Some criteria

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NonDairy
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Some criteria

Post by NonDairy » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:34 pm

I'm going to try to let the collective brilliance of this forum aid me in my research. I'm buying a new keyboard soon. Let me tell you exactly what I'm looking for and maybe you know one that encompasses all my criteria.

1) 76 keys. I play in a cover band, so it's gotta be portable. The lighter the better, but I also split the keyboard a lot and 61 keys isn't enough.

2) an easily accessible transpose/octave button. The Kronos is wonderful, but that seems like a total oversight (same for the Krome). For patches I create, I can program them tuned down, but, for instance, we play Takin' Care of Business in B. I use an organ/piano split, but I also use it for a number of other songs. I'd hate to use an extra program slot just so I can play that one song in C.

3) sounds that don't change when I select a new patch while sustaining them. I'm currently playing a Juno Stage. Sadly, Roland disavowed it almost immediately after its release, so the promised updates never came. It's nearly perfect for what I do, but that's a serious issue. Effects from one patch affecting another is really a sore spot with me.

4) related to that, I don't want my patches to cut off when I choose a new patch. Our guitarist is constantly changing the setlist around, so I have to program in a new "favorites" list for each gig. I hate that I can't hold down the last note of a song while switching to the next patch.

5) an arpegiator.

6) some way of playing sound files. We have a few songs with prerecorded sound effects. I need to be able to hit "play" and trigger an mp3 or wav file.

7) the keyboard sound from Jump. Yes, I could play around with a detuned saw, but it's so much easier if it's already available. One of the things drawing me toward a Yamaha or a Korg are the sheer number of libraries people have already created featuring patches from popular songs my band plays.

8) a way to make setlists. See number 4. It's not cool to be searching for a patch between songs. Keyboard players have been fired for less. Also, we play upwards of 40-50 songs per night, so 10 or 16 favorites won't cut it.

9) a touch screen would be cool, but it's not a deal breaker.

10) a Leslie effect that comes on like a real Leslie. The rock organs on the Stage have it either on or off (even using the mod adjust, there's no gradual build) and it's annoying. I'm sure there's a way to adjust it, but on its own, it sounds very artificial.

11) a mod wheel that stays on. This also isn't a deal breaker, but I'm tired of having to hold the modulation on the Roland. I'd prefer something that doesn't spring back into place.

12) something with at least slightly better sounds than what I'm working with now. The patches on the Stage aren't awful, especially given my main uses for them, but frankly, the Alesis QS7 I bought in 1998 has plenty of better sounds (when they're not being drowned out by the 20-year-old keybed).

Well, that's about it. Sorry I wrote a book, but I've been playing on the Stage for years now and I'm all too familiar with its shortcomings. Now, money isn't entirely an object, but I'm not going to spend $4,000 for a full arranger when I can get a workstation that does everything I want for $2,500 (or less). But I'll gladly fork over the cash for a Yamaha Montage if that's the one that meets all my requirements. I'm also willing to buy one without playing it first (unless someone knows where I can sit down at a Kurtzweil), but I'd prefer to check it out first if at all possible.

Thanks!

P.S. I'm not looking for a midi controller, so don't go there. Also, the more I can do on the keyboard and the less I rely on DAW apps, the better.

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Re: Some criteria

Post by ninja6485 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:02 am

Some things like the pitch bend might be a little tough: that's just how a lot of them work. You may need to open the keyboard up and take out the spring.

It sounds like you have the need for multiple keyboards, but you're looking for one to do everything. You might be better served by using at least 2, or compromising. Yes, it's best to tour with as little as possible, but it's that "as possible" part that gets you. So long as it's not possible to do what you want to do with one, at least two is as little as possible!

On the compromise front, maybe you could rank your criteria in terms of most to least important, or identify a few things you could do without. For instance, could you deal with a smaller keyboard if it gave you the ability to do the patch change thing with a huge bank of sounds? Or could you possibly find something else to play your backing tracks?

Idea wise, have you looked at the Korg Oasis or Yamaha Motif range? There's also the Roland fantoms, which I think we're a step up from the Juno stage. Sadly, I'm not sure too many manufacturers are still cranking out huge workstation mega keyboards anymore.

A solution that's outside of the box is the V synth, but the keyboard might not be big enough. Something like the Virus TI might fit the bill in terms of performance features, but it's not really the piano / organ keyboard workstation I think you're after. And forget about it playing mp3s!

I know you don't want to hear anything about midi controllers, but traditionally a rack of modules in a neat carrying case would do the work you describe, and travel nicely along side a master keyboard controller. Any synth with midi that can control them, like your Juno stage works just as well.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

NonDairy
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Re: Some criteria

Post by NonDairy » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:35 am

Thanks for your response.

And maybe I misspoke; I don't mind if the pitch bend bounces back. I encourage it, actually. I was talking about the mod "wheel." Given, on the Rolands, they're the same controller. But if I want to use the Leslie rotary effect, for example, I don't want to have to keep my left hand holding it in place the entire time.

And, frankly, in terms of size, we play, for example, Centerfold, by J Geils. For that combination, I have an organ from E1 to G3, a synth that I have to play on G4, a sax from E5 to E6, and a whistle on the octave above that. I'm jumping back and forth between them the whole song. Or, as I mentioned, we play Jump, which has a bass note on C1, but the top of the F chord on C6. The only way that would fit on a 61-key is if the bottom and top notes were both C (my Juno Di is actually able to do that, but only because the song is in C to begin with).

Things I really do need if I'm going to upgrade: 1) separate effects for each patch (this will also stop them from cutting off when I choose a new one), 2) an arpeggiator, 3) a setlist (or favorites) application, 4) something that can play a sound file, 5) transpose/octave buttons, 6) 73/76 keys. Everything else is negotiable.

And we don't play backing tracks, so that's not an issue. But when I say a sound file, I mean something like the ticking clocks on "Too Much Time on My Hands" or the smashing glass on "You May Be Right" or the whatever that is at the beginning of "In The Dark." Or I use it for the laser sounds on "Rock the Casbah" or the cough on "Sweet Leaf."

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Re: Some criteria

Post by Ashe37 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:45 am

I've usually seen the leslie rotary effect mapped to AT or to a pedal instead of the mod wheel/stick.

NonDairy
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Re: Some criteria

Post by NonDairy » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:56 pm

No, that's a good point. But if the effect on the patch is just on/off, won't that map to the pedal the same way? It's not a gradual change.

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Re: Some criteria

Post by gcoudert » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:03 pm

Roland Fantom X7. The Mod (or Leslie speed or whatever) can be mapped to one of the four programmable knobs so it can stay on any setting rather than bounce back to zero every time. Effect control is pretty versatile.
The dedicated octave and transpose buttons are easily accessible, sounds will keep playing if you sustain them while switching patches if you want them to (the effects won't though unless consecutive patches share the same effects), it has a sampler, a nice programmable arpeggiator, a set list function (recalls performances and songs at the touch of a button), the Jump patch is easily re-created on it, it has a fully-fledged Leslie simulator (as used on the VK organ range, with acceleration, etc.), great sounds and a colour screen (no touch screen though). And it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
GC

NonDairy
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Re: Some criteria

Post by NonDairy » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:24 pm

gcoudert wrote:Roland Fantom X7. The Mod (or Leslie speed or whatever) can be mapped to one of the four programmable knobs so it can stay on any setting rather than bounce back to zero every time. Effect control is pretty versatile.
The dedicated octave and transpose buttons are easily accessible, sounds will keep playing if you sustain them while switching patches if you want them to (the effects won't though unless consecutive patches share the same effects), it has a sampler, a nice programmable arpeggiator, a set list function (recalls performances and songs at the touch of a button), the Jump patch is easily re-created on it, it has a fully-fledged Leslie simulator (as used on the VK organ range, with acceleration, etc.), great sounds and a colour screen (no touch screen though). And it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
I was maybe hoping for a different sound set. The Stage takes its pianos (and mostly everything else) from the Fantom. Not that I'm against buying another Roland, but maybe a Yamaha or a Korg (or a Kurzweil) would offer something different. I've never been blown away by the Roland pianos. A little too muted for my taste.

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