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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Which synth workstations do you think is the best over all for you and your music?


March 25, 2002 @02:10pm

The technological advancements with respect to synthesizer workstations are awesome. Due to the proliferation of new workastations both of the garden variety (non-sampling) and those with, the purchase of one can be an agonizing experience. I personally chose the Roland Fantom as it best fit my needs in terms of budget and features. Had I had the bucks to spend certainly the Kurzweil K2600 w/sampling would have been my first choice. I have always been a Roland fan but I tried not to let that taint my level of objectivity when I auditioned the various keyboards (Yamaha Motif 76, Korg Triton Pro 76, Korg Karma, Kurzweil K-2600). IMHO you can't go wrong with any of the aforementioned workstations. Again, I had to draw the line and cost was a major criteria in my selection. If I had more $$$ to spend I could have easily justified the additional cost. To those of you agonizing over the purchase of a one of these new powerhouses good luck and rest assured that whatever choice you make will keep the music flowing for a long time to come.
March 25, 2002 @05:47pm

I still like my ASR-88. Of course, I haven't much choice in liking it, since nothing new is in the forseablefuture for me! However, I still fundamentally *like* the sounds and the features...
March 25, 2002 @08:07pm

Have and use the Korg Triton and Kurzweil 2500SX. Both are great - the pianos on the Kurz make it indispensible, but the Triton produces most of the other sounds I like to use better.
March 25, 2002 @11:26pm

Having had some exposure to a variety of keyboards over the years, I can say without question that anything Kurzweil at least bears consideration. The band I was in over 12 years ago had a Kurzweil (don't remember the model...just that it was heavy, but sounded fantastic!), and the name stuck with me ever since. My Mark 12 digital piano does a fantastic job with piano sounds (I would hope!), but also models strings very well and does a nice job with some woodwind and synth sounds. I'm also a big Roland fan, and have been impressed with the new Fantom that our church purchased (to go alongside a Korg Triton). Both have their positive points, as the other keyboardist and I tend to bounce from one to the other, depending on the song we're playing. Personally, though, of the two, I favor the Roland. I tend to look at the keyboards with an eye first at the piano and EP sounds, then at other sounds I would use either in performance or recording -- namely, strings or some horn/reed sounds. I also had the chance to use a Yamaha EX-5 for a few months on a project, and was quite impressed with its piano sounds. In all, it's a case of different strokes for different folks, but my advice to anyone considering a digital keyboard is to look at why they want it, what they'll use the most off of it, then find the best match of utility and dollars.
March 26, 2002 @11:53am

Roland XP80 for me. For a live keyboard and as a studio controller it's perfect for my needs - once I learned how to program it to my liking, requiring a journey through a manual that should be banned by the EPA for the levels of frustration it contains. But once programmed, I can get exactly where I need to go very fast, usually with no more than two buttons. Its MIDI functionality is adequate for my needs and its internal presets sound fine for most live gigs. There are better individual sounds available, but for an all-in-one-package what Roland supplies - both stock and on their expansion boards - is darned good. Athough their brass and pianos need serious overhauls, IMO.
I have it set up five ways. I carry the sysex dumps with me to every gig or session on one main floppy and two backups. One setup is a studio template, one a "lite" live setup (no external modules), one live setup for use with one other module and another for use with two.
I've considered upgrading to a newer Roland, but after five years of tweaking the programming and presets to where I'm almost perfectly happy, I'm in no mood for another Roland learning curve. It's a great workhorse synth/controller just as is.
April 15, 2002 @07:13am
Micah Touchet

I have a YAMAHA EX-5 and I really like it. Great sequencer with lots of editing options, the option of 81megs of sample RAM, five different sound-producing methods, including realistic samples, analog modeling, and virtual acoustic modeling. The pianos, brass, guitars, strings, and drums are nothing short of amazing, as is the entire keyboard, and there is a vast amount of control available, like piles of footpedal jacks, wind-controller, knobs, knobs, knobs, and wheels. I just don't see why it didn't seem to be that big of a deal. I wish there were more sample CD-ROMS available out there.
July 10, 2002 @08:37pm

Korg Triton Pro-X. Not because it's the best-sounding (the stocker piano sucks except for Latin and R&B) or because it has a good action (it doesn't). But because it is really easy to get around and allows me to get the results I want very quickly without a lot of tweaking. And many of the sounds are great. For pop and electronica, it's still my favorite, and combined with a Roland XV-5080 and a bunch of expansion boards, all the bases are covered.
July 11, 2002 @03:11am

THAT'S RIGHT MICHAELK! Way to represent! You hit it right on the nose. The XP-80 is for me. I am a really big Roland fan. What lead me to buy it? Well, just playing on other's XP-80s a few years ago until I wanted one very badly. I wouldn't recommend this keyboard to anyone now, though. NOT because it's bad, but because it's very old and I don't think it sells anymore. I'm glad I bought it when I did. I would probably recommend a newer one, like the Fantom or XV-88 or something.
March 15, 2003 @02:43pm

My Triton Extreme is easily my choice with the library, the arpeggiators and the 96meg sampling.
April 26, 2005 @11:04am