First Analogue Synth advice/opinions needed!

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First Analogue Synth advice/opinions needed!

Postby Sam_Ual » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:53 am

Hey guys,

first post here

Righto, I'm about to dive into the world of analogue synths and wouldn't mind hearing some opinions on how my dollars would be best spent. I've gotten very familiar with Ableton over the past 6 or so years but I'm ready to step it up a notch with some good hardware equipment.

I'm a big fan of most well known Techno artists, namely Stephan Bodzin, Oliver Huntemann, Maceo Plex etc.

So here's what I'm looking at:

Option 1: Arturia Minibrute 2S + Roland TR8S Drum Machine Option 2: Moog Sub 37

I'm open to all other suggestions also within this kind of price range, but from what I've seen these are the kind of machines that will satisfy the type of sounds I'm looking for.

Obviously option 1 would be more suited to live performances, but that's only a small factor at the present time. I just thought that if I had the funds available for the Moog, as well as being very influenced by the amazing sounds of Mr. Stephan Bodzin, should I just go for it? Or would I find the Minibrute 2S and the TR8S more rewarding in terms of Techno production/creativity/fun etc.

Any replies are much appreciated,

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Re: First Analogue Synth advice/opinions needed!

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:28 am

A specific budget would probably help here, but for starting out I would tend to go for a couple decent but less expensive pieces of gear that complement each other nicely over a single high-priced synth; save that for when you've cut your teeth on a few cheaper ones and really know what you want out of an analogue synthesizer.

That said, if we assume a budget of ~$1300 USD, my suggestion would be a Korg ARP Odyssey clone ($800) and a decent drum machine (I don't really know from these, but the Arturia Drumbrute seems to be a nice-ish option in the $400 range.) Or maybe the Odyssey, a Volca Beats ($170,) and another inexpensive analog synth for good measure (a Microbrute, perhaps?) The Kodyssey would, I think, make for quite a nice starter synth as it has basically all the common functions (PWM, oscillator sync, ring mod, filter & oscillator FM, and a host of modulation options) plus a classic sound. Though if you want something more gnarly/techno, the Korg MS-20 Mini ($450-ish) is a great source for more aggressive sounds but still quite versatile, and frees up more of your budget for a nice drum machine and second synth.
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Re: First Analogue Synth advice/opinions needed!

Postby Ashe37 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:22 pm

Microbrute + Volca Beats + Minilogue is my best guess for that sorta price range.
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Re: First Analogue Synth advice/opinions needed!

Postby clubbedtodeath » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:18 am

My advice would be to forget the drum machine, at least for now, and use Ableton's drum sampler. It's plenty good enough, and makes sidechaining the kick easy.

Do you want a mono or poly? Are you going to cover chords/harmony duties with a softsynth?

Mono-wise, the Korg MS-20, Odyssey or Minibrute are good choices, and more than adequate for bass duties.
- The Korg crucially has an excellent high pass filter that can make basslines scream, and a patchbay.
- The Odyssey has a HPF too, but it's not much better than a shelf EQ. Can do some pretty mean dub bass though!
- The MB can get quite nasty too, but I've struggled to get decent leads out of it (others have not, though; just search YouTube).

If I were to rank them, it'd be: Korg, Odyssey, MB. The Korg is all over many techno and house tracks. If you were leaning towards the MS-20, I'd say go for a full-sized one (eg. vintage, keyboard kit or MS-20M). That'll make plugging in external equipment into the patchbay a lot easier.

Poly synths are more difficult, depending upon your budget. I would recommend the Dave Smith Rev2 here - personal bias, I have one - as it has very flexible modulation options (great for evolving pads, noises, drones, etc), but a very well thought out interface. A dream compared to the Matrix 6 I had, and pretty much trumps most of the virtual analogues I have (Nord, Novation KS) for accessibility and power. Most features have a knob or slider, and menus are at most 1 level deep. It will do a bit of bass, but as this is a poly, you can't expect it to be as good as the monos above in this department.

That said, there are plenty of other synths out there you should check out too, like the Mopho, Pro 2, Minilogue, Prologue, JD-XA (ok, that's analogue/digital).

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