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#684725 - 01/30/03 07:54 PM shopping is hard
Steve M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 15
Loc: North Hatley
I went into Montreal today expecting to pick up an RD700 and various exp. boards, mixer, reference speakers (KRK V6) and misc. other stuff. Oh yeah, I was supposed to go see an exotic German 88 note controller called a Doepfer LMK4+...........a store called Technopolis seemed to exist, but no-one returned my call.

Anyhow........as for the RD700 and the additional Roland sounds.....all of a sudden I start having doubts about the light keyboard action. So the guy says: "Save bucks and try a Yamaha P80." Well, it has GREAT fake piano action...just what I'm looking for. Then back into the sound studio to hear the monitors one more time. The KRK's sound a bit muddy now, compared to the (slightly more expensive) Tannoy System 600, so that has to change too! And of course my little P80 needs a few extra sounds.....enter the Roland XV5080. Now we're up somewhere b/w $4 and $5k (US) plus tax. I'm tired, go to lunch. Come back with a big glass of wine in me and feeling OK. Realize P80 has no joystick, aftertouch, mod wheel, etc.....Tabernac! - as they so often say up here \:\) Back to square 1 again. Now what? Look at Motif 8...keyboard action is, if not identical, then very close to P80 - in other words quite acceptable. BUT.....this is a WORKSTATION. Is this what I need (I ask myself)? Then the head honcho shows me the Triton Studio Workstation (76 keys, unweighted - no 88(weighted) in stock at the moment)........I'm getting interested! Getting creative juices all stirred up is a fast and intuitive process as I watch the guy doodle around with a riff here, a button there, and the nice big interface. In 45 seconds he's well on his way to composing a whole tune!
They will have a Triton ST88 in stock in a couple of days. I'm dying to have a more in depth look at it - I'm especially curious to see if Korg's action can match that of Yamaha.

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#684726 - 01/31/03 03:01 AM Re: shopping is hard
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Hi Steve,
Even though it's a good thing to be aware of what's available, I think you may be getting yourself into trouble. At a certain point it's very easy to get confused after looking at countless options. You may have done this already, but I'd encourage you to set some goals as to what you want out of your system. Then your shopping will have more focus.

Feel free to post your objectives here. I'm happy to help with a strategy. I suspect that I know what you're looking for, but I'll stay quiet until after you've posted.
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

#684727 - 01/31/03 08:35 AM Re: shopping is hard
Steve M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 15
Loc: North Hatley
Thanks Steve

-good FIRM grand piano action
-the best possible grand piano sound (perhaps I need something like 'gigapiano' for this?)
-a full range of all the other sounds necessary for ANY style of music - sounds not necessarily contained in keyboard itself - could be separate synth module (like 5080?)
-a joystick or a couple of wheels for more expressive lead potential. Many and easily accomplished layers, splits, aftertouch assigns, etc


-intuitive and fast, permitting max spontaneity in composing process (apart from occasional complex percussion parts, I envision most of my recording being in realtime, containing all the nuances (and little human mistakes) that ARE ME and not a machine).
-I'm really not sure, but I suspect that all the clicking and tab-opening, filing, configuring - WHATEVER - that I'd get if I used my PC for everything - is not up my technical alley. I just don't like or understand computers that much. I can't picture myself enjoying spinning around 180 degrees in my chair to open and close computer windows every 15 seconds or so. It's bad enough when my PC crashes in the middle of writing an email.....I would lose my mind if I lost my musical work. For some reason, after seeing the Triton Studio demo'd in the store, it just SEEMS more hands-on, intuitive, right there, SIMPLER, QUICKER, 'ALL-IN-ONE' (comes with CD burner and can sample from CD's as well) -I still have to see what the action is like however, for this is EXTREMELY important to me. There may be many times when I just want to record a solo piano performance - "live and uncut" - with hands and fingers bouncing all over the place. I have to have a good solid action for that.


Portability not high on priority list (would be nice, but....).
KORG's sounds seem to get a bit lower marks in user reviews than those of Roland or Yamaha

In Closing......I still have not touched the Korg ST88 - hope to do that tomorrow. Once again, I did like the action on the MOTIF 8, but the dealer did not even TRY to sell one to me. Plus, I have read almost universally negative things on everything about it (especially its interface) EXCEPT its sounds.

Steve M

PS.....something tells me you are not a workstation proponent \:\)

#684728 - 02/02/03 05:16 AM Re: shopping is hard
andybown Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 21
Loc: Sweden
Buy a Yamaha P-200.
If you want the best grand piano sound avaible.

#684729 - 02/02/03 12:44 PM Re: shopping is hard
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Hi Steve,
Sorry for the delay in responding -- I've been swamped!

So here's what I'm hearing from you in terms of your goals:
-- keyboard with great action
-- variety of sounds (for any style) including high quality acoustic grand
-- MIDI sequencing capability -- something that allows you to be creative quickly without the technology getting in the way.

So let's tackle these one at a time:

keyboard w/great action: only you can decide what action is best. I prefer the Roland to anything else, but that's just me. It would be great to find a single keyboard that can accomplish both the action and the high quality sounds, but that's not completely necessary.

great sounds: As you know, you can always upgrade sounds later. This can be done through purchasing a separate tone module, or through purchasing "expansion boards" for your existing keyboard or tone module.

MIDI Sequencing: So the question that needs to be answered is whether you prefer a computer-based system or a workstation. A computer system is usually a bit more powerful, and most would consider it to be more user-friendly due to the large graphic interface. It's certainly easier to upgrade as well. A workstation is great because it's a "turnkey" solution. There are no compatability issues -- everything's made to work together. Another advantage is that it's portable (although a laptop system would be portable as well). As to my own bias, I have both! I tend to use the computer-based system more frequently as I find it to be more powerful, easier to navigate, and I can easily collaborate with other musicians. I just can't stand looking at the little black/white screens that are on workstations. I much prefer my large LCD monitor!!! However, I often save MIDI files to a floppy so I can play them from my workstation (Roland XP80) without having to bring my laptop. If the files need editing on the gig, I can do it from the workstation. It really is the best of both worlds -- but that's me.

To me, the bottom line is what you prefer -- your workstyle if you will. You say that you're not all that fond of using a computer. That's fine, today's workstations are VERY powerful tools. Perhaps that's the best way for you to go. That way you can also address the piano action and sound issues (at least to some degree) with the same purchase.

So the question becomes Korg? Yamaha? Roland? The Korg Triton series is extremely popular and is a great product. I can live with the action, but I absolutely can't stand the acoustic piano sounds. Assuming you agree, you can always solve that with the addition of a tone module. The Motif is also a powerful tool, but again, I'm not fond of the piano sounds. I should point out that every manufacturer does different sounds very well. I love the percussive nature of the Yamaha synth sounds. I love the "warm and sizzly" quality of the Korg "pads". I love the "depth and realism" of the Roland acoustic sounds. In a perfect world, I'd have all three (I have a Triton in my rack, but no Yamaha at the moment). If you can wait a short while, you owe it to yourself to consider the new Roland Fantom S88. It's brand new (not the Fantom that you'll currently find in the store). It's an 88-key workstation with sampling capability. You can even manipulate the pitch/tempo of audio tracks in real-time which is very advanced! I saw it at NAMM and it's really incredible. I'm considering dumping my XV88 for one!!! Talk to your dealer as to when they expect to see them.

One more thing to consider, I would advise against buying the Roland XV5080 module. It's not just a tone module, but also a sample player. I suspect that this is a bit advanced for you at the moment and probably something you didn't even know. The EXACT same sounds from the 5080 are available on the now discontinued XV3080 (which you might be able to pick up cheap) and the XV5050. The XV5050 has only 64-note polyphony (3080 and 5080 are 128-note), but the 5050 can be purchased for around $750. You should be able to get a XV3080 for just a couple hundred dollars more. All of these modules can be expanded with expansion boards -- I'd highly recommend the Concert Grand board. It's the best piano sounds I've heard on a synthesizer!!! If there are Korg or Yamaha sounds that you like, rest assured that there are tone modules available that contain these sounds.

Also, please realize that if you purchase a tone module in addition to a keyboard, you'll need to purchase a small mixer. Each device will have stereo outputs. Your powered speakers will not be able to accomodate several channels of audio. Mackie makes some inexpensive small mixers. Even companies like Soundcraft have mixers in that price range. Although dealers love to sell them, I'd stay away from Behringer. Not reliable in my experience.

Does that help? Feel free to post specific questions. Good luck!
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

#684730 - 02/02/03 01:59 PM Re: shopping is hard
Steve M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 15
Loc: North Hatley

Thank you so much for your help so far. You are a true Good Samaritan! And thank you as well for your wishes of good luck. ;\) I'll need them.

I'll post from time to time as I go along and I WILL, I'm sure, utilize your offer of further advice.

Steve M


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