Synth Site: Roland: Fantom X: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5
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Menno de Boer a professional user from Kenya writes:
I've owned and loved the Roland XP80 for 5 years, and the Fantom X7 for about two months now. Here's a few of my observations:

* If you are a keyboardist and you play live a lot, leave the Fantom off of your shopping list. It doesn't have a numeric keypad, so you have to scroll through humongous soundlists to find the patch/performance you need. But...they have the "favorite" function? Yeah, that works okay for patches, but in performance mode you still have to scroll (with the dial or inc/dec keys) to get to your favorite! Why Roland forgot to address this simply beggars belief. But...they have the "livesettings" function? Yeah, great. Unfortunately, switching between settings happens with a nearly-one-second delay, which is unacceptable when you have to switch within the same song. The XP80 did a much better job, was a more thought-through design. You can switch between performances seamlessly, it has faders for volume and assignable controls, rather than the rotary knob-design of the X7. My take on the X7 is this: some of the sounds are really excellent, the MFX are definitely two steps up from the XP80. Its samples and DAC's are a lot cleaner and tighter than the XP's. But why on earth did Roland abandon its honored JV/XV policy of including all the previous soundbanks in this keyboard? Moving from a JV1080 to a XV5080 was ideal, because you had all your old patches plus a lot of very cool new ones. I miss a lot of the XP80 sounds, and the FantomX7 does not always provide better alternatives. And then the ac.pianos... I don't care what they say about multi-megabyte pianosamples, the samples might be better than the XP80's but the resulting patches are less engaging and inspiring to play. The ep's, however, are a lot better.

In spite of all my grudges, as a workstation it plain rocks. The sequencer, audio-integration and big colour-screen put it ahead of anything else out there. If that's what you're looking for than you'll find this one a very satisfying buy. Let's hope that Roland will address the live-issues in a future OS-update.

So far, I'd rather have my XP80 back for gigs, but I'll give this a few more months before I make a final decision. Roland, updates please!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Oct-04-2005 at 04:12
Alex a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I bought the Fantom X6 based on it's user interface. I couldn't believe at the time that there would be much difference in the sound quality between these new workstations. I already had a Yamaha S90 which is basically a Motif with full weighted keys - and it shares the same dreadful interface, but it didn't have the capability to sequence or create arps and is too heavy to carry to gigs - and that's what I wanted.

After owning the Fantom for 6 months, I'm comfortable with the interface and I think I have a good idea about what it can and cannot do. I highly recommend downloading and working through all of the online tutorials for it.

It's interface is impressive and has helped me understand many aspects of modeling synth sounds in general. The onboard sequencer is essential to my band live - I've also upgraded to the audio track expansion but haven't used it yet - it did add some nice new editing screens otherwise that I like a lot.

The main issues I have with the Fantom are:

a) It difficult / impossible to map controls to some sounds parameters - I still haven't found a way to map the (crappy) mod-wheel or (even crappier) D-beam to the portameno time. It's just not possible as far as I can tell. I wish it had a simple ribbon strip instead of the dorky D-beam.

b) No thought has been put into playing the Fantom live over other sequenced tracks. This is possible in a hacked fashion, but you can't use favourites to select patches to play etc... A better option would be to have favourites to select channels with pre-selected instruments etc. There also doesn't seem to be a way to pre-compile a song list for quick loading of sequenced tracks to perform live.

c) BIGGEST GRIPE: The sound quality IS PATHETIC compared to the S90 (i.e. Motif). I have my S90 and my Fantom going into the same mixer and I listen from the same studio monitors. There is simply no comparison. The Fantom X sounds are cheap and hollow. The drums in the Fantom are the worst. If you close you eyes and trigger a cymbal on the S90 it is uncanny - it's like the real thing. On the Fantom, errrmmm.. it sound like there's a guy standing there trying to do his best impression of a cymbal with his voice. I'm not kidding - the sounds on the Fantom are simply unacceptible. All of the piano sounds on the S90 are leagues ahead of anything on the Fantom. The Fantom's piano sounds are hollow and weak - they sound synthesised. I'm wondered if the sound processor on my Fantom was faulty. It's VERY DISSAPOINTING and I can't believe Roland would put out a synth with such a weak sound generator. I tried the ones in the music store and sure enough, those are also hollow sounding :(. Roland could have done such a better job with the sound - I just don't get it. Are all Rolands crap like this? Do their engineers have dammaged hearing?

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-11-2005 at 15:03
marvin bryant a part-time user from new haven,ct writes:
I have roland x7 and also motif and the triton. every keyboard have strong point and weak point. everybody don't play the same way. so review your 0wn life what sound good to you! roland, korg, and yamaha only make the keyboard. it's in your hand make the keyboard to sound good.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jul-08-2005 at 16:49
Dave a hobbyist user from DE writes:
I own both the Roland Fantom X6 and the Yamaha ES7. The ES sounds are of higher quality. The ES is warmer, and more professional in its feel and applications. The ES sounds are also more functional from a broad "vintage sound" point of view. Past Yamaha, Oberheim, Moog, and even Roland patches are replicated perfectly. Want an authentic Van Halen "jump" patch? The ES "after 1984" patch with a tad of its onboard knob-tweak reverb is dead on. Remember that cool lead in "what a feelin"? Yeah, the ES has it.

The advantage of the X6 is in its easier to navigate display which gives you very cool onboard visual sequencing, its overall ease of use for more detailed functions like patch selection, mapping, sampling, and playback. The sample/trigger pads are very cool and usefull. The entire synth also looks cool as hell...

but...the sounds are no where near as warm and professional as the ES....

my solution? buy both like I did

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-22-2005 at 09:55
fantom man from USA writes:
Nah, the Motif isn't better, I own both boards and I all I can say is that the Motif strong points are certain bass and organ sounds and the Arps library and that's it.

Everything else is cryptic, the sampling, the slow loading, the interface, etc. The Motif is not meant for the beginner creative user, but for the professional that's satisfied with the on board sounds.

The Motif interface is cryptic, extremely extra slow loading of sounds makes it uninspiring as anything other than a current playback synth.

The Fantom X does far superior sound sampling, much faster sound loading and sound organization procedures, a far greater sound library, superior piano, and everything else.

The Motif is great but not greater, it's all subjective to the user.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-17-2005 at 01:51
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