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Thread: Synthesizers

  1. #1
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    Default Synthesizers

    What synth should I get? I'm basically looking for the best one I can get for under $500 but I'd rather not buy a used one. It seems like Korg is the way to go. I've got my eye on the 37 key microKorg. Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Coachella Junkie Aurgasm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    get an 808 instead
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  3. #3
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    i really hope that was a joke. despite the fact that it isn't funny.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    What are you trying to do? Play in a band / make electro music on your computer / make space noises for a movie you're scoring / etc.? Give me a little info about what your goal is, what you know about synths (if anything), and I can make a recommendation.

  5. #5
    Member GnarVee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Ill bite..
    I also wanna 'make electro music on your computer'.....where do I start.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    I'm looking to make an alternate score to the Tron movie. Which synthesizer should I use?
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    Beef Supreme Mr.Nipples's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    sh101 or a moog/rogue.


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  8. #8

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidsnake28 View Post
    What synth should I get? I'm basically looking for the best one I can get for under $500 but I'd rather not buy a used one. It seems like Korg is the way to go. I've got my eye on the 37 key microKorg. Suggestions?
    Forget the microKorg. It's neat to look at but it's a pain in the ass to play with those small keys and doesn't really sound all that great. I recommend checking out the Alesis micron. Much easier to play with big keys and sounds 100 times better then microKorg. The Alesis micron is a 80's sounding synth that packs a huge punch. The microKorg is a more 70's sounding synth. Hope this helps

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by Trick Loves The Kids View Post
    What are you trying to do? Play in a band / make electro music on your computer / make space noises for a movie you're scoring / etc.? Give me a little info about what your goal is, what you know about synths (if anything), and I can make a recommendation.
    I'm primarily a drummer but I also play bass and saxophone and I recently started playing piano. I don't know hardly anything about synths. I don't have much interest in making electro music on a computer. This will probably be more for playing live with other musicians than anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Nipples View Post
    sh101 or a moog/rogue.
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzz View Post
    Forget the microKorg. It's neat to look at but it's a pain in the ass to play with those small keys and doesn't really sound all that great. I recommend checking out the Alesis micron. Much easier to play with big keys and sounds 100 times better then microKorg. The Alesis micron is a 80's sounding synth that packs a huge punch. The microKorg is a more 70's sounding synth. Hope this helps
    Thanks.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Okay, cool. So you have a number of options. A lot of people will recommend the Micron and the Microkorg but I'd stay away from those, and here's why. Those are kind of entry-level synths, and they're not terrible (they both sound pretty good) but you're going to be mostly restricted to the presets because programming those things is a pain in the butt. They're digital synths, so in order to change the sounds of the presets you have to do a lot of menu diving which personally I hate more than anything.

    Check this out, an old Korg MS-20:

    http://machines.hyperreal.org/manufa...korg.MS-20.jpg

    This machine doesn't even have presets, so each one of those knobs alters a specific aspect of the sound. On the microkorg you might have to look through a few menus to get to the specific parameter you're trying to mess with, which again I hate with a passion. It's so much easier to just twist a knob and hear the sound alter in real time.

    This is all kind of assuming you're trying to learn to program a synth, as in you want to know what the options all do so you can make your own sounds. If you have no interest in that then the microkorg or the ion would be fine, as they have a number of presets of all types (bass, leads, pads) that you'd probably be able to add to your live sound without too much trouble. However, if you want to learn synth programming it's not the way to go. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  11. #11
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    unless he's actually interested in modular stuff, there is no reason to recommend a semi-modular synth... there is a lot between that and a microkorg.

    not using the modular functions on the ms-20 would inevitably be a waste of money. there are plenty of knob-jocky synths without that going on.

    that said, i'm a big fan of modular stuff, so if you are curious at all... go for it.

  12. #12
    Coachella Junkie dorkfish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Nipples View Post
    sh101
    or save up another $300 and buy a juno-60.
    *based upon tedious fact checking.

  13. #13
    Coachella Junkie Aurgasm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Do you use synthesizers often? Are you a musician? ^just curious
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  14. #14
    Coachella Junkie psycobetabuckdown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by Trick Loves The Kids View Post
    Okay, cool. So you have a number of options. A lot of people will recommend the Micron and the Microkorg but I'd stay away from those, and here's why. Those are kind of entry-level synths, and they're not terrible (they both sound pretty good) but you're going to be mostly restricted to the presets because programming those things is a pain in the butt. They're digital synths, so in order to change the sounds of the presets you have to do a lot of menu diving which personally I hate more than anything.
    No wonder I've never gotten the hang of that fucking thing. I think the one you're recommending is the one I should've looked into when I was in liquidsnake's position.

    Can't figure out menus and stuff, and presets are not why I enjoy making music.

    Price though? Microkorg was less than 300 on Ebay for me IIRC
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by wmgaretjax View Post
    unless he's actually interested in modular stuff, there is no reason to recommend a semi-modular synth... there is a lot between that and a microkorg.

    not using the modular functions on the ms-20 would inevitably be a waste of money. there are plenty of knob-jocky synths without that going on.

    that said, i'm a big fan of modular stuff, so if you are curious at all... go for it.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to say that the MS-20 was the right synth for this guy (way out of his price range, for one). I only meant to illustrate the difference between a synth with a bunch of knobs and one with a tiny LCD screen and four knobs. If you're trying to actually learn the ins and outs of synthesis, as in how to create sounds from scratch, you DO want something like an MS-20 (although not necessarily that model) because of the tactile nature of programming. I mean, it's completely possible to learn synthesis on a VST (computer-based synth, for the unfamiliar) or a Microkorg but I do think it'll be frustrating.

    Anyway, it sounds like he's not so much interested in learning synthesis as he is just fucking around with bleep-bloop noises in a band context (and there's nothing wrong with that) so it's probably not necessary to get an extremely tactile, programmable synth.

  16. #16
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    i agree for the most part. I think that there is a lot to be said for software based synths (not so much the microkorg imo). a nice piece of analog gear is the easiest way to learn though, no doubt about that.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by psycobetabuckdown View Post
    No wonder I've never gotten the hang of that fucking thing. I think the one you're recommending is the one I should've looked into when I was in liquidsnake's position.

    Can't figure out menus and stuff, and presets are not why I enjoy making music.

    Price though? Microkorg was less than 300 on Ebay for me IIRC
    Yeah, I ended up getting an Alesis Ion a few years ago specifically because it has a bunch of knobs. It's not a great synth, at least for the type of music I'm trying to make, but having those knobs helped me learn synthesis in a way that clicking through menus on a tiny synth or in a computer program probably never would have. That's the reason I recommend the knobs, because menu diving sucks and when you can twist a knob and hear the sound fluctuating in real time it's much easier to remember what all those things actually DO.


    Quote Originally Posted by wmgaretjax View Post
    i agree for the most part. I think that there is a lot to be said for software based synths (not so much the microkorg imo). a nice piece of analog gear is the easiest way to learn though, no doubt about that.
    Absolutely, I'm not an analog purist by any means. I learned on the Ion which is digital.
    Last edited by Trick Loves The Kids; 12-13-2010 at 11:53 AM.

  18. #18
    Coachella Junkie psycobetabuckdown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by Trick Loves The Kids View Post
    Yeah, I ended up getting an Alesis Ion a few years ago specifically because it has a bunch of knobs. It's not a great synth, at least for the type of music I'm trying to make, but having those knobs helped me learn synthesis in a way that clicking through menus on a tiny synth or in a computer program probably never would have. That's the reason I recommend the knobs, because menu diving sucks and when you can twist a knob and hear the sound fluctuating in real time it's much easier to remember what all those things actually DO.
    Incidentally, I have enjoyed my microkorg the most using those four knobs on the top, not by pressing the various buttons.

    Could one of you explain briefly what you mean by modular, or how the MS-20 is semi-modular? I'm quite ignorant when it comes to this technical stuff.
    Last edited by psycobetabuckdown; 12-13-2010 at 11:57 AM.
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  19. #19
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    the ms-20 is modular because you can use patch cables to override the circuits. a modular synth is broken into components that you can connect in various ways via patch cables. typically you can buy a bunch of individual components (oscillators, filters, etc.) that you can then patch together to create your own (potentially highly unique) sound. others come prepackaged with a bunch of discrete components.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    I agree with what Trick is saying but if you (Liquidsnake) were thinking about going with the microKorg I would highly recommend checking out the Alesis micron which I feel is a way better synth.

  21. #21
    Coachella Junkie jackstraw94086's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    I can't see any point at all in starting out with anything other than a soft synth, especially if your goal is easy integration with a DAW to accompany drums (or anything else for that matter). If you have a laptop and a DAW then just get Massive. It's way cheaper than some piece of entry-level hardware.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Do yourself a favor and pick up a used Novation K-Station for about $300 bucks. Micro key synths are a PITA. If you're going to be playing live with others you want something with levers, real keys and knobs. The K-station fits that bill, and has a rugged, metal build and sounds great.

    http://www.vintagesynth.com/novation/kstation.php

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSmDGT7-1zs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHSLS...eature=related


    Synths were meant to have knobs.
    Last edited by coachman5; 12-13-2010 at 12:31 PM.

  23. #23
    Beef Supreme Mr.Nipples's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by dorkfish View Post
    or save up another $300 and buy a juno-60.
    if he wants an entry level synth and doesn't mind it being monophonic or looking like it was meant to be sold out of toys r us, i can't think of anything better thats easier to find, cost efficient, retard proof,sounds fantastic and easy on maintenance fees than the sh-101.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    i know you said you don't want to go used, but a used Korg X50 is not a bad option and you can probably find one for under 500. they're about 750ish new

    its also a MIDI controller so you have all those options as well.

    alesis micron is a fun thing but not a great productivity tool. it has its limitations. it might be smart to pick one up used and use it to learn on. then when you want to step up, you can probably sell if for what you paid and then move on.

  25. #25
    Coachella Junkie paulb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Anyone have any comments on the Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard?



    I played this in Guitar Center for a bit...had lots of fun.... anyone own this?
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  26. #26
    Coachella Junkie Miroir Noir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    I hear you're buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record.
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    It's hard to argue with that.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by paulb View Post
    Anyone have any comments on the Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard?



    I played this in Guitar Center for a bit...had lots of fun.... anyone own this?
    I have it, I love it. Admittedly I need to dive deeper into it (aka read the manual) but from just fucking around with it I'm a big fan. It sounds great.

  28. #28
    old school york707's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    This is fun to read about. I would love to find a knob-y synth like the K-Station that also is amidi controller for under $500. And a unicorn. And a 24-hour orgasm on the first day of every month.

    But for real about the first part. (and the third part, I guess).

    Any thoughts?
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  29. #29
    Beef Supreme Mr.Nipples's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    Quote Originally Posted by paulb View Post
    Anyone have any comments on the Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard?



    I played this in Guitar Center for a bit...had lots of fun.... anyone own this?

    i have yet to try a dave smith designed product that i didn't like. i dicked around with the mopho desktop module and it was really nice but i didn't get deep into it. i want an evolver terribly.
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  30. #30
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Synthesizers

    yeah. i'd love an evolver.

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