Synth Site: Roland: Fantom X: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5
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SerFox a part-time user from United Kingdom writes:
../The Fantom X..

The Fantom X series was introduced in 2004 as the successor to the Fantom-S. With a 128-voice PCM synthesis and sampling engine, starting with around 64MB of sampling memory which is expandable with SRX expansion boards, professional grade sequencer, and many hardware integrated controller, it is a very capable workstation.

The Fantom X comes in three models, the X6 and X7, the soft key versions, where the number relates to the number of octaves, and the X8, the fully weighted keyset with full eight octaves. It has been mentioned that the Roland Fantom X8's keyset surpasses many geenrations of weighted keys and are the closest thing to having a perfect action grand piano keyset to date.

With lush vibrant high quality multisampled instruments, the real life instruments sound very impressive, and combining this with the layering and splits, you can create just about any sound you wish. The synthesis engine is one of the most powerful out there in terms of sound creation. When you first try it, you will not be impressed with the presets. Roland have went to target a certain pop market in terms of synths, including far too many RnB sounds and techno sounds, but once you get your ehad around the slightly confusing synth building interface, some of the pure crisp leads you can make, even without use of mastering and effects, feel very organic and remaniscant of the days where portamento was called 'glide'.

In terms of controllers, this keyboard definately stands out on stage. Literally. With 16 bright orange dynamic pad buttons on the right, a sensor on the left you can hover your hand over to control filters, pitch, echo, anything you want, and a very sturdy joystick, alongside the usual knobs, buttons and so on, it's a well controllable instrument. Some may argue that Roland have ate the chips and left the fish by only having a three-way joystick. WHere it's main competitor's, the KORG Triton and Oasys, have four way joysticks (And the Oasys having a strange shiny widdly thing that I don't entirely understand...) that they made a loss of only having a three way, but as I had a KORG TE before my Fantom, I found the four-way joystick to be very clumsy, and if I assigned a powerful feedback to the back end for solo effects, I'd nedge it down that way while bending, though it was harder to do so than back in the day of the M1, it still happened. The roland Fantom X prevents this with only having three way, and you can assign that fourth control to the D Beam, where some would argue again that could be a fifth control, the fatc of the matter is, the D beam gives you a lot more control than a plastic stick, and is very useful in many different ways. As I mentioned, the Fantom has a large Tango(tm) orange monstrosity that is the dynamic pad bank. The whole keyboard has a lot of orange (So if orange is your favorite colour, this is the workstation for you) but this is the most obvious thing you see when you look at it. It'snot nessecarily a abd thing, but in terms of performance, these pads don't perform all that well. Unless you have a very sturdy stand, hitting the pads will make your keyboard shake violently, and because the real-time pad sensitivity is far too low, and you lose a lot of dynamic from it by having it at a constant between 100-127 this is a tad annoying. But it's not just a drum pad. It allows oyu to select various saved screens, or 'bookmarks' which is useful for live performance alongside the various favorites menu's that are available.

As for the interface, it's very similar to the Triton, where there are tabs and categories at the bottom and sides and parameters to change. Thankfully, theres no need to nag your friend for a spare DS stylus with a touch screen on the TE, you work with buttons, which is a lot faster, and the system inside is less sluggish, although it does take a full 20 seconds to boot up and a furth 15 to laod the samples, this means everything loads extremely fast. There will be a few times oyu'll have to consult the manual, but it's a very well thought out system.

The sequencer is a scary piece of work that will give you nightmares when you first try to wrangle the beast. there are menu's upon menus to go through, but once you have yourself focused and understand this, alongside the manual which you have presumably burned in frustration (As per with all workstations) you will find it to be a powerful asset. With the ability to brun CDs or record to other sources easily, it's a great system. If a complex one.

Sampling lives on par that it's hard to get your ehad around what all the terms do. But it is a very flexible system and works very well for many different things.

Bringing in your own instruments through the Librarian will make you suicidal. This is one of the major flaws of the Fantom X. The file system is terrible. It's workable, but you have to do everything exactly right or it won't work. It is very frustrating, but thankfully, chances are you won't need to use it all that often.

The audio inputs are very handy and excellent for live performance. You could play a whole gig with just the fantom and a guitar and bass plugged into it, it has full guitar amp modelling which you can patch any input into and an array of effects and mastering.

All in all a very impressive keyboard. One or two flaws in places, but if anyone could get in contact with ROland and get the firmware updated to solve these then it would be the perfect workstation.

5* SerFox

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-May-28-2007 at 04:13
Roland a part-time user from Sweden writes:
The best workstation there is right now!!!!

It sounds wonderful and the synthsounds has a really good organic sound to it.

It is hard to explain, you have to hear it!

There is a great working flow that not kill your creativity when it strikes.

Compared it to Yammy ES6 and XS6 but they sound strange (thin) when using synthsounds, I guess they are better of with acoustic sounds than synthsounds.

I play electronic music IDM, Trance, Ambient so the synthsounds has to sounds organic and fat, Fantom X is so rigth for this!

I have always loved Roland stuff and I have never felt the same for Yamaha, it has something to do with the soundquality I think?

Get tired and bored of Yamaha synthsounds but the Roland sounds just growes on you, it is hard to explain.

Just try one for a few hours! but dont forget to turn the Master efx off before testing it, othervise it will sound almost as a Yamaha = static and uninspiring!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-23-2007 at 14:35
Johnny Lenin a part-time user from USA writes:
Amazingly full-featured workstation. The preset patches are really quite good; if there's a shortcoming, it's in the relative lack of combo-organ sounds. On the othe hand, it's possible to tweak some of the patches to get a useable Farfisa sound. The main drawback is a function of this board's strengths: It is extremely complicated. A touch screen or a laptop-style touchpad mouse would make this almost perfect. As it is, functions are layered in a complex and non-intuitive menu system.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-Apr-22-2007 at 13:12
Cazamel a hobbyist user writes:
It is bad ass workstation, easier to use than Motif and more powerful than Tritons.

Great sounds and powerful!!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Mar-12-2007 at 02:38
marvin bryant a part-time user from new haven ct. writes:
wow! i have my fantom x for two years. this keyboard is so deep. I NEED ANOTHER TWO YEARS TWO LEARN ALL THE WONDERFUL SOUND IN THIS KEYBOARD!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Mar-11-2007 at 07:46
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