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Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:20 am
by Percivale
Just to chime in on Roland JX-8P with PG800. I sold it on months after acquiring it, somehow it did not "connect" with me/my existing gear. That is not to say it is not any good - just my view. On the other hand, my Roland Juno-106 sounded really nice! I like its immediacy.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:52 am
by Chewy
Yeah, rschnier, a lot of Oberheim's gear looks and sounds really good. I started reading more info on them not too long before starting this thread; a general analog poly thread needs to have some Oberheim units mentioned for sure.

I can't really afford many Obie synths (at the moment, at least), but one that's more in my budget is the Matrix 6. Might not be as neat as some of their other offerings, but it seems like a nice synth.

I also really like my DW-8000 (heh, if you couldn't tell!), it was my first hybrid and has cool features, sounds really great, and I agree, there's just something about it, too.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:30 pm
by rschnier
The Matrix-6 is nice (I own one as well as Matrix-1000) but be aware that has a different voice architecture than the Xpander and M-12 -- DCOs instead of analog VCOs. The DCOs on the M-6 have independent clocks but the ones on the M-1000 are all driven by the same clock, which unfortunately reduces the nice "analog randomness factor" even further.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:49 pm
by Chewy
Yep, I remembered that Matrix 6 uses DCOs. Honestly, if the DCOs sound good, I feel like I'd almost prefer them, in a lot of cases at least, to VCOs, because of stability. I do know that some VCO synths have fairly stable tuning, but many of them don't. I still wouldn't mind having a VCO poly, though - as they are usually warmer and fatter. How stable are the VCOs in the Xpander and Matrix-12?

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:58 am
by Pro5
Chewy wrote: I will say that I don't get why you call the sound source on the DW "plastic" and "fake. "It's not like it's trying to emulate analog, and gear doesn't need to sound 100% analog to sound good. (And btw, the only reason I was talking about the DW-8000 was that it was brought up and I love it. I never said that the DW sounded "analog," and I also never said that unison modes on synths with digital sound sources sound like unison does on analogs. They don't. But that doesn't mean a synth with digital "oscillators" can't sound thick period.)
Yeah it was a quick throw away comment in an attempt to place it on a sound spectrum for others who may never have used one. I was summing up the sounds of all units compared to each other, so where the Polysix and JX-3p sounded 'really' analog - the DW didn't (it did - but only in the filter) to my ears. That is not to say it didn't sound very nice in itself (which it does and in fact can do some amazing things the others can't). The VA thing was really just a quick opinion on one aspect of it, like how I can sometimes hear in a VA it's not 'quite' there vs a Polysix/JX-3P - nor is the DW - but the DW *IS* more there, more often, than a typical VA for sure. Yes that filter is quite a beast on the DW! :)

And of course not every synth has to conform to some "analog ideal" but the thread was about analogs so objectively comparing them to some "real analog sound ideal" was part of my post. I found my JD-800 actually did more of what I liked to do on the DW-8000, but 'better' (as in the full digital deal without the half of one/half of another thing)

...and while the JD's filter is nowhere near as biting/aggressive as the DW's real analog one, I actually prefer the JD's resonance harmonics and filter smoothness - the short digital waves (saw/square etc) you put through the JD engine felt more fully realised for a musical synth than the ones in the DW) - the resulting overall tone is very musical. DW's end result often sounded like a cross between my AN1x and the AX80 (smooth and plastic in one respect, and harsh and 'cheap' on the other). THIS is just my opinion, so please let's not go in circles on it.

...while my 'pure' analogs did that analog thing better. On it's own, the DW-8000 is a fine synth for sure!

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:46 pm
by rschnier
Chewy wrote:How stable are the VCOs in the Xpander and Matrix-12?
In my experience, quite stable and among the best of this vintage of units. Oberheim used a nice technique where the voice board computer measures the tracking error on each of the VCO chips individually at several points over the range of the VCO (during the VCO Tune step), then uses that data to store a compensation ("tweaking") profile in memory for each chip, which is applied to each VCO as notes are played over the range.

Oberheim took advantage of function that Curtis Electromusic Specialties (makers of the CEM chips used by many synth companies in this era) built into the VCO chips used in the Xpander/M-12 (CEM3374) that was not integrated into other Curtis VCO chips (CEM3340). The way that Oberheim exploited this function makes me wonder if they actually worked with Curtis to design it into the 3374. For what it's worth.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:27 pm
by Chewy
Glad that you posted again, Pro5! Your contributions were nice and thorough, and I was a little worried that maybe you were put off by my other comments, so it's good to see that's not the case. I do not intend to go in circles, especially now that I understand what you really meant.

The JD-800 is one h**l of a cool synth. When I first got into synths a few years ago (only a few years ago because I'm just 19), I wanted one so bad. It looks awesome with its (near?) slider per function interface and silver/grey chassis, has some nice features and waveforms, and of course sounds great for almost any of one's digital needs. Btw, does it live up to its nickname (well, I've seen a few people call it this) of "the pad monster" or "THE pad machine?" (Heh, I think that's what it was)

I know that was also off topic for an analog poly thread, but oh well

Anyways, that's really cool that Oberheim did that with the Xpander and M-12!

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:44 am
by ranzee
I have the following analog poly synths:

Roland MKS-70. I'm currently using MidiQuest or the iPad editor with this - it is amazing - really amazing. The pads are just to die for. I'm hoping to get off my butt and do the EPROM upgrades - as I really want the new PWM features etc.

Korg EX-800. Crazy synth - really whacky! There's no SAW wave - unless you do the Square Wave trickery ;) Such a unique sound. I'm hoping to do the KIWI mod to this to open it up a bit more sonicly.

I intend on purchasing these new synths this year which are also analog poly's:

Roland JD-XA

DSI/Sequential Prophet 6

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:47 am
by Chewy
Good to hear some positive things about the MKS-70 and EX-800!

I was actually thinking about the JXs and MKS-70 today. It is true that their LFOs and EGs are relatively slow, but that would actually be fine for many polysynth sounds (in my opinion, at least). They may not be able to go fast enough for snappier basses, leads, fast arpeggios/sequences, etc., but if you have a few synths, your monosynth(s) (or other, snappier polys too) could cover those, as they're typically monophonic anyway. For stuff like pads and strings, slow LFOs and EGs are fine and can even be desirable. However, I do believe I've seen people comment that the filter isn't very good, and if that's true, then slow LFOs and EGs certainly aren't the biggest problem, haha. Of course that is somewhat subjective, but I wouldn't mind hearing some others' thoughts on the filters. What do you think of the MKS-70's filters, ranzee?

Oh and also, I'm sure I probably already know what the general consensus will be, but what do you guys think of the Poly-61? I actually think it looks/sounds kinda cool (just from what I've read and videos I've seen, though). If I remember correctly, it's kinda a hybrid, but not in the same way as gear like the DW-6000/8000, ESQ-1/SQ-80, Kawai K3, etc., and is still technically an analog poly. I believe I remember hearing that the 2nd oscillator (in each voice) is actually a 4 bit digital "oscillator," and the 1st is a DCO.

And yeah, the JD-XA looks like it could be pretty neat, and the Pro 6 looks awesome!

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:09 am
by max badwan
The Poly 61 is a decent polysynth. I had one for a while, and it made all the noises you'd expect from a synth of that era. No sync, but had a good basic tone - IMHO better than a Juno (I know - heresy). From memory, I liked the strings, organs and filtered synth sounds, bass wasn't at all bad. It was pretty easy to edit, as there weren't too many parameters, but you could coax a wide range on sounds from it, regardless. It is one of those synths that benefits from effects, but then again, they all do.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:32 am
by adamstan
I really like the tone of Poly61 filter - that lovely whistling (on border of self-osc, but not completely there) on high resonance setting :-)

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:14 pm
by Chewy
max badwan wrote:The Poly 61 is a decent polysynth. I had one for a while, and it made all the noises you'd expect from a synth of that era. No sync, but had a good basic tone - IMHO better than a Juno (I know - heresy). From memory, I liked the strings, organs and filtered synth sounds, bass wasn't at all bad. It was pretty easy to edit, as there weren't too many parameters, but you could coax a wide range on sounds from it, regardless. It is one of those synths that benefits from effects, but then again, they all do.
adamstan wrote:I really like the tone of Poly61 filter - that lovely whistling (on border of self-osc, but not completely there) on high resonance setting :-)
Thanks guys, good to hear!

And Max, I feel like I'd kinda agree. Not necessarily that one is definitely better, but it's a good point to bring up, since the Poly-61 and Junos came out at about the same time. Don't get me wrong, the Junos do sound good, but I feel like the reason they get more love than synths like the Poly-61 is simply because they're more famous/better known, and because of the interface (which definitely is important). They're both/all fairly simple synths, but the (original 3) Junos have that nice knob/slider per function interface going on. However, like you said, I doubt the -61 is hard to edit, as it seems very straightforward in terms of editing. Based on the front panel, it looks like editing would be achieved in a similar way to the DW-8000, which is very easy to use. Just type in the Parameter # and move the value slider. [EDIT: on the Poly-61, it's probably a knob; same idea, though. Also, it's nice to know the -61 can pull off a wide range of sounds]

Adamstan, that description of the filter is very nice! For someone like me that's never used one, it gives me a really good idea of what it sounds like

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:19 pm
by adamstan
[EDIT: on the Poly-61, it's probably a knob; same idea, though. Also, it's nice to know the -61 can pull off a wide range of sounds]
Unfortunately, no data slider or knob - just up/down buttons. But it's still pretty fast to edit.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:35 am
by Chewy
adamstan wrote: Unfortunately, no data slider or knob - just up/down buttons. But it's still pretty fast to edit.
Yep, I found that out right after my edit when I searched it on Google images. But yeah, not a big deal, wouldn't slow things down too much

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:02 pm
by hageir
Not mine, but:

Elka Synthex
Teisco SX-210 / SX-240
Akai AX-60 / AX-80
Korg PS-3100 / PS-3200 / PS-3300
Moog MemoryMoog / Polymoog