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#506183 - 07/13/22 02:59 PM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
Duane O Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 113
Loc: Ridgecrest, California, USA
I switched from using multiple keyboards and a separate drum machine in 2010, buying a Korg i3. Within 6 months, upgraded to a PA50. 6 months later moved to the PA500. Each of these PA's were game changers, with multiple new features. Got my PA4x76 in 2016. Another game changer. I just don't see or hear enough in the PA5x to excite me enough to develop a case of GAS. Probably, cuz at 73, I don't need any GAS. There is just so much of the PA76 that I am still learning to use. Will just have to wait till a guitar center has one of the floor to try.

Duane OD
_________________________
Korg PA4x76, Yamaha CP-70 Electric Grand Piano

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#506185 - 07/14/22 01:29 AM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
abacus Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 5221
Loc: English Riviera, UK
As a general rule of thumb, buying a new replacement keyboard when it comes out is usually disappointing when you get it, (After the short initial buzz) however if you skip a generation before changing, then that’s when it really comes together.
In the case of Korg PA, 1-3-5 or 2-4-6 (Although with the continuing demise of arranger keyboards there might not be a 6, but going from a 4 -5 will unlikely give you what you want, so get to know everything about what you already have)

Bill
_________________________
English Riviera:
Live entertainment, Real Ale, Great Scenery, Great Beaches, why would anyone want to live anywhere else (I�m definitely staying put).

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#506192 - 07/14/22 12:50 PM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5420
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
I am sure this is true of brand loyal people that stick with models like Korg Pa series. I am not so sure about those graduating to higher models, like Yamaha psr 975 to a Genos, The only regret may be the money spent.

I have always had several keyboard brands in my stable so not to miss out on that "VOILA" arranger that would make me a star. Of course, that never happened, but I slowly acquired enough experience, and loaded enough registrations to play any at a gig. As it is, I have different boards that I like very much for what they are. I think it depends on your expectation.

This isn't what Bill is saying, to which I agree. Companies have to maintain a certain OS long enough to recoup R and D, adding small enticements in between.
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pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#506193 - 07/14/22 01:11 PM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 2419
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Gary Well said and its all true. GAS is the biggest reason for most, to have the latest and hopefully the best. for the entertainers its more of a need for something to help them preform. I'm with you, I'm sticking with my Roland BK9. I know it well even though I haven't used all its functions. I have two, and two BK7m's, figuring at my age and with the few preforming opprotunities for Arranger players this is it for me. For pure playing I go to my FP90 DP so I'm set.
And the boat thing is really true. I've had the boat bug but fortunately came to my senses, I'm not a rich guy, BOAT = big hole in the water you try to fill with money
_________________________
Bill in SC --- Roland BK9 (2) Roland BK7M, Roland PK5 Pedals, Roland FP90, Roland CM30 (2), JBL Eon Ones (2) JBL 610 Monitor, Behringer Sub, EV mics, Apple iPad (2) Behringer DJ mixer

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#506194 - 07/14/22 01:37 PM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15367
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Bill, BOAT is an acronym for "Break Out Another Thousand." Seems like every time you need to get something repaired, it always cost $1,000 or more. wink

All the best,

Gary cool
_________________________
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

K+E=W (Knowledge Plus Experience = Wisdom.)

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#506199 - 07/15/22 12:34 PM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13785
Loc: NW Florida
I’m not sure this is going to be a popular opinion as to why arranges get upgraded so often by some of us, but I think a large degree of it boils down to, if we have any musical ear whatsoever, the output of an arranger is ultimately disappointing compared to music made by real people.

There is a constant realization of just how little flexibility and variation in the playing there is. For those of us who have played with decent bands, who is the last drummer you can remember who only played four different fills in a song? And always played the exact same fill coming out of the exact same variation?

Who is the last guitarist you remember who did the same? Or have you ever worked with a bass player who never varied the line? What was the last band you were in that had virtually no dynamics?

Bubbling underneath our enthusiasm for each new product is the fact that, once we have heard the style a couple of times, that’s it… We are never going to hear anything different again. Sure OUR playing can vary a lot, but you are never going to hear that damn guitarist play a different lick! That drummer is going to play the same damn six fills over and over and over…

I honestly think that the more you actually LIKE music, the quicker your dissatisfaction with an arranger becomes. And the more likely you are to go get a different one to alleviate that boredom and dissatisfaction. There is SUCH a long way to go before the virtual players inside an arranger have any of the spontaneity and variability of real players, and it is these little moments of surprise that are the fundamental core of collaborative music making.

The same tends to apply to those spankin’ new sounds you get… at first, aren’t they amazing?! Then gradually it sinks in that yes, this might be a slightly better sax sample, but it’s still the same guy playing it that couldn’t play a Coltrane lick if his life depended on it! It still boils down to the player’s skill, and no amount of GB’s of piano samples is going to sound amazing if you’re still rushing the heck out of the drowned out backing and playing a simple melody with no decoration whatsoever….

The sooner we realize that the one thing that REALLY needs upgrading for a better arranger experience is the player sitting in the chair the sooner we can save a boatload of money! Or, at least, spend it on a year’s worth of lessons with someone that can help with basic skills.

What so few of us will admit is, boredom with our current arranger boils down mostly to boredom with ourselves. And fixing that takes a lot more than sending a check to Seetwater or Thomman’s. 🎹😎
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An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#506200 - 07/15/22 02:49 PM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6544
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Diki, you are about to get the old "well this is an Arranger forum, if you don't like Arrangers, why are you here?". This forum is, in many ways, much like certain political parties, THE TRUTH DOESN'T MATTER. There are those that are slavishly devoted to Arrangers and those who recognize and acknowledge what an Arranger really is, a specialized computer designed to make basic, technically perfect but uninspired, simulations of live (as in music played by professional musicians on mostly acoustic instruments) music. Further, they are designed to be operated by NON-musicians, amateur musicians, singers with minimal pianistic skills, basically anyone other than professional pianist/keyboardists. The design objective behind every new whizbang feature seems to be to make playing (operating) easier. They are also used by songwriters, arrangers, and OMB's (where they can be effective in the hands of a talented professional).

Much of the above is ONLY true in America and apparently, their use in Europe and Asia is much more widespread. Diki is correct in that hearing the same style over and over again, no matter how good, will ultimately get to be boring. But for me, what kills the realism is the very thing that an arranger is best known for: PERFECTION. Tempo never so much as a millisecond off, every instrument perfectly in tune (even if sans dynamics), never a bad note, chord, or phrase (within the backing parts), ect., etc. etc. WE ARE HUMAN, WE are not PERFECT. Dynamics is key to giving music feeling and emotion. It's why if you had a live band play the EXACT thing an arranger was playing, every single person in a completely blindfolded audience would be able to tell you which was live and which was the arranger.

Yep, the arranger is quite a little piece of technology; a source of inspiration for some, a source of fun (expensive hobby) for others, a source of somewhat limited income for others. They're neither good nor bad, just a very versatile tool awaiting your type of usage.

chas
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#506201 - 07/15/22 03:31 PM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13785
Loc: NW Florida
Well, the fact that I’ve used arrangers as my main gigging keyboard and on many sessions for a good thirty years ought to stand me in good stead here in the lion’s den!

And, in fairness, you listen to any modern music, and much from the last 50 years or so, since multitrack recording and assembled music rather than live played music, perfection has been the order of the day. I don’t mind perfection! It’s repetition of perfection that bugs me!

And much of the baked in perfection of the arranger can be circumvented with effort. You can enable alternate tuning tables, and screw with equal temperament, you can ride the bend lever or pitch strip (my main way of doing it on live sounds), you can nudge tempo up or down by 1bpm or so between verse and chorus, and one of my favorite Roland features, adjust style velocities with your own dynamics.

But true enough, breaking free from the perfection of styles takes more effort than simply playing with others! But in fairness, the perfection is a function of the style creators in the first place. An arranger is at its core simply a player of MIDI files, which can be as loose or tight as the creator makes them. That they are made so ‘perfect’ isn’t the fault of the tool, it’s the fault of the operator.

I still think it’s the repetition more than anything that ruins the experience. I’ve been fortunate to play with many musicians that are hard to detect any fault or lack of perfection, but seldom played exactly the same thing twice!

And, in the end, the arranger is still just another type of keyboard. It’s capable of being a simply piano, no backing, a live band keyboard not using any auto stuff (at which, it’s better IMHO than many workstations that are best for studio work), a player of SMF’s or MP3 backing (which easily can be less repetitive) and, oh yeah, if you feel like it, you can use the arranger section… if you can stand it!

This forum has always been a forum for those of us that use arrangers (yourself included!) but not necessarily for those who ONLY use them in full arranger mode. I have always (and continue to be) very interested in whatever features that advance the ability for arrangers to break free of their repetitive nature, and be more responsive to player input. We aren’t here yet, and likely never will be indistinguishable from live players. But, decade by decade, they get better and better. Compare a modern arranger with an early 90’s arranger, we’ve come a long, long way. But we’re not there yet..!
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An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#506203 - 07/16/22 08:25 AM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: cgiles]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 2419
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Chas
The Perfection thing about Arrangers has always bothered me. Way back I had a Roland CR80 ? drum machine. Not a lot of patterns but it did have an adjustable "Humanize" function which put a slight variation in the patterns. That unit served me well over many gigs. Why don't manufacturers include this in current keyboards ? Seems like a simple software addition and make it adjustable for those who like perfection
_________________________
Bill in SC --- Roland BK9 (2) Roland BK7M, Roland PK5 Pedals, Roland FP90, Roland CM30 (2), JBL Eon Ones (2) JBL 610 Monitor, Behringer Sub, EV mics, Apple iPad (2) Behringer DJ mixer

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#506205 - 07/16/22 10:00 AM Re: Why do you need to buy a NEW arranger keyboard? [Re: travlin'easy]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13785
Loc: NW Florida
The problem with most ‘humanize’ functions is that it appears to be more of a random thing than an actual ‘human’ thing, which tends to be more of a feel thing, rushing the backbeat, dragging the fills, pushing the chorus etc..

In DAW’s, there’s often a thing called ‘groove quantize’ which uses grids derived from real playing (or popular drum machines like MPC), and you could often find grooves derived from session drummers that even took into account the difference in placement of backbeats on snare compared to fills, etc..

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no arranger has this. Yes, you can get variable quantize on some, which if used subtly to impart the slightest degree of swing can get you away from that rigid 8th or 16th feel (and if used only on certain things like hi hats and rides can give you a certain degree of looseness between the drums).

But you have to do it on a part by part and division by division basis. The minute you click ‘apply’ to every part in a style, you are back to that lock-step thing you’re trying to get away from.

Me, I’m not locked to using arranger mode, in fact, rarely perform with it. But I’m not above using a style to create an SMF of the song, then import it to my DAW to get in there and do some micro surgery on the data. This is where I’ll often apply those different quantize values, and groove quantize can also offset velocities on things like hi hate to reflect the original drummer. I also tend to get in there and adjust the fills so no two are identical, mess with the bass and guitar parts to have better voice leading if there’s any jumpiness between chords, and edit any single line stuff to be more melodic across chord boundaries,

When it’s ready to go, I fly in Markers for the main structure points in the song (verse, chorus, solo, ending e.g.) so I can still perform the song at any length I want and do as many solos as I want (which I feel is often the real reason many pros use arrangers rather than backing tracks, unaware of how flexible Markers can make an SMF).

Humanize buttons never much impressed me, but maybe that’s because I was using groove quantize functionality for a very long time. I DID like the old ‘swing value’ knob in the old days, but that only worked on ultra simple styles and drum grooves that were already hard quantized to 8ths or 16ths (no flams, no changes in 8/16 base), and that’s not how modern style makers make them. I have a feeling that the humanize button disappeared for the same reason.

It would be nice to have a simple button to humanize a style, but it’s a far more complex task than simply randomizing position and velocity. On older hard quantized rigid simple styles, it certainly had its place, but with far more complex subtle styles it might not be as effective.

Bottom line, you want more ‘slop’ in a style, you can always edit it in. But that’s not as easy as pushing a button, is it?! How much do you want it? 😂👹
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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