YAMAHA MOTIF XF
Concept: The next-gen Motif sets a new bar for integrated keyboard workstations.
Big deal: Factory sound ROM of 741MB is the largest in any workstation by a wide margin. Takes up to 2GB of Flash memory, which you can load with custom sounds: your own, or upcoming packs from such names as Garritan and Sonic Reality. These are retained with the power off.
We think: Yamaha has moved the hardware keyboard a big step closer to computer-like flexibility.
XF8 list: $4,039. Approx. street: $3,500 | XF7 list: $3,539. Approx. street: $3,100 | XF6 list: $2,999. Approx. street: $2,400 | yamahasynth.com
AVID HD OMNI
Concept: Integrated single-rack audio interface for Pro Tools HD.
Big deal: Converters are greatly improved over previous PTHD interfaces. XLR combo mic inputs on front panel. Monitor control of up to 7.1 surround, with mono fold-down and speaker selection. Works as mixer with computer off.
We think: This lowers PTHD’s barrier to entry for spare-bedroom pros, as you no longer need several rackspaces of gear to feed those cards in your computer.
List: $2,995 | Street: $TBD | avid.com
NEW PRO KEYBOARDS FROM ROLAND
RD-700NX STAGE PIANO
Roland’s “SuperNatural” technology gave us tweakable, ultra-realistic electric piano, drum, and brass expansions for the Fantom-G. Now, it does the same for acoustic and electric piano sounds in this high-end stage piano. Also on hand is Roland’s best Ivory Feel keyboard with simulated escapement, plus a nifty Sound Focus knob that brings you forward in the mix even if you’re at maximum volume, without adding compression or unwanted artifacts.
List: $2,999 | Street: $TBD
It’s a constant in the keyboard industry that features of yesterday’s standalone products trickle into today’s Swiss Army synths, creating immense bang-for-buck. Case in point: the Juno-Gi, which packs over 1,300 Fantom-G-class sounds next to a digital audio eight-track that records to SDHC cards of up to 32GB. There’s a dedicated rhythm track; XLR mic and 1/4" line and guitar inputs around back; vocal and guitar effects you can track, mix, or master with; even USB audio interfacing to your computer.
List: $1,199 | Street: $TBD | rolandconnect.com