Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
0e0
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Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by 0e0 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:20 am

what are your thoughts on:

keyboards:
Ensoniq ESQ-1
Ensoniq SQ-80
Kawai K3
Korg DW-6000
Korg DW-8000

racks:
Ensoniq ESQ-m
Kawai K3m
Korg EX-8000
Waldorf Microwave (not sure if this is comparibly lower priced)

(am i missing anything?)

This topic might've been touched on before but i'm curious about people's opinions on different hybrid synths (gritty digital waveforms with analog filters/gain circuits). I think they are fairly comparible synthesizers and a very cheap way to get a quasi-analog sound.

I've personally owned the DW-8000 and now own the K3m. I got rid of the 8000 because someone offered to buy for almost twice as much as I had paid for it and I didn't really have room for a keyboard (especially one with such a shitty key-bed). I've wanted the k3m since hearing some demos of it on Bluesynths. I do enjoy the SSM filters a lot but find it less expressive than the dw-8000 (and i do love the NJR filter chips in the dw-8000 which i believe does 'borrow' a lot from the SSM - albeit slightly 'wetter' ). The chorus on the K3 is really nice (smoother than the chorus on my MKS-50) but the Delay section of the DW/EX is much more useful imo (accept for the inverted stereo).

I love all the programming options of the ESQ-1 / SQ-80 but I have yet to hear a demo that I find palatable to me.

So, What do you think?

j

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by druzz » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:57 am

i enjoyed the dw-8000 even if its not being used at the moment. the dw-6000 is a dw-8000 with less waveforms and migth be missing other stuff as well , i dont rec omend it.

i have the esqm and i never managed to do any successful editing on it . the interface really sucks. unless you plan on controlling it with a software or a midi controller or just use the presets or have an big amount of patience to waste, stay away from it . the keyboard version seems to have a slygthly better interface with more buttons. the SQ-80 seems to be the king in that serie , more oscillators more possibilities .

waldorf microwave !! isnt that an additive synth? i dont think it belongs in that list . i would love to try one

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:34 am

druzz wrote:waldorf microwave !! isnt that an additive synth? i dont think it belongs in that list . i would love to try one
Nope, wavetable oscs with analogue filter.

The desktop Evolver can be had for cheap these days, it's worth a look-in. I was really into the idea of getting an ESQ-1 when I was fixing one for somebody and played around on it a bit but then got an Evo and there's just so much more you can do on it. It has about 10 times the sonic range, but you're trading polyphony for a broader sonic palette.

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by paugui » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:31 am

How about the Korg DSS-1?
It is similar to the Korg DW-8000, but you can draw your DWGS or build them using additive synthesis and you can also use samples.

It is a great synth in my opinion and an absolute bargain at current prices.

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by druzz » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:24 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
druzz wrote:waldorf microwave !! isnt that an additive synth? i dont think it belongs in that list . i would love to try one
Nope, wavetable oscs with analogue filter.

The desktop Evolver can be had for cheap these days, it's worth a look-in. I was really into the idea of getting an ESQ-1 when I was fixing one for somebody and played around on it a bit but then got an Evo and there's just so much more you can do on it. It has about 10 times the sonic range, but you're trading polyphony for a broader sonic palette.
analog filters !? i missed that detail. so it really belongs in that category!
DOES the microwave xt also has analog filter ????? it is not specified on VSE (or maybe i missed it again)

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by paugui » Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:39 pm

No, only the original Microwave has analog filters.
On the II and XT versions they were replaced by digital filters.

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by schmidtc » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:02 pm

The Ensoniq ESQ-m sounds absolutely fantastic, IMO. Nice texture to the sounds. Crunchy old digital circuitry running into a Curtis filter has a unique character that newer synths lack.

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by otto » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:18 pm

Of the synths you mentioned I’ve had a K3m and ESQ-1. The K3m could do some really deep tight bass and sub bass. It also was very crunchy and digital sounding. In spite of the filters I never thought it was a particularly “warm” sounding synth. Punchy and somewhat gritty but not as low-fi sounding as some synths. I never particularly liked the ESQ-1 overall sound. So I would say that if you don’t like the demos you’ve heard, you aren’t going to like it. It just has a particular sound to it, it can be lo-fi and gritty, it can impersonate a DCO analog synth ok but it always seems to have “that” sound. I thought it could do excellent metallic sounds like bells that were very haunting but beyond that it just didn’t suit me.

I’ve also had multiple evolvers and I think that is a different synth all together than your “vintage” hybrids.
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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by ItsMeOnly » Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:28 pm

1. ex aequo K3m, ESQ, and SQ
I own K3m and I woudn't part with it, ever.

I also heard some stuff from ESQ/SQ and loved it. ESQ-1 gives that provocative touch to sound known from K3, stands out.
4. Microwave
Not owning one, but having a hands-on experience I could say it comes closely to K3, it lacks unpredictability of it though...
5. DWs (I didn't like it).

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by Joey » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:11 am

0e0 wrote:what are your thoughts on:

keyboards:
Ensoniq ESQ-1
Ensoniq SQ-80
Kawai K3
Korg DW-6000
Korg DW-8000

racks:
Ensoniq ESQ-m
Kawai K3m
Korg EX-8000
Waldorf Microwave (not sure if this is comparibly lower priced)
okay the ones I've had experience with:

DW8000 - used to own one. I thought it's sound was just OK, and its features were a bit disappointing. I really liked the sound of its saw wave, but I didn't like the fact that there was only one filter for all voices on the synth. The built in delay is cool because you can slow it down to get chorusing and flanging effects as well, but overall its not a synth i'd ever consider as competition for the others you named.

Ensoniq SQ-80/esq1 - My guitarist owns an sq80 and we use it live (and it gets some use on my recordings too) The clear f**k winner here. Between the MASSIVE sound, sequencer, amazing interface and sheer amount of waves, I think this is the best hybrid synth outside of maybe the Prophet VS or Poly Evolver.

Waldorf Microwave - (had one) Massive sound but the features and crippled interface didnt work well with me. I switched it for an XT and eventually an XTk and havent looked back. You basically have a PPG here, and it is really an amazing synth, I just think the MW2/XT is a better idea (though they arent hybrids). Plus the XTk has a ton of awesome digital filters.
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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by xpander » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

big fan of the SQ80. i've used nearly every synth mentioned, it's my favorite by far.

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by Cupwise » Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:59 pm

"
DW8000 - used to own one. I thought it's sound was just OK, and its features were a bit disappointing. I really liked the sound of its saw wave, but I didn't like the fact that there was only one filter for all voices on the synth. The built in delay is cool because you can slow it down to get chorusing and flanging effects as well, but overall its not a synth i'd ever consider as competition for the others you named.
"

sorry but i am pretty (very, very) sure that you are wrong about the dw having only one filter. it has 8. i have an ex8000 and its the same thing, 8 filters. one for each voice.

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by paugui » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:12 pm

I think so too.
The Poly 800 was one filter for the whole synth, but I don't think the DW8000 is like that.

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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by Joey » Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:15 pm

nope, I'm not wrong. one filter per voice just like the poly 800.

It used to audibly glitch the filter envelope if I played a certain way (retriggering at the wrong times, especially with the arpeggiator, because there was only ONE filter).

Try turning on the arp with a pad sound (or long decaying sound) and playing like 3 or 4 octaves apart, it will freak out.

also when playing with pad sounds it wouldn't retrigger the filter envelope unless I let it totally decay, or if it did, it would retrigger it for all voices, even the ones that had already been played.

All voices do get filtered, but there is only one filter.

this seems to confirm this: http://homepage.mac.com/synth_seal/html/dw8000a.html

maybe mine was broken, but it was very easy to tell that there was only one filter per voice.
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Re: Battle of the lower-priced 'hybrid' synths.

Post by paugui » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:10 pm

I have to say that I thought it was one filter per voice because I always heard people complaining with that on the Poly 800 but never heard those complains before on the DW8000.
I never tried one, so I bet you know it better than me, but I just think is really strange when you consider that there is an upgrade to turn the DW8000 bitimbral.
How can you achieve bitambrality with only one filter on the synth?

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