VA recommendations?

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theplateauxofmirror
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VA recommendations?

Post by theplateauxofmirror » Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:48 pm

hey all--
I learned the basics of synthesis from my novation k-station. i've also got an alpha juno and a dx7, and i've figured out how to get good sounds out of them, but (maybe it's laziness) i'm way more apt to explore all the sonic possibilities of a synth when i've got a lot of knobs at my disposal. since i can't afford an old analog, I was thinking about getting another analog modelling synth in addition to my k-station. I fid I have an easier starting point when the pesets aren't awful-sounding acoustic imitations. Any suggestions? Ion, MS2000, JP-8000? Something else?
Unfortunately, when that wave of synths came out I was only 14 and went to music stores all the time, but I didn't understand synthesis so I never got to play around with them.
Or do you think I'd be better off getting a Juno 106 or something like that? I pretty much use my synths for arpeggiated basslines and leads, both soft and searing. But I'm open to any sounds, of course. Any input is appreciated.
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Post by sequence » Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:11 pm

Dump the K-sta and move up to the Supernova II: best VA ever (imo of course) :D Deep deep deep, and relatively reasonable $$-wise.
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Post by wiss » Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:47 pm

I would look into Clavia's Nord Micro or Modular Synths
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Post by pricklyrobot » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:20 pm

Yamaha AN1x. It's not the knobbiest thing in the world, but you can re-assign any of the controllers (knobs, ribbon controller, Footswitch and Foot Controller inputs) to tailor them to the parameters that you tweak the most. Plus it's cheap and has a nice built-in sequencer and arpeggiator.

You can get decent sounds out of it right away if you know synth basics already, but there's also a lot of more complex stuff that it can do, so you shouldn't get bored with it too quickly.
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Post by sequence » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:19 am

dang, why can't I ever remember the An1x? I see them in pawn and used music shops on a regular basis, some nice, some trashed.

double ++1 :D
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Post by braincandy » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:22 am

Prickly, I've been an AN1x user for some time and even though it works for me, I wouldn't recommend it when someone is looking for a knobby interface. It utilizes a color matrix, plus you have the rubber rocker switches---not exactly as inviting or simple as a JP-8000 or Nord Lead.

To the original poster, you said you wanted a VA, but then mentioned a 106. Does it make a difference if it's a VA or non-VA as long as it has a simple knobs/sliders interface? These are all going to sound a bit different from one another.
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Post by theplateauxofmirror » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:59 am

thanks for the input, guys.
braincandy wrote: To the original poster, you said you wanted a VA, but then mentioned a 106. Does it make a difference if it's a VA or non-VA as long as it has a simple knobs/sliders interface? These are all going to sound a bit different from one another.
no, it certainly doesn't have to be VA, but, if not, I was thinking a 106 or something like that would be the only thing I could afford with the sort of interface I'm looking for. I've got an Alpha Juno, and I hate editing it. When I want to dig deeper into something without all the parameters right in front of me, I'll mess around with my dx7 or alpha juno more. but for now, I think I'd like something pretty straightforward. I had been thinking an Ion, but I'm not sure. But I won't be buying anything immediately, anyways.
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Post by Synthazaiser » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:38 am

I would definately recommend the Jp-8000 as a really good VA in my opinion, but although being 12 years old, they still command decent prices. If you have this much to spend, you could just go out and get a real analog. Maybe you couldn't get as complex sounds with an analog in that price range, but the knobby interface might be even better.
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Post by braincandy » Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:51 am

What is your budget for this? That would be helpful for narrowing down a list of suggestions.
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Post by theplateauxofmirror » Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:58 am

braincandy wrote:What is your budget for this? That would be helpful for narrowing down a list of suggestions.
500 or under, i'd say.
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Post by braincandy » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:23 am

From the synths I've owned that match your criteria:

Juno-60: This is about as simple as it gets. It uses sliders rather than knobs, but there are no menus. It has an arpeggiator and an onboard chorus. No MIDI

Korg Polysix--same price range and has knobs for all of it's functions plus onboard effects, a unison mode, and an arpeggiator. No MIDI

Prickly mentioned the AN1x earlier--I've got one and you can get some really great sounds out of it. But, as I pointed out earlier, it's probably not as knobby as you'd like and some people find its interface to be the most frustrating aspect of it.

Ion--does involve some menu diving, but a lot of functions can be accessed using the knobs on the front panel. Solidly built, too.

Novation Nova (desktop version): if you can do without a keyboard, this is a nice synth. Like the Ion, there's nearly a knob for every function and multi-function buttons/knobs. There is a little menu diving, but it's not a big inconvenience.

All of these options should be well within your budget. There are a lot of other synths out there that meet this criteria, but these are the ones I've actually had and spent time with.
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Re: VA recommendations?

Post by crystalmsc » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:58 am

theplateauxofmirror wrote:I pretty much use my synths for arpeggiated basslines and leads, both soft and searing.
I like my JP-8080 for this. It got a great user interface and would do those type of sounds. It may not be as analog sounding as the ION, but it has it own sound with good audio quality. But if it's only for mono sound, you might want to consider something like the Super Bass Station or the MFB SII.
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Post by waveplant » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:44 pm

Hi, I would go for the 106 every time for bass and sequenced stuff , also consider this- many junos have voice chip problems, buy one of these for maybe US130 then just use it in unison mode , I repair synths for a living and this worked so well for me, I didnt bother fixing it ! Then you could get a VA as well , no-one has mentioned the Oberheim OB12 which i think is very good for leads(unlike juno) its not very analog sounding to my ears but it has an interesting and unusual sound and loads of knobs. Not a bad cheap combination.





Prophet 5(rev2), Roland Jupiter 8, PPG wave 2.2, Oberheim OB8, Rhodes Chroma, Juno 106 ,Roland JX10,Prophet 2002,Korg Wavestation, Oberheim OB12,Hartmann Neuron VS,Yamaha TG55 ,MC303, NON working synths bought.

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Post by Johnny Lenin » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:25 pm

I'll make a pitch for the Akai AX60. You can find these for around $300, and they sound amazing, with a full range of sliders and knobs. This is an analog synth, not VA, but you won't be disappointed if it's direct control and analog sound that you're after.

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Post by theplateauxofmirror » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:28 pm

Johnny Lenin wrote:I'll make a pitch for the Akai AX60. You can find these for around $300, and they sound amazing, with a full range of sliders and knobs. This is an analog synth, not VA, but you won't be disappointed if it's direct control and analog sound that you're after.
I saw one of those on ebay and I was checking it out. I'm thinking I'll probably sell some old guitar and bass stuff I never use and get an Ion, but I'm going to watch that akai on ebay as well.

Thanks to everyone, though. I appreciate it.
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