Looking for Lighter Yamaha S90


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So, I recently sold my S90XS because it was just too darn heavy anymore. I'm not getting any younger.

Anyway, I replaced it with a used Yamaha MOX8, thinking I would be getting an upgraded keyboard at half the weight. Unfortunately, I was wrong because of a couple of deal-killers I didn't know about and it never occurred to me to ask. Further research has proved fruitless, so, I thought I would lay out my wish list here and see if anyone has ideas.
  • Must be able to create quick-loads of my most-used patches. Right now I have to page through three screens on the MOX8 just to get to a piano. The S90 could save the patches on the initial screen for single button access.
  • Must be able to layer sounds and then have independent volume control of those layers. How is it possible a keyboard as advanced as the MOX8 does not have this feature?
  • Must be less than 30 lbs.
  • I need to find it used for >$1000.
  • When polyphony runs out, voice stealing must be first on, first off. Even my S90 would often steal brand new notes, leading to an awkward choking effect of the sounds.
Preferences:
  • Prefer Yamaha but am definitely open to other brands (Roland, Korg, etc.). Because of my purchase history I am most familiar with the Yamaha line, and like their pianos for live use, but would explore other options for sure.
  • Prefer that when I change the patch, if I have sustaining notes, they continue sustaining (or naturally releasing), rather than abruptly cutting off. The S90 did this and it makes for awkward patch changes mid-song.
  • 76 keys okay, prefer 88.
  • Fully weighted keys preferred, semi-weighted an option.
So, that doesn't seem like too much to ask, but I haven't found anything that fits the bill sub-$1000. A lot of my wants don't even appear on spec lists, so they are hard to track down. Hoping some of you brilliant folks have some ideas for me - maybe your favorite keyboard fits this.

Thanks, Rob
 
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You could be in difficulty finding what you seek new and with 88 keys and less than $1k.

I think that given your criteria you can rule our a Korg due to their inability to sustain tones during a patch change, they do satisfy the weight criteria with the Kross 2 being pretty light where is Krome EX is 32.4 lbs.

The only Yamaha model that is likely to be in with a shout is the MODX 8 which would be 30.5 lbs in weight but I know zero about the functionality of this keyboard as I gave up trying to suss it out when I tried it in a store since I found the menu system dire, it will probably be moot due to its cost.

Which brings me to a keyboard I suggest you research further, Roland Juno DS which is available in three sizes and even the 88 key version should be available at less than a thousand bucks which by the way I am assuming you mean USD.

Another Roland is the FA which is also available in three sizes but the 88 key version is 36 lbs, but it does have the sustain you seek, it to is over budget unless you can find a used unit.

Roland Product Support have these keyboards on Youtube where a series of video tutorials are located, watching these will help you gain an understanding of the operation of these keyboards prior to a hands on session in a store.
 

happyrat1

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The Roland Juno DS checks all of your boxes including price, BUT, weight is 4 lbs over your limit. The 88 note version weighs in at 34 pounds. Add a 15 lb gig bag to that and it's a fairly hefty 50 lbs to transport.

Good news is that it sells NEW for $899 to $999 USD depending on where you shop. :)


Gary ;)
 
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  • Must be able to create quick-loads of my most-used patches. Right now I have to page through three screens on the MOX8 just to get to a piano. The S90 could save the patches on the initial screen for single button access.
MOX8 can do what you want. There are a few ways, actually. Example: If your "most-used patches" are Voices (like piano and other single sounds, accessed in its Voice mode), just save copies of those Voices in the User locations. Then you just call up the User voices, and the 16 buttons become your 16 favorite sounds. If that's not enough, you can create another screen with an additional 16 of your favorite sounds, and so on. You can do similar things in other modes.

  • Must be able to layer sounds and then have independent volume control of those layers. How is it possible a keyboard as advanced as the MOX8 does not have this feature?
There are also a number of ways to address this on the MOX. The most complete way is to create your layers as a MIX (within Song mode or Pattern mode), then move that Mix into a MASTER. That lets you use four knobs to simultaneously access the volume levels of four split/layered Voices. A second way is to use an iPad app, e.g. Yamaha's "Performance Editor Essentials." A third way would be to set up a Performance where the volume of one Voice is controlled with a knob, and the volume of the second (sply/layered) voice is controlled with a pedal. Four links to check, each with different valuable tips:


BTW, the model after the MOX was the MOXF, and that added a feature that automatically let you use the 4 knobs as volume controls for 4 parts in Performance mode, that was a nice enhancement. But if you don't want to have to move to a MOXF just for that, the alternate approaches described above may do enough of what you need.

  • Must be less than 30 lbs.
  • I need to find it used for >$1000.
Getting rougher, at least as long as you stick with 88 key hammer action boards. Your MOX and the MOXF are about 33 lbs, IIRC. The MODX is about 30, but will probably be outside your budget. Kurzweil SP6 and Casio PX560 could be possibilities.

If you drop to 76 non-hammer action boards, the Yamaha MODX7, Roland Juno DS76 and FA07 can come into consideration. Though I'm not sure the FA07 gives you the volume controls you want.

  • When polyphony runs out, voice stealing must be first on, first off. Even my S90 would often steal brand new notes, leading to an awkward choking effect of the sounds.
Hmmm. First on, first off is I think the most common way it is done on multifunction keyboards, including by Yamaha. Dedicated pianos may have algorithms better suited for piano playing. But I'd be surprised if the S90 or MOX didn't work this way. Maybe something else was going on.

  • Prefer that when I change the patch, if I have sustaining notes, they continue sustaining (or naturally releasing), rather than abruptly cutting off. The S90 did this and it makes for awkward patch changes mid-song.
Your MOX can do this as well, within user-specified sets of 16 sounds. Similar to the 4-knob volume control method above, the key is to use MIX mode. Check these three links to get a good understanding of this:


The MOXF does this as well, with the added virtue of being able to have insert effects on 8 of the 16 sounds instead of 3.

The MODX is better because you don't have to pre-define sets of 16 sounds... you can switch from any sound (or combination of sounds) to any other without cutoffs, as long as the sounds you're switching to and from don't include more than four split/layered parts. But again, probably out of budget.

The Kurzweil SP6 and Casio PX560 I mentioned also have some seamless switching capabilities, as do the 76-key boards I mentioned.
 
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Thank you all for your generous help. Anotherscott, I'll dig in a little and see if I can follow your advice. Otherwise, the Juno DS might be a good alternative, especially if it's a bit more intuitive than the MOX8 hoops it looks like I would have to jump through.

Thanks again, Rob
 
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I do think the Juno DS is more intuitive than the MOX8, and it has good controls for splits/layers and decent facility to change sounds without cutting off held/decaying notes. However, the 88 is a bit big and bulky; and the 76 action is pretty poor for piano, IMO. There are always trade-offs. So I'm back to, if you want something under 30 lbs with a piano-friendly action that you can likely find used for under $1k that has decent facilities for patch selection, layer volume balancing, and smooth sound transitions, but simpler than the MOX, my pick would probably be the Kurzweil SP6.
 
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Hmm, that Kurzweil is an interesting option. It looks from reviews that the people who like it REALLY like it. Thanks!
 

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