I've just returned from a short holiday in Scotland and it is my understanding that the report which I managed to email to Bill Forrest, at his request, has only been sent out to basically the 20 for 1 contributers. It was certainly not my intention to restrict 'publication' and I had no objection to it being included on this forum. Maybe, because I did not specifically state that it should be posted here as well, there has been a misunderstanding. If I had been able to get access earlier, perhaps the problem would not have arisen.
I note that our friend Derek Ladkin has already posted his recollections of the event and he seems to have covered it very well.
However, I have included a copy of the email which I managed to send to Bebop, thanks to the good nature of the person whose phone line I briefly 'borrowed'
Bill Forrest (Bebop) has asked me to write a report on my visit to the launch of the new keyboard. I was not really prepared for this and did not take any notes at the time, so all the following is written from memory. Being an old codger now, the little grey cells don't seem to function as well as they used to, but for what it is worth, here are my recollections of the event. I'm writing this while spending a few days on holiday in Scotland so it won't be posted until later this week.
The Technics presentation took place at the Heritage Motor centre, near Warwick on 13th July 2002.
There were two sessions - one at 10am and one at 2pm. I attended the morning session and managed to meet up and have a chat with Derek Ladkin, another member of the SZ forum.
We were informed that the KN7000 will be available in UK, in August and that the price will be £2100 which, at current exchange, rates is about US$3260 and about 3290 Euro
When the demo was completed, the KN6000 was moved out to the foyer area and the newly appointed Technics 'Guru', Chris Woodhead, demonstrated the SD memory card functions and networking capabilities. I did not get a chance to have a 'Hands On' session - there was quite a crowd of fans around the keyboard and after about 30 minutes, it was whipped away to get it set up in the demo hall, for the afternoon session - shame!!
All the sounds have been re-sampled and of course new ones added. The piano sound were particularly good and great new guitar sounds. There are many new organ sounds, including Wurlitzer and Lowrey and a new feature which mimics the organ Tabs, on the large central colour display (same as KN6xxx)
There are lots of new and updated Styles, the ones which particularly appealed to me were the George Shearing and Glenn Miller backings. Some other Big Band and Latin styles were superb and some great Intros and Endings. There is also good news about Styles from the previous KNs. They will soon be available to download from the new Technics web site and 'Plug In' directly from your PC to the KN7000 via the USB port - no more messing about with floppy transfer. I understand they will be available free of charge. However, the floppy disc drive is still built in to the KN7000. Further expansion is possible due to provision of no less than 4 expansion slots. I understand that these slots are compatible with the current range of KN6xxx EW... expansion cards and a further four cards are planned for early release - one of which will be available when the keyboard is released.
The Sound Controller seems to have disappeared - I don't think it was very popular. The panel memories are now grouped in a circular configuration at the right side of the lift-up panel with the 'Set' button in the middle of the circle. As I mentioned, I did not have a chance to get 'Hands On' but the general panel layout certainly seemed to be player friendly.
The SD memory card really is the size of a postage stamp! and the KN7000 is supplied with an 8 Megabyte card. Not very large but a reasonable starting point. It's still a good alternative for Floppies and the dreaded High Cost hard drive. The card plugs into a small protected slot, just above the right hand end of the keys area. In the same area, the card read/write controls are located and both the card slot and the controls are accessible when the lid is closed or open. If the card is large enough, full CD quality sound can be stored on it and used to play back just like a CD or cassette player. This could be used, for example, to play some background music, during a player's 'Beer break' at a gig. I understand from comments made by the Technics staff, that the SD version of all the memory cards available, is fast becoming the most popular type. Cards up to 512 Mb being currently available, and up to 4Gb planned for the near future. The KN7000 is supplied with a USB linked SD card reader, as a separate item, which of course can be used for data transfer to and from the card, directly to PC - assuming it is fitted with a USB port. All necessary software for the networking operations, is also supplied.
A totally new facility for training, has been incorporated. This allows a player to practise all the scales, major and minor, with appropriate elementary accompaniment backing. The actual notation appears on the KN7000 display, with a 'Bouncing Ball' type pointer moving along the bars. This feature should relieve some of the boredom, usually associated with scales practice.
Another new feature, is the ability to download real audio at CD quality and use this as a backing track and then play your own melody line. This means that you can download a Karaoke type track to PC, transfer this to the KN7000, and then play along with Real musicians and save the result to the SD card.
I also understand that real audio, from the Mic input on the keyboard, can be added to a sequence - I don't fancy listening to my singing!
There is also a facility to connect an external video monitor which basically repeats the data on the KN7000 display.
During the demonstration, the sound was of course played through a large PA system rather than the KN7000's own speakers. However, we did hear a short example of the keyboard's own sound, when it was being demonstrated in the foyer. My impression was that the totally new speaker system was at least as good as the KN6xxx. It was difficult to hear properly, since there were people playing on two PR pianos in close proximity to the KN7000.
The KN7000 does not come with a stand, as the KN6000 did, but I was informed that it will fit on to the KN6000 stand.
My only regret is that I could not have spent more time at the venue and maybe been able to get some 'Hands-On' time. My round trip was 400 miles and I had to get back home to do a few things, before setting off again for Scotland.
I hope this report has been of some use - I'm sure I've forgotten to mention some things but if anyone reading this has a particular question, either myself or maybe Derek will try to answer it, if we can remember. For anyone who is unaware, Alec Pagida will be doing a full report in the August issue of the Technote magazine 'TechPlus'