Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

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DesolationBlvd
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Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:50 am

Sequel to "Which JX to complement Alpha Juno?".

Earlier this year, I bought the MKS-80 rev. 5 because it used the IR3R03 instead of the CEM3340 oscillator, so not to step on the sonic ground of a future Curtis-based poly.

This winter seems like the only time I can realize my dream of the big polyphonic analog keyboard experience, complete with hardware envelopes.

It is between the Prophet-5 rev. 3 and OB-8. I have ruled out the OB-Xa. While its 12db/oct mode is a little better than the OB-8's and it has the biggest sound overall, its 24db/oct mode is much worse, it runs the risk of not having all of its voices, the modulation is limited, and the reliability seems to be the worst of all.

Factors in the Prophet-5's favor: availability (seems to come up for sale more often than OB-8), prestige, envelope speed, keybed feel (based only on what I've read), size*, filter FM from poly-mod, and self-oscillation.

Factors in the OB-8's favor: lower price, number of voices, probability of having MIDI, arpeggiator (syncs to clock output that my XP-80 conveniently provides), 12db/oct filter, and Page 2 LFO/portamento features. Not to mention, my Obiebear avatar would be happy.

I have to consider my current and future gear with this purchase. On its own, the OB-8 seems to give me a lot more. But, between the MKS-80 that is the centerpiece of my setup now, and the Tempest I plan on getting next year, which of the two big polys will still have enough unique features?

I know of the modifications available for the OB-8 (one being filter FM), but they look pretty gruesome.

*My stand's second tier is 15 inches deep. The OB-8 is 20 inches deep. Will that be a problem?
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by 8bit9bot » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:06 am

geez man u got that kind of money? if u can afford it, go for prophet 5 - i never saw anyone say "i dont like the prophet 5" - ever

if you cant... get an ob - doesnt matter which one really - i hear they're all great - the older ones are more raw - newer ones have more features - i think the prices on the OB8 are lowest of the bunch

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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by synthparts » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:50 am

Dnn't overlook the biggest advantage of the OB-8 - splits and layering of 2 patches. Also the pan pots for each voice on the side of the synth are great. Playing a layered patch with each of the 8 voices spread out over stereo field is heaven. I don't get why OB-8s don't go for more than P-5s and I like P-5s (have a rev 1) but if I could only have 1 of them it would certainly be an OB-8...
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:54 am

8bit9bot wrote:geez man u got that kind of money?
Zero student debt, among other fortunate circumstances 8-)

Space is the real limitation. My room is really cramped, especially with the remains of a guitar project that went horribly wrong. I would rather sell what I can, so this would take a while.

Everything else will be rack-mounted or desktop after this.
8bit9bot wrote:i never saw anyone say "i dont like the prophet 5" - ever
I actually passed on the Prophet-10 that was on here being sold by The Vintage Lab NYC a few months back. Again, space was the main reason, but at the time, I liked the Prophet sound the least, being a blind Roland fanboy up until recently. I have come around on this.
synthparts wrote:Dnn't overlook the biggest advantage of the OB-8 - splits and layering of 2 patches. Also the pan pots for each voice on the side of the synth are great. Playing a layered patch with each of the 8 voices spread out over stereo field is heaven. I don't get why OB-8s don't go for more than P-5s and I like P-5s (have a rev 1) but if I could only have 1 of them it would certainly be an OB-8...
I could really make good use of stereo spread + unison spread.

Looking at old price guides and listings, OB-8 used to go for as much as Prophet-5, and more than the other OB series models.

You bring me to a good point mentioning the Rev. 1 - it seems that the rev. 1 and 2 Prophet-5s were the ones that made all the hits and gave it its fame.


Also, which is the more reliable Curtis machine?
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by silikon » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:00 am

I'm sort of surprised that you haven't considered the Xpander or Matrix-12... multimode filters, actually CRAZY filtering possibilities, huge modulation possibilities...

Downside; it's the size of a small country. :)
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:56 pm

silikon wrote:I'm sort of surprised that you haven't considered the Xpander or Matrix-12... multimode filters, actually CRAZY filtering possibilities, huge modulation possibilities...

Downside; it's the size of a small country. :)
If the OB-8 would butt out five inches behind the stand arms, I doubt the Matrix-12 would even balance on there. Xpander looks like it would fit easily on the stand, but I'm wondering why they didn't make it a rack unit. I also wonder if Xpander can provide 6 more voices to the Matrix-12.

The other thing going against the Matrix-12 / Xpander is that it belongs to the later generation of Curtis machines.


I might not need Tempest, but one of the old drum machines. They still seem to be cheaper.
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by V301H » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:32 pm

The Prophet has the edge functionally. More Modulation routings, better mixer, individual voice tuning, etc.

The OB8 has a bigger, smoother sound and is essentially two four-voice Synths (addressable on separate channels with MIDI installed) as opposed to one five-voice with the Prophet. The OB8 also has the Page 2 LFO options which can be useful for unusual special effects.

Ideally it would be great to have both. Considering price, versatility, reliability, If you have to pick one and have the space go with the OB8.
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by 8bit9bot » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:36 pm

also... i wouldnt choose my next purchase based on what size keyboard stand i have... just get a new keyboard stand if you want something bigger - it'll be worth it if it's for something you really want

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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:14 am

8bit9bot wrote:also... i wouldnt choose my next purchase based on what size keyboard stand i have... just get a new keyboard stand if you want something bigger - it'll be worth it if it's for something you really want
I decided to check what Roland said about their second tier. They said it would fit a Fantom-G7, so an OB-8 is just a little deeper and narrower. No more worries.

I see only you are voting for the Prophet here. I didn't know it would be this clear-cut. You sure this isn't just because of my Obiebear?

But, after listening to the YouTube demos, I've realized these would fill very different roles. The Prophet-5 would be a specialized instrument - punchy Pro-One basses, screamin' leads, and hard-edged comping. The OB-8 would be the all-around Curtis machine to match the all-around Roland machine.

A Prophet-5 question: Which rev did Nick Rhodes use? I ask because most of my other Prophet-5 heroes used rev. 1 or 2.
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Yamaha SY99/DX100
Waldorf Microwave 1
Simmons SDSV
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by 8bit9bot » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:36 am

i have no issues w/ your obie bear - i think the prophet 5 has the best sonic qualities of any polysynth ever made - but... i am open minded to oberheim gear - i love the oberheim matrix series - also all demos i've heard of the OB series and xpander are even better - so... yeah i'm all for either one... but i think the SCI gear is the warmest... from recordings i've heard... and i used to own a prophet 600 which was so warm it sounded like it was recorded on tape... and that was just the raw output - and note that unlike the roland gear i've been recently pissed off about... turning up the resonance on the prophet 600 makes the output louder... and if you crank it up all the way it distorts! i love it

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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:55 am

8bit9bot wrote:i have no issues w/ your obie bear
I should have phrased it better. I was saying that the Obiebear was possibly convincing everyone else to vote for the OB-8.


Another thing: This will also determine if the MKS-30 stays (OB-8) or goes (Prophet-5). MKS-30 is currently handling the high resonance 24db/oct sounds.
Moog Matriarch
Oberheim OB-8/DSX/DMX
Sequential Prophet 2002/Prophet-5 rev. 4
Ensoniq Mirage/SQ-80
Roland JP-8/SH-101/RS-09/Kiwi-30
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Yamaha SY99/DX100
Waldorf Microwave 1
Simmons SDSV
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by 8bit9bot » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:24 am

my opinion on the mks-30 is... sell it asap - i'd sell that AND get the ob-8 - with the extra money buy some better cables and a midi router for your setup ;)

you may already have that stuff... and i still say if you can afford it get the p5

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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:09 am

8bit9bot wrote:my opinion on the mks-30 is... sell it asap
I've had the MKS-30 for barely two weeks! At the very least, I'm waiting for the rack ears and power button so it will be in full cosmetic condition.
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Roland JP-8/SH-101/RS-09/Kiwi-30
Korg MS-20 Kit/ARP Odyssey FSQ
Yamaha SY99/DX100
Waldorf Microwave 1
Simmons SDSV
Elektron Analog RYTM

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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by silikon » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:26 am

DesolationBlvd wrote: If the OB-8 would butt out five inches behind the stand arms, I doubt the Matrix-12 would even balance on there. Xpander looks like it would fit easily on the stand, but I'm wondering why they didn't make it a rack unit. I also wonder if Xpander can provide 6 more voices to the Matrix-12.

The other thing going against the Matrix-12 / Xpander is that it belongs to the later generation of Curtis machines.


I might not need Tempest, but one of the old drum machines. They still seem to be cheaper.
The Xpander isn't exactly rack size; it's literally the same width as the M-12, and as deep, less the keyboard. I am sure they could have stuffed it into a rack, but here we are...

Also, in genuine interest, why is the later generation of curtis chips a problem?

Lastly -- xpander chain to the M-12 -- what -- 24 oscillators not enough for you? :D
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Re: Which Curtis poly to complement MKS-80?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:48 am

silikon wrote:Also, in genuine interest, why is the later generation of curtis chips a problem?
My lame excuse for "Matrix has the world's worst envelopes", combined with my prejudice against filter-amp and full voice chips stemming from Roland's unreliable 80017A and too-gentle IR3R05 and the almost non-resonant 12db/oct mode on Prophet '08.

For some reason, the Prophet-600 demo videos sound "bigger" and more pleasing on the polyphonic sounds than the Prophet-5 demo videos (does one extra voice make that much of a difference?). That's a late generation CEM machine, right?
silikon wrote:Lastly -- xpander chain to the M-12 -- what -- 24 oscillators not enough for you? :D
Was kinda thinking by the name that it was meant to "Xpand" a Matrix-12 by adding extra polyphony. :?

Further throwing me off is the fact that its little brother, the Matrix-1000, is poly-chainable.
Moog Matriarch
Oberheim OB-8/DSX/DMX
Sequential Prophet 2002/Prophet-5 rev. 4
Ensoniq Mirage/SQ-80
Roland JP-8/SH-101/RS-09/Kiwi-30
Korg MS-20 Kit/ARP Odyssey FSQ
Yamaha SY99/DX100
Waldorf Microwave 1
Simmons SDSV
Elektron Analog RYTM

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