Novation X-Station 49 vs. M-Audio Venom

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
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ZeeOne
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Novation X-Station 49 vs. M-Audio Venom

Post by ZeeOne » Tue May 26, 2015 9:32 pm

I need a synth that can double as a MIDI controller via USB. It needs to be somewhat compact (since I plan on gigging it) but still have at least 44 keys (since I plan on playing it). These two seem to be the ones that suit me best.

Venoms are a dime a dozen on eBay, but it requires the software editor to get at all the functions, making it essentially a soft synth with a hardware component. While I don't plan on tweaking parameters live, I've said before that I like things to be self-contained. The X-Station has way more knobs and sliders for parameter tweaking, plus it has transport controls for a DAW, but it's more rare and expensive (usually $300-$400, whereas the Venom usually tops off around $200). Also, I read that you cannot use the MIDI and synth functions at the same time on the X-Station...

What do you guys suggest?

Also, please do not suggest the XioSynth as an alternative to the X-Station; I don't like the form factor.

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Re: Novation X-Station 49 vs. M-Audio Venom

Post by gtivr6fan » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:26 pm

FWIW...I used to have an X-Station 49 and I still regret selling it. Its truly a swiss army type of synth. Tons of controls, aftertouch, automap, great sounding engine, usb and din midi, also is a audio interface.

As far as the internal sounds while playing midi I had no issues. I would hook my laptop up via usb and use Native Instruments B4 while layered with an internal synth pad patch quite often. It was rock solid as most of novations stuff is. You can unclick the bend/modulator joystick to hold the bend/modulation too. The x-y pad is cool for the onboard effects which are solid yet lackluster.

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Re: Novation X-Station 49 vs. M-Audio Venom

Post by OK_Meat » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:00 am

Probably a dead horse at this point, but maybe this will be a useful bit of info to someone.

I love my M-Audio Venom. Yes, the chassis is cheap. The knobs fall off, and M-Audio was bought out by inMusic very shortly after they started selling this synth. inMusic has essentially made it obsolete by choice, and offers really awful support for this very...complicated VA synth. Out of the box, it's stock sounds are not bad, but not amazing for the most part. To REALLY tweak this thing and see what it can do, yes, you do have to first install a firmware update, and then install the Vyzex software.

The one big gaping hole in the Vyzex software is that it's incomplete. There's a placeholder that was intended for creating Patterns within the software. It appears Psicraft has also abandoned the project so, for now if you want to create your own patterns, you must do so elsewhere and import the midi file via the software.

Basic quick rundown of pros and cons:

PROS:
- Inexpensive to purchase, usually
- Can create a very diverse set of sounds with the wide variety of voices it has
- Has inputs for two audio devices, MIDI I/O, and USB
- Can be used as a stereo USB sound device, which is cool

CONS:
- Feels cheap; plastic chassis - it's M-audio. (and it's kinda fugly with the white paint and the great big M-AUDIO written on the front)
- the knobs fall off easily
- the labels on the buttons are basically the same color as the background they live on, making it nearly impossible to read in a well lit room - and if it's during a gig forget it! Memorize that s**t. *luckily the LED screen will tell you which patch and bank you are on.
- The ability to manipulate existing patches is VERY limited using the on-device knobs and buttons. Forget about making a patch or pattern from scratch...not going to be able to do that without the software.


This thing also makes a crappy controller, due to the fact there is no aftertouch (big deal to me). I think a big reason this device got such a bad rep is that places like Best Buy would sell this as a MIDI controller that was "the best one cuz it's expensive." I also heard a Best Buy rep tell a customer that it had built-in speakers.

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Re: Novation X-Station 49 vs. M-Audio Venom

Post by jaypodesta » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:03 pm

I like the X-Station so would say go for that. I also have the xiosynth which I like - but wouldn't recommend (even though your not interested) as it is impossible (at least for me) to see the graphics. And the buttons are a bit too tiny - a problem when they double up so much. It not to bad in daylight! But who makes music then? ;)

The X-Staion has lots going for it. Sounds great and had lots of midi routing options.

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