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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 20th September 2008 , 09:21 PM
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Thumbs up User Reviews: Synths, Workstation keyboards, digital pianos

Hi everyone, this is a user review thread that focuses on Synthesizers, workstation keyboards and digital pianos. Please write a review of any items you currently own within those categories using these guidelines as best as possible...


1. Name of the product and current version:

2. When you bought the product:

3. Why you bought it:

4. How much did it cost:

5. Installation / Setup:

6. What do you like about it?:

7. What don’t you like about it?.

8. Any improvements:

9. Comparison to similar products:

10.Would you buy it again:

11.Licence:
a. Transfers allowed?
b. How many, per (PC or MAC)

12. Format (PC or MAC):

13.Copy Protection:


14. Pros and cons summary:

15. Rating:




Please bear in mind they are just guidelines. You can make your review as long or as short as you wish of course. Thanks for your help!
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Last edited by Monarch; 22nd September 2008 at 06:44 PM. . <
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Old 21st September 2008 , 11:41 AM
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1.Name: Korg R3 37-Key Synthesizer / Vocoder

2.When you bought: Q1 2008
3.Why you bought it: wanted a vocoder/synth
4.How much did it cost: £409.99
5.Installation: Easy
6.Likes: Vocoder, tbh there is nothing in particular that appeals to me
7.Dislikes: Can be quite difficult to program and the lcd displays are quite small
8.Any improvements: easier programming, more vocoding options
9.How does it compare: i haven't had enough experience of others to be able to fairly comment
10.Would you buy it again: probably not

Pro's - vocoding ability

Con's - can be awkward to design and save a new patch
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Old 10th October 2008 , 09:41 AM
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1. Name of the product: M-Audio Axiom 49 Midi Keyboard Controller

2. When you bought the product: Year ago

3. Why you bought it: Best one I researched, at the time, at the price

4. Cost: £150?

5. Installation / Setup: CD, USB, Play

6. Likes: Playability - which is my main use.

7. Dislikes: Not easy to set up with some DAWs. Many DAWs have joined with keyboard companies and cater better for the ones they are in business with.

8. Improvements?: A more detailed manual - not easy to know what things are doing and why they are doing it when a beginner,

9.Would you buy it again?: Yes. Itís still the best Ďplayingí keyboard at this price and is totally reliable.

10. Pros and cons summary:

Has all you need and plays great. Reliable. Faultless.

Setting up to DAW can be a challenge - which may frustrate users who need more of a control surface. These companies need to address this problem of suiting one DAW over another due to business marriages. Itís a bit stifling.

11. Rating: 4.8/5
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Old 10th October 2008 , 10:53 AM
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Thanks guys for getting the keyboard section off to a good start! We should be up to 60 user reviews now in total. Big thanks to all.
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Old 18th October 2008 , 12:36 PM
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Default Dave Smith Instruments Mopho

1. Name of the product and current version: Dave Smith Instruments Mopho.

2. When you bought the product: 11/10/2008.

3. Why you bought it: Looking for an affordable analogue synth.

4. How much did it cost: £250 from Digital Village in Birmingham.

5. Installation / Setup: Download and install editor. Set-up MIDI and Audio Cables.

6. What do you like about it?: Fantastic sound. Excellent editor makes it easy to control. Basic and no-nonsense analogue synth.

7. What donít you like about it?: Front panel knobs have to be turned quite a bit to make changes, 4 turns to go from lowest value to highest. They feel a little bit cheap. MIDI compatibility with external controller. I.e. Cut-off has a value of 165 on device when you turn external controllers knob it stops at 37.

8. Any improvements: Better MIDI compatibility with external controllers.

9. Comparison to similar products: I don't think there is a better device at this price level.

10.Would you buy it again: Absolutely YES. I love it!

14. Pros and cons summary: Unbelievably cheap but doesn't sound it. Fantastic sound and excellent free software editor. Knob quality not great and MIDI compatibility could be better.

15. Rating: 9 out of 10.
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Old 1st February 2009 , 07:51 AM
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Default Novation Xio (Xiosynth) 25

There was an image here, but it was huuuuuuuuuge so I took it down

Name of the product: Novation Xio25

When you bought the product: About 9 months ago

Why you bought it: I needed an audio interface, wanted a synth and a controller seemed useful.

How much did it cost: £180ish

Installation / Setup: Plug in USB (or power adapter for stand alone) and go

What do you like about it?: Worked really well from the off, for the price it provided something to plug my monitors into and gave me something that made noise as well as acting as a basic mini keyboard which was all I wanted. There are templates for most sequencing programs included, but I haven't really used the Cubase one as I just have it as a midi-keyboard and use the mouse to change everything else. It looks pretty good as well, looks well laid out and has a touch pad and joystick thingy (I'm sure there is a technical term) for modulation and filtering which are both pretty cool. The arp and X-Gator (Trancegate type doodad) on it are pretty mint as well. There are some pretty nice preset patches, some from Ferry Corsten and James Zabelia which are pretty close to their distinctive styles which is fun.

What don’t you like about it? Its a pain in the arse. It shouldn't be, and I have nothing to compare it to, but the knobs just feel like they're about to come off and the whole experience is pretty flimsy. The menus and sub-menus are meant to be easy to negotiate but really they just sort of do their own thing. Some of the writing is almost the same colour as the plastic casing which means you spend a few seconds being distracted trying to select the right menu from the right sub-function button, which gets tedious. The Waveform menu (for example) is too general and affects too many functions that should be sub-divided again.
I didn't really use it as a full controller, you can map your own templates and download more from the site but I couldn't be bothered as I didn't get on with the knobs anyway. The synth is (unsuprisingly) not that good, and I know that a tool is only as good as the meatbag holding it but I didn't feel any sort of connection with what I was doing and the sounds it was making, probably because of my dislike of the controlling odds and sods. But then it is (or at least it was) a sub £200 piece of kit that did 3 things, so it may be a little unfair to judge it on that.

Any improvements: The whole idea is good, its just between fiddly knobs (improvement 1) and irritating menus (improvement 2) that seem to do their own thing when you're scrolling through them (improvement 3) the overall feel is a bit of a downer. Maybe sink a little more thought into it, improve the quality a bit and up the price a reasonably comparative amount and it'll cheer the whole thing up.

Comparison to similar products: Not really used anything similar, but I've turned a few knobs in my day and this doesn't shape up.

Would you buy it again: I probably would if I was after what I was after when I bought it again-but I'd kick myself. It may just be me, and at literally the initial starting point in production this thing is great, but its greatness is outgrown very quickly. Should have saved a bit more cash and not taken a shortcut option.

Format (PC or MAC): Works with XP, Vista and OSX



Pros and cons summary: Jack of all trades, master of none. For the price it fills a decent sized gap in the market but lets itself down on all fronts. Its a basic midi keyboard with a cheap synth and limited interface attatched, then some other features which you may or may not use, if thats what you're after and you're on a budget this is for you, if you like the idea and think this will do you well for all you're studio needs (obviously at a low level) until you're up and making tracks you may want to save your cash and rethink a little.

Rating: Its getting a 4 out of 5. It suffers because its 3 things in one and doesn't do any of them well, but as long as you're aware of this, and don't mind fiddly menu controls and twiddlers then its a great product, albeit with a cheap feel. But then it is (was) cheap, and its value for money gives it a fairly high score in itself.
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Old 2nd February 2009 , 01:26 AM
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Good stuff there Wilty - Excellent review!
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Old 28th July 2009 , 01:39 PM
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1. Name of the product and current version: Access Virus TI2 Keyboard

2. When you bought the product: End of 2008

3. Why you bought it: I bought it because I really needed a new synth after buying the disgracful Roland V-Synth GT so I came up to the DV Birmingham store to see what they had. The guy in the shop reccomended me this and I've never been more pleased with any purchase.

4. How much did it cost: About £1600

5. Installation / Setup: It is very easy to set up, has 3 stereo outs for different uses, an input so you can proccess things even more through it etc. You can also connect it via USB to the computer and it works as a VST in your DAW the only problem I had with installing it etc is that the Virus will update its OS via the computer occasionally so you've got to make sure you've always got the right software version & OS version, nothing difficult though. the installation is nothing out of the ordinary and the update is automatic.

6. What do you like about it?: I love the way it is 'totally intergratable' with a PC or Mac, and can be used as a VST etc as well as hardware stadalone. Aparently in the newest update it is possible to side-chain audio through it directly from the computer rather than using the audio input, unfortunatly my Cubase 4.5 doesn't support that feature at the moment as it would be ace. The sound quality is unbelievably good, I never thought I would hear any synth make a sound that can make 'fatter' sounds than NI massive without being proccessed, but this just rips it. You can get nearly any sound out of it. The panel is very easy to use although half the space is wasted due to them making a desktop module of it. All the filters etc are very powerful which is great as well. Never been happier with any buy.

7. What donít you like about it? The price! Though it is more than worth the money.

8. Any improvements: Keep the updates coming. More versatile LFO patterns, though there is many varied ones to choose from, you can't draw them. Though I don't really think it needs them.

9. Comparison to similar products: I had the Roland V-Synth GT before this, and the sound with that was generally very flat & bland, though it emulated real instuments a bit better than this. The Virus also has a 'fatter' sound than NI Massive (those of you who have used Massive should know what i mean! ) The only thing it needs it the versatile LFO patterns that Massive has.

10.Would you buy it again: Yes, definatly.

11.Licence:
a. Transfers allowed? No idea what this means.
b. How many, per (PC or MAC) It's hardware, so probably just one? Still don't get this question

12. Format (PC or MAC): The VST is both I think.

13.Copy Protection: It's hardware

14. Pros and cons summary: Pros - It is an amaing synth with a very big, and wide variety of sound. It is totally intergratable with a PC or Mac (I think it is with Mac anyway)
Cons - The price is high!

15. Rating: 9.5/10 - the only let down for me really was the price.

I would recommend this synth to anyone into electronic music if they can get the money. It is a must buy!
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Old 28th July 2009 , 02:08 PM
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Nice review Offbeat.. Welcome to DV Forums..

Why not pop HERE and introduce yourself..
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Old 28th July 2009 , 03:09 PM
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Cheers mate will do
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Old 29th September 2009 , 10:20 PM
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1. Name of the product and current version:
Korg MicroKorg



2. When you bought the product:
I've had it about 2-3 weeks

3. Why you bought it:
Because it came with a Liquid Mix

4. How much did it cost:
N/A

5. Installation / Setup:
unpack. Wire in....go. There are pc/mac editors available if you want to control/program it that way.

6. What do you like about it?:
1) Vocoder
2) Very capable synth engine.
3) Can be played on its own with a pair of headphones
4) It's size
5) Can act as a master midi controller, handy as I've had to lose my M-Audio USB device.

7. What donít you like about it?.
1)Fiddlesome and confusing to porgram.
2) The keys are a bit too micro for my chubby fingers.
3) Manual could be translated better
4) No midi CC capability. Its teamed up with my nocturn tho. so not such a big issue.

8. Any improvements:
1)Bigger Keys
2) A couple of Midi CC controllers
3) Easier editing, or at least better explaination in the manual.

9. Comparison to similar products:
None at present

10.Would you buy it again:
Yep !

11.Licence:
a. Transfers allowed?
b. How many, per (PC or MAC)
N/A on both accounts.

12. Format (PC or MAC): It doesn't care !

13.Copy Protection:
N/A

14. Pros and cons summary:
Ultra small and neat synth. It is pretty much just that..a synth. You can run audio through it by turning the vocoder off. But I will leave that to a dedicated audio device.


Overall, I'd give it an 8.5 out of 10.
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