Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

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ZeeOne
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Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by ZeeOne » Wed May 08, 2013 3:56 am

OK, Korg and Arturia have been ripping it up with new analog boxes for 500 USD and under. But is cool as the Minibrute, MS-20 Mini, and even the Volca Keys might be, they're useless for me because I need polyphony (though the Monotrons do sound like fun). I can't justify having more than one synth because it's my secondary instrument (my primary instrument is guitar - and even then, I can't justify having more than a main and a backup guitar)...the cheapest full analog I know of is the DSI Mopho X4, which is kind of cool but at $1299 it's out of my budget.

Now I was thinking earlier today, why couldn't they make an analog/digital hybrid polysynth for under $1000? From my understanding, synths consist of two main parts- an oscillator and a filter, much in the same way guitar amps consist primarily of a preamp and a power amp. I have a Marshall AVT50 head with a tube preamp and a solid state power amp; while it doesn't sound quite as warm as an all-tube amp, it does sound more organic than a straight-up solid state amp. Much in the same way, a hybrid synth would have a digital oscillator and an analog filter- or the other way around, whichever way would make it fatter/warmer sounding than a purely digital or VA synth.

Or I could be way off base here.

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by kaeth » Wed May 08, 2013 5:44 am

There are plenty of synths with digital oscillators and analog filters.

Mutable Instruments Ambika
Ensoniq ESQ-1 / SQ-80
Korg DW-6000 / DW-8000
Casio HT-700 / HT-3000
Waldorf Microwave I
PPG Wave
Sequential Circuits Prophet VS

However, the Ambika is the only one I can think of currently available, and it's a DIY project. If you have no problem with used instruments, most of those (except the last two, which are also out of your price range) are fairly common on eBay. If you include DCO's in your search you can expand that list by a lot, but again, you'd have to buy used.

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by bluntedcircuit » Wed May 08, 2013 6:37 am

^ i thought mutable instruments shruti fits that category and last I checked readily available

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by bluntedcircuit » Wed May 08, 2013 6:44 am

Dave Smith Tetra with a midi keyboard would be a good pick for analog poly under a grand...

Oh and that being said - yeah there are differences in timber between analog and digital but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You can get an ms2000 for a decent price, and no it won't sound like an 80s poly in a number of ways but it can still be pleasing and has a character of it's own

h**l, you could even try any digital synth going into an envelope following filter stomp box with midi in. Pretty sure electro harmonix has multi mode filter that does just that

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by Stafftunes » Wed May 08, 2013 4:57 pm

Why not something like the Roland JX3P or Korg Poly800? Both very capable polyphonic analogue synths, and cheap. (And you really don't need a PG200, I've never had one, and I find the 3P very easy to tweak and play with) As an owner of both Analogue and VA Synths, along with romplers, I think a lot can be done with EQ and effects to dirty up the VA's if you wanted more of an unpredictable type sound. Stomp boxes are pretty good for this also.

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed May 08, 2013 6:14 pm

The Poly 800 is kind of odd. It's what some folks call paraphonic since there is the one filter for all 4/8 voices.
It's also essentially a very reedy sounding synth with pretty clumsy envelopes.
That can all be adapted, but programming a Poly 800 is well, like programming!
Punching in parameter numbers then incrementing/decrementing values is pretty banal. Kind of the opposite of fun when you factor in the dodgy buttons.
I too am hoping that a cheep poly (string machine?) comes out at the next NAMM.
We can all hope for Moog to finally give us a poly, but I think it is more likely to come from Akai/Alesis or Korg.
Maybe a mini Mono/poly?
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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by Jabberwalky » Wed May 08, 2013 6:23 pm

If only ensoniq still existed. The sq80/esq were the last of the digital osc, analog filter combo. As mentioned, shruthi/ Ambika is a solid choice. or write Dave smith and ask him to release the digital side of the evolved as a stand alone synth.

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by Analogue Crazy » Wed May 08, 2013 8:56 pm

I can highly recommend the Korg DW-8000, it does excellent bread n butter Analog sounds and is pretty easy to program. Its Digital side is also impressive, the choir/vox sounds and pads are gorgeous.

Out of the cheap Analog Poly's i really like the Roland JX-3P. It sounds a little brighter than a Juno and isn't as punchy, but the dual oscillator is flexible and features FM / Sync. I found it to have a real personality, and i miss it almost as much as my Juno-60.
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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by Synthetech » Thu May 09, 2013 4:39 am

calaverasgrande wrote:The Poly 800 is kind of odd. It's what some folks call paraphonic since there is the one filter for all 4/8 voices.
It's also essentially a very reedy sounding synth with pretty clumsy envelopes.
That can all be adapted, but programming a Poly 800 is well, like programming!
Punching in parameter numbers then incrementing/decrementing values is pretty banal. Kind of the opposite of fun when you factor in the dodgy buttons.

Actually, most of these problems are solved when you install a Hawk800 firmware upgrade in a Poly or EX-800.
I put one in mine, then I made this GUI controller in CTRLR-

Image

You can also use a hardware midi controller to edit it with. I made my GUI to be simple to change all the parameters on that one screen.. including some custom controls that mix cutoff/resonance and LFO Depth/Rate.


Here's an example of what the new firmware can do. This is all just my Hawk800 modded poly800 with some delay FX added in.
You can hear X modulation of LFO1 to LFO2 and using PWM waveform.. I was tweaking LFO depths, PWM width and god knows what else live during the entire recording.





And here's another one that is more modular sounding.. it's just a fartaround recording with some SP-808 goofing around at the end.. past 5:30 there's some ringmodulation and other FX from the SP-808 added to the Poly's sound.. it's really long and possibly boring (and even irritating) at times.. but I assure you that its going somewhere a stock Poly never could go.


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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by calaverasgrande » Thu May 09, 2013 6:11 pm

yeah I remember the Hawk and Tomahawk from the Yahoo Poly800 group.
It is a pretty impressive re-engineering of the Poly 800, but after all you are still stuck with the stairsteppy envelopes, single filter and kind of thin DCOs. I like the Poly 800 for what it is, basically the cheapest analog poly synth money can buy. And it has it's own voice for sure. I just couldn't see spending the money on the Hawk upgrade and doing the not insignificant work to install the new bios. Especially since the used market for poly 800's went up.
Seriously what is up with that?!
I sold both my Poly 800's and bought a dark energy. I figured why put a lot of energy into modding a synth that isn't what I am after in the first place.
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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Fri May 10, 2013 12:07 am

If you're happy with hybrid, you don't need analog.

Also: you don't need polyphony. You can make polyphony.

Unless your sequences only play in realtime, you can multitrack.
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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by megamanx » Fri May 10, 2013 1:10 am

alpha juno, done

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by Shutoku » Fri May 10, 2013 1:22 am

calaverasgrande wrote:The Poly 800 is kind of odd. It's what some folks call paraphonic since there is the one filter for all 4/8 voices.
It's also essentially a very reedy sounding synth with pretty clumsy envelopes.
That can all be adapted, but programming a Poly 800 is well, like programming!
Punching in parameter numbers then incrementing/decrementing values is pretty banal. Kind of the opposite of fun when you factor in the dodgy buttons.
I too am hoping that a cheep poly (string machine?) comes out at the next NAMM.
We can all hope for Moog to finally give us a poly, but I think it is more likely to come from Akai/Alesis or Korg.
Maybe a mini Mono/poly?
I hated the poly 800! Both because of the filter issue and the PITA programming, but also I just didn't like the sound of it.
I LOVE my mono/poly and if korg made a mini of that I would HAVE to buy one as a partner to my full sized one. (I used to have two and let my wife convince me to sell one on ebay a few years back...a decision I massively regrett today :evil: :( )
I think the Mono/poly is more useful as a poly than most give it credit for, but having said that, I use mine almost exclusively as a mono synth.
For a polyphonic, if korg re-released the poly-six....now we would be talking!!! I always wanted one as a partner to my mono/poly's.

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by Em Pe Ge » Fri May 10, 2013 1:33 am

i picked up an alpha juno recently.. it's pretty awesome when you use an editor with it. some sounds are a little thin though.. i solved that by running it through the filter/overdrive on my slim phatty.. instantly makes the sound HUGE.

it really is a great synth.. i found mine for under $200, can't beat that.

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Re: Hybrid Synths - cheaper poly analog?

Post by calaverasgrande » Fri May 10, 2013 1:52 am

the weird thing about the Poly 800 is that it's almost fat sounding. I swear there must be an op amp or a capacitor swap that would tighten the bottom and make the mids less raspy.
What I used to do was record the same sequence into my DAW several times in a row, just varying the detune amount by one step each time. Or I would nudge the master tune knob a hair for each pass.
Now that sounded huge. But then any thing with 2 oscs multiplied by 8 passes will sound huge!
I also used to use the chord memory like this. But then you can only effectively play the middle octave or two.
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