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Topic: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    How about this as an addition to the wishlist for version 3 of Gigastudio: A keyboard? Only dreaming, but it would be nice to be able to just load a few instruments up and retain them in a keyboard that could be turned on without booting up the computer. Something about the size of the Yamaha S-90, with simple on-board contols (knobs?) for filters and ADSR. Am I the only one who want this, or does it seem like a giant step backwards?[/QB]
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Well, to me that seems like a monumental leap backwards.

    All you need for a great performance rig with Giga is a rackmount computer and a decent controller. I\'ve been performing live with this rig since GigaSAMPLER, and it works great every time--absolutely ZERO problems.

    For the record, here\'s the basic live rig:

    4-space Rackmount system:

    Athlon XP 2200+, 1.5 GB PC2700 RAM, WD 120 GB HD (8 mb cache) x 3, Echo Layla20, SCSI, Firewire, USB, Ethernet...you name it, the box will talk to it.

    In the rack:

    Furman Power Conditioner
    Echo Layla20 Breakout Box
    DigiTech Studio 400 multi-FX
    Alesis Studio 12R mixer
    Audio Technica wireless receiver
    Roland SRV-330

    Controllers:

    FATAR StudioLogic SL-880
    Yamaha WX-5 Wind Controller
    Yamaha KX-5 Strap-on Controller x 2 (when I\'m feeling all eighties inside).
    Roland PAD-5 (dirt cheap pad controller for percussive grooving)

    Mics:

    Wired and wireless Audio Technica headset mics (depending upon my mood)
    Various EV vintage stage mics (cause I love \'em), including RE-11s, 15s, and 20s; and BK-1s. Once again depending upon my mood and what kind of acoustic stuff I show up with--I\'m a trumpet/flugel player and percussionist as well.

    So, when I show up for the gig, I put the computer on the ground, and set the rack face down (covers on) on top. Then, I pop the back of the rack, hook up my mic cables, run the mains out to house and MIDI ins (coiled in the rack and ready to go), run power to the computer (already plugged into the Furman and ready to go), hook up the Layla (cable coiled and waiting in the rack), then I flip the rack on its bottom.

    After that, I just pop the front, run keyboard and mouse cabling (they\'re velcroed to the controller), run the monitor cable (cheap 15\" LCD), hook up the MIDI controllers and any pedals, and I\'m ready to boot up, unpack whatever acoustic toys I brought, and rock.

    I\'m utilizing all the outs and a good number of inputs to the Layla, because when I\'m using Reaktor, I have several FX lines programmed into my live ensemble. So those are all pre-wired in the rack. I also have volume pedals feeding the four channels of FX in the Studio 400, so that I have good basic control of pre-fader FX lines (I have some vocal harmonizing stuff, and the basic delays, etc. here). The SRV-330 is in there post-faders to put a general glaze on anything that needs it.

    I\'d like to do this with a notebook, of course, but actually when it comes down to the nitty gritty, that would only save me the rackmount and monitor from the overall rig. I have flight cases for both, so it\'s really no big deal to pack them. When and if I can cram 360 GB of disk drives into a laptop conveniently, I might get one, haha. But even with external drives, the whole PITA factor of a laptop plus externals (with spindly wiring) hanging off of every available hole makes me think the rackmount is still the way to go.

    Certainly for a performance/price comparison there is no competition. The greater expense of the rig is really in the proper cases for everything--so that cartage is easy and straightforward, and the cabling is hardcore and ready to go. You can\'t show up on a gig looking like a chump. Everything needs to go up quickly once the gear hits the stage. I can go from loading dock to first note in about thirty minutes with this rig, which is not really any more time than any other keyboard rig has required. Less in some cases.

    When I come back to the studio, I just slide the rackmount back into the IsoRaxx, where all my studio cabling is still hooked up. I also have an extra Layla20 in the rack for studio use, so I don\'t have to bother hooking up anything in the live rack at all when I return. I just put it up until the next live gig.

    For me, this works. There is nothing like showing up to the gig with a full Giga arsenal and a bunch of well programmed soft-synths. It\'s a total blast. The ironic thing is that I spec\'ed this rig almost exactly three years ago, and other than processor and hard drive upgrades, I have not wanted to change a thing about it. It\'s the best live rig I\'ve ever had, and I know that it covers me no matter what kind of gig I have.

  2. #2

    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    What a set-up. Sounds great.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    Thanks, it\'s a great rig. Actually, a lot smaller than it sounds. I can remember the days of 2-3 big keyboard stands and all that MIDI cabling and racks and cases for everything...you needed a truck. I can fit this rig into a car...tight, but it fits in the back seat and trunk.

  4. #4

    OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    Not entirely off topic: In this piano, Yamaha is taking pages from the Giga book. Separate Pedal-down samples, separate Release samples. Only four velocity layers, and I think Yamaha\'s compression scheme limits the memory available, so I doubt the source piano was chromatically sampled, but still, this seems like a step in the interesting and I guess eventually inevitable direction of creating a very serious electronic piano. (I say this as if none of the hardware pianos are decent, but I still consider getting a Yamaha P200 at times, and after only a brief listen, was impressed by the piano sounds of the Motif and
    S-90. (Anyone else like these pianos? I only played these briefly at Guitar Center, so don\'t attack me too hard if I missed glaring transition points or something else I might have noticed with more time and fewer dj\'s trying out the latest scratch sounds.)

    Any guesses about how long it may be before someone brings forward a keyboard that loads Giga instruments, or has a few already installed on its hard drive? (Didn\'t Micheil Post have plans for something along these lines?)

    How about this as an addition to the wishlist for version 3 of Gigastudio: A keyboard? Only dreaming, but it would be nice to be able to just load a few instruments up and retain them in a keyboard that could be turned on without booting up the computer. Something about the size of the Yamaha S-90, with simple on-board contols (knobs?) for filters and ADSR. Am I the only one who want this, or does it seem like a giant step backwards?

  5. #5

    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    I recently sold my P200 & bought a new P120 for less than what I sold the P200 for. There is no comparison in sound. The P200 is thin, cutoff, & w/o resinance when compared to the P120, which has pedal down & release samples, & soundboard resonance. It\'s no Gigga, but it\'s the best stage piano out there, at under a grand & only 40 lbs. I\'ve fooled many with my solo piano performance demo that I recorded on it. Check it out!

  6. #6

    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    I am currently looking for a stage piano. I have a kurzweil 2600 but don\'t want to lug it around...
    A local piano store is recommending the technics sx-p50.They don\'t have one in stock yet so i haven\'t heard it.. How does this compare to the yamaha models your referring to if anyone has tried the technics.. The application would be
    jazz quartetish.

    thanks

  7. #7

    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    Hi

    Bruce mentioned the 4 space Rackmount. Which model rack did you get? I just purchased myself a Roland Rack Reverb, and have very limited space. This is also my first piece of rack gear. So I will not be expanding anytime soon.

    Thanks

    Dave

  8. #8

    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    After trying the PF-500 in a music store today, I have to say it has a very nice sound. With the separate release and pedal-down samples, I really think it makes all the other keyboards, except samplers, pretty much obselete. Much better than a Roland RD-700, much better than the Yamaha-P-120. Better than the P-200. (Strangely, the home keyboard section of Guitar Center, in other words, now has the best piano sounds.)

    On the other hand, it suffers from the same problems as all the other home pianos: you can\'t fully control the filters and ADSR envelope. You CAN control the length of the Release samples and there is a setting called Resonance for both the main samples and the Release samples. Not sure what this does. Didn\'t seem to control a resonant filter. Might.

    On the other hand, as far I could tell by looking at the manual and goging through the settings, no pp layer was sampled, you can\'t control the attack or decay or sustain, and there\'s no lowpass filter. (Although one of the variations may apply a single filter to the sound at a fixed frequency.) Couldn\'t tell.

    Still, this is a promising looking keyboard. More promising still is that a P-250, with the same sounds, is in the pipe. (I don\'t think the P-200 gives you complete control of the ADSR enevelope, either, though. So a P-250 may have the same limitations as the P-200 and the PF-500.)

  9. #9

    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    Bruce, I believe what Jake was wishing for was exactly the rack system you take to gigs--only, loaded into the keyboard; no PC, no Furman, no misc. other gear.

    JUST the keyboard (& amp).

    Which I think is a MOST outstanding idea.

  10. #10

    Re: OT:Latest Yamaha, the PF500 Electronic Piano

    (For those willing to torture themselves at their music store of choice: you reach the settings for the length of the release samples, pedal-down samples, and resonance by pressing the right-most button on the keyboard. Can\'t recall the name. Edit or Extra or ?. Took me ten mintutes to find this,and the settings make a big difference in the sound. Default for everything seems to be 5, and you can change the setting from 1-10.) Price is around 2K.

    So it\'s not a replacement for any of the great giga pianos. But it\'s edging closer. In another 2-5 years, we may see a fully sampled, 8-16 layer piano tastefully designed to sit in our living rooms.

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