More ambient style synth

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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OriginalJambo
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Post by OriginalJambo » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:19 pm

insky wrote:For Ambient? You can get some smooth sounds out of it, but it's just too easy (and fun) to get harsh sounds from it. In my opinion the Poly 800 is smoother than the ESQ-1.
It's true that the ESQ-1 can sound harsh with relative ease but with those lovely CEM filters it can pull off some really smooth, analogue style sounds too - with slight digital edge perhaps.

Here's a quick half-assed MP3 of some of my favourites.

Also if it was good enough for John Carpenter...;)

There are some other great suggestions in this thread but ESQ-1s are so cheap that even if it doesn't work it's no big deal really.

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Post by shadowshocker » Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:25 am

I'm trying to decide between a few synths now. I have a list of six, but the two I was looking at the most was the Korg MS2000 and the Alesis Ion. How are these two when it comes to rounded tones and ambient sounds? Remember I will be using a decent amount of effects on all the sounds, most likely. I liked these two because of the interface and less work on the digital display. I heard a few clips of each, but the clips were kind of short. So how are these synths for ambient and round tones and how do they compare to eachother?

Thanks

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Post by killedaway » Mon Dec 31, 2007 1:36 am

well, it's not really ambient, but here's a quick improvised track that i did a while back. it's the Ion, fed thru a cheap Behringer rack for a little delay, and some movie samples. that's it. no sequencing or anything, just me noodling around free-hand, so forgive all the mistakes. i was just havin' fun, flicking thru patches (mostly presets) and trying them out.

download here (it's 10.5MB, and 7:42 long)
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Post by Synthazaiser » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:26 am

I had the same issue as you. I had a poly-800 and a mono/poly, neither good for ambiant anything. I got an MS-2000BR and was happy with that for those kind of sounds. I just recently got a dx7, a synth with which I am even happier for ambiance. I can't speak for the Alesis, but I would recommend the Korg.
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Post by shadowshocker » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:47 am

Synthazaiser wrote:I had the same issue as you. I had a poly-800 and a mono/poly, neither good for ambiant anything. I got an MS-2000BR and was happy with that for those kind of sounds. I just recently got a dx7, a synth with which I am even happier for ambiance. I can't speak for the Alesis, but I would recommend the Korg.
I was also looking at the DX-7 too. It has some nice sounds, but I like the interface of the Ion and MS2000 so much better.

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Post by killedaway » Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:57 am

i should also mention that i currently own(ed) both synths you're deciding between. i owned the MS2000 for about a year, and sold it. i've since purchased the microKORG (same thing, basically), so i have that and the Ion in my studio right now. i think they're both very well suited for ambient, but the added polyphony, third OSC, and 4 parts (vs. 2 on the MS2k) gives the Ion a big advantage, especially when it comes to pads. the massive routing and I/O options also give it the edge, in terms of flexibility.
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Post by shadowshocker » Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:52 am

What about for more rounded sounds for more up-front melodies and such?

I've been listening to all the MS2000's factory presets, the sounds it can produce are very nice.

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Post by shaft9000 » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:25 pm

ms2000 is a great choice w/ the flexible onboard delay and phaser/chorus, plus 16-step sequencer for drones and tinkles.
All JV/XV synths are very capable, if not so much fun to program.

the Matrix1000 is one my absolute FAVORITES for ambient - there is no other box that cheap giving smooth creamy pads like this.
It's loooong attack EG is perfect for dramatic/mysterious swells and fading fx. For bread & butter it's too limited, but for that extra touch and warmth you won't get from any VA it's supreme at that $.
No, you are not going to 'program' it in real time, but as a "fill-out" synth for textures and beauty it will deliver the love. There are dozens if not well over a hundred presets in there that will work well, especially with outboard fx to add some extra air. Plus you can program it via Sysex - far from ideal, but you're on a budget.

matrix1000 thru outboard delay - ambient/pad sounds:
http://www.awrongturn.com/shaft9000demo ... IX1000.mp3

but imho the best synth so far for ambient has got to be the Nova series - particularly the keyboard versions - with top-level fx knobs, multimode filter+comb, 3 endlessly modulatable oscs, unbeatable arp/seq, outstanding FM and multi layering - when well-programmed it sounds a lot like a JD-800 on 'roids w/ more 'analog character' if needed.

Supernova2 direct no outboard fx in performance mode (live):
http://www.awrongturn.com/shaft9000%20OrbusMedit.mp3 a Nova can do the same sounds as well
2600.solus.modcan a.eurorack.cs60.JP8.Juno6.A6.sunsyn.volcakeys.jd990.tb303.x0xb0x.revolution.
999.m1am1.RY30.svc350.memotron

shaft9000.muffwiggler.com <- singles & mixtape
shaft9000.bandcamp.com <- spacemusic album
youtube.com/shaft9000 <- various synth demos and studies

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Post by impaler42 » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:50 pm

The Micro-Q can be used for ambient music very well. I think most synths can be used for ambient music, its just a matter of how you program and play them. I wanna check out an Oberheim synth, Ive heard alot of good stuff about them.
electronic music forever

http://www.grainshifter.com[/url]

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Post by theplateauxofmirror » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:22 pm

OriginalJambo wrote: It's true that the ESQ-1 can sound harsh with relative ease but with those lovely CEM filters it can pull off some really smooth, analogue style sounds too - with slight digital edge perhaps.

Here's a quick half-assed MP3 of some of my favourites.
wow, i've been thinking about getting a esq-1 or an sq-80, and those sounds there have pretty much sold me.
ion - dx7s - alpha juno 1 - k-station - piano forte (buy it)

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Post by Altitude » Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:48 pm

Since we are posting samples, here are some Wavestation pads I prepared for a member..

http://no-ho.com/SR_pads.mp3

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Post by OriginalJambo » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:13 am

theplateauxofmirror wrote:wow, i've been thinking about getting a esq-1 or an sq-80, and those sounds there have pretty much sold me.
Cheers mate, glad you enjoyed it. :)

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Post by dthestampede » Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:17 am

oberheim OB-12 mane! that thing is a beast for ambient sounds and pads. even most of the presets are geared that way. kinda rare, kinda pricey but definitely the most ambient sounding synth i've used
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Post by shadowshocker » Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:08 am

Alright, well it's time for me to make a decision. I'm eying an Ion on ebay that ends tomorrow so I have to make a decision before then. After listening to samples and demos of each, the MS2000 and the Ion they both sound great. I like both interfaces, maybe the Ion a tad bit more, but I like the look of the MS2000 a tad bit more as well (I know looks shouldn't decide the synth, but I should mention it in case it comes down to that). However, as Killedaway said, the Ion is a bit more powerful and has the added polyphony, third osc, etc. So it's still a tough decision. I'm just wondering anymore of the negative things about these two synths that I might be concerned about or might help me in making my decision. The only thing I've heard so far is that the Ion has a 'plastic' like sound. I guess it's a matter of personal opinion, but does anyone else think this? Or any other problems when comparing the two. I'm leaning a little bit more towards the Ion so far, but any help would be appreciated.

Once again, thanks for all the help from everyone.

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Post by killedaway » Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:58 am

well, keep in mind that both of these synths hold their value pretty well, so if you decide you're not in love, you can (most likely) sell them and get back what you paid.

also be sure that if you do choose the Ion or MS2000, you need at least a month or two of actual hands-on use before you can really make an informed decision. you won't have either one "zeroed-in" inside a week so be sure to really get in there and get your hands dirty! that isn't to say they're difficult to program -- it's just that either one will be most rewarding for those with the patience to master them.

just a couple last-minute thoughts that just hit me: the Ion lacks a decent delay effect. now, some people don't care for onboard effects, and prefer to use external units. personally, i make use of internal effects as much as possible and i hate going outboard, so for me, the lack of a nice, long delay was a huge downside to the Ion. i run mine into an older Alesis rack unit for a touch of chorus and some delay, so i have it covered, but it still irks me. the MS2000 on the other hand, has a very nice delay of its own, so that's a plus.

layout: for me, the MS2000 was cumbersome -- i didn't care for the itsy-bitsy display, nor the "flow" of the control panel. the knobs feel cheap and flimsy. actually, the whole case feels ridiculous and hollow. Korg certainly could've made the MS2000 smaller and more substantial. i'd love to know why they built it so chunky -- i guess so it'd look "retro"? the Ion is tank-like in all respects but the keybed. overall, i love the layout on the Ion: it's easy to read, and flows well, in regards to the signal path. the menu is bright and detailed and offers a lot of info at any given time. the knobs are aces and i love having an extra mod wheel at hand (2 vs. the standard 1 on most other 'boards).

keys: the MS2000 wins for keys: they're sturdy and feel "just right'. the Ion's keys seem kinda wimpy in comparison, which some people find annoying. personally, i'm not much of a keyboardist, and i find they play quite well. in fact, since most of the time the Ion is my main keyboard, i don't notice it. it's only when i hook up my Fantom or DX21 that i give it a moment's thought.


anyway, hope that helps a little.
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