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Dan G

Help please! Synths... where do I start???

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Basically I am a big fan of synths in songs, when used tastefully and subtly. Not interested in samples and all that stuff, but basically would like something that can make good quality string section/synth sounds (the usual) etc. What models are the reknowned for being good and how much would they cost? Also, where would be the best place to buy one... ebay or bruce millers! :D

I'm not gonna rush out and buy one just yet, but any help would be appreciated...

thank you!

Dan

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Guest scott cs.

i'm getting one of these for christmas:

microkorg.jpg

it's a microKorg. some really nice sounds and they are all fully editable. The Killers use one, as do countless other bands.

check out www.vintagesynth.com and click on 'synth finder' for a huge list of retro synths.

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if you give us some examples of tracks that use the types of sounds you like and a budget I can give you some suggestions.

As good s/h general purpose synth, a Korg M1 can be picked up on ebay these days for about 150 or so and lots of patches are available free online.

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if you want convincing strings I would suggest a wavetable synth' date=' can you expand on what you mean by "the usual" synth sounds?[/quote']

Well when I hear the bands that I like using synths in their music, they have effects ranging from a normal string section synth sound, through to more realistic sounding patches that emulate violins or string sections more accurately. Something that adds atmosphere/ambience/dynamics to music basically :)

if you give us some examples of tracks that use the types of sounds you like and a budget I can give you some suggestions.

the best example of a band that use synths that I like would probably be Soilwork:

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=14936298

Listen to the intro to 'Stabbing The Drama', and between 0:35 - 1:00 of 'Shadowchild'... for good examples.

(I'm not expecting you to like the music necessarily, I just love the atmospheric sound the synths give)

Thanks for you help people :)

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It depends how much you are willing to spend.

I would highly recommend the Korg Triton Extreme as a synth. Some people reckon it is the best synth around. Most of the sounds on it are amazing, the piano sounds aren't as good as on Kurzweil or Roland RD700 but are still infinately better than on the previous korg keyboards.

The valveforce feature also means you can get amazing hammond sounds and nice warmth on other sounds. There is a nice promotional video at http://www.korg.co.uk/products/workstations/triton_ex/ws_triton_ex.asp

Yamaha also do the Motif ES as their pro keyboard http://www.yamaha-europe.com/yamaha_europe/uk/10_musical_instruments/70_synthesizer/10_synthesizer/10_synthesizer/10_no_series/010_MOTIF_ES_6_7_8/index.html

There is a rack module version of the Motif ES but not the Triton Extreme, the originakl Triton is done as a rack but it doesn't have any of the expansion cards built in (like the extreme does).

The Kurzweil K2600 is still probably the best sampler and has the best real instrument sounds around but it is probably far beyond what you are willing to pay and far beyond your requirements.

Failing that the Korg XD5 as a module can be picked up fairly cheap on ebay. I have one of these. The piano sound is a bit pants (sounds like a slightly better version of the M1 keyboard), the strings, choir and pad type sounds are fairly good. The Pipe Organ sound is also amazing. If that is all you are going to use it for, that would maybe be your thing. There is only one useable lead sound on it but if you don't normally play keyboards, I doubt you would play keyboard solos.

Software synths amy also be another thing to concider for recordings. These things vary in quality immensely.

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Guest lime ruined my life
Not interested in samples and all that stuff' date=' .........................................................................................................................................

but basically would like something that can make good quality string section/synth sounds (the usual) etc.

Dan[/quote']

for a start, if you want good quality life like strings, the only option is a sampling synth. Wavetable synthesis, and the triton series of keyboards, both suggested above, are "sampling synthesis"

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I was thinking of something along the lines of the microkorg?

I would avoid subtractive synths (analogue or analogue emulations) because they have a very characteristic sound and most of them are pretty awful at producing decent pads/string sounds - they are more suited to plasticky/computery sounding synth leads and bass sounds.

The best idea is find some shop that will let you try out a few different things hands on.

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Microkorgs are very so and so from people I know who have owned them they have a lot of limitations and restrictions and you can get bored of them reeeeeally quickly.

Also if you don't want to sound like your ripping off the killers I suggest you avoid using the presets. Modify the sounds to suit your needs. If you want presets just get a fancy keyboard.

I naturally recommend a Nord and to be fair you can get one off of e-bay at a reasonable price.

I have a microkorg and it's very useful although admittedly not great for synth strings sounds. I have made some ace sounds from modifying though. Funny what you say about the Killers and presets, b.14 is the exact sound for Somebody Told Me.

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Guest lime ruined my life
I was thinking of something along the lines of the microkorg?

as i said above, strings need sampling

microkorg.

strings = no

general use = yes

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The string and orchestral sounds on my Korg XD5 are good although could do with more variations. I am not an expert with keyboards but I have a feeling that this keyboard might be the best value around at the moment, second hand. I heard less than 80 for the module on ebay.

My feelings about it generally is that it has good sounds but could do with more different samples. By this I mean, There is a great choir sound but only really one choir sound (with adjustable paramaters), the string sound is great also but yet again there is only one of them as an arco string group. You can combine various of these together but I haven't got that far with using it. I have a feeling it may rely on algorhthmns and DSP type stuff.. meaning, I am not sure if it possible to combine every type of sound.

You are probably better off getting a stage piano such as Roland RD700 if you want a very realistic piano sounds. This has not been mentioned so I assume it probably wont be a problem.

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The string and orchestral sounds on my Korg XD5 are good although could do with more variations

Most synths come with "adequate" patches, but ultimatelyif u are a musician it's worth spending the extra cash on a proper editable synth, and even once you understand how to get the best out of it, most of them benefit from some external processing, because the built in effects are usually crap. The default patches which come with synths are really just starting points, using them in a song is a bit naff.

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Most synths come with "adequate" patches' date=' but ultimatelyif u are a musician it's worth spending the extra cash on a proper editable synth, and even once you understand how to get the best out of it, most of them benefit from some external processing, because the built in effects are usually crap. The default patches which come with synths are really just starting points, using them in a song is a bit naff.[/quote']

There is the ability to change paramaters but I feel it could do with more samples and more combi presets as well.

I was lucky enough be able to borrow a friend's Korg Triton Extreme for a few days. There is many differnet types of choir available and significantly differnet string types. I would really like to get one of these eventaully but I am making do with what I have at the moment. I still think there is a few patches on the XD5 which the triton extreme didn't really manage to beat. The main one is the pipe organ, the triton has more realistic sounds but I like the over the top XD5 sound.

The Motif is probably really good. The Triton Extreme is possibly marjinally better for certain things such as hammond organ becuase of the valveforce (built in valve). As they are both in the same price range people often do have trouble deciding which one to go for. The valveforce sounds like a gimic to some but i can testify that it really does give you some immsense sounds. Personally, that would be one of the main deciding factors for me if I was to decide between the two. I do strongly suspect (and a harmony central review suggested) that the piano action on the weighted key motif is better than on the triton. Yamaha make some very nice grand pianos so possibly have a bit more experience in this field.

Still, for the price and the sort of useage it is likely to get... , for under 100. The Korg XD5 is still possibly your best bet. If you are willing to spend 500 or so then there is many more posibilites but you migh regret spending more if you don't end up using it enough to justify the cost. I don't know much about roland modules but you might want to concider them also.

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Most synths come with "adequate" patches' date=' but ultimatelyif u are a musician it's worth spending the extra cash on a proper editable synth, and even once you understand how to get the best out of it, most of them benefit from some external processing, because the built in effects are usually crap. The default patches which come with synths are really just starting points, using them in a song is a bit naff.[/quote']

That last comment is stupid. They are only naff if the way they sound within a song is naff, not purely because they are default patches and only "starting points".

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You're right to a degree but the use of a preset in a song doesn't mean it's gonna sound right and gay people still can't have weddings, technically it is a civil partnership ceremony.

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That last comment is stupid. They are only naff if the way they sound within a song is naff' date=' not purely because they are default patches and only "starting points".[/quote']

I think in synth philosophy its just generally a bit defeatist to use preset sounds. I can't say using a un-touched preset would make me feel good about my synthing..

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I think in synth philosophy its just generally a bit defeatist to use preset sounds. I can't say using a un-touched preset would make me feel good about my synthing..

Well the fact that you actually talk about synth philosophy is ridiculous. If it sounds good use it, regardless of whether it boosts your sound sculpting ego or not.

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Well the fact that you actually talk about synth philosophy is ridiculous. If it sounds good use it' date=' regardless of whether it boosts your sound sculpting ego or not.[/quote']

It's got nothing to do with ego, it's about creativity, which is what I thought making music is all about? The whole point of expensive programmable synths with high quality oscillators, multiple filters and complex modulation matrixes etc. is so you can be creative in designing sounds that fit your needs. It's a waste of money if you just use the patches, which are generally only there to demo the gears capabilities anyway.

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Guest lime ruined my life

jesus, why has someone deleted my post.

If any moderators read this, may i suggest that you provide users with a reason for deleting posts?

my post was regarding the thread title, and was aimed at helping.

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Well the fact that you actually talk about synth philosophy is ridiculous. If it sounds good use it' date=' regardless of whether it boosts your sound sculpting ego or not.[/quote']

I've always found that a bit of messing around has always created much better sounds than the presets and I don't think I would use a preset even in the extremely unlikely event that it fits my tune. Its just a weak shot, a limp way out of spending time over something and would give me that little less piece of enjoyment when listenening back over a piece

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