Battle of the Mono Synths!

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
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OriginalJambo
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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by OriginalJambo » Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:08 am

Box wrote:Had a Poly-800 and despised it. Never really liked the sound of KORG. Idk, maybe I'd like a M/P or MS-20 or the PS series. But it seems KORG always cuts corners. The single filter and digital "oscillators" of the Poly-800, and the second "oscillator" on the Poly-61 is from ROM... Plus I've played with the MicroKORG and it was horrible. Guaranteed the R3 sounds better, so I'm sure the RADIAS would be even better. But I've tried VAs and they just fail in comparison.
Each to his own, although I feel the exact opposite way about KORG as a company - to me they tend to offer more features than you'd expect for the price. Also the majority of their gear seems well-built, reliable and robust. Just look at the microKORG, micro X and Electribe series for the money. To my ears the microKORG sounds pretty good for a VA too. Not very "analogue" granted, but still extremely usable.

They also now own VOX and therefore offer a good selection of hybrid guitar amps at extremely reasonable prices.

Heck it seems Roland are cutting more corners than KORG - repackaging the VA section of the V-Synth as the Roland SH-201 (which is way overpriced IMO) is a start. And now the VP-550 which is just a repackaged version of the VariOS Vocal Designer, and again is damn expensive for what it is. At least the R3 and RADIAS are completely new engines.

Anyway, if I was my choice I'd take the MoPho. :)
Last edited by OriginalJambo on Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by Box » Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:18 am

OriginalJambo wrote:Each to his own, although I feel the exact opposite way about KORG as a company - to me they tend to offer more features than you'd expect for the price. Also the majority of their gear seems well-built, reliable and robust. Just look at the microKORG, micro X and Electribe series for the money. To my ears the microKORG sound pretty good for a VA too. Not very analogue but still extremely usable.

They also now own VOX where they now offer a good selection of hybrid guitar amps at extremely reasonable prices.

Heck it seems Roland are cutting more corners than KORG - repackaging the VA section of the V-Synth as the Roland SH-201 (which is way overpriced IMO) is a start. And then the VP-550 which is just a repackaged version of the VariOS Vocal Designer, and again is damn expensive for what it is.

Anyway, if I was my choice I'd take the MoPho. :)
Maybe it was just the Poly-800 and 61 they cut corners on. For what the MicroKORG/MS2000 are they sound nice. But is it just me or does today's stuff feel way cheaper? I went to GC and the key action of these new synths felt worse than the 20+ year old synths I have. That and the key's plastic is so thin it seems if that if you were to sneeze of them they'd snap in half. It's down between the Pulse and MoPho, unless a $400- MiniMoog drops in... :P
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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by OriginalJambo » Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:59 am

Box wrote:I went to GC and the key action of these new synths felt worse than the 20+ year old synths I have. That and the key's plastic is so thin it seems if that if you were to sneeze of them they'd snap in half.
You're right - there's no denying this. However many modern synths have poorer built quality on most fronts than even the most budget of vintage boards. That includes Roland and Yamaha's offerings too - the only exceptions to this rule are generally the flagship products or modern offerings from boutique companies, the likes of DSI, Moog, etc.

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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by SWAN » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:04 am

Regarding the positive chat on the other page - I have to say - I had a Pulse and sold it. It does do bass - but it is a cold and subby bass sound. Some think it is a bass circuit in there...Not the same sound as the warm fat sound of a Moog. I found the Pulse quite hard and sterile sounding. The filter is not great also - nothing like a Moog filter. Its a fun synth if you like spikey Dance sounds (it has snappy env). However as far as Ive read Im not alone in this view. It is nowhere near a Voyager. Its redeeming features IMO are its envelopes, arpeggiator and modulation options....

I had a DSI Evolver - and it doesnt really do bass power as much as other monos - but Ive heard some encouraging samples from the Mopho - and people commenting on it being gutsier than a P08.

In conclusion tho - I would go for the Neptune II.

Failing that - save or contribute yourself to this gift and buy a second hand Little Phatty. :D

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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by small blue dot » Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:25 am

Yeah, love the little phatty myself. There's a microcon on ebay that ends soon - might be something to consider. Also the MFB synth and synth 2 are supposed to sound moogish on the cheap. I'm not sure exactly what bass sound you're going for.

I currently have a DEVO and the Mopho and they sound surprisingly different side by side. They do share characteristics but the mopho does sound more analog to my ears, the evolver sounds more "processed". I can't compare it to the P'08 but the mopho sounds plenty bassey to me and I've had my fair share of monosynths to compare it to. It's a tight, cleanish-to-sizzly bass kinda 80's Roland-esque but also its own sound IMO. The other thing I like about the mopho is that it is a small, portable, all-in-one unit. With the "push-it" button you can trigger a note or a sequence. Thus, you can do a lot of programming with just the box (too bad it isn't battery powered). Since there aren't a lot of reviews on the mopho, you now have mine. It's impressive and a lot of bang for the buck and most importantly it does have a good overall sound.
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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by Carey M » Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:12 am

SWAN wrote:Regarding the positive chat on the other page - I have to say - I had a Pulse and sold it. It does do bass - but it is a cold and subby bass sound. Some think it is a bass circuit in there...Not the same sound as the warm fat sound of a Moog. I found the Pulse quite hard and sterile sounding. The filter is not great also - nothing like a Moog filter. Its a fun synth if you like spikey Dance sounds (it has snappy env). However as far as Ive read Im not alone in this view. It is nowhere near a Voyager. Its redeeming features IMO are its envelopes, arpeggiator and modulation options....
Yep, very sterile sounding imho. I used one as a live replacement for vintage analogues which worked out fine, but when I tried using it in the studio... it just couldn't deliver (mainly leads, rock band context). Single oscillator Axxe and Micromoog kicked Pulse in the nuts when it came to power and cutting through a mix.

Maybe our Pulses were broken? ;)

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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by DocT » Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:53 am

AS most analogue synths the Pulse has its very own sound character. Some love it some don't.

While creamy warm leads aren't it's strength, I think that it delivers some usable basses though. Maybe not as warm as from a Moog, but imho the term warm is overestimated concerning basses. A bass guitar is far from warm but usually cuts through a mix without effort.

Here is a Pulse bass for example - with some cheese around ;)

http://www.trippler.net/files/sn/wetpampers.mp3

Some more Pulse sounds:

http://www.trippler.net/files/pulse/?N=A

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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by Gamma Goblin » Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:42 pm

I was wondering if anyone here could comment on how the Mopho and SH-101 compare to each other sonically. I was planning on adding an SH-101 to the studio but now I'm thinking about adding a Mopho instead. I'm after that Simon Posford "Hallucinogen" raw aggressive arpeggiator lead sound from his early stuff. I know he did most of this with an SH-101 run through some FX. The Mopho just makes more sense price wise and feature wise but I want to make sure it has that "uniqueness factor" sound wise that made the SH-101 so popular. Thanks in advance!!! : )

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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by shaft9000 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:59 pm

GG:
I wouldn't buy a mopho expecting it to have some the character of an SH-101. They're very different synths made 25 years apart. SH-101's are fairly common, so If you want one, get one.
I hear a lot of Moog ladder filter in Hallucinogen's stuff...the sweeps and resonance is characteristic of 'em. Could be any synth, though. The FX and composition process makes a lot bigger difference than any synth will in that kind of track.
I'd go with a Pulse over a DSI synth for that kind of thing, personally. The saturation at higher resonance in the Pulse's filter is right up that synth's alley. What it was born to do, really. No soft pretty leads here!


...

As for the Pulse, it's aggro and bassy as all h**l. Not so much an instrument as an apparatus for blowing holes thru walls.

If I were you I'd save up for the Neptune, though. It's a more authentic analog than the other two, has a proper interface so you really know what's happening and aren't intimidated.
And it can rip like a f**k, too:
http://matrixsynth.blogspot.com/2008/01 ... track.html

Dunno about the mopho but if it's anything like the Evolver it will do an admirable job of destroying s**t...but the filter doesn't pump down low so good. more 'electronic' than 'meaty'-sounding imho.
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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by hfinn » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:21 pm

My two cents on Korg is that you should not judge them on the Poly-61 or 800. They have A LOT more synths that are far better imho than those two.

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Post by crystalmsc » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:16 am

the Pulse won't give you the thickest/biggest bass, but it has a fast envelope and capable of that aggressive, in your face, fm-ish rumbling basses and hard lead sound. It sounds kinda more modern rather than expecting some pure "raw" vintage tone.
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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by soundxplorer » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:43 pm

SWAN wrote:I had a Pulse and sold it. It does do bass - but it is a cold and subby bass sound. Some think it is a bass circuit in there...Not the same sound as the warm fat sound of a Moog. I found the Pulse quite hard and sterile sounding.
Everyone will have their own preferences, but I would tend to agree with your assessment of the Pulse. It has analog character to it, but it was just too "precise" and "clean" to my ears, so I sold it long ago. I prefer the sound of the MoPho.

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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by Clavier » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:58 am

Box, I don't know if you're still looking, but you should definitely give Korg a second look. For a long time I thought they were a joke, but these days I am finding that the lesser appreciated Korg synths give a lot of features/sound for your dollar. Take the Korg DW-6000. After having mine for a year and not liking anything about it, I recently gave it a second look, and I like what I saw. :thumbup:

Once I gave it a real chance, I realized that it has a really desirable sound. This board has some of the deepest bass I have ever heard! You want bass? Get this, the bass on this thing is so deep and subby that it's my only synth that really needs a subwoofer to feel it. You just gotta know how to dial it in. The good news is that it's tremendously easy to edit, despite the way it appears. I'm not usually into making sound comparisons, but I have found that it has a sound character similar to the Prophet 5 and Minimoog among others. I have actually A/B'ed with my Moog Micro and found that the bass is capable of being deeper on the Korg! This synth is both a great mono and a great poly! The best part? They cost next to nothing! The DW's sell for avg. $80-160.



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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by Box » Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:33 pm

I wish I were still looking. My mom thought she'd surprise me with a Roland JP-8000. I walk in after school on Tuesday and there it was. Apparently she remembered me wanting one a lot when I first got into synthesizers. So she thought I'd like it considering I had the 2 JXs. Sadly she doesn't know the difference between VA and RA or happen to remember me declaring my hatred of VA after selling the Ion. On top of that it's barely usable since ribbon cables are corroded and now I'm trying to find replacements. I don't know if it was an impulsive local buy or a strategically thought out eBay buy. Either way I really don't have the heart to say anything. So now I get to fake loving a synth for the next couple of years...
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Re: Battle of the Mono Synths!

Post by Joey » Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:22 am

Box wrote:I wish I were still looking. My mom thought she'd surprise me with a Roland JP-8000. I walk in after school on Tuesday and there it was. Apparently she remembered me wanting one a lot when I first got into synthesizers. So she thought I'd like it considering I had the 2 JXs. Sadly she doesn't know the difference between VA and RA or happen to remember me declaring my hatred of VA after selling the Ion. On top of that it's barely usable since ribbon cables are corroded and now I'm trying to find replacements. I don't know if it was an impulsive local buy or a strategically thought out eBay buy. Either way I really don't have the heart to say anything. So now I get to fake loving a synth for the next couple of years...
eh don't be a snob dude

your mom got you a synth for nothing!

and its a really good one to boot!

don't try to be analog with it, try to do stuff your analogs can't do!
No one cares, no one sympathizes,
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