Quality or Quantity?

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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by Box » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:41 am

Yoozer wrote:
Box wrote:
It was just a thought that entered my head and I was wondering what was everyone's stand on this issue.
Nobody can decide this for you, since if it's the sound and the interface of the OB you want, the OB is what you should get.
I'm nowhere close to being able to buy anything like that atm, got to sink it into a car (that and the $200 I had in the synth funds was just wiped out on a JX-3P). :wink: I know, once I do have money I will get an OB (trust me, I'd trade both JX's and my manhood for an OB-Xa; OK, maybe not so much the last one). But I was only wondering as to what others think in regards to the saying "Quality over Quantity". Most artists, that I see anyway, have both quality and quantity so it's hard to go with them. I prefer quality (and it seems most everyone else here does as well) and was wondering what some of you that have been playing longer than I've been alive thought. Most often people, going from what I've seen on YouTube, will have either one or two super synths or either a wall of average synths. Of course your gear is only as good as you are and vice versa to an extent. But hopefully I'll get a job soon and then with what I've earned and what Xmas money I get I might be able to grab an Obie. Was just wanting to put the old saying to test.
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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by rhino » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:30 am

my 2 cents: if it (a keyboard) sits in a case or on a shelf---unused, then sell it.
but if you smile every time you play it, keep. if you lust after one and can afford it, buy it and give it the above test.

IF playing is a full-time paying job, then you should go with the tools you need, regardless of the name on the back of the case.

as a car-futzer, i would never say "i need a set of wrenches, but not the 11/16 or the 13/16..." you need what you need to do the job. my dad used to say: " a bad tool is worse than no tool at all."


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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by xpander » Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:08 am

Alex Hamilton wrote:I'm away on holiday for the next couple of weeks, but when I get back I think I'm going to start a thread where people post and review FS1R editors, and give general comments. Its technicalities don't get discussed enough here.
i think MIDIQuest 10 XL has one, too- i have that but i don't know if i've ever used it for the FS1R. another editor that should run on OS X & XP alike.

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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by Wiglaf » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:58 am

Quality. I prefer flexible synths, gear that can do lots of stuff. There's nothing wrong with one trick ponies, but I can't afford to keep buying more.
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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by griffin avid » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:46 am

I started off buying a lot of inexpensive (well, they used to be) analog synths. They all seemed to have at least one strength, and that was cool... but if you didn't need that particular strength, they would just sit for months at a time. It was fun to have a wall of keyboards... but the aesthetic pleasure of it wears away when you start to stress about synths going unplayed...
Say word. I think this goes beyond rational thinking. On the one hand I try to imagine one synth trying to fill the role of the next and it seems impossible both upside and downscale. A lot of it is rooted to the interface. I do different things with different synths based on how I interact. The JD800 makes sounds like nothing else in my studio. I can't manipulate the blippy blopps like the Korg EA-1 does with anything else so those two finds led me to new musical elements. That's what they do. As AG said, once I moved beyond that style or leaning on those contributions, they sit unplugged. Still valuable, but currently unused until I visit that sonic territory again.

For an analogy it's like meal. Every dish can't be Meat. You need a staple and some veggies. A salad doesn't hurt either. I think everyone will get a mix eventually. some get a major piece and then get little *toys* to sit along side it and others start midrange and move up. Some stuff is just inspirational. 'I want to make music using that.'


plus, if you follow synths pretty well (or have spent any time on the VSE main site), it's hard to pass up a good deal. Some stuff I only snagged because I couldn't resist the opportunity to own a gem/classic/I always wanted a/popular bit/wishlist item for cheap.
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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:06 pm

Alex Hamilton wrote:While I agree - people couldn't give a s**t about VCOs etc. - synths are getting used more and more by 'cool' bands. I don't know of anybody collecting them to be 'cool', but then I probably wouldn't know anyone like that anyway :lol: . And synths are cheaper than guitars and cars
It is true that some bands today seems to be throwing a synth into the mix of the usual guitar, drums bass staple set up (the Killers are a perfect example with their tracks that are plastered with microKORG sounds), so I can see what you are saying. Some may do it because they want the sounds from a synth and for others it's maybe a ploy to be different or unique - nothing more nothing less.

Oh and then you have your select "indie" bands that pick up a few string machines/combo organs/basic synths to add a little extra texture to their more traditionally arranged tracks. Usually the most basic sounds are used - open squares and saws with little to no modulation - and I'm sure it makes a great prop for when they play live too.

However at the end of the day there doesn't seem to be many mainstream bands or artists at the moment that promote their use of synthesisers. To me it seems quite apparent that the electric guitar is still the coolest and most popular musical instrument overall - I doubt this will change in the near future too.

Of course then you'll be boasting about/showing off your Marshall stack or your '62 Les Paul, not your Minimoog. That's a different forum entirely. ;)
griffin avid wrote:plus, if you follow synths pretty well (or have spent any time on the VSE main site), it's hard to pass up a good deal. Some stuff I only snagged because I couldn't resist the opportunity to own a gem/classic/I always wanted a/popular bit/wishlist item for cheap.
+1!

This is the crux of it all - passing up a great deal is very difficult indeed.
Last edited by OriginalJambo on Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by TrondC » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:15 pm

I've been into low-cost stuff for a long time, but I'm at the point now where I'm trying to minimize the amount of gear and focus more on real powerhouses. Also, space is an issue to me, so my goal is to get as much synth-power from as few pieces of gear as possible in the smallest space possible, BUT it must be hardware.. ;) But as long as Elektron keeps making those lovely silver boxes, I'll be content with a couple of those for everything :)

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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by Huppo » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:54 pm

My own experience reflects a bit of things from several posts here. The simple answer is quality, but I went through quantity to get there.

I started out buying cheap VAs and pretty quickly got into the buzz of having a lot of synths. At first I used all of them on everything but after a while there were too many to effectively use that way and eventually there were too many to even have set up at the same time in terms of infrastructure..space, stands, midi interfaces, mixer channels, etc.

I bought and sold lots of them, always trying to make a little bit of profit by buying them used when I saw hem for a really good price then reselling when the used price would drift up a bit after I'd had the fun of checking them out. The secret to that, I found, was having a running list in my head of many synths I was interested in checking out rather than obsessing on one in particular and deciding I needed to get that specific one next or immediately. Over the course of a few years I was able to eventually get all of them and was nearly alway able to make a small profit when selling them due to minor fluctuations in price.

I used that gained value to gradually move up the synth food chain, though I've never felt the urge to buy much expensive vintage analog gear. I ended up with some of the nicer (IMO) digital/hybrid keyboards available..Virus TI, PEK, Waldorf Q, V-synth. I even traded 4 lesser synths (AN1X, Micron, DX-21, CZ-5000) for a Little Phatty at one point.

I got so many synths theoretically to meet that 'one of every kind of synth' thing but as it turns out I was just curious to check out a lot of different synths. They didn't make me more productive, though as someone else said, certain interfaces and inherent sounds inspired me to make certain kinds of music. (guitars can do that for me, too). In one sense I don't agree with the idea of getting rid of synths because you've moved on from a genre. The idea that specific synths are only good for one genre strikes me as very narrow minded and lacking in creativity, but I can see where that's probably true with an Electribe or something. It's probably a ridiculous notion, but that's how I feel about even iconic vintage analog synths. Sure they make great, unreproducible, classic sounds, but compared to some modern digital stuff they're very limited in scope from my perspective. Maybe that's a quality vs quantity argument within an argument right there.

Once i got some nicer stuff I started selling off the leftover cheaper stuff to make the whole thing a little more focused and space-efficient. I'm slowly continuing to do that. The last three synths I'll end up with eventually are the V-synth, Virus Ti and Fusion. That still covers the bases well enough for me..The V-synth because it does things no other synth does and because its pure pleasure to play, The Virus because it's an Uber VA and covers that base really well and the Fusion for 'real' stuff, though its a fun synth, too. The last one is because I already have it, not because it's the pinnacle of desirability.

I haven't been productive musically for a while, but by now its got nothing to do with the gear. My most productive time during synth ownership was when I owned a few relatively cheap VAs or arguably when I was just using soft synths on a laptop. I like to keep those few good synths around for when the mood strikes and I like knowing they're up to the task if I suddenly become productive again.

With the way I look at it, having a few more expensive synths around is like having more money in the bank than having a lot more cheap synths around. If I need money it would be a lot easier to sell the Virus for $1500 than selling 5 or 7 $200-$300 lesser synths for the same amount.
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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by Huppo » Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:08 pm

Alex Hamilton wrote:And synths are cheaper than guitars and cars
Say what?

I'll give you cars, though I have had lots of cars cheaper than some of my synths, but you can accumulate a ton of guitars for a lot less than a ton of synths unless you're trying to accumulate Les Pauls or something. Heck..I have over 30 guitars including a Les Paul and I have synths more expensive than that.
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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by hfinn » Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:51 pm

Well I think he means top guitars, since he's talking about top synths. A guitar equivilant to a Jupiter would be in the many thousands. If you take the higest prices for vintage synths, the highest price for vintage guitars will always trump it. h**l even top vintage microphones can run well into the 20,000's...

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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:09 pm

hfinn wrote:h**l even top vintage microphones can run well into the 20,000's...
I know, it's almost shocking how much vintage Neumanns and the like go for!

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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by JSRockit » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:14 pm

To me, it is a matter of comfort and fun...which ones are the least pain in the a*s to deal with while giving me a good sound. I'll pick quality.
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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by Box » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:50 pm

hfinn wrote:Well I think he means top guitars, since he's talking about top synths. A guitar equivilant to a Jupiter would be in the many thousands. If you take the higest prices for vintage synths, the highest price for vintage guitars will always trump it. h**l even top vintage microphones can run well into the 20,000's...
Idk, the Yamaha GX-1 is one expensive synth...
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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by Alex Hamilton » Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:09 pm

Box wrote:Idk, the Yamaha GX-1 is one expensive synth...
No doubt - but it doesn't compare with, for example, Jerry Garcia's 'Wolf' and 'Tiger' guitars (about £850,000 each as far as I remember), nor guitars played by Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix in iconic music (Hendrix' Woodstock strat is probably genuinely priceless). Even guitars that haven't been played by big names in big places reach mega prices if they're from the right year and in good condition: my former guitar teacher's Les Paul Goldtop from '58 was on sale for £25,000. An early '60s Strat in original condition will reach upwards of £10,000, and they were made in their thousands. The reason guitars can make these prices is because they're associated with rock 'n' roll, with an artist, with history...synth buyers are much more sensible and pay more for more powerful instruments. Not that I'm saying that Les Paul sounded bad of course :thumbright: . People who buy expensive synths are always people who play them - not the same for guitars.
Huppo wrote:you can accumulate a ton of guitars for a lot less than a ton of synths unless you're trying to accumulate Les Pauls or something. Heck..I have over 30 guitars including a Les Paul and I have synths more expensive than that.
Yup, I was talking about 'name' guitars (LPs, SGs, Strats, Teles etc.) because those are the types that people collect rather than, as you say, accumulate through use.
OriginalJambo wrote:
hfinn wrote:h**l even top vintage microphones can run well into the 20,000's...]
I know, it's almost shocking how much vintage Neumanns and the like go for!
I think I read something in the current issue of SOS that said there's a mic by Telefunken that costs more than £20,000 NEW, but sadly I can't find the reference right now. I'd love to try out something like that and see if I can hear any difference! The sound of a mic is so dependent on so many factors, I find it hard to see how you could justify spending that much on it. I wouldn't complain if someone gave me one though :lol: .

Sorry almost this whole post is OT! I certainly feel it's quality over quantity for me, but that's partly because I'm unable to be thrifty about buying things and selling them on, so I need to research purchases pretty extensively so that I can justify spending.

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Re: Quality or Quantity?

Post by hyphen nation » Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:13 pm

JSRockit wrote:which ones are the least pain in the a*s to deal with while giving me a good sound. I'll pick quality.
f**k yeah...I enjoy making patches, exploring sound design, but I want it to be easy to get from point A to point B.
I am struggling hard enough as it is to compose something remotely decent...

I get rid of things that make it difficult for me to be an author of the sound I want to work with. That is the reason I still have a Juno [while not exactly the "phattest" sound on the planet, it is damn easy] is what constantly draws me to moogs and to modulars, and is why I totally amazed at Elektron, who have taken a fairly complex, and usually difficult synth format, and made them about as country simple as possible...

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