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Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby N i g e l » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:40 pm

Do the Kurzweils have audio over USB instead ?

I think the Montage has extensive USB audio outs as well as monitor input & inputs to the synth engine. Perhaps that is "moving forward".
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Dave B » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:47 pm

No - Kurzweil have shied away from going the audio-over-usb route. They just do midi (at the moment).

But here's the thing - Kurzweil have, for many .. _many_ years offered balanced outputs. I used to gig with two long balanced jack cables into the PA quite happily (I'm a good boy now and use DIs) and the system was silent. Digital audio has its place, but modern Kurzweils seem to be geared towards live use (at which I would say that they excel) and in a lot of live scenarios it is overkill. Give me balanced analogue connections anyday!
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Sequencer » Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:37 pm

I get people's comments that 'digital isn't actually that useful' - in terms of having chains and clocks and stuff and live performance.

But that's not really my point - it is useful - the ability to 'print' an exact rendition of anything in the digital world (be it multi-layer photoshop project, or audio bounce/freeze in Logic Pro) is something you do all the time - and expect.

It would make some kind of sense if you could print inside the Kurzweil (ie, resample into RAM) - but it won't do that either.

...it's a bit like if Logic Pro removed all of it's digital bounce options and instead made you route all audio via analog outs on the interface and then back in through analog audio ins to be re-recorded: the results would be fine - but it doesn't do it that way (although it can if you want) because digital has the ability to do 100% perfect printing.

So my point isn't about the universal practicalities of digital audio outs in all situations it's more getting rid of something that is fundamental to digital audio in general (the ability to make perfect copies) .... and on a $5000 instrument (Forte88) that 'does everything'.
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby resistorman » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:32 pm

Sequencer wrote:I get people's comments that 'digital isn't actually that useful' - in terms of having chains and clocks and stuff and live performance.

But that's not really my point - it is useful - the ability to 'print' an exact rendition of anything in the digital world (be it multi-layer photoshop project, or audio bounce/freeze in Logic Pro) is something you do all the time - and expect.


I have to say I was really hung up on this idea because I lived through the emergence of digital audio, and some of it was not pretty. All my chains were obsessively digital. But Hugh talked me down out of the tree last year and I’ve been much happier. And besides, you get that “genuine analog warmth” with multiple conversions! :mrgreen:
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby The Elf » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:00 pm

Yes, at one time I tried to keep all my connections digital, but I came to the conclusion that it really wasn't such a big deal - and that the problem solving far outweighs the benefits.
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby N i g e l » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:05 pm

Sequencer wrote:- it is useful - the ability to 'print' an exact rendition of anything in the digital world (be it multi-layer photoshop project, or audio bounce/freeze in Logic Pro) is something you do all the time - and expect

That is valid. some synths even let you record the audio to disk/USB stick.
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:27 pm

Sequencer wrote:But that's not really my point - it is useful - the ability to 'print' an exact rendition of anything in the digital world..

But is it really 'useful' in the context of a musical instrument? The chances are you're going to modify the source sound with effects processes anyway. But even if not, the degradation involved in passing through a D-A-D process is so vanishingly small I can guarantee you will not hear it, and you'd be hard-pressed to measure it.

Analogue connections are universal. Balanced analogue connections are interference and ground-loop resistant. And analogue is also sample-rate agnostic.

In a keyboard, digital I/O is a pain from the practical, operational and engineering points of view.

To do a digital output correctly, you need a very high quality internal clock, and the ability to synchronise to an external clock input, and the ability to work at different sample rates... All of which makes the design of the keyboard's digital sound generation a lot more complicated and therefore expensive.

And if you don't provide external clocking and alternative sample rates you compromise the usability of the digital output...

So given that there are no real practical benefits, it's a lot easier just to not bother with a digital output. Spend the money on much more useful balanced analogue outputs instead.
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:15 pm

The Elf wrote:Yes, at one time I tried to keep all my connections digital, but I came to the conclusion that it really wasn't such a big deal - and that the problem solving far outweighs the benefits.

Exactly this :thumbup:
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Sequencer » Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:07 pm

Hugh (et al.) -

I totally get all this - that 'instruments' are fine recorded as D-A-D - I certainly could never tell the difference (practically my hearing can't distinguish beyond 256 mp3) - and analog out is the real universal standard.

...but I'm not talking about the PC4 as an 'instrument' - I'm talking about the PC4 as a Digital Audio Workstation .... I realize peoples' thoughts that the Kurzweil's are 'players instruments' - but they are also one of the finest examples of a single box Workstation solution - everything is right there under your fingertips - and that is my use-case, not as an instrument, more as a tactile (muscle memory) replacement for Logic Pro.

- it's just that in that context there is the final part of the DAW functionality missing - namely 'print to file'

So I realize that it's probably not digital outs that I am wanting, it's an extra button in Song Mode that just renders a track as 24/41 (or whatever) and saves it to the flash ram - which would, of course, be a software upgrade.

For a Workstation it just seems like an omission.

The PC3K doesn't have such a 'print to file' function either - but they had left spdif there (and clock in) - so the final print could be done that way.
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Fleer » Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:46 pm

Dave B wrote:...
The PC4 is now deemed a lesser unit than a Forte so it has a plastic case, no aftertouch and a wall wart. As the Forte doesn't have a digital output, it seems that the PC4 won't either. Hey ho.
My PC4 has aftertouch, Dave. That plastic case allows for some easy gigging. Most keyboards, even in higher price ranges, have a plastic case, like Fantom and Montage.
I just love the PC4 to have a good 88-keys action but no MDF-cardboard underneath :thumbup:
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Dave B » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:12 pm

Fleer - you're right : it does have aftertouch. If we can only do away with the wall wart, I'd be a happy chappy!

And I see that they are doing a PC4-7. Grr!!! Semi-weighted keys!!! :protest:
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby N i g e l » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:28 pm

Sequencer wrote:..but I'm not talking about the PC4 as an 'instrument' - I'm talking about the PC4 as a Digital Audio Workstation .... I realize peoples' thoughts that the Kurzweil's are 'players instruments' - but they are also one of the finest examples of a single box Workstation solution

yep, I totally get you on that, cut out the "middle man", its about convienience rather than quality.

I use my PC3K to compose/play without turning on the PC and have been happy to save projects as MIDI + sounds which can then be played back later. I can also send the digital out to my old minidisc for convenient replay later, away from the synth.

The PC3K must be quite old now, more modern synths like the Montage or cheaper MODx have total integration with USB soundcard facilities for recording over USB and also standalone recording to USB stick.

My expectations have been raised and I would now expect this facility on digital synths but not all multi timbral synths even have sequencers or loopers, so I am also expecting to be dissappointed as well in some/most cases.

MODx -> SD card -> Phone/HiFi/DAP, its very convienient.
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Sequencer » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:49 pm

Dave

"Grr!!! Semi-weighted keys!!!"

What does that mean?
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby The Elf » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:54 pm

"Grr!!! Semi-weighted keys!!!"
I would say exactly the same, but we would be saying it for two different reasons! ;)
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Re: Why would Kurzweil have moved 'forward' by removing digital outputs on their keyboards?

Postby Sequencer » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:09 pm

semi-weighted is good - or bad - or what?
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