Need help with a purchase choice


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Longish post I guess.

I am NOT a keyboard player. I have played guitar for 35 years, BUT have always had a keyboard around and have played some basic parts live. Its always been a workstation of sorts though - with my latest being with me for 15 years - a Roland Fantom-S. I have a basic grounding on synths, but dont really know what limits or doesn't, a synth (analogue particularly) in its abilities.

Recently I decided to learn proper piano, and picked up an RD2000. Love it for what it is - and Im more than happy with the piano, EPs, organs, strings and orchestral stuff. The pads are OK for layers, but with no real editing bar Res/cut off, attack and release its not an "evolving" tone. Ditto the lead synth stuff. It has no arpeggiator or sequencer of any sort.

The Fantom has more of that, but does "replicate" a lot of what the RD does, and the RD does it better. The Fantom doesnt have any Analogue/VA capabilities which is what Im missing.

So - I need to replace the old Fantom with a new board to complement the RD, but I dont know what. It needs to be a single board as I dont have the room (or budget) for more (so cant add a 3rd board to the 2 I have, needs to rep[lace one). It needs to be 5 octave (or more) synth action as Ill use that to control the RDs organs sounds (cant play organ properly on a weighted board). Also, desktop modules are out as I have no way of mounting them either (as Id need the fantom as a control board).

That rules out Peak, the Nords, the Deep Mind, System 8, JD-XA etc. Its left me at a little bit of a loss.

I could go with a dedicated analogue type synth - the DSI REV 2 being the choice I think - but while its analogue stuff is good with a lot of mod options, thats all it does. I wouldnt have any FM stuff (DX7, D50 and even M1 type sounds, which Id quite like).

I could go with the Korg Prologue, that has some FM capability - but its a lot less "complete" on an analogue front with a single LFO per voice. Much less variation compared to the DSI

There is the sledge, which is limited for effects and Im not sure does FM - though it does have some wavetable capability.

There is the Virus Ti/Ti1 which from what I can see would cover all I need, though its not knob per function and would need to be used to be affordable - but its an option if it will give me the best mix of sounds.

The other option, is a more up to date workstation that offers VA, and accept the duplication it has with the RD while embracing what the RD lacks. The FA07 (the 06 has small keys) is an option, but I thing its quite limited on what it can do VA wise - the mod options and how you can apply them (cant apply a sine wave to a PWM width for instance). Possible a Kronos 61 - again would need to be used and still a little pricey but possible capable of the best variety alongside the RD - but real time control is more limited (though better than the FA).


Its a minefield even choosing one TYPE of board ( analogue/VA synth, VA with FM capabilities, workstation etc) to give the best/biggest spread of sounds when partnered with the RD, without the A/B'ing of different boards within that category - so Im reaching out for some "knowledgeable" help to at least narrow down what Type of board I should be looking at to partner the RD. Im happy to learn and be guided while also answering Qs that will help narrow things down.

Many thanks.
 
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happyrat1

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I think you've pretty much covered all the options there in your post already.

Maybe pick up a used Korg M3 with a Radias Board installed?

Or a Korg Kronos 61? Not sure what the synth options are in that one.

Otherwise, stay the course. You're pretty much on the right track and seem to know what you want already.

Gary ;)
 
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Welcome.

After reading your post I feel for your confusion, its a minefield, so much choice.

I did have a play yesterday of a variety of keyboards, Nord, Korg Kronos, Roland Ds and FA7 and liked them all but discounting the Nord on cost grounds I would go for the Roland if I was seeking such a keyboard type. Well worth a trip to you music store to check them both out.

Korgs are great but their menu systems have a steep learning curve whereas the Rolands seem much more intuitive.

Good luck selecting.
 
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Actually,l the sledge looks interesting. 3 Oscolators, twin LFOs (plus mod wheel) per voice, Some wavetable and some FM. FX are adequate if not great (could always run it through my AFX is need be). Only down side I can see, is the arpeggiator is basic, and theres no step sequencer for more complex patterns.
 
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Its probably less about "which one" or "what are the options" - more about "which type would suit my needs best".
Are you able to articulate your needs a little more succinctly for us?

You've given lots of good info about the features you want (FM, sequencer, analogue/VA, keybed size etc.) but I'm still a little vague about what you'll be using the 'board for. What sort of music are you hoping to generate with it and is it a gigging machine, home use, recording, something else?
 
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Hum. Im looking for what the RD doesnt have, which is a lot of workman sounds but with little editing capabilities. So Analogue/VA is the most critical, with some FM/wavetable capabilities if possible. A arpeggiator is a must, and preferable a step sequencer - though I have been looking at external units that can do that aspect which is a possibility.

As for use, there is no specific use really. It will be primarily used a t home, but Im not ruling out gigging - BUT I dont want to go PC based. Im very much a hardware guy - even guitar (I run an AFX but through a power amp cab not my monitors). I want to have the ability to take the rig out live if the opportunity arises.

I havent played live for a few years as the wife works evening/weekends so I have the kids - so cant gig. Kids are getting older so another 3-4 years and gigging should be possible again. Im hoping by then to be "capable" enough to go out as a keys player rather than a guitarist with a little keys ability. This is why Im learning proper piano skills, and want to develop my skills in programming sounds as well.

Music wise - again Im very wide in tastes. The RD will cover most ground in a typical covers band across a lot of genres (Pianos, organs, EP with the odd pad should cover 90% of those needs). For instance if its blues, rock, or basic guitar pop.

I guess its the late 70s, and 80s Im missing in the rd. Im not into trance/house as I grew up pre those really (Im 50 now).

I guess keys from Pink Floyd are the earliest tones I may need, running through Gary Numan, to Depeche Mode, Human League, New Order, OMD, Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, early Duran Duran, New Romantic stuff - Keys that the Cure might have used. Once we leave 80s behind it gets more "work horse" sounds again, with the possible exception of some of the sounds Blur used, but even there quite basic. Most of that should be fairly basic tone wise, with arps and effects giving the appearance of movement.

The most "analogue" tones I might want would be like Jean Michel Jarr, but that might be pushing things.

I must stress Im "learning" Im an electronics engineer by trade, and totally understand waveforms, filters, modulation etc - but Ive not created tones from scratch before - nor can I hear a sound and say "thats and x waveform though y filter, modulated in a z way with a,b,c effects.
 
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Think if I had to choose one based on the above, I'd probably plump for a Kronos 61. And if you have a long term plan to gig, they're really designed with a gigging musician in mind. Does a lot of things really well.

You'll get a bit of duplication with your RD but you'll be able to use two different key actions. There's better VA's or analogues out there but they might lack the versatility you require, given you only want a two 'board setup.

I'm going to echo Gary's original response. You seem to be very good at research so I think you'll eventually get there, whatever you decide.
 
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Looking at your last post I guess that are in the UK.

If you are why not go into the nearest PMT music store near you as they are likely to have all your options on display and ready to play.

I was in the Manchester store a couple of weeks ago, its huge 10,000 ft2.
 
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Yeh - got the RD from PMT Nottingham (where I live) and go to the Birmingham store a lot. they dont stock sledge or the DSi offerings though - so only the Kronos and FA to try (AND Ive not seen a 07 in - only the 06 and 08).

BUT - today I was in Birmingham and popped in - they had an FA07. The key bed is lovely. Proper full sized, "semi" weighted synth action - but theres not much weight. I think (from playing) its the same key bed that on the Jupiter 50 and 80. It has a LOT - but its slightly limited on the Mod front in the VA engine. 2 LFOs are fine, and they can be applied to several things at once -but its basically the amp envelope, pitch envelope, cut off (and one more). You cant apply an LFO to pulse width, which is a pain. It does have a great arp, good sequencer, and does all the FM stuff as well as the VA. Tempting actually.

Adam (works for planet Roland not PMT) hinted I should go to guitar guitar - strange (been there lots as a guitarist) but I popped over (whole 10 mins away). They have expanded a lot into a second building, and now have some keyboards - INCLUDING all the DSi stuff, and a sledge...

The sledges keybed is good, but the rest feels toy like. Its VERY easy to navigate, and get some decent tones - BUT the presets all show similar, gritty stuff all of a similar ilk. Playing for a good amount of time game me the same opinion for tones I could create easily. The arp is simplistic, no step sequencer and the FX while OK are again limited. Not sure this is for me. Id have to add something like an Electribe 2 to make it work, and not sure it offers enough despite having wavetable stuff on board.

The DSI Rev 2 is VERY nicely built. The presets show what it can do - but doing it myself was more challenging. Theres lots "hidden" in the Mod matrix and no sine option for the lfo's which seemed strange to me. That said its very musical sounding. Im sure I could grow to love that synth - but again, it does what it does. No FM, limited Poly with 16 voices (compared to the others Im looking at) though thats probably enough. Its not cheap though.

Im giving it some thought - and might hang fire as Roland look set to release something in Sep (as the Jupiter 80 is end of line and the 50 already discontinued - while the FA series has been around a while). Adam was expecting something in the "new flagship synth or workstation" in sep.

If I had to choose now, It would be between the Rev 2 and FA07 - though Ive yet to track down a Virus Ti2 to try. I think the edge goes to the FA though (and given it half the price new of a used Kronos 61...)- with that nice keyboard and all the rest it offers (over and above what the RD does) - the only down side I came across is that Pule Width not being assignable to an LFO. I could probably live without that in the end - I suspect duplicating a wave form with one having pitch assigned to a sing LFO would be similar if not the same - or a basic subtle phaser might also produce something similar).

Not sure the Korg Prologue will offer anything else. It has FM, but the mod options seem limited compared to the Rev 2.

So - holding off for now and trying to track down the Virus (and will try a prologe if Ive not bought by then), and Ill either jump on the FA if I cant wait longer, or see what Roland comes out with in Sep.
 
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Re the FA07

Found how to apply mod to the Pulse width. Its tucked away.... When in the ave selection, go to pro edit - scroll down and pulse width is settable, as is the amount of modulation. The speed of the mod is controlled by the LFO. Why thats not in the LFO section - or the basic vie I dont know. But it is there.

the FA07 - with its keybed, sounds and price seems a good option - shame its two roland boards so no tonal "variation" of different brands, but......

Need to try a Kronos (though would have to be a used one to be affordable), but the FA07 is looking good at present. Unless theres a reason not too anyones aware of.
 
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Hum - not sure whch is closer to the original, and of course the programming and recording has a lot to do with it - but the FA seemed fatter, more natural and full than the Kronos version??
 
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the programming and recording has a lot to do with it
Exactly - my intention wasn't to call out one version as better than the other for the reasons you've outlined above. It's pretty redundant without knowing all the variables.

Really just gave you those examples to show you that both keyboards are more than capable of producing the type of stuff you're interested in playing, since that's where you seem to be heading in your decision making process.
 

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