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a budget synth with good strings/organs/pianos

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:42 pm
by Mourner

I'm leading a rock band that plays lyrical music influenced by neofolk, doom metal and progressive rock genres.

We need to buy a synth for gigs that has great strings and good piano and organ sounds (other programs are pretty much irrelevant) for something around 500$. It also needs to be relatively lightweight for carrying it around easily.

What synth model would you recommend?

Thanks a lot for your help in advance!

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:55 pm
by tim gueguen
Hmmm, used Korg X50(or MicroX if you think you can get away with 25 keys), or a Roland Juno D. You can get a new Juno D in a lot of places for around 500 bucks. You didn't mention sequencing so I'm assuming you don't want a synth with an onboard sequencer, which the X50 and the Juno D don't have.

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:01 pm
by Mourner
tim gueguen wrote:You didn't mention sequencing so I'm assuming you don't want a synth with an onboard sequencer
Yep, I don't. Thanks for the suggestions!

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:05 pm
by AstroDan
Roland XP-30...

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:14 am
by MrFrodo
Korg X5 or X5D could probably get you what you want. Of course, I recommend both because of my own use of the 05r w module (same 32-note synth engine as the X5).

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:18 am
by crystalmsc
AstroDan wrote:Roland XP-30...
+1, fit the bill nicely.

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:26 pm
by BluMunk
How many keys do you need, and are you looking to program sounds from oscillators, or is a sample-based board more what you're looking for?

I happen to think the best budget ROMpler with a fine sound set and quality keybed is the Alesis QS x.1 line (or any of the QS'es, really).

There are currently a few QS 7.1s and 6.1s up on e-bay now, and they will certainly end up going for at or under the $500 you quoted.

I've been gigging a 7.1 for years now, for jazz, broadway, and classic rock.

If you want to program a synth, it's probably not a good choice, but if you want decent sounds out of the box it'd be worth a look.

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:55 pm
by desdinova
+1 for the QS
It's certainly programmable, and you can burn your own samples to pcmcia flash if you like. Great sounding board.

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:15 pm
by Mourner
Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

We've settled on Roland Juno-D - we liked it's patches the most and they fit well with our music. Besides I love the minimalistic approach to features (it's lightweight and doesn't have anything we don't need).

Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:48 am
by Johnny Lenin
The Juno-D is actually a pretty good bread-and-butter synth for the money. I think you did well. The think I like most about it is the straightforward, simple interface. And, to be honest, I think Roland has done a better job with the pianos and organs than Korg did with the X50.

Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 6:49 am
by Mourner
I agree regarding Korg X50, I didn't like it's piano sound at all.

Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:25 am
by MrHope
the Alesis QS 6.2 fits your description and can load up the sounds of the earlier QS's. It's possible that the earlier QS's can load up sounds from this one too, but I'm not entirely sure about that. The QS doesn't have the same expansion capabilities as the earlier one's though. And the older ones seem to be cheaper on eBay.

If you do get a QS of any sort, the first thing to learn how to do is to map the reverb level control to controller D. (use -99 instead of 99) That way you can turn down or off all the reverb that is drenching most presets. You can do the same thing with delay and controller B.

Unfortunately with the QS's, there are NO resonant filters, just wimpy non-resonant lowpass filters. There are some waveforms which emmulate resonant filters of a few different varieties, so you aren't totally shafted, but it's disappointing.

I use a QS 6.2 currently for most of my material.

If you get one of those Roland Juno-D's, just be aware that the envelope SUSTAIN is disabled for some odd reason so you can't edit it. :? The higher level Roland doesn't suffer from that problem. On the other hand, the Rolands DO have resonant filters!!! Thank goodness.