Affordable Taurus substitute?

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Taurusmoo
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Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:33 pm

Hi synth gurus!

I've been playing bass as my main instrument for more than 30 years now - yes, the stringed variety :shock:

I've been fooling around to and fro on synths too and know my way around basic subtractive synthesis and whatnot, but am clueless as to market development and brand specifics.

For the last few years I've been playing in a seventies style prog rock band - Yes, Genesis, etc.

As a prog rock bass player the genre demands Moog Taurus pedals, or at least a good sounding substitute. So far I've been using Roland PK-5 floor keys with a Roland SH-32 synth module for faking Taurus (the SH-32 fits nicelly on my custommade, hardcased pedalboard - very handy and no need for extra rackspace or keyboard hardcases).

Latelly however I've become less than happy with the SH-32. It's a breeze to edit/program, it's portable and it's fun enough to play around with in the home studio as a cheap VA sound generator, but it really lacks ooomph as a Taurus emulator - I want to make hearts tear loose from ribcages when I step on those pedals and be able to get a SOLID bottom! :evil:

A Moog Little Phatty would probably fit my Taurus needs like a glove, but here in Sweden it will sadly take too big a chunk out of my music funds.

At the moment I'm looking at a few budget alternatives:
- Waldorf Blofeld: Looks great on paper and dirt cheap, but right now there ain't any Blofelds to try out in my local music stores
- Waldorf Pulse, used: one-trick analog pony, but might be a pretty descent Taurus faker. Once again, no unit around to try out myself

Used Nord gear usually go for pretty low prices here, but I don't think that's what I'm looking for.

As there is a lot of synth experience on this forum I would be grateful for hints and tips. A tabletop model is great, but both rack and keyboard options works too, as long as it sounds good.

On todays synth market, what makes a descent, cheap Taurus substitute?
-

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:41 pm

If you're looking for a small module with plenty of punch, have you considered the DSI Desktop Evolver? I have the keyboard version, and it's fantastic. You get two analogue and two digital oscillators, analogue filters, and plenty (I mean, plenty) of control. It might not sound exactly like the Moog, but it can still pack some welly. Thomann sell them.

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:49 pm

Evolver - yeah, there's actually been a few used ones for sale on my favourite swedish instrument trading forums, at very affordable prices, but once again the synth market is a djungle and I don't have a clue about how the Evolver sounds in real life. You thing it would fit the Taurus bill?

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by ryryoftokyo » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:58 pm

http://antti.smartelectronix.com/

+

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/ ... sku=701304

+

Laptop

=

Pretty cheap version of the Taurus.

And look at it this way...the VST is free and the pedalboard is $400. Can't go wrong, honestly. The Taurus is pretty old by now and will be subject to some problems and will also come with a pretty big price tag.

I use that VST a lot and I have no complaints about it. No, it isn't a perfect replication of that sound, but it's pretty god damn close. I'm sure if you could have some analog effects waiting for the sound as it leaves the computer, it could get better.

Hope that helps!

- ry
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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:48 pm

Ryryoftokyo: Thanks for the words, but firstly I allready got a Roland PK-5 pedalboard for miditrigging a synth by foot.

Secondly, yes, the software+laptop solution has crossed my mind, but I don't think thats an option I want to go for.

For playing live I allready lug around my bass gear - usually 4 basses, racked top and 2 large cabs, hardcased effect pedalboard, the PK-5 etc - and I honestly don't want to add a fragile laptop into that equation. You can rack the computer and whatnot, but then the cost becomes kind of steep, and it would still FEEL fragile. Secondly, I'm a bit of a traditionalist, and no matter how much I love computers and software instruments in the studio, I don't want to rely on them on stage for my personal sound generation.

(Another option I've put down is hooking up to our keyboard players big pile of mostly semivintage gear - if I put my midi cable into that snake pit I'll never know what sound I get in the end ;-) )

So, I look for a hardware solution - tabletop, rack or keyboard. Anyone else with words of wisdom to share?

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:50 pm

Taurusmoo wrote:I don't have a clue about how the Evolver sounds in real life. You thing it would fit the Taurus bill?
Well - I have a Moog LP too, and they have different flavours. The Evo is a powerful synth, and you can do a lot with it. But it doesn't have the same filter as the Moog - the Moog, to me, sounds creamier. It depends whether you want exactly the same flavour, or can live with an alternative for the sake of price, convenience, and portability.

There are plenty of demos on the internet, though I know that's not the best way to know how a synth will sound in the flesh. If the ones you see for sale are cheap enough, it might be worth just buying one to try. You could sell it again for what you paid if you weren't happy with it. I don't think there's any real subsitute for just having a go with something for a few months.

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:03 pm

nathanscribe wrote:
Taurusmoo wrote:I don't have a clue about how the Evolver sounds in real life. You thing it would fit the Taurus bill?
Well - I have a Moog LP too, and they have different flavours. The Evo is a powerful synth, and you can do a lot with it. But it doesn't have the same filter as the Moog - the Moog, to me, sounds creamier. It depends whether you want exactly the same flavour, or can live with an alternative for the sake of price, convenience, and portability.

There are plenty of demos on the internet, though I know that's not the best way to know how a synth will sound in the flesh. If the ones you see for sale are cheap enough, it might be worth just buying one to try. You could sell it again for what you paid if you weren't happy with it. I don't think there's any real subsitute for just having a go with something for a few months.
Nathan,
well, as my budget is limited I'm happy to live with a compromise, I just want to come as close to an original Taurus sound as I can get for my bucks.

But what you describe is what make my sound mission kind of mindboggling. As you write I don't get any wiser by soundclips on the net, and I really have to try things out for myself...which is hard to do with understocked music stores and gazillions of brand and model choices on the used market :?

I'm still happy for pointers and hints from you experienced and marketsavvy keyboardians, keep'em comin'

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by pricklyrobot » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:54 pm

How about a Novation BassStation rack? Don't know how it stacks up to a real Taurus, but it's a compact, analog bass synth (with MIDI and CV/gate) that can usually be found for not a lot of money.
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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:14 pm

pricklyrobot wrote:How about a Novation BassStation rack? Don't know how it stacks up to a real Taurus, but it's a compact, analog bass synth (with MIDI and CV/gate) that can usually be found for not a lot of money.
Yeah Robot, a Novation Basstation was what I originally wanted, soundwise they fit my bill. I had to settle for the SH-32 instead, as there's not a lot of Basstations around here and somehow I allways get beaten in the speedrace to buy them :cry:

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Carey M » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:59 pm

If you're on a budget, how about a MFB Synth 2? Apparently the sound is somewhat "moogish" and the price is most certainly right. It's very compact too.

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P.S. Shouldn't this be in Buyer's Guide?

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Henfield » Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:05 am

I haven't tried one myself, but you could look at the Plugiator by Use Audio. This piece of hardware is supposed to have the engine that was in the Minimax by Creamware. On the Moog forum there was a test between the Minimax, vintage Minimoog, and Minimoog Voyager, and they were very surprised as how well the Minimax held up to the sound competition with the real analogs. The Plugiator comes with a Minimoog emulation, Hammond emulation, PPG emulation, and a Vocoder. You can download further emulations from their website for like $40 (US) a piece, and they include an ARP Odyssey emulation, Prophet 5 emulation, and a DX-7 emulation.

I am also a bass player, and I have been thinking of ditching some of my analog gear and getting the Plugiator, keyboard controller, and bass pedal controller, as this setup would be much more reliable than the vintage gear, very expandable with other pieces via MIDI, and will cost less than the real thing!!! (I can never afford all of my analog dreams) Pair this setup up with a Nord Micromodular, and you could choose from Moog sounds, Hammond sounds, ARP sounds, Prophet sounds, and a Modular to boot! You would only need a computer for generating and archiving patches.

One other route is a Basyn analog bass synthesizer, which has very few controls like the original Taurus, and does away with pedals and uses momentary switches, making it a more compact unit. I have looked at their webiste and listened to their samples, but I have not seen any of their units in the flesh, nor have I heard of anyone else buying their unit.

Just my thoughts,

Henfield....................................

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:50 am

Carey: Yeah, I should have posted this in the Buyer's forum instead. Moderators, feel free to move this tread.

Henfield: The Basyn seems kind of cheesy to me, and I'm comfy using the PK-5 as my "trigger unit/controller".

I've read up on the Plugiator, and it seems really interesting. I will have to travel a bit to check it out IRL, but it's definitelly on my to-try-list. Anyone here whith Plugiator opinions to share?

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:12 pm

Update: Speak of the devil... I just tracked down a Novation Basstation and have it on hold for tryout tomorrow!

It's supposedly in very good shape, and if there's no defects I'll buy it straight away. It's a tad overpriced at around 250 US$, but then again the little bugger sounds great and is what I've been looking for for quite a while now.

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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by gd » Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:08 am

You could pick up a Moog Rogue (Radio Shack MG-1) add midi to it for less than $100 and have a great Taurus emulation. These Moogs are not expensive and are very reliable.
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Re: Affordable Taurus substitute?

Post by Taurusmoo » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:47 am

gd wrote:You could pick up a Moog Rogue (Radio Shack MG-1) add midi to it for less than $100 and have a great Taurus emulation. These Moogs are not expensive and are very reliable.
gd, as I wrote I live in Sweden and vintage Moogs are hard to come by here, no matter what model, and are often seriously overpriced. Speaking of the Rogue, the last one I saw here had an asking price of 800 US$, which is kind of ridiculous unless you're a collector or rabid vintage freak.

I've read much good about the Rogue as a Taurus substitute - isn't the Taurus II essentially a Rogue in a different package? - but as I write above it's not an option here.

I have good hopes for the Basstation I wrote about in my last post. It's a synth I actually know how it sounds irl, and if it's in good shape I buy it later today.

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