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Roland intros MODX competitor. Hope for a MODX firmware update?

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Jason
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No, I've already had the Fantom-8. If I didn't have the Fantom-8, I wouldn't want the Fantom-08 due to lack of vpiano. Otherwise, I don't mind the aftertouch story so much since that's something I can supply with an external controller. The Fantom-8 was to replace an RD-2000 (with vpiano) since Fantom-8 is seemingly a super-set of features making the RD-2000 redundant, less flexible, etc.

I think, at some point, I did similar deep-dives into Korg's Kronos vs what was available at the time - Montage. Although I prefer Kronos' effects allocation and other "this and thats" - I didn't end up getting one. Soundscape-wise, the Korg is closer to what I prefer than Roland for bread-and-butter. I justified the Roland purchase since it was replacing gear I already had. So it was more of a footprint allocation game. As well as some concern for Korg coming out with yet another keyboard as they refresh hardware seemingly so often.

 
Posted : 31/03/2022 6:46 am
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argh... I see.

You're joking about Korg refreshing hardware frequently, right? each Kronos edition seems like a white Montage in terms of changes.

 
Posted : 31/03/2022 11:40 am
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[quotePost id=115763]This is where Fantom's less-is-more comes into play.[/quotePost]
As I said, I was only answering the question of what the MODX can do that the Fantom-0 cannot. The availability of instruments of 8 (or more) Elements (as opposed to 4) is a MODX advantage. If you'd like to consider the inability to have more than 4 elements in a part to be a Roland advantage, that's your prerogative. 😉

[quotePost id=115763]Polyphony was mentioned...There's also options for what happens when a repeated note is played. To limit the overlaps (to some "low" value), to have no overlap (next strike of same note cuts off last sample), or to keep stacking until polyphony runs out. [/quotePost]
Ah, thanks for that! Yes, what I was playing involved quickly repeating the same chord, so that could possibly be addressed. But ideally, I think this should be "intelligent" rather than a "fixed" setting. That is, I don't specifically want to limit overlaps to some number, because except in a case where I specifically want no overlapped decay between repeating notes, I'd probably want as many as possible. So I'd want maximum (the "keep stacking" option) up until the point where a note MUST be dropped because you've reached the limits of polyphony, and THEN I want the oldest overlapped notes to be the first to go (before any NON-overlapping note), because that would likely create the least audible note-drop. I wonder if any setting works that way, or if that's something that may differ between boards (i.e. could conceivably be a way that MODX may handle polyphony more intelligently than Fantom).

(BTW, when I ran into this, I wasn't specifically trying to test polyphony, I was just playing the board to see how I liked it, and I happened to improv something with repeating chords over a bass note, and was surprised when the bass note cut out.)

 
Posted : 31/03/2022 2:33 pm
Jason
Posts: 7963
Illustrious Member
 

No, I'm not kidding. I'm saying 2011-2012 for a hardware refresh (Original vs X w/upgraded HDD and internal memory) not to mention early issues with the keybed - not sure which hardware release version fixed the RH3 double-strike issue present in the earlier Kronos. Then Kronos X to Kronos 2 (2015) was a HW redesign with much more in terms of performance and reliability fixes than painting the bezel and sides. This early cadence of significant hardware refreshes 1yr later, 3yrs later was much more aggressive than any other (major) manufacturer's. Than 2017 the LS version, a "light" 88 key was appealing to me. Another 2 years of a major hardware option.

Although I agree there are more releases that equate to the black vs. white Yamaha synth -- the basis for my opinion about Kronos refreshing (with significant non-trivial changes) frequently was not based on those releases.

And I do understand being a PC under the hood that a certain amount of items are unofficially serviceable. However, it's preferable to me that the RH3 fix comes from the factory to benefit from calibration, and CPU upgrade plus reliability fixes in the X are not trivial, and the LS as an entirely new keybed option (for 88) is significant considering I really want an 88 that's "light enough" having returned a Montage 88 prior to 2017.

Korg, for their flagship, seems to have less problems fiddling with hardware-centric updates or possibly just paint themselves in a corner with not building enough quantity (possibly demand is higher than projected) and run into EOL part issues forcing refreshes. Whatever the reason, the Kronos had more "churn" than Roland or Yamaha as I evaluated the situation several years ago.

Pivot - oscillator organization.

I'm just saying you can allocate two 4-oscillator structures to an 8-oscillator structure by layering which gives you more flexibility in the shared structure piece because you can set them the same (to mimic MODX) or you can have them as different (hence more flexibility). But you can't break apart the MODX. That Roland doesn't offer the same content to build up the same kind of pianos or other instruments is a content piece. 4 vs 8 is a structural piece. The content on both keyboards can be user supplied so I somewhat ignore a content deficit on Roland's side to build the exact same composite sounds. In other words, content is not impossible to change but structure is. If, hypothetically, MODX could build 32 Parts 1a,1b,2a,2b,3a,3b ... 8a, 8b (last msg I was focused on direct kbd control Parts) - then those Part-common options that can be different for this imaginary MODX's a vs b would be better even if a+b had to share the same effect settings. So smaller has the benefit of having the option for less sharing of the "common", in this case, Part parameters.

I see both sides here - the importance of content to receive traction on really getting the best out of any structure. My focus is usually on what I absolutely cannot do (which is why I often have crazy "hacks" for my own keyboard that take a long time to summarize) vs. what cannot easily be done. So I have a certain unique perspective that I understand is not always universal.

 
Posted : 31/03/2022 4:20 pm
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[quotePost id=115749]
[quotePost id=115728]How about you, why would you buy what you'd buy, today?[/quotePost]
I buy everything. 😉 Okay, not quite, but I do maintain something of a stable of options. The main board-pairing I expect to use for my upcoming gigs ...
[/quotePost]

This is super impressive. I don't have any way of relating to playing live, or recording live play, as I'm not at all capable on a keyboard. Instead, I'm more like the tech assist for daughter as she composes. And I love dabbling with sound design. And arpeggios.

So it's super interesting to read how a live (talented and skilled) player looks at these things. Very, very different points of view. Can only wonder at what it must be like to be able to sit at a keyboard and play what's in your head. Must be a constant source of amazement and fun, and a whole other level when entertaining others. Bravo!!!

 
Posted : 01/04/2022 3:15 am
Posts: 806
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[quotePost id=115761]The architecture doesn't disallow building an EP with 15 velocity layers and mechanical noise. That's what I meant by the framework is there. This would be accomplished the same way MODX does it - by using more than one "Part" equivalent (Fantom Zone). The limiting factor in realizing this is the content. Pianos/EPs/etc tones on the Fantom do not have collections at different velocities. This is a content choice and not a technical limitation. [/quotePost]
Well, if the content isn't there, then the fact that the architecture doesn't disallow it is kind of moot isn't it? I mean in terms of any actual, real-world usage of the board (unless you're going to do your own sampling).

But also, is the architecture really, fully there to do what Yamaha does, even if you were to use your own samples? What I mean is, there's more to Yamaha's multi-part single instruments than using multiple parts for more elements (which could be done even before Montage, e.g. on every Motif and derivative). Montage/MODX add interface elements to actually accommodate this functionality. For example, you can category-search your pianos, and bring in your 4-Part CFX piano from a single on-screen selection, to mix and match that piano with whatever other sounds you'd like to split and layer it with. Imagine you had a custom-made 4-part piano on the Fantom (well, actually, it would have to be even more than 4 Parts, to have as many elements as the CFX, but let's ignore that for now). Say you want to add that multi-part piano to your current Scene (Performance equivalent). There's no "one button" to bring in that piano. You'd have to know to bring in all 4 of its component parts individually, right? And maybe re-assign which sections of the keyboard they should be assigned to? Also, let's say you want to adjust the level of that multi-Part piano. Does Fantom have a mechanism by which you can "link" those parts for common volume adjustment, as you can on Montage/MODX? My point is, I think maybe the architecture is partially there, but besides not having any content, there's also no real interface support for it. Between all of the above, for all practical intents and purposes, I think the overwhelming majority of users should look at the Fantom PCM sounds as limited to 4 elements, and so that is a legit difference between the available sonic "horsepower" of the two platforms, for a single PCM (sampled) instrument, realistically.

On to another topic... Here's an interesting discovery. As you know, on MODX, there are 8 officially keyboard-playable parts, while the other 8 parts can be played from other sources (a sequence, an external controller). There is a Fantom-0 advantage in having 16 keyboard-playable parts. But there's also a corresponding trade-off. When in the mode where you can play 16 parts, there is NO seamless sound switching available. As soon as you enable the seamless switching feature (which does have the advantage of working with up to 8 Parts instead of 4), the board drops to 8 sounds available in total. Parts 9-16 are no longer available for keyboard playing nor are they even available to be played by a sequence or from an external controller. So with no seamless switching, Fantom-0 has the advantage of 16 keyboard playable parts instead of 8, but if you enable the seamless switching, MODX has an advantage of 16 total available parts (including sequences and external control), vs. 8 on the Fantom-0. So there's another MODX advantage, which I had not seen initially.

Again, I'm not denying that the Fantom-0 has lots of cool capabilities and can beat the MODX in many situations. I'm saying there are also areas where the MODX remains the better tool. But I will also be curious to see where Yamaha goes next. After all, Fantom is 3+ years newer than Montage, and Fantom-0 is 3+ years newer than MODX, and I think it is normal to expect a bit of leapfrog.

[quotePost id=115800]This is super impressive. I don't have any way of relating to playing live, or recording live play, as I'm not at all capable on a keyboard. Instead, I'm more like the tech assist for daughter as she composes. And I love dabbling with sound design. And arpeggios.

So it's super interesting to read how a live (talented and skilled) player looks at these things. Very, very different points of view. Can only wonder at what it must be like to be able to sit at a keyboard and play what's in your head. Must be a constant source of amazement and fun, and a whole other level when entertaining others. Bravo!!![/quotePost]
Thank you! And yes, different points of view can clearly influence our views of the strengths and weaknesses of the boards, because we have different uses... one more reason it's good to have all these options!

Meanwhile, I have picked up a Fantom-07. I don't know yet whether I'll be keeping it, but what persuaded me to try it wasn't how it would compare to any particular Yamaha, but how it would compare to my Korg PA1000 for when I need to work with a "drum machine" as I've talked about in another thread, since that really appears to be one of that board's strengths. Whatever board I use for my drum stuff would also be my "top tier"performance board, likely over the YC73 at the moment. A big advantage of the Roland, then, would be having 76 keys in 15.4 lbs (compared to 61 keys in 23.7 lbs for the Korg). I'd lose the aftertouch. 🙁 There are actually numerous pros and cons in comparing the two, but I don't want to stray too much from Yamaha related stuff here, this probably isn't the place to do an extensive Korg/Roland comparison. But my point here is, not only are there pros and cons when comparing the Fantom-0 to a comparable Yamaha (i.e. MODX), there are also pros and cons when comparing the Fantom-0 to other boards one might want to pair with a Yamaha, depending on your needs, and which Yamaha you have, and it's own strengths and weaknesses which also factor in to what you may want to complement it.

 
Posted : 08/04/2022 4:21 am
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[quotePost id=115997]
On to another topic... Here's an interesting discovery. As you know, on MODX, there are 8 officially keyboard-playable parts, while the other 8 parts can be played from other sources (a sequence, an external controller). There is a Fantom-0 advantage in having 16 keyboard-playable parts. But there's also a corresponding trade-off. When in the mode where you can play 16 parts, there is NO seamless sound switching available. As soon as you enable the seamless switching feature (which does have the advantage of working with up to 8 Parts instead of 4), the board drops to 8 sounds available in total. Parts 9-16 are no longer available for keyboard playing nor are they even available to be played by a sequence or from an external controller. So with no seamless switching, Fantom-0 has the advantage of 16 keyboard playable parts instead of 8, but if you enable the seamless switching, MODX has an advantage of 16 total available parts (including sequences and external control), vs. 8 on the Fantom-0. So there's another MODX advantage, which I had not seen initially.
[/quotePost]

If I remember correctly, the MODX loose seamless sound switching as soon as any of the parts 5-16 is used.

On the Montage however, sound switching is available for all 8 parts under keyboard control (1-8) but not if any of parts 9-16 is used.

 
Posted : 10/04/2022 7:57 pm
Posts: 806
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[quotePost id=116060]If I remember correctly, the MODX loose seamless sound switching as soon as any of the parts 5-16 is used.

On the Montage however, sound switching is available for all 8 parts under keyboard control (1-8) but not if any of parts 9-16 is used.[/quotePost]
Right.

So in terms of MODX vs Fantom-0:

Fantom-0 has two menu-selectable operating modes:

1. Seamless switching among sounds of up to 8 Parts (in most cases), but no ability to use more than 8 Parts in any manner whatsoever

2. No seamless switching, but you can use up to 16 Parts in any combination of keyboard and non-keyboard control.

whereas MODX has a single operating mode : 8 Parts always available under keyboard control, 8 Parts always available under non-keyboard control, with seamless switching automatically and always employed as long as you only use the first 4 Parts

 
Posted : 10/04/2022 8:16 pm
 Phil
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[quotePost id=115193]
To me, one of the biggest advantages Yamaha has had over the years has simply been the quality of their sounds. In terms of straight sampled sounds, Yamaha's are still first-rate. It's in these areas that go beyond straight sampling where competitors are nipping at their heels, sonically.[/quotePost]

I agree that Yamaha's samples are still amongst the very best. Nevertheless, I think Yamaha could constantly renew interest in the Montage/MODX line by adopting the Clavia model of regularly updating a library of free samples to complement the factory-installed waves. It seems like there are very few third parties interested in creating new sample libraries for hardware, so it is mainly up to the manufacturers to provide this level of support to their users.

Maintaining a user base will require not only updating OS functions and features of these premium instruments, but continually expanding their sonic pallet as well. Other than limitations of flash RAM there is no reason we can't have better and more varied string samples (think of how many libraries Spitfire has released of just strings!), brass articulations and gestures, vintage EPs and synth models, etc.

 
Posted : 21/04/2022 1:38 pm
Posts: 806
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[quotePost id=116233]It seems like there are very few third parties interested in creating new sample libraries for hardware[/quotePost]
I think one unfortunate side effect of moving the primary online support from Motifator (for the Motif series and its derivatives) to this site (post-Motif era) is that we lost the "shop," an easy place for users to go to find a wide-range of 3rd-party sounds, and an easy way for a developer to market sounds in such a way that they could easily reach lots of interested users.

 
Posted : 23/04/2022 1:03 pm
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The timing of the Roland Juno-X release is odd.

It's too close in hardware, price and abilities to the Fantom-0 series to do much more than cannibalise Roland sales, with a little bump of its own for those keen to get a premium VST in a box.

Roland would know this. They could/should have normally waited and let the Fantom-0 have a period of clean market "air" to be sold strongly within. Which means they probably also know something that caused them to do this, at this odd time - perhaps that one of their rivals is soon to release an actually good hardware synth that spells the end of milking ZenCore for synth hardware keyboard sales (a new Integra next and last logical big release for this tech).

That could mean that Korg is about to wrap up all their recent efforts into a single super synth, something like a: WaveState, WaveMod & OpSix in a single board with something warm and VA-ish (or Logue) to round it out, or Yamaha is going to drop an actual Analogue CS-New, probably with FM-X and AWM2 included as support acts.

 
Posted : 28/04/2022 2:07 am
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Hey guys,

I have just gone through all of this thread and there is so much information I have gained from it! Thanks.

I am actually considering to buy a 88-keys synthetizer/workstation with a weighted hammer action (must). At first, I played a RD88 in a store and liked it. Then I moved to a more expensive level to MODX8. However, there is no MODX8 in any shop in Prague for a tryout. I must search for user experiences and reviews on the internet. I would like to compose different types of music - mainly loops of hiphop beats/electro swing or popular songs with a touch of jazz. I know it sounds crazy :p I prefer acoustic sounds (piano, guitars, strings...). I am not a big fan of the 80s synths or any electronic stuff.

I was going to buy the MODX8, but suddenly a Fantom-0 series arrived. I have read that it is a really downgrade of the original Fantom with lot of compromises. However, the guys from Anderton were really blown away by its capabilites which brings me back to considering it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oVYQrTUaZM

Does any of you have the experience with the MODX8 and Fantom-08. Which one has a better keybed? What do you think would suit my purposes better? I guess for the workflow of composing in case of the MODX I would have to use it with a DAW. For the Fantom 08 it would not be necessary. Another idea is to buy an MPC and connect it to a MIDI controller with a hammer action. That would be a universal approach, but I do not like that so much.

What I came across and is not mentioned in the forums much is Kurzweil PC4. Do you think it might be a good competitor to the above mentioned two keyboards?

Thanks in advance.

 
Posted : 28/04/2022 11:53 am
Posts: 806
Prominent Member
 

[quotePost id=116403]The timing of the Roland Juno-X release is odd.

It's too close in hardware, price and abilities to the Fantom-0 series to do much more than cannibalise Roland sales, with a little bump of its own for those keen to get a premium VST in a box.

Roland would know this. They could/should have normally waited and let the Fantom-0 have a period of clean market "air" to be sold strongly within. [/quotePost]
To the contrary, the big brothers to these boards--Jupiter X and Fantom--were released on exactly the same day. So there is nothing odd at all about releasing them close to each other, it's very much what they did last time.

Just like last time, while the boards have a lot of underlying similarities, they also have different strengths such that they are largely appealing to different buyers. And to whatever extent someone could conceivably go either way, there's something to be said for making them available about the same time to minimize customers' possibly saying, "heck, if I knew that was coming, I wouldn't have bought this!" Fantom-0 is even so new that most people who own one are probably within their 30 day return window, if they actually do decide this is the one they'd rather have. Result: happy customers either way! But I would be surprised if there were a whole lot of that kind of swapping, since again, they have pretty different strengths. In terms of product overlap in the sub $2k part of their line, I think this actually competes as much if not more with the Jupiter Xm as it does with the Fantom-0. Maybe the System 8, too. But each has something unique to offer.

 
Posted : 28/04/2022 12:58 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=116406]Hey guys,

I have just gone through all of this thread and there is so much information I have gained from it! Thanks.

I am actually considering to buy a 88-keys synthetizer/workstation with a weighted hammer action (must). At first, I played a RD88 in a store and liked it. Then I moved to a more expensive level to MODX8. However, there is no MODX8 in any shop in Prague for a tryout. I must search for user experiences and reviews on the internet. I would like to compose different types of music - mainly loops of hiphop beats/electro swing or popular songs with a touch of jazz. I know it sounds crazy :p I prefer acoustic sounds (piano, guitars, strings...). I am not a big fan of the 80s synths or any electronic stuff.

I was going to buy the MODX8, but suddenly a Fantom-0 series arrived. I have read that it is a really downgrade of the original Fantom with lot of compromises. However, the guys from Anderton were really blown away by its capabilites which brings me back to considering it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oVYQrTUaZM

Does any of you have the experience with the MODX8 and Fantom-08. Which one has a better keybed? What do you think would suit my purposes better? I guess for the workflow of composing in case of the MODX I would have to use it with a DAW. For the Fantom 08 it would not be necessary. Another idea is to buy an MPC and connect it to a MIDI controller with a hammer action. That would be a universal approach, but I do not like that so much.

What I came across and is not mentioned in the forums much is Kurzweil PC4. Do you think it might be a good competitor to the above mentioned two keyboards?

Thanks in advance.[/quotePost]

Andertons is a store. Their videos, whilst fun and light and seemingly frank and truthful, are advertising and promotion: Never critical.

It's very difficult to find truthful reviews, extremely difficult to find critique.

Both models of Roland Fantom have some loop making and editing facilities far ahead of MODX/Montage in terms of features and fun, and bordering on a Ableton Live-Lite experience for moving between "loops" and states to piece together a song.

If you play well, the MODX 8 keyboard you'll likely dislike, especially if coming from a real piano. The Fantom-08 keyboard is better, but still not great. If you're good on a piano, it's well worth considering a great MIDI or mid level but great piano action piano keyboard and an MPC. The MPC range are much, much funner than any DAW on a PC.

Go to a place that sells the family oriented keyboards and try them all out. In there will be some Yamaha models that have the same GHS as the MODX, and many other types. I feel a huge difference between keyboards and I'm not a good player, and know it's highly personal for some players. Some of the Casio models of piano keyboards do have what feels (to me) to be remarkably good actions, especially for the money.

If you're loop focused, and drum focused, too... unless you really want FM-X and know how to get goodness out of sound designing within FM-X (a lot of work, even for someone that knows FM somewhat well)... I don't think the MODX is the best choice.

 
Posted : 28/04/2022 2:14 pm
Posts: 1717
Member Admin
Topic starter
 

[quotePost id=116407][quotePost id=116403]The timing of the Roland Juno-X release is odd.

It's too close in hardware, price and abilities to the Fantom-0 series to do much more than cannibalise Roland sales, with a little bump of its own for those keen to get a premium VST in a box.

Roland would know this. They could/should have normally waited and let the Fantom-0 have a period of clean market "air" to be sold strongly within. [/quotePost]
To the contrary, the big brothers to these boards--Jupiter X and Fantom--were released on exactly the same day. So there is nothing odd at all about releasing them close to each other, it's very much what they did last time.

Just like last time, while the boards have a lot of underlying similarities, they also have different strengths such that they are largely appealing to different buyers. And to whatever extent someone could conceivably go either way, there's something to be said for making them available about the same time to minimize customers' possibly saying, "heck, if I knew that was coming, I wouldn't have bought this!" Fantom-0 is even so new that most people who own one are probably within their 30 day return window, if they actually do decide this is the one they'd rather have. Result: happy customers either way! But I would be surprised if there were a whole lot of that kind of swapping, since again, they have pretty different strengths. In terms of product overlap in the sub $2k part of their line, I think this actually competes as much if not more with the Jupiter Xm as it does with the Fantom-0. Maybe the System 8, too. But each has something unique to offer.

[/quotePost]

Much of what is true of the market for marquee products at the beginning of an approach is not true for later models based on that tech and facing middle tier markets and customers, and certainly not well into the life of tech like ZenCore, now that it's a known quantity, and the recording and editing facilities of the Fantom are known. etc.

You wanna bet that something somewhat good/great is not on the near term horizon from one of Roland's main rivals?

This announcement looks rushed by at least a full season, to me.

 
Posted : 28/04/2022 2:20 pm
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