Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
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Ianh
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Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Ianh » Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:53 am

I am looking for a mother polysynth for my growing studio and just thought I settled on the Xpander. Then I remembered rare and amazing sounding sunsyn and wondered how they compare.
First I am aware of the not so snappy envelopes on the Xpander THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM.
I am also aware that the sunsyn has a buggy OS. Im not planning to play live with it, so as long as it doesn't l erase all my patches or cease to work than it doesn't bother me.
I want to compare them on:

Sound(Quality/Versatility): From what I understand the Sunsyn has Anolog and Digital oscillators making it capable of fat round and harsh stabby and every thing in between. And the xpander has a thick (not obxa thick) and shimmering sound. But I would love more first hand feed back especially if some owns or has used both of them.

Reliability: Apart from the OS I don't know about the Sunsyn reliability It seams like its mainly transistor based which should be easy enough to repair right? And the Xpander I have heard is very reliable for its age but that Screens and Chips are rare these days if they should go out.

Cost: I know the sunsyn is more expensive is it worth the extra? Or is the Xpander a better use of money.

Lastly If any one can think of another synth to suggest that is at least a 4 voice polly synth with "virtual" or real modular routing please suggest it .

Ps. Not the Andromeda it's layout and sound don't really do it for me.

Any input is greatly Appreciated. Thanks

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by pflosi » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:51 pm

take a look at the studio electronics omega / code too.

since you obviously can't get yourself into the andy ;)

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Ianh » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:49 am

I have looked into the Omega, recently and think it is an option, but would MUCH prefer a sunsyn and they are in the same price range. I may get more serious about a Studio Electronics synthesizer if it proves too difficult to find a sunsyn. I really wish I could get into the andy, It is a very impressive piece of machinery, I would still like to try one out, but It just seams to have a lot of its emphasis in areas that are not important to me and Its weaknesses lie in crucial areas for my ideal instrument. As of now the Sunsyn seems Perfect for me, 2 VCOs and 2 RCOs (now you can sample your own waves) all in virtual modular environment. It has more hands on controls than the Xpander and It has the sound that I have been searching for. Unfortunately people have trouble selling them.

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by xpander » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:45 am

i'd love to check out a Sunsyn, came close to buying one at some point. also worth noting is that the PolyEvolver has a similar core oscillator architecture to the Sunsyn: 2 DCOs and 2 digital waveforms although it should come as little surprise that i think the Xpander sounds much, much better.

btw, contrary to internet, the Xpander can do your stereotypical mini-style bassline. most of what i see people post about envelopes & bass & thickness is pretty much bullshit, let your ears be the judge.

here's one that uses a single voice (1/6th of the voice power of the synth):


here's another bass patch thrown into a multi, layered with another instance of the same patch an octave higher and another instance of the patch an octave lower (6 VCOs total, three identical voices used, 1/2 of the voice power of the Xpander):

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Ianh » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:18 am

I tried out a poly evolver at sam ash and it really didn't do it for me(sound wise and I didn't love the feel of it). Despite the fact that I am very interested to know more about these instruments from first hand experience I realize I would be fortunate to own either of these superb synths. The reason I am being so picky is because I am not planning to buy another powerhouse poly synth anytime soon. I would rather find something as close to the perfect synth for me and master it. If I own too much equipment I become distracted and It is difficult for me to work on the most important thing, music. I kind of started a rant, but I do not want my high standards to come off as simply being unreasonable.

I really like the Xpander demo it certainly shows an aspect of it's capabilities that I had not seen. Thank you Very much.

If any one has any sunsyn demos I would be anxious to hear them, as well as more from the Xpander.

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:30 pm

The PolyEvolver isn't really aimed at making the same sort of sounds as the Xpander or Sunsyn, it's very much suited more for the weird digital distorted timbres. You can program vanilla analogue stuff on it if you know what you're doing, but the sweet spot for that is very small and it's much more work than on either of the other two. (Not that I've ever played with a Sunsyn, but from what I've heard).

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Joey » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:13 pm

xpander wrote:i'd love to check out a Sunsyn, came close to buying one at some point. also worth noting is that the PolyEvolver has a similar core oscillator architecture to the Sunsyn: 2 DCOs and 2 digital waveforms although it should come as little surprise that i think the Xpander sounds much, much better.

btw, contrary to internet, the Xpander can do your stereotypical mini-style bassline. most of what i see people post about envelopes & bass & thickness is pretty much bullshit, let your ears be the judge.

here's one that uses a single voice (1/6th of the voice power of the synth):


here's another bass patch thrown into a multi, layered with another instance of the same patch an octave higher and another instance of the patch an octave lower (6 VCOs total, three identical voices used, 1/2 of the voice power of the Xpander):
that first patch sounded exactly like Lightning Man by Nitzer ebb, or Halo by depeche mode.

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Ianh » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:55 pm

That makes sense about the poly evolver, it did sound very different when I was messing with it. But I couldn't really "tame" the sound.

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by nadafarms » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:35 pm

I really disliked the xpander sound quality and characteristics when I owned one, I think I would way rather have a sunsyn but seriously you could get two xpanders for the price of one sunsyn. the sunsn has been going for like $4000 PLUS.
for sale/trade: EML-101

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Ianh » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:11 pm

Yeah, thats why I am trying to figure out if it is worth it. I mean, price really isn't an issue for me, as long as it is really worth it. I think many old synths are overpriced and under featured. I do not think (from what I have read and heard) that the Sunsyn is one of those. I think 4000 is a fair price considering their rarity. 3000 is a good price for their quality and modulation capabilities. And though I really, really prefer the Sunsyn sound though I also like the Xpander's.

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by xpander » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:01 pm

Ianh wrote:I really like the Xpander demo it certainly shows an aspect of it's capabilities that I had not seen. Thank you Very much.

If any one has any sunsyn demos I would be anxious to hear them, as well as more from the Xpander.
i'll try to throw some more of the Xpander up that showcase some of what i consider its signature sound- however, it has a 15-mode filter and a more modulators per voice than an A6 so it's as limitless as you get in terms of analog sonic capabilities. i'm surprised someone hasn't chimed in with a Sunsyn, i'd love to hear someone throw some audio up from one.

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Ianh » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:32 pm

Thats what really attracts me to both of these synths. They both have a definite "sound" but It isn't limited. I had a mini for a while and though it sounded great It could only sound like a mini. I would love some more Xpander demo's, especially those that focus on its modulation capability. After all though its sound is good, but the main reason I am interested in this machine is its modulation capabilities. And yes if some one has a sunsyn I would greatly appreciate a demonstration.
Thanks for your help.

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by pflosi » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:27 am

since $ doesn't seem to be a big problem for you, and since you mentioned that cv would be nice in the other thread, how about a completely patched out obie 4voice? or maybe a korg ps 3100? you could add things like a moog cp 251 or some modular modules and have endless fun and modulation possibilities. or for hybrids, a waldorf wave?

of course, those are about as hard to come by as the sunsyn...

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by xpander » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:25 am

Joey wrote:
xpander wrote:here's one that uses a single voice (1/6th of the voice power of the synth):
that first patch sounded exactly like Lightning Man by Nitzer ebb, or Halo by depeche mode.
exactly! halo is stereotypical minimoog, although i think the first notes in the bass phrase are with a different synthesizer due to the filter setting. here's something similar on my 1974 minimoog as controlled by digital performer with a pro-2000; the filter is being switched between two settings via midi-to-cv, too:

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Re: Xpander Vs SunSyn vs ???

Post by Ianh » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:30 pm

I have naturally considered all of those. One of my big issues is also maintenance(obie/korg). As good as a 4 voice sounds it would probably be cheaper and easier to 4 new patchable SEMs and rig them to a keyboard. And i still wouldn't have nearly the modulation capabilities for the money(sunsyn). I have lusted after the Korg Ps series, especially the PS-3300, but I have NEVER seen any of the PS series for sale(and probably couldn't afford one if it did). Besides I don't need 48 notes of polyphony, and there modulation is also relatively limited. As for the wave I have looked into it and think it is very cool. But for the money I would rather have a PPG wave or a Prophet Vs.
Those are all awesome synths I just feel that most of their value lies in the nostalgia/exclusivity department.

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