cheap interesting synths

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by Mooger5 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:39 pm

The Korg DW-6000 should be found for even less money than the 8000. It does some wonderful pads and powerful unison leads and basses as well as clangourous bell noises. It´s not velocity sensitive but so what, right? With 8 waveforms, two oscillators and two envelope generators it´s capable of a wider range of sounds than any Juno.
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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by druzz » Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:11 am

HideawayStudio wrote:
druzz wrote:i am getting a casio cz-5000.
cz-5000 ,cz-1, cz-3000 and cz-101 are all cheap and they seems to sound good and have an interresting interface .
Hmm.. it looks like I'm going to have to get myself a cheap CZ-5000 after 20 years of indecision. :?
i found one for 150 CND with the travelling bag and the manual included. i guess it is a reasonnable price. i will try to get it home.

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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by druzz » Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:18 am

Mooger5 wrote:The Korg DW-6000 should be found for even less money than the 8000. It does some wonderful pads and powerful unison leads and basses as well as clangourous bell noises. It´s not velocity sensitive but so what, right? With 8 waveforms, two oscillators and two envelope generators it´s capable of a wider range of sounds than any Juno.
there are 16 waveforms on the 8000 . the delay on the 8000 is also really plesant. and there is more .personally i would stick to the 8000 . i payed 125$ for mine and only had to change one jack output (cost me 75 cents).

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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by Mooger5 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:28 pm

The 8000 has been getting lots of praise lately so it won´t stay in the cheap synth category for long.
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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by otto » Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:29 pm

I’ve been noticing the most CZ synths selling on ebay right now hover in the $100-$150 range which is a great deal. The nice thing about the CZ synths is the even though you are working with a digital synth, the programming is similar enough to subtractive analog synthesis that the learning curve is shallow. It’s not much more difficult than programming a poly-800. At the same time, the differences make for an interesting alternative. The CZ synths have a grittiness about them and are capable of sounding analog to DX7ish to digitally harsh, watch/listen to some demos online to see what I mean.

I’ve considered selling my CZ-5000 more out of the “less is more” ideology and to keep down the clutter more than anything being wrong or bad about the synth (my workflow is a lot better with less). Keep in mind the prices of these do jump around so now is a good time to buy. I’ve seen CZ-5000s, CZ-1s and CZ-101s all sell for above $300 but right now they are all fetching around $100-$150.
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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by ryryoftokyo » Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:56 pm

A cheap casio keyboard and some trogotronic gear...holy c**p...
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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by balma » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:28 pm

Mooger5 wrote:The 8000 has been getting lots of praise lately so it won´t stay in the cheap synth category for long.
Well that's an interesting observation. A thread about how much your opinion can affect the price of x synth would be good.

I wonder if I go throught all the synths sites (VSE,, matrixsynth, futureproducers, etc etc) praising how great is XX synth during certain period of time, would cause an increment of that synth on $50 or $100 on craiglists and Ebay. Since a lot of consumers, go asking how cool is x synth in order to buy it.

For me a cheap synth is something under $300.

I have seen E-MU command stations with 2 roms on $300 on Ebay. IMO $500 is a good price for a command station, being such a deep and complex synth and sequencer. But they still cheap!
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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by Pro5 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:21 pm

the ultimate cheap synth: a BROKEN Korg Polysix that isn't 'too damaged' and that you can work on yourself :) picked one up for less than £150 recently, one 50p IC swap and £2 battery mod later and it's a minter :) - the sounds coming out of it (through outboard effects) are heaven compared to my previous Juno 6 which was nice but more 'safe' sounding.

If you buy one without the battery problem then of course it goes into another class above the 'cheap' synths and you can expect to pay Juno60 money (or could before the recession hit - rolands seem more recession proof :lol: )

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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by monaro » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:53 pm

Howdy Yall :D :D :D

Well, this is my first post here at VSE !!!!

Id like to start by saying howdy and secondly that Ive been drinking and listening to try to bear with me...

Im a serios bargain hunter......
If it can be had cheap then Ill grab it.

This topic of bargain synths caught my eye so Id like to add my gear list as an example and brief description of the coolness to price factors.

Basicly a list of what can be had for next to nothing but still rock your world.

With me so far?

Here goes...

1) yamaha electone D85, D65 and E70

Absolute BARGAINS !!!!! and they have the same "heart" as the CS 80. Gems, totall analogue gems.
lush strings, plastic organs, cool square waves, spring reverbs and great chorus fx.
The d85 has 3 keyboars, the top one is an amazing preset monosynth with some editing avaliable.
+ you can run what ever you like through theyre excellent 5 speaker amp via rca in.
So far I have picked up a d65 for free in as new condition and a d85 in new condition for $150. one went for AU $104 recently too.
Simply amazing !!!! not convinced ?????
Take a look on youtube. Absolute bargains !!!! get one, thats it , grab one of ebay now!!!

2) casio cz anything.

Slightly analogue....slightly digital. A bit of a strange one really. Kind of why they are cool (and Casio are my fave brand). only starting to scratch the surface on my cz5000 but after looking at one go on you tube Im totally convinced that they are as amazing as ANY other top ranking synth. I bought my cz5000 for AU $174 and was given a cz1000 for free. Again, watch these in action on youtube if your arnt convinced. Still not sure why casio have stigma attached. I love thier products. watch what history has to say about the WK3700 series.

3) yamaha sy 35.

These are truly beautiful sounding machines. Just stunning IMHO. Im not sure if youtube has these puppys on there or not but I loaded some free legal patches off the net and of all my gear, its this one that everyone loves.....even non keyboard players. beautiful, dreamy and ambient.
Strikingly beuatiful sounds through to brutal, ranging everywhere that Id ever want to go and its got a vector joy stick.
thats right ladies ang gents....a joy
Never even come close to editing. I just love the presets and net patches so far. beautiful and only cost me AU $149.

4)casio VL tone.

Heres a 'board that needs no introduction.
Fergie, Human league, that "da da da" song and many others have milked this cow.
Take my word for it. These arnt just "in" cos they are cute.
These little gems are rowdy little analogues in toys clothing just waiting for you to harness theire power.
You can even work out how much you have saved your self on the built in calculator. loads of cool potential here man.....Seriously....all for the princly sum of AU $25.......get one, if your in to synths you wont be able to help your self, youll just love it.

5) yamaha sy 55.

A very complimentry 'board if you have/like the sy 35. Again, a very beautiful sounding machine. Very Enya-ish. Nice choral and vocal stuff + some great old school synth patches. No joystick though but serious guys, unless your really keen, the joy stick is a novelty. You only use it when you first buy it.
Another great "beautiful, dreamy and ambient" synth. Still never programed anything, Im still in love with the factory patches.
Mine cost $65 with 2 easily replaced damaged keys.

6) Roland rs 202.

If you love 70's- 80's sawtooth strings sounds then this is a must have.
All analogue " technology" from ' 76. Also the first roland to get the famous off-I-II modulation fx.
A lot of fun and it folds in to a suit case, so if your in to that sort of "suit case status" then this is a must have. I picked one up for $89.

7) yamaha V50

Im not much in to programing but from what I can tell, this 4 op synth is a bit of a wolf in sheeps clothing.
Some very nice factory patches but nothing Amazing, but once you start layering patches it starts to get really big and fat!!!
Although not used in it, it sounds very similar to the synths used in the 80's movie "labirynth".
It specializez in husky bell and metalic sounds but is good at other things to.
There is someone, I cant remember who, on the net wrote these amazing songs using one.
I was not impressed by the V50 till I heard these, but let me tell you, I could not believe what I was hearing!!!
I picked mine up with one broken key and dead internal battery (now fixed) for a whopping $80.

8 ) roland D20

I think that cos of the "D", this keyboard is always compared and overshadowed by the D50.
Maybe rightfully so, but the D20 has that "roland" sound through and through.
I can only go by the presets but its a very usable sounding 'board. some strong brass and bass patches.
It doesnt wow me but I still like it enough to buy it and play it. A very neat and tidy sound to it. I look forward to hearing what it can do when pushed hard.
I quite like it.
After all, at $40 from a pawnbroker, how can I complain.

9) The commodore 64.

Need I say more?
The worlds first analogue on a chip !!!
As a kid I would be blown away by the songs from games like krakout, commando, grand prix curcuit.
Fiesty little 4 voice analogues with a sub $100 price tag! Prime contender for the most unsung synth of all time.
Im yet to buy but have seen and heard MSSIAH and I cant help but think"man, I gotta have it !!!"
For anyone who hasnt heard of MSSIAH, jump on google and take a good long look cos what these guys have done is nothing short of amazing.
All this with Sid2sid board and shipping........$129 wooo hoooo!!!

10) Ok. now this last one might be a stretch but.....the Elka X705

In a very similar leagueto the electone series but much more hairy chested, livly and in your face.
This thing has a 2 manual organ, a 2 manual strings machine, brass presets on top manual and last but not least.... an amazingly unique mono synth.
The synth part is a pre set synth ( soloist) with filter, res, cut off, atak, decay etc.
VERY clear and livly unit this one. Will effortlessly cut through a mix.
Comes with draw bars, moog ladder filters and a tremendous spring reverb that instantly transports you back to somewher e in the late 60's.
If your lucky enough, the set is completed with an elka tone sa 10 2 channel amp ( a freak with guitar) but most importantly, either an elka tone 700 or 610 rotary cabinet. the sa 10 and 610 are both 100w and sound tremendous.
The rotary cabinets simply must be heard and make everything you send through it sound vintage and cosmic.
Every one who sees and hears it is simply amazed by it.
The whole thibg looks like something out of mission control.
The strings dont sound as much real as they do cool. ala sweet dreams are made of these and other great 80's tones.
Brass is very 70's and in the right context, very usable.
Check it out on you tube. these are an amazing bit of kit and are must have for so many reasons, even if its just for the rotary cab with spring verb.
I love mine and while Im not sure what they are actually worth, I payed a meager $250 for mine.
An Absolute steal if ever there was one !!!!!

Well, there you have it, an unusual line up of gear but I love them all, in particular the electones, elka x705 and the sy 35/55.
Aside from the $250 elka, all were very cheap and thats taking in to consideration the australian price jump.
They are all very unique and have steered my musical directions in ways that I would not have have achieved if I hadnt owned them and owned the more "respected, traditional and horrendously expensive" models like pro V, jupiter 8 or synthex.
Not to discount them cos I aspire to own them but this wierd combo of hardware is just incredible.
With these uncommon synths I can go so many places and still sound nothing like any one else.
Isnt that a large part of the freedom and creativity we all want?
Miles of unique uncharted musical space.....oh man.....Im getting all inthuesed now....

To summarise......

If youre prepaired to be creative, step out side the square, have an edge that most cant even imagine till they hear your music and save a truck load of money at the same time...........then this list may help.
There is plenty of other incredible gear to be had too. I didnt know what most of this stuff was untill I saw it for sale, scurried home to google and ran back to lay down cash.
I couldnt be happier.
I think I forgot to mention that your friends will be totally blown away when they come over and check out your gear.

Hope this helps and have a great day guys :D :D :D

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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by Operatron » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:16 am

just purchased a Casio CZ-5000 and can't wait ! Looking forward to the learning curve (sequencer,architecture ),also looking for a manual....

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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by aeon » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:21 pm

Lots of nice suggestions in this thread.

Yamaha FM modules can be a good way to go for serious synthesis power at a good price - TX7, TX81Z, DX200, for example. Sometimes you can even find a TX802 module for cheap.


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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by masyst » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:33 pm

Demo of my Peavey SpectrumSynth are now up in this thread ... 58#p550858
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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by Drill » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:15 pm

ryryoftokyo wrote:A cheap casio keyboard and some trogotronic gear...holy c**p...
agreed, also, if you want interesting, go to , I believe he's on the board here.

you can ask him about the wgs(weird sound generator) which is made using the PCBs of Raywilson of Music from outer space.

or if you're willing to spend a bit more, get a soundlab mini-synth.

or, Just mod and old casio, and BAM you got "interesting" sounds.

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Re: cheap interesting synths

Post by crystalmsc » Sat Nov 28, 2009 11:27 am

a nice old article from SOS about shopping for cheap synths: ... dgear.html
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