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Synth Knowledge Needed


Stichman
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So I've decided I'd like to invest in a synth. I'd like something with software so I could piss about on my laptop (which isn't a Mac). Ideally, it'd be something I could use as a midi controller to trigger loops and pre-recorded tracks and stuff, but also to tinker with live on stage and play arpeggios an' that.

I know there are some synthy experts on here, so any advice would be brilliant. Oh, and incase you hadn't noticed, I'm something of a novice with this kind of thing :)

Thanks a lot

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A Novation Xiosynth can do all that you've requested there. I have one myself and would absolutely recommend as a very good entry point into synths. Mine was about 220 I think. Also, it might be worth having a look through what Alesis have available. Or, if you're looking to spend a bit more, check this out:

Korg Micro-X, - Online Music Store | Sounds Live

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A Novation Xiosynth can do all that you've requested there. I have one myself and would absolutely recommend as a very good entry point into synths. Mine was about 220 I think. Also, it might be worth having a look through what Alesis have available. Or, if you're looking to spend a bit more, check this out:

Korg Micro-X, - Online Music Store | Sounds Live

Thanks man. That Novation Xiosynth looks well good for the money. What software do you use with it? Is that Xcite+ Pack included?

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Thanks man. That Novation Xiosynth looks well good for the money. What software do you use with it? Is that Xcite+ Pack included?

Not sure about add-ons etc; I got mine over 2 years ago. I use it with Ableton. The synth itself is decent, easy-to-use with more features than you'd realistically need. The MIDI controller aspect is fairly regular, and you can switch easily between the two modes. It talks to the computer via USB therefore syncing up with your DAW is easy and you need not dick around with MIDI cables and associated timing problems. One of the best things I found with it was to write music in MIDI and have the computer essentially play the keyboard, leaving me free to fiddle with sounds and what-not.

You can probably get a flavour of it by listening to my tracks. Whilst the potential of the machine is hardly on complete display, every single sound you hear (inc. some drums / percussion) was made with the xiosynth:

KimyReizeger on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads

I really like the look of the micro-x. That said, if you have a decent DAW, the synth need only be the beginning of a sound: you can then go on to change it completely on the computer.

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Rock Austin should have all the info you ever need on synths. I'll remind him to reply to this thread.

I'm not really an expert on synths, more enthusiastic about them. There are definitely folks on here with really good knowledge about the software synths to go for, I'm more of a hardware guy. In terms of getting set up though the same principles apply. You'll need to start with a reasonable midi keyboard and as a novice you'll need to read up on the options, get yourself up to speed. I recommend Sound on Sound, Future Music or any of those types of magazines, you'll find them online.

I believe Novation are pretty good for Midi controllers, from reading up a little it looks as though they have intelligent midi mapping, which I've heard is a good thing and could save a lot of time and faff, check out the nocturn for this (don't think it has a keyboard but you'll get the idea Midi controller Novation Nocturn). Actually just noticed they have a keyboard version Midi controller Novation Nocturn Keyboard which looks pretty decent.

I wouldn't buy this kind of stuff on impulse though as if you get something that isn't easy to use or not great quality I'd imagine it'd put you off pretty quickly or you just won't use it! If you really like the look of something sit on the idea for a few days/weeks, keep on reading about different types of gear and reviews and if you still want it get it at that point then it's probably the right one.

Plenty of software out there to sink your teeth into once you start looking for it, lots of it for free too.

Good luck with it!

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Like the look of that MPK49, good to get the use of the pads. I wouldn't bother with the Juno D, probably better spending that kind of cash on a top Midi keyboard rather than an average keyboard (my mate has one, it's ok but kind of jack of all trades master of none).

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I haven't bought Sound On Sound for ages, so amn't up to date on what exactly is available, any synth with midi will interface with a computer that has a midi port to an extent, but some have USB hosting for super quick integration. Even without seeing the state of the market though its fair to say that Roland rarely come up with bad synth gear, even if the OS is cryptic, the sounds are always great, so if i had to get a sub-500 synth, I'd probably get a Roland SH 201, if I had a grand, I'd get a Moog Little Phatty, and if I had 2 grand, a new Moog Voyager. As always, try before you buy, and remember that the presets on synths are often shite/tailored by genre. Get some literature as well, or web equivalents from good sources.

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I haven't bought Sound On Sound for ages, so amn't up to date on what exactly is available, any synth with midi will interface with a computer that has a midi port to an extent, but some have USB hosting for super quick integration. Even without seeing the state of the market though its fair to say that Roland rarely come up with bad synth gear, even if the OS is cryptic, the sounds are always great, so if i had to get a sub-500 synth, I'd probably get a Roland SH 201, if I had a grand, I'd get a Moog Little Phatty, and if I had 2 grand, a new Moog Voyager. As always, try before you buy, and remember that the presets on synths are often shite/tailored by genre. Get some literature as well, or web equivalents from good sources.

The Access Virus range are also awesome at the high end of the synth market. Possibly a good time to look for second hand Virus TI as they've just brought out a more powerful slimmerline version, the TI 2. Got mine a few years ago now and it's nothing short of totally awesome. Access are also top of the bunch for updates and upgrades to their products.

I'd still be nice to have a properly decent analogue keyboard though... can but dream. I'd actually maybe put a machinedrum or equivalent up there before another expensive synthesiser. Before that though, next on the list is a Nord Electro I think, it's depressing how all top end keyboards are stupidly pricey. It's going to takes years to save up.

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As far as softsynths go,this one rocks http://www.spectrasonics.net/instruments/omnisphere.php.Presets can make a good starting block for editing your own sound.Nords have bits of wood and granite and are built like a Volvo:D,maybe that's why they cost so much.An old prophet v would be yummy,the filters are awesome for putting bass lines thru.!

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