Yamaha MX88 or Roland DS 88


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Can anyone with hands on experience tell me their honest opinions between the Yamaha MX 88 and the Roland Juno DS 88. I'm in the market for a new lower board and am open to either,and, for convenience and lighter weight I could also be tempted by the Juno 76.
I was very taken with the Vox continental 73 but feel it falls down being unable to split the keyboard unless you are in organ mode.
I think that was a big mistake and very annoying. Would have been a perfect choice for my sixties band and probably the main reason why they are selling at half price !
Incidentally fior those that want to know, I use a Roland VR-09 for my top board. All opinions appreciated for future musical benefit.
 
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I recently picked up a nice (used) MOXF8 and it really is a nice playing and sounding board. The audio quality is hands above the MX88 and Juno series keyboards. I'd recommend shopping for a used MOXF8. YMMV Don
 
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Thanks for your opinion B3. I had looked and considered the moxf8 previously but thought them a bit too complex for stage. Ideal for studio work though. Most important for me is being able to store and recall my set list sounds as the band I play in are very slick and go from song to song with little space in between. Do you think the moxf has this function.
 
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If you are not familiar with the Motif's, they have a "Performance" mode and "Master" mode to manage set-ups. I have an ES and now the MOXF but never used the Yamaha modes. I play primarily R&B keyboard sounds so I don't have complext set ups. I just use a "favorites" list in the MOXF.
 
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I had looked and considered the moxf8 previously but thought them a bit too complex for stage. Ideal for studio work though. Most important for me is being able to store and recall my set list sounds as the band I play in are very slick and go from song to song with little space in between. Do you think the moxf has this function.
MOXF can be a bit tricky to figure out, but once you do figure out how to make it do what you want it to do, I think it is one of the most stage-friendly boards you can get. Yes, you can easily store and recall your various sounds (and combinations of sounds), and use the 16 main buttons for one-button selection of favorites, or many more within two buttons, as you can select from multiple banks of 16 favorites. DS88 does do a couple of things better... I prefer the way it handles two way splits, and it's better at letting you switch from one sound to another without any held/decaying notes of the previous sound cutting off (MOXF can only do that in within defined sets of 16 sounds... same on the MX, for that matter).

I guess my main question would be, what exactly do you want this board to do? Especially since the relatively limited Vox Continental might have worked for you if only you could do splits, a better understanding of exactly what it is you need out of this board could be helpful.
 
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Hi Scott, thanks for your input, I guess I'm looking for a replacement that isn't anywhere near what I'm used to,
Which is my Yamaha 9000 pro. It's 18 years old and still going strong and built like a brick out house ! It's become like a comfortable pair of slippers to me. I've used it in all situations especially when playing solo.
The next point which you mentioned is, what do I want from it ?
With my current situation,i am playing in a five piece Sixties Band. So bread and butter sounds are as with any genre quite important. Keybed is another. My Yamaha far outstrips in quality that of the VR-09. Although that is a good little board it is limited by the key action, for some numbers or certain parts I find only the Yamaha will do.
Next point is weight as I'm now retired and getting older the Yam Is 45 lbs.
I would lose 15 lbs with the mx 88 ( being 30lbs) and 10lbs with the JunoDS 88 ( being 35lbs )
It is apparent to me that you do lose quality for the lighter weight factor, there's nothing worse than a board dancing about when it's being played. This I see so much on you tube.
Back to sound requirements and I do spend so much time mixing and programming to capture the era of the sound I'm playing which is why I put a lot of importance on save and recall facilities. A good example of this is the Song "Telstar" by the Tornadoes. Not something you can switch to like piano, organ, e p's etc.
This is a good example of having the all important recall capabilities. Incidentally, the VR-09 is covering that sound admirably. As a last note on all the above, unless I'm buying Nord Or Kronos or kurzweil etc. ( too expensive ) it seems to me that I have to make a compromise to find a replacement. This is the reason I find myself returning to
the MX88 or the DS88 in order to get at least some of the playable quality that I get from the current Yamaha.
The appeal of the Vox continental was indeed metal build, good keybed, good sounds especially for the era I'm covering, but spoilt by the lack of split capabilities. This seems to be a Mega oversight by korg or its designers.
It's very tempting though at half price. Let's hope they listen to opinion and add split facilities on later models !
I'm not over keen on used boards that are getting older and have been gigged for years. I've got one of those Lol !
 
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Have you played both in a back to back test?

If not, why not do so at a well equipped Music Store?

I did just that at PMT in Manchester where a Korg Kross 2 and a Roland Juno DS were the two that I played, the Juno only lost out because of the size and weight of the Kross.

The instrument(s) sound hold feature of the Juno is a big plus and I wish my Kross 2 had that feature.

Build quality and materials used in its construction and to me its a one keyboard choice, the Roland. I looked at and played quite a few Yamahas and they all look and feel cheap, button action is questionable and menu system not user friendly. By comparison the DS is quick, easy to learn and very flexible in its use.

I also play Telstar and have layered instrument sounds and added Fx to give me the sound I seek for that song on my Korg which in one Combi I have the keyboard essentially split into four with different instrument sound mix in each of the zones.

In having a good play with the Juno in Store I did get a very passable layered sound combination with that keyboard. So if I can do what I have done with my Kross the Juno should be very comparable in features that can be set up.

Yes a trip and play at your Music Store could very well be beneficial.

BTW
Do look at the Roland and Yamaha tutorials on the various features of those keyboards, the Korg & Roland tutorials were well watched by me before I went in Store so that I had a pretty good idea how to navigate the menu systems before I made the visit.

Good luck.
 
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Hi Biggles, thanks for your input, yes I do intend a visit to my nearest PMT at Northampton which is around 45 miles for me but worth it given their stock and availability. Having the Roland VR-09 shouldn't present too many differences in operation and programming as I already know the Roland UI. I thinks it's a matter for me of either the DS76 or DS88. Probably the 76 will win on size and weight although can't say til I've tried as I'm very tempted by the ivory feel on the weighted 88. Time will tell although the tape measure will come into play first in my car !
The mx88 is tempting on price as there is a deal on at present for the board and gigbag and premium sound pack
All for £749 ! I'll try all first, watch this space.
 
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It could be an expensive visit to PMT since they are advertising the Juno 88 at £746 and the 76 which is £625

PMT have the MX88 at over £1000 whereas others list it at £699
 
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Yes, I have been closely watching prices. Some dealers want well over £1000 for the mx88 and it was originally out at about £899. AC Hamilton do the package deal for £749 when you consider adding the cost of a gigbag that's a good deal plus you get some extra premium sounds. They also do a refurb one for £649. I have a V I P account at Gear4Music and they will do the Juno 76 for £617 !
I've got my hand on all the options but like you did with your Korg, I need that final spark to make a decision.
It needs to be right as it'll be my bottom board unless a miracle happens and I can get an all in one !
 

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Just my $0.02 worth on this discussion.

I own a Juno DS88 and love it. The keyboard feel is great and very similar to my Kurzweil PC3K8.

I tend to avoid Yamaha keyboards simply because they have a nasty history of ignoring you if you ask for support with any OS other than Windows or Apple. Since I run a linux studio at home I don't need that kind of attitude when I'm spending $thou$and$ on gear. :p

Many others have made similar complaints about Yamaha's support on various keyboard forums and can back up what I'm saying here.

Gary ;)
 
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I guess I'm looking for a replacement that isn't anywhere near what I'm used to, Which is my Yamaha 9000 pro. It's 18 years old and still going strong and built like a brick out house ! It's become like a comfortable pair of slippers to me. I've used it in all situations especially when playing solo.

Could you list out the key sounds that you use the Yamaha 9000 for? Including what are the typical splits you use on it?

VR-09. Although that is a good little board it is limited by the key action, for some numbers or certain parts I find only the Yamaha will do.
An extension of the question above... which sounds in the Yamaha do you count on that you are unable to find equivalents for in the VR09? (I understand there's also the important action difference, but I'm just asking about sound for now.)

A good example of this is the Song "Telstar" by the Tornadoes. Not something you can switch to like piano, organ, e p's etc.
This is a good example of having the all important recall capabilities. Incidentally, the VR-09 is covering that sound admirably.
Though I'd say that instant recall of custom sounds is not a VR-09 (or Vox Continental) strength. VR-09 lets you store 100 custom sounds/combinations, but only the first 16 (4 banks of 4) are directly accessible without scrolling through a list. (And the Vox just gives you the 16 directly accessible.)

As a last note on all the above, unless I'm buying Nord Or Kronos or kurzweil etc. ( too expensive ) it seems to me that I have to make a compromise to find a replacement.
Kurzweil SP6 may not be out of your range.
 
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Just my $0.02 worth on this discussion.

I own a Juno DS88 and love it. The keyboard feel is great and very similar to my Kurzweil PC3K8.

I tend to avoid Yamaha keyboards simply because they have a nasty history of ignoring you if you ask for support with any OS other than Windows or Apple. Since I run a linux studio at home I don't need that kind of attitude when I'm spending $thou$and$ on gear. :p

Many others have made similar complaints about Yamaha's support on various keyboard forums and can back up what I'm saying here.

Gary ;)
Hi Gary, thanks for your input too. Response today has been great. I have already stated that I do fancy the ivory feel weighted board on the DS88 and it's still tempting. My biggest problem would. Getting it in my car ( fiat 500 )
Which is why I was looking at the DS76. My Yamaha has been absolutely brilliant for 18 years and I'm loathe to stop using it. I will certainly try out the DS 88 before deciding. Thanks again. Colin Hammond
Just my $0.02 worth on this discussion.

I own a Juno DS88 and love it. The keyboard feel is great and very similar to my Kurzweil PC3K8.

I tend to avoid Yamaha keyboards simply because they have a nasty history of ignoring you if you ask for support with any OS other than Windows or Apple. Since I run a linux studio at home I don't need that kind of attitude when I'm spending $thou$and$ on gear. :p

Many others have made similar complaints about Yamaha's support on various keyboard forums and can back up what I'm saying here.

Gary ;)
Just my $0.02 worth on this discussion.

I own a Juno DS88 and love it. The keyboard feel is great and very similar to my Kurzweil PC3K8.

I tend to avoid Yamaha keyboards simply because they have a nasty history of ignoring you if you ask for support with any OS other than Windows or Apple. Since I run a linux studio at home I don't need that kind of attitude when I'm spending $thou$and$ on gear. :p

Many others have made similar complaints about Yamaha's support on various keyboard forums and can back up what I'm saying here.

Gary ;)
 

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You have 3 options if you want to squeeze an 88 key Juno into a Fiat 500.

1) Fold the passenger seats down and leave it sticking out of the open rear hatch secured with a bungee cord.

or

2) Invest in a roof rack and a weatherproof road case and strap it up on top.

or

3) Sell the roller skate and buy a van or a station wagon. :D :D :D

Gary ;)
 
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Could you list out the key sounds that you use the Yamaha 9000 for? Including what are the typical splits you use on it?


An extension of the question above... which sounds in the Yamaha do you count on that you are unable to find equivalents for in the VR09? (I understand there's also the important action difference, but I'm just asking about sound for now.)


Though I'd say that instant recall of custom sounds is not a VR-09 (or Vox Continental) strength. VR-09 lets you store 100 custom sounds/combinations, but only the first 16 (4 banks of 4) are directly accessible without scrolling through a list. (And the Vox just gives you the 16 directly accessible.)

Hi again Scott, sorry for the delay. My splits are nothing out of the ordinary -- piano/ strings/ organ / brass etc.
As I've already mentioned, I could use a board capable of multiple splits instead of two boards but budget is the governing factor. That said I'll be happy with a good action on the lower. I'm not brave enough to go down the midi controller path especially using the VR-09 as the boss board. That brings me to your next question,
There are occasions when the sound quality on the Roland just doesn't match that of the Yamaha.
I have a lot of faith in that 9000 pro. I just cannot muster that for the VR-09. I've done a couple of factory resets recently and started again from base one. With much tweaking you can satisfy a need with the Roland whereas you just don't need to do that with the Yamaha with of course the exception of maybe reverb or dsp's etc.
Sometimes the Roland just seems too harsh and emits unwanted sounds additional to the voicing which is why I did a factory reset. Yes the memory banks can be an issue once you have to start using the jog wheel.thats been a Roland thing since the year horse & cart ! So it's not really about what the Roland can't do it's about sound and preference. If I were to play you a brass sound for instance on both boards side by side you would say the Yamaha sounds better. There is a harshness with the VR that I've never experienced with the Yamaha.
Next suggestion of yours, Kurzweil SP6 ? A very nice board but maybe a little limited compared with the likes of Roland although as an instant hands on playable stage board it could be good. The other option and a bit more expensive is the Kurzweil Artis 7. Now that I do fancy especially with the versatility of the sliders.
Ho Hum I think we'll take another week or so and have a review again because although I might feel cornered in some ways, the possibilities and options are still quite endless. In a nutshell I'm looking for a good sound and quality feel which is what I've had for the last 18 years. Thanks to all those for their input today.
I'll keep the loop open and inform all of my purchase when it happens!


Kurzweil SP6 may not be out of your range.
 
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You have 3 options if you want to squeeze an 88 key Juno into a Fiat 500.

1) Fold the passenger seats down and leave it sticking out of the open rear hatch secured with a bungee cord.

or

2) Invest in a roof rack and a weatherproof road case and strap it up on top.

or

3) Sell the roller skate and buy a van or a station wagon. :D :D :D

Believe it or not I used to own a Hammond SK2 and got that and my Yamaha and amps and all the accessories
In my 500. I can manage an extra 2 or three inches over my Yamaha for the DS88 so no worries there.
The lads in the band call my skateboard "The Tardis" and quite rightly too.
As for changing it --- I have ---- for another one, I had one for 7 years and changed for a new one in march this year. A fantastic little car that costs zilch to run and keeps up with all the big boys on the open road !
There you've got me at it now ---- from keyboards to cars ????
Time to depart me thinks.
Gary ;)
 
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Believe it or not I used to own a Hammond SK2 and got that and my Yamaha and amps and all the accessories
In my 500. I can manage an extra 2 or three inches over my Yamaha for the DS88 so no worries there.
The lads in the band call my skateboard "The Tardis" and quite rightly too.
As for changing it --- I have ---- for another one, I had one for 7 years and changed for a new one in march this year. A fantastic little car that costs zilch to run and keeps up with all the big boys on the open road !
There you've got me at it now ---- from keyboards to cars ????
Time to depart me thinks.
Colin
 
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So it's not really about what the Roland can't do it's about sound and preference. If I were to play you a brass sound for instance on both boards side by side you would say the Yamaha sounds better. There is a harshness with the VR that I've never experienced with the Yamaha.
Rolands do sound Roland-y and Yamahas do sound Yamaha-ish. If you prefer many of your Yamaha sounds to its Roland equivalents, I suspect you'll prefer the sound of the MX88 to the DS88. Comparing in a store could be tricky though... the best brass sounds for the DS88 would be the ones you can download and install for free from axial, but they won't be in a store demo. If you want to get ambitious and the store owner doesn't mine, you could download them onto a USB stick and load them on to the floor model to check them out.

Next suggestion of yours, Kurzweil SP6 ? A very nice board but maybe a little limited compared with the likes of Roland although as an instant hands on playable stage board it could be good.
Definitely more limited than the Roland in terms of what you can do from the board itself, but I don't think it's necessarily more limited overall than the MX88. But also, you can do a ton of more advanced stuff on the SP6 from the free computer editor. You might want to download that and play with it (you can check it out without having an SP6 attached).

The other option and a bit more expensive is the Kurzweil Artis 7. Now that I do fancy especially with the versatility of the sliders.
Artis 7 is a great board. The 9 sliders and all the buttons for direct patch selection are especially nice. Also reminiscent of your current Yamaha, a solid build with an internal power supply. But as with all of these, really, a lot may come down to what you think about the action. (I found some lighter springs for mine which I preferred.)
 
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Yes, I have been closely watching prices. Some dealers want well over £1000 for the mx88 and it was originally out at about £899. AC Hamilton do the package deal for £749 when you consider adding the cost of a gigbag that's a good deal plus you get some extra premium sounds. They also do a refurb one for £649. I have a V I P account at Gear4Music and they will do the Juno 76 for £617 !
I've got my hand on all the options but like you did with your Korg, I need that final spark to make a decision.
It needs to be right as it'll be my bottom board unless a miracle happens and I can get an all in one !

A&C Hamilton are one of the six Music Stores within a 15 minute minute drive of where I live hence I am in the shop quite often and I bought my Korg PA 700 from them, they do seem to always have a great selection of Korg, Roland, Nord and Yamaha keyboards on display at any particular time. If they are not the cheapest then they should price match without to much hassle.

Fiat 500, reminds me many years ago in the 70’s a Lady in our office bought a 500 so it was one of the original small ones. One of my colleagues spent a furtive hour in the store room at the back of our office then he dissapeared down the back fire escape, five minutes later he was back with a smug look on his face. He stood at the window (7th floor office) looking down on the car park below. He then rang the lady in question and asked her to come into the office he said something to her and she looked out if the window and burst out laughing. Intrigued we all looked down into the car park and saw that the guy had made a very large cardboard key (of the type used to wind up a clockwork mechanism) and he had fastened it to her car. o_O

In 1985 my Wife bought a Fiat Uno and she had that car or 17 years and it did not breakdown one, there were no repairs only routine servicing and replacement of tyres etc. A very cheap runaround car, which cost new £4100 on the road. So yes I can understand why you like your little Fiat or Baby Ferrari, its the same Company after all.
 
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Ac Hamilton certainly do the best deal on the MX 88 at present. Yes you can get it elsewhere for £699 but if you add the cost of a gigbag £749 isn't over the top. Anyhow they must be doing well as they are out of stock at present although they can be ordered. Going to check out the Kurz SP6 if I can find one in stock somewhere.

Yes my fiat 500 is a quirky and nippy little number with bags of style. A far cry from the days of running a 3 litre V6 --- now it's a single cylinder VR-09 Lol.some people I remember used to say F I A T stood for FIX IT AGAIN TOMORROW !
I've never had that experience at all. She's a good workhorse for the gigs and good on fuel. Next week I have four gigs Skegness, Derby,Sheffield and Newark. The little Red Bug will haul all my gear with ease without needing a second mortgage for fuel. Haven't needed a big key yet either Lol.
 

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