Quality Vs. Quantity

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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Quality Vs. Quantity

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:00 am

This will most likely end up as one of those rather boring list threads where everyone just posts their list and there isn't much in the way of discussion, but here goes anyway.

Hypothetical situation: You sell all your gear; synths, effects, recording setup, everything. What would you buy with the money?

The same things over again? Some similar things and some different? One or two really fancy pieces instead of lots of mid-level ones?

Do you have lots of synths now and you'd go for more of a mix of synths and effects? Would you forgo having as many really nice synths for some great monitors or recording gear to listen to them through?

The reason I'm bringing this up is that I think most of us tend to add to our studios in a fairly unplanned way, getting something cause it's on special, gassing and buying a new synth when we know we really should sort out our monitors, keeping something we don't really use much just cause we've got some kind of attachment to it. If we let all that go and just had the money and the time to plan, would we end up with a different studio?

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Post by tom Cadillac » Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:26 am

Probably much the same stuff in the end - but I wouldn't do silly things like gassing bigtime for a darkstar, buying a wavestation with no backlight,
or an sh1000 - lots of stuff I'v sold now.....

But I started out being a pianist, not knowing really anything about synthesizers, but wanting portable keyboards.

How else do you learn though?

It took me a while to discover Kurzweil and get a kenton control freak. And that seems pretty much the end of the path as far as synth acquisition goes. I really love all the stuff I'v got and part of that is familiarity. Also its a truism that more expensive/desirable synths have little to do with creative output. eg today I got my funny mdget kawai out (forgotten the exact brand- I'm at work) And discovered what a huge glorious mess of sound it was capable of - the chorus is dangerous overload. So this is the instrument that excites me most at the moment.
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Post by JackAstro » Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:27 am

I am pretty happy with the ancillary equipment I have and the time I purchased it. The biggest problem I have with my setup is space.

To that end, I kinda wish I had a small format modular. My dotcom modular takes up 1/4 of my workspace. One of those Doepfer suitcases would be much smaller. I don't think it would sound as nice, but that is another issue. Also, the eurorack system would cost more. *shrug*

I would get rid of my equipment rack. The rack itself makes the things in it less accessible. I could live with one mic preamp, and I could put that in my microphone case when I am not recording guitar or vocals (which is most of the time).

ONE BIG REGRET: I bought an ESX off ebay. It developed knob jitter a few months later. I should have bought a new one with a warranty.

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Post by JMP » Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:34 am

Anything bought out of curiosity but not giving anything particularly different usually goes within six months due to lack of space.

From the core bits of kit I have, reckon I'd buy same again. Quite happy with the 5 synths and one sampler I have at the moment (OBXa still absent).

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Post by Hades » Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:46 pm

let me see...
sure I'd do things differently now.
if my studio would go up in smoke today, I'd only really miss half of the synths in it.
I'd have to get my XV88 back, my juno60, my K5000r, matrix1000 and k-station. and probably also my JX10.
more than likely, I'd never bother with my D550+PG1000, or Korg 01R/W again.
and the fizmo is just one of those "I really shouldn't since I barely use it, but I'd probably end up buying it again"-synths

I did take enough of my budget out to buy decent monitors and a good mixer, so I'd probably only spend more money on them if I'd have to rebuy them, but not that much. (I'd get adams instead of mackie's)

but the biggest change in my view on synths is probably that I'm more intersted now in post-synth sound mangling than in getting just one more synth.
=> any future purchases will more than likely be fx units.
and since I've become such a huge Live fan, I'm more and more into softsynths too. and resampling all kinds of stuff.
it's just great to take your laptop with you and still have all the tools you have in your studio inside one machine.

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Post by kaffekick » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:22 pm

I've owned LOTS of synths over the past 6 years. Both analog and digital. I've sold them all and lately I have found a great joy in just making music with a laptop and a few softsynths. In fact I haven't been this creative in a long time even though I had some of my dream synths right in front of me. But I didn't have a plan with my hardware. I kind of bought synths for fun... In the end it became more fun hunting vintage gear than to own them. Now I feel great not having too much to deal with. :)
Still, since I'm all for hardware, I've had some time now to think about what I really need. This is what I plan to get when I get a decent job.

Moog LP II
Korg MS20
Roland TR-808
Kenton Pro Solo mkII
Gforce Virtual String Ensemble
RAM upgrade for my laptop
A small mixer

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Post by JSRockit » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:34 pm

I'd keep everything the same. Monomachine, Machinedrum UW, Nord G2, Korg Kaossilator, and a Metasonix TM-7 through my little Mackie mixer into Dynaudio BM5a's and a M-Audio BX10 sub. Macbook and MOTU Ultralite for recording. For the cash that would get me...I couldn't change anything for an upgrade. Maybe upgrade to a Macbook Pro or get the Metasonix TM-5 instead of the TM-7, but everything else is perfect.
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Post by Yoozer » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:51 pm

I'm fairly sure I'd end up with a different studio. If I'd save up the money spent on synths, I'd get an upright (saving up for that now), bigger monitors (my Adam A7s are very nice already, but a pair of P33A wouldn't hurt!), room treatment, the same software/computer setup as I have now because I'm happy with it, a nice monosynth (Studio Electronics), a nice poly (Prophet '08 or Jupiter 6), a Virus TI keyboard, the DX7II I have now, and the new Rhodes. Sampling and more exotic synthesis > Reaktor, Kontakt and Battery, since they're better for that job anyway. And of course a good audio interface.

Some of the pieces I buy are because they are really cheap at that moment. That's not even GAS, that's impulse buys. Eventually they turn out to be really nice or not that interesting to invest time in.

Other pieces I don't sell because they are very hard to get rid of (E-mu ESI4000) or simply don't give anything in the way of returns (E-mu ESI4000). It's not that I'm afraid to lose some cash, but I'd rather keep it in the box on the attic than sell it and get only a few euros back for the effort.
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Post by redchapterjubilee » Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:40 pm

There would be very little I'd change. I need a lead analog monosynth, an analog polysynth, something that gives me the Mellotron strings I love and the laptop. Oh and a good delay and something to destroy tones! So yeah, I'd likely get the same stuff I have now, if I could afford it!

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Post by nathanscribe » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:09 pm

I'd buy a nice big proper quality mixer, some decent speakers, and I'd forget all about VAs and samplers (except the Mirage) in favour of analogue synths as they're what I know and love the most. I'd get a proper analogue vocoder, a small number of really cool analogue monos (some the same as i have now, some different) and just a couple of polys (again, one the same, one different). I'd get better outboard, one classy reverb unit, and pedals for everything else. And I'd start building my modular much, much earlier. Computer again for recording, but I'd try something other than Cubase.

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Post by urgetoplay » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:36 pm

Almost no change. I've been pretty methodical in how I've acquired my studio. Purchases have been based on type of synthesis and functionality/features within that type.
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Post by MitchK1989 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:42 pm

well, I started with a bunch of mid-level synthesizers...

decided to sell all of them but one (presumably for live use) and switch to software for all studio stuff...

Now I just sold my desktop computer and am selling my one remaining hardware synth and my recording gear in order to switch to a 100% portable setup based around my new macbook pro.

If I switched back to hardware, I would invest a lot less in synths and a lot more in effects.

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Post by hyphen nation » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:14 pm

It is pretty much what I have been doing for the better part of a year, clear everything down to what I either use a lot, or just can't part with {first electric guitar} and start nearly from scratch.

At the moment, I have been held up due to slow production times on the MDUW...but I also have been enjoying the slow re-build of the studio. It has caused me to just focus for a few months on the MEK...I am finally starting making the sound I want to hear...versus tweaking it to h**l...

I have been focusing on the MEK + MDUW for quite a while as the basic building blocks for this new set up. Unless the UW's drop real soon, I may go 888 + monomachine....

but regardless of my own personal gear, I am loving the slow rebuild. While I do feel hindered in full on studio functionality, it is really liberating, knowing that I don't have anything that I am not using regularly/inspired to use, and that the tools coming in had better work with what I am doing, or they are out...I just don't have the time/money/energy to be hording stuff I am not stoked about...
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Post by Carey M » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:05 pm

I have a pretty small synth setup at the moment, and I like to think it's pretty focused on quality. And I think I like that... But if I'd sell everything I have at the moment... I don't think my new setup would be exactly the same. I have never planned my gear acquisitions. At least, not in any significant perspectives.

If I'd sell everything I have now, I'd probably buy a big-a*s modular with the money... Or not.

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Post by Syn303 » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:22 pm

I think music has more quality if your set up is smaller, i have noticed a big difference since my setup became smaller. I have heard electronic music from people with a lot of synths etc and it's not very good at all. It's muddy, instruments fighting for space in the EQ ranges - the music ultimately suffers a great deal, or with all the gear they have they are simply uninspired. A good way of working round that is to pick your instruments you are going to use to record on a track that day and put the others away or leave them switched off, that way they won't be a distraction and you won't be tempted to just play around and not hit the RECord button and lose a good piece of music in the process.

There is a lot of synthesizers that makes musicians lazy, because all the sounds they need are there in front of them [culprit = digital synths] some are not willing to push the limitless boundaries with their gear.

Leads us back to that old adage of LESS is MORE
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