FA06 drops in value

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FA06 drops in value

Postby Striple » 13:24, 9 December 2016

I was dead keen on buying the 06.

As a current JunoG owner with screen problems, I thought this was the logical upgrade to a (colour) screen that works, a loop recorder, arpeggio on all tracks, and sampling, and some new great sounds.

I spent months tracking prices, local new prices were around the $1700 AUD mark, and I was dead keen. I'd seen some go for $1500 so I was biding my time and hoping to bag a bargain.

When it came time to make the plunge, I saw the 06 going for $1250 second hand, so I investigated the 06 a bit more using these forums.

I discovered that there was no audio sequencer, but I thought that is why the sample pads exist. Then I find that you can only play back one sample as you record another, so effectively it was a 2 track audio sequencer at best.

Then I find samples cannot be assigned to the keyboard, and cannot be time stretched - which is downright ridiculous.

This was important to me, because the JunoG had taught me that I didn't need a DAW, I never wanted a DAW, I wanted a unit that did everything creative without the need for continual learning curves and upgrades. I just want to create music on a machine I can drive without the steering wheel changing location every 1,2,5 weeks dependant on op system and software licensing at the whim of some 3rd party.

This week an 06 came up on ebay at $600, it finally sold for $890. This was half the price I was willing to pay when I thought the 06 was the answer to my needs.

I didn't buy it, because I no longer want it. I then went to see what JunoG's were worth 2nd hand, thinking if I got one with a screen that worked that would be great. They are fetching $1200 2nd hand - a machine that is 10 years old !

The proof appears to be in the pudding, the 06 is a flop.

I continue patiently awaiting my Juno screen to come good, (it's ok 80% of the time) because it beats the 06 by a mile.

I await the next Roland attempt at emulating the JunoG and pray to God there's a 4 or 8 track audio sequencer, a sampler that can be loaded to keys, with timestretch, and a loop record.

My pennies are waiting in the bank Mr Roland.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Skijumptoes » 14:24, 9 December 2016

Can't comment if it's a flop or not - what matters to me is how it performs and (As a Juno G owner) personally, i'm so pleased with it - runs rings around the G, the supernatural engine, new kits, sample pads on the fly, filters are so much smoother for synths, core acoustic sounds are better, dedicated MFX for each part, the menu is snappy, the supernatural menus are clean and easy to use with nice gui, file management is so much better and straight forward, loading times are practically non-existent, access to all the expansion cards, it just feels as though you have the best of Rolands history all at hand. Focusing on positives, the list just goes on and on.

The FA is all about creativity, and getting there quickly - it's goal is to not replace the DAW.

If you read the blurb for the FA's, there's a big emphasis on it's purpose to be used in conjunction with your DAW, and i think that's clearly where Roland aimed.

i.e. it's an ideas machine, capturing snippets of ideas into the sequencer/sample pads and fleshing them out later.

Sure you can create entire compositions too, but don't expect to be able to track multi-track vocals with it for example, because for the money the hardware just isn't possible to give you near-DAW like experience and flexibility - remember it's pretty much a few DSP chips running this thing - even if you could multitrack, another ceiling would be hit further down the line, i.e. riding vocal levels, compression, gate, de-essing etc. it just cannot get to that level for the price, and certainly not without comprising the speed or usability of it.

I would have this everyday over something that's over-encumbered, slow and painful to navigate - i think they've done a really great job - for me, these are in Fantom territory, not Juno G - it walks the Juno G with ease on so many levels - Just using it is so much better, sounds are so much better, there's no difference taking a single preset into Studio or Sequencer mode as the MFX stays with it - that's across ALL 16 tracks, plus the drum track has it's own compression and eq for drum groups.

However, as you say, it's a big omission that you can't pitch those samples across the keyboard, layer them, or save them in preset like you can with the fantoms/juno g. It's also annoying that you can't hear current samples playing back when you record a new one - but that must be caused by hardware restrictions/audio routing.

I gotta say, i had my doubts for the reasons you have, but i am so glad i got one, it still makes me smile, and in hindsight everything i tried to do 'within' the Juno G was poor in comparison - it never lived up to a DAW replacement, particularly when a large number of it's presets required an MFX to sound any good - The FA fully loaded studio sets sounds mammoth in comparison.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Striple » 15:37, 9 December 2016

Thanks Ski,

Your review has taught me more than all the reading I have done. Maybe a sharp stick in the ribs is good to provoke the bear (or something) lol.

I understand if I come across as negative, but I think that comes from when you really want something, only to find it isn't suitable. It's a bit of a downer, because I wanted this thing to do what it said on the box.

What really irks me is that for all the Roland speel and the Roland video tutorials, it never told me the reality.

I could have paid 1700 for that box only to find it didn't do what I needed, and that would have made me pissed, especially when I now see it selling for under 1000 2nd hand.

I shouldn't need to deep search forums, or prod bears with sharp sticks, to find this stuff out.

Your review makes me more positive about the machine, and I'll bide my time again and pick one up for $700 eventually and not feel like I've been duped, there's no hurry.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby BobF » 15:50, 9 December 2016

I knew exactly what the capabilities and limitations are before I bought an FA06 a couple of weeks ago.

I was quite pleased when the price dropped $200US. With another 15% discount thru MF, I got a shiny new one for $850.

I can't imagine trying to work on the FA from tracking, mixing, small-m mastering to final mixdown. Envelopes, automation, VST support, etc. No thanks.

Mine is intended to supplement rather than replace what I already have.

It's great you made your discoveries before plopping down a pile of cash.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Striple » 15:59, 9 December 2016

Thanks Bob

That's an interesting comment for me, as I have produced perfect songs through the JunoG, involving bass guitar, lead, vocal etc. I can do that with 4 audio tracks, it's limited, but I can bounce or use keys for bass. I've produced dozens of worthwhile songs on it.

I've tried the top 12 DAWS and only got headaches from latency, non-sync, input/output/preference nightmares. I've tried multitrack recorders and done ok, but they still need hooking to the Juno, MMC or clock, things unexplained happening etc. When mixing a track you can get lost in a DAW, only to find when you listen back 4 months later that the drum track slid out of sync half way through, but you didn't notice because you were on your 100th listen.

I still end up back on the Juno, because it produces results, and at the end of the day that is what I want, fast put down inspiration, followed by results with no hassle in between.

I just wanted a new machine with 100% working screen, loop midi recording and easier sample triggering, but I've learnt to deal without that so far.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Skijumptoes » 16:44, 9 December 2016

Have you considered picking up a secondhand fantom? I mean, it's like a Juno G on steroids if you've never used one, i eventually moved to a Fantom and that would give you everything you require, great screen and more hands on control.

Like you, i could get good results from the Juno G, multi tracking vocals and guitars, combining onboard sounds. Trouble is, when i wanted to take it further it was such a hassle to transfer across, loading up different sample libraries was a hassle etc, but working with the FA, in conjunction with my DAW (Logic), is so much better - it integrates super well. I know that doesn't suit you well, but it kinda helps realise why Roland have designed it so. Perhaps i just hit that 'average joe gonna buy a Roland FA' model! :)

In terms of the FA, i think It really depends on what sounds you tend to use, i.e. for me, the FA is worth it for the supernatural piano and electric piano sounds with the synth engine - that alone was a worthy upgrade for me. A lot of the Juno G sounds started to become quite un-inspiring after 6 months (Particularly piano), but there's something in the supernatural engine that just adds slight random factors that months later still sounds really good to my ear. Electric Pianos for example, are a go to now, and i've never 'gone to' electric pianos (Think Rhodes etc.) in my life! ..it was always acoustic pianos that i would reach for when coming up with chords.

I particularly love 80's synth sounds and the FA is packed full of them, it's almost like a 'best of' collection when you scroll through it all - and being able to layer them up, and not have to worry about MFX assignments, you can get some massive sounds going with very little effort.

Of course, that bares little relevance for the task that you need, but if Roland are still in consideration i think you'd be over the moon with an older Fantom, so see what they go for out your way as an option. In a music shop (PMT) in the UK, when i looked at FA06 for the first time, there was a cheaper secondhand Fantom that sat next to it, as a guide.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Striple » 03:24, 10 December 2016

Hi Ski, yes I looked at Fantom, they fetching about 1000 2nd hand, and seemed too ancient for me, low memory capability and slow transfers etc. It didn't seem right to go backwards for that kind of money.

I have thought of alternative plans, maybe you can answer this question for me?

Could I sync the G and the FA giving me potential 32 track midi sequencing alongside the 4 audio on the G? This would sound ideal, and I don't see why it can't be done.

Also with the G I can assign an audio recording to a midi channel as a sample, effectively giving me a possible 20 audio tracks, (I've never gone that far, but can't see why you can't), so the permutations of both machines working together would be extreme. Also, the FA's sampler would then come into its own as a performance tool, rather than a recording tool.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Skijumptoes » 16:30, 10 December 2016

Yeah you can sync the two, not sure how they would work in terms of song position though, i.e. if you wanted to start playback of both from bar 16 etc. As i've used DAW's for years, never used two synths in that way before, and certainly not the sequencing from one.

Also, i don't think you would actually get 32 tracks from them if you wanted to use one as the project master - as they both have 16 track (max) sequencers. Although you can set those tracks to external midi as you wish, but doing so will lose it as an internal track, so you couldn't actually address 32 separate tracks.

Only way of doing that would be to run them seperately with midi sync, and as above, i don't know how reliable that would be for song position sync, and if one is giving you a count-in before recording, will the other sync up as you start recording - just don't know, sorry! :(
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby cda » 22:51, 10 December 2016

Striple - do you mean you want to have an FA and a G running in sync with 16 sounds playing from each? Yes, that should work.

As for jumping around in a song, I use a multitracker as master and the FA as save, and when I jump to a different point in the song using the multitrack's controls the FA follows suit.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Striple » 10:31, 11 December 2016

Cheers Cda,

Yes it would be a great setup, I think if one is master, one slave, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to sync to measures throughout the song.

Since Ski has both machines, maybe he'd like to try it as an experiment?
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Skijumptoes » 10:06, 12 December 2016

Sorry, i no longer have my G.

I remember having issue with song position and my FA when using Logic though, but cda's post has made me rethink that - perhaps i didn't set it up correctly - i would love to be able to do that, and great to hear it working.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby scramble » 11:32, 12 December 2016

>The proof appears to be in the pudding, the 06 is a flop...
>I await the next Roland attempt at emulating the JunoG and pray to God there's a 4 or 8 track audio sequencer, a sampler that can be loaded to keys, with timestretch, and a loop record.

I don't really agree. I would like to see Roland put out a higher-end Fantom-level keyboard again. I'd probably buy it. But the FA-06 and FA-08 are good for what they are -- cheap and light, but professional-sounding, ROMplers. Just what a lot of gigging keyboardists need. I don't want to spend money on an 'audio sequencer' that I'll never use. And improving the sampling capabilities would be useful, yes, but would have made it more expensive. And all I really would have wanted is the ability to load my own samples in. Any serious sampling or recording I do on my computer.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Myrk- » 13:32, 12 December 2016

I am finding it rather amusing how many of the big players are focusing so much on DAW's, when in reality there is a large set of people who already stare at computer screens enough in day to day existence that when they make music they probably don't want more big glaring screens!

Striple I also bought the FA to do a task it said it could do, I even tried to test as much as I could in store, but was let down by some tiny little quirks (part view functionality is internal only, nothing effects external sounds, and also when using external sounds you have to make dummy silent patches because the INT/EXT selections don't even work, which Roland claim isn't a bug - f'ing unbelievable! What else is it for!? lol) which, having made computer games and worked on many projects, I know how easy it is to patch the issues I was facing, unless the way it was physically built was on that quirky route... but that would be plain stupid... who knows?! But I feel your pain.

What exactly are you looking for in a keyboard esque instrument? As far as very long (64+ steps) and easy to use sequencers go, the FA-06/08 has the best out there. If midi control is what you want then I believe the Yamaha Motif XF(6/7/8) does the trick (reasonably friendly), as well as the Kurzweil PC3LE(6/7/8) (not friendly but o'so powerful and beautiful sounding), and both have a pattern feature so if you are playing live you can flick between patterns within your sequence. Ultimately a PC will have more power than anything else out there, and more flexibility, but if you want to avoid that you'd need to be very specific with your requests. I also learnt this the hard way ;(
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Skijumptoes » 14:27, 12 December 2016

Sorry, but i got to pull you up on the 'easy' comment.

Games developing and Programming a custom DSP chip like the Roland ESC2 FPGA is worlds apart mate, don't even presume you can get a handle on it and claim that it's 'easy' to patch. Have you done any kind of coding professionally? If so, You should know that it takes weeks to have individual functions signed off and passed through verification, let alone the months that projects and update packages that goes out to end users can take - i mean, i've only experience of that on a small basis, somewhere like Roland must be a huge undertaking to get things through, any change of features would have to be reviewed to their current and upcoming product lines for example - it's massive for them.

We're not talking a nice SDK that houses nice little frameworks within frameworks, loading with plenty of custom functions that does make things 'easy', megabytes of space to waste, ghz of CPU to burn. i.e. like Unity, Xcode etc.

This is proper custom hardware, with a strict set of limited instructions, running incredibly efficient (we're talking kilobytes and low mhz here), and any change can have adverse effects on stability and processor load elsewhere. We're also talking people employed to work on set roles of that chip, with a manager assigned to oversee it all - to even begin research on an update this would need to be put in place, and budgeted for.

I've worked in software development most of my working life, roots were in C and i touched on a few low level projects in my time - which were tough, but always remember i was assigned a project to help backwards engineer an FPGA that was originally developed by a university, very similar to a DSP chip - it was mind breaking running through machine code, limited instruction set and such a small amount of room for the code to reside.

I can't think of anything that i've backed away from, but i had to hold my hands up and explain that it needed to go back to the university, it was ridiculously different to what i was used to, and subsequently it even took the uni months to get it back. Before that - i too thought it was going to be 'easy'.

Sure the engineers at Roland are far more suited to this work, but they are on other projects - these are hardware people, not software, it's not as simple as opening up Unity, changing a variable and compiling it, for example. Or clicking on a GUI and changing the code behind that control, this is far far different.

It's a whole different level, and i got massive respect for the stability and usability of these keyboards, really i have. If i were Roland, i too would leave things be.
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Re: FA06 drops in value

Postby Striple » 08:04, 13 December 2016

Thanks guys,

It seems that all the FA has remaining for me is loop record and some new fandango sounds. The sampling side of it seems like a write off to me, and JunoG has sampling anyway, which can be messy, but the FA doesn't seem any better. And I still love patch mode/tone generation on the G, so sounds are practically endless anyway, the word 'ROMpler' makes me cringe to be honest, is that the same as 'preset city'? Yuk.

Loop recording is most important to me, because I love to 'jam' perform, and you can't do that when you have to restart the song for every new part, and there's no point having prerecorded parts because that's not performing, that's 'laptop dj' button pressing.

I think Roland need to call things what they are. The FA is NOT a workstation, so don't call it a workstation, call it a performance keyboard, but for me a workstation allows you to completely record music and master it out the other side, and audio would have to be a big part of recording music.

So yeah, as usual I sit and wait for the correct features to arrive in a keyboard, but defining workstation would be a helpful pointer for Roland, provide that basic definition, then add the bells and whistles.

Good point about people sick of staring at PC screens all day, and then having to do it for their hobby. It sucks. I want a workstation to take me as far away from a PC as possible (tyvm).
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