VA shopping. I think.

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fierywater
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VA shopping. I think.

Post by fierywater » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:45 am

Alright, so I basically cleared out all of my music gear last summer, thanks to a dearth of cash and a girlfriend who hated my synths. Well, I'm no longer in desperate need of cash, she's gone, and I miss my hobby, so I'm rebuilding. Slowly.

Anyways, I was working mostly with Logic 8's software synths and a crappy Alesis MIDI controller, but I miss the hands-on approach. I've decided to ditch the controller and invest in a VA. Sounds simple enough, but I have a few requirements.

Here's what I'm looking for:
-Price of around $500, no more than $600
-I want it to be a VA: as awesome as analogs sound, I'd prefer to have the flexibility and reliability of a VA
-Willing to buy used/refurbished as long as it's from a reliable source
-Knobby (preferably one knob per function, but I'm flexible if there's too many functions to accomplish such a thing)
-At least 37 full-sized keys, preferably more
-Not made by Novation (I've owned an X-Station 25 and 49, both had hardware issues and I never loved the sound)
-Decent key action would be a plus

I've been eyeing the Alesis Ion, but I've owned a Micron twice in the past and sold it both times. It was more because of the interface than the sound, but I'm wondering if I should look for something different regardless. I have a relatively short attention span and the menu diving that the Micron required absolutely killed any creativity I had.

As I said, both the X-Station and the XioSynth are out, as every single Novation product that I have owned has had some sort of hardware issue.

I've thought about the Roland SH-201, as I could get it for around $450, but I think it might be a little too My First Synth! (TM) for me. I'm looking for something that I'm not going to outgrow quickly, as I might not be able to afford another for a while. The JP-8000 looks interesting, but there doesn't seem to be many around.

On the other side of the spectrum, I've considered trying to grab an Alesis Fusion 6HD. It's definitely one of the most versatile synthesizers I've ever seen, but I'm not sure how I feel about the relative dearth of knobs and the fact that it's near the upper end of my price range. If anyone out there has had one, how much menu-diving is there? Is it disruptive or relatively painless?

Anyways, I'm open to suggestion. Feel free to show me anything - I'm approaching this with an open mind and want to see just what's out there. Thanks in advance!

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Post by Entropy Farmer » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:28 am

JP-8000 or SQ-80.

The SQ isn't knobby, but the menu interface is the best I've used (you're 2 button presses away from all sound settings), and the keyboard has poly aftertouch. Downsides are the keyboard action being loud (the AT clacks).

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Post by fierywater » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:39 am

I'm looking for something a little newer than the SQ-80. Although I think it has a good sound, I'm paranoid about reliability issues and my experiences with an ESQ-1 were less than reassuring.

The JP-8000, however, is definitely worthy of consideration. I'm listening to some demos of it now, and there appear to be a few in good condition on eBay.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that although it's not essential, I would like to have good polyphony and preferably multitimbral capabilities.

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Post by nigel » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:42 am

JP8k for sure. Or if you dont mind 4 voices of polyphony, try the nord lead 1 (or spend a bit more for a 2!)

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Post by fierywater » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:16 pm

I'm also looking at the Korg R3 - how's the interface to work with? I've heard that it's better than the MicroKorg's but obviously not as good as a synth with more knobs. I like the idea of having the vocoder with the gooseneck microphone, but I'm not sure how I feel about it being only bi-timbral. It just looks fun.

I guess I'm really all across the board here. I'm watching a few auctions, so I'll see how those go down and make decisions then.

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Post by Analogue Crazy » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:23 pm

I have to suggest the JP-8000. I am Analogue Crazy and yet i still find myself loving my JP-8000. Its my live workhorse. I have owned 2 JP-8000's. I sold my origional unit last year and have just bought another because i miss it.
A6 Andromeda, MS20 Mini, M500SP, DS-8, Motif 7, DX11,

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

Well, it turns out that I decided to go for an Alesis Fusion 6HD that popped up for a good price. I'm very much looking forward to receiving it; it should give me a little bit of everything. :)

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