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Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

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mztk
KVRAF
 
2145 posts since 12 Jun, 2004

Postby mztk; Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:38 am Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

ghettosynth wrote:Just FYI, I don't know if you've had rack synths before, but, I've had a ton of them and I've never found them as comfortable to program as a keyboard variant. Both the reduced size and rack footprint seem to make a difference. I had (still have) a K2000R that, although I really needed all of the outs, I somewhat regret not getting the keyboard variant simply because I spent a lot of time programming it and it was always uncomfortable. This was true even after I made great efforts to orient it properly.


+1 isn't that true of all rack units.. you have to have a sampler at some sort of eye
height to see what you're doing, but then have to raise an arm to operate the
jogwheel - probably really bad for your neck.
what's the solution?!!! :lol:
ghettosynth
KVRAF
 
4174 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:50 pm Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

mztk wrote:
ghettosynth wrote:Just FYI, I don't know if you've had rack synths before, but, I've had a ton of them and I've never found them as comfortable to program as a keyboard variant. Both the reduced size and rack footprint seem to make a difference. I had (still have) a K2000R that, although I really needed all of the outs, I somewhat regret not getting the keyboard variant simply because I spent a lot of time programming it and it was always uncomfortable. This was true even after I made great efforts to orient it properly.


+1 isn't that true of all rack units.. you have to have a sampler at some sort of eye
height to see what you're doing, but then have to raise an arm to operate the
jogwheel - probably really bad for your neck.
what's the solution?!!! :lol:


I don't know. The best solution that I came up with for my k2k was not portable, but it was better than anything else and that was a pair of rack ears for ultimate support. I have a bunch of that stuff that I've had for years and I still use it as tinker-toy studio furniture. So I was able to orient the synth kind of in the right place with a keyboard in front.

The problem is that it's still not exactly right and for any real keyboard, it's pushed back further than you'd like. It worked ok.

The only other solution that ever worked reasonably well was a rolling angle front rack with the front part of the rack left empty so that my knees didn't bump the rack. Still, no keyboard made it an issue.

For as much music that I actually "recorded" with the K2k, I would have been much better off just getting the keyboard. Water under the bridge now.
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Uncle E
KVRAF
 
6612 posts since 21 Nov, 2000, from Southern California

Postby Uncle E; Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:09 pm Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

In the case of the wonderful K2500, you also only got that massive ribbon controller with the keyboard. It's worth it for that alone.
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ghettosynth
KVRAF
 
4174 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:16 pm Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

Uncle E wrote:In the case of the wonderful K2500, you also only got that massive ribbon controller with the keyboard. It's worth it for that alone.


Indeed. I owned a K2600 for about a week. I loved it. In some ways I regret returning it but I decided that it wasn't really what I needed at the time. In retrospect, I probably would have got a lot out of it and should have kept it.

More water under the bridge.
dagh
KVRer
 
3 posts since 9 Apr, 2014

Postby dagh; Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:55 am Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

JCJR wrote:Hmm, just noticed the new Roland FA-06 and FA-08. Looks purt good for the money. Might talk myself into getting one of these. Supposedly workstations are for squares and fogeys, so what can I say? It isn't a "dry" synth, but at the apparent sound quality, human interface, and price, assuming roland still makes solid hardware, looks like a good deal even if one never uses the arpeggiator, sequencer, etc.


I find the FA-06/8 just great, big screen, no touch latency or difficulties, a piano roll and virtually every feature one could ask for. But I'm having a problem with many sounds I've now heard from it or with the sound signature, if there is one.

The e-piano, <s>many</s> some synth and some guitar presets (etc.) in the FA have this "middy attack". In the attack time of the voice there is relatively much mids and not much highs. And these mids sound a tiny bit noisy. And on some notes it's obvious when the same "wave source" is used for many notes downwards, the highs go down along with the fundamental and sound not so nice. Am I exaggerating?

It was not so easy to spot this in the newest Yamaha and Korg sounds, though they are not just "better". And the tone editing in the FA seems actually to be capable of providing sounds with a bright and clear attack, but I'm not sure. There is indeed a review on bonedo.de stating the Integra sounds "old".
Last edited by dagh on Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Uncle E
KVRAF
 
6612 posts since 21 Nov, 2000, from Southern California

Postby Uncle E; Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:07 am Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

dagh wrote:The e-piano, many synth and some guitar presets (etc.) in the FA have this "middy attack".


I don't know much about the FA-06 or FA-08 but I've noticed that midrange with other Roland synths. I think you could say this is Roland's sonic character, just as the sonic character of Korg VA's tends towards brightness and airiness. An upfront midrange helps a sound stand out in a mix and maybe that's why Roland does that.
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JCJR
KVRian
 
965 posts since 17 Apr, 2005

Postby JCJR; Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:37 am Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

dagh wrote:
JCJR wrote:Hmm, just noticed the new Roland FA-06 and FA-08. Looks purt good for the money. Might talk myself into getting one of these. Supposedly workstations are for squares and fogeys, so what can I say? It isn't a "dry" synth, but at the apparent sound quality, human interface, and price, assuming roland still makes solid hardware, looks like a good deal even if one never uses the arpeggiator, sequencer, etc.


I find the FA-06/8 just great, big screen, no touch latency or difficulties, a piano roll and virtually every feature one could ask for. But I'm having a problem with many sounds I've now heard from it or with the sound signature, if there is one.

The e-piano, many synth and some guitar presets (etc.) in the FA have this "middy attack". In the attack time of the voice there is relatively much mids and not much highs. And these mids sound a tiny bit noisy. And on some notes it's obvious when the same "wave source" is used for many notes downwards, the highs go down along with the fundamental and sound not so nice. Am I exaggerating?

It was not so easy to spot this in the newest Yamaha and Korg sounds, though they are not just "better". And the tone editing in the FA seems actually to be capable of providing sounds with a bright and clear attack, but I'm not sure. There is indeed a review on bonedo.de stating the Integra sounds "old".


Thanks for the good info. I'd have to drive 100+ miles one way or t'other to play any of these synths in a store. Lots of music stores in my city, but guitar and drums mostly, no pro keyboards anymore. Dealers probably got tired of people trying locally then buying cheaper mail order. :)

Am also getting old enough to even more distrust the ears, though they haven't completely gone to hell yet.

I have an assortment of old hardware synths that don't sound any worse than they ever did, but are weak on excellent acoustic bread n butter sounds, piano, rhodes, wurlie, hammond, basses, ensemble and solo strings, brass and woodwinds.

After listening to lots of online demos, last year ordered a kronos x, just looking for easy good acoustic sounds. Would have kept it had it not had an intermittent crashing bug, but the bug made me distrustful of the longevity of a healthy replacement so just sent it back.

Some excellent players can wring great performance out of anything, but there are many axes that sound good with somebody else playing em, that don't sound good when I play em. Though I would have kept the kronos were it healthy, the sound under my fingers with purt flat monitors in my face, seemed slightly lacking in highs, a little too bassy/middy. The hammond and rhodes didn't sound as good under my fingers as I'd expected. The 61 key keyboard would have taken "getting used to" not immediately pleasing, and the sound wasn't quite there even driven by my 88 key controller. It wasn't awful, just not as great as expected.

Listening to more online demos, I get the impression that the kronos seems a little dark, and the yamaha a little too bright, with the fa somewhere in the middle.

I don't care if a piano or oboe sounds "old" as long as it sounds like a piano or oboe, but maybe it would turn out I don't like an fa under my fingers. Dunno.
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arkmabat
KVRAF
 
2547 posts since 5 Nov, 2009

Postby arkmabat; Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:46 am Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

Turn the reverb and chorus to zero and you're good to go... :D
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Uncle E
KVRAF
 
6612 posts since 21 Nov, 2000, from Southern California

Postby Uncle E; Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:02 am Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

JCJR wrote:I have an assortment of old hardware synths that don't sound any worse than they ever did, but are weak on excellent acoustic bread n butter sounds, piano, rhodes, wurlie, hammond, basses, ensemble and solo strings, brass and woodwinds.


I once saw a demo of the original Yamaha Tyros that set the standard for acoustic emulations for me. Without even a breath controller, the player sounded more like a real sax than someone playing an Akai wind controller. The Sample Modeling libraries have achieved (and probably surpassed) that level in software but I haven't heard anything else that good in hardware.

btw, I saw this keyboard at Winter NAMM and it has a physical modeled piano, similar to the Kronos:

http://www.physispiano.com/products.php ... no-k4---k5
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JCJR
KVRian
 
965 posts since 17 Apr, 2005

Postby JCJR; Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:34 pm Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

Uncle E wrote:
I once saw a demo of the original Yamaha Tyros that set the standard for acoustic emulations for me. Without even a breath controller, the player sounded more like a real sax than someone playing an Akai wind controller. The Sample Modeling libraries have achieved (and probably surpassed) that level in software but I haven't heard anything else that good in hardware.

btw, I saw this keyboard at Winter NAMM and it has a physical modeled piano, similar to the Kronos:

http://www.physispiano.com/products.php ... no-k4---k5


Thanks that physis looks (and sounds) interesting. The H models more so for my use because they are more amenable to a close stacked second keyboard. Having exactly two hands, have long preferred having exactly two keyboards. :) Flat top or alternately narrow front to back dimension 88's have always been rare, limiting one's choices at any particular time.
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Jace-BeOS
KVRAF
 
1884 posts since 7 Jan, 2005, from Corporate States of America

Postby Jace-BeOS; Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:21 am Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

I have similar fears of touchscreens wearing out. I've had trouble with my M3 recently needing repeat calibration (just this year) and my V-Synth XT developing condensation under the touch membrane when running AC in the summer (it dries up after being on for an hour or two). Great to have the easy to read and edit displays but I find the Virus TI way more accessible despite its small LCD (lots of knobs and buttons!). The large screen on the Alesis Fusion isn't touch based (it's like the Akai S5/6000 samplers).

But I worry about everything wearing out, 'cause I'm poor.
- dysamoria.com
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JCJR
KVRian
 
965 posts since 17 Apr, 2005

Postby JCJR; Tue May 06, 2014 6:06 pm Re: Looking for a "dry" hardware synthesizer

GAS got the better of me and ordered an FA-6. Will report back when it comes in. I read the manual and other roland documents. There appears to be lots under the hood for patch editing.

Found a long musicplayer thread containing various opinions on the 88 and 61 action. Some positive and others not so. Finally decided my old kx-88 from the dawn of midi still feels good and if it aint broke by now maybe it will outlive me. The reports on the FA-06 61 keyboard describe it as light and shallow, but I tend to like light and shallow in a nonweighted keyboard, as long as a weighted board is also available.

Since moving into the new office have had an old esq-1 stacked on the kx88 as a second controller. The esq ain't all that shabby for analog type sounds. Fun and easy to patch edit. ESQ has a fairly light keyboard as well, and certainly doesn't seem due to die anytime soon. It has developed some note to note velocity variations. Need to replace the backup battery and clean the contacts.

So perhaps the FA-06 keyboard will actually be an improvement, or at least no worse than the aged esq keyboard. Fingers crossed.
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