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After Roland, what?

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After Roland, what? #5894
I know there's a few here that have migrated on from Roland now they no longer make anything other than the EA-7 (and some that have migrated to Roland from the other brands). Although I'm tempted to make the BK-9 my last arranger, there's always the risk of failure and being unable to get a replacement or spares. So I'm interested in opinions from pro players (and home!) about how their experiences have gone moving from Roland to Yamaha, or Korg, or Ketron (that's pretty much the only options, right?). And from those that moved to Roland after a long time on other brands.

I've spent a reasonable time on the PA3X and PA4X, and while they offer many advantages, I found the OS to be incredibly convoluted for the sake of offering a flexibility few ever use, and SMF's need extensive editing from Roland standards to sound their best. Let me be honest here... as a hardcore user of the bender for sounds that need it (darn near everything acoustic other than pianos, and most lead synth!) I have a hard time forgoing that to be forced to input the damn chords and work the variation and fill buttons, so the majority of my repertoire uses SMF's and MP3's.

This makes some of the cool things the Korg and Yamaha's do in style mode that put them way ahead of Roland rather moot at least for me. But I am interested in hearing from people that made the move, what you found killer, what you miss from Roland's, how you feel your sound or show got better, worse, different etc.. And especially, how hard you had to work to get the results at least as good as you had with Roland's.

The new SX900 seems interesting, even more if they offer a 76. I'm afraid the Genos just seems way overpriced. The PA4X-76 seems heavy but very deep, and the new OS NEXT stuff interests me. especially the tools for varying swing factor (like old school arrangers used to be able to do) and thinning the style Parts on the fly. Ketron, I'm just a bit leery of factory support, and the lead sounds not being quite as good as the audio based styles.

But I must face the inevitable, and prepare for a move in case one is forced on me. So, what are your opinions, how do you feel about the move you made?
2 weeks 2 days ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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After Roland, what? #5895

Diki wrote: I know there's a few here that have migrated on from Roland now they no longer make anything other than the EA-7 (and some that have migrated to Roland from the other brands). Although I'm tempted to make the BK-9 my last arranger, there's always the risk of failure and being unable to get a replacement or spares. So I'm interested in opinions from pro players (and home!) about how their experiences have gone moving from Roland to Yamaha, or Korg, or Ketron (that's pretty much the only options, right?). And from those that moved to Roland after a long time on other brands.

I've spent a reasonable time on the PA3X and PA4X, and while they offer many advantages, I found the OS to be incredibly convoluted for the sake of offering a flexibility few ever use, and SMF's need extensive editing from Roland standards to sound their best. Let me be honest here... as a hardcore user of the bender for sounds that need it (darn near everything acoustic other than pianos, and most lead synth!) I have a hard time forgoing that to be forced to input the damn chords and work the variation and fill buttons, so the majority of my repertoire uses SMF's and MP3's.

This makes some of the cool things the Korg and Yamaha's do in style mode that put them way ahead of Roland rather moot at least for me. But I am interested in hearing from people that made the move, what you found killer, what you miss from Roland's, how you feel your sound or show got better, worse, different etc.. And especially, how hard you had to work to get the results at least as good as you had with Roland's.

The new SX900 seems interesting, even more if they offer a 76. I'm afraid the Genos just seems way overpriced. The PA4X-76 seems heavy but very deep, and the new OS NEXT stuff interests me. especially the tools for varying swing factor (like old school arrangers used to be able to do) and thinning the style Parts on the fly. Ketron, I'm just a bit leery of factory support, and the lead sounds not being quite as good as the audio based styles.

But I must face the inevitable, and prepare for a move in case one is forced on me. So, what are your opinions, how do you feel about the move you made?


I switched to a Korg PA900 from the E-A7 for the built in harmony and better screen. The ease of use is much better on Roland. I agree with you that Korg has a lot of power but harder to use. Roland Makeup Tools are fantastic and easy. I think the sounds are generally comparable between Roland and Korg. Yamaha I never liked the registration system but that should be improved with the SX-900 since they have playlist which is a way to organize registrations.

I am just a home player coming over from guitar and bass with limited skills. I got used to the fingering mode where one key produces a major and two a minor (C and Eb for example) but you can still play full chords if you want. Yamaha does not have this so a deal breaker for me. You obviously don't have this issue so the SX-900 could work well if you like the sounds. There will be no 76 key though-I believe they have standardized on 76 for TOTL and 61 for MOTL. The Genos is way, way overpriced as you say.
2 weeks 1 day ago

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After Roland, what? #5896
I'm in Bill's camp. I'm very dependent on "chord intelligence" to fill in the missing notes. Roland's is a well-designed system, perhaps the real genius of Roland arrangers. Once you understand the logic behind it, it really does require a minimum of fingering to play many common chords, without requiring "extra" notes that aren't part of the original chord. If I were stuck on a deserted island for a year with Yamaha or Korg I might learn their system. But I have boards from these brands, and in almost every scenario, they require more keys to be pressed, and/or a change of hand position to reach the needed notes. If Roland goes down for good, they should at least offer their chord intelligence as an app, plug-in, etc. Playing partial chords, especially one-note majors, facilitates fast progressions for less-skilled players, and IMO it's a true force multiplier for songwriters and hobbyists who don't have a traditional piano or organ background.

Ironically, recent Casio models (and the now-defunct GEM) come the closest to Roland's chording system. However even Casio's best arranger, the MZ-X500 has a crummy keybed. Their portable style piano, the PX-560 is better quality if you like a piano feel. But it lacks sync stop, or any control for arranger memory, which is essential to my playing style. (In many cases I want the sound to cease when I release the keys, and resume when I press them again.) If the successor to the PX-560 has sync stop and still has real MIDI jacks, then that would be my next arranger.

There's another workaround for folks who like Roland's chord recognition, but want to harness the features and sounds of another brand. Roland's entry-level arrangers such as the EM-50, EM-25, EXR-5, E-09, etc., have a feature called "EP chord." It's similar to what Yamaha calls "stop accompaniment." If you play a chord (or even one note) to the left of the split with the arranger stopped, it will still recognize the chord and sound a very basic accompaniment: a 3- or 4- note "pad" chord voiced with strings, and a monophonic bass note that follows the bass inversion setting. These chord and bass notes can be output via MIDI. So if you know and like the Roland system, all you need is a functional entry-level Roland keyboard, a MIDI cable, and the current arranger of your choice. With some thoughtful MIDI channel mapping, you can drive the other brand's arranger engine by playing chords on the Roland in the familiar way. The first time I did this, I had both keyboards on an A-frame stand. I was only using the Roland to play chords, and the ergonomics were ok.

Since mid- and top-level Rolands lack this built-in "EP Chord" functionality, I made my own simple user style that does the same thing. You play a simplified chord (1 or 2 keys left of the split for example), and the "Intelligent" arranger generates the full chord of 3 or more notes, and a related bass note. Because many string sounds don't "retrigger" reliably, I discovered that my style works best with an organ voice, and with sync stop activated. The voice and tempo don't really matter, because all I'm sending to the other board are note on and off messages. The receiving arranger can be set to a "fingered" mode, because it's always receiving at least 3 notes. I've been using this type of user style with a BK-7m to drive the arranger engine of my Tyros for almost 5 years! There's very little lag, and the great majority of chords "translate" exactly as intended.

I would love to see Roland continue to develop and sell arrangers, and I'll keep playing mine until it wears out. But I have given some thought to what happens after that as outlined above.
2 weeks 1 day ago Last edit: 2 weeks 1 day ago by TedS. Reason: clarity

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After Roland, what? #5897
Thanks for your input...

Yes, you’re right, as a pro piano player, I’m unconcerned with these fingering modes, but one thing that really concerns me is that no one has got Roland’s Pianist 2 mode, where chords don’t change until three played notes (which is the only option for other brands) but needs five with sustain pedal down. This is a complete game changer for decent pianists and Roland are the only brand with it.

I always was walking on eggshells before this mode, having to be ultra careful what I played lest it upset the chord recognition, but Pianist 2 mode allows me to almost completely ignore the arranger and it just gets it right 99% of the time. I honestly have never been able to play completely normal piano playing before without the chord recognition totally freaking out!

It’s one of the things I would be happy that the competition copies, like both Yamaha and Korg have copied the Chord Sequencer. Along with the Makeup Tools (nobody comes close), all data on a USB stick, and the Dynamic Arranger.!

It’s kind of sad that even Roland don’t seem to recognize the value of much of their OS, as often as they drop their best features...
2 weeks 1 day ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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After Roland, what? #5898
It also irritates me that Yamaha's simplified chord systems-- BOTH of them-- have become a quasi-standard, and are present in many of the competing brands, including Roland.

Yamaha's "nearest black key to the left for minor chords," etc., was copied first by Technics, then Korg, Roland, and finally Casio. Later, circa 2000, Yamaha introduced their "AI Fingered" system, which allows the player to use two-note fingerings for "slash" chords, and continue to play ordinary chords in any inversion by pressing at least three of the notes that make up the chord. On some songs, this "AI Fingered" approach does reduce the need to reposition your hand for successive chords (Example: D/F# followed by Em.) However, playing a single note in the accompaniment zone produces a Unison [1+8], instead of the more common major chord. What were they thinking!? To top it all, about four years later Korg blatantly copied this logic, including the single-note as Unison. Korg calls it their "Expert" mode.

Roland's system has the most merit, but except for Casio's latest offerings, none of the other brands offer a "migration path."
2 weeks 1 day ago

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After Roland, what? #5899
After Roland, what?
!!! DEXIBELL !!!
2 weeks 1 day ago
(home and stage)BK7m+Dexibell S9 + Ipad ;(homestudio) Acer Intel-i7 laptop, E-mu 0404usb,Edirol-PCR800

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After Roland, what? #5900

Diki wrote: Thanks for your input...

Yes, you’re right, as a pro piano player, I’m unconcerned with these fingering modes, but one thing that really concerns me is that no one has got Roland’s Pianist 2 mode, where chords don’t change until three played notes (which is the only option for other brands) but needs five with sustain pedal down. This is a complete game changer for decent pianists and Roland are the only brand with it.

I always was walking on eggshells before this mode, having to be ultra careful what I played lest it upset the chord recognition, but Pianist 2 mode allows me to almost completely ignore the arranger and it just gets it right 99% of the time. I honestly have never been able to play completely normal piano playing before without the chord recognition totally freaking out!

It’s one of the things I would be happy that the competition copies, like both Yamaha and Korg have copied the Chord Sequencer. Along with the Makeup Tools (nobody comes close), all data on a USB stick, and the Dynamic Arranger.!

It’s kind of sad that even Roland don’t seem to recognize the value of much of their OS, as often as they drop their best features...


Yes, very good point. Nobody else has that mode. For what they charge for the Genos, they should have every mode known to man. BTW, as a pro player, I suppose you could justify the expense of the Genos-just write it off as a deduction.
2 weeks 1 day ago

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After Roland, what? #5901
If a move ever comes (and, to be honest, it only will if my BK-9 fails and I cannot find a good second hand one) currently the Genos is at the top of my list. But I hope if it ever happens, it happens after the next Genos. Second generation of Yamaha‘s usually are much better than the original, and it will also give Yamaha more time to make styles for the Revo drums, which are the only kits in the Genos that give the Roland’s a run for their money. I would never have considered a Yamaha until these came out...

The real problem with the Revo kits is that they use a lot more non-standard notes for the extra hi hat and other sound articulations, which means that you cannot simply replace an old kit with them and have the results sound as good as the factory Revo styles. I would expect by the next generation Yamaha will have made a ton more styles for the Revo kits and there will be more consistency of sound. Ideally, they might come out with some software that automatically optimizes old styles for the Revo kits.

I do a fair amount of country in my sets, and one thing I would love to have is the Genos pedal steel system! I’m not sure how it works, whether it bends only the top note or only the thirds, but being able to bend one note WITHIN a chord is the signature trick of pedal steels. Genos pulls this off incredibly well.

I know I can deduct my keyboards, but I do a lot of beach work, and it’s hard to feel comfortable putting such an expensive keyboard in a marine environment. Maybe the second generation SX will offer a 76...
2 weeks 9 hours ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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