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  • Step 1 of Hobby Studio - The synth

    Hi all.

    My old Juno-D has packed it in. I'll be saving up till August to get a new synth and throwing what I can towards it. And so begins the research!

    Budget
    I'm thinking $2,000

  • #2
    Yamaha S70XS.

    -------------------------------
    Michael
    Jupiter-50, MOX6, TI Polar, Moog LP, Korg Micro X, JV-1080
    27" iMac, DP 7.24, Omnisphere, Alchemy, many more...
    http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

    Comment


    • #3
      Yamaha MoX8.
      -----------------Mike PensiniPiano/Keyboard/Producer/Musical Director/Writertwitter.com/mikepensini | facebook.com/mikepensinimusic | youtube.com/groovatious

      Comment


      • #4
        Korg Kronos
        Might put you a little over budget, but it's worth it.
        This synth is Huge

        Comment


        • #5
          Yamaha MoX8.


          I have the MOX6. The OP said that polyphony is a important factor, and the MOX series only has 64. The S70XS has the same sound library, I believe, but has 128 note polyphony.

          I should add that I don't have a problem with the 64-note polyphony on the MOX.
          -------------------------------
          Michael
          Jupiter-50, MOX6, TI Polar, Moog LP, Korg Micro X, JV-1080
          27" iMac, DP 7.24, Omnisphere, Alchemy, many more...
          http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

          Comment


          • #6
            Korg Kronos
            Might put you a little over budget, but it's worth it.
            This synth is Huge


            The Kronos 73 at ~$3,499 is way over his budget, and it is a full-blown workstation, which he says he doesn't need. This would be a matter of personal preference, if he were to find the Kronos sound library and user interface to be worth >$1,000 of that found in the Yamaha keyboards.
            -------------------------------
            Michael
            Jupiter-50, MOX6, TI Polar, Moog LP, Korg Micro X, JV-1080
            27" iMac, DP 7.24, Omnisphere, Alchemy, many more...
            http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for all the replies! Plenty to think about!
              The Yamaha S70XS certainly ticks all the boxes. Hearing that the interface is tricky to use is a little worrying, but if I'm sticking with this purchase for several years, I'll learn my way around it.

              The MOX8 offers an on board sequencer, what looks like a better arpeggiator, and a lighter footprint, but trades off aftertouch and polyphony to get it. I think the S70X brings more to the table for me in that comparison.

              The Kronos looks like an absolute beast. Quite frankly, if I laid down the cash on something like that I'd probably be toying around with what it can do for years; which is actually quite tempting, if I could afford it.

              Which, in all honesty, if I re-assessed my priorities, I probably could. I was looking to get a PC/MAC so I could wind up with a DAW setup, so that's not exactly a trivial amount of cash either. But that was based on a bit of a pre-conception I'm questioning now.

              Just about every studio workstation seems to have its own sequencer; I have to wonder whether there's something I'm missing here. I learned keys on an old Yamaha PSR from the early 90s. So, an arranger, not a workstation, but you could record up to 5 tracks, 2 minutes long, as well as up to 5 rhythm accompaniments. Around the same time I also learned to use the basic workstations we had at high school back in those days, and the software sequencer was way more featured. I'd always assumed an on-board sequencer would be handy for performance work if you needed a more fleshed out set of pre-recorded accompaniment.

              I understand this is somewhat off topic and I need to go do my research, but I came to the table with the pre-conception that an on-board sequencer would never match a software DAW, but everything for serious studio work has one. So what's the allure?

              Comment


              • #8

                I understand this is somewhat off topic and I need to go do my research, but I came to the table with the pre-conception that an on-board sequencer would never match a software DAW, but everything for serious studio work has one. So what's the allure?


                That's fairly accurate, in my (admittedly limited) experience. The linear sequencers on workstation keyboards are really best for recording performances and doing basic edits. If you're trying to sequence something from scratch, even the M3's sequencer (which has piano-roll functionality) can be infuriating. A DAW with a good piano-roll editor is much more pleasant to work with, and many DAWs now incorporate step sequencers, as well.

                I think built-in sequencers are mostly a legacy from the days when DAWs, if they existed at all, were rare and esoteric. They're still useful for certain applications, like live performance or use as a studio "scratch pad", but they've largely been superseded by DAWs. (And these days, a lot of sequencer-heavy music tends to be produced and performed using only a DAW and nothing else; witness the rise of the Ableton-equipped laptop.)


                Edit: Just realized I never really answered the question. The "allure" of a built-in (linear, workstation-type) sequencer, in my experience, is primarily the fact that it's there if I need it. And if you don't have a DAW setup available (as was the case for me when I first got the M3), then the built-in is certainly a workable substitute.

                Now that I have a DAW at my disposal, built-in sequencers only really grab my attention when they offer something different from the norm; e.g. if they're step sequencers rather than linear ones.

                Keys and Pads: Arturia Analog Laboratory 49, Arturia Spark, Korg Kronos 61, Korg nanoPad 2
                Strings: Carvin Bolt HSS w/ Wilkinson vibrato
                DAWs: FL Studio 10, Sonar X2 Producer
                Plugs: Arturia V Collection 3, Crypton Vocaloid 2 Megurine Luka, Korg Legacy Collection, Madrona Labs Aalto, NI Guitar Rig 5, Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0

                Comment


                • #9
                  That's fairly accurate, in my (admittedly limited) experience. The linear sequencers on workstation keyboards are really best for recording performances and doing basic edits. If you're trying to sequence something from scratch, even the M3's sequencer (which has piano-roll functionality) can be infuriating. A DAW with a good piano-roll editor is much more pleasant to work with, and many DAWs now incorporate step sequencers, as well.

                  I think built-in sequencers are mostly a legacy from the days when DAWs, if they existed at all, were rare and esoteric. They're still useful for certain applications, like live performance or use as a studio "scratch pad", but they've largely been superseded by DAWs. (And these days, a lot of sequencer-heavy music tends to be produced and performed using only a DAW and nothing else; witness the rise of the Ableton-equipped laptop.)


                  Depends on your work style and your wants and needs. Almost 99% of my sequencing since the late '80s is nothing more than recording my live playing and building it up track by track, my SY77 and SY99 sequencers handle that quite well and allow most of the editing I ever need to do. I took the computer out of my keyboard rig a long ago and prefer to work with hardware only, once my sequences are complete, I let the the SY play it to an AW1600 mixer/recorder and then add my vocals and perhaps some non synth tracks like Hammond or acoustic piano. This work style does well for me and I don't have to spend time solving connection/software issues, nor do I have to worry about computer crashes, etc. You have to decide what type of workstyle is best for you and what best meets your wants and needs, what works for me may not work for you, etc.
                  Clyde
                  DX7IIFD, SY77, SY99, Hammond C3, Steinway L, CP300, AW1600, etc.

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    I understand this is somewhat off topic and I need to go do my research, but I came to the table with the pre-conception that an on-board sequencer would never match a software DAW, but everything for serious studio work has one. So what's the allure?


                    If you do some searching, you will find that the computer DAW vs keyboard workstation topic has been discussed quite a bit.

                    I have been doing sequencing/recording since 1991, and have only used computer-based processes. I have been using Digital Performer on a Mac for nearly a decade now, and wouldn't work any other way. I like to compose using several hardware synths in multi-timbral mode along with several software instruments at any given time. This requires a computer.

                    After working with a 24" iMac and dual monitors, it's just tough to imagine working on a small LCD screen.

                    It might be kind of fun to do some work using only my MOX6 and the on board sequencer, though. Often, less is more, and the MOX clearly has enough fantastic sounds to inspire me for a long time.

                    Lastly, I have never seen the need to avoid computers due to crashes or technical hassles. I use Macs.
                    -------------------------------
                    Michael
                    Jupiter-50, MOX6, TI Polar, Moog LP, Korg Micro X, JV-1080
                    27" iMac, DP 7.24, Omnisphere, Alchemy, many more...
                    http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I came to the table with the pre-conception that an on-board sequencer would never match a software DAW, but everything for serious studio work has one. So what's the allure?


                      Some people buy workstations and never use the sequencer. Workstations are sometimes used just because they have 88 keys, for their huge libraries of sounds, for their multitimbral capabilities, for their high polyphony, for their samplers or just because they are easily rented for touring.

                      Some use the sequencer for scratchpad work and then transfer the sequences to a DAW later.

                      Some are like wildpaws and don't use a computer. I was in that camp until 18 months ago, I've been using workstations since 1990 when computers were still very expensive (my first Mac cost twice what my workstation did).

                      As far as modern workstation sequencers, I can't speak for any brand other than Yamaha but the Motif sequencers are similar to the early computer sequencers that used event lists rather than piano roll displays. Complex editing is slower than on a computer but wherever I take the instrument I can use it (I realize this is not your situation).

                      The DAW I use...Ableton Live...has poor MIDI sequencing capabilities compared to my Motif. It doesn't even have an event list which is the interface of last resort for serious MIDI work (i.e. you are editing the individual MIDI messages).

                      I have done songs entirely inside a Motif (including audio tracks) and I have also done them entirely in the computer. Both ways have their pros and cons.

                      You will find that to get 88 keys, you are looking at workstations because few other synthesizers are made these days with more than 61 keys. If anything the trend is for even fewer keys if you look at current synths like Venom (49), Ultranova (37), Gaia (37). Yamaha's S70XS (76) and S90XS (88) are rare exceptions.
                      My VCAs go to 11

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Depends on your work style and your wants and needs. Almost 99% of my sequencing since the late '80s is nothing more than recording my live playing and building it up track by track, my SY77 and SY99 sequencers handle that quite well and allow most of the editing I ever need to do. I took the computer out of my keyboard rig a long ago and prefer to work with hardware only, once my sequences are complete, I let the the SY play it to an AW1600 mixer/recorder and then add my vocals and perhaps some non synth tracks like Hammond or acoustic piano. This work style does well for me and I don't have to spend time solving connection/software issues, nor do I have to worry about computer crashes, etc. You have to decide what type of workstyle is best for you and what best meets your wants and needs, what works for me may not work for you, etc.
                        Clyde


                        True. I should probably add that I'm more a programmer than a player, at least at present. (I'm working on my chops, but it's slow going...)

                        Keys and Pads: Arturia Analog Laboratory 49, Arturia Spark, Korg Kronos 61, Korg nanoPad 2
                        Strings: Carvin Bolt HSS w/ Wilkinson vibrato
                        DAWs: FL Studio 10, Sonar X2 Producer
                        Plugs: Arturia V Collection 3, Crypton Vocaloid 2 Megurine Luka, Korg Legacy Collection, Madrona Labs Aalto, NI Guitar Rig 5, Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's fairly accurate, in my (admittedly limited) experience. The linear sequencers on workstation keyboards are really best for recording performances and doing basic edits. If you're trying to sequence something from scratch, even the M3's sequencer (which has piano-roll functionality) can be infuriating. A DAW with a good piano-roll editor is much more pleasant to work with, and many DAWs now incorporate step sequencers, as well.

                          I think built-in sequencers are mostly a legacy from the days when DAWs, if they existed at all, were rare and esoteric. They're still useful for certain applications, like live performance or use as a studio "scratch pad", but they've largely been superseded by DAWs. (And these days, a lot of sequencer-heavy music tends to be produced and performed using only a DAW and nothing else; witness the rise of the Ableton-equipped laptop.)


                          Edit: Just realized I never really answered the question. The "allure" of a built-in (linear, workstation-type) sequencer, in my experience, is primarily the fact that it's there if I need it. And if you don't have a DAW setup available (as was the case for me when I first got the M3), then the built-in is certainly a workable substitute.

                          Now that I have a DAW at my disposal, built-in sequencers only really grab my attention when they offer something different from the norm; e.g. if they're step sequencers rather than linear ones.


                          Not disagreeing with you for we are all different, after reading your edit I wanted to add this. The SY77 and SY99 sequencers that I use allow for linear recording, pattern recording and step recording, as well you can do "punch in-punch out" recording to make corrections. There are 16 tracks available for a song, patterns can be created and assigned to tracks, patterns can also be edited. The song edit functions include Quantize, Modify Gate, Modify Velocity, Crescendo, Transpose,Thin Out, Erase Event, Note Shift, Move Clock, Copy Measure, Erase Measure, Delete Measure, Create Measure, Mix Track, Erase Track, Clear Song. I really don't find much of anything else that I would need to do, again it works for me but others may find it easier or more comfortable on a computer/software.
                          Clyde
                          DX7IIFD, SY77, SY99, Hammond C3, Steinway L, CP300, AW1600, etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Workstations are sometimes used just because they have 88 keys, for their huge libraries of sounds, for their multitimbral capabilities, for their high polyphony...


                            Yeah, that's what I'm in it for, though I'm getting turned around on the sequencer. Even though I'll eventually get a DAW, that shouldn't make me think it's a waste of money to pay for a sequencer; it'll be my only recording function until the rest is in place.

                            There's really 2 arguments going on inside my head, now. One is saying the get something like the S90SX because it has exactly what I'm comfortable with and know how to use, and I can outsource the rest later.
                            The other is telling me to invest in something that will challenge me and keep me discovering.

                            88-Key is the dream, though. I've realised that either way I'd regret skimping on that.
                            I think I'll update the OP with that and add the S90SX into the shortlist for now.

                            I'm intruiged by the major workstations, but it does really come down to a question as to whether I'm
                            A: Willing to spend that much, and
                            B: Whether I really need all those bells and whistles.

                            Plus, I'll have to take some time to go try some of these out, if I can find them.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One of the best things you can do is find a dealer near you that has multiple models that you are interested in and go try different models (not as feasible but can be done if you are looking at used gear). Spend a few hours with them, wait a few days and go back and try them again, I find trying them and waiting a couple of days as a "cooling off" period and then trying them again gives me a better idea of how they sound and what features work for me. We can offer our thoughts and impressions but in the end it will be what sounds good to you and which one has the features that best meets your wants and needs.
                              Clyde
                              DX7IIFD, SY77, SY99, Hammond C3, Steinway L, CP300, AW1600, etc.

                              Comment









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