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Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:03 pm
by stormborn
I know, I know, first post is a "help me find a synth!" post

I primarily play guitar and bass, and I'd like to start taking keys a bit more seriously. My only experience on keys is piano lessons as a kid and messing around with a Roland Alpha Juno a few years ago. I'm into the whole "prog rock" thing, ELP, Yes, Genesis, plus more modern stuff like Spock's Beard, Glass Hammer, etc. That seems to indicate something like a Minimoog, or even a modular, but that's a bit out of budget and a bit more keyboard than I'm looking for right now.

The Alpha Juno taught me the basics of subtractive synthesis, and also that I prefer something with one knob per function. I'm trying to keep it around $500.

I'm looking at:

Roland SH-201 or Alesis ION - modern design, usable as a controller for soft synths, polyphonic
Moog Rogue or Concertmate MG-1 - vintage analog mojo, but no MIDI and maintenance required (I'm no stranger to a soldering iron, however)
PAIA Fatboy - MIDI, analog, but requires a separate controller
Yamana AN1x - never played one, so I'm not sure about the interface
Soft synth(s) and a controller - not as 'plug and play' or portable as the rest

What say you?

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:45 pm
by CS_TBL
Hardware: something from Novation's line o' Nova/Supernova. They can do about anything, have ample voices and effects per part.
Software: plenty o' choice, really.

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:52 pm
by Phollop Willing PA
I think you'd be very happy with a Roland JP 8000.

Image

If I was doing keys in a prog band, and I didn't want to cart around a lot of gear, this is what I would bring (and maybe a Theremin).

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:51 am
by stormborn
Haha, I should have known that I'd get more options rather than narrowing down my list :)

Thanks for the input guys, I'll try to get my hands on the JP-8000 and Nova to demo.

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:41 pm
by Drill
get a modular system, but not from moog, as they suck balls.

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:59 am
by shaft9000
uh....right, Drill. Might want to turn around before you talk next time. :roll:

anyway, the Ion, An1-x, sh-201 and Nova are all good synths. Only way to find out what's right for you is to get one, dive in and get all it's worth out of it.

None of these are going to come very close to the classic power of a Moog or ARP, though. Just something to remember, as marketers will attempt to convince you one thing can replace another entirely. Not so. Things are what they are.

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:47 am
by stormborn
It's very tempting to grab a Moog Rogue or MG-1 on EBay - they seem to be consistently going for $450 or so.

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:41 am
by iProg
stormborn wrote:I know, I know, first post is a "help me find a synth!" post

I primarily play guitar and bass, and I'd like to start taking keys a bit more seriously. My only experience on keys is piano lessons as a kid and messing around with a Roland Alpha Juno a few years ago. I'm into the whole "prog rock" thing, ELP, Yes, Genesis, plus more modern stuff like Spock's Beard, Glass Hammer, etc. That seems to indicate something like a Minimoog, or even a modular, but that's a bit out of budget and a bit more keyboard than I'm looking for right now.

The Alpha Juno taught me the basics of subtractive synthesis, and also that I prefer something with one knob per function. I'm trying to keep it around $500.

I'm looking at:

Roland SH-201 or Alesis ION - modern design, usable as a controller for soft synths, polyphonic
Moog Rogue or Concertmate MG-1 - vintage analog mojo, but no MIDI and maintenance required (I'm no stranger to a soldering iron, however)
PAIA Fatboy - MIDI, analog, but requires a separate controller
Yamana AN1x - never played one, so I'm not sure about the interface
Soft synth(s) and a controller - not as 'plug and play' or portable as the rest

What say you?
Welcome onboard, dear Glass Hammer fan! :)

I also recommend the JP-8000. That's a great place to start!

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:01 am
by stormborn
Picked up a 'broken' MG-1 for $250 on Ebay - an hour of tweaking later, and everything's working fine ;)

Sounds great, too! I think I'll spend the next two days listening to filter sweeps :P

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:37 am
by monolith
stormborn wrote:Picked up a 'broken' MG-1 for $250 on Ebay - an hour of tweaking later, and everything's working fine ;)

Sounds great, too! I think I'll spend the next two days listening to filter sweeps :P
Great score! 8-) What was up with it?

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:50 am
by stormborn
Scratchy pots and sliders (due to the usual foam goop problem) and the switch in the CV-in jack wasn't closing properly, causing it to only play a single pitch regardless of the key pressed.

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:42 pm
by neophyte
for a 1st synth for prog stuff, have you considered a vintage analogue like an ARP? If you just want lead sounds, a tidy Axxe, Solus or Pro Soloist/Pro DGX should be within your price range if your patient and cruise ebay for a couple of months. The PS in particular has the advantage of using presets, so you don't have to learn subtractive synthesis to get going (Tony Banks used this as his sole live synth from Selling England to Wuthering tours, listen to "Seconds Out" live album, that's all a Pro Soloist through a tape echo, particularly the flute, and fuzz guitar pre sets). Alternatively, if you want a modern synth without the pain of maintaining vintage kit, pre owned Moog Little Phatty Stage I's seem to be getting cheaper. If you might manage with a midi keyboard and module set up, DSI Mopho or Tetra have a lot going for them. The Mopho does great Rush sounds!

Re: Which synth for 'prog rock' analog sounds?

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:30 am
by Soundwave
AN1X very nice keyboard action if your a player as such, also has a decent multi FX

Ion - nice US sounding analogue VA, keys are a bit tacky still very usable