Synth Site: Yamaha: A-3000: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Don Kelley a professional user from Canada writes:
I've owned an A3000 for one and a half years now, with internal hard drive and I think 64mb ram if memory serves.

First the cons: - rotary controllers aren't very reliable when turning them fast, kinda sucks, but I've cleaned them as well as I'm willing to (I'm afraid to break them!) and they're better than they used to be, just wish I could turn them really fast and get a fast result in the correct direction. - scsi reading IS fairly slow compared to what an internal scsi hard drive should be able to do, even with the slow scsi drive that's in there currently, but still it's adequate and much faster (and bigger obviously) than floppies. - the UI (OS 2.0) is both brilliant and frustrating. I love the visual matrix on the front of the machine, makes sense that they grouped it up like that. I hate that when you're using it you really have to memorize certain step-by-step methods of accomplishing common tasks that I feel could have been shortcutted to one or two button presses. - the scsi drive that came in mine is very noisy (whines loudly and annoyingly). I expect it's probably a 15 year old drive that is on it's last legs (I've experience this with other very old hard drives). I have an ancient powermac with ancient internal hard drives, I know one of them is also really noisy but I think the other is fairly quiet if memory serves, so depending on it's specs I may try dropping that one in the A3000 instead to quiet things down.

Pros: - I used to own an Akai 2000 sampler that had no hard drive or fx unit or expansion ram, just the basic 2000 model. Although there were things that were much easier to do on the Akai, in general the A3000 manages data better and obviously has FAR more features (great fx unit built in, great filters built in, mine came with hard drive). Also the A3000 has a very slightly warmer sound which I prefer. - if you have patience and no compatible scsi connection/cable to get your computer to talk to your A3000 then do what I do - use midi and a pc application (I don't recall what it is) to transfer samples from your computer to the A3000 and further edit them on the A3000. It takes ages, but you only have to do it once as long as you save the sample in the A3000 before powering it off. - I've setup my midi controller to operate filter cutoff frequence, resonance, q and portamento speed from realtime controllers so I can use the A3000 as a sort of fake-analog-moog type live synth, something I love doing (ELP anyone?). For me that's the most expressive way to solo on a keyboard. - my A3000 is super reliable, no issues at all ever. period. use live, studio and for rehearsing/composing. - The OS is quite superior to that of Akai but you have to learn how to use it. When reading through the manual make a simple cheat-sheet of common tasks and keep it with you at all times. I've gradually improved my cheat sheet until it's now so helpful that a beginner can get started right away (patent pending LoL, just kidding) - it looks great... seriously, that is a nice bonus - yamaha build quality (hardware is solid) - imports all of the other sample formats that I've tried so far, although I do have a conversion app if it becomes important. - plenty of outputs, and while there can be a bit of noise from extra outputs it's a lifesaver at times (I use them when composing all the time but when it comes to final mix I overtrack each stereo pair repeatedly from the main outs so I get the best s/n ratio. Takes time but worth it. For composing though I love multi-outs through my mixer running through different fx and also for doing surround work for movies. I couldn't use this for movie work without the multi outs. - I traded a Korg K4R for this (which I miss, I loved the filters and warmth of the K4R). To me though this was a definite upgrade, in fact a requirement for my work, the K4R was a luxery and hardly got used. A3000 is the centerpiece of my synth rack. I've gradually replaced several rack synths and software synths with this baby, often by manually going through and converting or actually sampling the original synth's sounds into the A3000 and creating a program out of it. - I use this for real time drum sounds as well when playing my digital drum kit for recording and rehearsing (I'm a multi-instrumentalist to some degree like most musicians). I converted a lot of main samples from apps I own like toontrack ezdrummer (Love the default kit in that thing, my main recorded drum kit) and as a result can play drums without any lag (software = lag, A3000 = instant response) and without needing a computer with me. (again the multi-outs save the day for real-time sound feedback through headphones while tracking drums to midi... I can compress the snare, kick, toms, room etc all differently from cymbals etc, then when finally happy with midi-recorded track I retrack the audio into multitracks using main stereo pairs over and over through appropriate fx as I mentioned for movie work... great sound, takes time but worth it). This is the ONLY way to play digital drums IMHO. Much better sound than any roland module I've heard yet.

I'm a much happier musician thanks to the A3000.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-29-2009 at 11:51
Dave a professional user from usa writes:
This is the 3rd installment of my reviews of the a3000. All the reviews where you have these users advising you not to get a3000 because it's unstable and crashes, no good for live use because it crashes, it mutes sounds suddenly, scsi too slow, lack of sample cd,s etc. All of these problems these users are experiencing are results of user incompetence, incorrect programming or rather they don't understand yet how to program a3000 to achieve the results they wish to achieve. Bad/defective units aside of course. When buying one of these beautiful beasts in 2008 myself something was not working correctly and at the end of the road the unit was defective. Yes it was gruelling but you have patience and suffer for your art and it is worth it. Then complaints about plastic knobs, if they would break you can replace them or come up with your own way of fixing them and they will work better. And finally one of my favorites, there is no sample cd's for a3000, then design your own samples, record your own sounds and sample them, do it yourself, you don't need to buy sample cd's from a company, make your own, no rules, no law. However for your information a3000 reads WAV. files if you must use pre made samples. A3000's ability to read WAV. gives you more samples than you can use before you die. After a3000 runs its course it dies. Before that happens a3000 works as good as the user programs it. I am sure new and old users will continue to write reviews and advise you against buying a3000 becuase the unit is incompetent rather than admit to you that they are incompetent programmers and the problems the describe are a result of them not having the a3000 configured correctly. In closing you work around the limitations, you live with a3000's quirks. Humans are not perfect why do these users expect a3000 to be perfect. Rating is 5 advising musicians to buy a3000. Thank you.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-25-2008 at 22:44
Dave a professional user from usa writes:
I forgot to mention in my 1st review that scsi harddrive and cdrom loading times load at an acceptable time for me dependant on the size of the samples ofcourse and these people who say the scsi harddrive or cdrom loading times are to slow or even that 3.5" disk is worthless they themselves have something set up wrong, do not know what they are doing nor do they know what they are talking about and they are making up excuses. Its not the instrument that is inadequate but the user. This does not mean these people cannot change and evolve into better musicians.It is all in the manual which you will need and dont buy an a3000 without the complete paper manual or print a pdf file at staples for about $28 skipping unneeded pages to save money. In my opinion you will need the manual right next to your a3000. Without mentioning names there are musicians who have created the best electronic music I have ever heard and they created it with nothing more than a yamaha su10 sampler using no sequencer. There are ways you can use 3.5" floppies to create music and the best part is you can invent those ways for yourself as soon as you buy one if all you could get was a3000 with a lone 3.5" drive, yes using 3.5" disks are a limitation but in my opinion it's an advantage as well, and then you would keep your eyes open for scsi harddrive and cdrom(with correct scsi cable). For those of you who need information when buying on ebay, ask seller 1. Is a3000 Operating system version 2.0 Question 2. Is manual included 3. Is 128 MB memory included 4. Is scsi harddrive or cdrom or both included with the correct cable included, pin her or him down as to whether you have the exact compatable scsi cable so that it works, pay attention to return policy, waste no time in testing unit out so if there is a problem you can return it if you have to within the return policy time frame. If you see one with operating system version 2.0 and it has 128 MB memory and a scsi hard drive I would not pay more than $375 and even that is pricey becuase scsi cdrom will run you $100 and up. But it comes down to how much you are willing to pay. For a3000 with no memory and only 3.5" drive I would pay no more than $160 or less and I say $160 because if you have your heart set on one and there is a buy it now option on ebay, I think its worth it even though even that is a little pricey but again its up to you. I provided all these details for the younger musician who could otherwise get taken advantage of without a little bit of information and facts. My rating is 5 for the best rating. The correct scsi cable you need for a3000 is SCSI II 50 pin High Pitch male -to- male interface cable. Also make sure all power cords are included or your a3000 can use c13 or c14 iec cord, but for scsi I would suggest you get these drives with a power cord and pin the seller down and make sure all cords and cables are correct. Its not the instument that makes the musician sound great, its the musician that makes the instrument sound great. Or another way to put it is don't be included in the group who lets the machine control them, be in the group that controls the machine. ALL THIS INFORMATION ALSO GOES FOR YAMAHA A5000 AS WELL. A3000 and a5000 also produce different a unique sound after you sample with which makes it a no-brainer to own both.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-25-2008 at 02:46
Dave a professional user from usa writes:
I rated it 5, 5 being the best. I Strongly recommended for any, I stress any electronic musician. I do experimental/noise/electro/live electronics and I feel you cant do better than a3000 save for other instruments I'll review in there respective categories. Many artists in Europe doing the type of music that I do( or any music for that matter) do have one or more a3000's in their arsenal. Filters excellent Fx are excellent, everything about a3000 is excellent and the sound is unique from a5000, a5000 sound is fine but a3000 has its own unique sound that is different from a5000 making it a no-brainer to own both. You must have a3000 with operating system 2.0 which will be displayed on screen when you power unit up. Without operating system version 2.0 in my opinion you are asking for punishment. Prices are good on ebay $150 to $350 would be an excellent deal with the higher price range of $200 to $350 having full 128 mb memory and a scsi drive and correct scsi cable included with operating system version 2.0. look quick as prices could rise due to current 2008/2009 economy issues. Don't be too late.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-25-2008 at 01:34
mister wenwen a part-time user from germany writes:
sorry, i just dont like it , much to complicate for my kind of music, i like simple instruments , so slow , it needs 10 minutes to load 150 samples, and the knobs get on my nerves, a real shit to work with,if you dont use it for a week or so you have to read the manual again............ pros. they are cheap, a lot of features ( i dont need!!), everything is slow on this thing , it took a minute to scroll just from the first to the last sample , then you have to switch it to the programm, if you don this with 10 samples and then you want to switch one of them of , o my goodness, scrolling to the menü again , another day is over !!!!! its just boaring ,if you are no perfectionist, stay away, next week i will put mine in ebay, enjoy making music - but for shure not with the a3000, there are simpler ways to be satisfied..

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Friday-Sep-19-2008 at 11:23
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