First "true" analogue synth?

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First "true" analogue synth?

Post by Box » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:28 am

Well, the Holidays are coming up and who else can think of a a better gift than a synth? :P I'm looking for true analogue (I have my Korg Poly-800 but it uses DCO, I want VCO :)) that's affordable, no Jupiters sadly. Only thing I've came across so far that I could possibly afford would be a Korg PolySix. I've found some sound demos and from what I've heard it's right up my ally. Since I live in nowheres land my only way to find one is off Ebay, or some other internet source and can't try it obviously. I was just wondering what people had to comment on the Korg or knew of any other VCO synths in the same price range. Also before I forget... I know that modern VCO synths (Moog Voyager & LP, Alesis Andromeda etc...) have an auto-tune button on the front panel, is this so on vintage? I also know on some old 70's synths that you have to open up the synth and tune it every few months, just like you would a piano (maybe not best metaphor); must you do this with the PolySix and other similar synths of that age? Thank you in advance. :)
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Post by RobotHeroes » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:13 am

Dude sizzlemeister just sold a clean Polysix in for sale the other day. It was serviced, upgraded, extra keys, extra sound chips and everything. Think immaculate, or at least it looked so in the pictures.

I liked this demo:

Korg Polysix

The only thing that sucks is the whole battery leakage problem. Other than that the Polysix sounds great.
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Post by Soundwave » Sun Oct 21, 2007 1:18 pm

Juno
Sixtracks
110-f
Monopoly

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Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Oct 21, 2007 2:51 pm

The PolySix is definitely the cheapest VCO poly you can get your hands on and probably will be for sometime.

As for calibrating it - yes I've had to open it up once to do this but it was really simple actually. You just need to get a hold of the service manual from Old Crow's site and it'll guide you through it. All I needed was a tuner and a small, thin flat panel screwdriver.

Once calibrated the PolySix is pretty damn stable too. It sounds fantastic to boot.

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Post by micahjonhughes » Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:12 pm

There are all of the CEM3394 synths: SixTrak, MultiTrak, AX-60, AX-73. Only the AX-60 has sliders the rest must be programmed with a single knob. These go for a few hundred dollars and have decent midi where the Poly 6 does not.

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Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:24 pm

That's true - totally forgot about the AKAI series of polysynths. :banghead:

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Post by Box » Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:45 pm

Soundwave wrote:Juno
I had been looking at Juno-60, but it uses DCO.

I have no idea as to why, but I want VCO for that instability and "fatness" from drifting. I like the idea of turning it on and having to wait half an hour for it to be in tune. Or that if it's cold its flat and if it's hot its sharp, like a wind instrument. IDK, call me crazy I guess... :lol:

Also, I saw a Sequential Circuits Prophet 600. But I get the feeling I'd have to give an arm for it; and aren't Sequential Circuit synths prone to breaking in some form or fashion?
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Post by pricklyrobot » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:12 pm

Box wrote:
Soundwave wrote:Juno
I had been looking at Juno-60, but it uses DCO.

I have no idea as to why, but I want VCO for that instability and "fatness" from drifting. I like the idea of turning it on and having to wait half an hour for it to be in tune. Or that if it's cold its flat and if it's hot its sharp, like a wind instrument. IDK, call me crazy I guess... :lol:

Also, I saw a Sequential Circuits Prophet 600. But I get the feeling I'd have to give an arm for it; and aren't Sequential Circuit synths prone to breaking in some form or fashion?
Can't speak for other SCI stuff, but I got my Prophet 600 off of Ebay a little over a year ago for $400 and aside from having to clean some dirty keyboard contacts, which is easy if a bit time consuming (it actually has the same contacts as the PolySix and you can find the detailed cleaning procedure on the Old Crow synth site), I haven't had a single problem with it. And did I mention it sounds awesome.

I looked at completed auctions on Ebay, could only find one Prophet 600 in the last month and it sold for $490, found a couple of PolySixes that all went for near $700 (except for one that was local pick-up only).
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Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:18 pm

Box wrote:I have no idea as to why, but I want VCO for that instability and "fatness" from drifting. I like the idea of turning it on and having to wait half an hour for it to be in tune.
Drifting yes, but don't worry about waiting 15 minutes for it to hold its tuning - my PolySix takes less than 10 seconds to do that.

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Post by Box » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:39 pm

Yeah, my budget is going to be in the $500ish range. I'd like to look into Akai and the Teisco synths mentioned but one thing concerns me; are they built well? I haven't really heard of them until joining these forums, all I knew that was good was Roland, Korg, and Moog. I imagine they are otherwise they wouldn't be rated as high on VSE or being suggested on this thread. But it's a concern. Reason I questioned Sequential Circuits was that I've read that a few people have a fliter die and then they have to pay out the a*s or they can't even find the part or something else go wrong with them. Idk, I just don't want to buy a synth and have it die on me the next week.

I'm thinking either the Korg or one of the Sequential Circuits (Prophet hopefully).
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Post by pricklyrobot » Sun Oct 21, 2007 5:06 pm

Box wrote:Yeah, my budget is going to be in the $500ish range. I'd like to look into Akai and the Teisco synths mentioned but one thing concerns me; are they built well? I haven't really heard of them until joining these forums, all I knew that was good was Roland, Korg, and Moog. I imagine they are otherwise they wouldn't be rated as high on VSE or being suggested on this thread. But it's a concern. Reason I questioned Sequential Circuits was that I've read that a few people have a fliter die and then they have to pay out the a*s or they can't even find the part or something else go wrong with them. Idk, I just don't want to buy a synth and have it die on me the next week.
Anything that's 20+ years old, assuming it hasn't been overhauled recently by a good synth tech, has the potential for components to suddenly c**p out on you. And, unless someone who really knows what he's talking about can come in here and provide specific information saying that SCI gear has a higher than average failure rate, I wouldn't base your decision on a few unfortunate horror stories (people tend to write about their gear more when it goes wrong, and not as much not when it works fine.) On the flipside, I also wouldn't believe anecdotal evidence about any one vintage synth, or brand, being more reliable than average.

Essentially you have two choices, buy a vintage synth from a reputable synth tech/restorer, and probably pay an extra couple of hundred bucks for peace of mind that it's not going to die a month after you get it. Or, roll the dice and try to get a random bargain on Ebay. You might get lucky and get something for a good price that never gives you any problems. Or you might end up sinking a couple hundred bucks into it a month, six months, or a year down the rode. But I don't think there's any particular model or brand of vintage analog synth that lets you skirt this basic decision.
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Post by Box » Sun Oct 21, 2007 5:14 pm

Well, I bought my Korg off Ebay and haven't had the slightest bit of trouble with it. Plus Korg has a good reputation and from what I've experienced, build quality products. I'm just weary of buying off name synths like Teisco and Akai etc... I'm more willing to buy a Sequential Circuits over Akai etc... But more willing to buy Korg or Roland over aynthing else, due to the fact they've been around forever and still are in business.

As far as the PolySix battery goes as soon I were to get one I'd replace it so I know for sure the condition of, and it'd be the lithium equivalent.

Also, I saw your videos on YouTube OriginalJambo. They're very informative and the best info I've found yet, thank you for posting them! They've really got me leaning towards the Korg even more than what I was already. :P You definantly need to make a 3rd video of just you jamming.
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Post by pricklyrobot » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:39 pm

Dude, if you like the sound/interface/whatever of the PolySix the best, then get the PolySix (and yes replace the battery right away; it's funny that you're worried about reliability and your front-runner is one of the most notorious time-bombs out there :wink:).

But the fact that Korg is still in business isn't going to do you one bit of good if it goes belly-up on you. The fact that a company is still around may indicate that they've come out with well-designed products over the years (or it may just mean they had good financial people), but it has no bearing on the likelihood of individual electronic components failing over the course of time (i.e. things that fail in synths more often do so because they inherently had a limited lifespan to begin with or because that particular synth was poorly used/stored, than because the synth was poorly designed or assembled to begin with). Not to mention that neither Korg nor Roland offer any kind of tech support on gear that they made 20-25 years ago.

Personally, the limited experience I've had buying vintage gear from Ebay has yielded good results for me, so I'm not trying to scare you off from it. But relying on certain brands still existing as an assurance of one, individual, 20-year-old synth turning out to be reliable is questionable strategy at best.
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Post by Sexor » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:40 pm

+1 on the Polysix! No doubt!

It's got a warm, creamy sound and is wonderful in all ways.

Just make sure the battery isn't about to go BOOM inside it, but I guess you already knew that.
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Post by Box » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:00 pm

pricklyrobot wrote:Dude, if you like the sound/interface/whatever of the PolySix the best, then get the PolySix (and yes replace the battery right away; it's funny that you're worried about reliability and your front-runner is one of the most notorious time-bombs out there :wink:).
And by time bomb you mean.....? The battery isn't a big issue aslong as I get one that isn't already messed up and I can prevent the entire dilema in the first place. I think I'll go with either Korg PolySix or Sequential Circuits Prophet 600, or maybe forget about VCO altogether and get a Juno-60. Idk, I just don't like idea of literally taking my money and throwing it away. Considering what I do have is slim...
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