i need help finding a synth

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
the_prophet
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:51 pm

i need help finding a synth

Post by the_prophet » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:51 pm

for a graduation present, my parents said that they'd buy me a synth (preferably under a grand, but i can kick in extra cash for extra stuff). i'm currently shopping around for one. it can be analog or digital, but i'd prefer to NOT have a sampling station. vintage or new is fine, as well.

i want a synth that offers:
-polyphony (even better, switches between monophonic and polyphonic)
-1 knob per function (or as close as possible, i'm used to softsynths so having to dig would piss me off :lol: )
-an arpeggiator
-wide selection of waveforms
-if it's a modern synth, i'd like it to have USB functionality as well as midi capability.
-lfos, filters, etc (the wider selection the better).
-i'd like to be able to get everything out of it from epianos to phat leads to warm pads to crazy effects.
-a step sequencer would be nice.
-onboard effects (delay, reverb, etc). if there isn't, please suggest an external effects package that'd synergize well with the synth you suggest.

since i'm more of a software guy than a hardware person, i don't know much about the hardware stuff - anyone have some ideas as to what would fit this bill?

clubbedtodeath
No Longer Registered

Post by clubbedtodeath » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:10 pm

Buyer's guide forum.

User avatar
Box
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 1:07 pm
Gear: Roland JP-8000
Roland JX-3P
Roland JX-8P
1972 Wurlitzer Console Piano
Band: Neo Decorum
Location: Land of oscillators, filters, and other really cool looking stuff.

Re: i need help finding a synth

Post by Box » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:11 pm

the_prophet wrote: -i'd like to be able to get everything out of it from epianos to phat leads to warm pads to crazy effects.
That's physically impossible. To get "realistic" sounds you'd need a ROMpler, but for "synth" sounds you'd need a real synth. Personally I suggest the Alesis Ion. It was my first synth and it has knobs for %90 of the stuff, some of the set ups have to be found by switching pages. It's really easy to use and sounds great. Plus it can be had $600 new or for $400 or less used off eBay. Here's a link:
http://www.alesis.com/product.php?id=9

Alesis makes the Fusion, the exception to what I said earlier, a ROMpler/Sampler/Synth/Workstation all in one but it sacrifices hands on editing. It can be had for $800 new Here's a link for it:
http://www.alesis.com/product.php?id=19

Also an 88-weighted key version for $1000. Here's a link for it:
http://www.alesis.com/product.php?id=20

I don't have any experience with the Fusions but from demos they're awesome and I love my Alesis Ion. Alesis is a great company and offer quality products much cheaper than the "Big 3".
Image
Help our very own Maschinengeist (Stéphane) by making your next purchase or repair with him! Click the logo for more info!

User avatar
fierywater
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 2:26 am
Gear: Software you probably don't care much about :)
Location: Sunderland, MA
Contact:

Post by fierywater » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 am

Just for the record, both Alesis Fusion models are much cheaper ($630 and $850) if you're willing to go for a refurbished unit off eBay. I haven't owned one, but I've spent a good time playing with each and they're not bad units. The 88-key one's key action isn't the best I've ever felt, though.

That said, I can second the Alesis Ion's recommendation, having owned a Micron twice (I got rid of it each time because of the interface, as the Micron has the same engine as the Ion but in a smaller shell with few knobs).

I'm not sure how well it can do e-piano imitations (i.e. DX-style), but it seems to be able to do just about anything else, outside of sample-based sounds, obviously. Check YouTube for demos, as there's some weird stuff that people have done on there. It does not have a step sequencer or useful on-board effects, however.

You could also try to look for a used Access Virus KB or KC under a grand. They're a little more versatile than their constant use in trance may suggest. :) http://www.access-music.de/products.php ... ct=viruskc

User avatar
Box
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 1:07 pm
Gear: Roland JP-8000
Roland JX-3P
Roland JX-8P
1972 Wurlitzer Console Piano
Band: Neo Decorum
Location: Land of oscillators, filters, and other really cool looking stuff.

Post by Box » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:05 am

fierywater wrote: I'm not sure how well it can do e-piano imitations (i.e. DX-style), but it seems to be able to do just about anything else, outside of sample-based sounds, obviously. Check YouTube for demos, as there's some weird stuff that people have done on there. It does not have a step sequencer or useful on-board effects, however.
It has one or two e-piano that actually sound halfway decent. But you can run your other synths, guitars, what have you through it's effects board. You can even feed it's own audio signal back into itself and get some wild stuff. Overall it's a great board, I love it.
Image
Help our very own Maschinengeist (Stéphane) by making your next purchase or repair with him! Click the logo for more info!

sheepmusic
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 10:13 am
Location: Riding on a CV

Post by sheepmusic » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:18 am

all that is pretty much impossible in one synth...
but i'm gonna suggest the korg Mono/Poly as a wildcard here. it excels at mono leads and basslines, and with some serious tweaking you can get some nice poly stuff out of it. its 4 VCO 4 voice polyphonic, with a single lowpass filter, 2 LFOs, a really nice arpeggiator, one knob per function, triangle, saw, square and PWM waveforms. its a very nice board :D
probably isnt exactly what you're looking for, but its nice
Roland FP-5 - Korg Poly-800 (reverse keys) - Korg Mono/Poly, M-Audio Ozone
Zoom RFX-1000

User avatar
Synthazaiser
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 116
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:17 pm
Gear: B3, CP-30, DX7, Casiotone MT-210, Axxe 1, EPS-1, Promars, MC-202, TR-606
Location: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Post by Synthazaiser » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:11 am

If you are looking for polyphony, consider the mono/poly only a monosynth. It's a stunning monosynth, but the polyphony is not really useable for most applications.
Currently have: Baby Grand Piano, B3, CP-30, DX7, Casiotone MT-210, Axxe 1, EPS-1, Promars, MC-202, TR-606
Used to have: POLY-800, TR-505, Techstar TS-306, DX7, ESI-32, Juno-106, DX27, Synthcart, JX-3P, ESQ-M, Mono/Poly, MS2000BR, VX90

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:31 am

I reckon screw getting an Ion, everybody already has one.

A Korg Radias sounds like it'd be perfect for what you want, if you don't mind ponying up a little extra cash for it.

the_prophet
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:51 pm

Post by the_prophet » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:19 pm

something i should point out is that i'm looking for a synth. you can fake an epiano on a synth, and THAT'S what i'm looking for, not realistic sounds. sorry i didn't make that more clear.

that radias actually looks fantastic, all told. and of course, the virus is kind of a standard - if i had the cash right now, i'd get one of those.

i have been looking at the ion, and got a few recommendations towards it a while back. it's a nice unit with a nicer pricetag =)

incidentally, why is the mon/poly mostly a mono synth only? if it's because it's only 4 voices, that'd be fine since i'm not a piano player, i'd be using it for pads and such.

the fusion looks pretty nice too. nice design.

thanks for all the responses to this. has anyone here ever used the radias, virus, or the mono/poly? since the mono/poly isn't sold anymore, what's the price tag on that from someone used?

User avatar
Box
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 1:07 pm
Gear: Roland JP-8000
Roland JX-3P
Roland JX-8P
1972 Wurlitzer Console Piano
Band: Neo Decorum
Location: Land of oscillators, filters, and other really cool looking stuff.

Post by Box » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:22 pm

Depending on the condition of the Mono/Poly you're looking at $500+. eBay will be about the only place to find them, that or you get lucky and find one locally. You can find videos on YouTube on all these synths. Watch a few of each board and get back to us as to what you think. We can help further from there. :)
Image
Help our very own Maschinengeist (Stéphane) by making your next purchase or repair with him! Click the logo for more info!

the_prophet
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:51 pm

Post by the_prophet » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:54 pm

i'm also looking at the virus kb or kc models. would they be able to do some of this?

User avatar
OriginalJambo
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2559
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:04 am
Gear: Check my sig
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom

Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:56 pm

the_prophet wrote:incidentally, why is the mon/poly mostly a mono synth only? if it's because it's only 4 voices, that'd be fine since i'm not a piano player, i'd be using it for pads and such.
You maybe missed the fact that it only has one voltage controlled filter and amplifier (each with an envelope though) in total.

This means that you can't have separate articulations for each key when you play more than one note at a time. For example - if you hold down one note and the attack is high on the envelope patched to your VCA it'll fade in as expected, but play another note and it'll either be at full volume or retrigger the envelope so BOTH notes fade in again. You can choose between either of these outcomes with the Mono/Poly.

So it's not polyphonic in the true sense - more a paraphonic synth.

I'll probably be an owner of a Mono/Poly pretty soon, and looking at it's specs I don't think it'd be a good choice for your first synth. Certainly if you need true polyphony it won't be an ideal choice.

Also regarding price, a good working example will fetch around £400 ($800) in the UK so $500 is a bloody steal!
Last edited by OriginalJambo on Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

the_prophet
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:51 pm

Post by the_prophet » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:28 pm

thanks for explaining that.

User avatar
OriginalJambo
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2559
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:04 am
Gear: Check my sig
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom

Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:25 pm

the_prophet wrote:thanks for explaining that.
No problem man, sometimes it's hard to know where the limitations if you don't look beyond the basic specs.

Best of luck finding a synth that'll suit you.

the_prophet
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:51 pm

Post by the_prophet » Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:17 am

so, does anyone actually USE any of the keyboards in this thread? can i get feedback based on what you like and don't like about it?

Post Reply