Synth Site: Roland: A90EX: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Duane Estill from USA writes:
I've owned and played the Peavey DPM C8 (the one with the Fatar and the updated action, the Fatar Studio 90, and I've played them all, including the Kurz's. The Roland is the best action, lacking the 'thunk' on return that plagues Fatars. You can fix the Fatars with extra felt padding, but it softens it too. A keyboardist who was trained as a pianist will find this board to be the perfect compromise between portability and substance. You feel like your "behind an instrument" which enhances the overall piano experience. But the action allows you to use it to play trigger synths. I use this in the studio and just flip on the MIDI output I want to trigger. The on board pianos are descended from the JV series and as such have that overly bright and very identifiable attack, which gets a little tiring over time and doesn't do well on quiety passages. I find myself wanting to hear more would on those occassions. I layer Preset 9 with a nine foot grand sample that does get the cabinet/wood sounds in there, which is a very inspiring sound. I also layer the electric pianos with the JD 990 electric pianos and get rich tones. The "Euro" piano presets on this are very good for soft or solo playing but don't really go anywhere when you play them hard. But overall, I hope to find another one of these and put it back for a spare. I love this thing. The only further I would realistically go would be a full grand. I think if I got some really good piano samples like giga sampler provides, it would be even better. But I'm overall very pleased with this board. A piece of musical gear that integrates in your rig to the extent that you don't think about it, but rather play it and can think about your music is what you want, and that's what this board does. Look no further. I think the new Yamaha CF series may be better, but for used, you cannot beat this board. The expansion card is worth the extra, those sounds are good 'bread and butter' but you wouldn't want to survive on those sounds alone, use them as starting points for layers.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Nov-15-2011 at 10:24
Duane Estill a professional user from Southeast, USA writes:
This is probably the best MIDI controller board up until a few years ago. I've not lived with the Kuzweill PC controllers, and with Yamaha releasing the new CP1, 5, and another one, this board is a litle dated. That said, I think it stands up well, very well, or it would have become a time piece. They still for around 1,000 US on ebay. I bought mine for $400 with stand, sustain pedal, soft case with casters, etc. My unit has lived indoors most of it's life. I've owned a Peavey C8, and a Fatar Studio 90, and worn them out. I used these, as I do the A90 as MIDI studio centerpieces for most input, composition, tracking, playing, practicing stuff. The A90 has an intuitive playability that makes you want to play and play and play. Mine is the EX model with the VE sound card installed. The EP's on this are fantastic, but the acoustics are very bad. I have a D70 that carries the MKS20 clone piano sound, which are a cut about the JV series piano sounds, more full and less tinney. And I've yet to start triggering soft synths, which will open up even more interesting possibilities. I play this thing for hours on end and feel genuinely inspired to push, and create. It's not really just how "good the action is" as much as the overally way the instrument gets out of the way of playing and allows you to flow with your playing. The A90 is exceptional in this regard in some way that not even more expensive controllers do. I quickly put it smack in the middle of the studio. The MIDI routing is extensive. The buttons are of the JD series era, big, square with good tactile feedback. The MIDI functions are light-indicated which allows a type of default switching between sounds that you are trigger simply by turning MIDI outs on or off. That is a neat function and again, helps keep the flow going. I'll keep this one, and would gladly buy another one. I will use this live, but moreso it is my primary instrument. The action feels a tad heavy and here's how you can tell, you can't play fast single notes with one hand alternating index and thumb. It's always still making it back up the travel when it's time to play the next note. But it's not that bad, especially compared to a piano. It just works, no need to really say much in the way of esoteric language because if you play it and it does that for you then you know it and there's no need to go on forever about it. Many musicians have no clue about that experience so it wouldn't be productive to try to explain it in the first place. Just go play your 88 note controller!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Apr-28-2011 at 01:13
Norm a professional user from Canada writes:
The A-90 is an excellent board. The piano sound quality on the "ex" is just heavenly. I love the fact that you have a sturdy design and the weighted keys are a delight to the fingertips. High end keyboards can be complicated to operate but the easy-to-use layout and configuration of the A-90 let's a true musician do what he/she does best - PLAY!


Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Apr-15-2007 at 21:37
Jim Wilder a hobbyist user from USA-South Carolina writes:
My A90 is my studio centerpiece, plus road warrior. For live, I MIDI a Hammond/Suzuki B-3 Module thru a Leslie 147 or Prosound. I have the expression pedal to work the B-3 Module only, so I can "punch" the organ sounds. I find I can play both the organ and piano simultaneously. On top is an old Ensoniq SQ-2 which gives me an organ style keyboard to play. It is an amazing rig. The Roland Expression pedal had an extra contact on it that i used for the SQ-2 so both synths work on a single pedal. I agree that this hoss is heavy and big.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Jan-01-2006 at 21:36
fred thomas a part-time user from Louisiana U.S.A. writes:
A90 Ex great pianos so-so strings (use a triton) other sounds O.K. to very good esp. the Elec Pianos. Even though the sound of the Ac.pno is a bit dated (circa '96) only the Motif and the Fantom can, as far as hardware synths go, their own against it. I got mine serioulsy cheap almost free w/flight case so no complaints here about cost. PA-4 action has given me a few problems most likely the previous owner was a bit heavy-handed, but Roland USA gave me real good service and replacing the broken hammers was a breeze. MIDI control is out the box you can pretty much do anything reasonable with it .

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Dec-24-2005 at 22:46
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