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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Workstation Keyboards

4. Sequencing

If the sound generation engine is the heart of the workstation, then the sequencer is the brain. The first workstations often simply took the manufacturer’s hardware sequencer and bolted it onto the keyboard where MIDI sequences could then be stored using an onboard floppy disk drive. The storage requirements of current workstations are much more demanding however, needing to cope with large sample libraries and high quality audio files for playback. To this end, most units will include either a USB or FireWire connection, and/or space inside the unit to take a hard drive or other high capacity media. Although early models featured only basic MIDI sequencing, today’s instruments offer a wealth of performance tools such as polyphonic arpeggiators and phrase generators, often with thousands of preset ‘motifs’, that can be directly integrated into the sequencer’s tracks. With larger LCD screens, the workstation sequencer comes into its own, allowing you to view and edit a track’s volume and pan for instance in a similar manner to a computer-based system.

Onboard sequencer specifications are impressive these days, with MIDI recording resolutions of up to 480ppqn (pulses per quarter note), storage for up to 500,000 events, and the ability to finely tune velocities and quantisation grooves. You can also overdub audio by sampling directly into the sequencer, enabling you to record vocals and acoustic instruments alongside your backing track. To supplement this facility, top of the range models often feature internal hard drives and gigabytes of RAM, allowing for long recording times not possible with previous generation instruments. Some workstations also include additional storage hardware such as CD-R or DVD-R drives for backup, or for burning discs of completed stereo mixes of your material.

Moving in another direction, companies like Yamaha are now providing greater integration with software such as Steinberg’s Cubase, allowing you to easily transfer songs created on your workstation into tracks on a computer sequencer, and vice-versa for those instances when you want to take your studio work on the road. So rather than being seen purely as an alternative to the computer sequencer, the modern workstation could be viewed more as a very useful hardware element of a seamlessly integrated system.

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Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
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      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
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