USB synths?

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ems
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USB synths?

Post by ems » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:21 am

Hi everybody!

I'm interested in finding a usb synth (i think), and I'm hoping you might have some suggestions. I used to make quite a bit of music; hip hop, techno, industrial even.

Do you have any ideas? I haven't really seen much with usb other than the new Roland boards and Novation. I can budget under $500.

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Re: USB synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:34 am

What do you want the USB port to do? Midi? Audio? Data backup?

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Re: USB synths?

Post by Slashe50 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:38 am

May be wrong, but does the Microkorg XL have USB? If so, I think that might be a decent synth for you.
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Re: USB synths?

Post by ems » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:13 am

I would like the usb port for midi, audio and backup. Also like the idea of avoiding midi and audio cables. I already have a lot of cables in my work area, and want to keep it clean. I know it sounds dumb.

I just looked it up, and the XL does have usb. Does it output audio? I have heard the software editor is great.

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Re: USB synths?

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:24 am

ems wrote:I would like the usb port for midi, audio and backup. Also like the idea of avoiding midi and audio cables. I already have a lot of cables in my work area, and want to keep it clean. I know it sounds dumb.

I just looked it up, and the XL does have usb. Does it output audio? I have heard the software editor is great.
No. Very few send audio over USB... the current Novations, and the Virus Ti line. I can't think of any others...

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Re: USB synths?

Post by ninja6485 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:57 am

Image
check out the virus ti snow: looks beautiful :geek: i sometimes catch myself wishing i'd went with a version like that instead of my kbd!
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: USB synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:36 am

Audio over USB and <$500, this is your option:

Novation Xiosynth

If you include second-hand as well you get:

Novation X-Station
Roland SH-201

So not many options, should be pretty easy to choose.

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Re: USB synths?

Post by ems » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:50 am

I wish.. the virus snow is such a beautiful synth. It's price is a bit too high.

When I get off work tomorrow I'll try to check out the 201. I didn't like it the first time I played, but this time I'll be more open minded. I think I was put off by the build quality.

I never even considered the microkorg xl until now, but I'll check it out too.

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Re: USB synths?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:38 pm

Yep, audio is always the kicker...backup and MIDI are well implemented on most machines these days. Why other mfrs have kept out of this space amazes me.

The Virus TI is the best implemented but because they use USB 1.1 rather than 2.0 there's only 3 stereo channels available...2 in and 1 out. I owned a Snow for a while and it worked 100% as advertised. Though out of your $500 range, you can find used ones for $800 (I did) maybe less if you're real patient.

Novation's big plus is USB will power the synth which is very handy for laptop applications, esp. gigging. One less wall wart and one less opportunity for ground loops.
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Re: USB synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:29 pm

meatballfulton wrote:Why other mfrs have kept out of this space amazes me.
I think it's down to the fact that you need to write drivers, then keep them updated, and then deal with people being unhappy if they don't work 100% of the time. Novation have their interface division so they can share code with them, same with Roland and Edirol, but for a smaller team like Waldorf or one without experience doing that already like Korg they'd need a big investment in it to get off the ground. I guess it's where things seem to be going at this stage, but some companies have bigger R&D budgets than others.

Microkorg XL doesn't do audio over USB.

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Re: USB synths?

Post by th0mas » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:04 pm

It's probably 100x harder to have audio over USB than it is to have MIDI over usb. One is using very little capacity and the other is pushing the entire USB system to it's limits and you will often run into weird bugs in either host or slave's endpoint chipsets, drivers, or some combination thereof.

(I am a firmware engineer who has dealt with USB 2.0 communications issues. not fun)

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Re: USB synths?

Post by krzeppa » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:38 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:Audio over USB and <$500, this is your option:

Novation Xiosynth

If you include second-hand as well you get:

Novation X-Station
Roland SH-201

So not many options, should be pretty easy to choose.
+1 on the Xio....Pretty good synth at a really cheap price....build quality isn't all that great, but for the price I thinked they packed as much as they could into it.
Also, not really sure when the Novation Ultranova will come out, but that has USB as well. I think the price on that is going to around 700 bucks though.

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Re: USB synths?

Post by Roby31 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:45 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
meatballfulton wrote:Why other mfrs have kept out of this space amazes me.
I think it's down to the fact that you need to write drivers, then keep them updated, and then deal with people being unhappy if they don't work 100% of the time. Novation have their interface division so they can share code with them, same with Roland and Edirol, but for a smaller team like Waldorf or one without experience doing that already like Korg they'd need a big investment in it to get off the ground. I guess it's where things seem to be going at this stage, but some companies have bigger R&D budgets than others.

Microkorg XL doesn't do audio over USB.

Again I have to agree with Stab. The amount of users who don't understand this in the case of the Virus TI is ridiculous.

A little correction for an earlier post: the TI line has three stereo outputs over usb, not two. 3 outs + 1 input. They become 3+0 or 2+1 only when you use it as a sound card.
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Re: USB synths?

Post by serv » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:56 pm

I'd suggest Novation X-Station or XioSynth as well.

I have Novation X-Station 49 and it's like having something like FastTrack Pro built into your synth.

For a newb like myself with a small budget, X-Station has become the central part of my set up.

It does all the things hardware VA synth should do and also has audio-usb interface that connects up my guitar and mic simultaneously.

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