Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

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Blasian92
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Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Blasian92 » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:24 am

Hey everyone I have really been really getting into a lot of bands that use Synthesizers and I have decided I would like to buy one and learn to play...But the problem is I know NOTHING about them.I mean I have no idea what good features and what i should avoid...So can someone point me in the direction of a good Synthesizer that wont break the bank? I really like the roland SH-201 but its a tad expensive for just learning ya know? Um I dont need anything super amazing just something to learn on. : ) Thank you guys so much!

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Spadz » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:58 am

It's kinda large of a question... It depends the type of music you make, what you wanna do with it and your budget.

Start by defining that, then start googling about synths, the different synths types and so on.
THEN post a more precise question. People will be happy to help out if you do that!

You could check synths that completed at around your budget on Ebay, check the model descriptions in VSE.
If you don't know what you are doing, why are you doing it?

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Blasian92 » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:06 am

Well I really like owl city and does it offend you yeah? They are both great bands...And i like the sounds they produde.My budget will be 250 and lower? And if i want one to get sounds like owl city...What things what I be looking for? Thanks again.

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Dano » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:28 am

The Roland SH-201 would have been my recommendation just so that for your first synth you could have a straightforward interface and easy editing/tweaking. I think that is the most important thing to liking the synth hobby early on. My first synth was a Novation A-Station which I'd say is a pretty straightforward interface (some might argue with me on that though). If I had started with a Yamaha DX7 or Roland D-110 then I'm not so sure that I'd have gotten hooked (just because of the more difficult editing).

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by megamanx » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:33 am

as always the microkorg or the alesis ion...

edit by ion I meant micron...sorry
Last edited by megamanx on Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:42 am

This belongs in Buyers Guide.

If you want something that's fairly new for that price you don't have too many options. When you say learn, do you want to learn to play or learn to program? If you just want something to play you could look at the Alesis Micron which you should be able to get second hand for that price, it sounds great but is a pain to program. If you want to learn to program so you can make your own sounds or tweak the sounds the synth comes with then the Micron isn't a good choice.

I would say save a little more and go for something like the SH-201, Novation X-Station or Korg R3, they're a lot better to learn on which will be better for you in the long run. No point saving money now but ending up wanting to spend more money later.

That said my bandmate uses a Micron for pretty much all his sounds, but he's not all that into programming it, just playing.

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by rhino » Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:20 am

for $250 you might get a good old Korg DW-8000 or an Ensoniq ESQ-1.
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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:35 am

rhino wrote:for $250 you might get a good old Korg DW-8000 or an Ensoniq ESQ-1.
Blasian92 wrote:I dont really wanna vintage synth.
But honestly, if you want to sound like Owl City you should either spend a few years studying production techniques or hire someone who has, because that slick overproduced sound doesn't come from a particular synth, it comes from days of work in the studio at the mix stage. :thumbright:

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by factual35 » Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:48 am

The Novation Xiosynth would probably be pretty good for starting off with. It would be[in my opinion] good for starting to either learn to play or learning to program sounds. The price would also fit your budget as it is $300 new and you could probably get it used for less. I don't know who Owl City is, but if your interested in the SH-201 you would probably like the sound of the Xiosynth.

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by DGBX » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:31 am

I got my first synth back in maybe march or april. it's a Roland JX3P and I think it's a great beginning synth. they can be had for a good price (got mine for 120 CAD, granted it's not in perfect condition) they sound decent, built-in sequencer for looping/bassline fun, dual oscillators for cool detuning effects...lots of people aren't so into them because they lack knobs for each parameter, but editing is easy anyway, and I think having to choose one parameter at a time really makes you learn what each one does.

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Spadz » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:07 pm

Offend who? I'll have to check what owl city is, I don't know that band. I'll google it!
If you don't know what you are doing, why are you doing it?

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Dubby_Wubby » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:15 pm

Alesis Ion.

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by rhino » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:22 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
rhino wrote:for $250 you might get a good old Korg DW-8000 or an Ensoniq ESQ-1.
Blasian92 wrote:I dont really wanna vintage synth.
But honestly, if you want to sound like Owl City you should either spend a few years studying production techniques or hire someone who has, because that slick overproduced sound doesn't come from a particular synth, it comes from days of work in the studio at the mix stage. :thumbright:
I did read his post... Just that for $250, the choices are rather limited...
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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by Spadz » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:26 pm

Just found on MySpace.
Not my style but not bad at all. The thing is you could do that type of sound with a lot of synths.
From the sound of it, it sounds like a lot of either VST's or virtual analogs.

If you really want a hardware synth, I don't think you'll find much. I would suggest you try software synths and a controller to begin with. If you have a computer, that would be the cheapest alternative for now. And you are better off with that than with a casio arranger or stuff like that. You would need a good low latency card and could find a used MIDI controller for around 150$ maybe even less.

OR, you could find a deal on a machine like and ESQ-1 which sounds really good but not like what I heard on Owl City. I saw a picture from Google and looked like he had one of those micro korg. Which you might find for about 350 or so.

My idea is try for the cheapest solution, spend as little as you can, and save to get a bigger more complete synth. And BTW, lots of people only use software synths, so it's not c**p either. So it'll keep you playing and have fun while you pile up some cash.

You can't beat a hardware synth. But if you can't afford it, VSTs and such are a great alternative.
If you don't know what you are doing, why are you doing it?

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Re: Help deciding a beginner Synthesizer?

Post by stephen » Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:18 pm

Seems there's a double thread! The other thread recommends software synths as a viable alternative. An idea not to be dismissed.

My first hardware synth was a microkorg. I suspect this is a synth to come back to once you get more experience.
Stephen(2)

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