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  K2000VPR At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 1997  Specifications
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Jeff Ahrens (ahrensj@umich.edu) writes:
March 26, 1998. This is the second half of a rather lengthy exposition on my 6-month mission to buy a good ìstart-upî home studio. I bought an 88-key weighted controller, a synthesizer/sampler, and a digital multitrack recorder. I wanted to share my shopping experience on-line because many of these sites are devoid of truly useful info. Ideally, this provides objective advice for those of you shopping for similar products. Look for both the controller and sound module reviews on this site.

SYNTHESIZER/SAMPLER SOUND MODULES

I realize that people get downright religious about different companies and sounds ñ Iím just expressing an opinion here. You really need to spend a *lot* of time listening if youíre in the market for a module. I recommend visiting stores with a good set of headphones. This allows you to listen to each module with a common denominator. I went so far as to jot notes down as I was playing so Iíd remember them later. In addition, every box/synth should get TWO listens, because hearing a second (and thirdÖ) module will change the way you think about the first. Finally, remember that I was purchasing a controller and a sound box, so my needs for a sound library are different from someone looking for one do-it-all workstation.

Where did I start? There are a million options that I narrowed down to three: a good sampler with its sound library (expensive), a synthesizer/sampler (also expensive), or multiple synthesizers that cost the equivalent of one of the first two options. For example, I could get an Akai CD3000XL sampler with the Akai sound library. Second, I could go for the Kurzweil K2000 or E-mu E-Synth that are synthesizer/samplers. Third, I could get the Roland JV2080 AND a Korg Trinity Rack module for the same price (maybe even a Yamaha MU90R too). Essentially, we have to weigh sound quality (or ìrealnessî) vs. quantity and flexibility (2 smaller cheaper modules usually give more polyphony and multitimbrality than one expensive one).

Again, the needs of the performer determine what sounds are ìgoodî, which is why I stayed away from the techno/danceÖ although not ignoring it entirely. Here is a list of the ones I shopped and you might consider:

- Roland JV-1080/JV-2080 and expansion boards; S-760 sampler and library - Yamaha MU100R/MU90R ñ havenít heard the new E-5 yet - (I ignored the Yamaha A-3000 because it doesnít have a sound library) - Kurzweil K2000VPR/K2500 - E-mu E-Synth, Proteus, Vintage Keys, E-6400 sampler and library - Korg Trinity Rack, NS5R - Kawai K5000R - Alesis QSR - Akai 3000-series samplers and library, SG01 modules

Note: I found it difficult to really examine the expandable modules like the Roland JV-2080 and Alesis QSR because few stores carry the expansion cards or boards in stock. This sucks because we shouldnít have to buy an expandable module without hearing how it expands! Also, itís unfortunate that Ensoniq doesnít aggressively sell its rack samplers and library (couldnít find one anywhere) ñ and the E-Prime and new ZR-76 donít even come in rack versions!

Anyway, here briefly is my analysis. The most impressive modules were, not surprisingly, the most expensive of the bunch. The Kurzweil K2000 and E-mu E-Synth sound fantastic. The Kurzweil shines for acoustic and orchestral instruments, the E-Synth is better for synths, basses, and electronic stuff. Oddly enough, after a number of listens, the Korg Trinity Rack lost some luster. Many of the sounds were neat, but its acoustic sounds were a little weak. Itís a great instrument altogether, so I didnít rule it out. (Remember too that I bought the Korg SG Pro X controller so maybe I felt I have enough of the super-processed Korg sound.) The Kawai might be great for fat pads and techno/dance, but itís not my style. The Alesis QSR is intriquing ñ much like the Roland JV-2080. Both expand nicely. However, the Roland just sounds cleaner and has a greater variety (and higher quality) of expansion options. The Akai samplers are classic, but the libraries are uninspiring. The ! Roland sample library, however, is legendary and I found out why ñ absolutely beautiful. The S-760 is a BIG sleeper. The Yamaha boxes are neat and a bit less expensive. However, I considered them ìextraî -- they could not be a primary box for me. (Theyíre punchy and fun, but I need a bit more realism.)

Following many hours of listening and comparison, I narrowed down to a few options:

- Kurzweil K2000VPR with both Orchestral and Contemporary ROM ($3100) - E-mu E-Synth with lots of the E-mu sample library ($3100) - E-mu E-Synth with Yamaha MU90R ($3200 and I could get the E-mu library later) - Roland JV-2080 w/ eight boards ($3000) - Roland JV-2080, Yamaha MU90R, Korg Trinity Rack ($3300 and I could get the Roland boards later)

I decided that my multitrack recorder meant that I could live with less polyphony and fewer timbres. Therefore, I eliminated the Yamaha, Roland, and Korg. None of these could match the orchestral and acoustic realism of the K2000 and E-Synth. From here it was excruciating. As I said earlier, each one has its strengthsÖ but then I noticed that most studios that advertise on the web have a K2000 in their equipment list. That started a slide of information (including the Sweetwater Sound K2000 sound library) that led me to the K2000VPR. In addition, the Kurzweil can read Roland, Ensoniq and Akai samples, so I can borrow from those libraries in the future! Iím happy with the choice.

Well, thatís it. E-mail me if you have any specific questions I can help you with.

Comments About the Sounds:
Available libraries concentrate on Rock, Jazz, Classical -- but can be programmed for anything. Acoustic and orchestral sounds are the best available.

(Thanks to Jeff Ahrens for this info.)
and www.zzounds.com for the pic

Links for the Kurzweil K2000VPR
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x acidfanatic.com samples and loops
x DLN Sound FM synthesis explanation and sounds for Kurzweil K2xxx
x SoUnDEnGiNe.com Kurzweil Native CDROMs - Church Organs, Brian Cowell & Synthesizers!!
x The Patch King The Best Sounds @ The Best Prices. Thousands of new sounds for over 100 Synths and Samplers. Check us out!
x HEAR A K2000 IN INDUSTRIAL ACTION Prohpecy is created with a K2000
x Pro Quality K2000VPR Sample/Program floppies/CDs Over 160 Banks available!
x SAMPLER RESOURCES FOR THE K2500/K2000 SAMPLES & SITES
x KURZWEIL K2000/K2500 SAMPLE RESOURCES SAMPLES & SITES
x SAMPLER RESOURCES SAMPLES AND NEW SITES
x Philipp Koltsov's studio free patch collection Kurzweil K2000 factory discs

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