What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by JSRockit » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:54 pm

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:19 pm

Even a wet fart can sound spectacular when running it through a huge reverb. Point being: on their own, the silliest Yamaha PSR keyboard can sound like a dud, but hook it up to a range of effects and you may find use for it. It's therefor hard to tell which synth is the worst of all. It also depends on the time we're living in, and whether you like software or not. If I look at my gear and poll which thing I've used the least of all, then it'd be the DX7, followed by the EMU. My gear which has been used the most: FS1r, JD800, SY77, SN2r. These days only FM8 is in use. :mrgreen:

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by cornutt » Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:01 pm

Of what I've owned, I'd say the Yamaha CX5M. This was basically the guts of a TX81Z mated to a personal computer. It wasn't a bad idea -- what killed it was the utter lack of support from Yamaha. All of the hardware interfaces were different from the IBM standards of the era, so it was impossible to buy peripherals for it. There was a cartridge slot where you could plug a memory cart in; the trouble was, to program the synth you had to plug in a program cart there. So even though you could build a patch, there was no means to store it. It was about two years before Yamaha finally made a floppy drive available, and when they did, it listed at $2000, which was about the same as the cost of the synth itself.

There was a BASIC interpreter, and I wanted to be able to access the MIDI interfaces from it, so I could use the system as a sequencer. But the interface wasn't documented. When I called Yamaha to inquire about documentation, they asked if I was a professional musician. When I said no, they said that a consultant woud be happy to answer my questions for $75/hour, with a 8-hour minimum. Screw that. A few months later, the power supply blew up. I got that fixed, but in the process, a CPU daughterboard that was weirdly soldered into the main board at a 90-degree angle got broken. At that point, it went in the attic and I went out and bought a Roland JD-800 and a S750 sampler. I have never bought anything new from Yamaha since. (Although I do have a used TG33 in my rack now.)

There were a couple of other synths that I've played that I wasn't fond of. There was the Baldwin Spectrasynth that my brother and I rented once to use for sound effects for a play. It had a weird bass-ackwards architecture, and I hated those pressure bars -- why couldn't they just have made the keyboard with aftertouch? And then there was the horribly unreliable Electro-Harmonix Mini Synth that belonged to the guitarist in a band I was in. The touch keyboard was a nightmare; depending on the room temperature, what it was sitting on, the phase of the moon and a bunch of other stuff, some notes wouldn't play and others would be randomly out of tune. There were four screws that secured the touch keyboard to the case, and I eventually figured out that it was very sensitive to the tension of those screws. I kept a screwdriver handy to adjust it. It did do a good impression of the Moog Taurus, so I used it for bass some. But on gigs, I only used it for drone notes where I could hold the note and then preview the output thru headphones before I sent it to the PA.
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by Electroluver » Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:30 pm

The Kawai K-1 is horrendous. Did LFO use it ? Anyways, just a horrible interface and sound.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by Phollop Willing PA » Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:39 pm

I can't really think of anything I owned that was super bad, but everything I had, I made use of.

I was glad to see my Yamaha FB 01 go as well as the Roland MT 32 even though I had an editor on my Atari 520 ST (which is a pretty bad 'puter, but fun at the time).
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by hfinn » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:14 pm

My least favorite (not worst) was the Analog Solutions Vostok.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by BritSynths » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:34 pm

Korg Micro Preset for me as well, the first synth I purchased (I didn't know much about them then).

Looked to have a wide range of presets on paper but, as already stated, it was so sos limited. And to think for a bit more money I could of got an EDP WASP or an MS-10

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by Dividedbyzero » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:14 pm

Kawai K4 was cheesy, noisy, very noisy, and not a lot of fun for me. However it was my only 'pro' synth for a few years.

Oh how I suffered. Can still hear it hissing and poping away if I close my eyes.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by tallowwaters » Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:30 pm

Man, I rocked the f**k out of my Kawai boards...

Anyways, I have had synths I straight up didn't like, but the worst ones are the ones that have some awesome features crippled by poor planning, etc.

And for that the title goes to Fizmo. Such an amazing sound on a horrid interface. Combined with sounddiver and the regulator fix, it was just a no thank you after a month or two.

Otherwise, I had one of those Seil DK series... The big plastic one that made a Poly800 seem tough by comparison. Now that thing just sucked all over.
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by HideawayStudio » Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:05 pm

On the whole I've had very few bad synths over the years. I adore most of my gear - although to be honest I've had 20 years to swap out all of the duds and replace it with decent stuff...

The most frustrating synth I ever had was a GEM S2 workstation - it actually sounded ok but I very rapidly took exception to the fact that absolutely everything had to load off floppy disks before you could use it ie. it had no NVRAM! Oh and totally and utterly characterless!

My Yamaha CS-5 was not great either - I had it for years - mainly because it looked great but as a monosynth it was thin and weedy!
Last edited by HideawayStudio on Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by otto » Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:12 pm

I didn't like the D-50 at all. Everything that came out of it sounded processed and polished in an ugly early 90's way.
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by Phollop Willing PA » Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:26 pm

otto wrote:I didn't like the D-50 at all. Everything that came out of it sounded processed and polished in an ugly early 90's way.
Having the PG 1000 made a world of difference when I had one. Great for industrial sounds when pushed to the max. I wish I still had it, both the D-50 and the PG 1000.
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by StepLogik » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:02 am

cornutt wrote: There was a BASIC interpreter, and I wanted to be able to access the MIDI interfaces from it, so I could use the system as a sequencer. But the interface wasn't documented. When I called Yamaha to inquire about documentation, they asked if I was a professional musician. When I said no, they said that a consultant woud be happy to answer my questions for $75/hour, with a 8-hour minimum. Screw that. A few months later, the power supply blew up. I got that fixed, but in the process, a CPU daughterboard that was weirdly soldered into the main board at a 90-degree angle got broken.
A few years ago I had a chance to get a CX5m for real cheap and almost bought it. It was brand new. I thought it would be fun to program my own step sequencer and know that it would have solid timing since its not running a multi-threaded OS.

But, I've heard that you can't actually program anything useful with it.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by fastfwdd » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:56 am

An SH1000 which I quickly sold. Worst keyboard feel I've ever come across.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by shaft9000 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:42 am

I have to go with Korg Prophecy.

Semi-reluctantly since it IS a powerful synth w/ some amazing sounds....it's unfortunately just a freaking DOG to program and play.

lousy interface for the engine. like sucking beer through a syringe. cryptic.
wretched keybed w/ dreadful aftertouch.
silly design and too much plastic of the 'wrong' kind. the knobs are like mush somehow.

badass sound engine though. this is why the lack of programmability and playability was so troubling...a Z1 is a faaaar better choice for the MOSS sound.
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