Is it time to look for another brand ?

Posted by: Denis007

Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/09/04 11:26 PM

Hello everybody,

As you know,Ketron was quite popular due to its high responsiveness to customer needs and wants which was demonstrated in SD series. At the time, we believed that this characteristics was not "model specific" but the general company policy of taking care of their customers. I am sure many of us kept our X series hopping that we will get a slice of their attention.
Unfortunately, it looks that this perceived affection, which gave Ketron a competitive advantage over other brands, was just a promotional trick focusing on new models. Ketron had focused on improvement of new models forgetting about their loyal customers and promises given to them.
A year ago we were told that an improved OS for X1 is in testing phase and that we can expect to see results in few months. As you all know, we still didn't see anything.
The worst thing is, Ketron guys don't even bother explaining what is going on. I think that we, as loyal customers, should at least be informed about current development which is taking so long.
One of the last responses from Ketron people to the question of X1 upgrade was "...when I get confirmation on a date, I will let you all know."
Maybe I am wrong, but this doesn't sound very professional, especially knowing that we have had similar responses for a year now.
I would like to hear from other Ketron users what they think about this whole issue. Is it time to look for another favorite brand ?

Posted by: Calypso

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/10/04 03:21 AM


I understand your frustration.

As an X1 owner, I too have been waiting for news of a software upgrade.

I remember when I first bought my X1 some years ago, I was struggling with my French manual (I live in Switzerland). I sent a message to Ketron through their site and was delighted to find an English manual in my mailbox a few days later.

I think that what is annoying most people is no so much the lack of support but the fact that no annoucements are made one way or the other and everyone is kept left guessing.

Great hardware, excellent support but lousy PR in my opinion.


[This message has been edited by Calypso (edited 02-10-2004).]
Posted by: Calypso

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/10/04 06:32 AM

Ketron brochure quote.


Electronic musical instruments are often overshadowed or made obsolete by new technology, they are not designed to be updated, especially with regard to sounds. The X1, however, is an exception to the rule.

Even the entire operating system can be updated thanks to the X1's simple, yet elegant update function. This permits all the very latest X1 developments to be added as they become available by inserting a new system floppy disk (which can even be downloaded via the internet)."

It's been three years since the last software update.

Enough said!

[This message has been edited by Calypso (edited 02-10-2004).]
Posted by: asafar

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/10/04 09:26 AM

Originally posted by Calypso:
Ketron brochure quote.


Electronic musical instruments are often overshadowed or made obsolete by new technology, they are not designed to be updated, especially with regard to sounds.
The X1, however, is an exception to the rule.

I think what they mean here is that because the X1 is a sampler you can always have new sounds in it not like other arrangers.
But that 8 location sample loading is a joke and Ketron should now release the program that lets us make our own .SND banks so that we can put life back into the X1.

[This message has been edited by asafar (edited 02-10-2004).]

[This message has been edited by asafar (edited 02-10-2004).]

[This message has been edited by asafar (edited 02-10-2004).]

[This message has been edited by asafar (edited 02-10-2004).]
Posted by: Ketron User

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/11/04 03:18 PM

Hey Ketronplayers,

I don't know why the X-series need to be updated, i am still very happy with mine as it is.

The Ketron's are build around the SAM9407 (newer version SAM 9707) sound-chip.

Please see this link doc.asp?doc id=8359

especially chapter 2.5.2 for more information around SND-format sounds. (just a tip)

Greetings from Belgium !
Posted by: Ketron User

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/11/04 03:23 PM

Sorry, the link is not working.

Please try :


[This message has been edited by Nigel (edited 02-13-2004).]
Posted by: Organizer

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/11/04 09:10 PM

Apparently a number of us have been and continue to be users and somewhat satisfied with our X1/X4....but the point is that a number of Ketron customers have asked for and continue to ask for specific enhancements. Approximately 1 year ago an upgrade was stated to be in the process of being tested. Since that time the communications has been sparse to say the least and recently not at all. It's not necessarily the failure to provide the upgrade (which is an irritant), but the failure to communicate which helps to make the buying decision for another vendor's equipment easier than it should be.
Posted by: Denis007

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/11/04 10:09 PM

Ketron User,

There are may things that need improvement in X series. A year ago, when Ketron was "pretending" to care, there was an extensive list of things that the Ketron users were not happy with. The list included features that are already implemented in SDs. For example, advance cord recognition, which supports jazzy type of playing; more location for samples or capability of making .snd files; ..etc.
But the most important thing is that many "heavy" users noticed some bugs in the OS. For example, the usage of Flash card is not very reliable; there are "hung-ups" when using aftertouch ... Those are just few that I can recall right now but I remember that there was quite few things on that list. The list was distributed to AJ hopping that something would be done about it.
It looks like the Keton has listened X users but forgot to implement the features into X series. All current improvements are focusing on SD, XD series ...which means we should buy new equipment if we want to see some of our suggestions implemented.

Posted by: nedsolaud

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/12/04 05:00 AM

To be honest:
You cant endlessly require new O.S. versions for your old keyboard.
Just take a look at the instruments which were presented the same time like the X1!
Is there a new O.S. for the Yamaha PSR8000? Or even the PSR9000? Or the GEM WK8?
Or the Korg i30?
Even the O.S. 4.0 for the SD1 is big exception in keyboard industry and this updateeven was free of charge!
And, by the way: Are you shure, that you have discovered all the possibilities of your
current keyboard?(Doesnt matter if it`s a Ketron or Yamaha or...)
I even know a lot of MS50 owners and they are very satisfied with their instrument.
No one expects KETRON to burn new chips with new features.
It`s our destiny that we are playing a kind of instrument which is always in technological progress, so we have to take care, that we buy an instrument that satisfies us longer then only 1 or 2 years.

But... always better then to play guitar...
Posted by: Denis007

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/12/04 08:55 AM


..."You cant endlessly require new O.S."..
How many OS versions were created for X1 series? As far as I know there was only one minor early upgrade which didn't solve issues that X1's has.Far from the "endless" my friend

I think that Ketron mistake was to came up too early with upgrades when consumers didn't explore the keyboard properly. Or maybe it was just a strategy to avoid real heavy improvements and excuse themselves with one early upgrade.

I am not sure how much you are familiar with the keyboard industry but OS upgrades became
a regular feature for all professional products. 9000pro, pa80, motif, triton are just few of the models that have continuous OS upgrades. So the SD series are far from "exception in keyboard industry" as you characterized. The reason that companies do the upgrades is because the time of releasing of a new product has shrink down and the products that are coming on the market are not fully tested. But at the same time, in return for customer's loyalty, companies promise to upgrade the products regularly.As Calypso mentioned earlier, one of the key characteristics of X series was the NON-OBSOLESCENCE. It doesn't matter if i30 or GEM does it, because they didn't promise non-obsolescence when introducing their keyboards.Every company has it own strategy. Ketron should not promise something if it didn't plan to realize it.

Finally, the discovery of keyboard capabilities doesn't have anything with current deficiencies. Usually the users who explore keyboards the most, are the ones to discover the problems.

Posted by: nedsolaud

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/13/04 03:33 AM

Hello Denis007,

I think nearly every company is promising "NON-OBSOLESCENCE" somehow when it`s possible to load a new O.S. via disc drive. (maybe a marketing gag?)
I dont know what you think, but I dont believe them. (I´m a strange man, I dont believe everything the industry tells me, not only in music matters) If this "NON-OBSOLESCENCE" would be a principle of industry on this planet my old VW BEETLE from 1964 would be still state-of-the-art.

For a very long time I was playing the GEM WK 4 (1996) and the dealer was telling me of "NON-OBSOLENCE" because it was one of the first keyboards to be updated via disc.
O.S. update developing for this keyboard stopped 1998!

If the "NON-OBSOLESCENCE" of the X1 was the naked truth, the developement of the SD1 must be a big mistake. Why should they develope a new instrument when the old one will be the "state-of-the-art" for the next 20 years. Maybe because the hardware and processor possibilities are changing like at the computers?

The current O.S. version of the X1 is 4.0, so there not only were "smaller upgrades".
Can you imagine what happens if the X1 would have the same possibilities as the SD1?
Maybe the X1 will explode because the processor is to slow.

The last 10 years the music industry is developing faster and the competition is growing harder. One reason could be the possibility to update a O.S. via disc. This leads EVERY company to faster presentations and I dont now ONE SINGULAR instrument which is working perfectly from the O.S. Version 1.0.


(By the way: The latest O.S. for the PSR 9000pro still was not solving the timing problems when playing a midifile. Maybe with a new update coming 2006, because as you said it`s a regular feature at professional instruments).
Posted by: KFingers

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/13/04 09:06 AM

Just my twopenny worth - I agree with Ned in as much as it is naive to expect a manufacturer to deliver "non-obsolesence". Where would their future sales come from??

However, I think that upgrades should appear that address bugs or shortcoming to the advertised specification.

I have played Ketron and Solton a long time now and anxiously awaited additional memory for the MS40 for many years so that I could have more than 4 or 5 user styles loaded before realising that this vague promise wasn't ever going to be realised. If you look on the net at the Yahoo MS40 group they are still going on about it.

No - you need to be satisfied that what you buy is what you get at the time - I swapped up to the XD3 and should have changed years ago. Although Yamaha have issued upgraded OS for different models these were mainly to fix early release bugs just like Ketron did with both the X1 and the XD9 so what's the difference.

If you are dissatisfied with the product then vote with your wallet. I have now tried the Tyros, and the Technics 7000 along with lots of earlier models and I'd rather have what I have than anything else (well perhaps the Tyros if it wasn't so overpriced although I still find the drums a bit insipid and I can't find a GEM to try)

Only my humble opinion of course

Regards - KF
Posted by: Denis007

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/13/04 09:45 AM


Now you sound like a Ketron dealer.
Of course it is not profitable for them to make one keyboard and continue to upgrade it forever.
But, try to think from the consumer’s perspective and remember what was promised when X1 was introduced.

Again, I don't care what happened with you GM WK4, that is another brand with different reputation and so on. That why I didn't go for GM. Ketron was recognized as a small but customer oriented company's which differentiated Ketron from big guys like Korg and Yamaha. That was one reason why I decided to go for Ketron. But now it looks that the advantage was "fake".

It is true that there is no single instrument with a perfect OS but I never had hung-ups with my Triton or 9000pro. As I mentioned before, users confirmed X freezing on them when using the flash card or when switching from sounds with aftertouch.
This is far from "the reliable". I am not looking for a perfect OS but for one which will allow me to use all features properly and not hung-up on me in the middle of a gig.

Another thing ...
The industry is changing and the competition is growing. Now the small things, like quality of customer service, expansion capabilities, upgrade capabilities are winning the market. Keyboards are becoming similar in sounds quality and features so the companies are going and extra step to secure the market. That includes things that maybe don't make sense from profitability point of view, like OS upgrades.
I am sure that was just a dream when your old Beetle was released.Times have changes
Btw, auto industry is changing much slower than computer industry ...

The bottom line is X series attracted many customers with the non-obsolesce promise. We all know we can not expect endless upgrades but we deserve to have a stable OS in order to enjoy all features of X series. Now, if X1 was one of the cheap Casio keyboards, I would not expect much, but Ketron is known as one of the most expensive arrangers on the market. I guess a high price should be followed by high quality otherwise who would buy it ?

Posted by: The Accordionist

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/15/04 11:12 AM

Posted by: Alex K

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/15/04 12:04 PM

I am not a Ketron user, but still want to chime in on this discussion.

I did see many promotional materials about X-1, which were all very explicit in heralding non-obsolescencse. They were touting it as the feature which would set the X1 apart from the competition. Whatever experience we have had with other brands does not apply to Ketron if thet is how they positioned themselves.

Even if they had not advertize their instrument this way, they are still obligated to provide critical fixes to the OS (and granted, they have done some of that). But as long as there are other outstanding stability problems, Ketron MUST address those (even if it is past the warranty period of the instrument). I believe this is the consumer law in most states in the US.

As far as changes that would be considered straight enhancements: a number of other companies had provided those to the users for free, without any apparent necessity (e.g. Korg PA80 Ver 3, and Ketron's own SD1 Ver 4). It is not unfair for the other Ketron users, sold on the concept of non-obsolescense, to expect similar treatment. However, I am sure that even if Ketron wanted to charge each user a reasonable fee (I'd pay up to $100, or maybe even more, depending on what was in the upgrade), this would still be preferrable to getting rid of the instrument one is used to.

Just my $.02.

Posted by: Tom Cavanaugh

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/17/04 01:41 PM

I too am getting tired of waiting for the X-1 upgrade. I have had no operational bugs or complaints. However there are some things that could be better. How about a better piano? How about a Rumba pattern. How about some 12/8 patterns. How about some better guitars?

Ketron promised that our keyboards would not become outdated. I believed them. I guess I really should know better.
Posted by: Ketron_AJ

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/23/04 10:13 PM


Could someone please point me in the right direction (or just give me a link) to all the suggested OS updates for the X1? There was one created on this forum a while back but I can't seem to find it.

I believe I currently have an incomplete list at hand and would like to cross-reference what we currently have.


Posted by: Organizer

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/24/04 03:42 PM

AJ...If you do a name search on Organizer, going back to about March, 2003, that will, at least, give you a start in your quest for requested updates.

Posted by: DanO1

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/24/04 04:50 PM

Anyone have a link to this (or for this) that can speed this up?
Posted by: nick_h

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/16/05 09:33 PM

Ketron User:
I noticed that you had posted a link to a site regarding the Ketron .snd file format. I am trying to create the file to load sounds into the Vega keyboard. Have you had any luck finding a sound bank compiler that can do that?

Please email me at

[This message has been edited by Nigel (edited 02-13-2004).][/B][/QUOTE]
Posted by: Gunnar Jonny

Re: Is it time to look for another brand ? - 02/17/05 09:48 AM

Hi all
Interesting tread, so I did a quick searc and this are the posts
I've found about it.
But, not long ago SZ server was down, and Nigel lost a lot of
posts in all forums, so some may have gone forever in that bad