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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5857
After a bit more reading, I saw that the new Yamaha arranger has a new key bed. This is definitely good news for people that hated the old one!

But the price increase is troubling, with some people pointing to the touch display as a reason for it, given that many far less expensive work stations have touchscreens. This increase definitely puts the SX into what used to be close to TOTL range, and definitely sits the SX in hi end MOTL range. At this price point, I would expect a 76 note key bed…

But there is much that Roland should learn from this instrument. 1 GB of sample memory is far more practical than 128 MB that the EA7 pathetically has. What were Roland thinking? We haven’t seen a sampler with 128 MB of sample memory since the 90s! It forces third-party sample developers to completely start all over again, as very few contemporary sample sets fit inside that tiny size frame. This may be one of the main reasons so little content exists for the EA7.

But it appears that Yamaha still have not learned one important lesson from Roland. You still have to load everything into the arranger to use it, rather than the far more convenient system Roland have of putting everything on the USB stick. Why this isn’t the standard for all arrangers by now beats me… back up and portability are hugely improved by this system.

It will be interesting to see if Yamaha can learn from Roland and Korg, and have their chord sequencer transpose with the keyboard. Roland cannot do this. Korg could not at launch, but fixed the issue. Maybe Yamaha can get it right from the outset! It is constantly frustrating on the BK-9 that I cannot ‘lift’ the last chorus of a song’s chord sequence by a half or whole step simply by using the transpose feature, and have to stop the CS and actually play the chords again.

Korg made this error on the first PA4X OS, but at least had the decency to fix it. Roland could not be bothered. And they wonder why their business collapsed? A mid priced Yamaha with a decent keybed and a chord sequencer is a huge improvement. But it’s going to take one with a 76 before I’m tempted.
2 months 2 weeks ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5858
Not sure what you mean by not playing directly from USB, unless you are talking about the Samples.
All my Yamaha custom registrations and styles are on USB and I can plug it into any Yamaha arranger and they work great.
I don't want a 76 note arranger. I'm comfortable with 61 and appreciate that it will fit on my current stands and in my bags.
Supposedly the new model will have the Revo drums and an improved VH. That, along with the touch screen, assignable buttons and joystick is getting my attention.
I'm also partial to the light key touch, which is easier on my old fingers and wrists.
With only a FEW of these improvements, such as text display and VH...I could be happy from now on with the EA7 though.
2 months 2 weeks ago

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5859
About the USB, I mean that nothing gets loaded into a Roland before you start to play. You plug your stick into any BK, load the Performance List and that’s it... no styles, no sequences, no audio. It is all loaded on demand. One of the things Yamaha is touting as a feature on the SX is the increase in internal memory for user styles etc.. Hardly as convenient...

This is independent of memory for samples. There’s still considerable stuff you need to load in before you have a machine set up to your specifications. I find Roland’s system simplicity itself. Backup is a simple one step process, put your stick in a different similar model, it is immediately identical to yours. Put back the original it is now immediately the owner’s. Safety copies are cheap, you can easily replace a misbehaving stick on the gig in seconds and carry on as if nothing

Keybed size is always a personal preference, but with a 20lbs 76, weight is no longer a consideration, and being initially a pianist (both acoustic and electric), when called upon for a full two handed piano part, squeezing it into 61 notes involves way too much compromise. I use my Roland for session work, and use sequences and audio tracks as well as styles, so often find myself playing straight ahead piano a lot! Plus, 76 allows a decently usable range for both sides of a split (unless simply playing chords for style mode, I find both sides of a split need room. My case is a pretty tight fit, not much bigger than many roomy 61 cases, and fits my transport with no issues.

One thing about the Revo drums is that they really only sound their best with styles written specifically for them. It would be nice if Yamaha published a tool to convert older styles (which I bet you use at least a few of!) to add the extra articulations for the hi hats etc.. But I admit they are a huge step forward and are finally acceptable compared to Roland’s always punchy drums. Sadly, all the old kits are still in there, and most of the old styles still use them.

Why every last Roland arranger user isn’t screaming at Roland for the return of the Lyrics Viewer app is beyond me. There at least was the solution to text display for sequences and audio, and a tablet/iPad running OnSong solves text for styles. Roland actually do make a VH that will interface with the EA7, and to be honest, I prefer external solutions to VH and vocal processing, allowing us to make our own decisions about what suits us best. A built in VH locks you into it, like it or not (Yamaha’s VH has always been a step behind, IMHO).

Add OnSong and say a TC VH to your EA7, that’s your problem solved! At still a fraction of the price of even an SX, let alone a PA4X. For me, data migration is a big issue and the task of redoing my entire repertoire of hundreds and hundreds of songs for a totally different system is probably the main reason I don’t try out some of these newer arrangers. I guess I’m happy that the BK-9 is still superior to any of the newer arrangers for my specific needs!
2 months 2 weeks ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5860
Thanks Diki,
I do use T.C. Helicon Harmony M with my EA7. In fact I have two of them, one at home and one on the job. I had a Perform VK, but for my simple use I prefer the HM.
Almost always when I've had Yamahas in the past, I have used an external harmonizer. Most of the time I use the harmonizer sparingly and with only one voice, a third above mine, so it's not that big a deal.
The text display is more important. Of course I have a laptop, and a tablet, in fact two of each, but I don't want to have to use it that much. I would prefer the text appear on the arranger screen. When you use an external screen the first thing the audience thinks is "karaoke". I know many hundreds of song lyrics from memory, but in my situation I have LOTS of requests that I may not know as well.
2 months 2 weeks ago

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5861
Roland’s refusal to add a text mode in style play is one of their most frustrating and perplexing displays of stubbornness...

They cannot possibly be unaware of how needed the feature is, or how many sales they are losing to Yamaha and Korg because they DO have this capability, yet year after year, decade after decade, they have dug their heels in and refused to implement what is essentially a very simple software display issue. Text display is one of the easiest things to code..!

Someone at Roland has actively sabotaged their business, and should be fired. To have ignored a key feature, to have actively decided that, despite their competitors all embracing something in response to customer demand, Roland should not add it it because ‘Roland knows best’ is commercial suicide. That person has no business being in Roland’s arranger division. Put them back in sanitation where they belong!!!
2 months 2 weeks ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5862
No argument here. I have emailed them over the years and not even an answer.
2 months 2 weeks ago

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5863
And that, in a nutshell, is why they have, to all intents and purposes lost the arranger market.

In the G70 era, their professional line consisted of the E50, the E60, the G70 and E80. Nowadays it is one model, the EA7 (the BK’s are basically leftover stock completely out of date). No midline model, let alone a TOTL. No 76. No VH. An unsupported sampler with early 90’s era RAM size and zero factory content. No content for the multi-pads (next to none compared to the competition, no way to import any more from MIDI), desperately in need of an OS update to fix poor initial decisions (the Performance List drop from 999 to 100 is a disaster for people with even a modest repertoire). No chord sequencer (why Roland remain conflicted about their feature that everyone else has adopted, even Yamaha finally, beats me!).

Through this financial collapse, ZERO communication with their customers. No web presence, no representative ever discussed our needs and wants (the last time we ever had even a back channel communication was about a bug in an early G70 OS, that’s probably about 14 years ago). You know, if I was trying to fail, this is exactly what I would do!

A sad end to a company that once dominated the market.
2 months 1 week ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.
The following user(s) said Thank You loshk

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5864
I need:
- chord sequencer
- ready to download samples
I think this is still Not the end of the company.
2 months 1 week ago
Roland E-80 v.2.01 (SRX-01, 10), Roland Fantom XR, Yamaha Motif-Rack ES, Roland M-GS64, Ketron SD-2, Edirol PCR-500, Edirol M-16DX, Kawai MAV-8, JBL 4312E

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5865
The problem I see is that Roland seem to have completely moved their focus to synthesizers, leaving an affordable engine for an arranger down to one product, the Integra 7. Admittedly, an Integra based arranger could be an amazing product, but it doesn’t downscale well, and Roland have proved to me at least that they don’t have the slightest interest in the TOTL (or even MOTL) any more.

To have abandoned the TOTL since the E80, and the MOTL since the BK-9, Roland have basically painted themselves into a corner. Arrangers are heavily WS based, and Roland’s WS lineup is pretty synth heavy these days, the FA line and the Jupiter don’t strike me as good candidates to build an arranger with.

The primary issue is most likely that they have let the arranger division slide so far they don’t have the sales to warrant the investment in R&D to reboot the line. And, let’s not kid ourselves, arrangers are becoming pretty irrelevant to the demographic that buys gear in any significant numbers! The demise of the home organ pretty much parallels the way the arranger market is contracting. Gradually, one by one, the major players moved on or went bust, and I think Roland is simply the first out the door.

If the EA7 had been better supported, if glaringly obvious problems had been either fixed by update or by a better model, if Roland had been as interested in supporting the sampler as they did the FA line, I’d have a far less bleak outlook on the future of Roland’s arrangers. But for it to have languished so long with no corrections, for so many of the components that made the BK-9 so superior to have been frustratingly dropped leaving us nowhere to go but other manufacturers if we want to use a sampler and multipads that actually have any CONTENT (or a 76!).

The saddest part is that they already have all the components for an arranger easily able to compete with Yamaha and Korg, combine the BK-9 (and make a 61 version with speakers!) with the sampler and multipads of the EA7 but give the sampler a modern 1GB size RAM size, provide competitive content for both, add the touch display from the G70, provide the missing Link between .txt and .jpg files to the Performance (the BK-9 came achingly close to being able to do this, allowing .jpg display which could be scanned text or fake books to an attached display but no link to the Performance), allow easy import of SMF’s and other style Parts to the multipads, you have something easily able to compete. And that’s without moving to an Integra engine!

But it feels like Roland have given up, unaware of how close they got. And if there’s one good reason to communicate with your customers, it’s that. They just seem like they never knew what we wanted. Because they never talked to us.

I admire your optimism, but let’s face it, it comes despite any real evidence, right?!
2 months 1 week ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5866
Diki is right - a demographic situation!
From 1990 to 1999 there were a lot of musicians who wanted to buy an arranger.
Then their number began to decrease. Now very few young people make music.
And if they do, then only rock music, for which synthesizers are needed.
We also started with rock music :-)
We played with colleagues in the band, and then began to play independently one at a time.
2 months 1 week ago Last edit: 2 months 1 week ago by loshk.
Roland E-80 v.2.01 (SRX-01, 10), Roland Fantom XR, Yamaha Motif-Rack ES, Roland M-GS64, Ketron SD-2, Edirol PCR-500, Edirol M-16DX, Kawai MAV-8, JBL 4312E

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Over 1000 Vintage Synthesizers all in one room #5869
I have said for a long time that there is a strong case for a manufacturer to make an arranger with no old styles in it at all. That is the way to get younger players to use it… You can always load in older styles later if you need them but one thing guaranteed to put a youngster off buying an arranger is a bunch of bossa nova and ballroom styles.

If I remember correctly, back in the day someone made a small arranger with nothing but rap and hip-hop styles in it. It’s sold like hotcakes to the kids!

Fill a modern arranger with well written styles like EDM, rap, hip-hop, and whatever the kids are listening to these days (LOL!) and leave out any style older than 20 years old, maybe arrangers would not die out like they are right now...
2 months 1 week ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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