Vintage Rack Mount Options

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Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby Georgia_Musician » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:00 pm

My daughter needs some vintage sounds. She has a Korg Kronos that she loves. Well, I love it too-- that thing is awesome, and we have some other keyboards, like a Korg C-720, a Yamaha YPG-625, and the same keyboard with synth action-- the YPG-525. Clearly we have many sounds available, but there just aren't enough 80's and 90's sounds available for her work.

I keep coming up with older keyboards like a Juno D, with keys that just never behave no matter how much I work on them, and a Yamaha S-30, with similar issues. I had a DX-7 that I finally got rid of because the keys would never play evenly, though it was serviced several times as well.

I do have an Akai MPK-88 controller, and a couple of smaller synth-action MIDI controllers that I have used to run things like Absynth, but I never loved Absynth either. So you can probably see where I'm coning from. We're pretty good on modern sounds, and MIDI controllers, we're just short on vintage sounds.

My question is what sort of rack-mounts I should try (because I have more keyboards than room, plus I'm just sick of dealing with old self-destructing keys) to offer a wide variety of classic sounds. Modern sounds are fine too, but again, we've got a Kronos, so we have a decent start there.

I can't just go and play these old units at guitar center, obviously (unless there is something current that I'm unaware of that is packed with vintage sounds.) My research suggests these as my current top contenders:

Yamaha TG77
Yamaha TG500
Roland JV-1080
Roland JV-2080
Roland XV-5080

Any suggestions from this list or otherwise? The only rack unit we currently have is a Korg Radias. I suspect I'll fill a rack with various rack-synths over time, but I need to narrow this down to one or two top choices for now.

One important note-- I need a wide variety of sounds ready-to-use. Editing the sounds is complex for my daughter-- in fact, we need easy-to-access controls even to change sounds. My daughter has no vision, so she needs to access everything by touch and without benefit of a display. An assortment of modified sounds that we can load and access would be cool, but manipulating the controls is really hard for her, especially if there are multiple levels of menus involved.

Obviously, the Kronos is a touch screen system, but accessing the actual sounds can be done with the controls-- the buttons and other physical items apart from the touch screen.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby Ashe37 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:39 pm

or the Roland Fantom Rack
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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby meatballfulton » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:52 pm

This might be panifully obvious, but the Kronos is more than capable of 80s/90s sounds. It just may be lacking in presets.

Take a look at some third party sound libraries, way cheaper than another instrument!

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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby Georgia_Musician » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:58 am

Ashe37 wrote:or the Roland Fantom Rack


Ah, the Fantom XR? Something else to consider. Thanks.
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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby Georgia_Musician » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:30 am

meatballfulton wrote:This might be panifully obvious, but the Kronos is more than capable of 80s/90s sounds. It just may be lacking in presets.

Take a look at some third party sound libraries, way cheaper than another instrument!

Kid Nepro

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Back In Time


That's a good suggestion, meatballfulton. I had sort of talked my way out of sorting though what you are suggesting and using the Kronos for vintage sounds a while back because I just get overwhelmed, and the external rack device solution seems so potentially simple, but as I think through your suggestion today, that makes a lot of sense.

I need to get a better idea of what I can fit where on the Kronos and how much can be loaded into user banks at once without a need to unload factory setups. My daughter knows all the locations of the factory sounds she uses (and she uses a lot of them) mostly by sequence-- just stepping through sounds in order. If I get the order fouled up, I'm in real trouble, and she's not going to want to have to swap banks of sound back and forth. She can't do it herself, so that alone would really cripple her workflow if anything gets deleted or moved. There's a real lack of accessibility on the Kronos, and that's a shame for such a powerful and great-sounding machine.

It wouldn't take a lot of effort from Korg to make these units-- really they're just PC's-- accessible by Bluetooth or even a hardwired USB connection to an electronic braille solution, or some sort of screen reader, so that blind users could access all the same controls that sighted musicians can use... The don't need to do anything to make the braille work-- they only need to enable bluetooth and support the right drivers.

Anyhow, thanks. I'll sort through these libraries more thoroughly and research how much I can load at once.
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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby fh991586 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:40 pm

You want instant gratification without fidling around? Just get an Oberheim Matrix 1000. Or a Dave Smith Tetra. Plenty of ready-to-go sounds...
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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby Georgia_Musician » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:06 am

fh991586 wrote:You want instant gratification without fidling around? Just get an Oberheim Matrix 1000. Or a Dave Smith Tetra. Plenty of ready-to-go sounds...


Yes, my daughter likes to compose and arrange. She needs quick access to lots of sounds as she builds her songs, and since she's blind, she needs to have pretty straightforward access-- not requiring lots of equipment manipulation, or sorting through menus.

In many cases, if the sounds are good enough, she may use the sounds in her actual finished product, though she's quite a good guitarist, so she may arrange guitar parts on a keyboard sometimes just to rough out an idea, then replace them with conventional guitar tracks later, in Pro Tools. Same thing with bass tracks, or whatever she prefers to overdub later, if we put some of these sounds into demo versions of her songs.

The point being that she needs "easy-fiddling" with decent quality sounds so that some of the sounds can be used long-term as well. The Kronos has such good conventional sounds that, apart from guitars, the sounds are often hard to beat with the real thing. Particularly the French Horn sounds and some of the string sounds from the factory are just unbelievable, as well as many of the electric pianos and such.

We can mess around and add more sounds, but I want to do that slowly, and in a way that I don't confuse her access to her familiar sounds.

The Matrix 1000 definitely looks worth further research. Have you personally used the Dave Smith Tetra? The concern that jumps at me from the photos is the ease of access to the sound banks with zero visual feedback. It may be fine, but I wonder, only based on the photos I see of these.

Thanks so much!
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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby meatballfulton » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:50 pm

Georgia_Musician wrote:Have you personally used the Dave Smith Tetra? The concern that jumps at me from the photos is the ease of access to the sound banks with zero visual feedback. It may be fine, but I wonder, only based on the photos I see of these.


None of the Dave Smith synthesizers have the sort of bank/patch pushbuttons that most synths have. Instead you scroll through patches using a knob. So it will not work well for a blind person.

It does not come with factory patches of the type you daughter probably is looking for. From what you wrote, I am assuming she wants the sort of sounds heard on pop recordings from the 80s and 90s. Since she is not in a position to program sounds from scratch it would be a very bad choice.
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Re: Vintage Rack Mount Options

Postby fh991586 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:19 pm

Yeah, forget the Tetra...
Considering parting away from:
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-DSI Mopho

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