Synth Site: QUASIMIDI: The Raven: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5
page 2 of 2:   <<<  1  2 
jordan a hobbyist user from USA writes:

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Feb-27-2001 at 19:44
Ravi Ivan Sharma a professional user 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 19:40
NIN a part-time user from USA writes:
I've had the Raven-max for about a year now and I have to say this is one of my favorite synths.. Sure, the filters do suck, and the comment about the drums sounding limp, your fuc-ing crazy. They are some of the best I've heard!

If you make any type of electronic music, add this board to your collection. you will not be disappointed..

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jun-24-2000 at 19:25
JKMeeker a part-timer user from USA writes:
My friend owns a Raven (recently upgraded to "MAX" potential); this review is based on using his board for a month now.

The Raven is, to me, a curious concoction. Solidly built like the best of the best analog synths from back when (early 80's), with an excellent semi-weighted synth action and nimble, extra long keys. The construction of the Raven should be the standard for any modern professional synthesizer.

However, this strikes me as curious as the sounds and utility of the Raven is so limited. The Raven is a DANCE board, and thus, when dance music/techno ceases to be popular--the Raven is more than a bit useless. Why build a disposable keyboard to last a millenium? This still puzzles me.

Normally, I dislike units such as the Raven, and find them to be too unoriginal, too sterile and too accomodating to untalented musicians. I mean, anyone can set a few sequence tracks up and suddenly sound like a techno god. This may sound good on the dancefloor, but it is hardly musical expression. To be completely honest, I hate dance music and techno--I REALLY hate it when it isn't even your composition, but a bunch of engineers at Quasimidi!

But, for what it does, the Quasimidi sounds good. The drums are limp to my tastes (I prefer the aggression of a SCI Drumtraks or R-8 filtered, compressed and EQ'd). The FM synthesis utilized by the Raven allows for some scrolling, mutating pads that are good. However, the "Juno" presets in the Quasimidi are a laugh-fest and have nothing to do with how a real Juno 60/106 sound (plus, without the LFO trigger, how can you claim to be playing a Juno???).

Programming the Raven is obnoxious, but only equally as obnoxious as any synth that lacks sliders/knobs. Less straightforward than a Korg Prophecy; programming is about on par with programming a JX-10 or D50 WITHOUT the PG800 or PG1000 units. In other words, its hassling for analog types like me and a huge bar to one's creativity.

The bottom line is that the Raven is a convenient, easy to use, "all in one" DANCE board. However, even as I write this, the clock is ticking and soon the Raven will be as obsolete as the current trend of dance music will be. In another decade, however, the Raven will be an interesting time capsule--allowing one to hear what was popular in 1997-1999 dance music.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-17-1999 at 17:08
Lior a hobbyist user from israel writes:
first of all the review wasn't quite right - it doesn't have "Lots of realtime control". it hardly has any control over the sound. except that, the filter quite sucks. but, there are some really great sounds, millions of drum kits and weird effects, a sequencer built inside and the MAX expansion expands the memory to !!112MB!! which is quite allot i guess .. ;) so in overall, it's a good synth. i'll give it 4 outta 5. (on the last message i wrote 3 by accident..) if u have any question ask me in email.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:04
page 2 of 2:   <<<  1  2