What I dont understand is why they didn't bring out another PC3 model, keeping all the good stuff, throwing in the new grand preset, replace the heavy TP40 with the TP100 and be done with it. No stripping down of features required...
Who knows though?...they might just be planning on doing that for the next incarnation of their workstation boards or "PC4K" (or however they would like to call 'em).Regarding my 1st ever encounter with an actual Kurzweil Artis unit:
I was able to try out recently the Kurzweil Artis at a recent business/electronics expo here in Southeast Asia (Philippines) - albeit only for roughly 10-15 minutes. However, the Kurzweil booth was placed near other electronics-audio booths which were playing loud background hip-hop music I could hardly appreciate the new piano sound of the Artis
I was literally almost bending my knees and crouching a bit while playing just so I'd be able to hear the sound of the piano from the monitors below. While there were a few seconds of silence and respite from the loud music from the surrounding booths, I was able top play the PC3K8 located right next to the Artis. I can only "generically" say that the piano sound of the Artis did sound "fuller"/"richer" than the PC3K8...I forgot the presets but these were either the default 1st preset of the piano category button. I may need to have a second try once the lone demo unit is brought back to their showroom-shop here one of these days.
As if to make matters worse, the rather worn-out "monitor speakers" placed below the Artis were badly distorting the sounds and were rattling when I was playing some passages (Un Sospiro) at the higher registers of the stage piano...I couldn't quite make out the brand of these molded loudspeakers (used as monitors) as the brand label had almost faded. Add to that they only have a Kurzweil footswitch (a KP3 I think) which didn't give me the chance to check the half-damper pedalling (not that I'd probably be able to appreciate it fully with the noise from the other booths).Regarding the TP100 key-mechanism of the Artis:
I could have sworn that the "feel" was slightly heavier than the PC3K8. I wouldn't say they're sluggish or slow but the "heavy" feel of the TP100 reminded me of my PX-320 when I first got and played it brand new (back when the keys were still "tight"/heavy...now the keys of my PX-320 are a little loose). And I thought the higher registers/keys of the Artis were almost of the same weight/feel as the lower registers/keys. I could be wrong but I really would need a longer time to try it out again. The finish of the keys are not "shiny" plastic but slightly dull -- but definitely not like the Ivory-feel keys of the Roland RD-700NX nor the texture of the keys of the PX-350.Regarding some of the build, features and physical attributes of the Artis:
At 46 lbs, these are still relatively on the heavier side. There's an aluminum (I think...but I may be wrong) accent on top of the keybed (brushed aluminum or chrome plated?). The side panels aren't wooden like the PC3K. I was feeling the sides and couldn't determine whether it was high-impact black plastic with a brushed texture (or perhaps it can also be brush aluminum?). Build quality though is sturdy and good. Didn't encounter any flimsy keys (side-to-side movement), the knobs weren't wobbly, sliders felt same as the PC3/K series.
Only MIDI In and OUT and no THRU. No ribbon controller input like the PC3/K series.
A quick tinkering showed the menu-driven UI with the familiar tabs-pages similar to the PC3/K series...and yup, only 4 zones on the Artis (and just as was stated in its specs in their website). MIDI controls are extensive just as their PC3/K series. Now there are buttons through which you can assign your favorite programs (presets) right below the panel screen.
Tinkering with the category buttons and the rotary wheel, there's only 256 programs (presets) but the bread n butter sounds are covered (like strings, brass, pads, EPs).
Now if only the Kurzweil booth and personnel weren't preparing for the upcoming jam with a local band that will be using the PC3K7 (as 2nd tier) over the Kurzweil Artis to showcase the new stage piano -- I would have been able to tinker and play/try the KB3 and other preset/programs longer.Regarding the local price of the Kurzweil Artis here:
I'll give this board another try before I decide whether I'd go for it (or the RD-700NX and even the PX-5S). Local price of the Kurzweil Artis here is currently set at P125,000 which converts to $2,906 (USD)
...this local retail price is actually higher than what Dave Weiser in another forum mentioned a couple of months ago(which I believe was $2,195? USD) For comparison, the RD-700NX here costs P129,950 which converts to
$3022 (USD). Both the RD-700NX and Kurzweil Artis are thus priced closely here so I'm gonna need to try out the Artis longer the 2nd time around and revisit the RD-700NX and hope I could also try out a PX-5S before pulling the trigger on a new weighted 88-key keyboard/stage-piano.
I suspect that if the Artis would really be priced at $2195 here (and not at the higher converted price of $2,906), local professional musicians might consider/adapt the Artis over the RD-700NX. For further comparison, the PX-5S here actually costs P67,995 which converts to $1,581
this means the local price here has a $500 mark up than the current $999 (USD) pricing in the U.S. That's within the vicinity of the U.S. price of the RD-300NX already. Regarding availability of Kurzweil Artis units:
I was told that the first few stocks of the Artis would be locally available sometime in October though. The sales rep was suggesting I make an early reservation but I told him I'm gonna need to try out the board again one of these days after the expo so I can hear all the other presets and FX in their product showroom which will be a lot quieter than the venue of the expo.