Yeah, Moog makes an expression pedal.. I was very surprised to find that Moog manufactured products outside of the realm of synthesizers and FX pedals. I was even further surprised by the fact that they produced a product that I could easily afford. I was in need of an expression pedal, and considering the fact that Moog is well known for creating high-quality products across the board, I thought I would give the EP-3 a try. The EP-3 also falls in an extremely reasonable price range, around $40, making it considerably cheaper than most expression pedals on the market, despite being produced by a company known for selling expensive products.
Build Quality: 10/10
I am unsure as to how Moog can keep producing such a high quality product for such a cheap retail price. The pedal is extremely sturdy, and though it isn't a full metal construction, it certainly functions like it is. There is no wobble to any of the function. The pedal glides absolutely effortlessly back and forth. I cannot think of a single way that Moog could have built a stronger product.
As is typical of Moog products, the EP-3 has a very aesthetically pleasing design. The adjustable foot-pedal portion of the product is treaded for perfect grip and printed with Moog's logo. Sleek in all black, the pedal fits in with the style of any preexisting rig. The 1/4" attachment cable is inserted at the very front of the pedal, making cable organization very easy. I do have two small complaints about the pedal design, however.
1) The pedal is built quite high, making it slightly uncomfortable to use if you are currently working with a low-profile stand.
2) There is little to no weight behind the pedal, making it very easy to move, and thus, not very satisfying to use.
If you don't yet have an expression pedal as a part of your rig, Moog's EP-3 will fill that void with ease and perform above and beyond your needs. Worth far more than $40.
The microKORG XL has been around for a long while now, and it still remains a staple component within the rigs of musicians everywhere, be they casual or professional. Though portability is the draw of this instrument, it still comes with a bold and unique sound that places its worth far above a travel instrument..
and it has a vocoder... which is very cool.
That being said, I still do have my complaints, but none of them are about the sound.
This little keyboard is extremely versatile and impressive in terms of sound. It isn't exactly cheap for a travel instrument, so I suppose a big sound should be expected. The sounds are separated into various genres, like HipHop, Electronica, and 70's Vintage, then further refined into categories such as bass tones, lead syths, strings, and vocoder input. Soundscaping from the ground up with the microKORG XL isn't possible, but it still puts forth a large capability for sound customization. Beyond the sound selection wheels to the left, there are 12 parameters to the right side of the keyboard available for further modulation. The keyboard is both monophonic and polyphonic, depending upon the patch selected, and the sound production is entirely digital (which some say is a bad thing... but I don't share this sentiment). The microKORG XL's sound is certainly its strong-suit, but there is room for improvement when it comes to the keyboard's hardware...
So... mini keys...
In short, I hate them. I do not see the appeal nor the practicality. I have absolutely no idea why keyboard manufacturers continue to make them. They make any great synthesizer nearly impossible to play properly, and that is a shame because of how excellent this keyboard had the potential to be. Oh well.. nothing can be done about it now. Maybe it's just me. Some people seem to be completely content with their mini keys, so I suppose it comes down to personal preference. But if you value the comfort and fluid playability of an instrument, I don't suggest picking one with mini keys.
Hardware/User Interface: 5/10
When I first got my microKORG XL, I tore open the packaging to get to it. This was many years back, and it was the first synthesizer I had ever owned. I hooked up the instrument and started to play, searching through and sculpting sounds. But when I pressed the keys at the upper octave, I felt the entire keyboard rock to the right, and then back to the left when I released. Upon inspection, I found that the entirely plastic body of the keyboard was warped, causing the corners of the instrument to tap back and forth on my desktop while playing. Obviously, I returned the defective instrument, but when researched this problem online, I found that I wasn't the only person experiencing this issue. Maybe they have worked out the kinks since then, but it was certainly a bad first impression.
Other than that, the build of the keyboard feels very sturdy. The knobs are wiggle-free, and the octave switch lever is very satisfying to flick. If it weren't for my unstable first encounter, I wouldn't hesitate to give it microKORG a 9/10 in this category, but I can't be sure that the wobble kink has been worked out.
Overall, the microKORG is a great choice for a musician in need of a synth/vocoder for travel, provided they don't mind playing on mini keys. At $500, the price is very reasonable for what this keyboard brings to the table. It's no longer a part of my rig, but it may very well fit within yours.
The Korg SV-1 is a keyboard for a niche market, being a performance oriented instrument specifically designed to emulate vintage sounds that many musicians believe are not well achieved by even more expensive keyboards. Everything about this keyboard screams vintage, from the glowing vacuum tube on the left of the user interface, to the knob design borrowed directly from Fender amplifiers from years gone by. It is definitely a beautiful instrument, and it doesn't just provide good looks.
The very fact that Korg's team decided to route all sounds produced by the keyboard through a genuine vacuum tube says so very much about their dedication to sound. This is the quintessential feature of vintage instruments that allows them to sound like the era they come from, and I cannot think of a single other manufacturer bold enough to include vacuum tubes in their digital keyboards. This tube allows Rhodes tones to go from clean, smooth, and chimey, to brutal and crunchy with a simple turn of a knob. Built into this keyboard is the ability to emulate any vintage amplifier of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, amplifiers that, should they be bought on their own, can cost upwards of $3000. Korg really stepped up their game here. The piano tones are good, the organs are okay, but the SV-1 really shines through its Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and clavinet sounds. They are so close to the real deal vintage instruments, that only serious experts would be able to tell them apart.
The keybed is great, but not perfect. The key action feels familiar and comfortable, but there is a small something about key build quality that feels... well, plastic-y. That's not enough to take too many points away, however, because the potential of this instrument is not at all seriously jeopardized. It could be better, but it's good enough.
Hardware/User Interface: 10/10
I cannot say enough good things about the build quality and user interface arrangement of this keyboard. Everything about it is so deliberate, and so perfect. There is no screen on the keyboard, and there is a separate knob or button for every function. The knobs are extremely sturdy and firm, providing a satisfying click upon each turn. The UI begins on the left with a glass plate exposing a real vacuum tube, glowing orange, which is a sight not often found in new age keyboards. This tube is a clear sign to the player that they are going to get a true vintage tone out of their keyboard, not a flimsy, simulated replica sound. Everything about the UI and build quality of this keyboard is stellar, from the metal chassis, to the power switch, to the paint job. Korg's design team definitely did their homework when working on the SV-1.
You would be very hard pressed to find a single genuine, restored vintage instrument at anywhere near this price. With that said, this instrument includes Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and clavinet sounds, all able to be routed through classic amplifier emulators, and if all of these vintage instruments/amps were to be purchased and restored, you would be in well over $30,000... so the pricetag of $1,700 for the SV-1 sounds extremely reasonable to me.
Behringer's KXD series of PA monitors comes in two styles, the KXD12 and the KXD15. These numbers mean nothing more than the size of the bass speaker within the monitor, that being in inches. Behringer has a great reputation of "borrowing" the designs for instruments and audio equipment from massive companies like Roland and Bose, then creating cheaper versions. Behringer did just this to Roland's KC series of amplifiers, and in my opinion, they do it just as well.
Whether you choose to pick the 12 or 15 inch version of this PA monitor, you are going to get all the volume you could ever need (unless you're playing in stadiums, but most of us are not so lucky). The sound is, more often than not, crisp and clear. I am always sure to keep this amplifier located off of the ground, as to save my downstairs neighbors from the constant noise radiating from my apartment. I have run into a few problems regarding the headphone output jack, as my first KXD amplifier created a fair bit of static noise. This problem was quickly rectified by Sweetwater customer service, as they sent me out a replacement immediately upon my request. The bass tones have the capability to get fairly muddy, depending upon the instrument or audio patch you have running through the monitor, but this issue is easily mitigated by the on-board equalizer.
The product itself is pretty solid, but it is lacking in a few areas. The monitor is very light and portable, with a sturdy faux-leather strap across the top for transportation. Great for gigging and casual sessions with friends, but not exactly perfect for large venues. The number of input and output jacks is far more than adequate, but sometimes I find their quality to be slightly subpar. Now and again, I run into issues with noise from the speaker running through my output cables and into external amplifiers, but it is not significant enough to make the monitor not worth its price. The on-board equalizer is an extremely helpful and worthwhile addition to the monitor, and that has definitely scored Behringer some points with me. Very few of my instruments have equalizing capabilities, so I make use of the equalizer often.
For amps of this wattage and power at the prices of $350 and $450 (for the 12 and 15 inch models, respectively), it's hard to go wrong. They are by no means professional studio monitors, but they do the job for casual sessions, and they do it well.
The Alesis SR-18 is a powerhouse drum machine available at an excellent price. The SR-18 is the successor to another Alesis drum machine, the SR-16, that has been a fan favorite for 28 years... Yes, that number is correct. The SR-16 was released by Alesis in 1990, and was featured on albums by celebrated musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, and many, many more. Despite the years going by, the technology within this little machine has stayed relevant and useful, so much so that when the new model was released (the SR-18), Alesis didn't even make any changes to the drum patches... they just added more memory! (They also added a bass function... but it's not really worthy of mention... shame). The fact that an instrument from 1990 is still being produced by the manufacturer in factory-new condition, only to be immediately purchased by wanting consumers, says so very much about the product. With that said, this machine does come with its fair share of flaws, but despite that fact, it is a legendary piece of equipment worthy of endless praise for its prolific contribution in so many musical works.
The drum sounds are perfect. Each one sounds realistic enough that, if paired with their acoustic counterpart, any expert would be hard-pressed to determine the difference between the two. The catalog of drum sets available for use in the SR-18 is impressive to say the very least. There are 99 separate drum kits that can be manipulated and selected for custom kits of the user's choice. These 99 kits are not the only sounds available in the machine, however. For each one of these kits, a simple press of the "PERC" button allows the user to access another bank of percussion sounds for each kit, including sounds like triangles, wood blocks, cowbells, and many more. The sonic capabilities of this instrument are virtually endless, and a drum machine is an absolute necessity for any home studio. Looping drum lines to play another instrument over will take any practice session to a whole new level of immersion. In terms of sound, even after 28 years, the SR line is among the best of the best.
Hardware/User Interface: 3.5/10 (Shocking, eh?)
Yes, I am disappointed too. It's not terrible! But it's not very good either... The layout and function of each and every button feels very unintuitive... Learning how to use this machine takes such a very long time that by the time you figure out how to perform a task, you could have worked for hourly pay and hired a session drummer to work on some tracks. Maybe that is a bit harsh... but I promise it is a very difficult machine to get the hang of using. BUT, once you DO learn how to use it, the SR-18 is definitely worth your while!
The buttons that Alesis should have poured money into making extra responsive and comfortable... are extremely unresponsive... If you do not hit the drum pads in exactly the way that your particular machine prefers, you might not get any sound out of them. While this is a painful and avoidable reality, if you take the time to practice and figure the proper intensity and position that these buttons need to be pressed, then they should start working fine. I don't have any idea as to why Alesis would skimp on this extremely important detail, but that's the way it is, so I guess we all just have to put up with the downsides to reap the benefits...
Pros - Powerful, relatively cheap ($259 new, but I found one for $100 used on Reverb.com), portable, and ready right out of the box.
Cons - Takes some serious studying to understand all of the functions... and the buttons don't always work perfectly.
Behringer's XENYX line of mixing boards is an extensive list, with certain models running into the realm of professional studio quality, with a matching price tag. But, as Behringer's slogan suggests ("We Hear You"), they did not forgot about the little guys. The XENYX line has a plethora of mixing boards designed specifically to cater to the needs of consumers looking for total sound control over their casual musical production, small podcast studio, and ballroom multi-microphone PA system.
The two XENYX mixers that caught my eye are the X1204USB and the 1202FX. These mixers sit in a comfortable middleground between casual and professional, providing and often exceeding the expectations of audio producers coming from both ends of the spectrum.
The X1204USB is, as it looks, marketed toward a more professional audience, as it includes level-control sliders for each audio channel, a trait typical to professional studio mixing boards. The 1202FX does not include sliders, but it does have level-control knobs that serve the same purpose in every way... but they just don't look as serious and professional.
Though the X1204USB is more expensive and marketed toward a more professional audience... Behringer somehow found it reasonable to include four extra inputs on the 1202FX. Strange. With that said, the X1204USB provides a very many more output capabilities, from 2-way USB communication with computers, to XLR outputs for stereo monitors, to the expected 1/4" outputs. The 1202FX does not have a USB output, but Behringer more than makes up for this lack with their own 1/4" to USB converter cable, which works absolutely perfectly (though it comes at an extra price of $20).
Another interesting lack in the more expensive model is that the X1204USB seems to have much, much fewer internal FX capabilities than the cheaper 1202FX. I don't understand this design choice whatsoever, but maybe someone who values FX potential less than me may find the lack insignificant for their needs.
It does its job as a mixing board exactly as one would reasonably expect. It takes in the signal of your many instruments/microphones and routes them through a single output to your speakers or computer for recording. It does all of this with little to no interference noise. But if it wasn't able to do this, it wouldn't be much of a mixing board... it would just be a paperweight.
In terms of the internal FX processor, the addition of this capability is very welcomed. The effects within are great, but leave a little to be desired. They sound great when applied to each input signal, but are not as tweakable as I would have liked. The way I look at it, Behringer did not need to add this fun capability to their mixers, but they did anyway, and I'm going to give them kudos for the courtesy.
User Interface/Hardware: 8/10
The layout of the XENYX mixer line is top-notch. Almost everything about these mixers seems to be thoughtfully placed. The knobs, buttons, sliders, and switches are all extremely sturdy and reliable. The zero-dents on the knobs are deep enough to stop a turn once they reach a null setting, and they turn smoothly all the way through. All of the input and output jacks are perfectly placed and sturdy as can be, producing no cross-over noise between cables and working beautifully.
I can point out two problems with the 1202FX design:
One: There is no on/off switch located anywhere on the board. I have absolutely no idea what might have motivated this design decision, but it is severely disappointing. It is easily repaired by the purchase of an on/off outlet switch, allowing the user to power down the mixer without unplugging the machine each and every time they are finished using it.
Two: The bottom of this mixer gets really, REALLY hot with use, as the ventilation area on the bottom of the metal chassis sits flush with the surface on which it is sitting, allowing the exhaust heat no mode of escape. I worried about this issue causing internal damage to the machine, but after purchasing an elevated mesh-metal stand for the mixer, the heat seems to ventilate out properly.
I think I prefer the 1202FX, considering its extra inputs and longer list of FX possibilities, but the lack of an on/off switch is painfully unintuitive and difficult to manage. Every problem encountered with the 1202FX is easily mitigated with external parts, but these parts come at a cost.
With that said, once these external parts are purchased, the 1202FX still comes at a cheaper price than the X1204USB, and provides more modulation capabilities and input jacks all the while.
The choice was easy for me... but if you love the feel of sliders enough, I think you could convince me of you reasoning for purchasing the X1204USB.
The Roland VR-09 V-Combo organ is advertised as light, portable, and battery powered! Pretty intriguing, and for $900 one could assume that it probably has some other great features, but it really only delivers on the aforementioned three. It certainly is light and portable, and batteries definitely make the thing work, but they don't make it work well. Neither does he A/C input... What I'm getting at here is that I did not have a pleasant experience with this keyboard. I have my fair few gripes about it. Far more gripes than I should have about a piece of equipment costing just under one thousand dollars.
I would expect the sound bank of a $900 keyboard to be much better than what Roland brought forth with the VR-09. Too many of the voices immediately sound digital and cheap. The piano tones are largely worthless. The big draw of the keyboard is that it can serve as a combo-organ, complete with drawbars, but the organ tones are so much better executed by every other manufacturer currently producing combo organs. The tine and reed keyboards are pretty decent though! And the clavinets aren't half bad either! All said, about 50% of the sounds are good, 40% are bad, and a tiny 10% are worthy of professional use. I'm not impressed, considering Roland is a big-name keyboard manufacturer. I guess they felt they had nothing left to prove.
The keys on this instrument are extremely disappointing, to say the least. Every key is just slightly thinner than the full-size, giving the illusion that you're playing on a full-size keyboard, but every note played just feels... strange. Fingertips are always leaking over onto the neighboring keys and playing unwanted notes. It's hard to decide which is worse... slightly small or mini-keys... but I think these pain me so much because they did not need to be small. Roland could have very well produced an instrument with full-size keys without sacrificing anything significant in terms of weight and size, but they decided the best route would be to make the product entirely disappointing by skimping on the keys.
Beyond that, they keys are extremely spongy and flimsy, rocking back and forth when played, clicking and clacking on every up and down movement.
Hardware/User Interface: 8/10
Roland didn't do half bad in this department! The FX and instrument selection layouts are really well designed and intuitive. The knobs are sturdy and the drawbars slide smoothly and reliably. The LCD screen is bright and crystal clear. The modulation stick does exactly what its supposed to. Combine all of these awesome traits with a great keybed and some professional sounds, and you'd have an instrument worth buying!! Unfortunately, there was no such luck with the VR-09... Maybe Roland will think of the consumer with their next clonewheel model.
Short Summary: Lackluster. Not much worth buying here. It's cheap in price, and cheaper in manufacture. I'd recommend looking elsewhere for a quality keyboard.
Novation has gone largely unrecognized as a keyboard manufacturer until very recently, as their instruments have previously not been among the groundbreaking creations of the contemporary manufacturers. As of today, however, Novation has built quite a résumé of powerful analog and digital synthesizers, some of which are becoming first-choice picks by musicians over the synthesizers produced by fan favorite companies like Moog and Oberheim. Novation's Bass Station II is a little blue beast, capable of producing massive soundscapes, and everything it has to offer is packed tightly into a very manageable, portable package.
Put simply, the soundscaping possibilities of this tiny synthesizer are truly impressive. Genuine analog synthesizers are increasingly hard to come by in recent times, particularly with the advent of "digital-analog" into the synthesizer scene, but there is still (and likely will always be) so many merits held by true analog synthesizers over their digital counterparts. The Bass Station II includes capability to create sounds via two full oscillators, as well as a sub-oscillator for extra bass power in creation of synth tones. The on-board arpeggiator is reliable, consistent, and highly customizable. Along with the oscillators, the Bass Station II includes the sound modulation capabilities of two LFOs and a sweeping LP/MID/HP cutoff knob. All together, the sound of this synthesizer is absolutely miles ahead of synthesizers in its price range. Actually... it might be the only analog synthesizer anywhere close to the price of $400! In addition to all of these capabilities, the engineers at Novation were kind enough to include on-board distortion, overdrive, and noise effects to the mix.
There is not much bad to say about this keybed. It has aftertouch capability, the keys are full-sized, and they are as reliable and comfortable as any I have ever come across. The one-point dock comes from the fact that the pitch range only covers two octaves (though this downside is easily mitigated by the use of the octave +/- buttons conveniently located near the pitch and mod wheels on the left side of the keyboard).
Hardware/User Interface: 6/10
While everything that exists in the user interface of the Bass Station is top notch, the 6/10 rating comes from the fact that this synthesizer is not one-knob, one-function. The engineers at Novation decided that, in order to keep the user interface simple and sleek, they would move some of the synths lesser capabilities to be edited by way of the user holding a "function" button while simultaneously pressing a key on the keybed that is labeled for this function. I suppose the fact that these capabilities being a part of this keyboard at all is a massive upside, but the complication of their usage because of their layout makes them almost too tricky and convoluted to understand. Outside of that complaint, the existing knobs and buttons are sturdy, responsive, and very well arranged. The outputs on the back of the keyboard are also plentiful and very helpful for sound export and pedal inputs.
This synthesizer is portable, pretty, powerful, and comes at an extremely fair price. If you are on a budget, but in need of a true analog synthesizer, you can't go wrong with the Bass Station II
Yamaha is a powerhouse when it comes to workstation synthesizers. While the MX series is not exactly a first-round pick for a dedicated workstation, it has so many benefits outside of the main keyboard realm. With the MX49 weighing in at a featherweight 8.3lbs, it is the perfect keyboard to have for quick runs between jam sessions and rehearsals, as there is no way this machine is going to put a strain on your back before the show. The MX series borrows all of it's voices from Yamaha's highly acclaimed Motif series, one of the absolute best workstations in the game time and time again. The MX series takes all that producers and musicians loved about the Motif and packs it into a sleek, light, quick-draw chassis, making it perfect for the musician on the run.
As mentioned previously, the MX series is a benefactor of Yamaha's long-time favorite machines, the Motif series. The sounds cover an extremely broad spectrum of genres, from grand pianos and Rhodes tines, to an "ethnic" section full of sitars and dulcimers, to full orchestra strings and fat synth leads. Put simply, there is nothing left out. Any sound you may think you need for music production, it is packed somewhere within the MX series. But, quantity does not always come hand-in-hand with quality. The pianos can tend to be slightly lackluster. The synth tones are much better done by a dedicated analog synthesizer. With that said, not everyone has a cast of roadies available to carry hundreds of pounds of gear along with them so they have the best of every sound at their fingertips. The MX series creates a very comfortable bridge between quantity and quality. It has every sound that you could ever need, and it does them well enough for a casual musician to get by.
Full-sized keys... but pretty spongy... and noisy too. The bulk of the positive end of this five-point review comes from the fact that Yamaha was wise enough to produce this line of keyboards with full-sized keys, even though the main appeal of this keyboard line is its portability. With that said, full-sized is not even close to being everything a consumer has to ask of producers in the realm of keybeds. These keys are pretty clacky, and the noise can become quite distracting unless you have your speakers turned high or you're playing with some quality over-ear headphones. In addition to the noise, these keys have a cheap, sort of spongy feel to them. Not rock solid by any stretch. I tend to be a bit obsessive about keybed quality, because in my eyes, if a keyboard isn't haptically pleasing to play, why play it? I truly believe that the MX series, however, presents more than enough upsides to excuse the terrible keybed and make this keyboard worth the purchase.
Hardware/User Interface: 7/10
LCD screen? Small, tiny even (but bright!).
One knob, one function? Nope.
Deep sound edits? Complicated, convoluted.
AI Selection Wheel? Awesome, as always from Yamaha.
Input/output options? Many.
Sound category selection? Perfect. Extremely intuitive.
The keyboard hardware/UI has its downsides, but they are not many. The main appeal of this keyboard has always been and will always be its weight. For everything it puts on the table, within its weight class, the MX series is a steal.
Powerful. Portable. Ready to go. If you're on the run, the MX is an easy choice.
The choice of a flagship workstation keyboard for a musician's rig is made difficult by many factors. Along with this item becoming the most essential aspect of a complete keyboard lineup, a workstation keyboard will likely prove to be the most expensive portion as well. While only a select few manufacturers produce specialty items such as analog synthesizers and clonewheel organs, almost every keyboard manufacturer has their production teams focused on creating the next best flagship keyboard model. The market is big, and it is filled with many companies fighting for the spotlight.
Kawai is one of a very select few keyboard manufacturers that is also known for production of world-class acoustic pianos. Being that Kawai is a leading name in the realm of grand piano producers, consumers expected top notch piano sampling in their line of flagship workstation keyboards, and Kawai did not disappoint.
It is not an easy feat for a lesser known keyboard manufacturer to make a big splash in the workstation keyboard arena while competing with massive opponents like Yamaha, Korg, Roland, and Clavia/Nord, but Kawai's MP series has proved themselves more than capable of fighting alongside these heavyweight keyboard producers.
Kawai's MP series presents a sound bank of 256 patches, with an additional 256 user-programmable presets, capable of being layered and split exactly to the player's preference. The onboard sounds range from true-to-live samples of Kawai's top-tier grand pianos, to electric tine and reed keyboards, to brass, strings, and everything in between. The instrument really is a multi-purpose musical powerhouse, with many options for production of every genre and style.
Every sound in the keyboard is able to be modulated and shaped to an amazing degree via Kawai's onboard effects processors, as well as individual instrument editing capabilities such as piano string resonance, key noise, damper noise, piano lid height, and many, many more nuanced sonic choices.
The electric keyboards (Rhodes and Wurlitzer clones) do leave something to be desired... These voices do sound true to life, but there are not many usable options other than the "Classic" and "Bright" presets. In contrast, the piano section has a massive selection of 32 different pianos, from 9-foot grands to honkey-tonk uprights.
Another downside: user sampling is not available with this keyboard. This means that users are not able to mix and match sounds from outside the keyboard to be uploaded to and played on the keyboard, which is a feature well-loved by owners of Nord and Korg workstations.
Being that Kawai is a company that makes real acoustic pianos, it is fair to expect a lot out of their digital keyboard keybeds. Kawai lives up to every expectation, providing a hyper-realistic playing experience when it comes to key action. The signature Responsive Hammer II action found in their MP series is absolutely perfect, with the MP11 even boasting the use of real, wooden keys in its production. If for no other reason, these keyboards would make great MIDI controllers, as their keybeds are so unfailingly smooth and responsive.
Hardware/User Interface: 8.5/10
This keyboard is HEAVY. It is surrounded by a full-metal chassis, making it very sturdy, but at 46lbs, it can be a real pain to handle when transporting from gig to gig. But, if you just need a keyboard for in-house or studio, that shouldn't be enough to turn you away from it! The UI is very intuitive, with every button feeling as though it exists exactly where it ought to. The LCD screen is separated into four quadrants, each containing an effect/aspect of the sound that is able to be modulated by turning a (sometimes too sensitive...) dedicated knob.
Short Summary: Overall, the keyboard is a powerful, sturdy, aesthetically pleasing, well-organized instrument that would be welcome in any keyboardist's arsenal.. so long as they are willing to carry it around.
Honest keyboard reviews.