Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation Nova

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Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation Nova

Post by SSquirrel » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:28 pm

Ok, so I'm pondering selling my JX8P+programmer and Juno 106 and buying some new gear. Since they're both old Roland synths I was pondering maybe getting a JP8000 or 8080 to still have access to a lot of the same sounds, plus all the other goodies. I do know that both the MS2000R (or BR) and the Novation Nova are also very good and compact VAs from the same time period, but I'm trying to come up w/a good list of pros and cons for each.

I know that the 8080 has a lot more built into it than the 8000 does, but I am sort of torn as I would really enjoy that ribbon controller I think. The 2 synths I'm looking at selling are my first ones actually and I have a Minibrute on pre-order, but I'm thinking I may also pre-order a Minitaur and fill more sound space w/one of these VAs. I'm not really locked down into one type of music, I like options and tend to flit around between ideas a lot, so flexibility certainly isn't a bad thing. Pretty sure all 3 of the desktop modules offer vocoding capabilities, which could be fun too :)

Any opinions?

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by visceralvoids » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:14 am

I have a love/hate relationship with my JP-8000. It excels at bread and butter sounds like pads/leads/basses and has a definite Roland flavor. However I find it's very limited as far as sound design possibilities go because of the forced LFO options, and lack of a "real" LFO 2. The 8080 has added distortion, unison, and is able to run external audio through it unlike the 8000. While it would be interesting to compare the JPs with your JX8P and Juno, I am sure you would prefer the sound of the analog counterparts.

The MS2000 has a better synth engine, is more versatile and aggressive sounding, but the keybed is not as good as the JP-8000's (quality and the 37 vs. 49 keys thing.) A MS2000r + midi controller would be an awesome combo. You can run external audio through it and mangle it even more than you can with a 8080. The biggest peeve for the MS for me was the filter is volume compensated - crank up the resonance and raise cutoff and the volume drops.

I do not have experience with the Nova, the only Novation I've ever tried was the K-Station (which was cool.)
I can say that the Alesis Ion is a competent VA around the same price of JPs and MS's that you should check out. Make sure you try one in person to see if it has output issues, and if you like the keybed etc. The Ion synth engine is awesome - loopable envelopes like the Ensoniq ESQ-1, three oscs, FM, insane mod matrix, great routing + modulation options. It's little bro Micron has much better fx like reverb, and a sequencer, but is harder to program. Both these Alesis synths have a vocoder and you can run external audio through 'em.

Truth is, these first-generation VAs (minus the Ion I mentioned) have been surpassed by newer stuff, especially in software where "anything is possible" in terms of sound creation. The JP I have is likely going to end up funding a Virus KC, a synth that could keep one busy for years.

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by Z » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:21 am

If the MS2000 had at least 8 voice polyphony, I'd be my pick. Like visceralvoids said, it's much more powerful than the Roland. I've had several MS2000s over the past few years and its 4 voice polyphony has always been a deal breaker.

I bought a SuperNova when it came out in the late 90s. It was great then, but it seems a bit limited sound-wise, but probably more powerful than the Roland. I've always liked the JP-8000, though. Sounds great, feels great and so easy to creat sounds with. I've got the 8080, but I think I'd rather have the keyboard if I had the space.

I think the Roland Gaia sounds pretty good and would be my choice for a VA today.

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:41 am

I'd choose a Radias rack over all three of those, they go for about the same price as a JP8080.

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by SSquirrel » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:57 am

Yeah I still have plenty of time to think it over and watch for good auctions. There's something about the 8000 and I think playing it would be a lot of fun, esp w/the ribbon controller. The 8080 is clearly better from a spec standpoint. The Nova is supposed to have a fantastic vocoder and if I find one cheap enough I may pick it up w/that as its main intention.

The Gaia hasn't grabbed me when I've played with it at Guitar Center, but maybe I just haven't spent enough time with it. Haven't been a fan of the Microkorg XL, which is a shame since its mic is front and center for vocoding. I'm aware of the power of software, but I'm definitely all about knobs and sliders. I think that is part of my problem w/the Microkorg XL, not enough knobs :) The Nova has a 40 band vocoder which would be very cool.

I have read nice things about the MS2000 as well and if I stick w/this range of stuff it may well come down to what I find auctions for heh. I'll check out some videos for the Ion. I already pre-ordered a Minibrute and if I go thru w/my idea of selling the Rolands, I'll add the Minitaur to that list and something else to round things out. I think that years ago when I first started buying Future Music magazine was right around the time all these VAs were coming out originally, so I think I still have all those original reviews. They're things I'm nostalgic for.

I definitely appreciate the viewpoints tho, thank you very much for piping up. Anyone else? :)

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by gordwiebe » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:52 am

I've owned all 3 and sold all three. I've pretty much owned every VA there is(except for a nord) and the only one I've kept, bought a few times and in multiple forms is the Yamaha AN1X (oh, and the VA in the alesis fusion I like quite a lot).

but about these three...

JP8000: amazing interface and great fun to program. unfortunately it is quite limited sound sculpting wise and has a pretty weak sound overall imo. the keybed is pretty crappy too.
MS2000: i kind of like the sound of these in a guilty pleasure sort of way - it's very buzzy and artificial sounding - which can come in handy sometimes. Despite having a ton of knobs I found it a pain to program - the knobs were just layed out in a funny way for me and were WAY too small - I hate that korg has this tiny/cute knob fetish - i just never connected physically with the interface.
Novation Nova: again, I didn't connect with the interface and I found the sound to be pretty bland, mushy and directionless. The new ultranova could be an option if you do like the novation sound - it's priced quite well for what it is i think.

just my two cents! Everybody has their own ears and hands though and, if you can get your hands on anything, an up close and personal experience with any instrument will be the telling factor.

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by visceralvoids » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:07 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:I'd choose a Radias rack over all three of those, they go for about the same price as a JP8080.
I've seen you mention Radias/R3 before, I gotta say, the more I find about about the Radias, the more I like it. It seems like a modern MS2000 + so much more, a sleeper that nobody's explored deep yet, and a programmer's delight. That thing is loaded with like, every feature I can think of except FM.

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:31 am

visceralvoids wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:I'd choose a Radias rack over all three of those, they go for about the same price as a JP8080.
I've seen you mention Radias/R3 before, I gotta say, the more I find about about the Radias, the more I like it. It seems like a modern MS2000 + so much more, a sleeper that nobody's explored deep yet, and a programmer's delight. That thing is loaded with like, every feature I can think of except FM.
Isn't VPM ('Variable Phase Modulation') Korg's name for FM?

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by SSquirrel » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:49 pm

Ashe37 wrote:
Isn't VPM ('Variable Phase Modulation') Korg's name for FM?
Did a little googling and it appears VPM is cross modulation.

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:03 pm

SSquirrel wrote:
Ashe37 wrote:
Isn't VPM ('Variable Phase Modulation') Korg's name for FM?
Did a little googling and it appears VPM is cross modulation.
no, "Cross Mod" is cross modulation.

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Re: Three way VA shootout! JP 8080 vs MS2000R vs Novation No

Post by SSquirrel » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:00 pm

Ashe37 wrote:no, "Cross Mod" is cross modulation.
Not disputing that, just saying what several reviews out there referred to it as. Isn't the first time Korg has given their own names to things.

Hmm...found the wikipedia entry for Korg's Oasys and toward the bottom it says VPM is FM.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korg_OASYS

So what exactly is the difference between cross modulation and frequency modulation? B/c some of what I'm reading says that you end up w/similar sounds. I honestly don't know :)

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