Synths?

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DanielJSchlett
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Synths?

Post by DanielJSchlett » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:04 am

As of late... i have been exploring the wild world of synthesizers... and my need for more is growing quickly...

ive been checking out the new moog Little Phattys as well as the original Korg MS10 and Micromoog... are these all sort of covering the same ground? anyone have a preference? also with lil phatty and micro moog... besides the ability to store patches how different are they, in both function and sound? im pretty sure these are all monophonic synths... which i think im cool with... i already have one poly synth so.. what the heck..

also are there other synths... mostly in the $700-$1000 price range i should really think about?

any suggestions or advice is greatly appriciated

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Post by eeldip » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:24 am

ipad + controller!

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Post by weatherbox » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:26 am

Oberheim SEM is my favorite. I love the MS10 but having two oscillators and two envelopes does give you a lot more flexibility. They both have great filters with the MS being able to get a little more aggressive/dramatic and the SEM being more flexible as it's multimode. The MS10 is very fast to work with though - you won't waste much time with it finding your sound. The design really balances performance efficiency/simple interface with control and tweakability very well. If you want to play live and can do with a single oscillator it's great (it's my live monosynth.)

The Phatty is really cool. I've only played with one a couple times but it sounds totally solid, and though I didn't find the interface all that easy (time + the manual I'm sure woulda fixed that), it has the huge convenience of patches. If I had one I'd be able to take two synths out of my live rig just for how fast it would be to change sounds.

The Novation Bass Station has a crap-ton of flexibility and is worth checking out, the rack unit particularly. Dual oscillators, crazy amount of controls, can sound great, and they're definitely the winner in dollars/coolness ratio - under $300. You could get two plus something like a Voice of Saturn sequencer in your budget and have a really fun rig.

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Post by kslight » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:00 am

I am really into deep synths as I do a lot of programming, so maybe my needs are different but I wasn't big into the Little Phatty. I mean it sounds good at what it does but for the price you could get something a lot more flexible....like a DSI Mopho or Evolver, or a second hand Nord Lead or Access Virus...but seemed too limited for my purposes. The interface isn't too bad but concerned about long term reliability of the controls (since it's broken down to like 4 encoders then they obviously get used more than a knob per function implementation).

I personally would look at the used market versus new, not a lot of outstanding new synths available in your budget.

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Post by DanielJSchlett » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:18 am

Thanks guys! i should also add that im looking to stay in the analog audio domain... also one other note i should make.. im keen on the audio input for when it comes time to mix i can use good filters ect ect ...

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Post by trodden » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:51 am

I've been thinking about getting the Evolver, just the unit, minus the keys, for awhile now... Any reviews on it?

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Post by kslight » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:43 pm

DanielJSchlett wrote:Thanks guys! i should also add that im looking to stay in the analog audio domain... also one other note i should make.. im keen on the audio input for when it comes time to mix i can use good filters ect ect ...

Clearly we'd all like to stay analog but the days of buying 4 or 5 classics from the 80s for under a grand were over ten years ago, so the value in buying one kind of sucks...there aren't many analog bang for buck options. The models on the used market under a grand are usually pretty simple or unknown or of the type prone to failure (where the Junos are headed, for example). And as far as new there aren't many worth buying in your price range... On the other hand there are plenty of deals to be had on used digital and hybrid keys as long as you find a good one..

Ironically I owned a lot of analog synths 5-10 years ago but sold them, now I'm the synth player in a band and I'm building up a new key rig. I don't miss many, just the Sequential Circuits Pro One....All the other mainstays like the Juno and the
SH101...cool but way overrated. I'd rather have a really strong digital or a really interesting hybrid like the Evolver.

Seems to me like the Evolver keyboard would be a good option...audio in and very flexible...analog and digital oscillators, lots of knobs..

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eeldip
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Post by eeldip » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:33 pm

kslight wrote: Clearly we'd all like to stay analog.
not me. i really love analog synths, but i don't see why staying analog should be a defacto priority. at the moment, i've been digging the sounds from FM and additive way more than subtractive anyway.

sure analog filters are great, but man, i just don't see the world needing much more filter tweaking right now.

whereas, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PifZZ2TUw_g
now thats something new and exciting.

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Post by rtopia » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:37 pm


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Post by Marc Alan Goodman » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:00 pm

Yep, I've been telling him to go modular


The evolver is a good recommendation I hadn't thought of yet! Dave Smith's current stuff is supposed to be great.

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Post by winky dinglehoffer » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:40 pm

Micromoog is cool for single VCO--lots of modulation routings, good sound, suboct., etc. Limitations: EG's are limited (but you do get two), the switches can be dodgy, and if the ribbon is screwed, good luck getting a replacement. But it's fun and it has a sound.
Octave Cats can sometimes be under a grand these days--I've seen a few in the 6-850 range lately--I got one not too long ago and it's displacing my Micromoog. Maybe a bit of a maintenance hog (mine is still not 100%), but it can be a real monster. There are 3 versions I know of--the original version has no seriously hard to find parts but lacks the improved duophony of the later models.

Depending on how much immediate control you want over the sound, there are some cheapish polys out there--Akai AX80 (respectable sound, velocity sensitivity), Kawai SX210 (mono mode!), Akai AX60 (has lots of sliders, which is always a plus), Korg Poly 800 with moogslayer mod (runs on batteries!).

A couple of mono outliers: Roland SH2000 and Yamaha SY2. I group these together because they both have aftertouch--very playable aftertouch, IMO--and both are semi-preset, but with editing capabilities. My preference would probably be the Sy2 for its two filters, but they don't self-oscillate, whereas the Roland does.
But aftertouch is an uncommon luxury on an old analog monosynth, and it really opens up some expressiveness to your playing.

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Post by percussion boy » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:20 pm

2 thoughts:

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If the SEM modules that Tom Oberheim is making now are as good as the old ones, that looks like a fantastic deal.

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If you're interested in something to filter other instruments, the studio electronics atc1 moduleis kind of cool. I used to have one with all the different analog filter modules (moog, oberheim, etc.) and those filters definitely could make a synth with mediocre filters (in this case, ax80) sound great, as long as it was a musical situation where all-notes-through-one-filter was workable.

The analog oscillators on the atc were a little clean for me, which is why it got sold.

They pop up on ebay sometimes. People don't know what they are, so the price is unpredictable. I would NOT pay lil phatty money for one, but you might find a deal. You'd need a MIDI keyboard (e.g., another synth) to plug into the module.

Hope this helps.
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Post by Gregg Juke » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:32 pm

Newer keys that I'm happy with-- Juno G

Vintage mono synth that I really love (that you can still find in the price range you quoted)-- Synthetone Jen 1000SX

Here's one for 8 bills:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Jen-sx1000- ... 0573887034

GJ

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Post by b3groover » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:07 pm

There are so many modern options for monophonic analogs, it seems silly to buy (ie, pay too much for) vintage analogs and then have to deal with the limitations and maintenance issues thereof. My opinion, of course.

The DSI Mopho Keyboard is a killer little yellow bastard. The onboard arpeggiator and sequencer are a lot of fun. Highly recommended. Here's a short demo I did that they kindly featured on the DSI site:

http://www.davesmithinstruments.com/new ... #alfredson

The Lil Phatty is a good option, too. The DSI is aggressive and in your face, the Moog is smooth and buttery (but can get pretty mean, too).

Don't forget the Studio Electronics ATC-x. It's the ultimate bass machine, imo. Great leads, too. The four different style filters is a very unique feature and very useful.
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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 am

True, but you could say that about any piece of vintage vs. modern gear; reconditioned microphones, even :wink:

Analog synths have a sound and charm their own, which is not reproducible by any digital synth trying to sound analog. Of course, you don't have to worry about oscillators going out of tune and such on modern gear. I mentioned it because the OP seemed to asked about such things in a specific price range.

GJ

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