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Workstation Evaluations


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I've posted a few times - nothing much really, using the forum as an extremely helpful source of gear info. So thanks for the knowledge as well as the personality - sometimes I split my sides laughing, and the quality of music really motivates me creatively.


I've decided it's time to buy a workstation. My TiBook 500 is not cutting it anymore even for the limited use of soft synths and samplers. I'm going to upgrade eventually to run Logic 7. I've been frustrated though with integrating my limited gear together, and a recent move to LA has made me realize that having a powerful integrated workstation would make life easier and - importantly for me and my girlfriend - help conserve space.


I went into West LA music today to evaluate what I gathered from the forum to be latest important workstations - the Motif ES, Korg Triton Extreme, Kurzweil 2661, and Roland Fantom X. I actually went in specifically to check out the Kurz, 'cause I only hear great things about it.


Let me preface by saying that I will be evaluating all boards over the next few months. Matt C. from WestLA, an Awesome dude who knows exactly where I'm coming from musically, is the best salesman I've ever met. He's giving me access to the manuals, letting me learn the boards before buying, and setting up meeting with Korg and Roland reps if I need them. Plus, they will match any price I find.


Both the motif and triton extreme blew me away. For acoustic samples, the motif was incredible - especially acoustic. I was just messing around and people were remarking how realistic it sounded; practically sold me right there and then. The triton though, had it's fair share of thumping sounds as well, again in the bass department, but synth bass rather acoustic. My initial impressions are that the Korg sounds I heard were more dance oriented, while the motif's acoustic sounds gave me the impression of a more well rounded approach. Perhaps most important to me, and something I didn't see mentioned before, is that the motif sounds are dry, compared to the korg's sounds which sound very processed and produced. As Matt said, with the yamaha, adding color is left up to the user, while in the Korg there is deffinetly Korg color there.


I only spent a little time with the 2661, but the sounds on that are really really good. the organs especially grabbed my attentions and were very inspirational. The thing that really turned me off, however, is that fact that sampling is an option, and the construction of the unit. It mod and pitch wheels as well as the jog dial feel really cheap and old in a bad way. I liked the faders, though, and the interface was not too bad, certainly not a korg, but about the same as yamaha. On paper the Kurz seems awesome; in person though, not so much.


Didn't have time to check out the Fantom, but the scathing reviews at HC have made it a last priority for me. I was expecting much since I love my V-synth...


Anyway, I'll keep anybody interested posted as I evaluate the units over the next few months - I see people constantly asking questions, and I'm in a position to offer some good feedback.


My gear list, if anyones interested:







Powerbook 500 with Reason used for the sampler, Oddity, imposcar


My musical tastes:



instrumental hip-hop

house (in all its colors)

minimal techno/electro




Thanks for a great forum by the way!!





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  • 6 years later...
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Some general comments, regardless of the outcome for the OP...


I would definitely recommend something more current from Kurzweil - PC3x if you don't need sampling, PC3K8 if you do.

The K2661 was a good little guy back in the day, but there are a few aspects that might be a pain to deal with:


Connectivity - K2661 has smart media and SCSI, and no USB. It's difficult to get files back and forth from a computer with this setup.

Pc3 has USB and xD card, Pc3K has USB and thumb-drive port.

Service - the parts for K series boards are starting to become scarce.

Sounds - the sound set in the PC3 is several times larger and a bit more hip, lots of vintage keys, string sections, great virtual analog, more KB3s, etc.

Over 1000 sounds with the latest OS.

DSP resources - the K2661 has 7 "units" worth of effects and 48 voice polyphony. PC3/Pc3K has 16 "units" of effects in addition to a master EQ and multiband compressor and has 128 polyphony.

Memory - the K26 sample RAM is volatile. Power off and your samples go away. The PC3K has non-volatile memory so you can turn it off without losing samples.


West LA should be getting a PC3K8 probably within the next few weeks or hopefully sooner.


Anyone can feel free to shoot me an email with questions or if you're trying to find a dealer.



Happy holidays from everyone here!


Dave Weiser

Kurzweil R&D

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Well, the original post is from 2004.





Good grief I didn't even catch that!

My stress-addled brain must have stopped at "4-24" without getting to the "04" part!

(And I was thinking April 2010 would have been an old post!!)


Good thing my holiday vacation starts tomorrow!

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