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#1673019 - 05/07/11 11:54 AM A Kautionary Tale
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3177
Loc: Oregon
So I tend to be impulsive - buy first, post Craigslist ads later...

The thinking this time was that I needed to get the kind of sound quality that my GEM piano produces (APs, yes, but more importantly EPs) out of my FP-4 - at least until a viable alternative came along. The obvious solution was the GEM RP-X expander, but they're becoming rare, they're quite expensive, and they are quite bulky.

Enter the Ketron Klavi Pro. Very small and light, recently developed, and dedicated to APs and EPs. I'd never come across a Ketron instrument before, but they are supposed to be well regarded, and the only place that I could find that stocked the Klavi Pro (B&H) had a five-star review for the product. I ordered one for a hair under $400.

I knew before ordering that the only way to control the thing was via MIDI, as the only surface control on the unit was for volume: no external method of patch changing. I also suspected that it might use RCA (phono) sockets for audio connection - I was right. But I reasoned that all the money was in the development of a little Roland/Yamaha killer.

Result:
1. It's a pig to operate, and the manual is completely useless for non-nerds.
2. The AP sounds are very poorly implemented, with badly tuned samples, and very obvious stretch and velocity changes.
3. There are insufficient samples to create a valid dynamic range.
4. There is no string resonance (and possibly no damper resonance, although I haven't done a proper test yet).
5. The audio quality is quite good - you can clearly hear the faults.
6. The basic EP tone is very good, but lacking sufficient samples.
7. The FM tone is excellent (but I dislike FM pianos!!!)

I'm debating whether to send it back to B&H, or keep it for its EP sound. I A/B'd it against the FP-4's EPs, and the Klavi has a much clearer tone. The GEM's "stepless" modeling still makes for a much more satisfying playing experience, but at least the tone of the Klavi EP is of a similar high quality. I certainly wouldn't use the APs - they're a disaster zone.

I really don't think this thing is worth more than $200. For anyone looking for a piano module, the GEM is STILL the one to beat.
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"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1673039 - 05/07/11 12:25 PM Re: A Kautionary Tale [Re: voxpops]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5283
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
If you're not 100 percent happy with it, and it seems like you're not, send it back. Life is too short to be constantly reminded of a bad purchase. I thought GEM went belly up.

Years ago I bought an Alesis NanoPiano module. I got it home, didn't like it, even though I really wanted to like it, called up the store and asked what their return policy was. I think I paid something like five percent restocking fee. I was glad to be rid of it because I really didn't like it once I ran it through its paces.

From your list it seems the minuses out weigh the pluses.
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#1673052 - 05/07/11 01:01 PM Re: A Kautionary Tale [Re: voxpops]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: voxpops
So I tend to be impulsive - buy first, post Craigslist ads later...

The thinking this time was that I needed to get the kind of sound quality that my GEM piano produces (APs, yes, but more importantly EPs) out of my FP-4 - at least until a viable alternative came along. The obvious solution was the GEM RP-X expander,


Obvious? I wouldn't think so. Today the best piano sounds are in software virtual instruments.

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#1673055 - 05/07/11 01:04 PM Re: A Kautionary Tale [Re: ChrisA]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3177
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Originally Posted By: voxpops
So I tend to be impulsive - buy first, post Craigslist ads later...

The thinking this time was that I needed to get the kind of sound quality that my GEM piano produces (APs, yes, but more importantly EPs) out of my FP-4 - at least until a viable alternative came along. The obvious solution was the GEM RP-X expander,


Obvious? I wouldn't think so. Today the best piano sounds are in software virtual instruments.


I agree, but for live use, I just don't want to go there until there's a small dedicated unit that works - exit V-machine, enter Musebox (one day, I suppose, they'll actually release it).
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1673059 - 05/07/11 01:11 PM Re: A Kautionary Tale [Re: Dave Horne]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3177
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
If you're not 100 percent happy with it, and it seems like you're not, send it back. Life is too short to be constantly reminded of a bad purchase. I thought GEM went belly up.

Years ago I bought an Alesis NanoPiano module. I got it home, didn't like it, even though I really wanted to like it, called up the store and asked what their return policy was. I think I paid something like five percent restocking fee. I was glad to be rid of it because I really didn't like it once I ran it through its paces.

From your list it seems the minuses out weigh the pluses.

I've just checked the B&H site - it was a "special order" item, and so is non-returnable. Darn! Oh, well, life's also too short to dwell on our mistakes - I'll just have to suck it up.

GEM did go belly up, but either someone's still manufacturing the RP-X, or Musician's Friend bought up the world's entire available supply, because they're still selling it new.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1673073 - 05/07/11 01:27 PM Re: A Kautionary Tale [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3177
Loc: Oregon
One other little annoyance:

There is a very bright blue LED that flashes pretty much constantly when connected to the FP-4. (I suppose it's to indicate MIDI messages received, but it's so bright as to be distracting. A piece of tape will be going over that.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1673647 - 05/08/11 02:03 PM Re: A Kautionary Tale [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3177
Loc: Oregon
Here's another update on the Ketron Klavi Pro - this time more positive. I rigged the unit up to my FP-4 and programmed the Roland to switch on the Klavi's EPs when I access an EP registration on the FP. For those who know the FP series' EPs, they're a little dull and lifeless. Coupled with the Klavi's brighter and more defined EPs, the sound comes alive. I'm actually very pleased with the results.

One other benefit is that the Klavi fits perfectly on the sloping metal surface of the Roland's fascia. The slope helps to counterbalance the added weight of cables plugged into the rear of the tiny Klavi box.

So, although I'm only getting the benefit of two patches in the Klavi, they do make all the difference to the FP-4 - and would likely do the same for the FP-4F. It seems a shame to have to go to the trouble and expense of rigging up a separate unit to the FP in order to get good-sounding EPs, but at least it's easier than working with a laptop.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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