Originally posted by Bachus:
What MS really really needs to become the ultimate success is a huge community of people creating awesome stuff (Styles/sounds/performances) on it and sharing it over the web.

I am only wondering how long it will take till someone finds a way to copy all those gorgeous Audya styles and then create his own Q-ranger styles with that raw matterial... and finally sharing it on the web for free...

I don't wanna discuss if its legal or not... but when MS and groove become popular this is going to happen making them even more popular.

And best thing is, Ketron will not sell one instrument less, because a Ketron Customer that likes a closed system that will work straight out of the box will never buy an open system that needs to be tweaked with every song they want to play.

And you can also count on your fingers that there will be a gorgeous freeware soundset available that can stand up to T3 and so make the Mediastation the perfect system to play T3 styles, or a soundset with Roland quallity so Diki can play his favourite styles on MS too.

I don't say its legal, but its going to happen when the Groove becomes popular and mainstream... And people like Helmut Ederer developing styles for the Mediastation and trying to sell it in Germany and Austria will only speed up that process.

I have doubted very long about the possible success of Mediastation and Groove, but the instrument has grown month after month and its finally ready for mainstream music market. As long as Dom keeps improving it (like debugging the faults found by James) and adding more feautures to it, the company has a bright future and will gladly take over the place of companies that stopped being innovative and have left the arranger buiseness (Roland, Wersi, Gem)

Sorry, but I couldn't let it go. You brought the issue up, remember, not me...

The thing is, if a player has the choice between an open keyboard with NO Ketron styles and a real Ketron WITH their great styles, what's he going to do? To be honest, the vast majority of arranger users are more concerned about the styles IN an arranger, than the arranger itself. It's really one of the primary reasons anybody chooses one arranger over another...

And if he chooses the open keyboard but then pirates the Ketron styles, that's one LESS sale Ketron are going to make, because without the option, chances are that he WOULD have chosen the Ketron. And if a significant number of people choose the MS and pirate the styles, what happens as Ketron's bottom line dwindles past the already probably pretty low mark it is at now? Yep, that's right... they go under. And then there are NO new Ketron styles. And the guy that bought the MS and pirated the styles now has nothing new for the rest of time...

Anybody really want that?

This is such short term thinking. Unless Dom steps up to the plate, and starts to make styles for the MS of the same quality that the Ketron ones have (and there's been no evidence of that happening any time soon), OK, you get Ketron styles until they go broke (or copy protect them), and that will be the last you get. Get a REAL Ketron, and you are likely to be provided with new styles for the foreseeable future, but leave them with no income, and that's the end of the gravy train. You'd better REALLY like those styles they have out now! You'll be playing them a LONG, long time...

I also love your optimism that there will EVER be a freeware soundset for the MS that rivals the closed one. Let's face it, Yamaha have probably spent MILLIONS over the years honing and developing the soundset they have now in a T3. Making these things is NOT an easy process. It's VERY expensive and difficult to do. As proof, I offer the example of, even after YEARS of soundfont development by amateurs, there still isn't a single one out there as well integrated and consistent as the closed keyboards have. Anyone remember the 'T2 Clone' project that Dom talked about years ago? I wonder whatever happened to THAT? Truth is, once someone working on this starts to realize the technical, financial and artistic hurdles to actually achieving a complete soundset superior to a closed keyboard, they give up in frustration. Sure, you want AVERAGE GM/GS/XG playback, you got all kinds of options. But who wants that? Average sounds coming out of an anything BUT average arranger?

So, I love your optimism, but after what, five or SIX years of development, the open keyboards have yet to achieve an OVERALL superiority in integrated soundset. Sure, taken one by one, many of the sounds (possibly most) sound better by themselves. But taken TOGETHER (which is the whole POINT of an arranger), they still fail to be as well balanced and coherent as the sets in the T3/PA2X etc.. And I seriously doubt anyone is ever going to be able to develop something that does, and give it away for free. Or even affordably...

You want the best sounds available to come out of your MS, you are going to start to look at the prices of TOTL VSTi soundsets. I mean, are you REALLY contemplating getting something like the MS, and then putting budget GM VSTi's in it? No, you're going to want the best. The best drum libraries, the best guitar libraries, the best piano libraries, the best orchestral libraries, the best bass libraries, the best loop libraries, the best synth VSTi's, and so on and so forth (and don't even START to think about those megabuck orchestral libraries). And those will add up to more money than the MS costs by itself!

Best of luck with those free libraries! Or are you going to pirate all the sounds as well?

Once again, don't get me wrong. I LOVE the MS! I think it does what it does better than anything else out there. I'd LOVE a nice free one (or a 300 one!), and to be honest, if I had the spare cash lying around, I'd even consider one at full price! But I wouldn't go around thinking it will be either cheap or easy to load it up with firstly a soundset that rivals a closed arranger, and secondly with pirated styles that won't sound as good as the original arranger.

And one last comment... What has Dom's beta testing been like, when James is reporting issue after issue in his MS? While I appreciate that Dom is doing his best to squash the bugs as he gets the reports from James, surely Dom should have known about these issues in the first place, and should have squashed them before the software is inflicted on the general user (some of whom will be FAR less technical and understanding than James is - hint hint, Tony! ). Once these things get in the hands of regular arranger players (after all, that's what you are saying it should be), these issues are going to be frustrating.

While it's fascinating to watch all this unfold in real time out in the open here at SZ, what we are watching is a process that SHOULD have happened before the software was released in the first place, out of sight, out of mind, and while it's IS good to see that Dom is right on it (I wish other manufacturers were as responsive), it is also worrying to see how much actually slips out either untested or unfixed in the first place. You don't see this degree of bad beta testing from the majors (or at least, you didn't until the Audya!), and if Dom wants to be one of the major players soon, he might start to hire guys like James WAY before the software gets released, and do this process quietly, discretely and conclusively BEFORE it frustrates its' users (like it did Dennis)...

And, to kick things off, Dom, send ME a 300 MS and I will be only TOO happy to beta test it for you!
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!