Roland Fantom X7 Workstation Delight

Roland Fantom X7

Roland Fantom X7

I was delighted yesterday to find and pick up a used Roland Fantom X7 at a local second-hand music shop here in Nagano-city, Japan. It was in mint condition with case and the Jon Lord’s Rock Organ SRX-97 board inside. It also had max memory and the audio track expansion kit included. Inside my Roland Fantom XR I have the SRX-12 EPs expansion board which I took out and put inside the Fantom X7. The setup is really nice and I’m quite excited to have it for composing songs, patterns, and backtracks. Having already a Roland Fantom Xa and XR, I am quite familiar with the X series and it’s been my favorite of the Roland workstations for some time.

I’m not going to compare the Roland Fantom X7 with other Korg or Yamaha workstations because I firmly believe that they are all different and best suited for those who like that particular style. Although I’m also a big fan of the Yamaha Motif series, In Japan I’ve had more access to playing Fantom X series keyboards. How everything is displayed on the Roland Fantom X7 is very intuitive for me and I especially like how the audio tracks and sequencer work. Plus the multi-sampling capabilities are excellent. The Fantom X7 has 76 keys and for me the action is very good. I should also add that finding a Roland Fantom X7 is not easy and they are quite popular here.

With regards to sound, I think the Roland Fantom X7 is pretty good and I particularly like the SRX-12 EP expansion board for Rhodes sounds. I must say that to my ears, the SRX-12 sounds much better in the Fantom X7 then in my Xa or Xr rack. It’s likely because you can easily tweak the parameters of the SRX-12 board using the X7 Piano Mode section. The Xa and Xr do not have this. Immediately when I started playing the various rhodes sounds with the Fantom X7, I noticed a pretty big difference. In fact, I think the SRX-12 board sounds noticeably better than my Yamaha ES Rack that I’ve been using for practice. I don’t know why, but getting a good EP or Rhodes sound on the Roland Fantom X7 is pretty easy. It’s a nice surprise.

I’ve heard the Fantom G is also pretty good, but I honestly have never played one although I have heard them. For me, I just simply like the layout, sound, and functionality of the Roland Fantom X7 Workstation series. Not to mention the reasonable cost of the X series today. It suits me well and it just plain works well for my musical interests. Like the Roland XP-80, some people say the Roland Fantom X7 is likely to become a classic. We’ll see about that. Like many have said already, the Roland Fantom X7 is simply a great all in one workstation that will do just about anything you need. It’s a classic in my book already.

Here is the Roland Fantom X7 in action.

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10 thoughts on “Roland Fantom X7 Workstation Delight

  1. Today I just bought two sticks of 1GB Ram, one each for the Roland Fantom X7 and the XR Rack that I have. Although I use around 512MB, I often find my rhodes, piano, and other EP samples can be the size of 600MB or so. The 1GB Memory in the Fantom X7 and XR will give me some nice added breathing room. I bought the 1GB Ram sticks off Ebay at $45 each.

  2. This is a follow-up to my Ebay purchase of two 1GB Memory Sticks from Ebay seller “mem-store”.
    1GB PC133 Memory Upgrade Roland Fantom x6 x7 x8 xR xa
    http://myworld.ebay.com/mem-store/?_trksid=p4340.l2559

    Shipping to my residence in Japan was very fast but unfortunately they sent me one Defective 1GB memory stick for my Roland Fantom X7/XR/Xa keyboard. The other they sent so far works just fine. I emailed them today and hopefully I can either get an exchange or my money back for the one defective 1GB memory stick.

    Here is the items I purchased. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190517399242

    Until the outcome of my transaction is 100% complete I cannot recommend mem-store for any memory purchases. Please be aware of this Ebay seller. I understand Memory can be defective and crap happens, but so far I have never experience receiving bad memory in the mail so this is the first. In addition, I have to see how cooperative they are in allowing me to return the memory and whether the new one will work.

    Personally, I do not think the memory I received is new. Some of the writing on the defective memory stick has clearly been worn away. Whether this is normal for memory I don’t know but it doesn’t look good.

    Stay tuned for further updates.

  3. I did some research today on the DIMM Error message and found out that with my Roland Fantom X7 and XR rack upgrading the OS past 2.x can cause compatibility and inconsistency issues with Ram Memory. Both my Fantom X7 and XR are 2.x versions. Only one of the two 1GB Memory sticks purchased from Ebay Seller “mem-store” worked with the Fantom X7. The other gives a DIMM Error message. I then found out that my Fantom Xa has OS version 1.05. I tested the failed 2nd Ram Memory and it surprisingly worked. Thus the 2nd Memory Stick is not defective and is working, BUT, for future reference it is not compatible with Roland Fantom X7 and XR synths with 2.x OS as it still doesn’t work on my X7 and XR. As long as one works with the X7 I can accept the second one working in my Xa. I decided to keep my original 512MB Memory Stick in the XR until I can find a suitable replacement from another company.

    Thus there is no need for an exchange and I’m satisfied with my purchase now that both sticks appear to be working. If I didn’t have the Roland Fantom Xa, I definitely would have had to return the 2nd Memory Stick. I have no idea the difference between the two memory sticks but Ebay Seller “mem-store” definitely did not send me the same 1GB Ram memory sticks otherwise they would both work obviously in the X7 and XR ( Or both would only work in the Fantom Xa! ).

    Memory sticks are a very sensitive issue with the Roland Fantom and I purchased from Ebay Seller “mem-store” because their description indicated that their memory product worked with ALL x6 x7 x8 xR xa models. This isn’t what I directly got, but luckily they work in my X7 and Xa although they are not interchangeable. (I preferred two working 1GB modules in my X7 and XR) I honestly think I just lucked out that they worked. I appreciated the fast shipping service. In fact it’s the fastest shipping service I’ve ever had to Japan so kudos to shipping. I just wish I had more confidence in purchasing from the “mem-store” Ebay seller in the future.

    Unfortunately if you are looking for working 1GB memory or anything else for that matter I don’t recommend “mem-store” on Ebay. You just don’t know what you are going to get from them and you may not be so lucky as I kind of was. It worked out but not the way I wanted. I’ll buy elsewhere for any future Memory needs.

    Currently I have the following Memory in my Fantom X Workstations and Rack:

    Roland Fantom X7 with 1GB Memory
    Roland Fantom XR with 512MB Memory
    Roland Fantom Xa with 1GB Memory

  4. This is the Mem-Store Ebay Seller that I would stay away from. The Roland Fantom X series memory they sell is not consistent and you may get a module that will NOT WORK in you Fantom X Series Sampler. Buyer Beware!

    Mem-Store Ebay BAD Memory Sticks

  5. Freshtone Lost Tapes Vol 1 is a great set of samples that I recently picked up from my Fantom X7. I mainly bought it because I wanted some quick jams to have some fun with chord work and soloing. I love the older 60s and 70s grooves for sure and this Sample set from Freshtone is fantastic for keyboard players for sure.

    My only main gripe is that Freshtone chose to have Time & Space distribute their samples and I unfortunately made a huge mistake in buying from them. Pure and simple, Time & Space has the slowest downloads on the planet!! They also have no interest in fixing the situation as many have experienced the same thing before me with the support claiming they will look into it. Time & Space = Slow Downloads so definitely “buyer beware” with that outfit and I can honestly say I’ll never be buying another product from Time & Space again. Time is money!

    So is there an alternative? You bet. Big Fish Audio also sells the the Freshtone Lost Tapes Vol 1 Download but it’s a tiny bit more expensive. I would have definitely paid the extra to get a fast download had I known Time & Space was so painfully slow. 20+ hours folks and still haven’t finished the download on a fiber optic internet connection! I’m not an affiliate of BFA, but rather it’s simply an alternative if you wish to grab a copy of Freshtone Lost Tapes Vol 1. Big Fish Audio Lost Tapes Vol 1

    Freshtone Samples are pleased to announce the release of their first sample pack ‘Lost Tapes: Vol.1′ Featuring 43 Funk and Soul Construction Kits all recorded to tape using exclusively vintage equipment.

    • I picked up another Sample Library from Zero-G called Paradise Sessions. Unfortunately it was only available via download from Time & Space so I reluctantly had to buy it from them again. I did notice that the downloads were slightly faster but still slow. I also downloaded using Google’s Chrome which seemed to be better as well so perhaps the credit should go to Google. I still feel though that for the average person Time & Space has a really slow download system.

      Zero-G Paradise Sessions is a great Sample Package with some great tracks for creative inspiration.

  6. Just got done importing the Gospelmusicians MKSensation Sample set into the Roland Fantom X7. They sound fantastic too! I imported the following sample patches which are the basically the Roland MKS-20 presets.

    001 (A01) MKS Piano 1
    002 (A02) MKS Piano 2
    003 (A03) MKS Piano 3
    004 (A04) MKS Clav
    005 (A05) MKS Vibes
    006 (A06) MKS Harpsi
    007 (A07) MKS-20 EP1
    008 (A08) MKs-20 EP2

    Here are the steps I took and it was super easy!

    1. Get the Gospelmusician MKSensation Sample set for the Yamaha Motif ES/XS/XF series workstations.
    MKSensation Roland MKS-20 Piano Module Sounds

    2. Get the Nexoe YASE Roland Fantom X Series Editor for importing samples.
    http://www.nexoe.de/products_YASE_overview.html

    3. Get AWAVE Studio v10.4 for converting samples.
    http://www.fmjsoft.com/awframe.html

    4. Upgrade the Fantom X7 Memory to 1GB.

    5. Upgrade your Compact Flash Card to 1GB.

    6. Import the MKSensation MKS-20.W7A Motif ES file to AWAVE Studio. I prefer the ES version over everything else!

    7. Save each instrument to AKAI S5000 format in “stereo”.

    8. Using Nexoe YASE, import each AKAI S5000 MKS-20 patch. You do this eight times, once for each patch.

    9. When complete, simply insert the Compact Flash Card into your Fantom X7 and load up all samples.

    This will successfully import all 8 Roland MKS-20 presets into the Roland Fantom X7, XR, or your Xa.

    After that you just need to add effects and combine the patches with other sounds like Jamal Hartwell did when creating the MKSensation sample set. That’s the fun part because you can now tailor those 8 presets into variations of your liking and build your Roland MKS-20 patch set from there. If you wish to view the Yamaha Motif ES settings for the patches such as for effects, I recommend using the program called Motif.Factory 3.2.00 for the Yamaha Motif ES Keyboard and Rack. This is the BEST program I’ve found for cracking open Motif ES files of all sorts and finding out the parameters without plugging into a Motif ES. All other programs require you to have a Yamaha Motif ES.
    http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk/products.html

    Just download the demo, install, and load up the NEORODEZ.W7A file. If you highlight “User Voices” the demo version will allow you to save in Motif .W7E, .W7V, and .W9E formats. If you take the .W9E file that you saved and open it up in the Yamaha Studio Manager Motif ES Rack module you will be able to view all of the effects, layers, envelopes, etc. in detailed fashion. You can then take that info and program similar settings in the Roland Fantom X. Unfortunately I haven’t found any software for XS or XF files that allow you to view effect settings, but usually ES has you covered.

    Yes, there a few tools and additions that need to be acquired to do all of this but once you get everything setup it’s easy. In fact, you can now import just about any Yamaha Motif, EMU, Akai, Roland, or other Sample format that can be converted to the Akai format. Nexoe YASE can only import the Akai format which is generally no problem because you can convert just about anything to Akai nowadays with the proper software.

    Another tip is to use the software ESC or Extreme Sample Converter to record and import any VSTi instrument including Kontakt to the Roland Fantom XR. I’ve done this already using several Kotankt instruments and it works great. ESC will allow you to import any number of velocity layers. http://www.extranslator.com/

    Here’s another tip. Whenever you import patches or programs that contain more than 4 layers you will need to use AWAVE Studio to break up the patch into 4 layer segments. For example if a patch has 7 layers you would import two patches, one with 4 layers and the other with 3 layers. You then create a performance and assign each patch to a different part. In case case part 1 and part 2 would work fine. Also don’t forget to assign the same midi channel 1 so that they both play together.

    Should samples need to be normalized, I recommend using Nexoe YASE to do this. It’s much easier to do this individually for each sample in YASE rather than by navigating through different menus on the Fantom X7. Normalization is still a tedious process with lots of multisamples, but far simpler with Nexoe YASE. Check it out.

    Also a note about using 1GB Memory in the Roland Fantom X7. So far I’ve had zero problems loading up samples beyond 512MB. Nexoe YASE gives you a warning when you get close and pass the 512MB when using the sofware, however that message goes away if you click “ignore” and “don’s ask again”. Nexoe YASE then continues saving samples up to the 1GB mark no problem.

    Finally, it takes 30 minutes for me to load up a full 1GB card worth of samples into the Roland Fantom X7. For studio work, no problem!

  7. This evening I imported two more Rhodes sets to the Roland Fantom X7. The first is GospelMusicians Neo Soul Rhodes Sounds Patch 1 and 2. The first patch sounds especially awesome. The remaining patches are a combination of the first two patches plus effects and preset sounds mixed in. I’ll likely create my own using the effects and sounds of the Roland Fantom X7. I also was able to fit the two Rhodes sounds onto the MSK-20 card set I imported above. So I now have the following on a 1GB Flash Card all in Stereo I should add. http://store.gospelmusicians.com/product.php?productid=16284

    001 (A01) MKS Piano 1
    002 (A02) MKS Piano 2
    003 (A03) MKS Piano 3
    004 (A04) MKS Clav
    005 (A05) MKS Vibes
    006 (A06) MKS Harpsi
    007 (A07) MKS-20 EP1
    008 (A08) MKs-20 EP2
    009 (A09) Neo-Rhodez
    010 (A10) Neo-Rhode2

    There is about 175MB left on the card and in memory so I’ll likely fill that up with a Boonie Mayfield Kit.
    http://www.booniemayfield.com/fr_drumkits.cfm

    The other sample set I successfully imported into the Roland Fantom X7 is the Scarbee Rhodes Sample set. This is the light version actually that has 8 velocity layers and it sure sounds sweet. It really has an incredible feeling and sound to it. It just may be my favorite. The size is just under 1GB in full stereo. In fact my Fantom says I only have 77MB left out of 1GB so I got lucky getting the entire 8 layer set on it. To load up the Scarbee it takes 30 minutes for the 1GB, but it’s well worth the wait. There are added effects in the Scarbee Rhodes Sample set that really make it sound cool to me. The harmonics, release, and hammer action sounds great. Now that the Scarbee samples are in the Fantom I can add different effects for different patches for more variety as well.

    Indeed it takes up my entire 1GB memory slot for the Fantom X7, but I also have a Roland Fantom XR and Xa with 1GB of memory in each as well. So I could import other sounds on those and midi things up for additional layering or sample sets. The Roland Fantom X series is really affordable and versatile for this sort of multisample thing so I’m having a lot of fun with the creative things that can be done.

    Up next I am going to import the Precision Sound Dusty MKII Rhodes, Roland MKS-20 PS20, and Wurlitzer Sets into the Roland Fantom over the weekend. Great stuff and it all sounds great now that I know how to get it all in with stereo.

    I can’t stress enough how working with 1GB of memory is the way to go with the Roland Fantom X7. These Rhodes sample sets are huge and 1GB of memory is about the right size to get just about anything you would ever want into the Fantom. For studio use I don’t think 30 minutes is all that bad if you schedule it in effectively. For live use it’s a different story and I might recommend doubling up with a Roland Fantom XR with 1GB of memory for backup.

    Stay tuned for more updates soon!

  8. Recently I’ve been using with much success this new Roland Fantom X Sample Import Tool I found on the web. I had been recently having some trouble with importing large sample sets that contained many different multisample layers. Nexoe YASE was not importing them correctly so I had to do them manually. This can be slightly time consuming when using the Fantom X directly, but this Fantom X Sample Import Tool 95 makes it a snap. You can import loads of samples and create multisample layers instantly now. All you have to do later in the Fantom X7 is to create a patch, assign the multisamples layers, and adjust the Velocity and XFade Points for each layer.

    For more info about the Sample Import Tool you can check the following site:

    You can dowload the Fantom Sample Import Tool here:

    Roland Fantom Import Sample Tool 95

    Roland Fantom X Editor

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