Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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Walter Ego
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by Walter Ego » Mon May 11, 2015 7:28 pm

I'm a big fan of the CZ series. Not everyone's cup of tea for sure, but they can still be had very cheaply. They are also capable of great string sounds and while they can sound warm, they also do the cold-digital-80s thing nicely. The output can be gritty due to the nature of the DACs in the units. Not always high quality but for some that's part of the charm.
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by Zamise » Mon May 11, 2015 7:44 pm

Do not get an AN1X, it probably won't compliment a mostly all analog setup and more likely compete with your analogs. It is one of the better sounding analog modelers IMHO with an analog style control surface (sort of), for gosh sakes don't get an AN1X if you've already got a bunch of analogs it'll be just like getting another analog. Do get one but maybe later maybe, I say get a CS6X now, you can add an AN or DX plg to it later but I'm not finding a need for those yet on my CS6R. It has to have some the best sounding orchestral and choir voices I've ever heard, and if not good enough there is a formant card SG card I think it is that might work in it too, or pianos, drums, XG etc.., and if non of that works it can do a bit of sampling. They might have a workstation that'd does all that too plus some, but the CS6X I think maintains the performance synth ideology, sort of a between workstation and performance synth really, probably cheaper, under-valued, under-appreciated, sleeper, becoming vintageish I think if not already, I probably shouldn't even be mentioning it, shhhhhh. AN1X does have a decent programmable arpegiator over the CS6X's not so much programmable-stuck-with set of arps, but not a deal breaker.
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by priima » Mon May 11, 2015 8:10 pm

Walter Ego wrote:I'm a big fan of the CZ series. Not everyone's cup of tea for sure, but they can still be had very cheaply. They are also capable of great string sounds and while they can sound warm, they also do the cold-digital-80s thing nicely. The output can be gritty due to the nature of the DACs in the units. Not always high quality but for some that's part of the charm.
Any experience with the CZ-5000's onboard sequencer? I've always wanted a CZ-101, its so small and cute. I know that one of the CZs was used throughout most of the Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti albums, although it may be hard to tell since his music is run through so much tape distortion.
Zamise wrote:Do not get an AN1X...
I won't!

The CS6X seems to be in the same vein as the Roland XP-30. Both seem great for solid 'realistic' patches as well as classic cheesy 80's patches that somehow find their way on to most modern keyboards.
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by Rokk » Mon May 11, 2015 9:49 pm

Yamaha DX7 or DX7IID. If you are thinking about digital than this HAS TO BE in your arsenal. 6 OP FM synthesis is very deep and it can give excellent results when you know what you're doing.

Otherwise Waldorf Microwave series is great, especially XT, or mk1 if you want a more raw sound with analog filter.
Ensoniq Fizmo is one crazy machine, but difficult to find and prone to problems.
Kawai K5000S might be interesting, too.
All of them are great digital synths, but still, I won't part with my DX7 ;)

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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by priima » Mon May 11, 2015 10:10 pm

Rokk wrote:Yamaha DX7 or DX7IID. If you are thinking about digital than this HAS TO BE in your arsenal. 6 OP FM synthesis is very deep and it can give excellent results when you know what you're doing.

Otherwise Waldorf Microwave series is great, especially XT, or mk1 if you want a more raw sound with analog filter.
Ensoniq Fizmo is one crazy machine, but difficult to find and prone to problems.
Kawai K5000S might be interesting, too.
All of them are great digital synths, but still, I won't part with my DX7 ;)
I'm really starting to feel the need for a DX7.. I've seen them used in a live setting a few times. I know that I am bound to have one eventually, so why not now? Are there any common recurring electronics issues with DX7s? I have had to deal with voice chip issues with my 106 a few times, which is not fun.

I've always loved the look and sound of the Fizmo from the demos i've seen. It's out of my price range unfortunately! Same with the Kawai. :hi:
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Tue May 12, 2015 3:24 pm

vinyl_junkie wrote: [...] Technics wsa1r
If you can find one, that is.

Great for textural and abstract-sounding stuff.

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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by nvining » Tue May 12, 2015 8:33 pm

I've been kind of puzzling over this myself. At this point my shortlist is the Yamaha FS1R and a DK Synergy (if I can find one with the Kaypro, which seems to be the challenge).
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by elmosexwhistle » Wed May 13, 2015 6:15 am

Except that the An1x can, with all of it's exotic options like FM etc and tons of shaping tools and digital effects, sound VERY digital. It can do a proper good cold DX or PPG sound. It's so damned flexible that I've even managed to get proper authentic D50 and Melotron sounds out of it.

Anyhow, other goodies would be TG/SY77, Ensoniq VFX and Waldorf Microwave XT. Wavetable synths are so much fun!

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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by meatballfulton » Wed May 13, 2015 3:11 pm

priima wrote:I've played with a Blofeld before and i'm really not in to the interface or sound, and its a little over what I want to spend anywaii~
Since Blofeld module is only $450, you are looking for something with keys?

How much knobbiness is required, compared to older digitals the Blofeld interface is a breeze to use.
priima wrote:Any experience with the CZ-5000's onboard sequencer?
I owned one, the step or real time can be chosen per track. Step mode is mono only, you must use real time to play polyphonically. The sequencer requires setting the max number of notes per track and prevents adding new tracks at that point.

In step entry you choose a note duration and then play notes until you want to add a rest or tie (push a button for either) or change the note duration. It's pretty quick to use. Portamento and program changes can be inserted and repeating loops of different bar lengths on each track are allowed for Eno-like random "composition".

Editing is very limited in real time mode...overdub/replace only...but in step mode you can access and edit individual notes.

The sequencer can drive external MIDI gear.

Read about it in the manual.
priima wrote:The CS6X seems to be in the same vein as the Roland XP-30. Both seem great for solid 'realistic' patches as well as classic cheesy 80's patches that somehow find their way on to most modern keyboards.
CS6x is very much like the Motif series minus the sequencing. Sample based (ROMpler), patch complexity is via layering since the modulation routings of a given layer aren't as good as what Rolands offer. Like most Yamahas it has very good performance control routings (knobs, wheels, pedals, AT, ribbon) which compensates for the limited modulation. Knobs under the display help speed up editing.

A phrase sampler is onboard, with a SmartMedia card it's possible to autoload samples when you power the CS on. You can loop and slice beats, process the samples through the filters and FX, etc. Four good sounding effects processors (two assignable as inserts), a good selection of digital filter types and an arpeggiator with 128 preset patterns.

You can fit two PLG boards into the chassis, each is a complete synth that can be played by themselves (routed through the CS effects) or layered with the CS synth engine. Among the available boards is a complete 16 voice DX7-II, a monophonic physical modeling (VL) synth and a 5 voice AN1X.
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by priima » Wed May 13, 2015 3:30 pm

meatballfulton wrote:
priima wrote:I've played with a Blofeld before and i'm really not in to the interface or sound, and its a little over what I want to spend anywaii~
Since Blofeld module is only $450, you are looking for something with keys?
Yes, keys is a must!

Anyone know if there is a Roland JV expansion withe D50 sounds?
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by meatballfulton » Wed May 13, 2015 5:32 pm

Description of all JV expansions
SR-JV80-04: Vintage Synth

I've owned a Roland Vintage expander module for some time now, so I knew pretty much what to expect here. Unfortunately you don't get the superb electronic drum kits from the module, but the patches are broadly similar and are based on a number of classic synths by different manufacturers, not just Roland. Many different analogue synths are featured on this 255-waveform, 255-patch card, from Wasps to Prophets and Moogs -- plus, of course, Roland classics such as the Jupiter 8 and TB303. Numerous digital synths are also featured, providing wave-sequencing patches, LA and FM sounds. No vintage collection would be complete without the Mellotron and here we're treated to a number of sounds, including choir, strings and flute. To finish off, there are a few techno patches and atmospheric pads, as well as the monitor-shattering Earthquake. If you like variety in your nostalgia, this is a card to check out.
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by Swayze » Thu May 14, 2015 9:29 am

priima wrote:
Yes, keys is a must!

Anyone know if there is a Roland JV expansion withe D50 sounds?
It sounds like what you really need is a V-Synth with VC-1 card. You'll get a D-50 emulator and the original D-50 sound sets, plus an extremely flexible synth with sampling. It'll cost you more like $1000, well worth it if you ask me.

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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by priima » Thu May 14, 2015 7:30 pm

Swayze wrote:
priima wrote:
Yes, keys is a must!

Anyone know if there is a Roland JV expansion withe D50 sounds?
It sounds like what you really need is a V-Synth with VC-1 card. You'll get a D-50 emulator and the original D-50 sound sets, plus an extremely flexible synth with sampling. It'll cost you more like $1000, well worth it if you ask me.
As much as i'd like that, I gotta stick to a tighter budget.

I've been going back and forth between looking at the DX7 and the Roland XP-30. Both are very different, but I am attracted to the large library of useful/realistic sounds offered in the XP-30 w/ the numerous JV sound sets. Having the XP would still leave me with an absence of D50 and DX7 sounds, even if there are a few emulations. Hard decision. I know I could always buy multiple over a period of time, but as of now I am a university student with a limited spending income for the next few years.

I did look in to the CS6X which allows a DX7 card to be installed, but I could only find the DX7 expansion online for a few hundred bucks.
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by AdamAnt316 » Fri May 15, 2015 3:54 am

Not 100% sure that it counts, but I've had pretty good luck with the Korg Poly-800 along with my stable of analog keyboards. I'm pretty sure they still go for decent prices; I got mine at a flea market for $100 (could've had one for $40 a few months before, but missed out on it :( ). Just make sure that nobody left a set of batteries in it; mine did, and has had a number of issues which I think are related to internal corrosion from the old battery acid. Here are some examples of my Poly-800 paired with analog keyboards:

(Poly-800 and Farfisa Compact)

(Poly-800 and ARP Solus)


Speaking of Korg, you might want to look into the DS-8. It's an FM synth like the DX-7, but is said to be a bit easier to program. I currently have one on loan; haven't had a chance to do much with it, but it seems to have a fair amount of potential.
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Re: Best Digital Synth to Compliment Analog Setup

Post by Re-Member » Fri May 15, 2015 9:41 pm

If you're on a budget, the DX11 is an even cheaper and more user friendly alternative to the DX7. It's 4-op instead of 6-op, but there's a handful of extra features which make it more similar to programming an analog style synth. Plus you can layer and split sounds in "Performance Mode", allowing you to come up with very interesting sound combinations. At the moment, I use it for massive sounding 4 layer/4 voice pads which would be entirely impossible on the DX7.

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