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Your synths and their function/place within your setup

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:17 am
by braincandy
What is it that most of you expect from synths these days? Is it that a synth should cover most sounds relatively well or excel at very specific sounds?

Re: Your synths and their function/place within your setup

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:38 am
by MrFrodo
braincandy wrote:Is it that a synth should cover most sounds relatively well or excel at very specific sounds?
I'd like to believe it's a combination of both. There are some great synths out there (usually digital) that can cover a vast range of sounds and textures. But there's still that one thing (often analog-created) that can't be done, but with a single instrument.

[That mentality has always explained for me why Keith Emerson played Moogfest 2004 with his classic Moog Modular, a Hammond C3 - and a Korg Triton.]

Edit: As for what each synth does for me, here goes:

Minimoog Voyager: leads, basslines and sound effects

Roland JX-10: pads, brass and some strings/bass, plus a MIDI controller

Alesis QS6: some bells, pianos and as a MIDI controller

Korg 05r w: pianos, some strings/pads/leads, drums and purely digital sounds (my favourite sampled Wurlitzer sound)

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:49 am
by Stab Frenzy
I expect my synths to turn on when I give them power and to make awesome sounds when I press the keys. That's it pretty much.

Re: Your synths and their function/place within your setup

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:08 am
by clusterchord
braincandy wrote: a synth should cover most sounds relatively well or excel at very specific sounds?
usually latter approach. i love working like that, and get better fresults quicker. so what board excells at hugely influences my buying decisions.

example of specific use: eeire BoC leads on microwave, vox/breathpad on FS1R (exclusively), arpeggio/snappy stuff, pwm and filter sweeps on Jup8, resonant vox/ghost pads n high sizzle strings on OB-Xa, thick bass and porta leads on SH-2, solina and rhodes do themselves pretty good i think :), ambient/illbient/creature-from-the-swamp is XT list goes on.. ah yes, since i got it the ssm P5 is quickly becaming my fav for fat organic leads, and analog fx..i.e. filter fm, vco fm etc.. im definetely in honeymoon period now 8). neither jp, xa or a6 can match its leads.

some boards have a bit wider application range than others, hence get used more often - for ex. A6. it does it all, but best is warm pads, moogy bass/stepseq, various leads, analog drums. and its my swiss knife for sound design situations.

this is rounded with Kontakt running huge orchestral n ethnic sample libs. technically this has widest range of sounds, but it aint synthesis, just smpl playback.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:53 am
by gcoudert
Mine tend to have their own specific function(s):

P150: piano + MIDI controller
DX7 + TX7 : MIDI controller / electric pianos + 'harsh' FM sounds (bells, etc.)
S1000 : drums and bass
S2800i : hardly used
JV1080 : synth sounds and pads
E4K : sequence playback (sequences recorded in Cubase and converted to MIDI file format) + sampled sounds

I regard the JV and Emulator as the centrepieces of my setup.


Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:30 am
by Tyler2000
I guess they do specific things. I try hard not to be repetitive. For a while I was on a get-every-kind-of-synthesis kick, but for some reason I sold my CZ-101 (which I now regret), but at least I bought an MG-1 to replace it. All my synths do very different things and I don't think any synth can reproduce a sound from another synth I own.

Mostly I expect them to give me the ability to make sounds I haven't heard a million times.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:04 pm
by Johnny Lenin
Interesting question... I use my Fantom as the heart of my rig. It's the sequencer; sometimes a controller. I use it for acoustic sounds and digital-multitimbral stuff. It's no fun to program, though. I've been using the AX60 for most leads, noises and more aggressive pads. I've been using the JX-8P mostly for pads, but I've been programming some really nice lead patches. It's more polite than the AX60 and, without knobs, not great for noises.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:07 pm
by Joey
The Virus is definitely the main/favorite synth in my rig, I find myself going to it the most for everything, though lately I've been using the more digital aspects of it (wavetables, grain tables, etc), to really get deep in the programming.

I really like to use the MS2000b's vocoder more than anything else on it, though the DWGS, cross mod, and vox waveforms are pretty cool as well.

The Juno 106 is my bread and butter synth for polysynth sounds.

The TX81z functions as a paperweight, and as soon as I sample the few patches I like I'm going to put it up for sale.

The CZ5000 is really only used as a midi controller because its voice chips are f**k beyond repair.

The only synth I'm really having trouble finding a spot for is the NL2x, I have everything it does covered with other synths. I can even mimic the morph function it has with clever programming by the virus. I really like the way it sounds, I just can't find a clear spot it covers that I'm missing in my setup.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:24 pm
by esqoner
right now my esq-1 does everything...drums, synthy parts,,piano etc, sequencing.

soon it will be joined by a sampler!! Finally!


Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:12 pm
by Analogue Crazy
I expect different things from different synths.
Here are the roles of my synths:

Jupiter-4 - Basses, Punchy Strings, Leads, Distorted Sounds, FX.
CS-40M - Leads, Basses, Strings, Brass, FX
JP-8000 - Supersaw Leads, Pads, Brass, Sync Sounds, FX
Wavestation EX - Evolving Sounds, Atmospheric Pads, Industrial Sounds.
CZ-1000 - 80ies Digital Stuff
W-30 - Samples, Drum Loops

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:15 pm
by OriginalJambo
Let's see...

JX-3P - thin 80s Roland sounds, some classic analogue poly sounds

ESQ-1 - leads, sound effects, pads, strings, bells, digital sounds

PolySix - mainly simple poly synth sounds (strings, pads, PWM stuff) although I've used it for bass and arpeggiated patterns.

DX7 - FM sounds. Biting, metallic stuff, bells, transparent strings/pad sounds.

CAT - classic leads, filter sweeps, as a vocoder carrier, sync/FM effects

Little Phatty - bass, warm and retro leads

Mono/Poly - haven't experimented with this one much but I figure it'll be used mainly for sync effects, bass, leads and cool sequences with the arp and oscillators set up differently.

Polivoks - is sick (in more ways than one ;)).

X-Station - plastic stuff, VA sounds, leads, growling digital sounds, guitar-like leads, sweeps

String Melody - take a guess?

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:32 pm
by michael stein
Modular - rythmic backing sequences, SFX, signal processing, whatevaifeelike.

SQ-80 - sequencing, drums, leads, bells, pads, strange industrial noises.

Univox Multiman - strings, extreme power bass (Analog Crazy knows).

SH-101 - basslines, Sketching sequence ideas.

Poly-800 - pads, brassy sounds.

DX7 - when I dress up like madonna and dance around.

Farfisa fast 5 - when I dress up like martin rev and scream like alan vega.

Mobius - the D/A sync brain, (maybe some 303ish basslines one day).

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:38 pm
by xibalba
Reason for the Synthseasons

MicroX: For the cheesy presets and numerous sound set
Prophet 08: Pads for the most part. (At first I was torn in getting either a Juno 60 or a P-600 around the time the P-08 came out) so i went and got the 08.
Moog Little Phatty: Always loved the moog sound, wanted fat basses and good leads.

Those are pretty much my main three, i am looking for a portable synth however and deciding on a microkorg or a bassStation

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:56 pm
by ronP

My rig and its musical duties:

CASIO MT-70 -- lo-fi organs and electric pianos.

KORG EA1-mkII -- basslines, percussive effects, and textured drones.

KORG microKORG -- lead synth, pads, and vocoder.

ROLAND MicroCube -- effects box (a.k.a. my MT-70's Leslie).

ZOOM MRT-3B -- drum programs and real-time sound effects.

Inexpensive quality . . . :)


Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:23 am
by JackAstro
Modular - for insanity
Evolver - for insanity
EMX - for dancable insanity
CZ1 - less insanity, but polyphony

It has more to do with how you use the instruments than anything else. If you are creative and talented, you and make good music on anything. They are only tools.