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KimyReizeger

Synths / Money / Quality

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Inspired by the gear thread in this forum.

How much money have you spent on synths?

I have a novation Xiosynth. It's pretty cheap as far as instruments go, around 250, but I've found it a good entry point and would consider myself pretty adept. I've also learned a lot more using a hardware synth than VSTi and can subsequently get much better sounds. I also think the sounds I can make are generally high quality, tonally speaking, not particularly / notably / remarkably worse than anything I've heard on records. So how does quality / features improve as the money goes up? Guitars for example, sound and play like shit before you breach the 400 mark (first-hand, high-street prices at least; and very often after you've penetrated that boundary - Ibanez for example).

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Guest Tam o' Shantie

I spent around 70 quid on a Yamaha CS01, eventually sold it on and bought a Moog MG1 for about 250 bucks.

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I only played piano and my digi piano with various emulated keyboard sounds until about a year ago. After having a go of a JP 8000 and really liking it, found one for sale for 300. I really couldn't afford it at the time but had to have it, so I didn't eat/go out for a couple of months.

The last 6 months or so I've been getting deeply into it, and gets better the more I use it. The controls are really intuitive once you have worked out what they do and how they can interact with one another. It is great for live performance.

Considering (due to a much better job) getting a more up to date piece of kit that has more sound creating options in conjunction with computer.

Like you KimyReizeger, having used softsynths a few times, I prefer having the hardware. I think if you spend as much time with the software it can be as good an option, possibly even more versatile... better compared by someone who uses software regularly though.

Colin

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There is a reasonable amount of diminishing returns with all instruments.

However in the world of synths and keyboards, there are simply some features which generally don't exist on cheaper models (like aftertouch).

There is also some amazing synths like Access Virus TI which costs a lot of money. It is also amazing. There are cheaper options available and you rarely use a fraction of the posibilities with synths, from my experience but this doesn't stop the fact the Access Virus TI is an amazing instrument.

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Cost is not proportional to synth goodness

My 3 favorite synths are:

Casio VL Tone - payed 8

Access Virus TI - payed 1300

1970s Moog Micromoog (in need of repairs) - payed 110 (plus impending repair bill)

No price relationship at all.

Some amazing sounding synths are really cheap. Some expensive ones sound shite.

Funcionality is what often comes at a price tho. More flexible and useable sequencing, control and programming options usually equals shitloads more cash. This is why God invented samplers.

Synths should look good too. That usually adds some $$$.

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Guest Tam o' Shantie
There is a reasonable amount of diminishing returns with all instruments.

However in the world of synths and keyboards, there are simply some features which generally don't exist on cheaper models (like aftertouch).

There is also some amazing synths like Access Virus TI which costs a lot of money. It is also amazing. There are cheaper options available and you rarely use a fraction of the posibilities with synths, from my experience but this doesn't stop the fact the Access Virus TI is an amazing instrument.

You are a fucking idiot. Answer the question posed in this thread, or shut up. Every post you make reads like something out of a textbook, with a line or two vaguely relating to the thread topic. It's driving me insane.

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Casio VL Tone - payed 8

Access Virus TI - payed 1300

1970s Moog Micromoog (in need of repairs) - payed 110 (plus impending repair bill)

No price relationship at all.

Some amazing sounding synths are really cheap. Some expensive ones sound shite.

.

That's pretty interesting. I mean, I was never suggesting expensive equipment has the exclusive bearing on sound quality, but it's difficult to get information or experience on this kind of thing in Aberdeen, where I'm pretty sure they simply don't sell synths as a rule.

Is that not absurdly cheap for a Moog?

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Moogs are overrated for what they actually offer compared to more cutting edge synths.

Obviously, the more money you spend the more features you are gonna get along with things like higher quality oscillators, more flexible and powerful routing/modulation etc.

As far as I'm concerned there is no advantage to learning how to program synths on hardware rather than in software, there are hardware synths around which are edited using software anyway! The hands-on argument is moot if you have a good midi controller with rotary encoders and so on, but using a mouse isn't a huge chore if you don't.

The advantage of learning with software is that it's a hell of a lot cheaper in terms of the kind of features (and sound quality) you can expect for your money, and you can get used to programming a wide variety of synths which operate in different ways (i.e FM, subtractive, wavetable).

The only synth hardware I have is a kawaii K1M module, which isn't hugely flexible and a bit of a chore to program. I mostly rely on a handful of (good) VSTi's. The best thing in the long run is to stick to 1 or 2 and learn them inside out.

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You are a fucking idiot. Answer the question posed in this thread, or shut up. Every post you make reads like something out of a textbook, with a line or two vaguely relating to the thread topic. It's driving me insane.

You are mean :(

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Moogs are overrated for what they actually offer compared to more cutting edge synths.

Obviously, the more money you spend the more features you are gonna get along with things like higher quality oscillators, more flexible and powerful routing/modulation etc.

As far as I'm concerned there is no advantage to learning how to program synths on hardware rather than in software, there are hardware synths around which are edited using software anyway! The hands-on argument is moot if you have a good midi controller with rotary encoders and so on, but using a mouse isn't a huge chore if you don't.

The advantage of learning with software is that it's a hell of a lot cheaper in terms of the kind of features (and sound quality) you can expect for your money, and you can get used to programming a wide variety of synths which operate in different ways (i.e FM, subtractive, wavetable).

The only synth hardware I have is a kawaii K1M module, which isn't hugely flexible and a bit of a chore to program. I mostly rely on a handful of (good) VSTi's. The best thing in the long run is to stick to 1 or 2 and learn them inside out.

What is your main softsynth?

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waldorf pulse+. They're fucking badass. paid 140 for mine. they will go for much more in the fuuuuuuuutuuuuuuuure. Have an EX5, but few things are less musical for me than programming on an LCD grid.

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what would you recommend for a relatively cheap yet decent hardware synth?

i found an access virus B on ebay for about 300, that was a deal and half...damn my lack of money at the time.

anything around that kinda quality for that kinda price?

preferably, i'm looking for one that can do decent piano too....

(and i have a Microkorg. i want a better synth.)

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what would you recommend for a relatively cheap yet decent hardware synth?

i found an access virus B on ebay for about 300, that was a deal and half...damn my lack of money at the time.

anything around that kinda quality for that kinda price?

preferably, i'm looking for one that can do decent piano too....

(and i have a Microkorg. i want a better synth.)

Synths like the microkorg and virus will not produce convincing piano sounds (although can come close with some hard work). It's not really the kind of thing they are meant for - you're better off with a cheap wavetable synth if you want a lot of presets which sound realistically like other instruments.

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thats not what i meant - i want to replace the MK.

I'm relatively new to the whole synth side of things, so just treat me like the ultimate beginner!

would it be better to invest in a laptop and run soft synths or other vsti plugins to achieve what i'm looking for? (a set up that can produce piano sounds AND synthesised sounds?)

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thats not what i meant - i want to replace the MK.

I'm relatively new to the whole synth side of things, so just treat me like the ultimate beginner!

would it be better to invest in a laptop and run soft synths or other vsti plugins to achieve what i'm looking for? (a set up that can produce piano sounds AND synthesised sounds?)

What are you going to be using your synth for, what do you need it to do? What is it about the MK that you don't like or it doesn't do... You can create some nice clavinet and organ sounds on analogue modelling synth but like stripey says, the piano sounds are rarely what you are looking for, I find they always sound very synthy and don't have the desired response. I'd maybe get a separate keyboard for your piano sounds (so it can be used stand alone form your computer), wouldn't have to spend a huge amount, and a decent control keyboard for use with soft synths.

If you are looking for a new analogue modelling synth, I know of someone who is keen to offload his Korg MS 2000 for around 300. Having played around with it, I'd say it's a quality synth with plenty of scope to learn on.

Colin

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i use my synth in the band more than the guitar, put it that way. we're going really synthey, and i've done the MK to death.

what do you reckon for a standalone?

(is the MS2000 not like...the big brother of the MK, as it were?....)

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Guest Tam o' Shantie

seengs as this is now general synth discussion, what are some good reasonably priced synthesisers/keyboards that can produce decent 'organic' tones. 10EW are trying to get into some keyboard orientated stuff, but we don't want it sounding like New Order or any lame fizzy synth rubbish. It needs to sound warm and raw, and fuzzy if needs be. I saw some dudes playing some sort of Nord and it actually sounded really natural and nice.

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i use my synth in the band more than the guitar, put it that way. we're going really synthey, and i've done the MK to death.

what do you reckon for a standalone?

(is the MS2000 not like...the big brother of the MK, as it were?....)

Its worth doing a lot of reading up,you will see a lot of the same names coming up again and again as "clasic" synths. Check out the link below for MS2000 details, it is possibly the Korg speil, I didn't look to hard.

Vintage Synth Explorer

I'd say the type of synth you go for, no matter if it is software or hardware, depends a great deal on the type of playin you will be doing. I've been using a lot of lead synth in my playing lately as well as thick and dirty bass lines. Put through a drum machine can give some great effects (might be worth experimenting with MK). Hook two synths together... many possiblities. Read up on the vintage keyboards to see if there are any that sound like what you want. Some websites tell you bands that have used the particular synth - listen to them and see what might fit well with your style.

For example, I have a Roland JP 8000. Aparantly Muse have used one in some of their early tunes, I can quite believe this as it has a great arpeggiator. A synth is only as good as how much you learn about it and delve into the details. That is what makes the difference between creating generic sounds and a unique sounds. There are definately many layers to my synth that I'm still getting to grips with.

You will want to think about on stage functionality as well. How you write songs may change when you start to use different functions of a new synth. A major challenge to take into consideration is using live drums with the likes of an arpeggiator or you have sequenced a sound scape to match a certain length of time. Your drummer will have to be able to play accurately to a click track. Manipulating sounds while you are on stage is great fun, so you might want a synth that is easy and intuitive to use.

I'm fairly new to the syth game but these are a few things that I've come across and have had to do to get a better understanding. If you can, try and get a shot of different types of synths. Find someone to show you how they use a softsynth effectively and how you might use one on stage.

Colin

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I totally recommend the novation nova for learning how to properly operate a synth - lots of knobs, really nice layout. Some gorgeous sounds in that. I don't like the new korg VA stuff tbh, though the ms2000's really nice to tweak as well. Bass-stations are fucking great. It's more trouble than it's worth (at least for me) to spend ages looking for analogue synths I can afford (apart from the Waldorf Pulse as mentioned - if you've got a controller surface, or a computer, EVERYTHING in that synth is addressable via MIDI. I rank it above the minimoog in terms of sheer beastyness)

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Is that not absurdly cheap for a Moog?

No

Its just a micro moog not a mini moog

its like a stripped down minimoog only capable of a couple of sounds - basically fuzzy synth organ and synth bass, really simple when it works and beautiful to look at (black leatherette and 70s formica finish) - I suppose it should have cost me more but the bloke who sold me it didnt know the diff between a bontempi organ and a modular synth

if anyone on here knows anyone who can fix synths Id appreciate it like - its a hard wired synth and Im sure a wire or two have just come loose, so it should be repairable unlike a modern one

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waldorf pulse+.

Exquisite machine.

Germanic techno / Detroit techno heaven.

I one used two in parallel - immense.

Sold mine when skint but may have to re-purchase one.

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seengs as this is now general synth discussion, what are some good reasonably priced synthesisers/keyboards that can produce decent 'organic' tones. 10EW are trying to get into some keyboard orientated stuff, but we don't want it sounding like New Order or any lame fizzy synth rubbish. It needs to sound warm and raw, and fuzzy if needs be. I saw some dudes playing some sort of Nord and it actually sounded really natural and nice.

whack any synth into a decent fuzz* pedal and will tend to sound warm fuzzy orgasmic etc

*but not distortion or overdrive - it will turn the synth into a guitar.

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Exquisite machine.

Germanic techno / Detroit techno heaven.

I one used two in parallel - immense.

Sold mine when skint but may have to re-purchase one.

wooo. 3 people so far i've met who like them. they're so loud! (right now i've got an abletonmidibeatmatched LFO controlling the filter cutoff, through which I have plonked my bass guitar. daddy!

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wooo. 3 people so far i've met who like them. they're so loud! (right now i've got an abletonmidibeatmatched LFO controlling the filter cutoff, through which I have plonked my bass guitar. daddy!

In the context of the orig question regards synth quality related to value for money - the pulse+ is probably it - not amazingly versatile but in terms of making some brilliant sounds for not much cash its the one Id start with (and did - pulse+ was my first proper synth). Liked it so much ill end up with another one sometime.

Alternatively theres always the software synth avenue, which is prob an even cheaper and more flexible route, but thats a whole diff genre in my head anyway, and def not something Im that well informed about, having tinkered for while before putting a fist through the screen (nearly).

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