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  • Cheap keyboards/synths can they do the job?

    OK In this post I want to make some points.

    How much do we need to get the job done?

    I am so lucky right now. I am in an all 70's and 80's cover/party band which is fun as heck. We are playing heavy synth type dance music and staple top 200 hundred stuff. One: KISS, Van Halen and Poison tune is all for the hair band music. And the KISS tune is Beth, just awesome!

    OK now my second blessing. I have a new Roland Juno Gi and a KORG Microstation due to lack of money. But the guys in the band are jazzed about my playing and are stoked about the sounds I am bringing. I admit my QSC keyboard rig doesn't hurt.

    The singer's other band has a keyboard player with a very respectable Yamaha MO8 and he is doing some backing on a song with it as well. But from what I hear my sounds, playing, and usage of sound is just better.

    Point. I am getting bored with all the Jupiter 80 and Kronos Hype and demos. Both these boards are marvels of creation, but I am really digging something more like the Roland RD-300NX, or a good VA like: Venom, Ultranova, GAIA, OR EVEN THE Microkorg. I believe a proper Piano with Supernatural technology and light weight or a great VA is the only thing now that will lift me to the next level. I am partial to the GAIA because of Sweetwater's famous best of 70's sounds. The guys would get a kick out of the Styx, Rush, and Steve Miller stuff.

    My next hurdle is also to bring some backing tracks to the band, either with my BOSS RC-50, my new DAW SONAR X1 DAW, or by buying a new multitrack recorder such as a Boss BR-800 or Tascam DP-08.

    I do not currently own a PC Laptop for Sonar but with the Juno and BOSS products coming in, it seems like the next practical step in Cakewalk. I may be switching from Macbook Pro to PC laptop for the first time in years. We will see.

    Grant it this is all veyr band specific and so I am probably very bias right now.

    My last question is this. How badly does the average Joe studio guy or Joe giging guy need these Super synths. I am not counting organs and piano players they need their tools. I can also understand a Motif, Fantom, or M-3 user if that is all someone owns.

    Are the Super synths for the pro's, the rich, the famous, the bored, the die hard collector, the keeping up with the Jones's guy, the gotta have it guy? With whom are we speaking?

    Sorry this was so long, but let's talk about this. Have you ever gig'd or worked in the studio with cheap are minimal gear. Did it work, were you happy?

    Thanks for listening RAZZ

  • #2
    Have you ever gig'd or worked in the studio with cheap are minimal gear. Did it work, were you happy?


    yes but it was when I was young and poor - no when I am old, famous and rich even the top, most expensive keyboards cannot give me the happiness...

    Comment


    • #3
      i never liked the thin sounding sounds from cheap gear. but i do love the warm fat sounding cheap used gear. i prefer to gig with korg 01w than korg m50 or karma. sounds so much better

      Comment


      • #4
        Let's face it, this day you cannot do a sh*t without professional instrument today.
        Those day are gone when you could grab a 1 octave casio for 25$ and become a star.
        Jerking off at home it's another story, that you can do. Some do this even on youtube...

        Comment


        • #5
          It's all in the player, not the instrument.

          Unless we're talking the difference between a $3000 Motif ES8 and a $25 Casiotone, you'll get most of what you need from a large selection of beginner to semi-pro level keyboards/synths. The only real let-down in this area is instrument build quality & keybed quality, not sound.

          As a substitute keyboard player for a local band (my next sub gig is in a couple weeks), I bring along a 'lowly' Alesis QS8 (with custom samples) and a Korg Z1, while the other guy has a Yamaha S90. I usually get compliments from the other band members that they prefer my keyboard playing to the regular guy. In our case, the band is looking for some good piano, Rhodes, B3 and Clavinet - those are all the sounds I need. As long as your kit can generate the types of sounds appropriate to your music, the only thing left in the equation is the quality of your playing. Unless your band/audience is hooked on style issues (dress, brand of keyboard, etc.) over sound.
          Korg Z1, Yamaha Clavinova CLP-350, Alesis Ion, Alesis QS8.2, Kawai K3M, Arturia CS-80V, VAZ Modular, co-author of MinimogueVA and Arppe2600va.

          Comment


          • mpacked
            mpacked commented
            Editing a comment

            Hello,

            i'm newer to ev thing here, I found this post and try to ask ChipCurtis or someone else if I can drive MinimogueVA via a cheap Yamaha keyboard with midi to usb cable and win xp

            thanks everybody in advance


          • Synthaholic
            Synthaholic commented
            Editing a comment

            ChipCurtis wrote:
            It's all in the player, not the instrument. Unless we're talking the difference between a $3000 Motif ES8 and a $25 Casiotone, you'll get most of what you need from a large selection of beginner to semi-pro level keyboards/synths. The only real let-down in this area is instrument build quality & keybed quality, not sound. As a substitute keyboard player for a local band (my next sub gig is in a couple weeks), I bring along a 'lowly' Alesis QS8 (with custom samples) and a Korg Z1, while the other guy has a Yamaha S90. I usually get compliments from the other band members that they prefer my keyboard playing to the regular guy. In our case, the band is looking for some good piano, Rhodes, B3 and Clavinet - those are all the sounds I need. As long as your kit can generate the types of sounds appropriate to your music, the only thing left in the equation is the quality of your playing. Unless your band/audience is hooked on style issues (dress, brand of keyboard, etc.) over sound.

            On your Alesis QS8.2, the Programs '73Tines' and 'FatDyno' are both very good Rhodes patches.  Even FMPiano1 is a decent DX7 copy.  At least as pretty, anyway. If you don't have either of them, let me know and I'll give them to you in a one bar .mid file, through Sys-Ex.  Play the sequence, it loads the patch, you save it.

            There are some realistic and fun Clavs, too, although Clav parts wouldn't be too much fun to play on that action.


        • #6
          If you'll permit the substituition of the word "beginner" for the word "cheap", I'll proceed to enlighten ya'all on something. This has nothing to do with money or fame or any other part of "the game". Beginner gear is just that, a place to begin,
          to begin to understand basic playing, basic sounds, basic fidelity, basic polyphony, basic theory, composition, sequencing and performance. Once you have really come to understand and have these skills and some knowledge of the history of the instrument, the advances in tech, the vast variety of sounds and synthesis engines available, it becomes only natural that one would seek to improve the lot of their rig.
          But you need to have a reason.
          If you are continuing to advance your knowledge skills and understanding, it becomes quite neccessary to advance your equipment as well. For the sole purpose of your own inspiration and nothing else.
          Does the ****************ing thing turn you on? Or is it the other way round?
          Today you could not pay me to play a Casio or a MicroKorg or a Tyros or a Kronos or a freaking controller hooked lifelessly to some ****************ing module, cuz it dont do jack **************** for me.
          Because today I know I know better and can justify every last ****************ing dime on that which is my rig, and all my skills do continue to advance.
          Best part is I have everything I need, and most of what I want, and certainly dont need anymore...but gas still rears it ugly head now and again, sometimes a lose, sometimes a win...
          Just because you're in a band or playing gigs or touring or studio hopping doesnt really mean you need to buy the next best big thing. Once you know how to find and own the inspiration, the pricetag becomes irrelevant. Buy what you can afford, but more importantly buy what gets you back to the instrument again and again. If your thing is VA, or real analog, or Romplers, or Pianos or pads or B3's or any other flavor, find the tool that holds the sounds that inspire you, and you will find your own streak of genius and brilliance, and will continue to see it grow and change...I've made records with PSR510's {a decidely Beginner keyboard} to state of the art Korg, Roland, Yamaha, Ensoniq and Waldorf boards,
          and the key for me is knowing that each time I play, something very unique, original and relevant is going to happen as soon as
          my fingers touch the keys.
          People who have heard some of my work have compared me with Phillip Glass to the 3 B's to Hornsby, but the sound they all heard made it so, as much as did my playing.
          Bottom line is great sound {and the gear that houses it} is an absolute requirement to continuous improvement and continued inspiration; to keep playing, to keep dreaming, to keep designing, to keep recording,
          and above all to keep having fun. Cuz when all's said and done, this is really how "the game" is won.


          Wow... looks like someone stole my words... except I couldn't find that good explanation for everything! SECONDED!

          Maybe you have heard this before, but It's not about what a keyboard can do but what a person can do with it!

          "People say synthesizer music is very cold. But that
          "I'm totally opposed to all these expensive bull**************** computers (sequencers). They can do whatever you want but not in the time you want. People have lost the essence of time. One said to me: 'With this new computer I can create something in one or two minutes'. This is an eternity. I can do that in a split second. But the split second doesn't come into account because the previous computer could do it in 10 minutes - so for them, 10 minutes to two minutes is really great progress!" - Vangelis

          Comment


          • #7
            It's all in the player, not the instrument.


            don't agree, in player you have only guts, liver, kidney and sometimes brain - in modern instrument you have thousands of sophisticated elements.

            Comment


          • #8
            ON a more practical point of view..

            agreeing partly with the above.. you need to find what inspires you. Which company sounds (motif or fantom, Gaia or RADIAS etc) work for you and which features you need. That just takes trial, error and experience really.

            The next thing I would recommend is taking stock of your goals. Is this a hobby? Do you make money? Do you expect to make just beer money or a living? etc. After that put together a budget and find some keyboards in that range. After that, see how much it would cost to get the same keyboard at the next level or two up (if there is one). Now compare the two in terms of features, sound quality and construction. Make comparisons to the key beds and add on features. If they're built the same but the cheaper one only lacks a sequencer and a hip hop expansion or something and you don't need them, get the cheaper one. But if the keybed and features are better on the more expensive one, get it.

            My point being to get the one that has the best in terms of quality in the features you want and don't be afraid to save up for it. It may take longer, but you'll have room to grow with it and be happier in the long run.

            Do you need all those expensive top of the line keyboards? Yes and no. In a large performing keyboard market, you have allot of choices. To me, if you're not making most if not all of your income from performing, it's hard to justify the cost of them. I also tend to feel that they work better in a studio setting where "super aural digital spectral processing" would only really be noticed by someone listening to a CD or a movie soundtrack. Or if youre playing solo on a stage with a excellent sound system and sound guy. In terms of live use, I think there's a large gray area right in the middle of the price rage where you could find a compromise between quality and price that would work for you.

            On the other hand, sometimes there's no alternative like with the Virus line. But you can always buy used or older to extend your options.
            Give me my moog, but **** off you american techno rockstar! people in countries I've never been to do it better than you!

            Computer Music Guide

            Comment


            • #9
              I do find it interesting that many Keyboardist touring with major label artist will often choose all kinds of boards from the most expensive to entry level; of course no Casio or Porta Sound. I do think those are the kiss of death and termination papers as someone once said. I think it becomes a variety thing, along with feeling comfortable with a piece. Sometimes you want a fancy meal and sometimes you just want a good burger or in my case TACO BELL.

              Examples of entry level synths and keyboards, seen on tour.

              Roland:

              XP-30
              JUNO 2
              SH-201
              JUNO G
              JUNO DI
              JUNO GI
              GAIA

              KORG:

              MICRO KORG
              R3
              M-50
              MICRO KORG XL

              YAMAHA

              NONE, SHOOT

              ALESIS

              ION

              DSI

              MOPHO

              MOOG

              LITTLE PHATTY

              CLAVIA

              NORDLEAD 2X (WHEN IT WAS STILL A $999US.)

              KURZ

              SP-88X
              SP-2X

              JUST TO MENTION A FEW.......

              Comment


              • Synthaholic
                Synthaholic commented
                Editing a comment

                DJ RAZZ wrote:
                I do find it interesting that many Keyboardist touring with major label artist will often choose all kinds of boards from the most expensive to entry level; of course no Casio or Porta Sound. I do think those are the kiss of death and termination papers as someone once said. I think it becomes a variety thing, along with feeling comfortable with a piece. Sometimes you want a fancy meal and sometimes you just want a good burger or in my case TACO BELL. Examples of entry level synths and keyboards, seen on tour. Roland: XP-30 JUNO 2 SH-201 JUNO G JUNO DI JUNO GI GAIA KORG: MICRO KORG R3 M-50 MICRO KORG XL YAMAHA NONE, SHOOT ALESIS ION DSI MOPHO MOOG LITTLE PHATTY CLAVIA NORDLEAD 2X (WHEN IT WAS STILL A $999US.) KURZ SP-88X SP-2X JUST TO MENTION A FEW.......

                On this past Saturday Night Live, the guy from the band Phoenix played this cheapo Yamaha:

                 

                http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/phoenix-trying-to-be-cooldrakkar-noir-outro/n35041/

                 

                I can't tell the model.


            • #10
              To prove it's not the equipment but the ability and skill of the players:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hax8ZRNkycA
              The further away I am, the better I sound....

              Comment


              • #11
                i prefer to gig with korg 01w than korg m50 or karma. sounds so much better


                So did you actually ever OWN all of those? I'd take the M50 over an 01/w no question. There's no comparison needed. People that go on and on about how awesome the M1 and O1/w are remembering how awesome they were FOR THE TIME. The M50 sounds identical to the M3 (psssst. I own both and am positive of this fact). Are you saying the O1/w sounds better than the M3? Laughable.

                But I wouldn't consider the M50 or Karma cheap gear. $1400 for the M50-73 is out of the price range for many people. Casios are a dime a dozen.
                Response from John from American Musical Supply on why I have received 2 used/damaged Korg M3's and 1 reboxed M3 from Guitar Center (a.k.a. why I'll never buy from AMS again): Footfall wrote:What you're experiencing with these units is the result of our warehouse crew intentionally "overpacking" this product.Current Korg Gear: KRONOS 88 (4GB), M50-73 (PS mod), RADIAS-73, Electribe MX, Triton Pro (MOSS, SCSI, CF, 64MB RAM), DVP-1, MEX-8000, MR-1, KAOSSilator, nanoKey, nanoKontrol, nanoPAD 2

                Comment


              • #12
                To prove it's not the equipment but the ability and skill of the players:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hax8ZRNkycA


                This backs up the point from above. For playing at home, that's fine. At best, they would be a novelty act with a VERY short life on the late night talk show circuit. They certainly would never have any kind of staying power as a recording act.
                Response from John from American Musical Supply on why I have received 2 used/damaged Korg M3's and 1 reboxed M3 from Guitar Center (a.k.a. why I'll never buy from AMS again): Footfall wrote:What you're experiencing with these units is the result of our warehouse crew intentionally "overpacking" this product.Current Korg Gear: KRONOS 88 (4GB), M50-73 (PS mod), RADIAS-73, Electribe MX, Triton Pro (MOSS, SCSI, CF, 64MB RAM), DVP-1, MEX-8000, MR-1, KAOSSilator, nanoKey, nanoKontrol, nanoPAD 2

                Comment


                • #13
                  Are the Super synths for the pro's, the rich, the famous, the bored, the die hard collector, the keeping up with the Jones's guy, the gotta have it guy? With whom are we speaking?


                  The top end workstations typically are used at the top end professional live performances. Typically workstations have been very general purpose, so they naturally fall into place for live work in Las Vegas / Disney / Broadway / etc. as well as being good for cover band work and general rock work. Go to these type of shows, and you will see a lot of Motif and Kurzweil and whatnot these days; I am sure the Kronos will be seen in a lot of these type of places soon.

                  The Roland Juno GI is considered mid-level ("entry level professional" perhaps is another way to describe it). $1000 is not cheap by any means! In the cover band circuit / hobbyist circuit, these type of instruments are very common, you even see these sometimes with bigger bands. I've even seen bar bands with Casios, although I honestly wouldn't recommend going that low. Nothing wrong with the Juno though.

                  Because there are a lot of band types, not everyone's going to be interested in the Kronos. A lot of today's electropop bands for instance don't tour with anything more than a laptop and a controller. If they chose an upper-end instrument, they may be more inclined to chose a Nord Stage / Electro (seen plenty of those at shows as well) or maybe even a Moog (seen some of those at shows). Blues outfits meanwhile may prefer a rig that's, say, a stage piano and a clonewheel. The list of instruments people tour with is pretty wide.
                  What I make with way too many blinky light modular items, plugins, and an Alesis Andromeda.
                  Forbidden Star: home studio / melodic ambient / New Age / the deep zone
                  Boney Fiend: the band, man / punk / garage / beer

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Let's not forget http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSwJ2rjUSdc

                    Check out the ultimate entry level synth at 0:16
                    Roland Jupiter-80 | Access Virus SnowRoland Quad CaptureAlchemy | Zebra HZ | EWQL Libraries

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      If you're going for a lo-fi, "Look at me, I'm using a toy to make this song because I'm a hipster" sound then yah, that's a great example.

                      Where are they now? Or more specifically, what grocery store are they bagging groceries at?


                      I think the OP's point was, can you use cheap gear *AND* be taken seriously where your music doesn't sound like you just left a toy department and hooked up a mic to your pc?
                      Response from John from American Musical Supply on why I have received 2 used/damaged Korg M3's and 1 reboxed M3 from Guitar Center (a.k.a. why I'll never buy from AMS again): Footfall wrote:What you're experiencing with these units is the result of our warehouse crew intentionally "overpacking" this product.Current Korg Gear: KRONOS 88 (4GB), M50-73 (PS mod), RADIAS-73, Electribe MX, Triton Pro (MOSS, SCSI, CF, 64MB RAM), DVP-1, MEX-8000, MR-1, KAOSSilator, nanoKey, nanoKontrol, nanoPAD 2

                      Comment













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