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tommybs



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Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new
      #969905 - 13/02/12 01:55 PM
I'm trading in my Fantom X8. Love it, but it's proved too hefty and stage-hungry for gigging - I don't want/need 88 keys on stage - and I don't need all of it's workstation features in my home studio anymore (I'm now using Live, Logic and VSTs more). I do, however, want a decent 88-key keyboard in the studio, and for stage use I want a decent soundset/effects (especially but not exclusively piano/organ/wurly - I'll be using it alongside a Nord Lead and/or a Microkorg XL and want to complement them really - was happy with the Fantom soundset tbh). Ideally (not absolute) some sequencing capability on stage too. Gigging keys need to be not too bulky and fairly robust, as I'm a big clumsy oaf but don't have the luxury of roadies or a van.

So I guess I'm after a decent 88-key MIDI controller, and a 61-key stage synth/board. And I want to break even after selling the Fantom (there's your challenge!). My browsing and ebay-watching so far suggests the following shortlist might work in my USED price range of about £900-1000 total budget:

Stage keys:

MOX6, MM6, Fantom X6, Kurx PC3, Korg M50,Juno Stage, Juno-Di

Controller:

M-Audio 88, CME, Oberheim MC3000.

Can it be done? Have I missed something? Advice please!

Edited by tommybs (13/02/12 02:25 PM)


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Scramble
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #969990 - 13/02/12 08:37 PM
Wouldn't the Fantom X6 have the advantage that you can just use all of your previous Fantom sounds? (Although if you're just using a few basic sounds I guess that won't be such a big deal). Another (perhaps minor) advantage is that you'll already be familiar with programming it.

Korg M50 -- these are reasonably new so they'll cost more, and there won't be as many second-hand ones around. But they do have a nice piano sound (despite being a Korg).

Edited by Scramble (13/02/12 08:42 PM)


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Dave B



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #970050 - 14/02/12 09:09 AM
At this point, traditionally I recommend that you go the Kurzweil PC3 route. However, they don't do a lightweight version of it in any form (lol) and, as the nice gentleman has already pointed out, the logical thing to do would be to get a 61 key Fantom.

--------------------
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi
(I came, I saw, I conkered)


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tommybs



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #970232 - 15/02/12 11:36 AM
Thanks both, appreciate your views.

I know what you're saying, and a smaller Fantom may well be the way to go - part of me fancies a change though and wants to know if there's something better out there. This is starting to sound like Dear Deirdre.

Weight is less of an issue than size. For my more cramped gigs I've been using an old but lovely SY-77, which doesn't cut it at all for pianos etc (although I love having it in the studio). It weighs 36lbs, which I can lug about without too much complaint - the PC361 is 30lbs I gather. I mean, it'd be nice to have a "throwabout" but a bit of substance is more important so long as its not 5ft x 2ft and doesn't do my back in. Given that (and moving rapidly away from the double entendres), is it fair to say that ANY 61-keyer will probably be OK for me live??

Re migrating, that's a good point, but I don't actually program the Fantom sounds much cept for a bit of live filter/effect twiddling (got the SY77 and the Nord for synthy programming stuff). Have to think about the song data though - that might be a bit of an issue.

So, what does the PC3 (or anything else) do better than the Fantom to outweigh the convenience and familiarity thing? Anything major? Can't seem to find one to try out (any tips there?) Assuming basic sequencing, effects, etc are a given, and I'm letting the piano-action thing slide by going for 61 keys, I think range and quality of presets and live control are the biggest thing for me - I play a lot of styles (folky pop (acoustic and pads), old-school rock (piano and organs) and electronic stuff (whatever)).


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Guy7
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #970266 - 15/02/12 01:58 PM
I'll be able to answer your question very soon. I have a Fantom X8 and have just bought a Kurzweil PC3 (76 note). I opted for a Kurzweil purely down to what I have have heard and more importantly what people have said on this forum. This will be my live rig for the next few years. I did consider selling the X8 and getting something lighter (it really is very heavy!!) but I need something with a weighted 88 note keybed. The X8 does what I need from it and with a few SRX boards installed, it still is a really capable piece of kit.

--------------------
And Bagpuss, once he was asleep, was just a saggy old cloth cat.


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tommybs



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #970325 - 15/02/12 07:22 PM
Thanks, look forward to hearing from you.

Any tips on the MIDI controller anyone? I reckon I'm going to massively regret missing out on that Oberheim for £215...


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Guy7
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #970337 - 15/02/12 08:47 PM
I've had a few midi controllers in my time. In order of excellence.......

1. Kurzweil Midiboard - Very hard to come by now but the best action on a Midi keyboard I have ever known.
2. Akai MX1000 - Great weighted controller but only 76 note.
3. Novation 61SL Mk2 - very light but more suitable for computer use.

Maybe have a look a picking up a s/h Yamaha KX88 or Roland A80/A90.

Just a few thoughts for you to pick at.

--------------------
And Bagpuss, once he was asleep, was just a saggy old cloth cat.


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Guy7
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #972203 - 25/02/12 10:49 AM
Tommybs,

Well the Kurzweil PC3 arrived with me yesterday. I absolutely love it. It knocks spots off the Fantom X8. So much so, that I am now thinking of selling the X8. The keyed on the PC3, although not fully weighted, feels fantastic. It nice and light but has a really substantial feel to it. The stock sounds are great. Pianos are lovely. The strings/orchestra/choirs are easily some of the best I have heard from a keyboard. The KB3 organ mode is fantastic too. You have faders which double up as drawbars so you can really mangle the sound on the fly. Even small things like when the PC3 is playing a organ patch, the damper pedal automatically changes to a Leslie on/off switch.

Also, when you change patches, the sound doesn't cutoff. Roland/Yamaha/Korg seem to be using this a big selling point at the moment. It would seem Kurzweil have been doing it for a while.

I haven't really had time to explore the V.A.S.T synthesis side yet but some of the presets show it is capable of all the VA type sounds I may need it the future.

So it seems I now find myself in a similar situation to yourself. I'm going to give it some thought this weekend but at the moment, the PC3 is going to be my main board. The X8 is going and I think I may look for a X6/X7/G6/G7 to compliment it. No more broken backs lugging the X8 from gig to gig!!!!

No doubt I will have changed my mind again by tomorrow!

--------------------
And Bagpuss, once he was asleep, was just a saggy old cloth cat.


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Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #972210 - 25/02/12 11:22 AM
Guy, it is nice isn't it ... and about half the price of the competition!!

Once you get into what VAST can do (their are a couple of good vids on youtube) it gets really good. Kurz also have a Facebook page and that is nice info. Always good to have another one of us come over from the dark side ...



--------------------
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi
(I came, I saw, I conkered)


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The Elf
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: Guy7]
      #972220 - 25/02/12 12:42 PM
Yes, welcome to the world of VAST! It's still doing the job for me after all these years and still feels light years ahead of anything before or since.

Isn't it nice to have parameter values displyed in Hz/dB and note values, rather than all that clumsy 1-99 of lesser synths?

Have some patience with the editing system, start with a few simple patches and pretty soon you'll be flying. This is one synth where the lack of knobs is totally forgivable!

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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Guy7
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: Dave B]
      #972247 - 25/02/12 03:31 PM
Quote Dave B:

Guy, it is nice isn't it ... and about half the price of the competition!!




This is very true. If I sell my Fantom X8 (it must be worth £1000), I should have around £1400 to put towards it's replacement. That should pretty much get me most things s/h. I'm tempted to look at getting a Nord Stage jobbie, as I really feel the PC3 does everything the competition does. I don't need gimmics just high quality sounds to play live.

tommybs, sorry for slightly hijacking your thread but I think we are after the same thing here. I would be interested to hear what you are thinking of doing. My tip, get a Kurzweil and build from there.

I've got say, i'm so impressed by Kurzweil, I am seriously considering getting another.

--------------------
And Bagpuss, once he was asleep, was just a saggy old cloth cat.

Edited by Guy7 (25/02/12 03:37 PM)


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tommybs



Joined: 13/02/12
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #972433 - 26/02/12 04:38 PM
No problem guy7, appreciate your posts. It's good to get some real-life views, given that it can be pretty hard to get hands-on with some of this stuff (especially Kurzweil!).

I've been trying a few things, and came to some conclusions too. Except for the Fantom 88 with SRX expansion, none of the Rolands cut it in terms of action/expression or piano sounds, so I'm not going there. I tried the MOX8 and really liked it all round, so was considering that. Korg was nice too and played well, but I like to mix up my makers and don't think I'll get one for the right price.

From what you're all saying, I'm really tempted to go for the Kurzweil PC361 now, although I'd love to find one to play if anyone can suggest anywhere in London. So the plan means getting rid of the X8 and getting an 88-key controller for the home studio/occasional stage pianoey use. (CMEs look good, with plenty of knobs and sliders and seem to be around second-hand for around £200).

My SY77, which has been serving me well as a veteran stand-in at gigs lately, when it really should be seeing out its last days providing nice glassy patches in a comfy studio at a leisurely pace, has finally gone insane (that's the best word for its behaviour right now - patches cutting out, random sounds etc - any tips on fixing that would be appreciated!), so time is of the essence here. What's the best way for me to get hold of a Kurz for a good price? Direct import? What did you guys do?

Also, am I being realistic expecting to get £900-1000 for my X8 (with 4 SRX boards including vintage keys and world)?


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Guy7
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #972436 - 26/02/12 04:42 PM
Having played my PC3 again this morning I am still totally blown away by it. I have watched some of the tutorials on the Kurzweil website and it is so easy to program splits/layers/combi etc.... Obviously, you can dig really deep and get into more complex programming if you want.

I have made a decision. The Fantom X8 is going and I am going to track down a PC3K8. It's Kurzweil all the way for me now. I can't believe it has taken me this long.

--------------------
And Bagpuss, once he was asleep, was just a saggy old cloth cat.


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The Elf
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: Guy7]
      #972437 - 26/02/12 04:58 PM
Don't rule out one of the older K2x00 models if you can score one for the right price. The K2600 is a joy for live playing, with a long ribbon, short ribbon (both ribbons are position and pressure sensitive), programmable sliders/switches, loads of pedal inputs and even a native breath controller input. The performance controllers put a lot of the power of VAST right under your fingertips/feet.

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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Guy7
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #972467 - 26/02/12 08:41 PM
Quote tommybs:

Also, am I being realistic expecting to get £900-1000 for my X8 (with 4 SRX boards including vintage keys and world)?




Sell the SRX boards seperately. You should get a minimum of £100 for each on eBay (If the vintage keys board is actually the Ultimate Keys board it will go for alot more). I think £900-£1000 is a fair price for the X8 on it's own.

I paid £895 for my PC3 inc flightcase from the SOS Readers Ads.

--------------------
And Bagpuss, once he was asleep, was just a saggy old cloth cat.


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Scramble
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: The Elf]
      #972469 - 26/02/12 08:58 PM
>Also, am I being realistic expecting to get £900-1000 for my X8 (with 4 SRX boards including vintage keys and world)?

That is definitely realistic, in fact I expect you'd get more than that with 4 SRX boards in.

You'd probably do best to sell the X8 without boards and sell the boards seperately.


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tommybs



Joined: 13/02/12
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #974450 - 06/03/12 05:51 PM
Just ordered a PC361 from the States: look forward to joining the Kurzweil love-in soon! Probably too late to ask about reliability of Kurzweil stuff - I had to buy it without a manufacturer's warranty (not valid outside US). Ah well, I'm sure it'll be fine, and I managed to get a cracking price.

Also about to take receipt of a CME UF8 midi controller. I'll tell you all about it in due course.

All that's left then is to get the Roland and the SRX cards up for sale...

Thanks for all the advice chaps.


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Dave B



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #974499 - 06/03/12 11:17 PM
Kurzweil reliability? Excellent with two caveats :

1. The LCD contrast knob sticks out on the back and can get pushed in too easily if the synth is rested on its back. I had a soft bag originally and got caught this way. My own fault really....

2. If you take it apart, attempt to fix it yourself and get it wrong (not being a dab hand with a soldering iron) them you can trash the system board too easily. I really think that they should have allowed for that ...



In reality, they are built like tanks for the simple reason that they are designed as good live units. Look after it and it just keep going.

Hope you enjoy yours. I love all mine...

--------------------
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi
(I came, I saw, I conkered)


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tommybs



Joined: 13/02/12
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #975690 - 14/03/12 01:54 PM
Good news: PC3 arrives tomorrow
Bad news: CME UF8 MIDI controller doesn't have a driver for Windows 7 64-bit. Any advice?


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Martin WalkerModerator
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #975796 - 15/03/12 02:08 AM
Quote tommybs:

Bad news: CME UF8 MIDI controller doesn't have a driver for Windows 7 64-bit. Any advice?




Use its standard MIDI output - that's what I decided to do with my UF8 years ago, and I've never experienced a single problem since (unlike the weird and wonderful problems many people have got over the years with its USB connection )


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


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derek smalls



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #975808 - 15/03/12 05:29 AM
Used a K2vx (K2000 with orchestral expansion board) for 12 years, never let me down once despite quite a bit of abuse. I found myself still programming it and re-discovering how good it was still sounding after all that time. VAST is....well, vast! I gave it to a friend last year who is a gigging songwriter with no money and she's still going strong. I replaced it with an Alesis Ion, £300 out of the SOS ad's with a gig bag, very pleasantly surprised, good bread and butter synth sounds, and it now serves as my controller kybd at home. I just use that and a Nord electro3, lovely lightweight set up, and the Nord has the great benefit of being able to load samples, including from the Nord piano library. I see there is/was a K2600 for £885 on the SOS ads, thats a lot of synth for not much money!
Regards
Mark


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tommybs



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #975925 - 15/03/12 03:38 PM
OK it's here, but it's arrived set to 115v AC input. Anyone know how to change that setting without breaking anything? Can't work out how to get into the thing...


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2thick4uni
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #976383 - 17/03/12 10:52 AM
Quote tommybs:

OK it's here, but it's arrived set to 115v AC input. Anyone know how to change that setting without breaking anything? Can't work out how to get into the thing...




No need to open it up, most keyboards now have auto voltage sensing and will accept any voltage from 90v to 240v ac. It will be labelled with the voltage appropriate for the market it is sold in, I've had US Korg's and Rolands marked as 110v that autosense and work fine on 230v. The Kurzweil PC3LE7 has auto voltage sensing according to this SOS review:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar11/articles/kurzweil-pc3le7.htm

So if you plug it into 230v and it does go bang you can sue SOS

--------------------
Top Tip: RAPPERS. Avoid having to say 'know what I'm sayin' all the time by actually speaking clearly in the first place. (Viz Comic)


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tommybs



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #977445 - 22/03/12 10:37 AM
So here's the thing. The PC3 has switchable voltage - mine came shipped for 115v, as expected. The manual says remove the fuse holder, stick a couple of 250mA fuses in (took me 4 days to track them down), and then replace the fuse holder the other way around (ie set for 220-250v).

Done all that. Power on.....Nothing. [ ****** ]. Fuses look intact, so no idea what's wrong here.

Can anyone help? Contacted Kurzweil support, but got a gig tomorrow so could do with some quick advice!

Bit needy aren't I?


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2thick4uni
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #977554 - 22/03/12 06:33 PM
Looks like it has a universal psu, different fuses are fitted depending on current draw, which will double if supply voltage is halved, most companies don't bother with this but nice to see Kurzweil do things properly. It most likely flips round just to indicate supply voltage it's fused for.

Had a quick look at the manual and it mentions and shows removing a clip if only one fuse is fitted - you should still have this clip in place if you've fitted two fuses. Other thing to try is remove one of the fuses and this clip and see if it powers up....

--------------------
Top Tip: RAPPERS. Avoid having to say 'know what I'm sayin' all the time by actually speaking clearly in the first place. (Viz Comic)


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tommybs



Joined: 13/02/12
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? [Re: tommybs]
      #988233 - 18/05/12 03:34 PM
Finally got it back. It was faulty. Had to pay for the repairs myself - my warranty was only valid in the US. Still saved money though...

Lesson: don't buy tech stuff on internet from overseas unless you're prepared for a whole heap of hassle!

Anyway, 1 hour of browsing through patches and noodling about with the headphones in, and I'm already a very happy man. Looking forward to a full weekend of getting to know my new baby....

Thanks for the advice everyone!


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MorayM



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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: tommybs]
      #993634 - 19/06/12 09:05 PM
A bit more thread-jacking here...

I've just about gigged my X8 to death (something I thought couldn't happen to Roland gear!) and I'm looking at the PC3K8 to replace it. I can't find anywhere in the UK that has one to try out, so if any Kurzweil fans are able to help me out, that would be great.

I play in an original prog rock group and a Pink Floyd tribute band, so most of the time I'm working with very complex live setups with 8-10 layers and splits across the keyboard, and use quite a few sampled sound effects. I gather it can do all the splits (with per-patch effects, hooray!), but can you switch between setups with a foot pedal? Also, if one of the patches in the setup uses the organ engine, can you still use the faders to control the drawbars for the one patch?

On the sampling front, I'd quite like to keep all the sound effects on the PC3K8's flash memory (no load times, hooray again!). Is it possible to set samples as "one-shot" i.e. they play to the end when triggered, regardless of whether I've taken my finger off the key (or more likely, external pad control) or not?

Thanks!


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Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: MorayM]
      #993712 - 20/06/12 10:57 AM
Prog rock and Pink Floyd ... hang on ... you're me!!

yep - no problems with what you're looking for

- I've had pedals scroll through setups
- _think_ you can have the drawbars in a setup ..
- sample can be one shot or held (same sample playback as in the K series basically and my K2661 is where I have the samples)

Note that it does have a different sound to the Kseries - a little more refined and polite and the Leslie is 'better' but I find it has less depth than the K series effect. But the synthesis engine is killer!

Where are you based? I know that Absolute carry them in stock usually and they have a shop in Poole. I actually have a PC3 spare at the moment if you want to give it a whirl.

--------------------
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi
(I came, I saw, I conkered)


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MorayM



Joined: 05/01/11
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Re: Used gigging keys and studio controller to replace my Fantom X8? new [Re: Dave B]
      #994167 - 22/06/12 01:33 PM
Haha! What bands?

Thanks for those answers. Glad to hear that I can keep using my currrent programming tricks. I'm not too bothered about the overall sound - provided I can tame VAST, I should be OK.

Thanks for the offer of the PC3. I'm in Bath/Bristol area, so neither Poole nor Maidenhead are particularly convenient, but I'll see if I've got some free time before the August gig glut.


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