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The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:02 pm
by Chewy
Hey guys,

This isn't really a typical shootout thread, but I thought this would be the best place for it. Its purpose is to discuss analog polysynths, any of them; Which ones you like, which you don't like, and (preferably) why. Any thoughts on specs/features, interface, and of course sound, are welcome. This includes things like number of OSC/voice (& whether there are different modes), the oscillators themselves, what the LFOs, EGs, and filters are like (and how many there are), how editing is achieved, and what it sounds like.

Of course, a lot of these questions will have to be answered subjectively, due to their nature, but I think the input will still be useful. The only analog poly I have is an Alpha Juno 2, so I'd definitely like to hear what people think of others.

Also, even if you like something that many do not, please express your feelings on it!

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:15 am
by megamanx
In my lifetime I have only owned 4 analog polyphonic synths, my first one was a roland alpha juno, which I liked and don't remember why I sold it. The second one was a dsi prophet 08 module, which I liked as well but felt it lacked character (whatever that means). Then I bought a chroma polaris which I still own and use it often. The last poly synth was an elektron analog4 which I really liked but sold because I stoped using it.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:44 pm
by tomorrowstops
I've had a bunch of analog polys:

Juno 6 - first one; ok sounding, but kind of a one trick pony.
Prophet 08 - ok sounding, definitely modern, HATED the gui.
Poly Evolver - better sounding, HATED only 4 note polyphony.
Prophet 5 - EXCELLENT. Wish I had kept it.
Prophet 600 - EXCELLENT. Wish I had kept it.
Jupiter 6 - pretty great, but not exactly my thing.
Polysix - pretty great, but kind of a one trick pony.
CS-50 - EXCELLENT, shouldn't have sold it. I did kinda hate the 4 note polyphony though (not why I sold it).

Obviously its all subjective. Poly synths are tough for me, because I always feel they're compromised somehow by the polyphony. Mono synths always seem to go deeper and are more well rounded to my ears. When you start multitracking monos to create chords, you can totally kill polys altogether.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:51 am
by TinyWight
I love analog polys. I also love digital polys, but I'll stick with analog (non-divide-down) for the purposes of this thread.

Here's what I've have or had, and what I think, or thought:

Oberheim OBXA: Just a wonderful sounding synth. 8 voices of untamed (for better or worse) analog bliss. Deceptively flexible in spite of its very simple programming interface. Can be doubled for 4/4 layering, has unison, and can do doubled unison with some seriously intense results. I'm not a fan of the feel of Pratt Reed keyboards (also called J-wire, I believe?), but I just love the sound so much that I get over it pretty quickly. Great OSC sync stuff. I could go on and on. Needs (auto)tuning every few hours, but letting it drift a bit can yield nice results.

Roland Jupiter 8: My most recent acquisition. An absolute joy to play on every level. By far the most sonically "satisfying" synth I've played, either mono or poly. It's just exactly right. Doesn't do everything, but it is surprisingly flexible. Definitely has its own sound; completely up-front, never wishy-washy. If it had routable velocity sensitivity and aftertouch, I think my head would probably explode.

Roland Jupiter 6: The way the resonance works on the JP6 bugs the h**l out of me, but you can dial in some really amazing stuff if you take care. Although there's no velocity sensitivity or aftertouch, you can get some amazingly lively, expressive stuff out of it. Great all-around synth, capable of doing pretty much anything, especially if you apply the resonance/volume mod (which I haven't, yet). Oh! And you sure as h**l want the Europa upgrade.

Roland Juno 60: Really fantastic Roland sound, super easy to get something nice out of it. Chords are lovely and clear in most cases. Low notes hold together nicely. Great for pads, strings, stabs, arpeggios.

Roland Juno 106: Great synth, easy as h**l to program. A little thin and metallic to my ears, but I love it. Great for pads, strings and stabs. Sort of in the same wheelhouse as the Juno 60, but somehow has a more digital sound, for lack of a better word. Metallic. Colder. Still, awesome. A real workhorse.

Roland Alpha Juno 1: Don't really use it, but it's cheap, and the sound is pretty great! Programming is gross. 6 note poly with two oscillators, sub and noise for under $200 is kind of a no-brainer, yeah? Make no mistake - this thing sounds good! Very analog. More like the Juno 60 than the 106, in my opinion.

Roland Super JX-10: I'm kind of meh about this synth. Programming sucks without the PG-800. Does a few things really well (the Twin Peaks soundtrack is a good example); pads, pads, strings, pads, sluggish stabs, pads. I don't usually bother dipping below C2 or so because the notes are just sort of ugly. Sounds dated, but not in a good way. Still, 12 voice poly for $500 most days. If the sound is your thing, it's a great bargain. Velocity sensitive, aftertouch, stackable voices. On paper, it's amazing! If only it sounded a little better, and had punchier envelopes...

DSI Prophet 08: Don't love it, but it's so goddamned flexible that it's often the synth I sit down at first. Massive routing options, but it's sort of hard to get it to sound vintage. Does a lot of things well, but just has that big but cold DSI sound. Comes alive with effects, but the raw sound just lacks some essential, satisfying quality. With great care, amazing stuff can come out of this synth, but careless programming often results in complex, evolving, moving, and yet somehow crappy, sounds.

Yamaha CS-50: The very same one that Tomorrowstops mentions in his reply! This thing sounded sort of great, and the aftertouch was absolutely incredible. I mean it - the best ever. Perfect. But at the end of the day it didn't "do it" for me. Not sure why I didn't connect with it, but something was missing.

Korg Mono/Poly: A very unusual synth, with a very distinctive character. 4 notes isn't enough poly to keep me happy. I use long release quite a bit, and, as with the CS-50, chords just disappear as one replaces the other. 6 note poly is what I'd consider a minimum for practical, flexible use. Not a fan of the Mono/Poly for polyphonic stuff.


Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:13 pm
by Pro5
Roland Alpha Juno 1: 6 note poly with two oscillators, sub and noise for under $200 is kind of a no-brainer
Minor correction - Alpha Junos only have one osc but it can have mixed waves that fake it (but still is strictly one osc + sub just like any other juno).


Polysix - Along with the JX-3P probably the favourite Analog poly I've owned. [ Update: Juno 106 is the best all round analog poly synth I've owned ] Yeah it's fairly simple but I wouldn't call it a one trick pony. It was far more versatile and interesting than the Juno 60/6 I had and sounded much more organic and alive... yes 'alive'. [ Update > Only applies vs the 6/60 and alphas the 106 however is THE best Roland I've ever used and I love it. It makes sounds that defy its class of 'basic synth' it just sounds beautiful and very very useful for real, productive music ] 106 is my favourite analog synth, I'll take it over the Prophet 5 even.

High points - The SSM filter -lovely - and the discreet voltage controlled oscillators which give it that alive VCO vibe you want but manages to stay very well in tune. Great knobs that last well, SEPARATE PWM LFO unlike Juno (or even Prophet 5/6!) which is very handy for me.. oh and it looks pretty damn tasty as well. Once you learn how to program it beyond basic sounds it'll do beautiful/impressive drones and sweeps all day long. Unison mode is a monster for such a 'simple' poly.

JX-3P - less organic, less fluid than Juno 6/60 or Polysix BUT because it has DUAL OSCS it does things the others don't (I like how it compliments the Polysix - moreso than the Juno which is very samey and simple). With the 3P you can create some weird tones, Sync tones, and to me it always held up better in the lower octaves than ANY juno (even if the junos sound more bassy) I find the dual oscs on a DCO synth are more to my taste - to give it a bit of that more expensive poly synth sound (ie a mini jupiter). While the Juno 60 sounds closer in some ways it just doesn't have enough features to get you off the beaten track. JX-3P does some great layered bass ( it's not a bass monster but it's pretty punchy down there) and while it's tricky to program at first, soon you'll get the hang of it and draw sounds from it that shouldn't be do-able on a synth that costs so little!!

High points: IR3109 Filter, one of Roland's finest - better at low resonance and not quite as sweet as the Juno 60's sound but still nice to have that filter in a Dual osc synth (unlike the 8P which has a really.. boring filter). Gorillaz (Damon Albarn) for one has used the 3P and Polysix combo for many years!

Juno 6/60 - had them both, liked them both for approx 3 months then, as always, I just get extremely fed up with owning a synth that you can't stretch your legs on. Yes it sounds sweet, it's arp is one of the best, it's punchy and the filter is great. you modulate the sound and get a nice CS-80 bladerunner style thing going, You can't make the Juno sound bad as such. I think the "juno = samey tone" applies more to the 6/60 than the others in the series. The 106 is more versatile and more musical for modern production.

Alpha Juno (1/2/MKS-50) - had them all. These are fun little synths with a sweet punchy, pleasant sound. The filter doesn't have too much class or grace and is a tad plastic (same filter as the JX-8P/10) but it's osc is a lot more interesting and to me sounds nicer than the 8P/10 (but nowhere near as 'analog' or alive/vibey as the JX-3P which is not in the slightest digital sounding, the Alpha Junos are very very close to a warm digital sound). Still, they are great instruments and I've loved all the ones I've owned (had 2xJuno 1, 5xJuno2 and 1 MKS) - as always, it's the sound and range that makes me get rid of them eventually. Though I do sometimes miss that sweet little bass tone and some of the (thin) pads and sweeps. It's like a tamer SH-101 on the bass... and very bouncy. Programming it is horrible without a midi box.

Juno 106: (edit/Update) Juno wise I'd definitely recommend the Juno 106 as the sweet spot. I honestly prefer its sound to the 6/60 even though you get people parroting that the 6/60 is 'better' just because it's a bit more vintage sounding and has faster envs (and probably due to wooden end caps which I was never a fan of on the juno anyway), but I found it quite hard to get the 6/60 to fit with my kind of music, it's very much an 'on/off' sounding synth with very little nuanced or refined tone - conversely the Juno 106 absolutely SINGS... (it's like heaven has set forth a bunch of grey angels from 1984 into your ears when you have a res sweep on this with poly portamento on -through delay/verb - nothing compares, certainly no digital) it's one of the most beautiful synths I've ever heard (of course through effects - but not all synths through effects are equal, the Juno 106 really takes well to effects and puts you into Jupiter areas of sound for a lot of cases). The 106 is very much the 'full monty' of the Juno range and is clearly the more professional instrument and well thought out player's instrument and sound design instrument of all the junos. To me it looks the best, it works the best, it feels the best (they keybed is NICER than the 6/60 even though it has the same actual keys the keybed system is different - same as the 3P while the 6/60 has leaf switch on metal bar which feels a bit clunkier) and I love the end caps on the 106. funky and solid and ZERO chipping of any wood.

Also while I do like the ARP on the 6/60 I can say I do NOT miss it in comparison to how great having poly portamento is instead (besides you can MIDI up a SEQ or run it from the ARP on another synth as I do from my Sub 37! Which is a much better arp than the 6/60 anyway). Even the 'no go' of DCO UNISON (an actual real feature meant to be used on the 106 vs the clunky service mode 'unison' on the 6/60 which sounds terrible) can actually work well on portamento notes held low, it has this unique metal/spooky texture that is all its own. NOt a horrid sound by any means and can work well in more aggressive or dark music. Think John Carpenter, or Terminator... :twisted: Never EVER did I get the 6/60 or alphas into properly 'dark but sweet' carpenter (prophet 5) areas like I can with the 106!

Beware the nay-sayers (of which I was previously one) simple as it may be it's not THAT simple, it can do plenty and along with effects (and turning the chorus off once in a while) you'll get a lot of mileage out of it, hence it being one of the most popular synths among contemporary artists - it - just - works! :) Now I know why William Orbit is such a fan (he used it extensively on the Ray of light album and it's one of his favourite synths along with the MS20), Chvches also make lots of use of the 106 which I think is what gives them that modern but authentic synth-pop tone, a 6/60 may just sound TOO retro and anything newer would miss the mark (they use a Prophet 08 too but that's not the same at all)

I didn't want to believe until I tried one (again) recently and it nearly made me cry with the beauty, fullness and sheer texture of its tone. The 6/60 is NOT the same and the alpha junos sound like c**p/digital/lost next to the 106. So there you have it, my final Juno opinion and now I understand why the 106 is so damned popular, it's the combination of all it contains and how it feels as an instrument. I believe it's the finest instrument Roland ever made after the Jupiter 8 and even then it does things the JP-8 doesn't quite do as well!

Oh and it has the same filter as the 6/60 and Jupiter 8 just all on one package chip, yes they sound a touch different but in this case I much prefer the sound of the 106 setup, simple as that, it just sounds so musical and the poly portamento, 128 space patch story and nice clean looks (I was never a fan of the antiquated/chunky Juno 60 looks in the end - just seemed a bit OTT for the engine). I could rave on all night about the 106 but many have already said it. I prefer it to the polysix or any other analog I've personally tried, including Dual osc, including VCO - it has character with restraint, it sings but doesn't scream and it works in anything you want to use it in. Workhorse like a great guitar.

JX-8P/MKS-70 - Had both. These are probably my least favourite analogs I've ever had. I just do NOT like the overall tone (even without chorus) no matter what I did. It has a couple of gorgeous pads (soundtrack etc) and some nice strings but even the strings ended up grating, there is something in that osc/filter combo that lends a plastic/coated/dated/cheap sound to these synths IN MY OPINION. Though others swear by them so don't let me put you off. I found it the least useful of my analogs, it made it into the least songs and where it did make it it was always the part that stood out as sounding a bit cliche'd and out of date (and btw I rarely use presets - I'm very into programming custom sounds on all my synths - in advanced FM, V-Synth etc.. so it's not that I can't program sounds).

Akai AX-80 - This is an impressive looking thing! It lights up like an xmas tree (still doesn't look anywhere near as nice as a JD-800 lit up though). Programming is "ok" with the wheel and visual displays but not the best. Sound is aggressive/harsh and sometimes a bit static. This is another DUAL DCO synth and has a CEM filter which definitely gives that bite. It kinda lies somewhere between a JX-8P and Polysix in sound but without the smoothness of either. I don't recommend it from a musicality perspective but it's an interesting synth, just a bit 'hard' toned .

Crumar Performer - Kinda analog 'synth' eh? well it's analog at least. All I can say is, for what it does, it does it very well and it's THAT sound you want if you want THAT sound (think Duran Duran's first 3 albums - all over the first one, and all over the chorus's on the next 2 albums) it can pad/lift a chorus like nothing else and doesn't sound dated as such. Lovely little unit in looks and action and because it's not really a synth you get all that poly to play with without notes cutting off. THESE ARE NOW VERY RARE on the used market because they are kept by the owners, maybe due in part to the DD connection. Honestly I see maybe one every 6 months on ebay if I'm lucky.

Quick mention to the hybrid DW-8000 - has digital oscs (waveforms) but a decent/aggressive analog filter. Clunky keybed but interesting sound. Like an aggressive VA. Would take one over an 8P, AX-80 but not over the 3P or Polysix!!

Haven't had that many analog polys as I do actually love quite a bit of digital (JD-800/990/D-50/V-Synth/DX/SY77 etc) but of those that I have (all on the cheaper end/lower spec market) JUNO 106 is hands down the best 'instrument', the most lovable, the most inspiring AND the most musically useful. The Polysix and JX-3P are the other stand outs.


Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:44 pm
by Chewy
Thanks for the replies! Before you guys posted, it seemed like maybe no one was going to.

To be clear, I like digital synths as well; I think it's good for one to have variety. I just thought this thread was a cool idea, and wanted to know what people more experienced with analog polys thought about various models, as I only have one.

I already know of/about and have heard most of the synths brought up, except the CS-50, and since it was mentioned more than once, and opinions were pretty positive, I looked it up on youtube. Looks like a pretty neat poly! I've watched some of automatic gainsay's CS-50 videos (Just the oscillator and filter parts so far), and liked what I heard/saw.

And yeah, the alpha junos are not bad little synths. Even if I get a different analog poly, I may very well keep my Alpha Juno 2. And Pro5 is right - it is just one osc + sub/voice, although you can have both a saw and pulse/square at the same time!

On another note, I've seen many different comments, both in and out of this thread, about how the Prophet 08 just doesn't click with people. From what I've heard, it probably wouldn't click with me very well, either. Also, I'm a little bummed to hear what's been said about the JX-10 - I thought it looked pretty cool, and was considering getting one someday, but now I don't know. Thanks for that input!

Also, I own a DW-8000, and it's awesome! Might very well be my favorite out of all that I own. It can sound warm and fat as f u c k very easily, but is also unique. To me, calling its sound reminiscent of an "agressive VA" seems just a little bit insulting. Only 2 traditional waveforms, 16 total, plus a nice analog filter (and I think VCA?) It's a great synth. And the unison modes are sooo thick

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:07 pm
by Pro5
Chewy wrote:To me, calling its sound reminiscent of an "agressive VA" seems just a little bit insulting. Only 2 traditional waveforms, 16 total, plus a nice analog filter (and I think VCA?) It's a great synth. And the unison modes are sooo thick
Unison on a DCO or a digital wave synth will never be 'thick' vs say a Polysix (or VCO synth). It just sounds layered up and plastic.

As for insulting? you aren't a DW-8000 by chance are you? no so don't take it as an insult to yourself OR towards a synth I said was actually pretty good and that I'd take over quite a few others.

To expand on my comment as someone who's owned quite a few synths, when you get used to all types of sounds (inc VA) you may be able to hear what I hear - that due to the oscillators it has a slightly plastic/fake character out of step with a 100% true analog - that is what I meant by "Aggressive VA" - the aggressive part was meant as a compliment, that it's filter has some real good meat to it and much better than most VA filters, though lacking refinement (It was a bit similar to, but nicer than, the AX-80 filter).

First thing you should know when asking for opinions on synths is not to take anything personally said about the sound of them, unless you designed them. We've all bought/used/sold these synths and can all exist without them, there is absolutely no need to take offence nor think anything is an insult. If i want to call a JX-8P a POS for example that is an opinion, not an insult. It's borne from experience and in-depth usage and programming of sounds. I look for and highlight the good/bad in ALL synths to give a fair appraisal, I don't just spout superlatives especially about older budget synths that usually consist of quite a few compromises, yes even my 'beloved' 3P and Polysix that some people think aren't worth the electricity they run on! :lol:

So.. anyway, no not an insult, an observation after running the DW next to various 'full' analogs and Virtual analogs and finding it's ONLY that filter that gives it what we'd think of as an analog sound, and I feel it's let down in the oscs slightly BUT at least those 'weird oscs' do give it more uniqueness and it DOES sound good overall. I just get into minute detail and nit-pick in threads like this as I try to convey as much info as possible in case it's useful to someone. Hence my long posts. :D

And as in my first post:

>>> *Y*M*M*V <<<

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:26 pm
by max badwan
One that hasn't been mentioned yet is the Akai AX 73 - 6 voice VCO synth with CEM chips - external inputs, and flexible voicing options. It probably doesn't get as much love as it should, due to the digital parameter access system so beloved of synth designers/manufacturers in the Eighties, and the omission of sysex in the code.
But it sounds great, and has a nice 6 octave keyboard.

Re: the DW 8000 - I tend to think of this as an "analog" - irrespective of the generators, it sonically pretty much falls within the space an analog synth would occupy. Same goes for the Kawai K3, and the Ensoniq ESQ1/SQ80.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:45 am
by TinyWight
I had the opportunity to try the Akai AX-73. I thought it was okay. Sort of in the same realm as the JX-10, I'd say. Some synths shine without effects, and, in my opinion, the AX-73 definitely wasn't one of those. It sounded SUPER dry to me. Very, very flat. Not -bad- per se, but I'd opine that it's a synth that really depends on effects to bring it to life.

Don't even get me started on the SQ80. I love the $H!t out of that thing.


Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:44 am
by megamanx
I forgot I also used to own both akai ax60 and ax80

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:49 am
by Chewy
Ahhh s h i t!!!
I wrote a huge post and somehow became logged out during it. Had to log in again, and when I did, everything I wrote was gone.

Just know that I wasn't truly offended by your comment, Pro5. There was no anger or hostility or anything, and you misconstrued what I meant by "insult," I just felt that your comment kinda cheapened what the DW-8000 actually is. The "VA" part is what I meant was insulting, not the "aggressive" part. A lot of VAs sound thin, bland, and vanilla (not close to all, though), and the DW does sound nice and warm. Not only that, but VAs don't have VCFs or VCAs either, and they play a huge role in the sound as well, in addition to the source. Also, the part where I said what you wrote was an insult to the DW was a little snippet of a small section of my much larger comment; I didn't feel personally insulted, and again, I didn't mean "insult" in some serious way.

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.)

Also, thanks for the newer comments everyone! I had originally replied to them, but unfortunately I lost everything I typed.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:37 am
by gcoudert
Roland Juno 60 (1985-1990): my first synth. Loved every aspect of it but music was changing and I wanted something different. I should have kept it.

Roland JX-3P (1987-1990): I thought it sounded weak and thin in comparison with the Juno. It was mostly used for lead sounds. Looking back, I wish I had persevered with that thing but it felt more like a toy than a synth at the time. I didn't have the PG200.

Roland JX-8P with PG800 (1988-1992): great synth. I stupidly swapped it along with the synth mentioned below for a Korg M1. Worst move ever. One thing I didn't like is that you almost had to sit on the keyboard to activate aftertouch.

Korg DW8000 (1988-1992): I liked its sound, its unusual keyboard action and aftertouch but it didn't really blend in well with the rest of my gear.

Korg EX-800 (1997-2002): hmmm... Bought for £20 from a local car boot sale and sold for the same price. Hardly used. OK for cheesy 80s cliché patches. Still wish I'd kept it though.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:32 pm
by CfNorENa
Analog polys I've owned:

Roland JX-8P
Roland JX-10
Roland MKS-70
Roland Juno 60
Korg Polysix
Oberheim OB-8
SCI Prophet 600
SCI Prophet 5 (rev 3)

After several years of searching, trading, mixing, and matching, and with the goal of settling on just two, I have ended up with the Prophet 5 and MKS-70 pair. They are almost perfectly complementary: P5 for big, aggressive, "American" sound, and MKS-70 for soft and warm tones; P5 for bass, leads, arps, and brass stabs, MKS-70 for strings, pads, and bell-like timbres; P5 for fast and snappy, MKS-70 for slow and syrupy; P5 for the front of the mix, MKS-70 for sitting in the background. Etc. etc.

I sometimes miss the Polysix (gorgeous SSM filters) and Juno 60 (just a fun synth to play), but I don't have space for all of them (much less the time to play them all), so I think I'm pretty much set on the analog polysynth front. I have zero GAS for any of the recent and upcoming offerings, which is a relief!

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:27 am
by Chewy
I appreciate the contributions coming in! I like reading them (yes, all of them, heh).

I might assemble everyone's thoughts on units, put them in general terms (eg.: JX-8P, 10, and MKS-70's envelopes and LFOs are slow, Jupiter 6's filter resonance is a little odd, AX-73 sounds a bit dry, AX-80's kinda aggressive and harsh [which could be good], etc., and [more positive] things like the JX-10, 8P, & MKS-70 being able to produce some nice strings and pads, Jupiter 6 being a... Jupiter 6, haha, AX-73 having flexible voicing options, AX-80 having a dual DCO/voice and CEM filter, etc. etc.) along with specs and pictures, and put them on my original post.

Not sure if I will do that, but it's an idea I've had. Could be kinda useful for someone looking to buy a poly and maybe compare some against each other.

Re: The thread of many (analog) polys

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:59 pm
by rschnier
The Oberheim Xpander (6-voice) and Matrix-12 (12-voice, basically two Xpanders in a keyboard unit) are worth considering too. Two analog VCOs, analog multi-mode filter (low-pass 6 & 12 dB/O, high-pass, band-pass, more) and multiple VCAs per voice, multiple LFOs and basically a general-purpose computational engine from tying "trackers" together with modulation, lead to some really nice, complex motion on pads and other stringy, warming-type sounds. The UI is pretty accessible too. It's not as "snappy" as a P5 or even some of Oberheim's other offerings like the OB-8 but it can fill some niches that those can't. (I also own Polysix, JX-3P and DW-8000, among others. The DW-8000 will always have a special place in my heart for some reason even though it doesn't have true analog VCOs.)