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Best ambient synth when on a budget?

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:43 pm
by xenomorph313
Hey all

I'm looking for a next piece of gear that will give me some options I can use to make some deep...dark...ambient music.
Please don't slap me for using the words "Thomas Koner" and Electribes in the same paragraph, but, all I have for a studio right now are all three electribes, en ESQ-1, a Yammy TG-33 and a 606. The type of music I am aiming to create is that real subliminal dark droney stuff. (If you've heard Koner's Teimo/Permafrost, you'll get my drift).

So far the TG-33 and the ESQ-1 have come close to what I want for sounds, but still seem to be limited as far as sound originality. Should I sell everything and get ONE dedicated ambient synth? I have no grudges against selling all the tribes, the ensoniq, etc. if theres a synth out there that selling these would pay for, that is an all-in-one ambient machine for creating all kinds of original "subtle" sweeping drones and modulations.

The only other option I can think of would be to post process the EA-1, Ensoniq and Yammy, so maybe I need a dedicated all-in-one FX unit. If so, which effects processor should I sell this stuff for? Behringer? FX900?

Thanks for your time, all,
-xeno

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:49 pm
by esqoner
spend more time with the esq-1.

it seems to be a master of swelling darkness.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:21 am
by 9mm
i have about the same set up, and enjoy similar music. besides wanting to add a few nice effects to my equipment list, and maybe an evolver, i am looking into a nice sampler or two, the old akais and e-mus are pretty cheap and i think would add a lot for ambience and texture to sounds.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:39 am
by MarkM
Waldorf Micro Q

Re: Best ambient synth when on a budget?

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:35 am
by crystalmsc
xenomorph313 wrote:the TG-33 and the ESQ-1 have come close to what I want for sounds, but still seem to be limited as far as sound originality.
the TG33 processed through the evolver would sounds original and as dark as you want.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:01 am
by presets
+1 on the micro q. great synth for the price. 25 voice polyphony for huge evolving pads.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:18 am
by pour_furets
Definitely an Evolver. You'll get the (early) Robert Rich droney Prophet sounds and a lot more. It can go from silky smooth and spacey to metallic and twisted then right back again without batting an eye. As a bonus, it has a lot of options as a signal processor.

I had an SQ80 when I was really getting into drone and ambient stuff. I thought it was perfect for that kind of music. Hold on to your ESQ1, I think you'll regret it if you sell it. I know I regret getting rid of my SQ80.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:39 am
by aeon
Forget getting a synth. For ambient, you need some effects processing, and in particular, reverb.

My recommendation? Lexicon LXP-15 II. It's from the late 80s, and can be had used for as little as ~$200. (That's what I paid on eBay.) Lush sound, and arguably better than later MPX-series boxes.

For ~2x the price, look into a Kurzweil Rumour. This is a relatively modern unit, and delivers some stunning reverb.


cheers,
Ian

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:46 pm
by meatballfulton
Another vote for some effects units. Cheaper than a new synth and will give new life to the synths you have.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:41 pm
by desdinova
MIDIverb II, bloom, cheap as chips~

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:30 pm
by kvnvk
aeon wrote:Forget getting a synth. For ambient, you need some effects processing, and in particular, reverb.
couldn't agree more.

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:21 am
by xenomorph313
great suggestions, thanks for the info! This confirms my theory that I need to post process instead of change synths.

I notice there are quite a few of the Lexicon LXP-1 and LXP-5's out there on ebay right now, do those offer the same quality and "fullness" of reverb as the LXP-15, but just with slimmed-down options?

The LXP-1 does look like a good fit in my studio right now (space is tight). Also, how does the Alesis Midiverb II compare in all around "range" and "fullness" to the Lexicons?

Thanks again
-xeno

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:40 am
by aeon
xenomorph313 wrote:I notice there are quite a few of the Lexicon LXP-1 and LXP-5's out there on ebay right now, do those offer the same quality and "fullness" of reverb as the LXP-15, but just with slimmed-down options?
Only kinda. Wait for the Lexicon LXP-15 II. Note the "II" part.
xenomorph313 wrote:The LXP-1 does look like a good fit in my studio right now (space is tight). Also, how does the Alesis Midiverb II compare in all around "range" and "fullness" to the Lexicons?
It doesn't.

Since space is an issue (no pun intended, ha!), you might want to consider the Alesis Wedge desktop unit. Good sounds, cheap price, small size.


cheers,
Ian

it doesn't take much

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:49 pm
by danialad
my recent musical project is all drone/ambient based...

the gypsy moth project

and pretty much... all i use is:

zoom rfx-1000 (multi-fx unit)
alesis ion
korg dw-8000
and an
akai ax-80
(and lots of field recordings)

i already sold my dw, but
the akai is on ebay right now.

personally, the Ion kicks a*s at doing what i want.
sometimes it's just not dark enough so i'll use the AX-80.

but i definitely suggest getting lots of cheap multi-FX units.
(reverb/delay/phaser/rotary)
they can turn any sound into something ambient and drone-like.

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:54 am
by xenomorph313
Wow! That sounds VERY nice! My favorites are the "lost east devouring children" and the "short of decline" ones. Nice work!

A couple of questions for ya:

What is the Bass sound that sort of comes in every so often layered with the Alesis Ion. (Sounds like it could be a backwards sample of something, although not sure what). Or was that ALL done on Ion? If so, I think I need to save up some dough for a synth like that.

Is the Bass part in the mix a seperate track on the ion?, (not sure if it has a multi-channel sequencer built in or not).

Sigh...I've so much to learn from lads like yourself about producing full ambient tracks.

I DID come up with some better sounds on the ESQ-1 though, I found out that I have to apply a slow amp envelope with the long sustain/release values to the DCA 4 (final volume). That seemed to do the trick.

I take it that was all run through the Zoom Multi-Fx before recording as well?

Just googled Koner+effects and found out that his trick is to sample/record closely-miked gongs. Well, atleast on the Teimo/Permafrost album. (My fave) I listened for them and it sounds like he pitched some gongs down in the sampler and recorded various takes and layered them, (again, just a guess) Not sure what he uses for the "spacial" FX though, only thing I can think of is an analog hammond reverb or the like.

Hmmm...where am I going to get gongs.... J/K :lol: