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Kurzweil PC3 vs. Korg Kronos for composing

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  • Kurzweil PC3 vs. Korg Kronos for composing

    If you were going to purchase a workstation keyboard for the purpose of composing film/videogame music, would you go for a Kurzweil PC3 or a Korg Kronos? I was under the impression that the Kronos was the incomparable end-all, be-all of workstation keyboards, but I was actually more than a little underwhelmed by what I heard in sound demonstrations posted on YouTube...

    ... Yeah, I know that YouTube videos are a lousy basis to use for evaluating the quality/realism of a keyboard's sounds, but when comparing what I hear in YT demonstrations of the Kronos's sounds relative to what I hear in YT demonstrations of the PC3's or Motif's sounds, I can't detect much of a leap in quality or realism versus the sounds on the other keyboards.

    In fact, many of the orchestral and acoustic sounds (even acoustic guitar) sound better on the PC3 and Motif (especially the acoustic guitars) than on the Kronos. But would you guys say that the additional features found in the Kronos are worth spending $3,000 on versus $1350 for a new PC361?

  • #2
    Will you be using a DAW?

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    • #3
      No, I don't think so. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the idea of having everything contained within an all-in-one workstation, and I'll probably just be composing music as a hobbyist unless it turns out that I'm a lot more talented of a composer than I think I am.

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      • #4
        I still think Kurzweil and Yamaha generally out-do Korg on the acoustic/orchestral sounds, and Roland has some nice stuff too, especially on the Jupiter 80 (not a workstation, though). Not that Korg doesn't also have some strong sounds, but I think if you made a list of "best" in each acoustic emulation, Korg would likely not come out on top on very many. But yeah, if you're working within the unit itself and not using a computer, you may find a more significant difference in sequencer capability/ease than you find in the sounds themselves, and that's a whole other issue, and one I won't venture to offer any input on, except that I think Kurzweil is generally seen as more difficult/cumbersome to work on, due largely to its small screen.

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        • #5
          I still think Kurzweil and Yamaha generally out-do Korg on the acoustic/orchestral sounds, and Roland has some nice stuff too, especially on the Jupiter 80 (not a workstation, though). Not that Korg doesn't also have some strong sounds, but I think if you made a list of "best" in each acoustic emulation, Korg would likely not come out on top on very many. But yeah, if you're working within the unit itself and not using a computer, you may find a more significant difference in sequencer capability/ease than you find in the sounds themselves, and that's a whole other issue, and one I won't venture to offer any input on, except that I think Kurzweil is generally seen as more difficult/cumbersome to work on, due largely to its small screen.


          This is where all the Yamaha Motif arps and loops will help. Plus the sequencer looks pretty easy and supposedly works well with Cubase, which is a very pro DAW.

          Now the Korg just looks like a more whole experience for the producer type. What with like 8 or 9 synths and VA engins built in, an onboard hardrive, an informative screen, so many composing options, oh yeah and it sounds real good too from what I have heard and played, plus it already has a new OS and a new set of sounds out, sounds like the all in one package to me.

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          • #6
            As much as I love Kurz, I'd go with the Kronos as a "composing station". The sounds are seriously top-notch and extremely varied due to the diverse synth engines included.
            <div class="signaturecontainer">Best Regards, James<br />
            --<br />
            <b>I have cast fire upon the world and I am guarding it until it blazes.</b><br />
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            My Newest CD &quot;Stealing The Sun&quot;: <a href="http://carbon111.bandcamp.com/" target="_blank">http://carbon111.bandcamp.com/</a><br />
            <br />
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            Carbon111 Blog: <a href="http://carbon111.blogspot.com" target="_blank">http://carbon111.blogspot.com</a></div>

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            • #7
              All you need for composing is a pencil and some paper.








              Realization of that composition is another matter.

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              • #8
                This week I spent some time with a Kronos for the first, and probably last, time. After all the talk on the forums my expectations were high, so that may explain why I was so unimpressed. Not a single sound on it caught my ear. I still own an SV-1 and love it for jamming but the Kronos seems to sound thinner, more like a Trident.

                I have not played a Kurzweil PC3 yet but if it sounds like the PC2 then its a non-starter. I used to be a Kurzweil fan but their sounds have become very dated, no matter what people here say to the contrary.

                The best-sounding and most contemporary-sounding workstation is the Yamaha Motif XF series to my ear. I use an XS6 in my studio and it never fails to inspire my writing.

                But here's the real point: forums are useless when it comes to deciding what synth/keyboard or workstation is right for you. Not only does it vary from person to person as to which is "best" - you won't take that advice anyway. Really. The most informed and educated opinions here are often dismissed by the posts of people who spend more time online than in a studio.

                Would you really like to know which workstation is the best for composing that hasn't been mentioned at all yet? It's the... ah, never mind - I've already lost your attention.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;A wise man knows the difference between opera and barbeque...&quot;</div>

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                • #9
                  I am definitely listening, The Pro (if you really do have a recommendation for the best workstation that hasn't been mentioned yet).

                  You bring up an interesting point, mildbill; I actually am the kind of person who has to play on a piano and hear what I'm doing in order to compose (I.e., I almost never am able to sit around and compose in my head). Maybe this just means I suck as a composer? LOL. Seriously -- the ideas never just come to me. It's more like a game of experimentation where I have to play on the piano until I get something that catches my ear.

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                  • #10
                    Spice, judging by your last statement (being inspired working things out on a piano), I think the Yamaha Motif Pianos still sound more inspiring to me (regardless of which company's technology is statistically/aesthetically better) than the Kronos' and I had a chance to play them all at length side by side (Kronos vs. XF and PC3). I DO like Karma and the Korg interface but build quality was iffy to me compared to the PC3 or the XF. And the Kronos' PC software is STILL MIA, while Yamaha tech is mature. Add to this the fact that it DOES integrate well into a robust modern DAW (Cubase) should you evolve to that state of work or not, PLUS the upcoming Karma update set to roll out in to Yamaha, NOT Korg, I would choose the XF88 - and that is the board I plan to purchase soon after wrestling with the very same issues you appear to have. The Kurzweil may be superior in some ways, but my ears were not inspired by it and the small viewscreen and complex structure, while superior in theory, on paper etc, i find to be much more counter-intuitive to all others, with Korg winning out on ease of use overall. I have used Roland, Yamaha and Korg OSs for 20+years, and the Korg way has always seemed the most user-friendly to me, followed by Yamaha, Roland, Kurzweil and so on. But in the end what matters most to me is SOUND. .......Inspiring sounds, specifically, and the Motif XF just blows me away. I can live with it's faults, few as they are.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Currently employed: Korg Kronos/61, Korg CX-3 v2, Korg Radias w/kb, Roland Fantom-S/61, Roland D-550, Yamaha MU100r, Kawai K4r, a bunch o' guitars with a couple of amps, a few pedals, ASUS G74SX PC with 12 GB/7.5TB/Win7-64bit running Sonar X1 with a few NI soft-synths. </font></div>

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                    • #11
                      Ok... the best workstation for composing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the Yamaha Tyros 4.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;A wise man knows the difference between opera and barbeque...&quot;</div>

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                      • #12
                        It's interesting that you should mention the Tyros since it usually seems to be regarded as an arranger keyboard. Would you say the acoustic/string/orchestral sounds are more realistic than they are on the other workstations?

                        On mididoc's tip, I researched the Yamaha Motif and noticed that there are a number of new Motif XS's for sale for only a couple hundred dollars more than the price of a new PC361. Is the extra ~$500 worth it for the XF over the XS? Is the XF actually any more useful for composing than the XS if I won't be using samples (as far as I know)?

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                        • #13

                          I have not played a Kurzweil PC3 yet but if it sounds like the PC2 then its a non-starter. I used to be a Kurzweil fan but their sounds have become very dated, no matter what people here say to the contrary.



                          When I was hired at Kurz 11 years ago, the PC2 had just been released..... and honestly I was not a huge fan of the sound set. I thought the sounds were a bit dated, lots of early 90s stuff like pan flutes (over 13 of them!) and the dreaded "strat-clav", but yet a noticeable lack of things like usable, realistic clavs or EPs.
                          Of course the PC2 did have some solid workhouse sounds.

                          But with the PC3 we made it our mission to bring the sounds up to date and to raise the bar on quality as high as it could go.
                          The PC3's architecture is light years beyond what's in the PC2 and we took full advantage of this during the voicing process.
                          With up to 32 layers per program ( as opposed to 4 per program in the PC2) we were able (usually with velocity switching) to add so many little nuances and subtle details that give acoustic and electro-mechanical instruments their signature sound.

                          Check out the PC3 page online to hear around 70 or so single instrument demos to get a little taste.
                          http://kurzweil.com/Product.php?id=37
                          Click on the Audio tab in the middle of the page.

                          Dave Weiser
                          Kurzweil R&D

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                          • #14
                            Spiced, here is a good thread on XF vs. XS: http://www.motifator.com/index.php/forum/viewthread/452373/
                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Currently employed: Korg Kronos/61, Korg CX-3 v2, Korg Radias w/kb, Roland Fantom-S/61, Roland D-550, Yamaha MU100r, Kawai K4r, a bunch o' guitars with a couple of amps, a few pedals, ASUS G74SX PC with 12 GB/7.5TB/Win7-64bit running Sonar X1 with a few NI soft-synths. </font></div>

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                            • #15
                              For composing ...a Motif XF
                              <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;nothing exceeds like excess&quot;<br />
                              <br />
                              <a href="http://www.image-line.com" target="_blank">Image Line software</a> - Effects, VST's, DAW's and more ......</div>

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