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EK-50 or PA700? (Newbie alert!)
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GRC



Joined: 09 Jan 2019
Posts: 6
Location: Portugal

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:17 pm    Post subject: EK-50 or PA700? (Newbie alert!) Reply with quote

Hi all

Am looking to get back into playing keyboards after a 10-year hiatus - just for personal enjoyment at home - no gigging etc. I got rid of all my old synths, pianos and arrangers ages ago (D-20, D-50, DX7-II, M1, PFP-100, RA50, RA90 etc. - you get the picture) so am looking for an arranger keyboard to "start again". I'm a child of the 60s so I'm in my 60s.

Am tempted by the new EK-50 but where I live in Portugal I'd have to buy blind online because there are no dem facilities nearby. It looks good on all the YouTube videos but I haven't seen any critical reviews of it. I also like the look of the PA700 which I could run to second hand but wonder if it's overkill for me, both in complexity and features I don't need. It really comes down to sound quality and ease of use.

I just want to play with factory voices and styles - not interested in editing sounds etc. - and principal voices wanted are good piano, e-piano, organ, lead synth and pads. Styles mainly blues and contemporary jazz (take a listen to Four80East "Roll On" or Jeff Lorber's "Midnight" for the sort of stuff I like).

PA700
Are the PA700 voices / styles "better" than the EK-50? If so, in what way?
Is voice / style selection complex?
Is it overkill for just playing at home?

EK-50
Are the sounds really good through the internal speakers (I've only listened to the demos on headphones and Audioengine A2 speakers)?
Is it just a bit "cheesy" because of the price?

Or should I be looking elsewhere (e.g. older PA series)? Budget up to around 800-900 euros new or used. I looked at Roland & Yamaha arrangers but Korg somehow attracts me more.

Sorry for rambling on - just trying to set the scene . .
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Biggles
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PA700, no it is not overkill for home use, it is what I have and use, but as with the Korg lineup the features will be far better than the EK just as the 1000 is better in all aspects v the 700 and both are inferior to the 4X

With the 700 if there is not a precise Style you want then a MIDI can be imported as a Style and saved for future use.

With your background you will probably outgrow the EK50 fairly soon.

The EK is not an Arranger, Korg are marketing it as an Entertainer.

Check out part 1

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w8wLG0Bv3Hk

I have not played it as yet but will do next time I am near my Music Store which is 20 minutes away on the other side of the City where I live.
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GRC



Joined: 09 Jan 2019
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Location: Portugal

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biggles wrote:

With your background you will probably outgrow the EK50 fairly soon.

The EK is not an Arranger, Korg are marketing it as an Entertainer.


Why do you think I'll outgrow it - boredom with styles?

What's the difference between "Entertainer" and "Arranger"? I took the former to be Korg marketing-speak for a simplified arranger based on entry-level pricing. Having said that, the Yamaha PSR-S670 is not much more than the EK-50 and they call that an arranger.
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Musicwithharry
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Location: Cedar Rapids, IA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have the funds, the the PA700 is the way to go. It is superior in every way. I own one and use it daily in my nursing home ministry; performing up to 4 times a day, at least an hour per performance.

Grace,
Harry
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Brian007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Go the Pa700 you will not regret it

Brian007
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musiccankill
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Joined: 30 May 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Between the 2 i would take the 700 but if you don't have the funds, i would go for the pa300 which has a bit higher price but loads sets from pa3x (as long as its ram is enough) , has 32mb ram and almost all features of the pa series unlike the ek-50...Pa300 is basically a cutdown pa600 (same factory library so same sounding but missing some inputs and outputs etc)
Ek-50 is only able to load pa50 styles without any settings on anything on keyboard for only ~100 bucks less...
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Musicwithharry
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the vast array of features that the PA700 has, you might find yourself branching out more in public, playing and such. Having something that can meet the need and expand as you do is very important.

Most of the sounds are very good. I have, however, made a few adjustments to lead guitar sounds so that they sound more realistic to me. They stand better in a mix.

I would recommend, if you choose the PA700, to upgrade it to the latest firmware (if it is not already). I would then download the Yamaha C5 piano sample that is floating around in the PA700 Forum because it easily outclasses any of the pianos that are stock on the PA700.

I would also add more Reverb to everything because the PA700 does sound kind of thin otherwise. I would also mess around with the EQ/Limiter a bit so that it is a bit more punchy and life-like.

I had considered getting the EK-50 when it was advertised as released because I wanted a backup unit for my PA700 (since I use it every day). After I listened to the EK-50, I realized that I could not use it as a backup; I would be compromising way too much by doing so. I will get another PA700 as funds allow.

The PA700 in the USA runs around $1,299 USD when they are new. I have found used ones for around $1,000. That is a great price for what the unit is Smile

Grace,
Harry
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GRC



Joined: 09 Jan 2019
Posts: 6
Location: Portugal

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Musicwithharry wrote:
After I listened to the EK-50, I realized that I could not use it as a backup; I would be compromising way too much by doing so.
Harry


Hi Harry - why do you say that?
Based on sound quality or "editability" (is that a word?) of everything or something else?

It's good to hear from someone who has played both the EK-50 and the PA700.

Thanks

GRC
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musiccankill
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GRC wrote:
Musicwithharry wrote:
After I listened to the EK-50, I realized that I could not use it as a backup; I would be compromising way too much by doing so.
Harry


Hi Harry - why do you say that?
Based on sound quality or "editability" (is that a word?) of everything or something else?

It's good to hear from someone who has played both the EK-50 and the PA700.

Thanks

GRC

I ll reply at this too as i have the pa700 and the pa300 and the pa4x and was one of the first persons that had about 2 hrs with the keyboard at launch time..
I know that now it can load pa50 sets so at least you can expand it with premade styles but you can't edit anything on board, you only select the effects without any access to parameter settings and you have only 1 fill ..
All these mean that you do need a pa50 to edit anything (defeats the purpose as if you already have a pa50 there is no point getting ek-50) and the sound quality is almost the same (if not the same) as pa50 which was released ~20 years ago...
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Musicwithharry
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not actually played the EK-50 but have watched lots of videos on the unit. There are quite a number of them out there now, displaying different styles and sounds and how it works.

I know the PA700 pretty well, since I have had mine since September 2017.

To answer your question about why I could not use the EK-50:

The sounds are better on the PA700 vs. the EK-50. This should be somewhat obvious since it the EK-50 using a sound chip that is basically from a pretty dated unit, released many years ago. I am not sure exactly how much memory is dedicated to the sounds on the EK-50. The PA700 wins because it has better sounds. It has a lot of memory (maybe a gigabyte? I am not sure) dedicated to the sounds contained therein. You can load in your own samples (I have the Yamaha C5 piano sample I talked of earlier and it is my primary piano sound).

The PA700 also features the RX Technology in the sounds and also features DNC (Defined Nuance Control). The DNC is like guitar slides, mutes, pinches. It also does things to other sounds as well to make them more realistic during a performance. I use them all the time.

The EK-50 has 64-voice polyphony. This can get used up pretty quick, especially if you are using 3 upper sounds at the same time. The PA700 has 128-note polyphony. I rarely have any note dropouts as a result of the added polyphony. Keep in mind that the max polyphony is based on not only the notes you are playing, but also the notes being used by the arranger portion (the backing styles, etc...). They can take up a lot of polyphony in many styles.

The EK-50 has a 10w + 10w sound system built in. That is good. The PA700 has a 25w + 25w sound system built in. It projects much more and sounds more full as a result. The EQ settings on the EK-50 (I believe) are preset and cannot be changed. The PA700 has a fully adjustable EQ and the ability to store different presets based on the type of scenario you are playing in. It is much more customizable. The Limiter on the PA700 is the same way.

There are also many other features that the PA700 has over the EK-50. and I could write a novel about them. I will suffice it to say that the PA700 is light years ahead of the EK-50 with regard to features.

Another one of the big points for me is the touch screen on the PA700. It works well and it is fast to respond. It really does improve work flow when playing, programming, etc...The EK-50 has a standard backlit LCD screen. HUGE different between the two.

You can also plug in a VGA monitor to the PA700 and it can mirror the screen on the PA700. I do not use this feature but have played with it.

The PA700 also has a pretty expansive Songbook feature allowing you to create set lists and also attach .doc files (for song lyrics) to the different songs (and MIDI files). I do not use this really at all but I have played with it and it works.

Since I use the PA700 in my business, I am much more apt to recommend that one because of my knowledge of it and how it has really upped my performances, both solo and with bands. Its work flow is great and it allows me to program sequences much easier than most other keyboards I have (the exception is my Korg M50, but it is a full-fledged synth that also has a touch screen).

I believe that the PA700 is the perfect board for me and what I do, both live in a solo performance, with a band, or in my studio. I did not need the extra features on the PA1000 to warrant a purchase (although just about any style from the PA1000 (or PA4X) will work in the PA700), and I could not afford the PA4X (which does not have built in speakers). The PA700 was a wise choice, both because of features, and price. I do not think that I could outgrow the PA700 for what I do.

My previous arranger before the PA700 was the Roland E-09. The Roland E-09 is much like the EK-50 and while it still sounds great, I outgrew it (I had used it for 8.5 years in my business at the nursing homes). I do not see it happening with the PA700,

Does the price difference of around $600-$900 warrant getting the PA700? In my opinion, it is a strong 'Yes'. Would it be worth the price difference to get a previous model arranger (PA300, PA600)? With what I know about the PA700 and what I have read about previous models (I did own a PA500 and sold it), the PA700 has the most bang for the buck. It easily outclasses its previous model (PA600) in lots of ways.

I guess that it is truly a winner for me and that is why I have one Smile

Grace,
Harry
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Last edited by Musicwithharry on Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Giner
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And it may be worth considering a used Pa700. I've had two used Korgs. a Pa1xPro and my current Pa3x. Never any problem with either of them, and I'm gigging 4 days a week. Lucky? Maybe, but if you can get to give one a thorough going over you can save yourself a lot of money. Good luck.
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Musicwithharry
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giner wrote:
And it may be worth considering a used Pa700. I've had two used Korgs. a Pa1xPro and my current Pa3x. Never any problem with either of them, and I'm gigging 4 days a week. Lucky? Maybe, but if you can get to give one a thorough going over you can save yourself a lot of money. Good luck.


I agree and am considering getting a used one when I get another PA700. The nice thing about the PA700 is that the battery, when it needs to be replaced, it very easy to get to. It was not that way with the older models too much, just like with the older synthesizers.

On the PA700, there is one screw you remove on the back that allows you to replace the battery. I believe that this location is also where you install additional storage for the PA700. I currently have an 8gb card in mine bit may go up to a higher capacity one, just to be safe.

The PA700 has internal storage, the option for another SD card (the one I mention above) for additional storage, as well as USB storage. It is equipped quite well.

Grace,
Harry
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TedS



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The EK-50 has the "on bass" setting embedded in the chord recognition mode. This is a bad idea-- on better Korgs and Roland arrangers it is a separate setting which effectively doubles the number of chord recognition modes. Chord recognition is the sine qua non of arrangers and there can never be too many modes!

Bottom line, some songs are easier to play in Fingered 1 with Bass Inversion enabled, and much easier if Bass Inversion is momentarily triggered by velocity or a foot switch. This reason alone would lead me to the Pa700 (or a Roland!)
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GRC



Joined: 09 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input guys. I'd kinda decided on the PA700 over the EK-50 but now a good friend has insisted I take a look at the Yamaha PSR-775 which is about the same price. Shocked

To be fair, he has had Yammies for a long time so is probably biased but it sounds good on the videos when up against the PA700. Different strokes etc.

Choices! Choices!
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musiccankill
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The yamaha keyboards do indeed sound better than korg when they come from factory , but in yamaha you can't do most things you can on korg..
The editing and parameters are really limited..
Haven't checked the psr-775 in specific but this is a general rule most of the times..
It depends on what you really need from the keyboard...
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