Korg NAUTILUS


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@anotherscott
Wow, as always, professional and useful advice ;)

Sigh.
I think that, ultimately, even though being quite ambitious, I will not get myself to learn an instrument as complicated as a Fantom, or a Kronos, or whatnot.
When I got back into music some time ago, it took me some time to find out what was the most important thing to me. I have owned, at different and subsequent points in time, in a single or two tier setup, a Roland FA-08, a Korg Kross 2 88, a Yamaha MX61, a Roland VR730, a Krome EX 88, a Kross 2 61 and a PA1000. All of which I sent back to the store with a full refund, except for the Kross 2 88, which I have held on to for longer because I found it difficult to part with since I quite liked it.
But it still wasn't what I was really looking for, having a history with both synths and acoustic pianos.
But that's when I found that I really wanted to go back to playing the piano, and I ended up buying the MP11SE, which I just love.

I bought the CA58 because I wanted the same kind of instrument for my appartment. But now that I've decided to sell my house, I'll be moving in for good into the appartment, so no more need for two 'pianos'.
I have been playing with the idea of buying a second tier for my MP11SE but I guess that will just complicate things for me again as my main focus is classical piano, always will be. So I think that keeping the CA58 for a quiet play in the living room will suit me better.
However, that doesn't take away from the fact that I still want a board to have some fun with, and to be honest, I'd prefer not to have it in the same room as my CA58, because when I really think about it, that's my 'zen' space, where I relax, play some classical music, you know, just let go of the busy schedule during the day.

I am thinking about a desk, though, would put the new board in the study, where I have my iMac I use for work. I could either buy a K&M Omega stand and get a laptop accessory on the second tier, or I could go for a full-on keyboard desk ; nothing too exotic, though, let's keep It simple, as it wouldn't replace my normal office desk, I'd just put it in a corner beside my other desk.
So, one board, then, and I would be using either my iPad Pro (which I also use for music scores from time to time with my CA58), or my MacBook Pro, in which case I'd have more capabilities/potential.
I could use a DAW, but I'm afraid that for the moment, Garageband is already more than I can handle, but I guess if I should get more fluent in using that kind of software, then Logic Pro X would be the logical next step (and it's quite affordable as well).

Now for the board : it will have to be an 88 key board, preferably a quality one, but keeping the price in mind.
I think I might get around 1500 euro for my MP11SE used, which is about the price of a MODX8, for instance. The Yamaha GHS keybed isn't the best, but it's not the worst, either ; it is better than Korg's NH, though, but not by much. I'm still drawn to the Kross 2 88, don't know why ; I didn't get to grips with it the last time, but that was probably because I couldn't be bothered to invest enough time in it. Same with all the other boards I've owned.
You're right in saying I might like the Fantom 8, because I find Roland's PHA50 very very good, only trumped by Kawai's Grand Feel. I even considered an RD2000 at some point before buying the MP11SE, but I guess the RD2000 lost because it looked so daunting and I feared it would have too steep a learning curve.
I realise that I sound like someone who just isn't cut out for anything more complicated than a simple piano like the CA58 (just choose a sound and play), and you're probably right. But now that I'm not having to switch between homes anymore, worrying about this and that I'll have more time, more 'peace' in my head, and so I'll be a lot more inclined to actually learn how to properly use the instrument I would like to buy.

I need a good action, because I want to continue doing what I'm good at : playing the piano, and combining it with some new styles of play (never too old to learn).
Low end :
- Kross 2 88 : I'm still drawn to this board, it's cool and a lot of capabilities, but the keybed is not ideal
- MX88 : I've played the GHS on a P125 and it's not too bad, a tad better than Korg's NH
- Juno DS 88 : best keybed of the three, as Roland's Ivory Feel G is very close to the current PHA4 ; however, not the newest kid on the block

Mid-range:
- Krome EX 88 : very good sound engine, but sadly, the same NH keybed as the Kross 2, i.e. a bit sluggish
- MODX8 : seems to be the most modern, looks like cool stuff (but I'm a noob so what do I know), same keybed as the MX88, not bad, not great, either ; most reviews claim this is currently the best bang for the buck (only negative is the crappy synth action but since this is about 88 key boards, that's not an issue)
- FA08 : same keybed as the Juno DS88, so good feel, but for the short period of time I had my FA08, it didn't seem very user friendly ; like the Juno DS, getting on a bit...

High-end (mucho expensive) :
- Kronos 88 : the best, so it seems, my favourite plastic keybed, the RH3 ; old tech, though, in a way
- Montage 8 : GH3 keybed if I'm not mistaken, a big step above the GHS, but expensive for just a better action and build quality compared to the MODX (apart from the extra features I won't need anyway)
- Fantom 8 : the newest, best keybed of the bunch, PHA50, lots of potential, like the Kronos, but the most expensive of them all, probably wasted on me
- Nautilus : a cheaper Kronos in essence, same great keybed, no aftertouch but doesn't concern me, same innards although probably more future proof than the current Kronos in terms of updates and support etc.

As for arrangers, well, no 88 key arrangers about, except for the DGS670, perhaps but it doesn't do anything for me. Maybe, if there was something like the PA1000 but with 88 weighted keys...
And by 'fun' I mean, being able to replicate sounds and arpeggios from famous songs from all decades, without having to do too much programming myself. I'm willing to learn, but not too much for it to spoil the aforementioned fun...
I've made life difficult for myself again, I think. Problem is, I know too little of the capabilities of each board to be able to make the right decision. Perhaps I should follow my gut feeling... and just trust the numerous Youtube videos.
 
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Ease of use and Workstation do not exactly go together.

It will be a steep learning curve whatever you decide

Yes, I realise that. So perhaps I shouldn't be too ambitious in buying a board just to play around with. I'm not a professional music producer, I'm just looking to have fun playing and jamming along with something other than classical music.
I'm not a song writer, either, so reproducing famous music is what I'm looking for. And the more realistic it will sound, the more 'fun' I will be having.
 
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I remain firmly of the opinion that your best set up would be your favourite Piano on the lower tier and an Arranger on the upper. Not that you really need to tier them with the arrangement shown in the video below they are at 90 degrees to each other

The thing is they would be MIDI’d together as per how Leigh Williamson of Korg shows in the video so you play the Arranger from your Piano although in the video Leigh plays the Korg from the Wersi organ.


Yes, there is a learning curve with the Arranger (only showing Korg as that is what I know but it will apply to others) but once the basics are learned then all actions would be quick and easy.

There are well over 40 free Style packs available as well as additional sounds.

There are plenty of synth sounds inbuilt and each can be customised.

On all quality arrangers there are over 800 inbuilt sounds of all types, so more than enough fir most home players. Additionally iPad Apps galore are imo far better for occasional users than a stack of synths and drum machines clustered on another rack.
 
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I think that, ultimately, even though being quite ambitious, I will not get myself to learn an instrument as complicated as a Fantom, or a Kronos, or whatnot.
Complication also depends what you need to do. Kronos can certainly be complex. But you can also assemble presets of your favorite sounds and combinations, and use its Set List screen to just switch among your favorite sounds while playing, and that's not very complicated at all. As you pointed out, Kronos has a library of sounds based on famous hits. So if you want a lot of premade popular sounds and an easy way to access them, Kronos is arguably one of the easier boards, even if that means you're ignoring a lot of what else it can do. OTOH, if you want to get into sequencing, sound editing, working with custom samples, etc., Kronos can indeed be very complicated albeit powerful.

Nautilus strikes me as a kind of Kronos for someone who doesn't want to do all that advanced stuff. Not because it can't do those things, but because it's harder to do those things without all the other knobs and sliders. Ironically, all those Kronos controls make it look more complicated than a Nautilus, but in a way, it's the other way around, because if you actually need to *use* the functions those things control, it's often faster and more efficient to use those controls than it is to go back and forth between different screens and move small controls on a sometimes finicky touchscreen. But I think Korg recognzed that an awful lot of Kronos owners never did any of that more advanced stuff and hardly ever touched any of those controls anyway. So then all those controls just increased the cost and the intimidation factor. Hence, Nautilus.

So again, if sequencing appeals to you, look for videos specifically on sequencing on all these boards, and see which ones make you think, "oh, that looks like it could be fun" vs. "ooh, that makes my head hurt." With luck, you'll find at least one that's in the former category. ;-) And if not, then maybe sequencing isn't actually something you need in your board, and you may want to look in another direction for your next musical adventures. Or relegate that aspect to the computer or iPad, and check *those* videos to see if something might work better for you than GarageBand.

Using an arranger (as Biggles has also suggested) is an alternate, easier way to generate backing tracks. Unfortunately, the better arrangers don't come in 88-key hammer actions, and I understand your desire for this new board to have such an action and to probably be kept entirely separate from your "zen space." Maybe you could consider adding a Ketron SD40 or SD90 arranger module to your existing MP11SE or to whatever 88 you get to replace it.

For a whole other possibility, you could consider a Casio PX-560, which includes basic sequencer and arranger functions. It doesn't give you the moon, but it's not operationally overwhelming either. Also not very expensive, and I'd say its action is better than any of the low-end or midrange boards you listed. Its arranger capabilities are basic, but still useful. Take a look at https://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/18817-styles-on-privia-px-560/ to get some ideas, and if you want more arranger examples, check the youtube videos entitled "Casio PX560 as an arranger keyboard." And even though its sequencer functions are limited, they still exceed the Roland DS and Yamaha MX that are on your list. And overall, it is easier to use than most of the boards on your list as well.

If I had to pick something for you from your low-end or midrange categories, I'd lean toward the Krome. For your purposes, I think it will do all the Kross does (the Kross does have a few tricks of its own, but I don't think they're relevant to your needs), but the large touchscreen should make it easier to use, and in fact, of the 6 boards listed in your low-end/midrange groups, I think Krome and FA are probably easiest to use, and we already know you didn't really gel with the interface of the FA,

Taking all into account, then, my short list for you would be (not necessarily in this order) Fantom, Nautilus, Ketron expander for your Kawai (or other board), PX560, Krome.
 
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Using an arranger (as Biggles has also suggested) is an alternate, easier way to generate backing tracks. Unfortunately, the better arrangers don't come in 88-key hammer actions, and I understand your desire for this new board to have such an action and to probably be kept entirely separate from your "zen space." Maybe you could consider adding a Ketron SD40 or SD90 arranger module to your existing MP11SE or to whatever 88 you get to replace it
Since they were mentioned in another post I have looked into Ketron and now my understanding of their arranger module is that it is very complex to learn and operate, far more so than the OS is for Yamaha and Korg arrangers.

Hence a fair amount of homework will be required.

As Kaneda still has the Korg Kross 2 88 then perhaps a time commitment to learn the features to a more in depth nature will stand him in good stead in deciding upon the way forward.
 
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@anotherscott
I agree the Krome EX ticks a lot of boxes,just a shame it hasn’t got a better keybed...
If I should choose to be a cheapskate, Incould sell the MP11SE, get a Krome EX61 and get a D1 on the bottom tier.... Wouldn’t cost me more than a couple of hundred euros after selling the MP11SE.

But I would prefer a single tier setup. So my best option would be to get a better Krome EX88 altogether, i.e. a Nautilus 88...
It’s expensive but it might be the best option.

Anyway, not in any hurry,..

@Biggles
Bit of a misunderstanding, but I don’t have the Kross anymore...
 
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Since they were mentioned in another post I have looked into Ketron and now my understanding of their arranger module is that it is very complex to learn and operate, far more so than the OS is for Yamaha and Korg arrangers.
Ah. I have no experience with one, they're pretty rare in the U.S. I just knew they had a decent reputation, and so it could be a way to get a higher end 88-key arranger, if that were someone's goal.

If I should choose to be a cheapskate, I could...get a Krome EX61 and get a D1 on the bottom tier...But I would prefer a single tier setup. So my best option would be to get a better Krome EX88 altogether, i.e. a Nautilus 88...
It’s expensive but it might be the best option.
A Nautilus 88 is much more capable than a Krome 88 overall, but I would not assume it would necessarily be better in all ways. A lot of people seem to like the Krome-style ("piano roll") sequencer more than the Kronos-style (which I assume is what you'd find in the Nautilus).

The Krome 61 over a D1 also gives you the advantage of hammer and non-hammer actions (even if the Krome action isn't the best). With the right stand, the front of the Krome 61 could basically sit on the back of the D1, such that the setup would still be extremely compact. (Kross would be even smaller.) Overall, a 2-board setup like that might be no more visually imposing than a single board "aircraft carrier" like a Montage 8; and with the actual keys of the two boards that close to each other, not really less playable than a 2-manual Hammond organ.
 
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You will find that there are a lot of family similarities in the way Korg OS function.

I have just watched some of the video manual series for both the Nautilus and Kronos, they are so similar.

In fact they do operate very similar to the Kross 2 but in graphical form rather than via button pressing as in the Kross.

If I was spending that sort of cash it would go on a Kronos, the extra cost for the extra features, the Sliders and control knobs would sway me everyday.
 
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I had thought about combining a D1 with a top tier, initially with a Kronos or Nautilus 61, but that would be a bit silly as the 88 key versions of those boards already have the RH3 I like so much, and it would be more or less the same as far as price is concerned.

It's a different story with the Krome EX or even Kross 2, though. I liked my Kross 2 88 but the 61 version of that really has a crappy synth action, too cheap and plasticky. The Krome EX, on the other hand, apparently uses a semi-weighted action in its 61 and 73 key versions. I wonder if it's the same action as in the Kronos/Nautilus 61 and 73.
And of course, the D1 could serve as a bottom tier for a lot of boards in 61 or 73/76 flavour, but should I opt for some form of a studio desk, a two-tier setup would not be an option.

As for the other brands, I wasn't really enamoured with the FA08, but I might take another look at it ; only thing is, it's quite an old board, and it's still at full price, the same as a much more recent MODX8 (which has been given extra features with updates, including a sequencer) ; moreover, the FA08 is about 200 euro more expensive than the Krome EX. The FA08 does have a good keybed, however, a lot better than Korg's NH and Yamaha's GHS, which is what the Krome EX88 and MODX8 have respectively. And the FA08 makes sense, as it's the only 'more affordable' board with a good solid weighted keybed and lots of potential feature wise...
Whether it has the sounds and arps I'm looking for, I don't know, I should look into that, and perhaps take a closer look at the interface.

Really don't know at this point. But as I've said, I'm not in any immediate hurry, as I need to take care of all the paperwork and financial side of things for my appartment. And then move all my stuff (perish the thought :eek: ).
Anyway, keep the advice coming, althought this might be the wrong thread (I feel like I've hijacked it).
 
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Too late to edit my previous post...

Since I'm considering the option of getting a keyboard desk, in order to use the keyboard with my Macbook Pro and/or iPad Pro, should I maybe also be looking at things like the Arturia Keylab and Komplete Kontrol boards with 88 weighted keys, and maybe try to do all the 'fun' stuff in software ? Or would that be too complicated ?
Would that at all be possible ?
 
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I tried a D1 (1) piano sounds were nit as good as Yamaha or Roland DP’s (2) RH3 action came third for me after Roland’s and Yamaha’s.

I played an FA07 which has a much better keybed than the 06, the sound quality was very good, the sequencer much better than the Juno and Kross 2. Yes, it is an old board in need of an update but with 2000 onboard sounds there is more than enough to play with without downloading more from Axial.

The Komplete Kontrol has their A and S boards, the feel on the S is for me the best of any MIDI controller that I have tried. The store closest to me always has one live and ready to play and I just cannot resist it. That said DAW integration is reputed to be flaky so do check that out. Their software VST’s are pretty good, you may want to download their free starter pack to try them out.

Arturia does seem to have issues regarding DAW software and use of their own VST’s predominates.

Add Studiologic’s SL88 Grand to your list of controllers to check out, ivory feel wooden keys.

 
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Roland also has the new A-88 MKII controller, PHA4 keybed, so good weighted feeling. SL88 Grand seems nice as well, but the question is, what software will offer me what I want ; not merely interested in a whole bunch of sounds, I need those cool arps as well and I'm even less versed in controller keyboards and VST and software than I am in synths and workstations...
 
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Why not select a specific Workstation and then watch all the Tutorial Videos on that workstation?

That will give you a good grounding in the use of said keyboard.

This is precisely what I did when I was considering an FA07, I watched all the videos in this series.


I then went in store and put what I learned into practice.

Given your track record watching the videos a couple of times, buying an FA and using it extensively up to the end of the returns period would then stand you in good order for knowing what you do and do not want within a workstation.

Learning about MIDI is a totally different and daunting task.
 
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I had thought about combining a D1 with a top tier, initially with a Kronos or Nautilus 61, but that would be a bit silly as the 88 key versions of those boards already have the RH3 I like so much, and it would be more or less the same as far as price is concerned.
Not necessarily silly, since you'd also have the non-hammer action available, i.e. for organ playing.

It's a different story with the Krome EX or even Kross 2, though. I liked my Kross 2 88 but the 61 version of that really has a crappy synth action, too cheap and plasticky. The Krome EX, on the other hand, apparently uses a semi-weighted action in its 61 and 73 key versions. I wonder if it's the same action as in the Kronos/Nautilus 61 and 73.
From what I've seen online, there is no significant difference (if any at all) between the Kross, Krome, or King Korg 61 key actions. I mention the King Korg because it also says semi-weighted on the spec sheet, and I have played the King Korg and Kross, and I didn't notice a difference, though I did not play them back to back. They were certainly at least very similar. They both had the issue of being unresponsive in the rear of the keys, which is my issue with them (I actually think they feel pretty decent except for that).

As for the other brands, I wasn't really enamoured with the FA08, but I might take another look at it ; only thing is, it's quite an old board, and it's still at full price, the same as a much more recent MODX8 (which has been given extra features with updates, including a sequencer)
MODX still doesn't have a full linear sequencer like the FA does. But I don't think the FA has the pattern/loop based sequencing that was added to the MODX with the 3.0 update.

As for FA vs. MODX in general, besides sequencer differences, here are some of the other significant differences...

FA advantages over MODX:
* trigger pads which can be used to play samples
* ability to play up to 16 sounds at a time from the keyboard (MODX has a limit of 8 simultaneous keyboard-playable sounds)
* ability to put any sound on any MIDI channel (MODX uses fixed assignments... part 1 always corresonds to MIDI channel 1, part 2 always corresponds to channel 2, etc.)
* stereo sub out (auxiliary assignable outputs you can use in addition to the main L/R outputs)
* modeled (SuperNATURAL) components to piano, EPs, clav, basses, acoustic guitar, and ensemble strings (which does not necessarily mean you'll like these sounds more than their MODX equivalents)
* virtual analog synth ("SuperNATURAL Synth")
* modeled 9-drawbar "clonewheel" engine (SuperNATURAL organ), though it lacks emulation of chorus/vibrato

MODX advantages over FA:
* FM synthesis engine (with its own additional polyphony)
* up to two insert effects per sound instead of one
* touchscreen interface, including Live Set screens for patch selection
* seamless sound switching as long as the sounds don't have more than 4 parts (meaning that held/sustained/decaying notes are not cut off when you switch to a new sounds... the FA can do this only in a more limited fashion)
* much larger and newer sample set
* a gigabyte of memory into which you can load additional keyboard-playable instruments, whether from Yamaha, third party, or your own samples
* endless encoders (the knobs are always in the "right" place, instead of knobs that jump to a new value when you move them or don't do anything until you move them enough to catch the existing value)
* "motion control" - see https://usa.yamaha.com/products/music_production/synthesizers/montage/features.html

Personally, I think acoustic instrument emulations generally sound better on MODX. OTOH, you found the FA interface complicated, and I think the MOX interface is probably more so in most respects.

I tried a D1 (1) piano sounds were nit as good as Yamaha
I think he'd only be using the D1 as a controller, getting better piano sounds from the Kronos/Nautilus/whatever above it.

I played an FA07 which has a much better keybed than the 06...the sequencer much better than the Juno and Kross 2.
Juno has a pattern sequencer but no linear sequencer; the FA has a linear sequencer, but I don't think it has as much pattern sequencer capability as the Juno (but I'm not certain of that part). I actually thought the Kross and FA sequencers were pretty comparable, but I could be wrong. (Korg would presumably be harder to use, though, due to its small display.)

with 2000 onboard sounds there is more than enough to play with without downloading more from Axial.
Those 2000 sounds are largely synth sounds, though. If you're looking for other instruments (e.g. orchestral instruments), the axial downloads will give you some sounds which are much better than what's in the FA. Other than the SuperNATURAL sounds I listed, all the other built-in FA acoustic instrument sounds come from the XV-5080 which is 20+ years old, so the axial expansions definitely offer you some upgrades here. Though even those are largely based on SRX cards which themselves go back many years... which also gets back to that item in my list, that the sample set of the MODX is much larger and newer.

Learning about MIDI is a totally different and daunting task.
MIDI shouldn't be inherently daunting... it doesn't have to be complicated, that depends on exactly what it is you're trying to do.
 
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In addition to having 'fun', I'd maybe try to dabble a bit in some light 'personal music production', probably starting off with Garageband, moving to Logic in the future (or should I opt for a Yamaha, perhaps start with Cubase LE (which comes free with the MODX for example) and then move on to Pro.
I'm warming up to a studio desk setup more and more, where two tiers are not an option.

To be honest, even leaving music production out of the equation, it's a lot easier and practical to learn an instrument's ins and outs wen sitting at a desk, in a comfortable chair, rather than having a keyboard on a stand and sitting on a piano stool for hours (my poor back...). By this, I mean that I won't have to force myself to sit down and take some time to learn all there is to learn about one particular board, if you can see what I mean by that.
I'd choose a keyboard desk that allows me to integrate my normal 'workflow', so that I have room for both my music keyboard, and my typing keyboard and mouse ; I would then be able to use my 27 inch iMac with a DAW, which would be a lot more comfortable than my 15 inch Macbook. Comfort means a lot, you know, I'm turning 51 next July ;)

Anyway, I'll probably be looking at the FA08 again, but the MODX8 is fascinating me. Krome EX88, don't know, possibly. Nautilus 88, yes, but more expensive. Plus in a sense, the tech in the Nautilus is basically as old as that in the FA, even older, but granted, more high-end, so more on par with the more recent mid-range models (as high-end tech normally trickles down to more affordable models over the years...).
In case of the FA, Krome EX or MODX, I could just buy one of those with what I get from selling the MP11SE and the only additional cost would be the studio desk. After all, I'm not made of money, you know. :p

Ultimately, that's a combination that would work well for me, my CA58 in my 'zen' living area, playing some classical music, watching some telly, reading a book... and then my little private 'non-professional' studio in my study, a space to work and create.
And I guess I don't actually need the very best weighted action there is when I'm really honest with myself ; my CA58 is perfect for my expressive classical needs, after all. Not taking into account Korg's RH3, I think I would feel the most comfortable with either the FA08 (Ivory Feel G) or the MODX8 (GHS). So older tech with a very nice keybed, or newer tech with a lesser but still good all-round keybed.
Both have MIDI and audio over USB, which might come in handy as well in a setup like I have in mind.
And yes, I know there will be a learning curve with both of these boards. I think it was a mistake of me to expect high quality samples and arpeggios just like that, ready to use at the touch of a button... Bit naIve, actually :)

I'd be happy to read feedback on either board...
 
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As you have a Mac checkout Logic Pro which is their Pro level DAW and also Main Stage.

Main Stage is used as a control interface for primarily gigging scene, but it does include 6Gb of VST’s.

I do not have Logic Pro but I do have Main Stage.
 
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I'd better start with Garageband, it's basically Logic Pro 'light'. There's no demo version of Logic Pro, unfortunately...
And I thought you needed Logic Pro in order to use Main Stage ; I know they're two separate applications but I thought Main Stage wouldn't work without Logic...
I'll see : if I buy the FA08 (or any other non Yamaha board), I'll start with Garageband, if it's the MODX8, then I'll have a go with Cubase LE as well, see what I like better.
 
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Mainstage is available (and can run) without Logic. They share the same instrument sounds, but basically, Mainstage is geared toward real-time performance, Logic is geared toward recording/production.
 
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Those 2000 sounds are largely synth sounds, though. If you're looking for other instruments (e.g. orchestral instruments), the axial downloads will give you some sounds which are much better than what's in the FA. Other than the SuperNATURAL sounds I listed, all the other built-in FA acoustic instrument sounds come from the XV-5080 which is 20+ years old, so the axial expansions definitely offer you some upgrades here. Though even those are largely based on SRX cards which themselves go back many years... which also gets back to that item in my list, that the sample set of the MODX is much larger and newer.

Interestingly, though, apparently, all the Axial sounds for the Integra 7 are compatible with the FA as well. But to be honest, the extra Axial sounds are a nice addition, but that won't make me decide in favour of the FA.
Anyway, I've hijacked this thread long enough, better continue somewhere afresh...
 
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