Arranger or Synth?


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Hi everyone, this is my first post, so please go easy on me.

I've been thinking about getting a new keyboard for myself and been reading about different ones for over three weeks now. The problem is, the more I read the more undecided I get. I am looking for something to get into production.

I have played with old Yamaha's PSRs over the years, at the moment I have a psr630, as you can see my only experience is with arrangers.

I have made couple of songs (or should I call it music - instrumental) on FLStudio or Fruity Loops as it was called back in the day, using just vsts and computer keyboard.

I had been thinking of getting a workstation keyboard and learning to use cubase.

Working with my budget I narrowed my choices to Yamaha MX, Korg Kross and Roland Juno DS (all cheaper ones, 61keys). Out of these three, Juno seems to be most appealing (guitar insert, sequencer, sound).

I like the idea of being able to control saturation, resonance and cut-off in real time, but since I'll be recording and replaying loops, the question is, do I really need it...

Recently I came across used Yamaha Tyros 2 arranger in the same price range. Unfortunately I can't find much info about it being used with DAWs and how efficient it is. Its ability to play karaoke on big screen (I planned on buying a karaoke set) and the fact that it is an arranger are a big plus to me but I wouldn't want to limit myself when it comes to production. I am basically trying to find something that will serve me for years to come and the fact that it's a 2005 keyboard puts a big question mark on that.

What always bothered me with PSRs is the fact that they are very limited and complicated when it comes to modifying sounds and styles and this is what pulls me towards workstation. But on the other hand Tyros 2 seems to be a mixture of both worlds.

I would really appreciate if someone having more experience could help me with my dilemma. Workstation or arranger? Or maybe you could suggest me any other keyboard within that price range ($800US, 1000AUD)?
 
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happyrat1

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Personally I've never been an arranger guy, ( I feel like it's cheating) but I do own a Juno DS61 and I can tell you I am very pleased with the sound quality and ease of use.

I don't use it much for composing but I have had it hooked up in my studio where it integrated very nicely with my DAW.

To be sure, there are far worse choices you can make on the market these days and I have to say that dollar for dollar the DS line are the best bang for the buck out there.

Gary ;)
 

Fred Coulter

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A lot depends on where you'll be creating the sounds. If you'll be using software on your computer, then the sound generation of the keyboard won't matter as much.

If you want a keyboard that works well with DAWs, you might consider skipping the whole sound generated by keyboard thing completely, and get a MIDI controller. Many controllers have setups that let you directly work with the major DAWs using the buttons, sliders, etc.,, on the keyboard.

The bad news is that when you gig, you've got to bring a computer with you.

I'm not sure how well any of those keyboards work with DAWs (other than the vanilla functions of sending MIDI note on/velocity/off and the standard controller messages).
 
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Gargusio, the beauty of an Arranger is that you can thrash out a song/ tune whatever , quickly. Run various chords, instruments and change the key instantly and more on. Or play like a one man band any where and any time. BUT, that said, if you want loops, and to run against a DAW etc you need a synth or midi controller plus Laptop software.You have a PSR650 to do the first thing already, it will do the job, ( this is what a lot of music production people do on the fly anyway ( use a top of the Line arranger). Then use the Workstation or their Daw to fine tune their production with layers etc etc.
Again, it depends on where you want to spend all your time too, in a studio, fine tuning; laying down tracks or just playing Karaoke ,one man band stuff instantly. If both, then you need two keyboards! Or play two difference setups.
 

Fred Coulter

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What always bothered me with PSRs is the fact that they are very limited and complicated when it comes to modifying sounds and styles and this is what pulls me towards workstation. But on the other hand Tyros 2 seems to be a mixture of both worlds.

I'm not sure if I said this before, but the Tyros series keyboards (I own one) are still arrangers. They don't let you create new sounds. They're very powerful arrangers, but arrangers nevertheless.

Do be aware that you can get sounds for your arrangers at yamahamusicsoft.com. I was just looking, and one of the packs available (for "only" US$169.99) is their Vintage Synth premium sound set, which contains 50 voices, 10 multipads, 2 registrations, and 2 demo songs. You might find the sounds you're looking for in this pack (or in some other pack).

Here's the list of sounds and styles:

50 Vintage Synth Voices

SawModStrings | ObBriteObOctave | SmoothStrings | TackyLiner
P5Horns | Fanfare | ObHorns | MajesticHorns |FatStabBrass
DX100Bass| DXSuperBass | DXPercBass | MiniBass1 | MiniBass2
MiniBass3 | MiniBass4 | MiniBass5 | VintageSFX | VintageDrumkit
DarkSawPad | BackgroundPad | ObSoftpad | WarmComp | MiniDream
MiniOctave | SoftSwellpad | SaturnSwell | DXSquareLead
SynthpopPulse | SmallBoySquare | DXElectricHarp | DXStraton
LiteOctaveLead | ObAttackLead | MiamiFeel | MiniGlide16+4
MiniPunchLead | ObHeaven | SynthpopSaw | SoftSawLine
SawtoothSynth | PulseMixLead | FaaatMini | SynthpopWarm
JPDetuneStabs | SharpPercSeq | JPShortSeq | SawPulseSeq
BriteSawPerc

10 Vintage Synth Styles

80sDiscoQueen | BritSynthPopTrio | CrocketSynth
French68Electro | ItaloPopSynth | NewAgeElectro
RainbowBeat | SweetAngel | USSeqPop | WestEndSynth

There are a couple of video demos on the site, but not high quality sound demos. (Given enough money, everything can sound good on a video demo.)
 
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SeaGtGruff

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Just a quick word,

Yamaha and Daws don`t always play together nicely, I know I have not had much joy with Sonnar but cat speak about any others , its some thing to do with Sysx messages.

Brian

From what I've seen of SONAR, its method of handling SysEx has an upside and a downside.

The downside is that when you import a MIDI file, all of the SysEx messages are gathered up and stored together by default, then they're all played back together at the beginning of the sequence (bar 1, beat 1, tick 0) rather than each set of messages being played back at the bar-beat-tick where they originally occurred. There's a setting which will break the SysEx messages into groups called "banks" (IIRC) when importing a MIDI file, such that messages which occurred together (i.e., without other types of messages interspersed between them) will be gathered into separate banks, but all of the banks will still be played back at the beginning of the sequence. If you want each bank to be played back at its original bar-beat-tick, you must manually set it to play back at the bar-beat-tick where you want it to occur-- which is next to impossible to do unless you just happen to have that information handily written down for reference (which isn't very likely), or unless you're simultaneously looking at the file in another MIDI editor (in which case, what do you need SONAR for?). So it's doable, but it's a painful and messy chore.

The upside (yes, Virginia, there is an upside) is that you can save each of the SysEx banks to separate files, which can come in handy for creating your own sequences. For instance, if you know that a particular SysEx bank was used to set the Reverb Type to a particular value, you can save it with an appropriate file name, after which you'll be able to load and use that SysEx bank in other sequences whenever you want to set the Reverb Type to that particular value. In that way you can build up a library of SysEx messages that you use the most.

Disclaimer: I don't use SONAR regularly, and only have the demo version so I can evaluate it and try to help other people use it, so I can't promise that my comments were free of any erroneous or misleading information.
 

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