Need help for buying workstation


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Hello, I'm new to forum(ing) but would really like to pose a question and ask some knowledgeable folks instead of a salesman. Finally ready to purchase a workstation and I'd like to know what the best purchase would be: A Roland Fantom 8, Yamaha Montage or a Korg Kronos. They are all in the price range I like and if anyone has a good opinion on these I'd love to hear it. Thanks in advance
 
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Welcome.

Can you advise further on what you are seeking by way of functions, features and usage also on the priority of each of your requirements.

There are Pros and Cons on each model.
 

happyrat1

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Before you even talk to a salesman, my first recommendation is to download and read the user manuals for each model you are interested in and find some youtube reviews and tutorials for each model.

If you put in the effort and do your homework the web can tell you much more about each model than we could possibly tell you in this thread.

The final test after doing the research is visiting stores and getting a hands on experience with each unit.

Gary ;)
 
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The video get you started tutorials may also help.

Korg (logical linear format)

Roland (plenty of videos but not linear by way of order to view)

Yamaha (you may have to hunt further for more)
 
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Before you even talk to a salesman, my first recommendation is to download and read the user manuals for each model you are interested in and find some youtube reviews and tutorials for each model.

If you put in the effort and do your homework the web can tell you much more about each model than we could possibly tell you in this thread.

The final test after doing the research is visiting stores and getting a hands on experience with each unit.

Gary ;)
Thank you Gary. I will do that right now
 
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Selecting and purchasing one premium arranger/workstation/keyboard can be a daunting task. There are so many quality instruments, with so many unique and different features on the market today that previewing and homework is a must.....especially since we are talking significant bucks here. I would first pick out the most noted manufacturers and go from there. Take your time and enjoy the process.

When I was a kid, one day a friend of my older brother showed up at our house with an accordion. The sound of that instrument was....music to my ears! I never heard anything so beautiful. 6 months later I rented an accordion and was taking one lesson every two weeks using my allowance. What I'm saying is.....everybody hears sounds differently and what pleases one ear may not please another. So, get out there and listen, read about the instrument and try to get your hands on one before you buy. Good luck!
 

happyrat1

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Q: What's the difference between an accordion and a trampoline???
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A: You remove your shoes before you jump on a trampoline :D :D :D
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But seriously folks ;)

You may also want to take a look at the new Kurzweil PC4 as well...

Gary ;)
 
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I'd like to know what the best purchase would be: A Roland Fantom 8, Yamaha Montage or a Korg Kronos.
If there was actual agreement about which was best, everyone would buy that one and the other two would not exist. ;-) Each board is better at doing certain kinds of things, and sometimes in how easily they can do the same kinds of things. There are also some aspects that tend to be very subjective, like which one has the key feel you like best, or sounds best for the particular sounds that are most important to you. But if you can post more specifically about what you're looking to do with it, you might get some more specific feedback toward that goal. Also, assuming you've had other keyboards before, any thoughts about things you particularly liked or disliked about them could help inform a decision as to where to go next.

Some key differentiators are probably these:

Roland (which I haven't seen in person yet) looks like it has the best control surface and nice Mainstage integration. Sounds are from sample-based and virtual analog sound engines, plus their modeled V-Piano, and they have started making some of their "SuperNATURAL" instrument sounds available for it as well (hybrid of sampling and modeling). It does not (yet?) allow you to use your own custom samples.

Yamaha has all their "motion control" stuff, and a reputation for very strong acoustic instrument emulations. Sample-based and FM sound engines.

Kronos has a full traditional sequencer, "Karma", the most kinds of sound engines (including sample-based, virtual analog, FM, clonewheel organ, and various kinds of modeling), and the ability to load huge sample sets that will stream from SSD. In many ways, it's the most capable, but I'd say its control surface lags the others... no endless encoders or LED indications of current knob/slider settings, no trigger pads (though you could add a nanopad), and in some respects a more dated and cramped looking display interface (though if you have an iPad, you can augment it with the excellent Kronos Remote app).

"Motion control" and "Karma" are both interesting technologies that some people swear by and other people couldn't care less about. It could be worth checking some articles/videos to see which camp you're likely to fall into.
 
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If there was actual agreement about which was best, everyone would buy that one and the other two would not exist. ;-) Each board is better at doing certain kinds of things, and sometimes in how easily they can do the same kinds of things. There are also some aspects that tend to be very subjective, like which one has the key feel you like best, or sounds best for the particular sounds that are most important to you. But if you can post more specifically about what you're looking to do with it, you might get some more specific feedback toward that goal. Also, assuming you've had other keyboards before, any thoughts about things you particularly liked or disliked about them could help inform a decision as to where to go next.

Some key differentiators are probably these:

Roland (which I haven't seen in person yet) looks like it has the best control surface and nice Mainstage integration. Sounds are from sample-based and virtual analog sound engines, plus their modeled V-Piano, and they have started making some of their "SuperNATURAL" instrument sounds available for it as well (hybrid of sampling and modeling). It does not (yet?) allow you to use your own custom samples.

Yamaha has all their "motion control" stuff, and a reputation for very strong acoustic instrument emulations. Sample-based and FM sound engines.

Kronos has a full traditional sequencer, "Karma", the most kinds of sound engines (including sample-based, virtual analog, FM, clonewheel organ, and various kinds of modeling), and the ability to load huge sample sets that will stream from SSD. In many ways, it's the most capable, but I'd say its control surface lags the others... no endless encoders or LED indications of current knob/slider settings, no trigger pads (though you could add a nanopad), and in some respects a more dated and cramped looking display interface (though if you have an iPad, you can augment it with the excellent Kronos Remote app).

"Motion control" and "Karma" are both interesting technologies that some people swear by and other people couldn't care less about. It could be worth checking some articles/videos to see which camp you're likely to fall into.
What I'm most interested in is the simplicity of the sequencer. But it sounds like you think Korg is the best buy way of sequenceing
 
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What I'm most interested in is the simplicity of the sequencer. But it sounds like you think Korg is the best buy way of sequenceing
I don't use sequencers, so I'm not the best source of information on that. From what I understand (and hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong), Kronos is the only one of the three with a complete, multitrack, editable full length composition sequencer, if that's what you're looking for. I'm not saying it's best, or that it's simple, just that it does it. The Montage and the Fantom have pattern sequencers which let you build up compositions out of repeating patterns, which is highly suitable for some kinds of composition and completely unsuitable for others. But if it's suitable for you, it may provide more of the simplicity you're after, especially in conjunction with those boards' more modern looking interface. I think more often, "traditional" composition sequencing is being done on an an attached computer (Yamaha even provides free Cubasis for this purpose). Having the bigger screen and a mouse for editing probably makes that easier, and so the kinds of on-board sequencing that Roland and Yamaha have focussed on is a kind that an on-board interface can lend itself to. In this sense, Kronos is showing its age, in having a feature that was all the rage 10 and 20 years ago but has fallen out of favor as computer-based DAWs have gotten more capable and cheaper. At least that's my theory. But check out the manuals/videos for sequencing on these boards and see what you think. And maybe some others here with more sequencing experience will chime in as well.

Here's a good article on the Yamaha sequencer as of version 3.0: https://www.yamahasynth.com/synths/mastering-montage-modx-pattern-sequencer-features-in-os-v3
The recently released 3.5 update adds some more features to the sequencer, which are covered here: https://www.yamahasynth.com/synths/...rn-workflow-and-recording-features-in-os-v3-5

Here's a quick video overview on the Roland's sequencing:

And here's a guy who did a comparison video... jump to about 24 minutes to see his conclusion, but watch the video for more detail if you want...

Here's a Kronos video to start with...
 

happyrat1

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Sorry to horn in on this but here's Kurzweil's workstation that retails for half the price of the other guys.

EDIT >>> He gets into the sequencers about 41 minutes into the video.


Gary ;)
 
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I don't use sequencers, so I'm not the best source of information on that. From what I understand (and hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong), Kronos is the only one of the three with a complete, multitrack, editable full length composition sequencer, if that's what you're looking for. I'm not saying it's best, or that it's simple, just that it does it. The Montage and the Fantom have pattern sequencers which let you build up compositions out of repeating patterns, which is highly suitable for some kinds of composition and completely unsuitable for others. But if it's suitable for you, it may provide more of the simplicity you're after, especially in conjunction with those boards' more modern looking interface. I think more often, "traditional" composition sequencing is being done on an an attached computer (Yamaha even provides free Cubasis for this purpose). Having the bigger screen and a mouse for editing probably makes that easier, and so the kinds of on-board sequencing that Roland and Yamaha have focussed on is a kind that an on-board interface can lend itself to. In this sense, Kronos is showing its age, in having a feature that was all the rage 10 and 20 years ago but has fallen out of favor as computer-based DAWs have gotten more capable and cheaper. At least that's my theory. But check out the manuals/videos for sequencing on these boards and see what you think. And maybe some others here with more sequencing experience will chime in as well.

Here's a good article on the Yamaha sequencer as of version 3.0: https://www.yamahasynth.com/synths/mastering-montage-modx-pattern-sequencer-features-in-os-v3
The recently released 3.5 update adds some more features to the sequencer, which are covered here: https://www.yamahasynth.com/synths/...rn-workflow-and-recording-features-in-os-v3-5

Here's a quick video overview on the Roland's sequencing:

And here's a guy who did a comparison video... jump to about 24 minutes to see his conclusion, but watch the video for more detail if you want...

Here's a Kronos video to start with...
Thank you so much for taking the time to present this pertinent information to me. It is really going to help me out cause I can tell you absolutely know what you're talking about. I'll go through those links as well.
 
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As others have said - each has their own thing.

I own a Fantom 7, and have tried the others (bar the Kurz - so nothing I say equates to that).

The only one with a proper sequencer is Kronos. If thats what you want its the only choice of the 3. Fantoms is an "ableton" style pattern sequencer.

Fantom isnt really a workstation either - not in the traditional sense (and neither is Montage TBH). the F8 has the best piano action of the 3 by a long way. What is is, is a decent VA synth, with some Rompler style sounds as well - a great controller, and a has very good pianos, but everything else is kind of a scratch pad for ideas not a full blown workstation. Its designed to be the centrepiece of a rig (live or studio) but absolutely to integrate with other things. It expects you to use a DAW for linear sequencing and editing, a proper sampler if thats your bag, and ditto a drum machine. It does what it does very well - its workflow is by far the easiest of the 3 BUT it is what it is....which isnt a workstation. Sounds wise there are loads, but there are also lots of variations of similar sounds - it encourages you to design your own rather than giving you loads out of the box. Roland gave up on "workstations" after Fantom G, and sees them as that centrepiece to bring everything together rather than a do it all in one box thing.

Montage is similar, though its more of a workstation than Fantom - its still primarily a performance synth and not a true workstation. It does acoustic sounds better than Fantom, and it does propper FM. Its VA is not in the same league as Fantoms though. Its arpeggiator is better than Fantoms as well. Organs are better for now thant Fantom, but Fantom is getting drawbar control in an upcoming FW so o'regan's will probably be better on Fantom then. Sample based Pianos are slightly better than Fantom, but the V-Pianos on the Fantom are better still (though some dont like them).

Kronos - has the worst keybed of the 3. It has the worst screen of the 3 (both in resolution, response and information layout). It has the worst workflow of the 3. it is the most complex of the 3 to get your head around. It doesnt have any sound (to my ears) that isnt bettered on either Fantom OR Montage (not both... I mean some sounds are better of Fantom and others on Montage). BUT, it is the most complete workstation, the most complete sequencer and sampler. It has more sound engines, and is deeper then the other 2. It s Jack of all not a Master of any but its very powerful in its own right. As a single board as a true workstation, with no other gear its really the only choice of the 3.


For me, I was looking for a controller for a live rig primarily - and it sits above an RD2000 and below a Novation Peak, Virus Ti2 adn Legend EXP. If Im recording I use Studio One and Im not a heavy sampler - i do use them live for playback BUT I dont generate/edit samples on Fantom, I just load the WAS in and play them from the pads. ITs fine for that. I dont tend to use drum machines, preferring BFD for that. I do use the Fantoms TR REvc mode for "electronic" beats though. Its decent for that with TR808 and 909 sounds on board. There is however a lot of moaning on the Fantom facebook pages, that its missing too much for a workstaion - all totally missing that thats not what it is. Many upgraded/crossgrade from a Fantom G and expected an updated version - when its more an evolution of the FA boards.
 
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Good writeup, Paul. Though I'd question Kronos not having any sounds that aren't bettered by at least one of the others. At a minimum, I'd give it the edge over the other two in organs and EPs.
 
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I guess some of that is personal. The supernatural ep's on the fantom (added in the last few update) are stunning though - at imo took fantom ahead of Kronos for eps.

Organs, at present yet probably should have given that to Kronos. A lot will depend if Roland add the vr engine when they add drawbar control.

I think its worth noting kronos is pretty much mature, you getvwhats there. Fantom is at the start of its development with new functions and sounds being added. Montage is mid way through its development at present.
 

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