Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

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griffin avid
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Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by griffin avid » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:05 am

I'm trying to gauge what qualities and/or character makes you use one piece over the next.

I assume most of us have more than one synth in their studio. I am not asking why is one your favorite or the one you want to have on a deserted island. I'm asking about 'number of hours' spent in front of it and why the one that YOU USE MOST (as a time measurement) has come out ahead of the rest.

I have more to say about this but I'd appreciate some feedback before I explain any more or start naming possible reasons... bear with me.
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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by Zamise » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:48 am

Please rephrase?

Zam
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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by griffin avid » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:10 am

Okay, let's say a week has passed and someone was starting a timer every time you sat down in front of one of your synthesizers. One synth would likely have the most time used as a tally in hours and minutes. The question is why, when you think about it.

I could suggest things like...your favorite synth, maybe you spend a short amount of time with it because you can get what you need very quickly, but maybe there's one that's slower to work with and so, when making music, you actually SPEND MORE TIME using it- even though it's not your favorite.

You might have a synth that does a superb, signature sound well, but another that does filler sounds or appears on more tracks in your music. Like it's the finishing up tool. And so you're working with it for more time....

There might be a bread and butter synth that's quick to lay down regular sounds, but one that you program patches in and that's the one you spend the most time with. That's the opposite of the first scenario, where you know it well so it should be quicker, but YOU DO MORE and so you spend more time with it.

I hope that clarifies a bit.
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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:58 am

FM8 *gosh!*

Because it's:
  • light on the CPU (handy for large arrangements)
  • extremely vast. I know there are people who like the basic layout and features of - say - a Juno106, but I really like to tweak the tiniest details, which is where FM comes in, which is where the detailed FM8 envelopes come in, which is where all the effects come in etc.
  • expressive and responsive (thus: very musical)
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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by nathanscribe » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:04 am

It varies. But at the moment, probably the Moog LP. I like the sound, I find the interface easy to navigate, and it's more flexible than some people seem to think. I can do whole tracks with this one, percussion included.

Second at the moment seems to be the Korg Lambda. Simple to adjust, sounds great, and you have to play it manually so there's a human quality to the results.

Historically, probably the Juno 60. For years this was my main synth. Same reasons I think - easy to use, sounds good.

I've spent many hours in front of more complicated units - things like the Yamaha DX/TX/SY units, Waldorf XT/Blofeld, things with buttons instead of rows of knobs/sliders such as the Bit 99 or DW8000, things which had lots of sliders but had other navigational barriers like the JX-10 w/PG-800. Typically, because this is an expressive hobby and I don't have all the time to devote to it, as soon as an interface gets in the way, I'll steer away from it and just use simpler things instead, sound regardless. I'll find other ways to get the kind of tones I'm after. Interfaces do not make a synth, but they can break it, I think. I'd sooner have a knobby mono, than a computer with endlessly tweakable parameters.

This also goes for DAWs. Anything that's not intuitive or can't be solved in five minutes of usefully searching the manual just pisses me off.

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by pflosi » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:44 pm

Counting all time spent in from of a synth (noodling), or only actual recording for the purpose of creating tracks? I.e., the one I like to program the most or the one that's used most in the actual music?

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by vicd » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:46 pm

Okay, so "spend the most time" does not imply "get your best results from" or "favorite", right?
I'd then second the original thought and would believe something's wrong with the machine's UI and user interaction if it forces the user to spend time.... :mrgreen:

Time to start thinking of a DX7 (or pretty much anything with "editing-through-a-keyhole" interface - Matrix1000?). Or maybe no - I already have the EMUs for that kind of killing time.

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by meatballfulton » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:32 pm

It's the only one with a keyboard ;) the others are driven over MIDI. It is also my MIDI and audio interface to my computer.

So if I want to turn it on and play at a moment's notice it's the only choice. To play anything else requires me to fire it up anyway ;)

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It does all the bread and butter sounds, it samples, it sequences...I could live without all the others but the XF6 is the core instrument.
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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by GuyaGuy » Sat Dec 28, 2013 5:51 pm

Poly Evolver KB because it's so versatile:

- analog subtractive synthesis
- wavetables
- FM
- Karplus Strong synthesis
- semi-modular routing
- 16x4 sequencer
- poly, mono, and unison
- 3 filters
- 3 envelopes
- 3 delays
- 4 LFOs
- nice 5 oct kb

Its versatility makes me spend a lot of time with it because it can handle a lot of duties AND because it can take some time programming a more complex patch.

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by griffin avid » Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:57 pm

pflosi: Counting all time spent in from of a synth (noodling), or only actual recording for the purpose of creating tracks?

"....someone was starting a timer every time you sat down in front of one of your synthesizers."
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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by Aaron2 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 7:58 pm

To qualify what I'm about to say, I'll say that I'm still learning synthesis and the art of using a 16-step sequencer to create cool-sounding patterns. So lately I've been gravitating toward simpler instruments that allow me to study some of those fundamentals more closely.

With that said, I've been playing the heck out of the Volca Bass. It's a nice three-oscillator synth with all the basic controls, but not an overwhelming number of modulation options, and a very intuitive 16-step sequencer. It's really easy to use in the sense that you can focus on the sound and the sequence without having to run to a manual every five minutes.

I would highly recommend this as a first synth. It's a good teaching tool, inexpensive, portable, and a lot of fun, frankly. I jam on the couch with this thing all the time. :lol:

But if I'm seriously trying to write something, I use the Analog Four as a starting place. Although it's the exact opposite of the Volca. You find yourself running to the manual quite often because it's a fairly complicated machine.

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by phesago » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:15 pm

Xpander. I cant really explain why that weird hummy like quality to the sounds enthralls me, but i find it use it quite a bit. Ill spend hours trying to find the perfect sound form it to go into my track(even if it doesnt make the cut). It is so easy to use and so powerful(for what it does). It's a little boring sometimes, but often titme I start with it and fill in the gaps to the track where the xpander isnt doing the trick.

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by CfNorENa » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:36 pm

Well, like meatballfulton, I've got a big workstation at the center of my rig (in my case, the Korg Kronos). So almost by default that is the most used.

But to give an answer more in the spirit of the thread (as I understand it), I'll go with the Prophet 5. Why? It satisfies on every level: (i) I love the way it sounds; (ii) the interface makes sound design intuitive and fun; (iii) whenever I sit down to it, I feel like I'm at the dashboard of a luxury car. Or put another way: when I'm actually making music, it always seems to fit the mix perfectly, and when I'm just twiddling knobs and geeking out, it gives me the most joy ("wow, I can't believe I really have a Prophet 5")...

By contrast, I find the MKS-70 very useful for my music, but not all that fun to work with; when I play the Microwave XTk, I always feel like I'm in an exotic foreign country -- lots of confusion punctuated by moments of wonder. For pure tone, the SEM is king in my setup, but as a pianist first, I still turn to polysynths more often.

So they all get used, but I'm pretty sure I log the most hours in front of the Prophet 5 (again, not counting the Kronos).

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by 8bit9bot » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:49 pm

i spent a lot of time w/ the Yamaha DX21 because i use it to gig... when i rehearse i'm using it the entire time - for that matter i've had a DX21 since the 80s so i guess i've logged the most hours on it if you count my entire lifetime

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Re: Why do you use the Synthesizer you use most?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:55 pm

Because all of the sounds it makes are inspiring to me.
Because I have a pleasing aesthetic experience when I use it.
Because it has diverse functionality.
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