Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Workstation Keyboards

3. Sounds

The heart of any workstation keyboard is its range and variety of sounds. Most of today’s core workstation sounds continue to use PCM samples as their basis, as these represent a cost-efficient method of providing realistic ‘bread and butter’ instruments such as piano, brass and percussion, although the audio quality now prevalent makes the M1’s presets sound rather grainy and feeble by comparison. Newer synthesis technologies such as analogue modelling have also been added to the mix, providing greater flexibility for sound design. This type of synthesis accurately emulates an ‘old school’ analogue synthesizer with the standard Oscillator, Modulation, Filter and Envelope parameters, along with modern saturation features to ‘fatten’ the sound. Manufacturers such as Korg have also championed the return of the vocoder, including it in a number of their workstation keyboards. The wide range of sounds provided by these various technologies, which can often be expanded by additional ROM cards or boards, enables the workstation to fit into practically any music genre, and so it also makes an ideal ‘workhorse’ keyboard for any commercial studio that needs a large variety of sounds on hand for whatever job they might encounter.

The other main area of sound generation that is part of the workstation’s arsenal is the sampler. With the ability to sample (record) and map acoustic sounds across the keyboard, create loops, or just make straight audio recordings, you can expand your workstation’s sound set to your heart’s content, and even lay down vocal tracks. Borrowing from software-based samplers, newer workstations have also incorporated sample switching features, or in the case of the Motif keyboard range, what Yamaha terms ‘Expanded Articulation’ or ‘XA’ - each element is assigned a controller such as a button or wheel that controls when and how it makes sound. This allows you for example to easily switch to alternative samples mid-performance, which might then change an attack articulation from plucked to bowed string, or muted guitar to slide. And whatever the method of sound production, you can of course then go on to enhance the results with onboard processors providing standard studio-type processing - dynamics, EQ, and time-based effects.

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Workstation Keyboards overview

Schoeps CMC54 Mono Set MK4 CMC5 Marshall Origin 20C Combo Adam T5V Subpac M2X Roland R-07 black Yamaha Stagepas 600BT RME ADI-2 DAC Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite Focal Listen Professional Epiphone Richie Faulkner Flying V Marshall Origin 20H Head the box pro DSP 18 Sub
(1)
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Schoeps CMC54 Mono Set MK4 CMC5

Schoeps CMC54 Mono Set Limited Edition, high quality condenser small diaphragm microphone comprising CMC 5 mic preamp Refurbished (new housing and refurbished) and MK4 capsule (new) cardioid, specifications CMC 5: power consumption 4mA, 48V phantompower, max. output level 1V, length...

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€985
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Marshall Origin 20C Combo

Tube combo amp for electric guitar Gain boost function, Two voicings (Normal, High Treble), which can be mixed steplessly via the tilt control, Switchable power reduction for full sound in any environment, 1 channel, Power: 20 watts, Preamp tubes:...

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€649
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Adam T5V

Active Nearfield Monitor Equipped with: 5" woofer and 1.9" U-ART ribbon tweeter, 2x Class-D amplifiers: 50W RMS woofer, 20W RMS tweeter, Frequency range: 45 - 25000 Hz, Crossover frequency: 3 kHz, Maximum input level: 106 dB (1m/pair), Rear bass...

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€169
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Subpac M2X

Subpac M2X, Mobile tactile bass system, SubPac adds real depth, connection and enjoyment to whatever you play through it - your music and media comes to life with the added dimension of physical bass. Frequency Response: 1hz-200hz, Wired Input: 3.5mm...

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€385
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Roland R-07 black

Portable MP3 / WAV Recorder with Bluetooth Functionality Stereo recordings up to 24 Bit / 96 kHz in WAV format or up to 396 kbps in MP3 format on microSD / SDHC card, Built-in stereo microphone, Integrated hybrid limiter,...

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€225
Recommended
Yamaha Stagepas 600BT

Mini-PA System with Bluetooth Function Consisting of 2x passive 2-way boxes and 10-channel power mixers, Power mixers and speaker cables can be stored in the boxes for transportation, Successor of the Stagepas 600i, Including 2 speaker cables, each 6...

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€799
(3)
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RME ADI-2 DAC

High-end DA converter & headphone amplifier Sample rates: 44.1 kHz up to 768 kHz, Playback of DSD and Direct DSD, SteadyClock FS, LCD display with AutoDark function for lighting, Desktop Case, Dimensions: 215 x 52 x 150 mm, Weight:...

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€999
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Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite

Heritage Audio HA-73 EQ Elite; 1-Channel Mic-Preamp wit EQ; based on the 1073; hand wound Carnhill Transformers; 3 stage fully discrete class A mic preamp; max. Gain: 80 dB Mic and 50 dB Line; -20 dB Pad; LO-Z switches the...

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€945
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Focal Listen Professional

Headphones Closed, Circumaural, Conversion technology for acoustic transparency and dynamics, Impedance: 32 ohms, Sensitivity (@ 1 kHz - / 1 Vrms): 122 dB SPL, THD (THD, @ 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL): 0.3%, Frequency range: 5 Hz to...

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€249
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Epiphone Richie Faulkner Flying V

Electric Guitar Body and neck: Mahogany, Fretboard: Ebony, Neck profile: Thin C, 22 Jumbo frets, Scale: 628 mm, Pickups: Active EMG 57 (bridge) and EMG 66 (neck) humbucker, Floyd Rose 1000, Grover Rotomatic machine heads, Colour: Black, Incl. Deluxe...

to the product
€925
Recommended
Marshall Origin 20H Head

Tube Amp Head for Electric Guitar Gain boost function, Two voicings (Normal, High Treble), which can be mixed steplessly via the tilt control, Switchable power reduction for full sound in any environment, 1 channel, Power: 20 watts, Preamp tubes:...

to the product
€549
Recommended
the box pro DSP 18 Sub

Active subwoofer Speaker assembly: 18", Power: 800 W / 3200 W (RMS / Peak), Maximum level: 128 dB, Frequency range: 30 - 150 Hz, Connections: XLR (L + R) in, XLR (L + R) throu and XLR (L +...

to the product
€357
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