Wersi Sonic OAX Instruments
Overview of my Sonic OAX 600
Firstly, whatever you may read in these pages will be based purely on my own personal experience of playing and using the many features of the Sonic that apply to my style of playing and the music I like. It is not intended to be a tutorial or to give a step by step explanation of all the features which are plentiful, and many of course I will not necessarily ever use for my music. Also, things that I like others may not, so please just regard the following information as seen from my own personal viewpoint and not the general opinion of all.
First Impressions 27/2/16
I suppose getting a new instrument is a little like getting a brand new car, we give it a good look round to see if it has a pleasing and impressive look about it, then we get inside to see what its like to drive and fiddle with the knobs and switches, and then for the test drive.
So, does the Sonic have a pleasing and impressive look about it? you bet it does!!. Although the basic design stems from the original wood sided Verona's and Scala's etc. the improved design with the large screen and lacquered finishes gives the Sonic a very modernistic slant that is not only impressive but looks really great. It also has a good lighting system for the console and foot pistons plus an illuminated music rest. Turn the lights off in a dark room and and this baby looks stunning and ready for take off !!
Ok, lets now get inside and see what its like to drive and fiddle with some switches. The matching adjustable bench gets you in the right position for playing the manuals and pedalboard. However, one slight problem I found for me personally was that I found I could not get myself in the right position for operating the swell pedal. As my last Wersi was the Abacus Duo Pro it was not a problem as the swell pedal was not attached to anything so I could put it where I wanted it. I had not previously played a Verona or a Scala so was not aware it could be a problem for me However, the fault is not with the instrument, it is with me as I am from the short legged variety of the species!! The manufacturers cannot build their instruments like in the clothes industry, small, medium and large etc to suit their customers. they have to have standard dimensions that presumably are based on an average sized person.
As the instruments are built to order, if you were thinking of having one and you are a bit short in the leg like me, it may be worth a mention to your agent. With instruments that have the17 note pedalboard it looks possible to me that a special extension plate could be fitted to raise and bring the swell forward a little. Naturally, if it was possible and the manufacturers were agreeable to accommodate this it would incur an extra cost, but if it could be done it may be well worth it. Again I must emphasize that this is not a fault of the instrument, the fault is my short legs! I have got round the problem at the moment by using another swell pedal from another of my instruments so that will keep me going for a while, maybe I will look at making a better fix later.
Ok, lets leave my short legs out of this now and get back to the instrument. The key beds are of excellent quality and have a good feel to them which is very important on any instrument. There is also now aftertouch on the lower manual which is really great and a very useful addition. The silver touch buttons on the console feel and look good (as in my case) against the black background of the instrument colour. On the left side panel there are four additional buttons that give the four one touch registrations for each of the factory styles (although at this stage not all the styles have completed registrations) There are a couple of other buttons on this side that seem to have different functions to my Abacus but I have not explored them yet. The left side sliders are arranged slightly differently with the main difference being we now have one slider that controls the entire ACC volumes together instead of one slider for each sound. This is a big plus as far as I am concerned, if you just want to play the styles in real-time you can increase/decrease the entire ACC volumes with one slider the same as you do for the Drums and Bass. If you then need to adjust the individual volumes of the ACC it is very easy to adjust them from the appropriate page on the main screen. Great stuff.
Next to the ACC slider there is another named CC which as yet has no function but I am informed that some interesting things are planned for this slider, so more to look forward to at some stage with that one.
Moving over to the right side consol panel, I was also informed that in a future update the upper Drawbars would control not only the Organ Drawbar sounds, but would also control other functions as well. What this may entail we wait and see, but again it will be interesting to see what is in store at a later date.
Also, on this panel are two additional sound buttons which I feel must have been put on especially for me!! They are of course entitled 'Accordion Live' and 'Accordion Presets' and I have to admit I have not strayed far from them yet. 'Live Accordions' is the same as 'The Best of Accordions' that is an additional sound package for OAS which of course I also had. It sounds good on the OAS instruments but on OAX it sounds absolutely brilliant, I am having a hard time trying to explore other sounds at the moment as these sounds are quite addictive for me.
Press the 'Live Accordions' button and the virtual accordions appear on the screen consisting of six different types of Accordions and their respective register tabs which of course can be changed from one to another on the fly.
However, for some reason only know to Wersi, there is one Accordion that is missing from this list which is a shame. The missing one is the 'Cavagnola Mussette American' which is good for Latin American type music. Perhaps if I ask nicely, the guys at Wersi will search their shelves to see if they can find it and maybe add it to a further update sometime??
Moving next to the 'Accordion Preset' button this shows the pages of all the factory Accordions plus all the individual register sounds of the 'Live Accordions' which can then be put in the presets individually.
Being familiar with Accordion sounds, for me, using them is a good way to try and set up an initial preset with sounds on all manuals plus all the settings that I use most of the time as I know how I want each manual, the Drums and ACC to sound and react to the expression pedal.
Although I was assured by more than one that the expression crossfade feature was still in OAX, I had a bit of a job to fathom it from the online manual so was a little apprehensive that it would not be as good as in OAS. However, now I have the instrument in front of me and have started to set this initial preset up I have gradually found out that although you have to go about setting it up in a different way, I am very pleased to see the expression crossfade feature is not only still there, it is also much improved and more flexible
I have no doubts that you may have already noticed, that I have extolled the virtues of the expression crossfade feature of OAS many times and for many years, as to the flexibility and musical excellence that can be achieved. To the best of my knowledge this is just not available on any other instrument other than Wersi.
A Shot in the dark
At this point I would like to add a personal thank you to the Wersi development team, for not only keeping this feature in the new OAX instruments, but also for expanding on it making for even greater musical possibilities, because for me personally, this is what makes the Wersi instrument so unique and why I continue to use it.
Just a quick mention about the sound quality. For me sound quality is not necessarily about the individual sounds but more about the combined overall sound quality that we hear as a whole. The Wersi instruments have in my opinion led the field in this respect. You only have to listen to a variety of different instruments in a stage situation to appreciate that the Wersi fills the entire room with sound. With many others the sound does not seem seem to project much beyond the stage area. This of course is just how I hear it and it sounds to me, others will I am sure, shoot me down in flames.
OAX now has two reverb systems and many types of reverb of which I have only just had a quick glance at but possibly this has much to do with the much improved overall sound quality of the new Sonic instruments. I look forward to delving much deeper into this shortly to try to achieve the best overall sound quality for my instrument for my room surroundings and for the type of music I enjoy playing..
I will leave it for now and go and do some more playing, who knows I may discover another sound that is not an Accordion!!
Be back soon.
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