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Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:20 am
by barra
Hi,

I'm interested in getting my first analog synth and would like some advice before I buy. My budget is around 500 dollars. Up until now I have programed by own soft synths using NI Massive. I use samples of old drum machines for my drum tracks and I'm happy doing this for now. So I'm interested in a synth for leads and pads. Here is an idea of the kinds of synth sounds I like:






I have a midi keyboard with a set of 8 midi control nobs so a desktop might well be an option.

I was thinking that maybe I should get a second hand DSI Tetra to get me started. What do you think?

Additionally, I like programming my own algorithms to produce interesting midi data.

Thanks,

Barra.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:16 pm
by smith toppleton
Do you have access to any second-hand shops?

From the links you posted I would recommend something older by Roland, like a JX3P or an Alpha Juno, or one of the rackmount Roland DCO synths in the MKS series. None of these are fun to program, but for the price they sound good. I think the Casio CZ series is also good for the price, but it's very digital sounding.

I don't know much about the DSI Tetra so I can't recommend it or not, but I have a Polyevolver and between the weak filter and "static" sounding oscillators it leaves me a bit cold. I think the DSI sound is something people either gel with and enjoy using or tend to get tired of quickly and graduate to more vintage stuff.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:25 pm
by Hybrid88
That's a pretty broad range of sounds, the first example sounds very SH-101 to me which is both out of budget and not going to be able to do the polyphonic stuff in the other examples you've listed.

Biggest question you need to ask is, do you want a mono or a poly?

Tetra might do some of what you want, but I haven't heard great things. Alternatively look at a secondhand DSI Evolver desktop or Moog Little Phatty for mono stuff.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:03 pm
by Stab Frenzy
Just FYI this is how this topic is truncated on the main page...

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But yeah, I'd avoid the Tetr4, I used to have one and editing it was a real pain, I sold it for an Ultranova and haven't looked back, that's a much better synth for pads.

My advice would be get a Minibrute for leads and an Ultranova for pads. If you've only got $500 now just get the Ultranova. Not analogue, but better on a budget.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:22 pm
by Jabberwalky
If you want mono, you could get something like the Shruthi (build it yourself, or find one on ebay). The Shruthi is geared towards Legowelt style sequencing.

For pads, just get a VA. They are cheap, and do pads just fine.

Where VA s**t falters is in the really snappy basses, or arps.

Ultranova is Stabs fave, and just check out his music to hear it in action.

My personal fave is the Yamaha An1x.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:12 pm
by Psy_Free
+1 for Ultranova, it covers so many bases & is a pad monster to boot. For a budget mono, the Minibrute or Microbrute is also a winner. Has a superbly featured mixable waveshape oscillator & a great filter (not to mention Brute Factor !).

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:15 pm
by megamanx
just wait for the new roland boutique line, have a listen when they come out and make a decision, you already have a midi keyboard so a desktop unit like those might be a good idea.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:50 pm
by stf-ran
If you want analog, not the VA's listed above, get an Alpha Juno 1 or 2. Sounds great at a low price. There is an ipad controller app too that works well.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:35 am
by Aaron2
Psy_Free wrote:+1 for Ultranova, it covers so many bases & is a pad monster to boot. For a budget mono, the Minibrute or Microbrute is also a winner. Has a superbly featured mixable waveshape oscillator & a great filter (not to mention Brute Factor !).
The Novation Mininova is even more budget friendly, but uses the same synth engine as the Ultranova. I like mine. And if you hate mini-keys, you can just use your MIDI controller to play the Mininova.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:26 am
by Hybrid88
hmm ok, I'm not saying the Mininova is a bad synth, and props to Stab for suggesting it anytime someone will listen, but sonically it's about as far from vintage analog as you can get, why would he want that? :?

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:57 am
by Stab Frenzy
Hybrid88 wrote:hmm ok, I'm not saying the Mininova is a bad synth, and props to Stab for suggesting it anytime someone will listen, but sonically it's about as far from vintage analog as you can get, why would he want that? :?
I suggested the Ultranova, although I believe the sound engine is the same. It can do vintage analogue, have a listen to the track in my sig.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:01 pm
by max badwan
stf-ran wrote:If you want analog, not the VA's listed above, get an Alpha Juno 1 or 2. Sounds great at a low price. There is an iPad controller app too that works well.
+ 1

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:45 pm
by Rokk
Not one synth will do it all. I second suggestions of a VA synth for pads and other polyphonic duties and a good VCO monosynth. I for example use Arturia Minibrute for basses, leads, arps and sfx and go with plugins for polyphonic stuff.
I wouldn't mind having a dedicated hardware for these jobs, though.
For a bit more than 500 dollars you can get a 2nd hand Minibrute (which in my opinion beats anything below 1000 dollars) plus if you're lucky a Roland Alpha Juno 1. These can be had for 200-250 dollars if you're lucky. Alternatively, you could also search for Roland SH32 module, which is a sort of a VA module, but I must say it really sounds great when you avoid its weak spots. I used to own one and I regret selling a few years back. Now they are hard to find as people who have them know they are good synths. It's filter is touchy and it's LFO's are so so, but the sound of the oscillators is superb. I actually might get one again.
Another option for polyphonic stuff is the upcoming Roland JU-6 module.
I think in this age of very good softsynths one really has to find hardware synths that offer you something softsynths don't and are thus worthy of having. That goes for both analog and digital.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:41 pm
by max badwan
Thumbs up for the SH 32, and I'd have a look at the Alesis Ion as well.

Re: Suggestion for first analog synth

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:29 am
by commodorejohn
Yeah, you're gonna have trouble finding such a jack-of-all-trades for <= $500, but if you're willing to compromise on knobbiness and settle for a DCO synthesizer it's not completely impossible. The Oberheim Matrix-6 can be had for that or a little over, is a pretty decent all-rounder (though it's a matter of personal opinion whether it really excels at anything, sonically,) and has a lot of modulation options for creating more complex sounds.