Synth Site: QUASIMIDI: THE RAVEN MAX: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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Rhonda a part-time user from CA writes:
This thing is just too amazing. Dont expect to figure it out real quickly. Its a very deep machine and has tons of hidden features. The manual is tricky to understand and so you really have to play and play with it, but once you get the feel for the navigation, you are home free. This puppy does things that none of my other gear will do. Im blown away. The reason they didnt sell like crazy new was cuz they cost like $2400 (the basic Raven). Anyway now you can get em cheap and its one of the all-time killer bargains. You get a lot for very little $ in a Raven. Shoot for the MAX or you will be missin some waves and sounds. The MAX increases internal ROM from 64MB up to 112MB. Very cool. Hard to find and well worth it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jul-13-2002 at 16:41
yarn a professional user from holland writes:
This machine changed my life. It is the source of all.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Aug-24-2001 at 16:00
MATO a part-time user from france writes:
i have my raven since the beginning,first i was happy with it,but now,i think there are so many "workstations"with better sounds and functions,that i don't use my raven anymore.i regret not to have direct access to decay,release,resonnance parameters.with the sequencer,you don't have any access to the midi events,and i can't modify them.the sound is not so good if you use the 8 traxes together,but it can give a good sound when you use it in performance mode.for resume:the raven is a good machine if it's associate with other ones.alone,the sound is not so good,small,not enough attack the sequend negative point is the weight!when you open it,there is nothing inside(as all numeric synths)so when you must transport it.......why did quasimidi use so much metal?ok,this synth is beautiful,but so heavy!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-21-2001 at 06:26
Ravi Ivan Sharma from New York City, New York, USA writes:
I just got one of these older heavy as hell beasts today and here is a review of what it is all about for those who don't know, as I didn't 24 hours ago.

I just got one today. I am happy to report the following points:

1. It is built like a tank.

2. It looks really cool.

3. It is 16 note multitimbral, and you can assign a patch for each of 16 channels while it is in "sequencer" mode so you can use it from another sequencer.

4. It is a full blown 8 track pattern sequencer that can send midi out on channels 1 through 8.

5. It has a great arpeggiator, gater, and chord repeater that will transmit out over midi!

6. A sequence has ten patterns. Each of the ten patters has eight parts. The lenght of the parts are at least 4 bars, if not eight in length. While you have about 3200 built in phrases that all can be assigned to each of the parts for zillions of combinations, you can also write your own phrases (they call them motifs). I call them phrases because the resemple the rps phrases in Roland's MC-505 and JP8080. Also much like the phrases built into the Yamaha sequencers, QY70, 100 and 700. So you can mix and match from the tons of phrases/motifs available or rely on your own homegrown ones (or both). You can either dial them in, or just hit a button and a motif will randomly fall into the part you chose. If you don't like it, hit the button again. Cool. Of course for each part loaded with a motif, you can go in a change the actual sound (patch) that that part is playing (or if you are using an external synth, you can change it there (but the Raven will send program change messages if you want).

6.5. So now you have a seqencer with 10 patterns full of 8 parts each, all sussed out with your chosen sounds, with each part sending a particular amount to the 2 FX units on board (pretty good, flanges, ping pong delays, phasers, chorus, and REVERB!). At this point you can either play the patterns live or sequence them (an a bunch of permutaions) into a song. In order to understand the permutations, I will explain what you can do live. The thing has a tap tempo button btw. Anyway, while you are playing a pattern, you can use the seven lower keys on the keyboard to mute parts, ie, kick, snare, hh, bass, seq1, seq2, chords, perc. This resembles very much the superbeats mode on the new E-mu xtremle lead and similar units. Better than those though, since the Raven allows you to make your own motifs, you can roll your own. Now the next octave up the keybaord will allow you to transpose the non-percussive parts. So you can build melodic changes. Also, while the groove is playing you can go into the patterns themselves, play with pan, filter, patch, and even motif, without dropping a beat. So now you see all the things you can do live. Oh yeah one other thing, you have a solo part, which is not a motif, but is just a patch which you can play on the rest of the keyboard. ON this patch you can apply the fancy arpeggiator on and off on the fly. Now you can record all this for a song. I am not yet whether you can let it fly and hit record. Maybe, But I do know that you can consruct as many permutaions of the 10 patterns and their 8 parts, muted and un-muted, transposed, etc, and plug them into 99 slots that make up a song. Each slot need not be the same length in time, it is just a step. I.e., one step could be pattern 3 with 7 of 8 parts going, transposed to G# and rolling like that for 32 bars. All in all a very cool pattern sequencer that is geared for live jamming. It recieves and send midi clock and could be a very cabable partner for another sequencer such as the MC505 or a Notron, etc. One could preview the other in earphones and then seamlessly mix over the sequences. NICE! Finally instead of step writing your song using the patters and permutations with fills etc, you can press a button and the Raven will make on up for you! That's right a whole song from your stuff! Hit the button again, new remix, ad infinitum. USEFUL? Who cares its FUN!

7. The sounds are really good! People have complained about the filters being weak. Well they are, but unlike some reports they DO self oscillate if coax and if using the right patch. In performance mode you can layer up to 4 patches, setting pan, efx send, volume for each. You can split the keyboard at middle C and have up to 3 on one side or two on each. There is a unisono mode that layers and detunes each in mono mode. Each layer can be in poly, mono, lead (like minimoog mono) or unisono. One or all (or half in case of split keys) layer can utilize the very excellent arpegiator (called the Motivator, because it does so much more).

8. The manual claims that the synth utilizes subtractive synthesis (rompler for sure) and FM (okay so does everybody) AND Additive SYnthesis! Well, that is a little wild isn't it.

9. The problem is is that you have no idea for which sounds, which is being used. This is due to the fact that the tweakability of the synth portion is minimal. All the parameters are relative plus and minus offsets from whatever the patch really has (which you can't see). You can tweak, filter freq. and resonance, but not filter env. amount. You can tweak A.D.and R, but it is either just offsetting the AMP envelope or all, I can't tell, You can tweak the lfo and amount and delay and speed. There is a limited matrix that allows you to use the 3 wheels and aftertouch as the sources and with the filter, lfo, volume, pitch, fx levels, and two Motivator parameters (cool) as sources. That's it.

10. It stinks that you can't really get under the hood to see what's going on with each patch and tweak the important things. There is a filter envelope, I can hear it in many patches, but I can't do much to change it. The claim that additive synthesis and fm is going on seems supported by the reported (and actual) fact that tweaking the filter in patches utilizing those forms of synthesis has no effect. This may lead to many thinking the filters suck. Also, even in patches that are subtractive, if the certain immutable parameters are set a certain way, you cannot get the filters to sound like much. But in some patches it screams (more like whistles :( ). I looked in SOunddiver but I still can't get under the hood.

In conclusion: You have a tank of a keyboard with excellent action (fatar top of line keys like on K5000S and Roland A70, Emu sampling keyboards, etc.), you have Very good sounds (tons of great basses and drums and lots of full ambient moving sounds) despite that fact that you are short changed on the synthesis aspects. And you have 16 channel sound module, and live performance oriented 8 track pattern sequencer that allows you to roll your own sequences and make them act like superbeats on the E-mu line. The fact that there are 3200 phrases/motifs is great because they are so mix and matchable that you could come up with millions of combinations and never find one that was the same, and with using your own chosen sounds, it is unlikely that you will do what anyone else does. These layered in with your own motifs, make for setting up some sequences that would set you up for a nice live show with some other support in the form of musicians or another sequencer or a dj. Tap tempo button! The fun auto song buider is very nice too. If you get sick of the sounds (the drums are usable for ever)you can use external sound modules and still rock with live sequencing keyboard. I intent to give my Xtreme lead a spin on it.

I traded my microwave XT for this and I feel very good about it.

For what it is, for what it cost (now, ( I guess I could have got $850 tops for the XT) as opposed to then, when at nearly 2 grand plus 300 for the MAX it was too high) I have to give it top marks.

Ravi

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Feb-18-2001 at 06:35
Dusty a part-time user from NYC writes:
Almost sold mine then.. just couldnt do it.. I love this machine to much... to bad the filters arent so hot..

-=Dusty

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Dec-31-2000 at 00:58
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