new keyboards....

Posted by: Alain

new keyboards.... - 06/17/00 08:02 AM

If you buy a keyboard today there will be another one tomorrow.
The other keyboard will be better.
Were will it all end.
It is the same with a computer....they always find something to improve and to seduce to buy a new one.
So now you say the va-7 is the best one...but when there will be a va-9 the va-7 will not be the number one anymore.
Posted by: Alex K

Re: new keyboards.... - 06/17/00 09:42 AM


This is an interesting topic, and here are my thoughts on this:

Naturally, the keboard makers want us to buy a new one every year. They also want us to keep our old one, so as not to reduce the size of their potential market. To do that, they introduce instruments with new features, some useful, some simply gimmiky. The market leaders also seem to take some of the functionality away (so that you don't feel that you have the "ultimate" machine, and look for the next one when it comes out. In a way, this is, like you said, a seduction.

Some people simply need to have the latest gear. They will buy whatever new model comes out, simply to have the knowledge that they are in the forefront. This works really well for those of us who have unlimited budgets, and this phenomenon is not limited to keyboards - I know people who trade their home computer to the latest model every 6 months, simply to be able to brag that they have the fastest processor. Most of them do not need the power of 1GHz Pentium, because their old 600 MHz machine was fast enough, but, hey, this is a free country, and one may spend their money the way he wants (as long as it is legal). I don't quite belong to this category: when I come into the music store and see a new machine, part of me wants to buy it, but the other part of me (usually my wallet) stops me, and starts questioning the real improvements of the instrument.

The musical instruments, though, are somewhat different from computers, as their mprovements, far from almost meaningless claims of a microprocessor speed, can be heard and experienced, so it is somewhat easier to justify an upgrade. As a (part-time) performing musician, I would know it is time to upgrade if a)I find that the instrument makes me sound a lot better, b) it has new useful features/allows for greater portability, or c) the instrument is much more user-friendly than my current one. Another factor would be I had to keep abreast of the competition, with a newer machine with some features, albeit useless, which the audience loves (such as easy accessible applaudicements sounds, etc.).

Ultimately, this comes from the fact that not being a true virtuoso in any one istrument, nor a singer, I have to rely on the computer inside the instrument to help me show my talents (however little I have). If I was playing piano, I had a 90-year-old instrument and did not feel at all interested in exchanging it. Similarly, I had a 30-year-old clarinet, which made me sound every bit as good as would the newer ones. I knew that the only way to sound better with those nstruments was to practice more time daily and improve my technique. With the auto-accompaniment instrument, however, I can sound almost like a 10 piece band while practicing only once a week (with four kids and a day job, that's all I have time for). If I can buy a new instrument which makes me sound like a much better 15-piece band, and makes it look lime my technique has improved, it may well be worth it. However, playing on stage, my criteria for user-friendliness and worthwhile features are stricter than those of people who mostly play at home. Hence, I do not usually rush out to order a new instrument whenever it is announced.

Posted by: DonM

Re: new keyboards.... - 06/17/00 12:56 PM

As a full-time musician, I find it is cost effective to buy a new keyboard about once a year, because of tax benefits. (Or maybe that's just rationalization). Anyway, I can't wait to see what's next.
Posted by: Ilija Petkovski

Re: new keyboards.... - 06/18/00 06:52 AM

Alain it can be a problem. But with the new arrangers it is not. If you are happy now, you will ALWAYS be happy. That's the difference between computer and music. If you have an old computer, you just CANNOT play certain software, games etc.
If you have an old keyboard however, you will STILL be able to entertain yourselve or people listening to you. If music is ones good, it will remain good. If people at a party like my sax, the will always like my sax. They will never say: "hey, the VA-7 has a better sax!!" . This is the benefit of keyboards over computers.

I have an Roland E-70 for 7 years now and I still can entertain people like hell! The sounds are still superb on a party. I need a new one ONLY because of the fact I cannot create styles myself.

So please don't worry to much. Start worrying about your pentium...

Ilija Petkovski
Posted by: DonM

Re: new keyboards.... - 06/19/00 08:17 AM

Great comment! I am awaiting arrival of my new AMD 850 computer with 256 megs ram and 15 gig hd. It should be current for about 2 years maybe?
Posted by: DannyUK

Re: new keyboards.... - 06/19/00 10:26 AM


Interesting comment and I understand what your saying about musical instruments and thier age, but surely it depends on the quality of the instrument in the first place? For example, if you bought an average sounding keyboard today, then it will show its age far quicker, probably within a couple of years. Because top of the range keyboards have a higher sampling rate, the instruments are going to sound life like, and if thats the case then how much better can a sound of a synth, piano, sax, flute ever be? It will just be variations of the sounds that will change, but if the quality of the intrument is good in the first place then it wont matter how old the thing is in years to come.

My sister still has a PSR500 in which sounds awful (but i remember it sounding amazing for its day)!

But with top keyboards of yesterday & today, they are the ones that could last 10's of years, eg, X1, PSR9000, KN6000, VA7 type instruments. In the past, the PSR5700, Korg M1, GEM WX2 all still sound great.

I have an X1, but I also have a GEM WX2 which is 7 years old (Dec 1993 it arrived). I really do believe that the WX2 can still out-perform some keyboards and match some of the top ones because it has such wonderful sounds and styles, not to mention an unprecidented ability to play songs and SMF. This is a 7 year old keyboard as well.

A good friend of mine still has a Korg M1 in which sounds great!

So i think it depends on how good the instrument is in the first place.

Posted by: Markus

Re: new keyboards.... - 06/19/00 10:32 AM

Really true words that you've all spoken here. We much too often tend to forget what we should rationally know - the changes which are explorable for the average audience from one arranger keyboard to the next, newer version are rather marginal. So I will stick to my Roland G-1000 and my Solton MS 100 for the next couple of months.
We should never forget that we are all mainly playing music for ourselves rather than for our audience, even if we don't admit. What sometimes makes us think we need another gear is the fact that after a while we tend to get too accustomed to the sound or the handling of our instruments. Then every real musician - the writer included - is always on the run to buy something new, challenging, thrilling. Quality of sounds like piano, organ, brass, flutes has become that great that the changes are really not that striking.
Posted by: Ilija Petkovski

Re: new keyboards.... - 06/19/00 01:51 PM

"We are all as great as our fingers tend to play"


PS 12 gigabyte hard drive is way to little! 5 years ago I had 3,1 gig, so now I would def. buy about 50 gig. Bad choice! For the rest: everybody is right here.