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Technics SX-KN6500 Synthesizer/Workstation

The myriad joys of the Technics SX-KN6500 synthesizer/workstation are not exactly obvious. As its long and inscrutable name suggests, this is a complex instrument that requires a lot of study to make the most of it. A more inviting name like the New Millennium One-Man Band Box would have been well-deserved and might have helped to convey the fun and inspiration that this instrument is capable of producing.

Weighing in at 34 pounds, this rather boxy fellow is equipped with good-sounding built-in speakers, a large display panel (with adjustable angle and contrast) and a 3.5-inch disk drive that makes loading and saving your inspirations a snap. The 61-note touch-sensitive keyboard is nonweighted, but does have aftertouch for adding modulation and other effects without losing a hand to the mod wheel. Another nice touch for real-time tone variation is a small and somewhat overly sensitive “Sound Controller” trackball that can be assigned to modify filter settings, panning and other effects. Global effects such as reverb and chorus are easily switched on and off via the front panel.

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