Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

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DemianMusic
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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by DemianMusic » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:25 am

I hate to say it, but my DSI Mopho.

The knobs are so cheap and unpredictable that they are nearly unusable. Filter sweeps? Don't even think about it.

The VCA clicks a lot, even on many presets. Other guys had this problem too, and DSI's official reply: 'that's just part of the Analog charm'. My MOOG has no such issues.

Programming it just plain sucks, even with the cheap feeling SoundTower software...and if you want full functionality...buy the ST pro upgrade!

The CEM filter gives everything a very brassy sound, which you can never escape from. The feedback knob is even cheaper than the encoders (which is a huge achievement).

And for all these functionality, and sound design problems...the damn thing doesn't even look nice.

The crappy cheap wall wart power supply is the icing on the crappy cheap cake.

Needless to say...mine hasn't been getting much use since I admitted how disappointing it was. And I tried to love it, I really did.

<3 my Moog though. And my software synths.
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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by BritSynths » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:20 pm

In my opinion

Korg M500-SP - not really a synth, far too limited. And the keyboard felt like playing bricks

Roland TB-303 - I'm sure I will get moaned at for this but hated it from day one, a b***h to program and poor sound when new, now just a b***h to program and a poor overused sound.

Roland Gaia - on paper it should be amazing but I just find it sounds so flat compared to its contempories

Roland D-110 - mainly because I just couldn't understand it!

Siel Expander 80 (DK80) - thin sound, one filter and I don't want to hit the damn ENTER button every time I want to change a parameter
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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by monolith » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:37 am

Sexor wrote:
-Akai AX-73. Bigger than a minivan but still you get to do all the editing with one dodgy slider and a numpad.

I managed to forget, I did have an AX-73 for a short time and it was c**p, it was really frustrating because it just felt like the sound was kind of disconnected from the parameters, or the right sound was between increments. I thought I was getting a hidden gem VCO poly for cheap, but really it was just a bad synth.

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by jim777 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:57 pm

I loved my Crumar Orchestrator until it got stolen. I bet it took a lot of effort to steal! Replaced it with an Alpha Juno 2 which I also liked quite a bit. Worst I can think of (when it was working properly) was the FB-01, which I really bought just to trigger with a guitar synth, but it was a terrible little waste of of $225 or so late 80's dollars.
Heard great things about the D-70, fot one of the first ones made, and when it crashed you couldn't reload the OS. Was very nive for the 3 or 4 days i had it that it worked; I gave it away for free a year or so later.

I've played the "Oberheim" OB-12 and quite liked it, honestly. I would definitely take a gift of one :)
even Siberia goes through the motions....

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by max badwan » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:32 am

Nobody has mentioned this worthy contender:
Evolution EVS 1

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by justin_havu » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:02 am

BritSynths wrote: Roland D-110 - mainly because I just couldn't understand it!
+1, and just like every other Roland piece of gear out their, the manual only made things worse.
Waveforms, and filters, and knobs. Oh my!

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by drawtippy » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:41 pm

No mention of Red Sound, Dark Star yet? I remember this thing being universally hated right from the start for several reasons.

A couple other honorable mentions:

Yamaha SU200 Sampler: Wow, almost completely unusable and frustrating.

Novation KS4: Had promise but a nasty encoder issue made it impossible to play.
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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by clubbedtodeath » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:44 pm

drawtippy wrote:Novation KS4: Had promise but a nasty encoder issue made it impossible to play.
Happened to me once. It's dust/dirt in the encoder. A quick spray with circuit board cleaner (about £5) and you're good to go.

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by rschnier » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:12 am

Another Roland U-110 vote here. The tail end of anything with a mid-to-long decay was so grainy and full of artifacts that I took it back to the store later the same day. Thought mine might have just been defective, until I played another one at the store and found it identical. I couldn't believe a company like Roland would release something so crappy.
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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by commodorejohn » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:54 am

Yeah, unfortunately the D-5/10/20, like the MT-32, use a severely cut-down version of LA synthesis, with a surprisingly cheap, junky output stage, so there's a lot of artifacting on the output. It's understandable that they would cut some corners on a budget consumer MIDI module, but for them to go on to reuse that on full-fledged synthesizer keyboards was kind of appalling.
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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by c-level » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:02 pm

justin_havu wrote:
BritSynths wrote: Roland D-110 - mainly because I just couldn't understand it!
+1, and just like every other Roland piece of gear out their, the manual only made things worse.
U-220

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by calaverasgrande » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:27 pm

Korg Poly 800
I at one point owned two and performed every single mod I could find to 'fatten up' this sick puppy.

A lot of folks ding the poly 800 for being hard to program. It really isn't. It is just tedious.
The reason why this is one of the worst synths ever is that once you master the intricacies of it's interface you discover that it will never achieve envelope settings that sound good. The envelope it always too fast or too slow. It can never hit that medium attack that lags the filter behind the osc by a brief instant. It also has the most awful sounding oscs, which is actually the only saving grace. Open that hazy ugly filter up all the way and make it as bright as possible. This is now in chip tune territory almost. Use the crappy single track sequencer to record a simple tune. Oh boy.
So let's itemize.
  1. ugly sounding oscs
  2. 4 voices (8 if you can live with one osc per voice)
  3. paraphonic polyphony (single filter for 4/8 voices)
  4. limp, flaccid filter. 'Moogslayer mod' only makes this more evident.
  5. awful envelopes, even with BP and slope. You can hear them stepping.
  6. Many params are only on or off, or a very limited range of values like 0-7.
  7. Teal color scheme need I say more?
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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by SeventhStar » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:52 am

drawtippy wrote:No mention of Red Sound, Dark Star yet? I remember this thing being universally hated right from the start for several reasons.
Dark Star is my first and only hardware synth.. I got it two months ago. Haven't gotten around to actually using it other than testing to confirm it functions properly. I've had other priorities lately..

Its ability to make weird sound effects is primarily what made me get it. That and it was relatively inexpensive compared to other hardware synths.

Saying it's "universally hated", seems a bit excessive.. I own one and I don't hate it lol. I know, for a fact, some other people, out there, actually like the Dark Star and its raw and sinister sounds.. It can make highly percussive sounds and has those deep, dark basses, which I hope to explore in the not too distant future.

I think this website rates it at 4 stars actually..

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by monolith » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:15 pm

The vse rating system isn't the most reliable, but f**k it - if you enjoy the synth then who gives a s**t!

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Re: Bottom Ten Worst Synths of All Time

Post by shaft9000 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:33 pm

the TB-303 is one of the worst synthesizers ever made. It doesn't even really qualify as a synth, as it has no noise source and an entirely fixed signal path. You aren't going to be synthesizing much on a 303.

However, it IS clearly one of the greatest electronic instruments ever made. Whether you like it or not, there is no denying it's idiosyncratic, unique place amongst all instruments. It's elusive "cloneability" only adds to it's stature.

I feel similarly about the minimoog, just less so. 'one-note organ' syndrome . oh but you can FM the filter at audio rate...yeah whoop whoop LOL.
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