What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by nathanscribe » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:21 am

Several things here I agree with, several things that made me laugh, several things that made me go "nooooo".

Personal list:

Korg Poly 800 - quirky, but everything it does sounds a) the same, b) like c**p.

Korg MicroKorg - I hated the interface, limited polyphony, restricted layering, cheap microphone, clumsy vocoding of external gear, tiny squishy keys, tiny mod/pitch wheels, hideous lightshow, unreadable panel (especially the matrix), matrix editing, arrangement of presets/memories into pseudo-genres..... OK, so in the hands of someone who gets on with it, I suspect it's capable of greater things than I managed. So it's not total c**p; it just wasn't for me.

Korg ER-1 - fine if you're into yet another fake-sounding would-be-analogue for the bedroom massive. Personally, though I thought the interface was fine, I thought the sounds could have covered a greater range. Would have been great if it had triggers and DIN sync.

Roland TB-303 - shite. Even back in 1995, when I had one for six months and they were £300, it was a clumsy way to sound just like everybody else. The interface was like pissing through a letterbox from 50 feet, the sound was OK at best, and 95% of everybody who has ever had one have used it for bland, mindless (and often tuneless) drudgery that would be better placed at the bottom of the ocean in a sealed container, before being eaten by a musically retarded sea-cucumber. But: there are some lovely examples of 303 use out there, and despite its failings, the combination of awkwardness and elbow-licking simplicity can result in wonderful, slippy bass lines and such.

Yamaha FB-01 - a friend had one. It sounded like a christmas card. It was unprogrammable. It was a doorstop.

Yamaha TX-81Z - I got this for my 21st back in the day, and because it was my 2nd synth, I got a lot of use from it. I learned how to program it. I even knew my way around the 1-and-a-half-button interface. And I even, still, like some of the sounds that it makes. But I keep it for nostalgia more than use. I have so little time for diving around those menus that I only switch it on to bang away at a couple of presets. It's a synth that deserves a better interface.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by cornutt » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:31 pm

vintagesynth wrote:Roland SC-7

Nothing but general MIDI sounds.
I forget which was the first Roland Sound Canvas box, but the ironic thing is, it wasn't originally intended to be used as a synth at all. Back around 1987, Roland and some of the other companies that cooked up General MIDI had the idea that they were going to produce what amounted to General MIDI record players. The idea is that music would be released in the form of standard MIDI files conforming to the GM standard, and then some day when you wanted to listen to some music, you'd pop a floppy disk into your living room GM player, and out would come the General MIDI version of "For Those About to Rock", or some such.

In fact... if you look closely at the Standard MIDI File specs, you'll notice that there is a provision for embedding lyrics. Why would one want to put lyrics in a MIDI file, one might ask? Well, there are a couple of notation programs like Sibelius which can pull out lyrics and lay them into the sheet music. However, the real purpose was... taking a deep breath here... that someday speech synthesis would get good enough that a GM player would be able to sing the lyrics too. Fortunately, that day hasn't arrived yet. :lol:
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by masstronaut » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:10 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Korg Poly 800 - quirky, but everything it does sounds a) the same, b) like c**p.
And in the case of one I owned briefly (i.e., for a few hours), several semitones out of tune.
nathanscribe wrote:Yamaha TX-81Z - It's a synth that deserves a better interface.
Reminds me - I should get a MIDI interface just for permanently hooking this up to the PC editor so I use it more. Can sound really nice / nasty.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by Analogue Crazy » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:20 pm

Im not too keen on my Korg M1, the Piano, Bass and Voice samples are wonderful but i really don't like the Strings and Electric Piano's. I just use it for the punchy Piano and the odd Bass, in retropect it's editing is way too limited for my liking. Since i have a Wavestation EX, my M1 gathers dust most of the time. I much prefer my WS for lush digital stuff, and my Roland W-30 is a far better workstation because it samples and has a nicer punchier sound to my ears. It's sequencer makes the M1 seem like a joke, holding a whooping 72,000 notes instead of just 7,700 and having 16 tracks instead of 8. It may have no built in FX, and rely on DD 3.5 floppies but it's a far more useful and versatile machine. Nuff Said. Much harder to use than the M1 though, along with the DX-7 it's got to be one of the most confusing Synths ever. Why didn't Roland explain how to use it's massive sequencer? Has to be one of the worst owners manuals ever wrote.
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by Ashe37 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:00 am

My SHS-10. Middling controller, sounds are horrible.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by iProg » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:50 am

I never fancied my DX-7. Blah.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by LucB » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:45 pm

JMP wrote:Korg Micro Preset. It wasn't a nightmare... just s**t.



:)

WWWWOOOO :shock: That was totally uncalled for!!

Alright, yes it is very very limited, and the attempt at simulating instruments is laughable (like so many synths of it's time anyways), most cool controls won't work on lots of presets, and the circuit boards crammed at the left hand side and general design make repairing it a pain-staking experience, but the M500 deserves credit and credit it will get!

First of : it's MICRO presets, which means that one of it's key feature (deserving to be part of it's name) is that it is incredibely small. I mean for it's time it was probably one of the most portable preset synths, like a yamaha sy-2 or cs-5, with it's very own personality!

Secundo: it's easy to get useable sound out of it, whether it be with Synthe 2 with long attack, an Autobahn bass sound with Synthe 2 and sustain, or fat and funky lead with Brass/Strings with portamento, the M500 sounds killer, thanks to the Korg 35 chips (same as early MS series, this should not be overlooked!)

Lastly: it has character and you need to experiment with it to learn what crazy s**t you can do with so little. For example: you can combine most if not all the voices together to bring some weird, innovative and sometimes very interesting sounds. By combining some presets with sounds having access to Attack/Sustain and Traveller, you can create a very layered sound, where you'll be, again for example, only tweaking a part of when you toy with knobs and sliders.

I'm not actually angry or anything because i understand how easy it is to give up on a M500 for so many reasons, but i still believe it deserves some love. Think of it as a cheap, compact and different way to get fat analog sounds with fake wood and unpredictable results, and that's how the hype we have to deal with now came to be!

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by LucB » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:30 pm

Oh yeah, just to go with the purpose of the thread: Multivox MX-65

A very poor string machine with few possibilites and a 'fizzy' sound. Also at any time you could hear ALL the notes playing at the same time, at a very low volume in the background, drove me nuts. Sweet and strong LFO though. But still a very shitty and cheezy string machine, and they dared to name it Polyphonic synthetizer.

I have pictures and a bad mp3 demo if anyone wants proof.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by nathanscribe » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:31 pm

LucB wrote:synthetizer.
Perfect for pop music then.







Maybe only the Brits will get this joke.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by BoxPhenom » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:50 pm

The worst synths I ever owned were the Korg Micro-Preset and Yamaha Sk-15.

The micro-preset was super limited by design, cute but ineffective.
If it has the Korg35 filter in there, they seriously limited the resonance, and you're stuck with a different envelope to control it.

The Sk-15 just sounded bad and sloppy, the polysynth was a joke.

I also had the Cs-20m and 40m and while they are seriously capable synths in terms of functions and offer a somewhat innovative design, the result, for me, was uninspiring, totally a matter of taste.

I love my analog and don't use plug-ins at all but vst is sometimes better than just any crappy analog synth imo.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by DeFex » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:51 pm

DX7. Got it when it first came out and returned it PDQ. now i have one i happen to get for $0 which i used for a midi controller. it even has E!

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by LucB » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:56 pm

I guess it's also a matter of use.

I find the SK-15 great for the ground it covers, which isn't much but anyone looking for analog organ-strings w/enveloppe can use this. Yeah the polysynth can't do much, i've only found 2-3 useable sounds.

The M500 i find very cool for bass lines and portamento leads. But i have to admit: i'm a guitar player using these synths to add texture to heavy ambient songs, so you couldn't really come to a decisive argument with say someone doing stuff alone in his basement, or more into techno-electro-pop, which requires more versatile synths.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by oryjen » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:22 pm

Yamaha TX 802. Once you've spent 2 monthes to program 5 or 6 sounds with that horrible so-called "interface", you realize they all sound that metallic/cheap/cold/crude way.
So I finally said "GET OUT OF MY SET-UP!" and accepted to exchange it with a rare Ricken's P15 analog mono synth. :P
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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you've ever owned?

Post by BoxPhenom » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:25 pm

Good point LucB

Context is everything, the M500 probably sounds great with traditionnal instruments and as a little lead synths it's totally capable.
You can use almost any synth to build a whole song, but some are better than others.

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Re: What was the worst synthesizer you ever owned?

Post by balma » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:20 pm

Raiven wrote:The Akai Ax60 comes to mind immediately.

If your using the analogy of the poster before me, then my list includes The Prophet 08, V-Synth, ImpOscar, and Minimonsta.

I can't believe what I read

the Akai AX60??? what don't like from it?. I love it so much that I got the AX80 too.

and the V Synth, has the most beautiful user interface ever!


in my case, a Yamaha W7: No knobs to tweak, only 1 slider for controler. Totally crappy hardware, all the buttons colapsed, and it lost most of its paint.

A totally, piece of s**t overpriced bag of c**p, burn them!
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