If you are thinking of Roland JV-1080 or Proteus 2000, then I think you will
find adequate replacement in the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, a library of
SFZ orchestral sounds. In a few points not as good or extensive, but in other
points, they have something on the Roland.
As for pianos, pure synth sounds or drums, youcan do loads better in
software alone and for free. There is the Salamander Grand Piano and
Salamander Drums. You can find a nice sample set of older keyboard instruments
(harpsichords and virginal) by www.sampletekk.com for low prices. As for the
70s: there's of course setBfree, which is a superb organ, with all the
controls necessary to make it fun. It's customiseable in sound and control.
and there is Q's fantastic GagiTron library with 12 Mellotron sounds.
I think there are also other GIG libraries for different instrument groups,
which would very much agree with you. They certainly beat any old rompler.
The problem you might find is, tat a synth like the Roland JV/XP has a
powerful engine. There are four "oscillators" per tone, each with its very own
filter, filter envelope and volume and pitch envelope. There are different
routings for control of filter, pitch and volume (modwheel, aftertouch...) and
there are the structures, which you could think of as modulations or routings
of the synth "modules". All in all, quite powerful for so old a synth. I'm not
sure about other hardware synth architectures, but I suspect they all have
their strenghts, which are very much worth it.
I'm going to put an opinion on hardware here, since I've started already. If
you go for older and thus cheaper: Roland JV/XP is very good. You can still
get boards. JV-2080 or XP-30 (three pre-istalled board + very good keyboard).
If you go for more modern: Yamaha Motif series. More and more extensive sample
set, rather bright, but more due to directness of sound than over-pollishing.
Good expressive sounds, with their super articulation - or whatever they call
it. Play guitar live on the keys and you'll hear sliding noise,hammer-on,
pull-off or glides. Same for a few brass or woodwind sounds. They also offer
sequencer, some sampling (depending on the exact model) and other stuff.
I'd always shrink from Korg, because they're beastly to edit (for a blind
person). They have rather bright sounds, most of them - upto very recent days
- with a lot of 90s charm. Meaning, I didn't find a lot of updates there. They
have some very powerful engines and feature sets, especially in the last few
models (Kronos and relations).
But honestly, if you're mostly out for bread and butter, try software only
and invest a little more - over time - to get a really good set of sample
libraries. They might not have super articulation on the fly, but you will
find expressive sounds, that can beat most hardware synth workstations any
Linux-audio-user mailing list