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Sound Quality

I really like all the sounds, particularly the ones I've tweaked, but the only ones that really suck are the acoustic pianos. Very weak in my opinion. I may suck it up and go get the piano expansion card, but it would have been nice if one of the 4 or 5 pianos included would be adequate. As for Hammond, Rhodes, vintage synths, and orchestral sounds, I'm pretty happy, but then Roland sounds have always been the best, for what I'm looking for. I am in a Classic Rock band, so I need vintage, practical instruments, not a bunch of trance, hip-hop loops, etc. Although it does have that too, and for what I can tell it would serve well in those areas too. Modern type sounds that you could probably cut an album with if you wanted. The pads are useless for playing rythyms, I mainly use mine for sound effects, funny samples, etc. I like the synth action, it doesn't have that really light, cheap action others have.

Reliability/Durability

So far no problems or hang-ups. I've been gigging with it for about 3 months now, and the main reason I bought it was that it weighs half what my old XV-88 did, plus it has sampling ability.

Price/Value


General Comments

I've been a Roland guy for quite awhile. I have owned an RD-500, an XP-80, an XV-88, and now the Fantom-S. I also have a set of V-Drums, and the VG-88 guitar modeling system. Roland should be paying me!! I may even get another Fantom-S just to keep one in the studio and the other for gigging, so yes, I'd definitely replace it if it were lost or stolen. It's all about sounds for me, and this one does have a lot of great tones, if you're willing to search and do some programming. I sat in the store and went thru damn near the whole sound library before I bought it. I've played other synths in stores, and just find that for my needs, the Rolands usually stand out as superior, but that's just me. This is by far the easiest to use of all the Roland boards I've owned, and the screen is a big part of that (although it's not a "touch screen", as one other reviewer noted...you have to use arrow buttons to navigate). Ideally I wanted a 76-note board, but the Fantom 76 didn't have sampling capability. Otherwise, this board has all the features I wanted: great sounds, lightweight, realtime controllers, easy access. Couple of issues: I could not get the USB feature to work, and another feature that would be nice is if they could make it so that when you change a patch, the notes sustain until you play a note of the next selected patch (allow the sounds to overlap as you're changing them). The old Ensoniq MR-76 had this feature. Overall I'm pretty happy with it.


Reviewer's Background



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