Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound)

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Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound)

Postby cemscem » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:01 pm

I'm looking to get my first synth. I will mostly be using the synth for producing 80s funk, disco music. I have done some research and came up with three tough choices

MICROKORG - Brand New (USD$400)
KORG R3 - USED 2 y.o (USD$400)
Roland Gaia - NEW (USD$600)

I don't mind paying $200 extra if it's worth it. Thank you...
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby ranzee » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:39 pm

All 3 are virtual analog (VA) synths. The Microkorg has the least voices with 4, the R3 has 8 and the Roland Gaia has 64 voices. I own the Microkorg - and like it a lot - but I wished I got the Gaia (and now I'll probably just wait and get the JD-Xi when it comes out). Also why not try out the Novation Mininova (only has 18 voices) - but also similar price range.

so ... to add

Novation MiniNova NEW (USD $400)
Roland JD-Xi NEW (USD $500)

So now to your list ... The Korg MicroKorg and the R3 are both based on the MS2000 (MMT) technology - and it really is quite old tbh. Roland has probably got the newer tech of the list there - and definitely more bang for the buck.

Why brand new? Most of these go much cheaper 2nd hand - and they are usually in good condition!
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby meatballfulton » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:04 pm

The R3 is based on the Korg Radias, not the MS2000

I would recommend the Gaia for the type of sounds you want.
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby ranzee » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:22 am

Splitting hairs ... The Radias is based on the MS2000. Also quote from this site (VSE):

Occupying the middle ground in Korg's MMT lineup between the flagship Radias and the ultra-portable microKorg XL, the R3 delivers sophisticated virtual analog power in a compact yet sturdy package. Its 37 full-sized, velocity-sensitive keys and four assignable knobs make it a lightweight yet flexible performance instrument for shaping classic modeled sounds with a synthesis engine in the spirit of the MS2000.


However, the recommendation for the Gaia I do agree with :)
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby Stab Frenzy » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:11 am

The Radias isn't based on the MS2000 actually, they came up with a new engine for it.

Anyway of the three the OP mentioned the R3 is the better one, but the Novation Ultranova is hands down a better synth than anything mentioned in this thread so far. Looks a little hokey but sounds great and is very easy to program.
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby Chewy » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:45 am

If you're wanting to make 80s type sounds, why not go for a synth from the 80s?

There are many that are relatively affordable, and even cheaper than the prices for the VAs you posted. For example, you could get a Korg Poly 800 or EX-800 for like $300 or less a lot of the time. Although they have paraphonic polyphony (all voices go through 1 filter), they are actual analogs. There are lots of other options, analog, hybrid, and digital from the 80s and beyond in that price range and even cheaper. I'd recommend looking into some

EDIT: I think I should add to my comment. I (personally) think the Microkorg is lame, as do quite a few others, so I wouldn't suggest getting it. Also, if I had to recommend any of the synths you mentioned, it would be the SH-01 (Gaia). That is the only one of the three that has a knob/slider per function interface, which would help you out greatly since you're a beginner, as it'll enable you to get a good grasp on subtractive synthesis much faster than you would with a menu-oriented synth. I wouldn't wanna pay $600 for it (well, I don't really want it at all, at this point) though, maybe try to find one used in good condition if you get one.

Other cool, (relatively) inexpensive synths include:
  • Korg Poly-61 -- Early 80s (DCO) analog poly. There's an earlier version without MIDI, and one with (-61M)
  • Roland JX-3P/MKS-30 -- Another Early 80s (DCO) analog poly
  • Roland JX-8P -- Mid 80s (DCO) analog poly. Slow LFOs and envelopes
  • Roland Alpha Juno 1 or 2/HS-10/HS-80/MKS-50 -- Mid to late 80s (DCO) analog poly. I have one of these (Alpha Juno 2)
  • Oberheim Matrix-6/6R -- Another 80s analog poly with DCOs
  • Ensoniq ESQ-1 -- mid to late 80s hybrid (digital "oscillators," analog filter). I have one. [There's also the follow up SQ-80, although it normally goes for more]
  • Korg DW-8000/EX-8000 -- Awesome mid 80s hybrid. I have a DW-8000 and love it
  • Kawai K3/K3m -- another mid 80s hybrid
  • Casio SD synths (HT series and HZ-600) -- Late 80s hybrids. They may be Casio, but they're actually pretty cool
  • Casio CZ series synths -- Mid 80s digital synths, I personally think they're kinda neat. I have a CZ-5000
  • Roland JP-8000/JP-8080 -- Late 90s virtual analog. Knob/slider per function. (In)Famous for their supersaw waves. I have a JP-8000
  • Roland SH-32 -- early 2000s VA. Cool little desktop synth with knob/slider per function interface. I have one

The JD-Xi suggestion is also a really good one for you

There's a lot more, and clearly you'd have to get em used, but I just figured I'd give more examples of what I was talking about
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby cemscem » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:33 am

I've been looking and considering to get a used 80s model synth. but it's not that easy to find used synths in my country, indonesia. But thanks for the replies, I'm ordering the roland gaia..
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby ranzee » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:30 pm

cemscem wrote:I've been looking and considering to get a used 80s model synth. but it's not that easy to find used synths in my country, indonesia. But thanks for the replies, I'm ordering the roland gaia..


another one to add to your list to check out is the Roland System-1. It does only have 4 voice (2 x Oscillators), but it is pretty powerful.

So I'd check out:

Novation MiniNova
Roland System-1
Roland JD-Xi (when it comes out)

and those you listed ...
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby Chewy » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:01 pm

Ah OK, I didn't know you were in Indonesia. You could always use places like eBay to get older used synths, but I bet a lot probably come from places that would require costly shipping charges to get to you, so I understand what you mean.

Have fun with the SH-01! It should be a pretty nice experience with all of the hands-on control it offers. Let us know how you like it after you've gotten to play with it for a while

Also, welcome to VSE!
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby Ashe37 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:17 am

Alesis Micron or Ion are good for making vintage-y sounds
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:10 am

Stay away from the Gaia, it sounds like cheap plastic. The Microkorg and R3 aren't exactly "analog" in sound, but they at least sound good on their own merits.
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby max badwan » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:18 am

commodorejohn wrote:Stay away from the Gaia, it sounds like cheap plastic.

Funny that. I remember that's what was said about the Juno 106 back around '84, '85.
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby country » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:07 am

I think Roland JD Xi is the best option here. :idea:

Remarkably better sound quality than the other (Roland's newest VA waves plus Super Natural PCM plus true analog engine, good analog filter and analog VCA and newest DAC and preamp out blocks in new JD-Xi!!), great 4-track pattern sequencer, no problems with polyphony reserve or with ouput volume. I think it is not only a synth but the best lowbudget groovebox ever made and good useable on stage as a lead/bass analog synth too (better with full-size keys external MIDI keyboard...) JD Xi can be very rich and foreground sounding on ever stage mix (as analog such as digital parts!) Sounds perfect even together with my other vintage analog equipment (Polysix, Moogs...)

Cheers Richie
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby Music Bird » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:31 pm

I tried out the JD-Xi at Guitar Center. I personally think that is great, because you can mix digital waveforms with analog filters, meaning you can create some synth bass sounds with the SuperNatural waves, which are in fact VA, just like the SH-01. But if you want to make Moog or Prophet 5 sounds, you need a Nord Lead (which I tried out at a music store) because it has all the "funky" leads and basses from those keyboards, except you can play the Moog sounds polyphonic.
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Re: Microkorg / Korg R3 / Roland Gaia (Looking for 80s sound

Postby Psy_Free » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:31 pm

Music Bird wrote:because you can mix digital waveforms with analog filters,


No you can't. The analog filter (LPF only) can only be used with the analog synth part. The filters used by the digital parts are digital.
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