Synth Site: Emu: XL-7: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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Don Wuan a professional user from Spain writes:
I've owned this unit but sold it because I did not like how it sounds. Very fake, digital presets. It's apparance says it all. Bright orange to interest the consumer, but its quality is not worth the investment.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Thursday-Mar-14-2002 at 01:00
oui a hobbyist user from france writes:
Sorry Heinrich, but i just bought an XL7. The sound is ok but not very dynamic neither powerfull. And the specs in the owner manual say the DACs are 20 bits, with a dynamic>90Db wich is different of the specs on the commercial datasheet, in wich they are the same as the proteus 2500: 24 bits and dynamic>100Db. Where is the truth ?

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Mar-10-2002 at 15:14
synthe.labo writes:
the RS7000 is NOT buggy, fix this in mind!!!:) i have mine, it's one of the first on the market,and it's solid rock; the problems someone had has been fixed


posted Thursday-Feb-07-2002 at 16:07
brian brunson a hobbyist user from New Orleans writes:
I'd like to make an addendum to my previous review. I just traded the XL for the MC-505 and enough cash to hustle a used Dr-202. While I'm happy with the functions of the 505, I really, really, REALLY miss the sounds of the XL-7. I could go out and by the Xtreme Lead module, but I'd only be paying a few hundred less than the entire Command Station. People: Do NOT become discouraged or angry with the sequencer, lazy programming or even the bugs and the way the beast looks. The XL-7 is an incredible machine...and I've also found that people will pay highly for them, almost to the point of new street price because so few of them are for sale outside of retailers. I tell you what I miss most: The filters. 505 filters are cheesy and step-digital, almost glissando-like. Xl's filter and res are sooo freakin' warm compared to the other 'beatboxes.' And even though the screen size sucks, you get a wealth more information from a small space than, say, any of Roland or Yammie's products. Also, if you don't use a controller, the XL is the mother of all PLAYABLE modules. I mean, I could actually enter entire songs using just the one octave keyset and a lot of creative transpose mojo while away from my rig or waiting to be strip-searched at the airport. I won't even look at the 505 without powering up my Korg controller beforehand. I also miss the modulation knobs. 505 is able to pitch modulate in real-time, but it's more of a b*tch to get those on-the-fly octave slopes that you suddenly find yourself needing at, say, four AM. But really, the whole reason that I wrote this addendum was to express my SERIOUS love for the E-mu soundset. I mean, jesus, even the presets are hard quality. Onboard 'verbs and delays sound like good sex. THIS MACHINE TOTALLY SMOKES ANY OTHER 'GROOVEBOX-TYPE' GEAR. End of story. The 505 has better drums, pattern templates (if you get lazy) and a more intuitive interface, but the XL-7 just humiliates it in terms of audio quality, expandibility, real-time FX, assignable FX, pattern creation, synth engine 'deepness' and even timing. Quantize on the XL is like locking onto a rail, no matter how drunk you were when you laid that multi-part drum track yesterday. All of the FX are great for a non-dedicated module. Even the overall construction feels solid. For you pad-happy cowboys, the XL hits it at 128 polyphony! I've always said that if you really need 128 voices, you really need a computer. But it's good to have it there for the occasional fat layer that makes your teeth rumble.

I have to stop writing before I get a wild hair and try to buy the thing back. PUT UP WITH THE BUGS. DEAL WITH THE BS. I SAY THIS NOW AS CAUTIONARY EXAMPLE...HOLD ON TO YOUR XL-7. At least until E-mu comes out with a Command Station based upon the pro 2500 and newer chip, which may happen next year. At least the XL holds value...the other 'groove' modules sell like used Fiats in Italy, or day-old bagels. It's pretty sad that so many people want to get rid of the 303 and 505 to get their hands on the XL-7 or even the RM1X. But I think it simply illustrates the market, and how competition is something that Roland actually needs to pay attention to these days.

For the record, when I advertised my XL for trade (MC-505 +cash), I received over a dozen Emails in 24 hours. It's a hot unit, people. Be patient with it. But may as well mention some cons on the way out: MIDI channeling is stupid. Bugs require lots of whiskey to deal with. Color is hideous. Knobs purport to but do not always record controller data for internal sounds, much less MIDI'd modules and drum machines. Semi-frequent crashes and freezes foster parnoid data saving (about every seventeen seconds). Manual is like prying teeth loose. Touchstrip is pretty lame and I wish I had a fader-type part mixer rather than the menu-shifting knobs (but I'm just being greedy on that one...the knobs work well as mixers after all but two hits on the selector). Also, real-time 'glide (portamento) timing knob would've been nice, as would've been a sampler (duh). Hell, I could nit-pick all day, but in the end the Command Station is the best all-in-one electronica module on the market. Don't sell it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Feb-07-2002 at 07:08
brian a hobbyist user from New Orleans writes:
As for the XL-7 being 'buggy,' let me say that the newer OSs has solved most of the glitches. As for the MINOR ones that*t, even a rope-and-pully can crash every now and again, much less an expensive, purpose-built machine.

All boxes get wiggy. 505. A-pro. rm1x...whatever. Read through their respective 'user reviews' on various websites and you'll think that it's the samne group of people bitching about the same product. If anyone has found a do-it-all, non-dedicated 'groovebox' type gig with no bugs or limitations, PLEASE e-mail me. I'll pay you $5,000 for it! :)

To the matter at hand: I've used the XL-7 for about four months now (I am a professional jazz musician...electronica hobbyist). I love the track mutes, knobs that record controller data, steep filters, deep synth architecture, and simple but relatively powerful sequencer (hardware seqs. will always be a little silly, especially when you're trying to scorch tracks on a screen the size of a $75 microwave).

surprisingly, a lot of the preset arps are good, as well as the patches. But again, with this sort of equipment the real fun begins with editing. Do what I do...lock yourself in the room with seven beers, a fried-oyster po-boy, and maybe some CNN on mute...and in 24 hours or so you'll have mastered every synth parameter (all assignable via knobs on XL)...and the presets will be about as appealing to you as a woman with four teeth.

How do I know this? Well, I've seen some toothless strippers in New Orleans. But more to the point, I've whored the XL-7 for almost all that she is worth. It is arguably the most synth-powerful 'groovebox'-type unit ever produced (but those factory patterns REALLy suck).

But you know what? I still want the MC-505 that I almost bought about...what...three years ago? I got sidetracked by Cakewalk (running it with various Korg boards and modules). But I love the intuitive feel of blasting tracks while waiting for a flight, or waking up at 6AM to piss but laying down a fatty bass track instead. That's the true beauty of not just the XL-7 but of any all-in-one module. As for which is best...I'd vote the E-mu. But, strangely enough, I still long for the older, dated, goofy sounding MC-505. Maybe I'm a freadk. Must be...I spend more time scrolling through electro-review menus than I do making love to my fiancee. Jeez. BUT I'M NOT SELLING MY matter what she says! :) :) :)

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-24-2002 at 05:24
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