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Advice sought - EL900M v AT80SL

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  • Advice sought - EL900M v AT80SL

    Seeing another thread with Andy's helpful advice, I thought I'd ask for some opinions.

    I have an EL500 which I bought earlier this year for very little, and have really enjoyed it. But as one does, I have been looking at what else exists. In UK, the EL900m is the obvious top of the range choice. They appear from time to time on eBay vaguely around £1500. As that is 10 times the price of my EL500, I wanted to check alternatives, and the AT80SL seems to stand out as being newer, with a spec that suggests more sounds etc, and seems to be cheaper on eBay.

    Doing a YouTube search for performances on either model is the confusing part. There are vast numbers of highly professional EL900/m performances to watch and be inspired by whereas the majority of AT80SL performances are of a significantly lower standard. Without any chance of seeing either instrument it is difficult to know whether one has significant advantages over the other.

    Although I only got my EL500 this year, I did have an EL90 for many years and so I am very familiar and happy with how they work, and am now quite comfortable creating rhythm sequences and registrations and have plenty already. I haven't seen any of the Atelier range.

    So - any opinions on the relative merits of those two? Anything else obvious that I ought to consider as well? I could certainly not justify more money, based on my modest talent level. And of course the sensible thing is that I work hard and improve, sticking with my EL500. And maybe I will. But it doesn't hurt to dream...

    Thanks,
    Iain

  • #2
    You seem to be in much the same position that I was earlier in the year. I too had an EL90 for a long time and fancied a change after a good many years away from music. I can’t help you with the particular instruments you mention but I got close with the Roland Atelier AT800 and the Yamaha AR100. I had some extremely good advice on this forum and you may find this of some interest and relevance to your own situation. See -

    https://www.organforum.com/forums/sh...Atelier-AT-800

    https://www.organforum.com/forums/sh...EL90-vs-AR-100

    For an update on my position see a thread on the ar-group forum -

    www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=3060.0

    It may not suit you but the AR is worthy of your consideration. Let us know how you get on.
    Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
    Current: Yamaha AR-100

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    • #3
      I think the EL900M have professional arrangements created by Yamaha which is why they sound so polished. The Roland on the other hand are using registrations created by the individual performer and so may not be as complex as the EL900 arrangements. And parts for the EL900 series are increasingly difficult to come by due to the age of the instrument.
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Current: Yamaha EL400, Yamaha C60

      Past: Technics GA3, Technics F100, Technics FA-1

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for your comments. With regard to the Roland - did Roland not create registrations to match music in the same way that Yahama did (and still do, I see)? Searching websites, it appears that the Yamaha arrangements with data are still popular in Japan.

        But regardless of the availability of data, performances sounding polished is surely more about the skill and hard work of the performer, rather than the quality of the registration? Which still leaves me wondering why there appear to be much fewer professional sounding arrangements on Roland as compared to Yamaha.

        Thanks Roger for the links. I wasn't considering the AR100. One of the advantages of the AT80SL is that (at least I believe) it is several years newer than the EL900M (and also the AR100). So I thought perhaps it had improved technology and sound quality. Which is why I have checked so many YouTube videos but so far not been convinced, apart from the Roland clearly having superior organ sounds. This isn't important to me - I bought a Hauptwerk licence some years back, and the best classical and theatre organ sounds come from using that software I believe.

        I am convinced that the Roland AT800 would be the best upgrade, but outside my budget. I was looking at the comparison of EL900m and AT80SL as they appear on eBay for similar money. In terms of choosing between AR100 and EL900m, I would go for the EL, as I don't see anything better in the AR series that are important to me, although of course we all have differences in what we like.

        I'm in no rush. I'll keep looking around, and more importantly, keep practising...

        Comment


        • #5
          The Roland will win hands down on orchestral sounds when compared to the AR100 but the EL900 has some cracking sounds on board - you'd have to put them side by side to see which you prefer. The extra range on the Roland's lower manual can come in handy, when playing in split or double split keyboard mode and the layering possibilities are greater (just) on the Roland. Upper = Organ + three orchestral layers + 1 solo. The EL has Organ + two orchestral + two solo.

          Horizon touch can be useful on the EL900 but few master it. I tend to set it to a very low level of pitch bend and use it effectively as touch vibrato, with complete control of speed and depth by touch.

          You should be able to find youtube clips of Hector Olivera and Tony Fenelon, and also look for David Marsh, a superb player from the USA. I haven't done any youtube videos on the Roland yet, but you will find some AT90SL and AT900 clips on my website.
          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

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          • #6
            Thank you for your various thoughts. I have another question concerning the AT80SL. How usable is the lower manual as a straight piano? I have concluded that the AT80SL is quite a lot larger than an EL900M. I have a nice Roland piano at home, and I regularly practise on that to prepare for choir practise at one church, and for playing for services on piano at another church. Really I think that if I got an AT80SL I'd have to sell the piano. Having an organ and piano in one instrument is quite an attractive idea, and would be sure to receive approval from my wife.

            Any thoughts from those with an Atelier? Is it really practical?

            Here is the other thing for me. I had an EL90 many years ago, and am very familiar with how Electones work. I read about the AT80SL and it appears to surpass the EL900M in many ways technically, yet both are available for similar prices. Following the suggestions from other forum members, I have listened to YouTube clips of experts playing both - and both sound fantastic. My talent is distinctly humble by comparison and I'm sure I'd have a lot of fun with either. But I still wonder if the AT80SL would be the better choice, if I can fit it instead of my piano, and the downside is throwing away the many registrations that I have worked out or bought for the EL series.

            I can prevaricate for years...

            Comment


            • #7
              The lower manual is very playable as a piano. The compass isn't long enough for some pieces, obviously! It has its own dedicated sustain pedal so that's not a problem. The sound is very acceptable - on a par with the EL900, certainly.

              Replacing a piano with the organ? The only issue that might arise is the keys and key action. It's not a fully weighted action like a piano and the keys, being organ type on the 80SL, are going to feel different to piano. But if you can adjust to those differences, then for most of what you'd want to do, I'd say that it will be fine.
              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
                Thanks Andy, that sounds like it would be the perfect answer. I'll see if I can find one.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by orgfred65 View Post

                  But I still wonder if the AT80SL would be the better choice, if I can fit it instead of my piano, and the downside is throwing away the many registrations that I have worked out or bought for the EL series.
                  I too have a lot of bought-in registration disks for my former EL-90. I was thinking of trying to sell them on eBay. Do you not think there might be a market there?
                  Previous: Elka Crescendo 303, Technics G7, Yamaha EL-90
                  Current: Yamaha AR-100

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello Roger, I wasn't thinking of the cost so much, but rather the time investment. But for sure you can sell your purchased EL90 disks on eBay. They seem to sell for vaguely £5 each, when offered in bundles. I have seen such listings many times.

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