation with well-done string resonance and half-dampering support, so it's possible that some programming or some tweaking of the filters would tailor the sound more to my liking.

 

For several years I owned the Motif 6 and then the Motif ES 8. I switched to the Motif-Rack ES late last year and will never look back. Now I am fully computer-based and have seen a ten-fold increase in productivity.

 

Fortunately the S90 ES is not nearly as complicated as the Motif as it doesn't try to be a workstation. All you need to do is load voice libraries and use the convenient category buttons to find sounds. And it accepts half-dampering pedals, not just on/off momentary switches like standard sustain pedals. The keybed action is equivalent to the Motif ES 8 but is slightly improved. Yet it is balanced, not graded.

 

The PC2 series is one of the most confusing systems to use that I have ever tried (aside from some of Ensoniq's supposedly user-friendly rack gear). I don't bother, but eventually will. It is so intimidating and such a black hole of time at this point that I am focusing on other stuff. The manual is full of errors, and trying to set up and save a keyboard split performance apparantly requires a PhD in quantum physics.

 

You are WAY better off with the S90 ES if you want an easy-to-use all-in-one keyboard that is very versatile. If you were focused on sounds and on racks combined with keyboard controllers or other keyboards driving the rack modules, I would say it's a toss-up depending on your stype of music and of course your ears being the final judge. I use both, and they are my two top modules, along with my Yamaha CS6x which mostly serves as a knob-crazy PLG150-AN/PLG150-DX host.

 

Getting back to the sounds vs. the keybed or the difficulty of setting up performance splits, I generally feel that the PC2 series (when fully loaded) excels at vintage keys, orchestral instruments, drums, and jazz big band sections. There's some interesting and well-programmed synth stuff too but it tends to sound a bit more static than the Motif's, while still complementing it as the PC2 is better at pads.

 

The Motif is great for trumpet, flute, synths, special effects, ethnic instruments, church pipe organ (but not B3, which in my opinion bites on the PC2 as well, being too harsh on both). It's "good enough" on almost every instrument and more versatile and fleshed out than the PC2, but the PC2 does a better job on the sounds that it focuses on. Your pianos are a toss-up (especially if you add third party libraries), but the piano/string pad layer sound wins hands down on the PC2, as it is very clever in dealing with dynamics as well as different pad mix levels (the pad is barely discernable when playing the lower register, as it should be).

 

Get both if you can, but know that (my opinion of course) either one of these is a great buy and far more capable in many more categories than any of the higher-end ROMplers from Roland or Korg or Alesis (not sure they still make their QS series, and the Fusion still turns me off every time I try it even though I know it has great potential and even though it is now at rock bottom prices).

 

My apologies if some of this sounded confusing or contradictory; I don't have time to carefully wordsmith when writing on break at work. Realise that I sometimes mean JUST the piano sound when I refer to the S90 ES, and sometimes mean the entire Motif ES family when I talk about the S90 ES sounds, as they mostly share the same sound set and architecture (although there are some intriguing possibilities regarding the S90 ES string resonance and half damper support, which are modeled as effects, if one were to apply them to other patches such as harpsichord and save as a user voice). To clear things up, I have owned several in both series, but currently own the PC2r rack and the Motif-Rack ES rack.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Ann P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico Bari, Dano Bari

Select Strat/Tele, Am Pro Jazzmaster, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, T64, PM2, EXL1, XK4, Voyager

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I think you can get quality sounds with either unit if you know how to manipulate your keyboard. I think so many people fail to fully utilize or undertsand the keyboard they have so they fail to get the most out their keyboard. It's so sad when someone says this sucks or that sucks and they haven't even touched the surface of what they can do with that particular keyboard. I'm still earning new things about the boards I have.

 

I really don't think you could go wrong with either one. I tried both these models out along with many others. For me the Yamaha S90ES was the clear cut winner. It was an all in one and had the best features for me. I loved the action on the S90ES which is also an important component. I also have other softsynths I purchased and playing these sounds through the S90ES and being able to use that action was a big part of my decision as well. Good luck!

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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Originally posted by Mark Schmieder:

The PC2 series is one of the most confusing systems to use that I have ever tried (aside from some of Ensoniq's supposedly user-friendly rack gear). I don't bother, but eventually will. It is so intimidating and such a black hole of time at this point that I am focusing on other stuff. The manual is full of errors, and trying to set up and save a keyboard split performance apparantly requires a PhD in quantum physics.

:confused: Amazing how different people can be.

 

Ensoniq has always been renowned for intuitiveness and the PC-2 is very intuitive. Kurzweil manuals are also well-known as very well written. Ensoniq manuals are great, too.

 

Oh, well. :D

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keep the keyboard, I'll take the girl.

 

Biggest limitation of S90ES compared to PC2x is the Yamaha doesn't have a serious hammond sim. I understand the PC2x does, though I haven't heard it myself.

 

Of course, an S90ES with a Nord would be a nifty combination! Unfortunately, Mariah doesn't come with them. And we all want Mariah to come, don't we?

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Originally posted by learjeff:

Unfortunately, Mariah doesn't come with them. And we all want Mariah to come, don't we?

Hmmm... I guess so... But... Don't you envy the PC2 keyboard though? So graciously caressed by Mariah? ;)
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