Good synth for 80's cover band

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EnderWare
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Good synth for 80's cover band

Post by EnderWare » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:31 am

First of all, hello forum.

I'm a guitarist first but a long time keys player and I just joined an 80's cover band as a guitarist but they have no keyboardist. I've decided to do dual-duty and I would like to get a versatile all-around synth (modern digital) that can do a decent job replicating the synths sounds of the 80's. The synths I have are either VST/midi controller or retro and won't work for this.

I just want something not too big, maybe even less then 61 keys, as long as it has an octave switch, that I can have at the side of the stage. Something hopefully not too expensive maybe even a common synth on the used market (I live near LA so used market is good).

I know this is a vintage and analog place mostly but I'm sure someone knows some good options for a digital synth that covers a broad spectrum of those 80's sounds as well as others.

And I do happen to be a vintage synth nut, grew up with synth albums my dad would buy when I was a kid. So here is a synth-identification question for the forum: opening notes/intro to "Waiting For A Girl Like You" Foreigner played by Thomas Dolby?

Thanks in advance,

Eric

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Re: Good synth for 80's cover band

Post by Ashe37 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:36 am

If you really want a hardware synth I'd suggest a used Alesis Ion.

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Re: Good synth for 80's cover band

Post by Z » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:08 pm

EnderWare wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:31 am
So here is a synth-identification question for the forum: opening notes/intro to "Waiting For A Girl Like You" Foreigner played by Thomas Dolby?
I've read that is was a mutli-tracked MiniMoog

I'd need to know what your budget is. Songs from early to mid 80s are full of analog synths and mid80s to late 80s you'll hear a lot of DX7. The Roland System 8 was originally designed with emulations of their Jupiter 8 & Juno 106 synths, but they made an update a few years ago that adds some FM oscillators to its main synth engine. These FM oscillators don't give you full editing capabilities you'll find on a DX7, but you can pull off many of the popular sounds from the DX7.

The KingKorg may also be worth looking at. Not only does it have decent analog modelling, but it also has PCM samples of traditional instruments.
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Re: Good synth for 80's cover band

Post by EnderWare » Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:10 pm

Ashe37 wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:36 am
If you really want a hardware synth I'd suggest a used Alesis Ion.
Thanks, will check 'em out.
Z wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:08 pm

I've read that is was a mutli-tracked MiniMoog

I'd need to know what your budget is. Songs from early to mid 80s are full of analog synths and mid80s to late 80s you'll hear a lot of DX7. The Roland System 8 was originally designed with emulations of their Jupiter 8 & Juno 106 synths, but they made an update a few years ago that adds some FM oscillators to its main synth engine. These FM oscillators don't give you full editing capabilities you'll find on a DX7, but you can pull off many of the popular sounds from the DX7.

The KingKorg may also be worth looking at. Not only does it have decent analog modelling, but it also has PCM samples of traditional instruments.
I've also seen that from one source (multi-tracked mini-moog) among many other guesses and I think that it is the best guess. The vibrato on each track is not synced indicating it wasn't a poly and multi tracked at least.

I realize there is a crossover in sounds between vintage synth and the digital stuff like DX-7s here but that's why I'm asking if there is such an animal out there that is versatile enough to approximate all that and not be a big budget. I would hope to keep it not more than $500 on the used market. Again I am in the LA area so the used market is vast.

Thanks, will check these out.

Eric

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Re: Good synth for 80's cover band

Post by Z » Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:40 pm

Z wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:08 pm

I've read that is was a mutli-tracked MiniMoog
Upon further reading, it sounds like he made several minutes (like 15 minutes) of individual notes on a multi-track machine and played the console's faders as an instrument like how they did the backing vocal effect on 10cc's "I'm Not In Love"
EnderWare wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:10 pm
I realize there is a crossover in sounds between vintage synth and the digital stuff like DX-7s here but that's why I'm asking if there is such an animal out there that is versatile enough to approximate all that and not be a big budget. I would hope to keep it not more than $500 on the used market.
Yikes! $500 isn't much to play with. What songs are y'all playing? You might be able to get away with using 2 inexpensive synths. Like maybe a DX11 or DX21 (around $200 used) for your FM sounds and maybe a virtual analog module (and play it via MIDI from the DX) like the newer Roland Boutique modules (JP-08, JU-06, JX-03 - $200-300 used) though those Roland Boutique modules only have 4 voice polyphony- which should be OK for live (but I sure wouldn't want to record with them).
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Re: Good synth for 80's cover band

Post by rodgre » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:48 pm

I am also a guitarist in an 80's cover band (called Flock of Assholes, believe it or not). I cover a lot of synth parts on effected guitar, but we also have a keyboard player who can play, but cannot create his own sounds, so I take care of that for him.

I also suggest the Alesis Ion. I have a Micron and it's got so many usable vintage-style synth patches. We also use a Triton Extreme, which also has killer sounds and it's pretty easy to program and layer sounds for authentic patches.

Last year, we set ourselves up with Arturia V Collection for a laptop-based setup as a second keyboard for him. There are things that the synths in V Collection don't cover, which the Triton has (sampled horns for one example). The fact that I can create and edit patches on synths that were actually used in the original songs is pretty awesome for me. Jupiter 8, Matrix 12 and Prophet 5 get a lot of use. That said, I do long for things like an Emulator II (with factory patches) and a PPG Wave.

Anyway, Ion and Triton are great places to start in my opinion.

If you want to drop me a line and talk shop about the life of being in an 80's tribute, drop me a line at rodgre - at- gmail.com

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