Music Player Network
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 15 of 16 1 2 13 14 15 16
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
B
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
B
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
Originally Posted by jeffinpghpa
I installed the update for the tonewheel model in my Fantom tonight. I was impressed with a lot of things by it, especially the interface and implementation of controls. It did a nice job on some standard sounds you'd look for like Booker T's Green Onions and has a nice drive, and the smears sounded nice considering I have an 88 key weighted piano bed.

The leslie settings need some more tweaking, but right off the install, I preferred over both Kurzweil Forte KB3 and the Yamaha YC series leslie. Maybe my Nord is noticably better or maybe not. It's close. I like my Stage 3 but Nord organs to me are kind of like the Soviets in the 60's space race. They were out in front of the pack 15 years ago and lost their advantage and fell behind the specialists.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better sounding organ for a band context in a workstation against Yamaha, Korg and Kurzweil now. If you're not sold on the Leslie effects you can route a separate output to a Vent.

Having a Nord in the past the organ was good 5 years ago but the shrill on the high notes and grit on leslie sim that was always annoying for me finally sold it but had great resale value at least 5 years ago.

The leslie sim like you said needs some updates but sounds pretty good.

Keyboard Corner Island
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,418
Likes: 78
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,418
Likes: 78
Originally Posted by bennyray
Originally Posted by jeffinpghpa
The leslie settings need some more tweaking, but right off the install, I preferred over both Kurzweil Forte KB3 and the Yamaha YC series leslie. Maybe my Nord is noticably better or maybe not. It's close.
I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better sounding organ for a band context in a workstation against Yamaha, Korg and Kurzweil now.

The leslie sim like you said needs some updates but sounds pretty good.

It's clearly stronger than the rotary sim in the YC88; that needs help. In some contexts the YC organ/rotary sim has worked okay (especially in combination with the FM organ models - which I like a lot), but overall the Stage 3 organs have been my live go-to for awhile now. But I am very interested to hear how the Fantom VTW model stacks up against that of the Stage 3, live.


"Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless" - Mr. Boffo.

Despite noble efforts, I remain a sarcastic smartass.






gino #3104289 07/17/21 11:29 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,392
Likes: 31
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,392
Likes: 31
Just noticed this. Rotary in that video above sounds okay - better than the YC. I find it funny that Roland can get a better sim in their workstation do it all (well, assuming it's from the VR models) than Yamaha can in a board made for organ. By the sounds of the talk in their YC development video, it sounds as if they thought they'd nailed it too.

Back on topic, that organ interface on the Fantom looks nice. I got a chance to play one last week. 88 is too big, but if I was in the market for a 76/66 synth action do-it-all, the Fantom would be a serious contender. Action was nice for a synth one.


Nord E4 SW73
Yamaha MODX7
Mainstage 3
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,418
Likes: 78
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,418
Likes: 78
Originally Posted by nadroj
Back on topic, that organ interface on the Fantom looks nice. I got a chance to play one last week. 88 is too big, but if I was in the market for a 76/66 synth action do-it-all, the Fantom would be a serious contender. Action was nice for a synth one.

The synth action is highly playable on my Fantom 7, and I'm fairly comfortable covering piano parts on it. But the aftertouch implementation is messy. Not sure how far Roland with get with correcting that, as part of the problem seems to be hardware related.


"Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless" - Mr. Boffo.

Despite noble efforts, I remain a sarcastic smartass.






gino #3104305 07/17/21 03:18 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 886
Likes: 10
Gold Member
Offline
Gold Member
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 886
Likes: 10
I think Roland just mic dropped on Yamaha... wink


You don't know you're in the dark until you're in the light.
1 member likes this: Devnor
gino #3104409 07/18/21 02:16 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 252
Likes: 1
D
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
D
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 252
Likes: 1
Perhaps the coolest feature of the TW organ is the quick trigger key action. The organ triggers sound at a much shallower key depth than any other sound engine in Fantom. It also works over USB MIDI but only when zone 2 is selected.

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
Originally Posted by Devnor
Perhaps the coolest feature of the TW organ is the quick trigger key action. The organ triggers sound at a much shallower key depth than any other sound engine in Fantom. It also works over USB MIDI but only when zone 2 is selected.
Among workstation-class boards, Kurzweil is the only other brand to offer this.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
gino #3105828 07/29/21 03:28 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 9,966
Likes: 224
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 9,966
Likes: 224


Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700
Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560
gino #3105953 07/30/21 05:06 AM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 380
Likes: 4
A
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
A
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 380
Likes: 4
Does anyone think that the new virtual tonewheel organ for the fantom, sounds any/much, etc., better than the tonewheel engine that's in the vr-09(b)(730) with it's type 1,2,and 3 rotary simulator updates? Just wondering.

gino #3105976 07/30/21 01:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
B
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
B
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
Of course it sounds better! But I prefer the Mojo or Hammond XK5 for organ.

Best organ in a workstation IMO.

gino #3105978 07/30/21 01:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,136
Likes: 78
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,136
Likes: 78
Sounds pretty much the same as the VR-09. The Roland overdrive has never been my cup of tea. (Especially when turned up). Percussion is also just -- meh. Not bad for a workstation, but not something I'd rely on for gigs that are organ heavy.

gino #3106010 07/30/21 05:24 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 158
Likes: 1
C
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
C
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 158
Likes: 1
I can't compare it to the VR-09, but I do find it much better than the organs in my Kronos. Also, It's a bit better than my Nord Stage 3 organ -- especially the overdrive and Leslie.


Yamaha MODX7, Korg Kronos 2-73, Roland RD-2000, Nord Stage 3 Compact, ASM Hydrasynth, Yamaha U1 Upright
Cabo #3106019 07/30/21 05:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
B
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
B
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
Originally Posted by Cabo
I can't compare it to the VR-09, but I do find it much better than the organs in my Kronos. Also, It's a bit better than my Nord Stage 3 organ -- especially the overdrive and Leslie.

U are are gonna get the red army on you saying Roland organ is better than Nord. I agree organ is better than Nord but really personal opinion both are ok.

gino #3106021 07/30/21 06:17 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,709
Likes: 131
S
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
S
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,709
Likes: 131
A quick listen, it does remind me of the VR700 organ sound that I gigged with for a while. That's not a bad thing especially in a rock band setting. I always thought the VK/VR sound worked well there.

If this had been out when I got my MODX, I might have considered it--granted that's a big price gap. At the time I had an Electro 6 as my second board so organ was not a concern. I'm currently using the MODX with ipad B-3X for organ and it's better than any I've played before (short of a real b3/leslie, which I haven't played in ages.) There is something to be said though for self-contained, and of course the Fantom has way better build quality. Does it have an audio interface like the FA06 did? If so then you could of course add an ipad in pretty easily, how easily depends on the implementation. Yamaha did a bang-up job allowing you to use the ipad signal in splits and layers with internal sounds very easily.

Kinda hoping that Yamaha pulls the same trick and voila adds the YC organ to the MODX--but every gig I use the ipad without any hitches it becomes less of a thought.

Last edited by Stokely; 07/30/21 06:19 PM.
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
Originally Posted by Stokely
Yamaha did a bang-up job allowing you to use the ipad signal in splits and layers with internal sounds very easily.
Yes, it's a great implementation.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
B
Platinum Member
Offline
Platinum Member
B
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,129
Likes: 13
The keyclick on to 63 and keyclick off to 63 in the above video that ED showing the VTW parameters sounds bad on my headphones but never hear that much click on a Hammond imo for my taste.

gino #3120253 12/21/21 07:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 175
Likes: 4
T
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
T
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 175
Likes: 4
I started typing too many Fantom thoughts in a thread about something else, so thought I would write here.

I grabbed a Fantom 7 in October after being an Oasys/Kronos guy since 2005. I had a GAS attack after waiting patiently for Korg to do something interesting, and after being initially underwhelmed by the Fantom's limitations when released, checked back this fall and was pleasantly surprised at how much Roland had added since then, the Tonewheel model being the critical piece.

Here are a few thoughts that I don't think I've seen reported on much:

The 221-page brain damage-inducing Fantom thread on GearSpace makes much handwringing about limited polyphony. This involves some complicated calculations based on modeling, number of partials, and other junk, but considering the VPiano doesn't count against your polyphony usage and the fact that it's relatively easy to simplify some of the overdone factory patches into something usable, this is 100% completely, absolutely a non-issue. It's far better than the Kronos if you are willing to do a little patch editing to simplify stuff that doesn't matter much.

The control surface is pretty great - essentially a copy of the OASYS including LED ladders, and the build quality is really great - reminds me of my XP-80 which I still have.

The VPiano is really nice. On the Fantom 7, I had to mess with the velocity curves and things to get it to feel right, but I did - a combination of light touch curve to bring up the lower-velocity notes and lowering the max velocity in the Zone settings to 118 which stopped every hard note from being overly bright. I tried the Fantom 8 - wow that's a heavy action. I guess if you're a piano person you might like it as it's the same action as the RD-2000, but coming from synth-style weighted keyboards like the Kurzweil Forte and the Kronos 88, it's REALLY heavy. As others have said here, the Fantom 7 action is very playable for piano stuff if you're the least bit adaptable.

The Tonewheel model and internal sounds are fine.

The less great stuff:
- 32 bar sequencer max length. The groove box-style sequencer is cool, but this thing needs a normal sequencer. It may or may not get this in a future OS update, but everybody universally thinks this is a significant limitation.
- Tempo-synced LFOs don't sync; they free-run at mostly the same rate. It is impossible to use the LFO to make any sound where LFO phase timing is important. Even when you select "Tempo sync", the LFO changes to be a rate that is similar to the MIDI clock rate, but it drifts over time, and the LFO phase is unpredictable. I opened a case with Roland on this - 'as designed'. Nice work, guys. You can partially work around this in some cases with key sync or using an MFX block for filter or tremolo that do support true MIDI clock syncing, but these are only partial solutions.
- VPiano doesn't support seamless patch switching, even if you're switching to a sound that uses the identical VPiano patch. This is my biggest personal felt limitation.
- A really silly thing - the "synth" category is exclusively mono synth leads. All of the polysynth stuff is under the "PAD" category for some reason. The category buttons are a little funny - there's a button for CHOIR with like 10 sounds in the whole category but half the sounds in the keyboard are crammed under PAD.
- No librarian. BOOO! I haven't had the Fantom long enough for this to be a problem, but it will be soon. Korg never made one either, but a 3rd party did. Hopefully someone will do that for the Fantom.
- Tempo entry via screen is dumb - you have to enter 12000 for the keyboard to register 120BPM. I think I've used fractional BPM about 6 times in 25+ years of keys playing; how about a decimal point instead of always requiring a 5-digit tempo?

Other people care about the crappy after touch and the fact that the pad keys aren't velocity sensitive, but neither of these bother me.

Generally I'm really happy, and it has been fun to take the time to reprogram some stuff that had gotten pretty stale on the Kronos.

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
Originally Posted by TJ Cornish
Other people care about the crappy after touch and the fact that the pad keys aren't velocity sensitive, but neither of these bother me.
And the pads are still better than the ones on the Kronos or Montage.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
gino #3122530 01/11/22 04:54 AM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
Some astute observers may have noticed my signature shortened recently...

Last Thursday I spent some a little over an hour with a Fantom 7 at a shop with some nice headphones. It was running OS 2.11. I wrote down my thoughts in detail on the sound categories at the time and was going to post them here, of course denoting that it was as of OS 2.11 and not OS 2.50 (and the unit at the shop had all the Axial expansions but not the SuperNatural pianos and EP's, nor the VTW organ engine). I was impressed with the synth sounds, build quality, keybed feel (fantastic), finger-to-ear connection, and UI, as well as the fact that though some solo sounds, say, solo trumpet, aren't 100% spot on for realism, they feel like an instrument when you play them (and the mod control mapping to dynamics and expression is great, much like my orchestral VI libraries).

Basses were nice, and Roland finally addressed my number one pet peeve with their gear - the spring-loaded pitch/mod stick that doesn't work well with my preferred playing style (I need to have the mod wheel stay where I put it on pads etc, and while I could wire up an expression pedal to do it, I'm already using multiple pedals and my feet for other things). The pitch and mod wheels are (in most cases) set to duplicate the pitch/mod stick assignments, so that is a complete moot point right now and I think it's great.

I was far less impressed with the electric pianos, clavinets, orchestral sounds, choirs, and in particular the organs and electric guitars that were absolutely terrible.

My overall thought after spending over an hour going through most of the sounds was that despite its shortcomings in some areas, I would still likely buy a Fantom over the current Yamaha models thanks to Yamaha's still screwed-up midi implementation and the better synth sounds, at least if I was going to be doing a lot of modern pop music. I was also aware of the updates since then that would likely correct the organ and EP shortcomings.

Then this happened Friday afternoon:

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Long story short I realized that Roland's choice to include a bunch of legacy sounds from the JV/XP/XV period actually meant it could replace most of my old Roland gear. That, coupled with the fact that I had a bunch of gear sitting around unused and unneeded from the failed rack + controller project (for anyone who wasn't here at the time, I tried to build an all-in-one rack synth setup with a power midi controller, only to end up needing to buy a Kurzweil PC4 to control it all, which then rendered the rack useless based on sound quality as the Kurz was an improvement in all areas). It would also help me save some space. wink

I ended up trading this collection of (mostly older) stuff...
  • Gator 4-space rack
  • Korg Krome 61
  • Roland Fantom XR
  • Roland JV-1010
  • Roland SRX-1 board
  • Roland SRX-11 board
  • E-mu Mo'Phatt
  • E-mu Proformance Plus
  • Behringer CAT
  • Novation Remote 25 LE
  • Line6 POD HD300
  • Resident Audio T4 audio interface
  • MidiSolutions Quadra Thru (I have a Nektar MIDIFLEX4 and iConnectivity mioXL so no need)
  • Ultimate SupportX-style single braced keyboard stand


...for a new Roland Fantom 7 (B-Stock/Roland Refurbished - just a few cosmetic marks from manufacturing on 3 keys). The end price was dropped down to $779 including tax.

I'll post some updated thoughts shortly, since installing the new OS and new soundsets, synth model expansions, etc. That keeps this post shorter.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 01/11/22 05:08 AM.

Yamaha Motif XF8/YS200/MX61/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Roland Fantom 7/JV-1000 | Kurzweil PC3-76/PC4-8 | Korg N1R/X5DR
Emu Proteus/1 | Casio CT-370

Yamaha Pacifica 112V | Ibanez BTB-675
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
I was far less impressed with the electric pianos, clavinets, orchestral sounds, choirs
The EXZ007 and 010 expansions might address those last two nicely. I haven't really played with Roland's clavs. I haven't found any first-rate EP sounds, though, including those SuperNATURAL EPs you mentioned.

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
despite its shortcomings in some areas, I would still likely buy a Fantom over the current Yamaha models thanks to Yamaha's still screwed-up midi implementation and the better synth sounds, at least if I was going to be doing a lot of modern pop music.
AFAIK, the only thing screwy about the Montage/MODX MIDI implementation is the inability to assign whatever Part you want to whatever MIDI channel you want, which is only a gigging limitation if you want to control its sounds from a single-zone controller. If your second board can function as a multi-zone controller, I don't think it's much of a real-world issue. Or is there some other limitation I'm not considering here?

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
for anyone who wasn't here at the time, I tried to build an all-in-one rack synth setup with a power midi controller, only to end up needing to buy a Kurzweil PC4 to control it all, which then rendered the rack useless based on sound quality as the Kurz was an improvement in all areas
Somehow I think I missed that. ;-) It sure speaks well of the PC4, though. Which brings me to my question: Your photo shows the Fantom over the Motif XF8... Does the PC4 still fit into your plans?

The Fantom 7 is a temptation. If I could deal with its weight, I'd almost certainly have one. For a single do-it-all gigging board (perhaps supplemented with an iPad or a Windows tablet),it would probably be my first choice. Likewise for a board to center a home studio around.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 59
Likes: 2
J
JFP Offline
Senior Member
Offline
Senior Member
J
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 59
Likes: 2
They are never going to fix the AT. It simply sucks to the point of being totally unusable (just a marketing gimmick). Shame , because most presets and programs DO respond to Aftertouch , in other words , have some useful modulation / expression programmed for aftertouch response. But as Aftertouch seems to be mostly an afterthought at Roland , I do not expect them to put any effort in fixing this hardware related problem (would need a redesign / recall) , nor add usable AT in future products. They probably ditch it again , just like so many other manufacturers . Such a shame..new products like Hydrasynth go exactly in the opposite direction.

1 member likes this: Charleston
JFP #3122553 01/11/22 02:13 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
Originally Posted by JFP
as Aftertouch seems to be mostly an afterthought at Roland , I do not expect them to put any effort in fixing this hardware related problem (would need a redesign / recall) , nor add usable AT in future products.

I haven't tried it on the Fantom, but fwiw, AT works fine on the AX-Edge.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
gino #3122689 01/12/22 01:18 AM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
I was far less impressed with the electric pianos, clavinets, orchestral sounds, choirs
The EXZ007 and 010 expansions might address those last two nicely. I haven't really played with Roland's clavs. I haven't found any first-rate EP sounds, though, including those SuperNATURAL EPs you mentioned.

All the Axial expansions (including EXZ's 007 and 010) were loaded in when I tried it out at the store. They helped the choirs a little, but other orchestral sounds ASIDE from solo strings (in particular orchestral brass and woodwinds) were still pretty bad. Yamaha, Kurzweil, and Korg (depending on the particular sound) are still better here. I loaded in the SuperNatural EP soundset. The Rhodes patches are better...I'll probably mostly use a few of the MKI patches. The Wurlitzers are still incredibly bad, and there is exactly ONE mediocre electric grand (i.e. CP70/80) patch in the CMN tone section.

Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
despite its shortcomings in some areas, I would still likely buy a Fantom over the current Yamaha models thanks to Yamaha's still screwed-up midi implementation and the better synth sounds, at least if I was going to be doing a lot of modern pop music.
AFAIK, the only thing screwy about the Montage/MODX MIDI implementation is the inability to assign whatever Part you want to whatever MIDI channel you want, which is only a gigging limitation if you want to control its sounds from a single-zone controller. If your second board can function as a multi-zone controller, I don't think it's much of a real-world issue. Or is there some other limitation I'm not considering here?

Given the lack of midi controllers with lots of user preset space (for different split/layout/midi channel zone setups), I would argue that this is definitely a real world problem for some folks. Even when I had my Krome I didn't feel like wasting a Combi just for a single song's midi controller duty. Kurzweil can do it, Roland can do it, Korg can do it, Nord can do it to some degree I think with the B panel, (I don't know about Kawai), and Yamaha was great at it before so there's no excuse. The old Yamaha implementation is actually a better way of doing it and a better user interface than any of those other manufacturers, to boot!

Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
for anyone who wasn't here at the time, I tried to build an all-in-one rack synth setup with a power midi controller, only to end up needing to buy a Kurzweil PC4 to control it all, which then rendered the rack useless based on sound quality as the Kurz was an improvement in all areas
Somehow I think I missed that. ;-)
For your entertainment: https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3095114/1. You actually commented on the HX3 on the first page a bit but missed the fun parts later on then wink.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Originally Posted by AnotherScott
It sure speaks well of the PC4, though. Which brings me to my question: Your photo shows the Fantom over the Motif XF8... Does the PC4 still fit into your plans?

Absolutely the PC4 fits in. Basically, I have two different live keys rigs plus a few boards and racks for studio/recording use and the occasional special event requiring what they do (i.e. YS200, JV-1000, Korg X5DR and N1R, Proteus/1). My primary keys rig has long been a Motif XF8 plus a 61-key board as a midi controller (first the YS200, then the Krome 61).

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

I attend college around 300 miles away from home and can't fit that massive case and instrument into my dorm room, nor do I feel like carrying it down flights of stairs as it's over 100 lbs once in its case. So that stays at home for gigs when I'm back there. At college I have the Kurzweil PC4 with a Yamaha MX61 as my keys setup, for all gigs, practice, etc. It's MUCH lighter and easier to move around and fits in tight spaces well. The Yamaha gives me pads mostly, as the PC4 covers most other bases well enough (basses are iffy but I'm working on that). Consequently, the PC4 and Motif XF8 have never been used together and likely won't be, as I have very little need for two hammer-action boards at a gig. If a person is doing modern worship music and needs a lightweight setup without using Mainstage, this is a strong contender for a rig IMO.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


Once I bought the MX61, the Krome was no longer needed. I strongly prefer wheels over the Korg and Roland joysticks, and had been working around the Krome's stick by setting SW2 to latch the mod position in place, but it was a workaround at best. The MX61 has the same form factor and the wheels, and since I can count the number of times I actually used the Krome's internal sounds live on one hand, the soundset didn't matter much (and to be honest I never got along with how the Krome sounded live, especially in mono which is what a lot of venues are over here still). So the new Motif rig will be the Motif XF8 with the MX61 as the controller board. Just drop it in and stay on midi channel 2. Easy peasy (that's also part of the reason for my preference for assignable midi channels in a main board...you can drop in any controller keyboard and you're all set).

You might be wondering...where does the Fantom 7 fit into all this? Well, one of its primary uses is simply as a huge sound source for recording purposes, and it will give me much better synths than I can get out of my other gear. HOWEVER, I definitely plan on using it live as well. I'm been getting more into top 40 pop cover territory lately, and I'll actually be trying it out in February on some modern pop tunes with my band I'm putting together, so we'll see how that goes. Sound-wise I feel like that's its sweet spot, live pop gigs. I'm debating using it with the PC4 as it's a bit heavy for a second tier board with the PC4 being under 30 lbs on the bottom stand, so we'll see. For now, this little setup seems like it would work well for the top 40 pop rig (not the least because of the velocity-sensitive chord pads on the Launchkey). The Fantom can power the Launchkey 37 with no problem. There IS an issue it seems with the Fantom not sensing ANY controller data from the Launchkey, only notes. I have to dig further and see whether that's only present when connected via USB (there's also a line in the Fantom manual that says that operation is not guaranteed with "generic" (i.e. non-Roland) midi controllers when connected over USB, so that could be it).


[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


Originally Posted by AnotherScott
The Fantom 7 is a temptation. If I could deal with its weight, I'd almost certainly have one. For a single do-it-all gigging board (perhaps supplemented with an iPad or a Windows tablet),it would probably be my first choice. Likewise for a board to center a home studio around.

It is a chunky instrument, to be sure. Quite deep, close to my Motif in that regard. Just around .5" too deep for my PC4 case lol. This is in comparison to the PC4:

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]




Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by JFP
as Aftertouch seems to be mostly an afterthought at Roland , I do not expect them to put any effort in fixing this hardware related problem (would need a redesign / recall) , nor add usable AT in future products.

I haven't tried it on the Fantom, but fwiw, AT works fine on the AX-Edge.
The aftertouch on the Fantom semi-weighted models is quite difficult to trigger. It's close to impossible on the black keys. On the white keys you almost feel like you have to bend the keys with the amount of pressure needed. It's about as hard to trigger as on my old 1993 JV-1000, which needs its aftertouch strip replaced as it's all worn out. Not sure what that says about the Fantom. laugh

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 01/12/22 09:51 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention midi controller/USB controller sensing issue

Yamaha Motif XF8/YS200/MX61/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Roland Fantom 7/JV-1000 | Kurzweil PC3-76/PC4-8 | Korg N1R/X5DR
Emu Proteus/1 | Casio CT-370

Yamaha Pacifica 112V | Ibanez BTB-675
1 member likes this: Fleer
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
AFAIK, the only thing screwy about the Montage/MODX MIDI implementation is the inability to assign whatever Part you want to whatever MIDI channel you want, which is only a gigging limitation if you want to control its sounds from a single-zone controller. If your second board can function as a multi-zone controller, I don't think it's much of a real-world issue. Or is there some other limitation I'm not considering here?

Given the lack of midi controllers with lots of user preset space (for different split/layout/midi channel zone setups), I would argue that this is definitely a real world problem for some folks. Even when I had my Krome I didn't feel like wasting a Combi just for a single song's midi controller duty.
The approach I would probably take wouldn't require any preset space on the controller. Set it up once to simultaneously transmit on channels 9-12. After that, just use the Montage to call up the patch for the song at hand, and place the sounds you want the second board to trigger in Parts 9-12, and you're done. The second board will always play the correct sounds for the song, over the desired set of keys. Up to 4 Parts' worth, anyway. If you want to play 8 simultaneous Montage from the controller, then the controller has too be an 8-zone controller instead of a 4, which is less common, But you could go that way, and just put all the desired externally-triggerable sounds in parts 9-16, to be triggered by the controller sending on 9-16.

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
For your entertainment: https://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3095114/1. You actually commented on the HX3 on the first page a bit but missed the fun parts later on then wink.
Ah. Yup. Had I noticed the discussion about 3rd-sensor-repetitions on the Studiologic boards, I might have made comments similar to the ones I made recently in the "New Studiologic Numa X Piano" thread.

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
So the new Motif rig will be the Motif XF8 with the MX61 as the controller board. Just drop it in and stay on midi channel 2. Easy peasy (that's also part of the reason for my preference for assignable midi channels in a main board...you can drop in any controller keyboard and you're all set).
Yes, the approach I described above similarly lets you drop in a controller, but from a smaller selection since it has to be a multi-zone controller on 9-16 (or whatever) rather than a single zone controller on 2 or whatever. I believe the MX61 could do it, though. With the Vycro/John Melas editors, I believe you could create a recallable performance on the MX that would allow you to hit one button and be transmitting on 4 channels (or even 8).

That Fantom sure looks nice over the PC4, though. ;-)


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
1 member likes this: Mighty Motif Max
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
Given the lack of midi controllers with lots of user preset space (for different split/layout/midi channel zone setups), I would argue that this is definitely a real world problem for some folks. Even when I had my Krome I didn't feel like wasting a Combi just for a single song's midi controller duty.
The approach I would probably take wouldn't require any preset space on the controller. Set it up once to simultaneously transmit on channels 9-12. After that, just use the Montage to call up the patch for the song at hand, and place the sounds you want the second board to trigger in Parts 9-12, and you're done. The second board will always play the correct sounds for the song, over the desired set of keys. Up to 4 Parts' worth, anyway. If you want to play 8 simultaneous Montage from the controller, then the controller has too be an 8-zone controller instead of a 4, which is less common, But you could go that way, and just put all the desired externally-triggerable sounds in parts 9-16, to be triggered by the controller sending on 9-16.

That's an interesting workaround...I'm guessing you have that down to a science from experience? 8-zone controllers are harder to find for sure. Even 4-zone controllers seem to be getting less common, at least for semi-weighted or synth action controllers (or it's hard to even find those specs as it's not necessarily a big selling point for computer-based producers).


Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
So the new Motif rig will be the Motif XF8 with the MX61 as the controller board. Just drop it in and stay on midi channel 2. Easy peasy (that's also part of the reason for my preference for assignable midi channels in a main board...you can drop in any controller keyboard and you're all set).
Yes, the approach I described above similarly lets you drop in a controller, but from a smaller selection since it has to be a multi-zone controller on 9-16 (or whatever) rather than a single zone controller on 2 or whatever. I believe the MX61 could do it, though. With the Vycro/John Melas editors, I believe you could create a recallable performance on the MX that would allow you to hit one button and be transmitting on 4 channels (or even 8).

That Fantom sure looks nice over the PC4, though. ;-)

I do have the Melas editors for the MX...the Vycro editors are long gone now, sadly. I'll have to look into that...though I don't have a use case right now for it. Worth checking out anyways, thanks for the tip!

Yes, yes it does...now to find a case for the F7 that doesn't add 25 pounds but doesn't skimp on padding...lol.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 01/15/22 05:58 AM.

Yamaha Motif XF8/YS200/MX61/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Roland Fantom 7/JV-1000 | Kurzweil PC3-76/PC4-8 | Korg N1R/X5DR
Emu Proteus/1 | Casio CT-370

Yamaha Pacifica 112V | Ibanez BTB-675
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Offline
MPN Advisory Board
10k Club
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 16,752
Likes: 407
Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
The approach I would probably take wouldn't require any preset space on the controller. Set it up once to simultaneously transmit on channels 9-12. After that, just use the Montage to call up the patch for the song at hand, and place the sounds you want the second board to trigger in Parts 9-12, and you're done. The second board will always play the correct sounds for the song, over the desired set of keys. Up to 4 Parts' worth, anyway. If you want to play 8 simultaneous Montage from the controller, then the controller has too be an 8-zone controller instead of a 4, which is less common, But you could go that way, and just put all the desired externally-triggerable sounds in parts 9-16, to be triggered by the controller sending on 9-16.

That's an interesting workaround...I'm guessing you have that down to a science from experience? 8-zone controllers are harder to find for sure. Even 4-zone controllers seem to be getting less common, at least for semi-weighted or synth action controllers (or it's hard to even find those specs as it's not necessarily a big selling point for computer-based producers).
I've only tinkered. But the reason it works smoothly/simply is that, for its internal sounds, every Montage performance by default only uses (has any sounds assigned to) the first 8 Parts/channels. So without doing any further configuration, any Performance that has something (for example) in Part 9 automatically will NOT play that sound from its keys, and WILL play that sound from an external controller transmitting on channel 9. Ironically, one of the common complaints about the Montage is that you can only play its first 8 Parts, and it is that very limitation that allows this approach to work, by assuring both that no factory combination you may invoke could possibly already have something that will be unintentionally triggered by MIDI coming in on the high channels AND that nothing you assign to those parts beyond part 8 will be triggered by the internal keys.

As for what controllers are available, I don't keep up much on soundless controllers, but yeah, four seems to be a common limit, and in fact, with (as you allude to) so much emphasis on controllers being used to control software rather than hardware, any zoning at all is starting to look like a luxury, along with 5-pin MIDI jacks. (Though Montage/MODX are among the few keyboards that allow you to connect a controller via USB.) While you can get 4-zone soundless controllers, I'm not sure there are any that go beyond that. You might have to use a keyboard with sounds if you wanted to set something up transmit on all 8 channels (9-16), the least expensive probably being something like a Kross or Juno DS. Or an external box, which I'll get back to.

Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
I believe the MX61 could do it, though. With the Vycro/John Melas editors, I believe you could create a recallable performance on the MX that would allow you to hit one button and be transmitting on 4 channels (or even 8).

I do have the Melas editors for the MX...the Vycro editors are long gone now, sadly. I'll have to look into that...though I don't have a use case right now for it. Worth checking out anyways, thanks for the tip!
In thinking more about this, I'm afraid I was probably mistaken. While the editor does add the ability to play more than 2 channels' worth of sounds at once, IIRC, it does that by letting you take sounds that would normally be assigned to other channels and move them onto a single shared MIDI channel, which is kind of the reverse of what we need here. That is, we don't need to play 4 or 8 channels' worth of sounds from a single channel, rather we need to transmit on 4 or 8 channels. I don't think there's a way to do that. Oh well.

All that said... I believe one could use a MIDI Solutions Event Processor to take all MIDI input from a single channel, and spit the MIDI back out over channels 9-16 instead. So then pretty much ANY controller can work for this purpose, as long as it has a 5-pin MIDI Out. So then the MX could work after all. Assuming you still want to use the MX for its own sounds, what you could do it set the MIDI Solutions box to listen on channel 16. Then on the MX, in the mode where the 16 buttons act as Part select (I think that's the default?), just hitting button 16 would turn it into your 8-Part Montage controller (you'd have to program a silent internal patch for your MX Part 16), while the other 15 buttons would call up only internal MX sounds as usual. You could use the editor to copy that "Part 16" into all your Performances, so this would continue to work no matter what MX Performance you called up. I think. ;-) Could be something interesting to experiment with.

Also, instead of a MIDI Solutions box, you could use an iPad. Maybe an iPhone or iPod Touch, I'm not sure. (The apps I'm thinking of are iPad only, but there might be something that would do this on the smaller screened devices.) That could be more cost effective if you already own the device, and also provides a solution for controllers that only have USB.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
gino #3123153 01/15/22 03:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 4,772
Likes: 294
R
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
R
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 4,772
Likes: 294
Regarding the aftertouch issue, two things -

On my Roland A800 Pro, AT was very hard to engage - you had to press the key down with a lot of force. I saw a youtube years ago that mentioned a small trimpot on the board near where the AT strip connects. I turned it fully CW and the AT is much easier to engage. Whether this trimpot is in Fantoms, I don't know. I did a quick search for the youtube just now but couldn't find it. Maybe it was a post on another forum, with pics; too many brain cells ago, sorry.

Second thing, here is a youtube where a commenter claims to have fixed the AT issues with a "thin strip of plastic." Link.

In either case you're taking a screwdriver to your synth so good luck. I'm comfortable doing this kind of stuff - especially if the unit is our of warranty!

gino #3123200 01/15/22 09:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
Alrighty. Here are my detailed thoughts on the Fantom 7 thus far. Running OS 2.50, all MODEL expansions (JP8, JU-106, JX8P, SH-101), Virtual Tone Wheel (VTW) engine, SuperNatural expansions (AP and EP 1), and EXZ/Axial soundsets (i.e. sound collections from expansion boards etc) installed. Note that though the MODEL and SuperNatural expansions are technically .exz files, I'll be using the term "EXZ expansions" to refer only to the Axial sample-based soundsets.


Part A. Sounds.

- Pianos: With the addition of the SuperNatural Acoustic Piano expansion, you now have three different ways of generating piano sounds - V-Piano, SuperNatural, and Zen-Core/sample-based. There are four acoustic piano EXZ expansions available as well, which appear to contain sounds from the SRX-02 Concert Piano expansion board (EXZ013 Concert Grand Piano), SRX-11 Complete Piano expansion board (EXZ014 Complete Piano), Fantom X stock pianos (EXZ002 Stage Piano 2), and some other Roland board - "Expressive Grand" patches? (EXZ001 Stage Piano 1), in addition to the stock Zen-Core pianos and XV-5080 pianos. Not to mention that several of the other EXZ expansions ALSO have a few piano patches of their own. That's a lot of pianos!

The V-Piano patches aren't as dynamic on the Fantom 7's keybed as I would like, but they do play pretty well for a non-hammer action. They have a clean, modern sound overall; I expect them to sound great on stage in particular. Likewise, the SuperNatural AP's are pretty good. They're on the bright side to say the least, but sound quite good in mono (and sound convincingly like a piano in that context too, which isn't usually the case with summed mono patches). There's a great Honky-Tonk/Ragtime piano patch in the Zen-Core presets if that's your thing as well. Overall, these are solid piano patches. In my opinion they're more suited for pop/rock, latin, and use in a band context than for a straight solo piano situation due to the loss of fully-dynamic tonal changes. However, they feel like an instrument when you play them, especially the SuperNatural AP's (particularly Concert Grand 2 and Clear Grand) and some of the V-Piano patches (04 Contemporary Concerto and 005 Symphony Hall in particular are excellent). That's quite an achievement on an unweighted keybed.


- Electric Pianos: The SuperNatural EP 1 expansion helps out the stock Rhodes patches a lot. They're not up to the level of the Purgatory Creek programs in my PC4, or even the Korg modeled EP's (or the sampled version of those modeled EP's, found in the Krome), but they're pretty decent. Better than my Motif XF Rhodes. I will probably get the most use out of the SuperNatural MK1 patches, as the MKII is not very dynamic or expressive IMO (especially in comparison to the Purgatory Creek MKII).

The Wurli's, on the other hand, are terrible. Absolutely terrible. You only have a few patches, and they all sound like a synthetic imitation of a reed EP at best. They sound close to the generic Wurli patches often found in the General Midi section of keyboards. They're easily the worst of any modern keyboard I have had (Motif XF, Korg Krome, Kurzweil PC3 & PC4, Purgatory Creek patches of course as well)...heck, even my Korg N1R from 1999 has better Wurli patches. I haven't had much experience with the FA line, so I don't know whether they have better Wurli's that might make their way to the Fantom in a future SuperNatural expansion or something. For now, they are really quite poor.

The CP70/80 situation is similar to that of the Wurli's. There's a lone processed electric grand patch from EXZ008 Vintage Keys, but that's it. That one patch is okay but pretty generic at best.


- Organs: With the addition of the Virtual ToneWheel (VTW) engine, the organs are excellent (before that, they were on par with my JV-1010, and many of the patches were significantly worse). After A/B'ing for a bit, I rate them slightly higher than the PC4 organs, which are excellent already IMO. IK/Hammond B3-X is slightly better, but I almost prefer the Fantom's Leslie simulation, to be honest. Note that I've never played a full-blown clonewheel or a real tonewheel Hammond, nor do I actually get to play that type of sound much, so I'm probably not as discerning as some other folks here in this area. The basic sound with the rotary off is similar to the PC4; I still like the basic organ sound of the Motif XF without the rotary simulation a lot as well, but I think the Fantom is the winner here in hardware workstations (IK B3-X wins for raw drawbar tone overall IMO). Once the Leslie simulation is added in, the Fantom sits above Korg, Yamaha, and just slightly above Kurzweil at this time IMO. It sounds much better than what I recall the VR-09 Leslie simulation sounding like, and definitely better than that of the FA line. As I mentioned above, I think I slightly prefer the Fantom's Leslie to the B3-X Leslie.

Pipe organs are fine. They still have some of the basic older Roland JV pipe organ sound to them for the most part. Not as good as Yamaha, probably on par with Korg and Kurzweil. There are a few more in EXZ006, but they're somehow categorized as E.Organ, so be aware of that. EXZ007 has some more pipe organs, mostly flutes.

Theatre Organs - there are a few of these, which is great for variety. Not that there are a ton of times I'll use them for gigs, but I am a theatre organist at heart so it's nice to have these. They sound pretty good as well (better than the converted soundfont I loaded into my PC4). These are once again categorized as E.Organ for some reason.

Combo organs - the better ones are found in EXZ008 Vintage Keys. There's a good variety with that installed. The factory presets aren't that great, as they're XV-5080 patches.

Reed organs - Nothing to see here, as usual for keyboards lol.


- Clavinets: The stock clavinets are rather poor. Thin, synthetic sounding patches. There are three usable patches on the EXZ008 Vintage Keys expansion. Nothing stellar. Significantly below Yamaha, Korg, and Kurzweil at this point.


- Harpsichords: These aren't very good; below Yamaha, Korg, and Kurzweil. There are a great variety of them available, especially with EXZ007 Orchestra installed, but they seem to have too many sample stretches across the key ranges. I don't have much more to say about them.


- Celesta: The Celesta patch in the CMN bank is pretty decent. There's not a lot available.


- Accordions: Being a longtime accordionist myself, I'm pretty picky about accordion patches in keyboards. The Fantom accordion patches are better than Kurzweil or Korg's offerings, provided you install the EXZ006 World Instruments expansion. Not bad at all. Yamaha typically has a lesser selection of patches but they sound slightly more realistic IMO. So the Fantom sits just below Yamaha for accordions.


- Harmonicas: These are pretty good overall. Just missing the pitchbend activated by aftertouch that I take advantage of on the Motif XF. The stock presets are perfectly good. I don't see any point in using the EXZ006 harmonicas unless you're going for a distinctly different sound.


- Bells: The Fantom has LOTS of nice acoustic and synth bells. You get even more good patches with EXZ007. This is overall a strong point.


- Mallets: These are a weak point. With regards to your standard Western mallet instruments (vibes, marimbas, xylophone), while there are a good variety overall, none of them sound very realistic (they might be good for electronic music applications). Overall they sound either thin and digital (marimbas, xylophones, etc) or overly enhanced with too much artificial "warmth" added to the sound (i.e. vibraphones). There are a good number of "world" mallet instruments available, with the installation of EXZ006 World Instruments. EXZ007 Orchestra doesn't really improve on anything here IMO.


- Plucked/Stroked: For some reason Roland put a lot of "world" instruments under this subcategory, which is buried under the "Keys" category button. These include a nice SuperNatural harp (Yamaha still sounds more natural IMO) and a bunch of other instruments. Even more can be added via the EXZ expansions.


- Acoustic Guitars: These are okay. They do use excessive polyphony due to often needing 4 partials to get a stereo steel guitar patch with dynamics. You get some additional "world" chordophones with the EXZ006 World Instruments expansion.


- Electric Guitars: Rather poor. Cleans/lightly distorted patches first. Even with all the expansions installed, I have not found even one patch that I could put in a layer that would sound convincingly like an electric guitar! Korg is also pretty bad in this area. Kurzweil usually has a few patches that work. Yamaha seems to be the only manufacturer, in my experience, that knows how to get a pretty good electric guitar sound out of a keyboard.

Distorted guitars - these are fine, I'm not much of a connoisseur of these patches in all honesty but they seem alright to me.


- Acoustic Basses: Quite good overall. A little boxy sounding at times but pretty good IMO. Korg and Yamaha are slightly better (in that order) overall, but Kurzweil isn't quite up to par with the Fantom's acoustic basses/string basses at this point.


- Electric Basses: Excellent! The SuperNatural electric basses in particular feel nicely playable and sound quite good. They are close to, if not virtually on par with, Yamaha's electric bass offerings. I'd say they have a bit more of a modern edge to them vs Yamaha's warm, beefy bass sound. I use bass patches a lot surprisingly, and I'm very picky about them. Korg is not great at them currently, and Kurzweil's electric bass patches are very poor in my opinion. So Roland is really quite good at electric bass patches these days!


- Synth Basses: The Fantom excels in this area. There are a wide variety of synth bass patches available, and even more with the MODEL expansions and EXZ expansions installed. There are a good number of modern-sounding synth bass patches, from electronic music to hip hop/rap 808-type sounds, as well as a good assortment of more classic synth bass patches. This is one of the categories of sound that factored in to my purchase decision. I'm used to only getting this quality of sound (and some of the modern sound types) out of software synths. If you install all the EXZ expansions (which do have a good number of additional synth basses), you get 680 synth bass patches between the stock presets, CMN bank, MODEL expansions, and EXZ expansions. Excellent across the board IMO.


- Strings: The ensemble strings are pretty good overall. The SuperNatural strings are better than the sample-based strings, but there are a very limited number of those patches. Loading EXZ009 Symphonique Strings gives you more options that sound better than the stock presets or the EXZ007 Orchestra strings. I like the variation knob options that allow the player to switch articulations between Sustain, Marcato, Staccato/Spiccato, Pizzicato, and Tremolo playing styles, as well as the Hold Legato function which lets you press down Button S2 and have a legato transition between monophonic notes.

SuperNatural solo strings are excellent and expressive. When you play, they feel like you're playing an instrument rather than a sample. I like the fact that Roland has mapped some form of expression/dynamics and vibrato both to the mod wheel/joystick Y-axis, which is similar to how many orchestral VI libraries operate. It's great for expressive solos and the like. The cello is a little boxy sounding at times but overall pretty good. The other SuperNatural solo strings are great. You even get an Erhu patch. There are also sample-based solo strings, which are alright but not on the level of the SuperNatural solo strings from a playability or sound standpoint. The SuperNatural solo strings did factor in to my purchase decision.


Also in this category are "Orchestral" sounds, in this case orchestra combination patches with strings + brass, strings + winds, etc. These are all rather mediocre, even with the various EXZ's installed. Kurzweil is by far the winner in this category, seconded by Yamaha. Korg is better for orchestral combination patches that cut through a mix IMO.


- Brass: Ensemble Brass/Brass Section patches are decent. EXZ010 Big Brass Ensemble gives you much better brass sections than the stock patches, which are very similar to the old JV brass patches (in fact, the base sound of those stock sounds is close to my JV-1000's brasses, just with some newer programming and fx). With EXZ010 installed, you have more articulations as well.

Orchestral brass patches are alright, but not stellar. I tend to be very picky about French horns in particular, and I would say that the Fantom's orchestral brass sits somewhere in-between Korg and Yamaha in terms of realism and expression. Kurzweil is sort of an odd duck to compare to here in that they have lots of orchestral brass that works well in showtune and livelier contexts, but that isn't as good for expressive horn lines in slower orchestral pieces or, say, Christmas tunes, in my experience. So I can't really contrast the Fantom and Kurzweil's current orchestral brass offerings very well.

Solo brass is excellent. While the tone isn't necessarily always 100% spot on (i.e. at higher velocities on the solo trumpet, for example), the way the SuperNatural solo brass patches are programmed allows them to feel very expressive. Like the solo strings, the SuperNatural solo brass patches have expression and vibrato assigned to the mod wheel/joystick Y-axis, which is very useful. You also get the variation knob once again, which allows access to the Sustain/Legato, Staccato, and Fall articulations. As with the SuperNatural solo strings, one could play a solo line and feel like they were playing an instrument rather than a sample. These patches factored in to my purchase decision. The sample-based solo brass is alright, but once again not on the level of the SuperNatural solo brass.


- Synth Brass: With the MODEL expansions installed, there are a good number of synth brass patches available. I would say there's a pretty decent variety available as well. I don't get to use synth brass that much, but I enjoy how these sound and play.


- Saxophones: The SuperNatural Alto Sax is very good. With all the SuperNatural sax patches, you get the Variation knob, which in this case allows access to Sustain/Legato, Staccato, Fall, and Subtone articulations. The Subtone articulation is a sort of softer, breathier sound. The other SuperNatural saxes (Tenor, Baritone - no Soprano sadly) are okay, and the rest of the Zen-Core saxes are nothing special, including those from the EXZ expansions. Overall however, the Fantom saxes are significantly better than Korg's approach to saxophones, and better than Kurzweil's current offerings.


- Flutes: Two SuperNatural instruments are provided in this category - a piccolo and a pan flute. Neither is particularly great. The rest of the flute patches are mediocre at best - they have something weird and muddy in the midrange that makes them sound very much not like a flute. The frequencies in the timbre are just wrong. The only usable flute patch (IMO) is the Orch Flute from EXZ007 Orchestra, but that has the old-style sampled vibrato that varies in speed depending how high or low of a note you are playing, a sample artifact. There are a good selection of world wind instruments and fusion patches etc from EXZ006.


- Other winds: Oboe, Clarinet, Uilleann Pipes, and Bagpipes are the only woodwinds represented outside of the CMN bank (and the CMN bank woodwinds are poor), as the Fantom comes stock. The SuperNatural Oboes do not sound like oboes IMO. Luckily, the Zen-Core oboes are better. The SuperNatural Clarinets, on the other hand, are pretty decent. With both you get the Variation knob to toggle between Sustain and Staccato articulations. With the SuperNatural Uilleann Pipes, you get an ornament articulation option via the Variation knob. Finally, there are a number of good recorder patches. EXZ007 Orchestra fills in all the gaps and provides a better oboe than the stock Zen-Core patches as well.

Overall, the woodwinds on the Fantom are a mixed bag. Kurzweil and Yamaha are lightyears ahead in most areas (with the exception of Kurzweil saxophones), and Korg is better at flutes.


- Choirs/Voices: The stock choirs, including the SuperNatural choirs, are poor. Artificial-sounding, overly doused in chorus effects, and unsuitable (IMO) even in a symphonic/gothic metal mix. However, EXZ005 Studio Sounds and EXZ007 Orchestra fix the choir issue, providing both children's choirs, full choirs, and some rather interesting soprano and tenor soloist patches.

Being Roland, naturally there is an assortment of scat-style vocal patches as well. These sound as expected.


- Synth Leads: There are a ton of synth lead patches (740 to be exact, with all MODEL and EXZ expansions loaded) in the Fantom, covering virtually every style of music, from standard vintage-inspired leads to 2010s+ pop/R&B/EDM synth leads (supersaws, trance leads, etc etc). There are way more here than I have had time to explore completely, but everything I have heard has sounded great. This, and really all the synth categories, are an area where the Fantom excels.


- Synth Pads: As with the leads, there are a large number of synth pads present as well. They sound fantastic to me. Also (take notes Kurzweil and Korg), Roland has programmed some of the pads to have filter cutoff assigned to the modulation wheel/joystick Y-axis, similar to what Yamaha does, which is excellent for keyboard players in the modern worship scene. Lots of nice sounding pads covering a wide range of styles. Plenty of "analog"-sounding warm pads too, particularly with the MODEL expansions loaded. Overall pads are for the most part on par with Yamaha's offerings, and ahead of Yamaha for actual analog-synth-sounding pads (Yamaha is better at atmospheric modern pads still IMO). These patches factored in to my purchase decision.

Roland has a separate subcategory for "Synth Bellpads", which basically amount to D-50 Fantasia-style pads. There are plenty of them to choose from.


- Synth PolyKey/Comp: There are lots of synth comp patches in the Fantom. A lot of them lean toward modern pop/EDM music, but there are a good selection of more traditional analog-sounding plucks as well. Instantly usable for modern pop covers. This is an area often neglected by keyboard manufacturers, which has resulted in many modern songs using software synths. I'm very pleased to see Roland paying attention to this area, WITHOUT abandoning standard synth patches as well. thu In my opinion, these synth comp patches are the best on the market currently (at least for workstation keyboards). These patches majorly factored in to my purchase decision.


- FX: Here you will find a bunch of random patches that Roland didn't think fit in anywhere else, as well as sound effects, arpeggiated patterns, and beat loops. The subcategory "Stack" is completely empty, which begs the question of what will go there eventually. There is no shortage of weird sound and atmospheric effects, and a good number can be added from EXZ006 World Instruments. Also here you will find string runs (i.e. violin runs) and harp runs up and down in different harmonic patterns (with EXZ007 Orchestra installed), a number of synth pluck patches, and a ridiculous number of orchestra hit patches!


- Drums: The Fantom drums are a mixed bag. Some acoustic drum kits, such as the Rock kits, use the same crash cymbal sample as my JV-1000, layered with other waveforms. This was something I found annoying about the Fantom XR as well. The other parts of the drum kits sound pretty good (and cymbals are better on most other kits), though the first few presets are really hyped and artificial sounding (with super-tight snares and thin cymbals to boot). Generally speaking it seems Roland is going for a very processed drum sound rather than really natural-sounding kits. EXZ's 003, 005, 006, 007, and 012 all provide additional (and usually better) acoustic drums.

The electronic drums, on the other hand, are great. Roland has included several variations each of their TR-808, TR-909, CR-78, TR-707/727, TR-626, and TR-606 drum machines, as well as some other genre-based kits.


Yamaha Motif XF8/YS200/MX61/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Roland Fantom 7/JV-1000 | Kurzweil PC3-76/PC4-8 | Korg N1R/X5DR
Emu Proteus/1 | Casio CT-370

Yamaha Pacifica 112V | Ibanez BTB-675
gino #3123201 01/15/22 09:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
Part B. Interface/Layout/Functionality
- Overall, the user interface is pretty friendly. I could sit down and do quite a bit without looking at the manual. Some things are less obvious on first glance, like the audio input controls being hidden under Effects Edit. I appreciate that you can do a lot with just the buttons without needing to use the touchscreen, in the event that the touchscreen doesn’t work or if you prefer a more hands-on approach.

- The synth parameter controls on the right side are useful for quick editing and tweaking of sounds. Note that these do not work for all patches.

- The LED fader strips are very handy, as expected.

- The Variation knob that is activated when playing most of the SuperNatural Acoustic sounds is very useful for switching between articulations quickly. Likewise, the row of knobs below the screen is nice for adjusting the organ engine, as the knobs can be pushed in to turn things on and off in addition to rotating selectors.

- The lighting doesn’t feel overdone. You can see most of what you need to in a dark room pretty easily.

- The USB interface is great for recording direct. Driver installation is finicky on MacOS, but once up and running it works well.

- The Fantom retains the ability to set any sound to any midi channel, with the notable exceptions of V-Piano and Virtual Tone Wheel patches (I’ve also read something about TR-drums being limited to channel 10, but I’m not sure what that is exactly).

- Scene chains appear to be very useful; I will have to explore this further. Since the Fantom is always in Scene mode, it isn’t set up like the Korg Set List where you’re referencing Combis or Programs and can move things around easily. The Scene is your basic catch-all for your sounds, combos, etc. Because of that, Scene Chains allow you to make set lists of the different Scenes without having to mess with the order and location of your Scenes. This isn’t immediately clear when reading about them, hence there’s been some gripes about “extra unneeded features”.

- The pitch/mod wheels and joystick control the same functions in most instances (VTW organs are the exception to this), which means you can pick or choose which control you prefer.

- The analog filter isn’t a gimmick - it adds a warmth to any patch, and I find it helps improve the tone of the Rhodes patches as well. It sort of makes everything sound more organic, which is neat.

- The Zone View button allows you to see 1 zone, 4 zones, 8 zones, or the full 16 zones at once with patch names, which is awesome.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 01/16/22 06:39 AM.

Yamaha Motif XF8/YS200/MX61/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Roland Fantom 7/JV-1000 | Kurzweil PC3-76/PC4-8 | Korg N1R/X5DR
Emu Proteus/1 | Casio CT-370

Yamaha Pacifica 112V | Ibanez BTB-675
gino #3123202 01/15/22 09:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2,193
Likes: 157
Part C. Physical Characteristics
- Build quality is excellent - this feels like a quality piece of gear

- Faders, knobs, and buttons feel well-made (the pads are another story)

- This is a bulky instrument - as seen in a picture I posted earlier in this thread, it is roughly the width of my PC4 (88) and close to the depth of my Motif XF8.

- It’s fairly heavy - a little over 40 lbs. I tried to find a soft case that wouldn’t add a ton of weight but nothing I could find had sufficient padding for a board this heavy; lighter boards, sure, but a heavier metal build is a different story. It seems that the Roland SC-G76W3 case is the best bet in this scenario, at 19 lbs vs Gator’s 25-26 lb offerings (I will never buy another SKB soft or wood-reinforced case again - their hard cases are excellent, but I have not been impressed with the quality of their other offerings - the opposite of Gator). That brings the total gigging weight to approx. 60 lbs at lightest, with decent protection.

- The keybed feels fantastic! My favorite semiweighted keyed of all time is the one found on the Korg Triton Studio 76, but this is very close to that level. Smooth, silky, and quick. There is an audible lower-end solid thunk when playing the keys, which transmits easily through metal stands. It’s not worse than my JV-1000, but it is slightly louder than my Motif XF8’s hammer action, the Korg Krome 61 synth action, or most other keyboards I’ve played.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 01/15/22 09:21 PM.

Yamaha Motif XF8/YS200/MX61/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Roland Fantom 7/JV-1000 | Kurzweil PC3-76/PC4-8 | Korg N1R/X5DR
Emu Proteus/1 | Casio CT-370

Yamaha Pacifica 112V | Ibanez BTB-675
Page 15 of 16 1 2 13 14 15 16

Moderated by  Dave Bryce, Stephen Fortner 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5