Synth Site: GENERALMUSIC: SK88: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.2 out of 5
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Al Manigsaca a part-timer user from Folsom, CA writes:
I'm a partime church keyboardist and lead a P&W band in our chruch. I got SK880 for our 88key keyboard, Here are my comments about this keyboard. GEM's SK88 and SK880 keyboard is one of most feature packed and sophisticated keyboard/synth I have seen in existence, in it's price range (and beyond). A 250,000 event sequencer with 32 tracks!, has a very extensive sample editor, 1200+ rom presets (for the SK880), loads several sample formats including k2000 and Akai samples, 64 note polyphony, 32 parts multi-timbral, 88keys weighted action with aftertouch (By the way SK88's weighted action is perfect, not "light" like the PC88 or "heavy" like the A90, If your looking for the perfect piano action this is it, Fatar did made the SK's keybed, I don't know how did GEM do it, but it's perfect, very linear action ), auto accompaniment with 8 tracks ( great for one man bands and arranging ), a 320 x 240 display. It's a perfect all in one board, everything you want in a keyboard, it matches and even exceeds Kurzweil's K2xxx and Korg's Trinity in most of the features. Well this are the positive points of SK88 and much more.

Here are the negative points which I think GEM needs to improve on. The sounds needs more improvement, I checked all the sounds, here are some of my comments: Brass sounds are unrealistic, strings are good but still lacks realism, Piano and EP sounds are good but I feel the notes don't blend well, EPs don't cut, percussion is good. Overall, the sounds needs more improvment, I even tried loading some K2000 piano samples, still I was not satisfied with the resulting sound. I think the synth engine itself needs improvement. The SK880 I got even has some annoying background hiss whenever I play any sound, not good for recording.

Even with all the features, I ended up replacing the SK with a Roland A90ex because of the sounds and get a TR-Rack or K2000 for additional sounds. The sound is the most important aspect of a keyboard, I play with the band 3x-4x a week and do sequencing for choral accompaniments, playing would be a burden if the sounds don't satify you. One other point of improvement is the SKs skin (buttons and looks), it looks like a cheap portable keyboard, the layout though is good and easy to use, but it does not look professional.

If the SK's sounds matches that of Kurzweil or Trinity (and go beyond PCM) and with a more professional looking skin, this will sure lead the 88key keyboard/synth pack and backed with good advertising (I don't see alot of reviews regarding this synth).

I'll give it a 4/5 because of it's features, but it's sounds is 3/5.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Mar-18-1999 at 14:01
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