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Novation UltraNova vs. Roland Gaia - in need of advice.


KeyKeeper

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Just registered, but I've been looking at this forum for a month now.

 

So I guess someone had to make one of these threads. Discuss the two synths here.

 

201009081400.jpg

 

vs.

 

Roland%20Gaia%20SH01%20Synthesizer1_widt

 

 

I'm looking to buy my first synth - don't know which one to pick.

 

Can you list all the pros + cons of each synth, stating which one you'd go for, and the reason for your choice?

 

Last thing... I'd appreciate it if someone explained exactly what monotimbral is, or what the difference between monotimbral and monophonic is. Or if you have a video, that'd work too. A lot of people ask this, so your replies will be helpful.

 

Thank you very much KSS!

 

- Vic.

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Last thing... I'd appreciate it if someone explained exactly what monotimbral is, or what the difference between monotimbral and monophonic is.

 

 

 

Monophonic means that it can only play one note at a time (contrast "polyphonic," which means it can play multiple notes at a time; a keyboard's polyphony is the maximum number it can play at one time).

 

Monotimbral means that it can only play one sound at a time. But it might be able to play 80 notes of that one sound. Some of the earlier analog synths were bitimbral, which meant that you could play two different sounds at the same time (either by layering them, or splitting the keyboard). Almost all digital synths these days are multitimbral, and most can play up to 16 different sounds at once (but the number of notes that can be played simultaneously can vary considerably).

 

Gaia might not be a bad choice for a first synth. Fair sound, and very clear and user-friendly layout.

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Another vote for Gaia for first synth. For learning synthesis, I can't really think of anything more appropriate in that price range.

 

You might want to consider a used Nord Lead. Equally great interface, and delicious sound. No internal effects, though.

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^^^ yeah, you really have to let the sound make the decision for you - it is what these machines are made for after all.

 

Keep in mind that the Gaia does have a very easy to learn interface for new players but that the UltraNova has a much MUCH deeper synthesis engine (and fx and vocoder and aftertouch and storage and is an audio interface...) that has many more sound sculpting possibilities - all at the same price.

 

I can understand that the Gaia is for beginners... but, I would recommend a beginner learn simple synthesis on a free vst and then move on to a more complex and better built hardware machine that is a little deeper.

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hell, if we're talking used this thread would never end... don't melt the boys mind!

 

I always buy used myself but some people aren't comfortable with the inherent risks - or, can't find anything local (ebay = very risky!).

 

I do think it is kind of exciting that there are some new, interesting and relatively affordable VA's coming out... now, Yamaha, where's my AN2X?!

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At Nova Musik, they're listed at the same price ($699). That's interesting.

 

The UltraNova has fewer knobs, so there could be more menu-diving. But at least it has an LCD, which the Gaia does not.

 

I went back to a store and play the Gaia for a second time. I do like the synth - lots of fun stuff to do with it, but the lack of LCD (and therefore patch names) is a bit of a bother.

 

I remember that years ago I had a Novation K-Station and it didn't support patch names. You had to remember what sound #31 sounded like as opposed to sound #18. Not impossible, but a bit tedious in these modern times.

 

As I recall, I really liked the sound of the K-Station, though.

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^^^ yeah, you really have to let the sound make the decision for you - it is what these machines are made for after all.


Keep in mind that the Gaia does have a very easy to learn interface for new players but that the UltraNova has a much MUCH deeper synthesis engine (and fx and vocoder and aftertouch and storage and is an audio interface...) that has many more sound sculpting possibilities - all at the same price.


I can understand that the Gaia is for beginners... but, I would recommend a beginner learn simple synthesis on a free vst and then move on to a more complex and better built hardware machine that is a little deeper.

 

Thanks for your inputs. I'm going to consider these differences.

 

By the way, this could be a discussion thread about the two synths for everyone, not just for me, I'll edit the title and thread slightly :thu:.

 

So, do you all prefer having multitimbrality or do you not mind?

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So, do you all prefer having multitimbrality or do you not mind?

 

 

Workstation synths (Yamaha Motif, Roland Fantom, Korg M3, etc.) are all 16-part multitimbral. Some digital synths are as well, such as the Virus TI, as well as some software instruments. Multitimbrality is essential (for me) when composing with a MIDI sequencer, as it allows me to have dozens of sounds available at the same time. Multitimbrality is also essential for layering sounds, or having multiple sounds available across different sections of the keyboard (usually for live playing).

 

All that being said, multitimbrality isn't a feature commonly found on many

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As far as the Gaia, if what I read is correct, it could be seen as multi-timbral, with three sounds, correct? That it has the equivalent of three single oscillator synth engines stacked one on top of the other?

 

IF so, this is one main reason I would not want a Gaia, despite how good Jordan Rudess makes it sound. If the Gaia has no effects, as I think I understand from an earlier post, then he stacked the deck big time in his demos of the board.

 

The Ultranova, on the other hand, is a single engine with three oscillators that can be combined into one thick sound, plus three LFOs and a mod matrix. *drools for a second*

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I think it would be a more worthy comparison if the Gaia were selling for $450, or if it had a display and vocoder (though the latter is certainly not essential). But as it is, the mismatch of features in the Ultranova's favor makes it an easy choice, in my opinion.

 

I'm willing to bet that the Ultranova will force a steep price drop on the Gaia within a few months. I just can't see both of these synths occupying the same price tier for very long. Anyone set on getting the Gaia might want to wait a bit and see.

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We should not discount the fact that the Ultranova will function as a 2-in/4-out USB audio interface and will have a sound editor program. Menu diving might be required for the hardware unit, but programming via the editor should be straightforward. GAIA functions as an audio interface in the sense that it can send and receive audio via USB, but its only audio input is a 1/8" stereo jack that seems to be designed to take iPod output for playing along to music. The synthesis engine for the Ultranova looks to be much more advance with more oscillator and filter types and modulation slots. Given these extra features I would say it is a strong contender. We are still waiting for Ultranova's release though! To me Gaia's main selling point is that its interface invites you to jump right in an start tweaking the controls.

 

I am not really shopping for a synth in this price range, but Ultranova looks pretty cool given its feature set and price. Honestly it would be more attractive to me if it came in a smaller version (25 key) or a larger version (61 key) and had the joystick and xy-pad of the X-station instead of pitch and mod wheels. Multi-timbral would have been nice too, but anything significant would take the unit up to the > $2000 range and place it next to the virus TI polar and out of the range of its target market.

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Just registered, but I've been looking at this forum for a month now.


So I guess someone had to make one of these threads. Discuss the two synths here.


201009081400.jpg

vs.


Roland%20Gaia%20SH01%20Synthesizer1_widt


I'm looking to buy my first synth - don't know which one to pick.


Can you list all the pros + cons of each synth, stating which one you'd go for, and the reason for your choice?


Last thing... I'd appreciate it if someone explained exactly what monotimbral is, or what the difference between monotimbral and monophonic is. Or if you have a video, that'd work too. A lot of people ask this, so your replies will be helpful.


Thank you very much KSS!


- Vic.

 

Oh come thats dead easy , when you are stuck between choices pick the third choice.

 

In this case the answer is "Novation X Station"

 

http://www.novationmusic.com/products/midi_controller/x_station

 

NEXT PLEASE!:evil:

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So Gribs, does that mean that you regret selling that Supernova II yet?
:D
The Ultranova is kinda limited compared to it, and it has a similar sound character from what I can tell.

 

No not really. I have too many synths and not enough time anyway. I am not planning to buy an Ultranova. I keep saying that I would have to be floored in order to spend tons of money on another integrated hardware synth and nothing is really burning a hole in my pocket.

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Gaia not having a display for patch names is a disappointment. Also, I just don't like the way all the new Roland gear look. They just come off as really uninspring aesthetics-wise. And the D-Beam thing always seemed gimmicky to me.

 

Other than that, between the two, I would have to give props to Roland for providing all that hands-on control on the interface. To me, that's a big selling point for any hardware synth.

 

What I would rather have is for Korg to make a microKorg version that exposes all the controls like Gaia but in a more compact form. Basically microKorg XL with more knobs for immediacy and less matrix editing.

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I find all the micro-Korg things to be gimmicky; I am just totally not interested. I would rather have a small number of regular keys. I guess they sell though.

 

Speaking of Korg, what is happening with Radias? Rumors are around again that it has been discontinued - note only RUMORS - I have no idea what is happening. There was a price drop for the module to $699, reports of dealers not receiving any, and the Radias is not listed anymore on Korg's web page. :'( I think that is a good price for a knobby four part multi-timbral module with vocoder having recordable formant motion and two modulation sequencers per part. Honestly it would be disappointing to me if Korg stopped making a powerful synth like this and just made simpler models like the R3.

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Gaia not having a display for patch names is a disappointment. Also, I just don't like the way all the new Roland gear look. They just come off as really uninspring aesthetics-wise. And the D-Beam thing always seemed gimmicky to me.


Other than that, between the two, I would have to give props to Roland for providing all that hands-on control on the interface. To me, that's a big selling point for any hardware synth.


What I would rather have is for Korg to make a microKorg version that exposes all the controls like Gaia but in a more compact form. Basically microKorg XL with more knobs for immediacy and less matrix editing.

 

 

I think the layout style on the Ultranova or R3 is ideal for immediacy with a fairly complex synth under the hood. You can have 100+ parameters and every one of them is 1 page turn away, and their current setting visible from the LCD screen before you mess with anything. That many knobs would certainly cost.

 

Come to think of it, it's actually better than having a handful of knobs for selected funtions and then a bunch of stuff buried in menus (as in a virus and the likes)...

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I think the layout style on the Ultranova or R3 is ideal for immediacy with a fairly complex synth under the hood. You can have 100+ parameters and every one of them is 1 page turn away, and their current setting visible from the LCD screen before you mess with anything. That many knobs would certainly cost.


Come to think of it, it's actually better than having a handful of knobs for selected funtions and then a bunch of stuff buried in menus (as in a virus and the likes)...

 

Yeah, I see your point. I guess I just have a thing for instruments that has one control per function that becomes part of your muscle memory.

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GAIA has the ability to interface to a PC and allows direct recording of audio from the GAIA audio in, also it has a hidden GM sound set. Up to 5 onboard effects at once.

After watching the youtube videos of the Ultranova is It seem cheap and just more of the same, limited interface,

look at a used Alesis micron and it does the same stuff as the ultranova for less.

 

You will also see used ultranova are cheaper than used Gaia

 

check out the D Fisher patches on both synths, they sound very close, I guess it comes down to what you are looking for in them.

 

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