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- Review after a week of buying PC4-7!
This is my review after one week of getting my PC4-7 and I was primarily on an exploratory mode during the first week.
First look, almost as I imagined reading the specs! UI/UX is good. But it can be sure made much more friendly probably with some UI level macros. Aesthetics - better than I expected - sleek looking, though I like the 'metal' ones! You can turn off the blue lights around the wheel which made it look less flashy.
Keybed: Me and my kids liked it immediately (better than SP4-7's Medeli which we are used to). Keybeds - It's always highly subjective - it's not about the weight but about the momentum transfer. The getting-used-to-it curve is smooth and I think you are going to like it's responsiveness. The key length is a bit less than the regular keys.
As the first step, I updated the OS to the latest one available. It was a short and smooth process. Awesome stock sounds (VAST, VA, KB3, DX7-FM) and you can create MULTIs with up to 16 Zone with per zone controller mapping. I was eager to load some classic DX7 factory presets and check out the classic '11 E.PIANO 1' first - the SysEx loaded and had default tremolo, chorus, delay, and reverb assigned controllable with switch/slider/knob:6-9. I also tried loading some P3K, PC3 & FOR sounds to check the compatibility. All of them worked generally well. I loaded some Kore64 programs also. (No need to load the dependencies load just the programs. PC4 comes with Kore64 samples and objects built-in). The FX subsystem is extremely powerful - maybe one of the powerful ones I have seen on hardware synths.
Checked out the Soundtower Editor & Controller, didn't dig much since I want to explore PC4 UI more. The Controller app has limited functionality. I checked the PlugSE VST on Windows with StudioOne. Planning to test the Mac version with Logic also soon. The VST/AU seems the Controller application packaged. I tried the iOS Editor - which has got limited functionality similar to the Controller. I was surprised that it works on my old iPad 2 running iOS 9.3! I connect it using the camera adapter to the 'USB Computer' port on the PC4.
Speaking about USB, the most interesting thing about the 'USB Storage' port is that it works as a USB host accepting USB MIDI devices! Think about a second USB keyboard, or a second USB controller, or an iPad or Android running a MIDI controller application. I straight away tested it with an iRig Key, Akai EWI and Roli. BTW, I test GeoShread MIDI out with iPad on the other port! For exploring further using the EWI, I loaded some Alto sax sample from a Kontakt instrument and made a keymap and created a one layer sound which supports BC (MIDI CC 2). For EWI, earlier I was using Kontakt or Mainstage on a Mac, but now I can carry the EWI and just plug it into PC4-7 and have someone back me on the PC4 or play a song on it. Also tested both MPE and Mono mode with the Roli.
One feature I probably miss is a way to switch the MIDI CC of Switch/Slider/Knob to control layers 10-16. The use-case was a Pipe Organ Multi I was creating. I can use 9 switches for the first 9 layers (and maybe 'Variation' for the 10th layer), but as a workaround, we can use some keyboard keys to work as Zone Mute switches! (Ideally get an external USB MIDI controller)
Another experiment I did was designing a simple two OSC VA synth controllable with the controllers. I also had some fun with FUN! (fun intended! - you'll get the pun if you are a VAST programmer ;) Experimented a bit more with programming pitch-bend per note with different values for up and down per key - to play some smooth raga bends.
Really happy to have purchased a PC4-7, it's going to keep me occupied for many weeks ahead! I recommend PC4-7 highly for a performing artist.