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#2135347 - 08/19/13 12:05 PM Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation?
upbeat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/13
Posts: 82
Loc: Argentina
Hi guys!

I'm new here, so please bear with me.

I've been playing piano for a little while now, and looking to get a synth/workstation. I already have a weighted DP (Kawai CL30), which if I upgrade I think I'd go acoustic, so a weighted keyboard is not a requirement.

What I want is, in a nutshell, a synth or workstation on the $1500 price range (no issues with buying used) with a nice musical piano sound and EPs, realistic orchestral sounds (woodwinds and strings especially) and, if possible, a user friendly interface. The use would be for composing pieces for small ensembles and maybe performing a bit somewhere down the line.

So far, I'm looking into a used Kronos, or something from the Motif series, but since I can't really try any of these where I'm at, I thought I'd ask for some advice from more experienced players.

Thanks everyone!


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#2135371 - 08/19/13 12:30 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
anotherscott Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 4006
Kronos would be the Korg of choice. In Yamaha, the MOX will basically give the you same sounds as a used Motif XS, might save you some money and would be easier to carry around. Your best Kurzweil choice would be a used PC361. From Roland, a Jupiter 50. Each of these does some of the sounds you want better than the others, or to different people's tastes.

#2135377 - 08/19/13 12:34 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
Petro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 33
Loc: North Land
Well, As an owner of both Kronos and Motif I strongly recommend you to try them both however difficult it is. There is no simple answer here.
EPs - Kronos, Orchestrals - Motif, interface - Kronos, Cubase - Motif, Standalone - Kronos, and so on and so on. They just complement each other. )))
If I could only get one for the same price I would go for Kronos I think...

Edited by Petro (08/20/13 01:07 AM)

#2135563 - 08/19/13 05:37 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
Big McLargehuge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/13
Posts: 46
I'm partial to a used pc361, especially considering price ($900 to $1000 or so). I like good metal build quality (at the cost of more weight to be sure), just don't like the lighter flimsy boards like the m50 etc. Action has to be considered as well. The pc361 and Kronos are both nice, I think the Kronos has the m3's action which is great. The pc361 shares the same action as the Access Virus boards, so if you see one of those you'll get an idea.

I needed a good organ sound and that (IMO) set the Kurzweil apart from other non-clonewheels in that price bracket--the Kronos of course has the cx3 engine but it's a lot more money. Ironically $1500 isn't far from my budget, and for around that I could get the pc361 plus say a Yamaha cp33 (I'm currently after a weighted piano-centric board), or go up a few hundred to a cp50, casio px5s (new), roland rd300gx etc.

In your case you've got that covered. The pc3 series has great orchestral sounds...now pop/funk brass I don't think it's very good, but orchestral it's very nice. Good virtual analog as well, though my older Virus sounds a bit more analogue-y. smile In general it's better (again IMO) than my old Motif classic that I owned for years in every way, though EPs I think both sound very good. I can't speak for the newer Motifs as well but the XS sounds in the mox and s90xs do sound good. Motif organ though is still weak if that matters.

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#2135645 - 08/19/13 08:50 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
Boostybleep Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/13/13
Posts: 12
Loc: Mexico
Have you thought about just getting a sound module. Just an idea if the actual keyboard isnt that important to you.

Example modules on ebay

Yamaha Motif $799
Roland Fantom XR $629
Korg Triton $429

#2135661 - 08/19/13 09:29 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15414
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I recently bought the MOX6. I am a classical pianist and opera singer and so my main interest lies within reworking classical music, though not exclusively. My price range was a little lower than yours (wanted to be around $1k), and I ended up finding mine on Ebay for $600. Turns out there was not even a scratch on it (I'm not asking any questions from the seller!).

I tried out Kronos as well and some cheaper Korgs, but I was more interested in the orchestral sounds than electronic. The MOX6 has both, of course, but I really preferred the sound of the acoustic piano, strings, brass, etc. that Yamaha had to offer. To me, Korg didn't have the same depth and character in its acoustic instrument sounds. Anyways, the MOX6 has all the same sounds from the Motif, but not the price tag. Of course, I'm sure the Motif is great too, just out of my price range. I also tried out the Roland Juno which I could not stand with the smaller keys.

What I've learned, however, is what a great synth this is! I'm still learning how to use it, but I'm amazed at its versatility. I'm very happy with my purchase, and I think with any of the instruments you have your pros and cons, but they're all great synths. What really sealed the deal for me was trying them out though. Seeing as how that's not possible for you, it's a good idea of avoid Ebay or craigslist and be sure to order from a reputable dealer that has a good return policy (and know the terms of the returns prior to buying to make sure you don't make a mistake!), just in case you have buyer's remorse.

Edited by Morodiene (08/19/13 09:29 PM)
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2135672 - 08/19/13 10:10 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
upbeat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/13
Posts: 82
Loc: Argentina
Thanks for the replies!

The thing about the Kronos is that, from what I've heard, the piano doesn't really sound that musical or organic to my ear, 2GB or not (keep in mind that I'm judging through audio files and youtube videos).

I do like the Kurz pc361, mainly due to its orchestral sounds, but I seldom see a used one on ebay.

The sound module is an interesting option to look at. I hadn't really considered it. Any good ones to recommend, other than the ones already mentioned?

Thing about a store with return policy is that I'm in Argentina. We don't really have that over here. My plan is either to buy online, and have it shipped to friend's place in NYC if the seller doesn't ship internationally. I might be going over there in a few months, so I guess I could go to a couple of stores and try them out then, but I'm just too impatient.

#2135681 - 08/19/13 10:36 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
anotherscott Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 4006
Another nice rack module to look at would be the Roland Integra-7, which gives you the same SuperNatural acoustic sounds as the Jupiter 50 (very nice behavior modeling of many solo orchestral instruments), as well as their entire library of older sampled SRX sounds.

#2135734 - 08/20/13 01:42 AM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
Petro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/13
Posts: 33
Loc: North Land
Piano souns in Kronos are really good - have no idea why some people (in YT reviews as well) use it dry, without trying to tune it up, there lots of possible settings are there. The fact is that Kronos' defaults give you just bare samples while motif' introduce lots of additional post-processing (quite good though) from the box - that is true for almost all sounds in them as well.
But Motif EPs are awful really - no chance you will use them once trying the Kronos'.

Another point - Arps or Karma? There is a big advantage for me in the latter. Motif arps sound sooo cloying those days even considering some nice adds in the latest XF version, not to speak of XS. Integra has nothing about the arps BTW.

And as for the Sound Module as an idea - they are always losing in convenience and features against both full models and SW, but still cost quite a lot. I think SW synths will blow them out soon for that reason.

Edited by Petro (08/20/13 12:00 PM)

#2135846 - 08/20/13 09:28 AM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: upbeat]
Big McLargehuge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/13
Posts: 46
I also wouldn't mind a sound module to pair with my weighted controller (instead of getting a new board). Not many of them out there...though the Roland Integra7 looks very good, it's just more $$ than I can spend for my live playing! It's not far off your limit, though prices may be different there. That's unfortunate you don't have stores like Guitar Center with the 30-day return, it's peace of mind for sure. Actually the pc3le6 might do just as well for you; it's missing some effects horsepower (including the Double Leslie that many people think really helped the b3 sounds) but for the most part it is the same. Again an organ thing, but it has knobs instead of faders and if you use the faders as drawbars that could be a bit odd. I think the le6s are more common than the pc361 and might be a bit cheaper.

Other module options: Motif rack xs, fantom (not sure latest one). Also the Roland Sonic Cell, not sure how good the sounds are but someone near me was selling one for $300 so I was considering it.

Lastly of course you could consider a laptop rig. For home use software is all I use, it's just so incredibly convenient and can sound very good considering the synths and piano libraries, organs such as VB3 etc. By convenient I mean no audio cabling, just one midi/usb input to the computer interface and everything happens inside the computer. You can take a song to the park and re-mix it in your headphones, choosing different patches etc! Changes to patches are even saved with the songs, so you don't have to worry about overwriting patches. Lastly, the effects plugins are right there as well, no outboard gear to worry about. I just remember back in the late 80s and trying to re-patch everything, setting up the console, all the hardware synths, so it makes me appreciate having it all on dropdown menus that much more smile

For live use I get a bit nervous about a laptop--it's certainly doable but I personally would not do it without a backup hardware keyboard. It takes a bit more cabling and you need a safe place for the laptop, it's a bit "fiddly" compared to plugging in a keyboard and playing!

#2136198 - 08/20/13 06:42 PM Re: Help: Best 61-key synth/workstation? [Re: Big McLargehuge]
PossumES8SP280 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 726
I would also encourag you to try the Krome out
Roland Juno Gi
Casio PX-130
Korg Krome 61
Korg SP280
Kawai ES8
Rokit KRK 6 monitors
MXL V67G microphone


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