Maybe I’m just jaded or I’ve been doing whatever it is I’m doing for too long but I just had a look at the specs for the new Roland “flagship” synth and I’m kinda surprised. Is this really what people want in a synthesizer now-a-days!? Between this, the Jupiter 80, the Korg Kronos, anything from Yamaha and all the re-hashed over-priced rompler-ish stuff from Nord, I’m assuming there are no pioneers left in the bigger synth manufacturers. They all sound good but so what? In a mix or live situation with a band, my circa-1999 Kurzweil sounds great too. The best the industry has been able to do in the past few years is improve sample quality and analog models, add a bunch of effects, re-use existing tech as much as possible and call it the greatest new thing.
Okay, I’m ranting but I suppose I don’t understand the market anymore. Who is the target market for this stuff? My only hope for the “mainstream” guys is Kurzweil at this point, and they are not mainstream really. One of these big guys needs to give Olivier a ton of money to toss all of his boxes into something that looks like a Jupiter 80 with a great user interface, and then we’ll have something truly new. An Ambika with 8 of each type of voice card that could be mixed and matched, a Shruthi bass voice and lead voice, MIDIPal built in and some of those cool filters Olivier is working on, lots of buttons and knobs and blinking lights of course, and with the help of the big guys, we’re probably around $2000.00 or so.
This calls for an even bigger thank you to people like Olivier, who are actually thinking about what they’re doing.
Yeah, somewhat worrying but it’s convenient. It’s a bit like the old Showview codes, barcode scanners and other weird solutions to VCR timer programming demorkifications that went away with DVRs and decent EPGs.
There ought to be at least a bare-minimum user interface in the box and an editor for grown-up computers as well. I’d rather buy gear with lots of knobs as it inspires me, but something complex like this new Roland wouldn’t be feasible to fully knob out.
Well, considering that we already have “iPad synth” it seems like a logical next step towards insanity to make a “synth + iPad”… Just look at the Akai keyboards designed to function as a keyboard for iPad vst synths…
Am I the only one to find it worrying that the “editing interface” of synths is a computer you don’t own/control, and which has a lifespan of less than 5 years?
@gwaidan: No worries, I just thought that I had written something stranger than usual
I predict that more and more new gear will have an iPad-ish interface. The JP-50&80 have an iPad editor as well. I don’t see why more new gear won’t have it. It looks like Soundtower (of ugly early 90’s looking editor fame) and iControlMIDI are both expanding their product offerings. The latter are expensive but works. Sad that they cop out using standard iOS GUI elements to make it all look boring. Le sigh, I guess one can’t have it all.
Wonder if we’ll see an Akai Z6000 where the iPad is the detachable front panel? Or a Yamaha Moxie?
@jojellito: Oops-I should read in less of a hurry-sorry!
Let Roland continue to make digital stuff, plenty of cool small companies making analog gear. I should imagine for soundtrack work a device like this would be great, the ipad interface is interesting, what other stuff has that?
@gwaidan: I stated that the Voyager was overpriced. Please read what I wrote again. Then I called Oberheim boutique analog
As I have a decent modular my interest in a new SEM or a knockoff is exactly zero so I don’t have any horses in that race. As I wrote above on Aug 31 I think it’s nice that the choice is there for those who need it.
I don’t see why a iPad being a requirement is a bad deal. I’m not going to go tell Roland that they must make a PG-7000 that 5 people will buy so it has an astronomical support cost per user. I’m fairly sure that someone else can make an Integra editor if they want to. But yes, it is an evolution of the XV-5080 sans the unloved proprietary Rbus and with usable surround facilities. If it sells it sells. Either way, I think it’s nice that Roland makes a Synth for a change. The JP-80 is not the right product for a lot of people. To me it’s just as boring as the Kurzweil PC3s or some other hideously expensive knobless piano and Hammond emulator.
Of course I always keep hoping that the big guys release something that’s playable and fun just like the K5000s or the olden Jupiters, CSes or FS1r or JD-800s. Mutable is a shining beacon of hope!
I don’t think you’re missing anything Frank-that seems about right.
those features may be nice to a lot of people, i imagine…
but it is just not what i am looking for in a synth.
and why has everything an ipad interface nowadays? i get the whole thing about multitouch beeing nice for UI design, but i think machines only really benefit from it if the ui is really clever and innovative, making use of the multitouch in something else than just “different mouse cursors at the same time”.
i really prefere a kind of setup where i have to change cables to get different fx routings, broote over my midi routing, having a lot of knobs and all the different connecors are so big that i can solder all the cables myself if i want to.
if it leads to spending more time “working on my setup” than actually making music, its fine with me, because i am having fun.
Back to Topic. Is it just me being bored or isn’t there anything really new in this thing. OK, it can place the Instruments in a Stereo Panorama, a cool Trick I’m using my ancient Edison for. Supernatural seams to mean “better samples”. To make real use of it ill have to grab an iPad if i understand right - not so nice, the principal problem is makin a 2HE unit usable but if you have to buy a 400€ additional piece of gear?
So its seems more an evolution of the xv-5080 thingie rather than something really new or am i missing something??
@jojjelito: I have to disagree about the basic Tom Oberheim SEM being overpriced-for something that’s boutique produced with expensive parts (ie Elma collet knobs) it seems a pretty good deal to me (at least in $US). It’s cheaper than Analogue Solutions’ SEM knockoff (Telemark) for starters, and cheaper than assembling a Eurorack equivalent.
I have one (Blofeld), it’s not that bad. But it just has a very low output which really annoys me.
Can you use it for more than 15 minutes whithout crashing? I had one of the very first items and was badly disappointed comparing it to the µQ and µW…
Yep. It’s had a lot of development since. But I can’t say I will buy Waldorf again.
The Moog Voyagers are at least 1000USD too expensive for what you get in order to be relevant, but they and Oberheim can live off their name and being boutique analog. Still, if you can afford it why not?
It’s sad that Waldorf let their firmware QA slide that badly - guess that and cost is why we haven’t seen the Stromberg yet.
If the Stromberg is as buggy as the Blofeld when delivered to the first customers the Waldorf Guys will get planed like a Truffle… personally i don’t think we will ever see it.
With some of that vintage kit it is probably cheaper to leave it on. The cost of leaving it switched on in electricity is probably cheaper than a repair bill. You won’t have all the warm up and cool down effects (expansion and contraction).
Just wanted to note i returned the Blofeld after 3 days because of total sonic/userinterface Failure. If its your only hardwares synth its certainly a nice machine - owning some of the old Waldorf machines its just a Plugin in a Box.
I never had a problem with my OBX. As long as I remembered to give it a 1/2 hour to warm up before the first set, it stayed in tune and sounded great. The Minimoog I used for rehearsal was also fine. Jojjelito, I agree with only part of your list. The newer Waldorf stuff is buggy, the re-issued Oberheims and Moogs are, in my opinion, over-priced and the new Casios didn’t really impress me either, except for the price. I saw the VA-1 when I visited Kurzweil R&D in Boston early this year, it would’ve been really cool! Grabbed a photo of Dave Weiser’s “office” and the VA-1 is leaning against a wall.