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  • Yamaha EL90 vs Atelier AT-800

    I have a Yamaha EL90 which, to be honest, is more than adequate for my limited abilities. I have no innate musical talent and everything I achieve is the result of hard work, which I am not very good at. However I do get a lot of satisfaction from my playing such as it is.

    I’ve had the EL90 from new and it is still in fine condition, having only had a new MDR, and I am still impressed with the quality of its voices. For some reason though I am attracted to the Roland Atelier AT-800 (I would have difficulty accommodating the larger pedalboard of the AT-900). My access to an Atelier has been limited so I would be interested to know how Forum members would compare the two. In particular, how would you rate the features of each and what about the quality and authenticity of the orchestral and instrumental voices? I have a large amount of software to expand the EL90 but I can’t find much for the AT-800. Am I right in thinking there is little available to help with setting up registrations of, for example, famous names on the Atelier?

    At the end of the day I realise it’s my decision based on my own assessment but a chat about the merits and demerits of each would be of great value to me.
    Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
    Current: Yamaha AR-100

  • #2
    The 800 will win an orchestral voice face-off with ease - the EL90 has some good sounds but I can't think of many that would rival the AT800. The Roland also has proper organ sounds - classical pipe, electronic and theatre pipe, real drawbars, a better rhythm and automatics section. It has more sections that you can layer together - up to 5 per manual. The amplification system is way better. Longer keyboards, split lower manual are also features that are really useful.

    The EL90 allows some degree of sound editing, brilliance, vibrato etc which the Roland doesn't have. To be honest, it doesn't really need it, but I'd have liked to have had it anyway.

    There is help out there for registrations and advice - much of it here on the forum. If you search through the posts about the Ateliers, you'll find a lot of details. There are quite a few Atelier owners on here! We'll help, for sure.

    You have to go sit down and play one for an hour or two. Just initially explore the voices available to you on the buttons and then hit 'Others' and use the screen to start checking out the others. Check out the organ sounds. Then start a bit of layering and mixing. And explore the built-in registrations to give you some idea of what's possible.

    Demerits for the AT800? Biggest one is that it's no longer made, but the same applies to the EL90. I'd like to have individual sustain for each section and to have a 'basic' option in the automatics that simply strummed the chords you play, rather than orchestrating them.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
    Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

    Comment


    • #3
      No comparison, the technologies are decades apart, in its day the EL90 was a great model, but these days it’s like comparing a VHS player to a Blue-Ray player.
      The 900 is also available as a 900c which allows you to choose what size pedals you want.
      If you want 3rd party add-ons then the Roland cannot compete with Yamaha, (Although due to its age there is very little available for the EL90) but do you really want to sound like everybody else.
      Bill

      Comment


      • #4
        Very interesting, thank you. I agree that a basic strumming option, and arpeggiator, would be a useful addition. I wouldn’t mind sounding like everybody else if they replicated the likes of James Last and Klaus Wunderlich but to have my own recognisable style would be a wonderful boost to the ego!

        Roger
        Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
        Current: Yamaha AR-100

        Comment


        • #5
          I hope I don’t get shot down for saying this! I had a Roland AT900 for a while and agree that the rhythms etc are light years ahead of the EL90. But in terms of voices other than the organ voicings, I struggled to get the mix of sound I wanted from the Roland. With a Yamaha you can really tweak the voices to get them to mix well together, and I think that is why I struggled. Maybe I’m just rubbish at setting up good registrations! However my advice personally would be to save yourself a heap of cash and find a really nice Yamaha AR100. It has all the good bits of the EL plus much better rhythms etc and crucially better organ sounds too. Plus a lot of pre set registrations in the organ ready at the press of one button...

          Comment


          • #6
            Or an EL900?

            Roger
            Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
            Current: Yamaha AR-100

            Comment


            • #7
              Not many of those out there for sale, at least on this side of the pond, and they do fetch a reasonable amount, much more than the AR100.
              It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

              New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

              Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
              Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
              Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
              Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

              Comment


              • #8
                The problem with the EL900 is there are no new rhythms over the 90. You get some extra voices but that’s about it, oh and horizon keyboards!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I’ve spent the evening browsing through the AR100 owner’s manual on line. I see there’s no Initial/After Touch on the pedals, a valuable facility when using Timpani/Timpani Roll. That’s a definite minus for me.

                  Also I cannot see how to record what I call ‘twiddly bits’ - ornamentation? - on the MDR to play back with other parts. I know I haven’t expressed myself very well there. What I have in mind are the short piccolo and bassoon solos in James Last’s Mornings at Seven which I have recorded on my EL90 to play automatically while I play the melody and accompaniment. There are fewer buttons on the AR100 MDR when compared with the EL90 so maybe the facility is accessed differently. Otherwise this could be another minus point. Shame because the AR seems generally to offer a big improvement over the EL. I’ve not paid much attention to it before but I know the gold lettering is prone to come off!
                  Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
                  Current: Yamaha AR-100

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You’re right there is no touch sensitivity on the pedals. The MDR function youre after would be available, but the features are accessed through the main screen rather than using buttons on the drive. You wouldn’t be able to transfer your disks from EL to AR though. The gold lettering is definitely an issue, but I think I’m right in saying if you find a good one it should be ok, as a number had the panels replaced which was a permanent fix. Many people say you can live with bad lettering which you can, but it doesn’t help the look of the organ.

                    Another point to note is the AR has the slightly cheaper feeling keys from the lower end of the EL range, using rubber contacts, whereas the EL has the metal type contacts and a stiffer key action.

                    Also should you be inclined, the AR uses a standard disk drive which can be replaced with a USB drive, unlike the EL90 which is a special unit.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Does the AR100 actually have Timpani and Timpani Roll on the pedals? They come under the Tuba button on the EL90. A full inventory of voices is not included in the owner’s manual.
                      Does the Atelier AT-800 have touch sensitivity on the pedals? Sorry but I have a bit of a thing about my touch sensitive Timpani. Am I alone here?
                      Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
                      Current: Yamaha AR-100

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes the AR has both in the same place as the EL, under tuba in the pedal section. I may be wrong, but I don’t think the AT800 has touch sensitive pedals? Anyone feel free to correct me? The AT900c I had did have the option of this if using a PK 9 pedalboard, but not with the 25 pedal organ style board I had. I do know what you mean about the timpani, it’s a great effect especially combined with the touch sensitivity. I guess the only other way would be to pre-record it using your MDR, played on the keyboard with touch effect.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Atelier Brochure

                          https://app.box.com/s/ancjlqqyti14zc6gzrdmcab9smrw1jeq

                          Enjoy

                          Bill

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RogerM View Post
                            Does the Atelier AT-800 have touch sensitivity on the pedals? Sorry but I have a bit of a thing about my touch sensitive Timpani. Am I alone here?
                            The AT800 does not have touch sensitive pedals. However you'll be pleased to know that there is a Timpani Roll voice that's an 'Active Expression' voice. It brings in the timpani as you squeeze the expression pedal forward past about half way. The response curve is sharper than the regular sounds so it comes in very nicely! Just as easy and effective as the touch sensitive one on the EL.
                            It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                            New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                            Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                            Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                            Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                            Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for your replies, gentlemen.

                              So when looking for an Atelier AT-800/900 am I right in thinking I have the choice of AT-000, AT-000 Artiste Edition, and either of those with or without the ATUP-EX upgrade? Is ATUP-EX what is popularly known as the Platinum upgrade? What are the main enhancements at each of those levels? Does an AT-800 with the upgrade become nearer to a standard 900?

                              Sorry it’s all questions. The brilliant thing about this forum is the wealth of knowledge out there which people are so willing to share. If anyone ever asks anything so basic that I know the answer I’ll be first in the queue to reply!
                              Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
                              Current: Yamaha AR-100

                              Comment

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