Lee, you don't have to convince me how good the Audya sounds... From the first time I heard the demos, no matter WHAT my criticism of the arranger, the sound was never one of them
But there are still MUSICAL and operational problems, as far as I am concerned. I can still hear MIDI and audio guitar parts swapping in and out, depending on chord played, and I am also someone that doesn't like to use the same style for more than one or two songs, so a never ending supply of fresh styles and beats, lots of conversions and user edited styles are very important to me. The deal with audio loops makes the pool of people creating new and translated styles MUCH smaller than the Big3's resources, plus, as I have said before, tweaking the drum kit for variety, tweaking the guitars for variety (SO easy to do on a Roland!) is completely out with a loop.
I have many styles where I have used the Roland's Cover Tools (a simple 'one button' complete revoice of a style) to create something fresh, or turn a rock style into something a bit softer, and the nature of Ketron's audio loops negates this idea totally. If you are content with ONLY the included ROM styles in an Audya, you are good to go. But how GOOD those styles sound is also its' Achilles heel... translated styles and user styles won't sound NEARLY as good, and from what I've seen for the SD-1/5/3, Ketron aren't exactly overwhelming you with new content all the time...
No doubt at all it sounds great OOTB (one of my primary concerns), but where you can take it from THERE is more limited than what I currently have. Perhaps, when Ketron address making new styles from loops as easy as other manufacturers make editing and 'frankenstyling' (thanks, Ian!) theirs, and show us their commitment to a steady supply of new styles, when Ketron show us whatever passes for their style editing tools in new OS's, I can revisit the issue.
I wish my G70 sounded that good... but I also wish the Audya was as friendly as my G70 to rework the styles. Time will tell.