Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1

Posted by: Shmuel Goldstein

Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/25/99 09:26 PM

I have so far read many excellent reviews and comments on PSR-9000 vs. the Solton X1 but not much on the Roland EM2000. Also it seems that Yamaha has a very low rating of customer support (including me!!) How does Roland compare?
Also what is the price comparison as well as the weight. I do a lot of one man band gigs and need something not too heavy.
Posted by: Alex K

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/25/99 10:22 PM

Smuel, I own a Roland G1000, which is functionally equivalent (less D-beam and speakers). You may want to check the Old Arranger keyboard forum, which has a number of messages with user comments about this and other keyboards.
To summarize my opinion about the instrument, the sounds are quite good (I especially like the saxes, and Roland is known for warm pads); the accompaniment patterns are good too (though not quite as good as Solton X1). Roland keyboards use ZIP disk for storage, in addition to a regular floppy. There is no sound editing - you are stuck with Sound Canvas sounds; however, you could use a GS editor program on a computer via MIDI, and save your modified tones as part of the performance memory. However, that saves a whole bunch of other settings, which you may well want to change. Roland has a built in sequencer, and a handy database of songs stored on the ZIP.
Where I really have a problem with this instrument is its ergonomics. The display is inadequately small, so that you have to page down to see things which belong together (like realtime part tone selections). The tone/performance memory and style selection buttons are multiplexed - you have to press button once to select the bank, then another button (in the same set of buttons) to select the individual item - this is a problem if you accidentally do a double-click while trying to select the individual item. Without listing my individual gripes, I would say that the impression I have is that Roland is trying to cut corners wherever it can, and as a result the usability of the instrument really suffers. This might not be important to you (depending on what you want to do), but to me it is really important, especially while playing a solo gig in front of an audience. I also hear that the EM2000 is built even more cheaply than the G1000.

I hope this helps you make up your mind; however, keep in mind that this is only my opinion, and you should definitely try to spend some time with the instrument (in the music store) to form your own opinion.

Posted by: Alex K

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/25/99 10:28 PM

Oh, and on the subject of customer support:

I have had another Roland keyboard for nearly 10 years, and it has been quite reliable (I had to open it up to fix a spring on one key), so I would not be concerned from this end.

However, there is a group of Roland users who were trying to contact Roland with suggestions for the upgrades for the arranger keyboard line, and we found out that there is no official channel for the users to contact the company. The web sites are good about isolating the company from the customers. This is not my ideal customer support model.

Regards, Alex
Posted by: Fran Carango

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/27/99 05:14 AM

Guys, The G1000 is the best instrument. If we would spend the time and learn how to use the instrument,it is unmatched with the features . The E2000 has many short cuts [source sliders etc.].Professional use ,Buy the G1000....Alex, I have to disagree"just sound canvas and no edits",Infact there are many PCM samples from the JV/XP series,and you can edit the most important parameters,the save area is the performances[ they can be saved and loaded easily. I have used all the "popular" arrangers extensively, and fortunely could A,B the units one to another in detail. Korg i30[Take off the effects, and listen to the sounds,the effects are overused,but Korg needs the processed sound to sound good]. The great X1,Which I like alot,Compared to live use and control the G1000is the "BIG" winner. By the way, I isolated the sounds on the X1,and found that 80% of the patches are arrived from the SC55 and CM64 [Roland},most are modified usually EQ and keyboard scale. If anybody doubts me , come to my house and I will prove it..[ I wonder, since EDIROL is the licensed vendor for Sound Canvas line, it wouldn't be far fetched, that a Italian company would be supplier to a Italian company[also the Farfisa G7 has many SC55 sounds, and it is a overlooked great keyboard]...Now I'll sit back a wait for the constructive criticism....Seriously ,what ever instrument you use ,learn its capabilities to the fullest, you will get more out of it.....Fran

[This message has been edited by Fran Carango (edited 12-27-1999).]
Posted by: Alex K

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/27/99 08:36 PM

Fran, perhaps I am a whiner who overemphasizes the negatives, so let me take another stab at it. I do like the sounds (when I can find them), and the styles are good; I like the disk link function (it is nicely done in a sense that one can not tell where the style is stored, in memory or on the ZIP). The keyboard is very nice too, one of the best in any instrument. The other nice feature is the number of real-time parts: 2 uppers, 2 lowers, upper3 (allowing to split the upper keyboard into two zones), and melody intelligence part - that's effectively 6 parts, which is better than any competing brand. So if I had no choice, I would buy this instrument again, since this is a big improvement over my previous instrument, Roland e70 in most areas.

However, E70 has two sets of buttons each to select voices and styles, while G1000 only has one set for each. I found out that that was a bigger problem than I initially thought. The other problem is in the organization of its 1100 or so sounds. It is not uncommon to find sounds interspersed among the unrelated groups. For example, I was paging through the Brass sounds only to find a guitar hidden among the various brass sounds. What they were smoking?
I will not repeat myself about the small display. What bothers me more is that other manufactures seem to provide additional new features to their users via software releases (think of Korg, Emu, and others). With Roland it seems to be a sell and forget deal. Sure, there are maintenance releases, which seem to fix some unknown problems and hopefully not create any new ones, but that is hardly enough for a company which wants to project itself as caring about its customers.

Regards, Alex
Posted by: Fran Carango

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/28/99 05:48 AM

Alex, The reason you find the oddball patches[Guitar in a brass categorie] is the G1000 also contains the banks for the MT32 map as well as the G1000 ,G800[SC88], SC55,and CM64, I hope this helps with the confusion,They were not smoking anything on that day!!...Fran
Posted by: Alex K

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/28/99 06:56 PM

Fran, thanks for the explanation. However, this rationale is lost on me. I understand how they incorporated the older sound sets in the banks C/D and E/F. But being unfamiliar with the MT32, I don't see the reason for placing a guitar into a brass group.

But while this is perhaps a minor oversight, to me it seems indicative of the lack of attention to detail, which detracts from the quality of the instrument.

I also feel that there are a number of shortcomings, which could be fixed relatively easily, with a software release.

Fran, I understand that you are a Roland dealer. Do you have a way to communicate users' suggestions to the company?

Regards, Alex
Posted by: George Kaye

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/28/99 08:23 PM

Fran and Alex,
I too am a Roland dealer. I'm also a Solton, Yamaha, Korg and Generalmusic. I have also spent hours and hours learning how to use these and show them to my customers. I have to agree with Alex on this one Fran. No matter how hard I try to like the EM2000 I find it very confusing. I especially dislike the way the effects stay with the performance when you try and select another sound to play on the right hand. Just pressing the active button unfortunately only disables the insert effect but doesn't change the Reverb, Chorus, Echo, etc. I also hate how many buttons I have to scroll through to get to what I might want to change.
I will agree with the cool way the Zip disk finds songs and plays styles, but I think Roland has a long way to go. I have spent many hours with Roland product Specialists here in California making suggestions to them. They always listen, but I don't see much in the results.
I change my mind every couple of years to who has the best keyboard at the time, and where a couple of years ago it was the WK series from generalmusic for me, and last year it was the PSR8000, this year it has been the X1, and everything else is far behind in my humble opinion.
George Kaye
Posted by: Shmuel Goldstein

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/29/99 08:17 AM

I would like to thank you all for your great replies and suggestions. They are all "a good read". Now that it seems that the X1 seems to be edging out the competition, that's where I'll be focusing my research for now. My main question for anybody out there is if the X1 has these abilities.
• The ability to play at random recorded songs (at least 20) without a gap between. Yamaha techs say their newer machines can't!
Yet my old lower end PSR-500 does?!!
• The ability to download other styles especially "Middle Eastern" and Polka should the need arise via the internet or an other way. I mainly do a lot of Jewish gigs...
• The ability to make full notation including the accompaniment. (My PSR-500 can't even as of yet be backed up to my Mac. And the Yamaha tech are lousy at helping me on this issue)
• The ability to "Loop" songs so a prerecorded song could play non-stop. (My PSR-500 can do this while all the upper models can't...why?!!!)
• The ability to arrange songs in certain sets and then go back to rearrange them differently. This would be crucial so I could play a different set for each type of event.
• ps...what's the weight?

As you all could see I don't play live very well, but pre-record stuff and then sing. (The Solton dealers have told me that their built in vocalizer even beats Digitechs!... but then again they're not biased, are they?

I guess I'll finish by saying thanks to all of you who have taken the time to reply.
•••••••••••Play On••••••••••
Posted by: Fran Carango

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/29/99 11:03 AM

George, When you select a upper 1[right hand sound], to select a proper insert effect automatically,with the insert effect light on, push the recall button above it...unfortunely the Em lacks the source sliders[G1000 has them] to quickly adjust the effect parameters....Like I have said all along,you have to learn the instrument's capabilities,to get the most out of it...Fran
Posted by: Fran Carango

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/29/99 11:09 AM

Alex, The rational??The confusion of the mismatched patches has to do with PROGRAM CHANGES, it is as simple as that,What may be brass[86] on a SC55 gm map is a E. guitar on a MT32,,,,,Fran
Posted by: George Kaye

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/29/99 03:00 PM

Thanks for the tip about the recall button. It helps to know that. My major concern is this.
If I am using performance #1 which is a heavy metal Rock and Roll sound and style, and now I change to tone and call up the Piano, although by pressing recall I know have no distortion but a nice reverb to go along with the piano, I still have echo on the piano, and unless I go into effects, and scroll through many pages to get to the echo amount and 0 it out, this is confusing to most end users. I wish there weren't so many steps involved to get the right sound. In the Solton and the Yamaha, you always get the right effects because the insert effects change with each sound and only the Reverb is a global parameter in the X1 and all effects change on the Yamaha PSR 8000/9000. But, your comment is a help to me as I don't know if I ever realized what the recall UP1 key really did.
Thanks Again,
George Kaye
Posted by: TomTomSF

Re: Roland EM2000 vs. Solton X1 - 12/30/99 07:44 AM

I know this doesn't REALLY belong in this thread, but here it is anyway... I almost never use the Active button on my EM2000. It rarely seems to enhance the sound selected and I never knew about the Recall button (I will try it). I guess I should go back to reading the manuals again. In short, it is kinda complicated to figure this out...