Check out my mini review of the SD9 pro on :http://keyszone.boards.net/thread/378/ketron-sd9-mini-review
I was at music store in Köln today, europe's biggest music warehouse. they had the SD9 Pro on display. It was there directly under the SD7. The first thing i noticed they where both aproximately the same size. Making the SD9 Pro the smallest high end TOTL arranger keyboard.
Quallity of the Ketron styles was good as allways. Was it much better then my PA4x? I domt think so, only marginally, but then, i love the pa4x styles, only being marginally better says a lot about the SD9 pro style quallity. But where the SD9Pro really shines is edditing styles trough the style moddeling and the huge database of "midi and audio patterns" it really really works well.. just add an EDM beat to an excisting style and there you go.. style moddeling the Ketron way should be part of any TOTL arranger keyboard.
And then when playing a style, and you touch the new pads button it transfers all 4 varriations into the first 4 scenes of the pads feature. So easy, who would think of something like that.I took some time to play around with the new pads feature.. and really loved it .. this for me is the future of arrangers.. something i have been asking for for ages.. sure its just the beginning, but with a few small improvements it will be a dream come true.. for example, currently you loose the lefthand voices when using the new pads feature.
The number of voices for the keyboard is 6.. this is more then any other TOTL keyboard. However, the layout of these voices is somewhat akward if you dont know the audya or sd7. There are 2 lefthand voices, but they are part of the style. There is a righthand sound, which actually consists of 3 voices, but is not easilly accesible for switching voices on and off. On top there is the so called 2nd voice which does have a frontpanel direct acces button. New in the SD9 is the effects section, of 4 effects units for the righthand voice..
Soundquallity of the solo sounds is good to top knotch, however, the sounds are more straightforward then the sounds of the competition(yamaha and korg) there is only a basic synthesis engine and truely multi layered sounds or sounds with many articulations are missing. Its a much more simple engine, but the sample quallity is top, many of the sounds where sampled wet, which allways makes them sound good.
Not having a deep synth engine hurts when playing EDM which Ketron claims to be one of the strong points of the SD9. If you add to that the fact that there are no real arpegio's or typicall things like sidechaining and realtime SoundCC.. then its easy to see that Ketron still has quite some work to do... even tough the new pads feature offers a lot..
All in all, i pkayed for two hours and had a very pleasurable experience. The instrument allways did what i expected it to do, for some things i need to ive into the manuall, but the SD9 performed rock stable even trough i was experiementing with it. I love the touchscreen interface of the SD9 (as well as the SD7) it adds so much nice things.
So where does that leave the SD9? I would say on par with the pa4x.. more arranger friendly then the Tyros5. But compared to the pa4x, the backings and all options and real time controll and easy edditabillity make the SD9 better then the pa4x. However, where it comes to sounds and the sound engine, pa4x is just a tad more advanced. If you add the incredible VH of the Pa4x to the mix, then for many musicians the PA4x might have a small advantage over the SD9. But since i am not a singer, i would rate the SD9 as a direct competitor on equall footing with the pa4x.. in the end however all 3 TOTL arrangers are top knotch choices based on ones preferences.
Personally i still see a future for me and Ketron, if they ever decide to make a module with the full capabilities of the SD9, i might be very interested. A module like this would make a perfect match with any stagepiano, synthworkstation, organ or midi accordeon. Combining the deep sound section of the Kronos (or montage, or nord stage) with the top knotch backings of the SD9 would be a true match. But then they would have to leave atleast all the buttons on the module, and not decimate the interface like on the SD40.
Korg PA4x(76), korg Kronos 88, Ipad, Macbook, Mainstage3, Komplete Ultimate 11, Omnisphere2, Keyscape, Trilian, Serum, pianoteq5, Ivory2, Blue2, Zebra2, Diva, Hive, V/collection, Synthmaster2.8, Halion 6, Superior drummer. http://keyszone.boards.net