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Yamaha - Wake-Up Call!!!!

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  • #31
    The point that seems lost in all of this discussion is that the Kronos is not just running on a lot of commodity PC hardware, but that Korg is now reaping the benefits of significant R&D investments made with the Oasys PCI, Oasys Keyboard, and VST instruments. Yamaha may have individual technologies that compete in various areas such as virtual analog, FM synthesis, sample playback, etc. but there is no indication that there is any shared hardware components between these implementations. E.g. one technology might use a certain family of DSP chips, another technology might have been developed on other incompatible DSP's, while others might use custom IC's, etc. While Yamaha undoubtedly owns (or has access to) the source code to much of this software, porting all the software to a uniform hardware environment is a significant development process. Korg seems to have made a fairly forward thinking move by investing development resources in x86 based hardware/software implementations at an early stage -- while the sales of Oasys PCI and Oasys keyboard may not have been high, they served a purpose beyond their individual sales numbers by helping to subsidize the lengthy development of this software stack. Now, looking back at the high prices of previous Oasys technology, one can surmise that Korg never anticipated that the Oasys would be selling in high numbers, but instead saw the potential for cost reduction by using commodity computing hardware. I'm not saying the Kronos is unquestionably the best keyboard ever or anything, and one can imagine that Yamaha and Roland have both done some R&D in this direction. The question is how developed are these efforts? Because that is perhaps what will determine if/when Yamaha or Roland respond with a similarly designed product. Based on the development path of the Oasys PCI -> Keyboard -> Kronos, it could be a long time.. but it is impossible to know all the influences such as Korg's internal policies and politics, the speed and cost of available computing resources over the duration of development, etc. If Yamaha or Roland wants to speed the development of a similar project, they might consider licensing software already running on x86 processors, like existing software instruments which could be integrated into complete software stack. Taking the concept further, compatibility with existing VST's could be seen as quite an advantage, although it also carries it's own risks (including quality of implementation, and stability of product with 3rd party code) in addition to any perceived rewards.

    Anyway, NAMM 2012 should be interesting!



    I think Roland have already given the game away... they now own Cakewalk... and Cakewalk uses some NI stuff...

    They could bring out a board to run a combination of their own modeling, cakewalks sonar and NI synths (although their own Roland synths in software more likely)...

    If done wrong it would be a Frankenstein... done right it may do what the Fantom did to the M3, offer more DAW facilities... It would be a quick way to catch up and surpass in some areas, but the KRONOS has a lovely built for purpose feel to the integration of the nine synth engines... Given they are all flavors of each of their class, e.g the MS 20 will sound like an MS 20 then that leaves the market wide open... Imagine if two of the Roland's VA's were a really hot Jupiter 4 and 8...

    Same story for Yamaha, they can either work with existing software connections or develop their own softsynths with their existing technologies....

    As for porting to Intel chips... it's easier to port something that ran on bespoke chips to Intel stuff as they know the basics and the support to do new code is there, the other way round is harder (suspect this is why Arturia found the Origin project such a challenge)

    It would surprise me if Yamaha came out with a multi synth engine synth... they just seem so content with their current offerings... I guess if KRONOS hits all the competition hard they will have to pull out or compete...

    世界で最高のシンセはmicroKORGにある

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    • #32
      yeah, Yamaha needs to bring it. but it's been a while and I doubt they're interested
      http://soundcloud.com/liliththekitten

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      • #33
        The Yamaha legacy piece I'd love to see a recreation of is the GX1. Now that would get my attention.

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        • #34
          The Yamaha legacy piece I'd love to see a recreation of is the GX1. Now that would get my attention.


          with mini keys ;-)
          世界で最高のシンセはmicroKORGにある

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          • #35
            Well a simple comment on the economy. Gribs you sound like one of the economists or obama trying to present an unconvincing positive spin on the economy. When your out there looking from the outside in and trying to find a job you know otherwise. I am not sure I am even a statistic anymore but have found part time jobs that pay two peanuts and a fish head. Lets see will my powerboat get me over to China?

            As to the main discussion here. I think keyboard manufacturers are of course motivated by money, yes if they were smart then they would invest in technology now to reap the rewards when the economy does come back but in reality when people aren't buying then they have to no doubt cut corners on R&D and technolgy research. As Jessie Ventura says it all comes down to money or follow the money trail!


            Well I do know how bad it is. The last time I spoke with my BIL he was on his way through our area on his 25th job interview with no bites and my own brother has undergone several layoffs, jobs that were gone by the time he started work, and contracting electrical engineering jobs that provide no vacation or health care. The ugly truth though is that the market has mostly recovered from its plummet and the strong companies that were prepared have bounced back almost or more than completely. It is interesting that one of my primary sources of info for this is a friend who is an ACE investor and a staunch Republican. So I ask again, as you said, where does the money go?

            I think that yes indeed Korg is reaping the rewards of forward thinking and that they were early in the game for other things like iPad apps which if successful are money in thhe bank. Have you noticed that one of the synth engines in Kronos looks suspiciously like ims-20? Also the price drop on the M3 line and the cheap micro-key products and Kaos pads were brilliant maneuvers that brought in cash. Growing from the core and expanding into adjacent markets are two standard ways companies keep themselves alive. Jeez now I am sounding like an MBA which I am definitely not (shudders).
            Gribs

            ...Music can be used to stimulate mass emotion, while mathematics cannot; and musical incapacity is recognized (no doubt rightly) as mildly discreditable, whereas most people are so frightened of the name of mathematics that they are ready, quite unaffectedly, to exaggerate their own mathematical stupidity.

            G.H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology (London 1941).

            Comment


            • #36
              Well Gribs glad you understand the economy from like my point of view being out of work and yes I am an Electrical Engineer so I know something about working on technology and how manufacturers of electronics equipment think. The consumer electronics market is especially tough.

              One word about staunch Republicans their agenda appears to be allmost totally out for the large Corporations and the well to do and to hell with the rest of America lets have a two class society and right now they are allmost succeeding. We have lost too many of our decent paying jobs that we have allowed to be shipped overseas even high tech Engineering jobs. And lets create jobs now, idiots we let the horse out of the barn you allowed him to run away! But I will restrain myself and stick to the subject. Sorry Gibs I ain't pickin on ya

              Where can you hear a Korg and some of these other keyboards worthy of mention, only venue I have to play and listen is "The Guitar Center". I live near Worcester outside Boston and don't know if in Providence or Boston there is a larger music store.

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              • #37
                I think that the Kronos looks like a fantastic instrument, but the death of Yamaha is greatly exaggerated.

                Here's my two cents:
                The Motif series continues to be a fantastic instrument. Also, the idea that the Motif has evolved, at least since the EX series, has been a good thing. For the most part, Yamaha has improved the good things and the bad things. I always wonder why they walked away from the alternate synthesis, but, oh well- they sure can do a lot with good old sampling.

                The Kronos is sure intriguing, with 9 different types of synth engines. But here is what I wonder:
                - Is the UI good? Does it have a long startup time? I think that's what can make or break an instrument of this type. If it ends up that you need a computer to effectively edit the thing, then it is a fail.
                - I suspect that the Kronos is really something like a Linux PC that is engineered as a keyboard. Did Korg just port over the MS and PolySix softsynths?
                - it's possible that Yamaha could do an OS upgrade on the Motif XF to pull this same trick. I read somewhere that Motif's were based on Linux.

                Yeah, I own a Motif ES.

                Comment


                • #38
                  I think that the Kronos looks like a fantastic instrument, but the death of Yamaha is greatly exaggerated.

                  Here's my two cents:
                  The Motif series continues to be a fantastic instrument. Also, the idea that the Motif has evolved, at least since the EX series, has been a good thing. For the most part, Yamaha has improved the good things and the bad things. I always wonder why they walked away from the alternate synthesis, but, oh well- they sure can do a lot with good old sampling.

                  The Kronos is sure intriguing, with 9 different types of synth engines. But here is what I wonder:
                  - Is the UI good? Does it have a long startup time? I think that's what can make or break an instrument of this type. If it ends up that you need a computer to effectively edit the thing, then it is a fail.
                  - I suspect that the Kronos is really something like a Linux PC that is engineered as a keyboard. Did Korg just port over the MS and PolySix softsynths?
                  - it's possible that Yamaha could do an OS upgrade on the Motif XF to pull this same trick. I read somewhere that Motif's were based on Linux.

                  Yeah, I own a Motif ES.


                  I get the impression the Yamaha does not have the same power CPU wise as the new KRONOS.. not an issue as it is not trying to do as much.. I doubt they would attempt much more than is offer now in those recent boards..

                  What the future brings, no one but Yamaha knows, just seems they are bit by bit dropping stuff like RS7000, synth engines... Just romplers and some modeling and more focused products.. seems their new style, nothing wrong with it and it's not like they will go out of business, just don't see them doing a KRONOS style synth any time soon.. More Miko for them if they do have a go a PC in the synth...
                  世界で最高のシンセはmicroKORGにある

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    I don't think Yamaha's current position is dictated by problems with technology and research, it's rather marketing.

                    I recall the same discussion has arisen when the Motif XS was released; many people were disappointed by their abandonment of alternative synthesis engines, especially when the Korg OASYS keyboard was released just a year earlier. The answer was, basically, "the Motif costs much less, and it sells quite well". So it's a classical "vote with your dollars" paradigm.


                    I'd think their strategy has been motivated, at least in part, by the fact that Yamaha Corporation is a much much larger company than Korg (let us put aside all the affiliated companies which run karaoke bars, resorts, music schools and whatever, I'm now talking about the the parent company that makes musical instruments). Yamaha Corporation has much more diversity in their products, from acousting pianos to acoustic drums to brass/woodwind instruments to digital grand pianos to synthesizer keyboards to electronic drums to mixers to audio interfaces to music software (through Steinberg) and whatnot.

                    Korg, on the other hand, has a much narrower product range which basically encompasses electronic music instruments and effects processors. They do not have to think of killing the sales of a top digital piano (like Yamaha CP1 or Roland V-Piano) by releasing a workstation that has a comparable grand piano sound, or killing the sales of virtual instruments with releasing a workstation that has top-class FM and VA engines.


                    Yamaha does have comparable technologies. They had AN back in 1993 (and the abandoned VP-series), they had VL, FS and DX. They have basically resurrected physical modelling with the latest CP1 which has FM emulation and SCM engine, and probably an FSDP engine. Even if they (still?) rely on proprietary DSPs, I'd imagine they could now come with a DSP part with like 100x the processing power of these 1990s technologies using the modern production and design tools.

                    It however remains to be seen if they can integrate these technologies in a mass-market workstation synth and not hurt the sales of their specialized roducts like the Clavinova. These specialized products would have to offer an additional value and a quality that easily stands out, and that would be very hard to achieve. I mean, how would you make a better piano than those 4.7 Gbyte piano in the KRONOS - make like a 40 Gbytse version and offer it with a the latest NW-Stage wooden keyboard? Who would ever notice this besides the synth geeks?


                    I do hope Yamaha will be able to find a balance and make a keyboard that is as feature-rich as KRONOS but has that distinct Yamaha sound and processing algorithms. They have already tried to implement it with the Yamaha EX-series an their Modular Synthesis Plug-in System (the PLG boards), with limited success though; what they need is to make it at the integration level shown by the OASYS/KRONOS.

                    If not, well look at the fate of Ensoniq, E-mu, Alesis, Akai Pro, you name those who were once big players but now are reduced to making inexpensive toys...


                    I wouldn't like it to happen to Yamaha, but again, "vote with your dollar" is the most powerful vote. If KRONOS sells very well and the sales of Motif XF will be less than spectacular, THAT would be their wake-up call. The release of the OASYS wasn't, and even the release of the KRONOS is not quite yet (although I have no doubts KRONOS will potentially dwingle the sales of M1 and DX7).

                    I'd wish it would be less paradoxial than having to buy a competitor's keyboard to make a statement for your preferred brand maker, I'd prefer some less intrusive matters like marketing study , an online poll, or (khm khm) a forum post, but that's not how it seems to work in this world where marketing is believed to sell things, not good product design...

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                    • #40
                      Korg is OP.

                      Yamaha is discontinued.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Better to cannibalize the sales of your own products than to lose a sale entirely to another company.
                        Moe---It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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                        • #42
                          I think that Yamaha, Roland, and Kurzweil will catch up and start including SSDs and whatnot in their boards. Korg just happens to have a head start for now. Let us also not forget that besides the "German" piano in the Kronos there is a "Japanese" piano and we all know that means a sampled Yamaha. Raising of the bar by one company is good for the industry and as we have heard, given the economy there are plenty of people who are going to hold onto their current gear for a while.
                          Gribs

                          ...Music can be used to stimulate mass emotion, while mathematics cannot; and musical incapacity is recognized (no doubt rightly) as mildly discreditable, whereas most people are so frightened of the name of mathematics that they are ready, quite unaffectedly, to exaggerate their own mathematical stupidity.

                          G.H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology (London 1941).

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Hey my XS is not obsolete, in fact I don't know how many people even have them.
                            "Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

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                            • #44
                              Better to cannibalize the sales of your own products than to lose a sale entirely to another company.
                              It doesn't work that way. You need to have balanced model range which offer different features and sound quality for different price ranges and target audiences.

                              Yamaha just can't make a $800 digital piano or a $2500 workstation that sounds and feels the same as a $5000 Clavinova, this will entirely destroy the market for Clavinovas, which is a very unique product, very innovative on its own. Likewise, Roland can not put the same V-Synth or V-Piano engine into the next Fantom, this will basically obliterate these higher-end models.

                              I'm yet to see how they will solve this dilemma; I don't think they are prepared to sacrifice their higher-end, but I don't hee how they can further differentiate it to maintain the higher price level. They might choose to totally abandon high-end workstations instead, focusing on entry-level models like Juno or MO/MM series.

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                              • #45
                                About Yamaha's PLG boards and alternative synth technologies: if the PLG boards had been selling like crazy I'm sure Yamaha would have continued with them. Since the original boards date back about ten years the technology was pretty long in the tooth and ready for a reboot anyway. The programming hassles with them were related to being part of the XG product line, I think the addition to pro instruments was a bit of an afterthought. The standalone AN and VL instruments obviously didn't really find their market either.

                                How big a market is there really for alternative synth engines in a single instrument? Kronos will be the litmus test.
                                My VCAs go to 11

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