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Topic: Anyone see the review of the NEKO in this month's Sound on Sound?

  1. #1

    Anyone see the review of the NEKO in this month's Sound on Sound?

    Gave it a good review. The only problems were a loud fan and the price, which I suspect is high to pay back development costs, and which is coming down, with an upcoming release of a NEKO with no touchscreen for under $2K--about the same as the price of a new Motif ES. (The keyboard can be upgraded with the touch screen later.)

    So does Yamaha now suspect what you can do with big samples on a keyboard, and plan to enter this market? Would having Steinberg let them better integrate a ROM based sequencer and let them turn to developing big sample sets?

    Going to be really interesting if we soon see these $2k NEKO's sitting beside Motifs with a few hudred megs of ROM samples in Guitar Center for the same price. What happens in two years if they catch on, and as computers grow still less expensive, the price comes down to say $1500 for a keyboard you can load Giga, Kontakt, etc on? (Sorry if I seem like a cheerleader for this new keyboard, and I know that we can already do eveything the NEKO does at home, but I just really like the idea of being free from a computer, and having everything right there on the keyboard, particularly if they can get the price down and include a weighted keyboard.)

  2. #2

    Re: Anyone see the review of the NEKO in this month's Sound on Sound?

    I read the review but I have to say buying this product would make me real nervous. The differences in the rate of development for each of the components is so great that I have a feeling people who buy one will be back to using separate keyboards, computers, midi controllers, etc. within two years. Ask yourself this question ...... do you really want to buy a new keyboard when it's time to upgrade the computer portion of it? What do you do with an old one with an outdated processor? Don't get me wrong, I think the basic concept is great but I also think it should be delivered in a more modular design so that as computer advancements are made you could replace those components in an existing chassis and set of keys. As it is, it's an all in one deal ---- scary. If you actually used the NEKO for everything it is designed to be used for then you'd be screwed the moment any individual part broke. If you're not using all of the features, then there are better options for your $5495 - $8600 anyway. BTW, you mention an upcoming release for under $2000 which isn't entirely correct. The LE version starts at $2600 with no screen (better buy another monitor) and NO CONTROLLERS (they are now optional add-ons).


  3. #3

    Re: Anyone see the review of the NEKO in this month's Sound on Sound?

    I agree with Chris. I think it's a cool idea, but the maintenance overhead is potentially a killer. Considering that today for ~$4500 you could string together two high-powered laptops plus a multichannel firewire audio box, then add a decent keyboard of your choice for $X more... Sure, maybe you're spending about the same or more $$$ upfront, but you end up with 2x or more CPU capacity, plus you can (theoretically) add more CPU when needed. In those terms I don't see the advantage to the all-in-one system. Being the technodweeb that I am, I do appreciate the product, though. If you consider all the mostly rehashed consumer stuff from Roland, Korg, and Yamaha over the past 15 years or so...

    - Keith

  4. #4

    Re: Anyone see the review of the NEKO in this month's Sound on Sound?

    I agree. It's certainly a concept that many people, in theory, would be drawn to, but I'm surprised it actually made it as far as complete development without them balking at the obvious flaws. A very expensive piece of hardware to put out to pasture in two or three years when the CPU etc is way superseded. It's also phenomenally big - have a look at the keyboard then visualise how far behind it the unit as a whole stretches! - and apparently heavy to boot. I'm not thrilled about having to cable and uncable my live PC to my keyboard, but at least it keeps the weight and bulk of each unit within the one-person-manageable category.

    Also I don't know how good the keyboard itself is. It's not hammer-action, nor full-size (I think), so hardly justifies much of the price.

    Overall, they'd have to sell this thing WAY cheaper for it to be worthwhile, so that it wasn't such a big deal to replace it every few years. And even then, they won't capture the piano purists who insist on a hammer-action keyboard, so that would restrict their ability to shift the required units to make it economical to sell cheaply.

  5. #5

    Re: Anyone see the review of the NEKO in this month's Sound on Sound?

    Sorry about the price misquote. (Are we sure the cpu can't be updated?)

    I think it's much too expensive right now, too. I'm hoping Yamaha or someone similar comes in with a competing unit, or invests in Neko, and gets the price down.

    What would be the price that people would be willing to pay for it with the synth action keyboard? Would $1500 make it work? Maybe $1800 with a weighted action? Or does everyone dislike the idea so much that they just wont buy it at all?

  6. #6

    Re: Anyone see the review of the NEKO in this month's Sound on Sound?

    NEKO is a case of combining two things that should be bought separately (a laptop computer and a keyboard). I look on it as akin to peanut butter and jelly in the same jar. The sum is less than the two parts.

    Do you REALLY want a fixed computer keyboard which can't sit on your lap or be moved around willy-nilly depending on your needs? Do you REALLY want an expensive LCD just begging to be damaged with the slightest bump of the keyboard as you are positioning it on the stage or as it is being carted to and from the car? This is not convenience...it's poor ergonomic form for the sake of having an all-in-one solution.

    What do folks really want that can't be achieved by hooking your Motif up to a Powerbook and running Spectrasonics VST intruments? I hate to break it to you, but Yamaha isn't going to kill themselves to produce the equivalent of the EWQLSO and the Black and White Grands and Trilogy and DFH as part of the soundset for their workstation keyboards, and they don't need to. Their bread and butter (aside from hobbyists) is professional gigging musicians (not composers) who need a portable, reliable solution for the stage and studio with a ready stable of great sounds and a great keyboard feel. The regulars at Joe's Oyster Bar and N'Sync fans aren't especially demanding - they don't know Kirk Hunter's strings from Proteus 2 strings, and they may actually prefer the Proteus 2. Korg, especially, has shown that at the end of the day, it's not how many gigabytes of samples you have, it's how you program them.

    Like it or not, we're in a time of specialization, and no attempt to provide an all-in-one type product can touch today's modular results. For those that want it all, the future is already here. Pick your controller of choice, your computer of choice, and get to work. I predict we'll gradually see tighter integration (a one cable solution with more bandwidth than mLAN would be nice), but as to whether the twain shall meet? Not any time soon.

    The bebop clown

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