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Is there a future for Synth-Workstations?

Posted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:21 pm
by 84kayew
Hi there, I'm doing some research for a Master's Degree and would like to know about your experiences and opinions on Synth-Workstations. A bit of background info: I currently own a Yamaha S90ES, previous to this was a Korg Karma, Korg Triton and (in my early teens) a Technics KN920. When looking to upgrade the Yamaha I was blown away by the Korg Kronos and Roland FA08 and it got me thinking: can synth-workstations compete with computer-based DAWs? Which have been the most/least successful synth workstations and why? And what does the future hold for them?

If you're willing to offer your opinions and share your experiences please pm me
Thanks ;)

Re: Is there a future for Synth-Workstations?

Posted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:24 pm
by meatballfulton
84kayew wrote:can synth-workstations compete with computer-based DAWs?
As top of the line flagships, their day may have passed. At lower price points I think they still have their appeal (Korg Kross, for instance). Ironically what I think is critical to the survival of workstations is how well they integrate with DAWs.

There's clearly demand for tight integration between a hardware controller and software (Maschine, Push for Live, the new Kontakt keyboards, Nektar Panorama). Yamaha is leading the pack in that regard with flexible USB audio and MIDI interfacing, a VST plugin and well developed control surface features (they even give you Cubase free with the synth). Korg, Roland and Kurzweil are far behind in this area.
84kayew wrote:Which have been the most/least successful synth workstations and why? And what does the future hold for them?
Most successful: Korg M1, Trinity and Triton

Why? Right set of features for the time. The M1 had superior quality samples compared to the competition (Ensoniq mainly), onboard effects and "Combis", a simple way to build even more massive sounds by layering. The fact that it had a sequencer was just icing on the cake, not the main draw. Trinity and Triton built upon that success by adding more powerful sequencing, sampling, CD burning, audio recording and a touchscreen to simplify menu diving.

Least successful: Alesis Fusion Why? It was released with too many bugs and the company was unable to fix them quickly enough.

Re: Is there a future for Synth-Workstations?

Posted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:17 pm
by Miles Powerhouse
So was the Fusion ever "finished", or are all of them buggy to some degree?

Re: Is there a future for Synth-Workstations?

Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 7:30 pm
by Shrike
I think they will continue to live on in the worship and daily live performance space.

Korg, Yamaha, and Roland will continue for years being used to praise the lord, soothe the souls of "on the beach" destination resort restaurant diners, and sail the seas in cruise ship theater/ballrooms. Folks into synthesizers will continue to be baffled by features targeted towards these audiences "Who uses / Why would I pay for X?"

Flagship synthesizers will continue to be made, they would if they didn't sell one unit. They end up temporarily in the hands of all sorts of media production houses all over the world. They learn what features go over well and carve those out into retail/commercial synthesizers.

Production/arrangement synthesizers? They may be soon be gone for good. I don't know how many songwriters and composers are left that refuse to use a computer... they are literally dying off. Process purists that resisted laptops for composition readily embraced tablets and in doing so closed the rest of the gap.

Re: Is there a future for Synth-Workstations?

Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:29 pm
by Rick N Boogie
Re: the Fusion, I got rid of mine because it would freeze up too often. Too bad, it really had alot going for it, especially the multiple sound engines.,

Re: Is there a future for Synth-Workstations?

Posted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:59 pm
by ninja6485
I see a future, since I think they can have two distinctly different appeals. Someone looking to be a keyboard player in a band; who might not necessarily be into synths per se, but who is looking for more than just the ep, organ, acoustic piano sounds; might gravitate more towards one of the workstations. Someone looking for an all in one toolbox to create their own songs at home might go for a DAW instead.