What qualities do you like in a synth?

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tom Cadillac
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What qualities do you like in a synth?

Post by tom Cadillac » Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:33 pm

For me its...

Control of expression - keys with assignable aftertouch, velocity sensitivity etc. I don't mind about the 'feel' of a keyboard. A bouncy yamaha action or a light SQ80 etc. I just adjust to what's there.

Footpedals - to control the filter. If there isn't this option I'd probably add a guitar wah pedal or something.

knobs to tweak - I don't mind making a patch with sliders and buttons, but nice to have something to twist the sound as you play. Again I'd probably add an effects box if its a blank faced old 80s digital.

Sound - lots of basic soundwaves to mix - mulitiple oscillators etc. I like a sound with depth (help subjective adjectives alert!) Not so into current sounds - more old analogue or dirty lo-fi samplers. Something strong and raw and then options to wapr it.

Lightness - portability is good.

Looks? - well I always cover my synths with stickers anyway and the audience sees the front end, not the pretty leds etc

Ease of programming - definately. I don't like over complex manus and multiople filter options etc. Its either easy to get good sounds out of it or its trust to the presets.

And character - quirkiness is good. I don't mind some limitations, as long as there's some major strengths and special things that make the synth stand out from others.

Mmmm probably things I'v missed?.........
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Post by JSRockit » Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:06 pm

Ease of use, Small Size, Monophonic, a nice filter that sizzles, extra noise, knobs, good delays and reverb built in, sequencers, midi, and patch storage.
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Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:08 pm

Sound and ease of use mainly.

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Post by gs » Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:40 pm

The more expressive options for live performance, the better: lots of knobs, ribbon controller or X/Y pad, joystick vectoring, velocity and aftertouch.
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Post by nilade » Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:41 pm

Lots of knobs, very few buttons-- preferably ones that just turn functions on and off.

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Post by Sir Ruff » Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:46 pm

She should be smart, funny and fun to be around... oh wait... :shock:
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Post by WDW » Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:55 am

Audio outputs. :lol:

Seriously, I like the following:
--a variety of expressive inputs (i.e., hammered keys with attack velocity, poly-aftertouch, and release velocity; ribbon, D-Beam, pitch wheel, multiple modulation wheels; joystick; touchpad; multiple pedal inputs; dozens of knobs/switches/sliders)
--shallow menus
--powerful sound engine.


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Post by nadafarms » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:40 am

If it ain't Analog it ain't s**t!
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Post by Alex E » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:08 am

"If it sounds good, it is good."

I don't remember who said that, but my dad has that quote on the wall of his studio in the form of a small cut-out piece of a magazine or newspaper. It makes sense. It just has to sound good. Easy and fun programmability would be nice too though. :)

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Post by Alex E » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:19 am

nadafarms wrote:If it ain't Analog it ain't s**t!
C'mon there's gotta be at least 1 digital you can enjoy... What about the JD-800?

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Post by RobotHeroes » Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:07 am

If it doesn't belong in a Museum I don't want it.

But seriously I enjoy a synth that is great to use. A synth that is setup/designed functionally well that will keep the work pace moving.

I would have to agree with Alex E's quote "If it sounds good, it is good." At the grain that's the most important thing. If the synth doesn't sound like what I am looking for(digital or analog), then it doesn't matter if it can't paint my house and land planes. That would be cool though.
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Post by Tyler2000 » Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:17 am

I like to have a lot of variety so it's hard to pick specifics, but here it goes.

I guess I like stuff with knobs/sliders the best, but most of the stuff I've had that wasn't like that really wouldn't have worked with it. The ESQ-1 for example would be crazy and confusing and I would never be able to afford one if it weren't for it's slick menu system. It took a bit longer to get into programming it, but once you finally get good at it, the possiblities are endless.

Midi is nice, but I never use anything beyond the bare bones of it.

Cost is a big factor for me too. I like to be able to afford things when I buy them. All of my synths and other music gear was purchased for $300 or less.

If it is a polyphonic synth, a non-stacked mono-mode is a HUGE plus for me. I like polys and monos, but the stacked stuff is generally too huge for me. This is the main downfall of my 106.

This is probably one of my main shopping points. I like to get gear that not everybody has. Especially rare stuff because it makes me feel cool. It's always nice to be able to get a sound that hasn't been done 100048903 times.

Ability to be keytar is a big plus.

I've never really picked a favourite pitch/mod type. I guess different stuff works for different synths. I suppose I'm quite fond of the roland stick.
so what do I put down here now?

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Post by shaft9000 » Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:59 am


1. Sound quality is king. If it ends up on a recording forever, it's got to sound good.
2. Interface/Programmability. If it takes too long to get the sound I want out of a piece, I move on to the next.
3. Size and Ergonomics. Not a big deal, until you try to cram 5 polysynth keyboards into a closet so your guests have somewhere to sit.


1. Ergonomics. I want an instrument that feels good to play. I don't care how good it sounds if it can't make a left turn when I need it to.
2. Reliability. You can get a spare, otherwise this would be #1. The show must go on.
3. Sound and Weight. Strange to put them together, perhaps. But I find them often to be inverseley proportional. As if the lighter something is, the less it will do or sound like something comfy and old. There are exceptions of course, but the trend has been toward lighter, faster, smaller in most developments - often at the expense of a weightier sound. Organs, polysynths and what used to be string machines all follow this paradigm. Also the progression/evolution through the years from tubes->discrete transistors->ICs->DSP.
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Post by theotherleadingbrand » Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:45 am

For me, semi-modular is where it's at. Having the ability to re-arrange the basic set-up and introduce effects, external instruments, and trigger outs/ sequencers all over the place makes things pretty damn interesting. It almost makes up for the fact that I suck at playing keyboard. :lol: I actually don't have a lot of synths right now, but they always end up connected with each other.
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Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:35 am

Awesomnissitude. I won't play a synth that rates less than 300 rads.

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