analog on a budget

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signal2noise
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analog on a budget

Post by signal2noise » Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:03 pm

Well, I've been playing guitar for about ten years (mostly classic rock) and am now looking to branch out and get a synth. Basically I'd like to be the next LCD Soundsystem. Actually I'd like a somewhat simple synth that has a decent sound and just enough control setting to be interesting - something to learn on. My budget is only about $300. I'd like analog, but it isn't crucial. Also, if there's one that has like a talent module that would be great too. :) No matter how many I try at the local music shop I find I still suck at playing keyboards.

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by AnalogKid » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:06 pm

First of all, I applaud you as a guitar player for desiring to expand into synths, even though you admit your limitations as a keyboard player. In my opinion, some of the best and most creative stuff done with synths has been done by musicians who are not that adept at the keyboards but have nevertheless done something original and musical with them. How many people are into synths now because of early Gary Numan music? The song Cars isn't that difficult to play, but it's something that a rock keyboard virtuoso would likely never have created. Personally, some of my favorite synth work of all time was done by Rush on their Power Windows and Hold Your Fire releases. Geddy Lee is not a highly skilled and trained keyboard player, but what he did with synths on these and other Rush releases is fantastic, very original and creative (I love the Minimoog sound that he used on Subdivisions). In my keyboard collection, I have two synths that I will never part with, my Korg Z1 and my Alesis Ion. I have seen an Ion listed on Craigslist at $350 (I was tempted to buy it and have two Ions). Ions often go on Craiglist in the Milwaukee/Chicago area in the $400 neighborhood. My recommendation would be to save an extra $50-100 for your synth budget and get an Ion. It sounds fat fat fat. In my opinion, it's the most analog sounding VA synth ever made (read the Alesis Ion section of this site for more info). Not only does the Ion have extensive hands on control, which will allow you to more easily learn how to program a synth, but it flexible enough to give you a broad pallet of sounds to accentuate your guitar playing. In my opinion, on the used market, the Ion is the best bang for your buck.

signal2noise
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Re: analog on a budget

Post by signal2noise » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:15 pm

Thanks for the input. Unfortunately I'm not seeing any Alesis Ions in my area (Sacramento/SF Bay area) on craigslist, but there is a microKorg for $285 and a microKorg XL for $375 and am wondering if either of these might fit the bill.
Last edited by signal2noise on Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Scories
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Re: analog on a budget

Post by Scories » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:18 pm

I saw Glass Candy live and the guy just had a Minikorg 700 and a delay pedal. I have one but slightly prefer the SH-1000 (used by Blondie). There's still a few intuitive analog monosynths from the 70's that you can find under 400$. These models generally don't have the cv/gate options so no MIDI option (if it's a problem). But they sound awesome IMHO. Having a real (even though limited) analog is fun.

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by GameChanger » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:24 pm

Id suggest a Micron, cheaper more options then ion, just smaller w/ less knobs. If you want cheaper analog, you can try getting a hybrid DW8000, Poly61, Ensoniq ESQ. They can be had for for cheaper then $300 and sound great in my opinion. If you dont mind minikeys, a microkorg is a bunch of fun as well, like micron though its not analog

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by themilford » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:38 pm

I recommend it again. Akai AX-60. Great, true vco analog fun with sliders for less than $400 easy.

Do a quick google search for "akai ax-60 site:craigslist.org". You should be able to find somebody willing to ship one.

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by SWAN » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:06 am

Get an MFB synth (SYnth 2, Nanozwerg, Microzwerg) - they are quite dirty and good for a sort of LCD Soundsystem sound...but thats 1 note at a time...team it up with a Oberheim Matrix 1000 and you have a nice cheap proper analogue set-up...dont go near any Virtual analogue - probably too clean and digital for what you are looking for...

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by GuyaGuy » Sat Dec 25, 2010 7:14 am

as someone who also also started playing synth after being a guitarist, i'd recommend a "knobby" synth--a synth with knobs that allow you to control parameters. not only are they funner, they also allow you to learn more about synthesis.
something like a juno 60 or 106, roland gaia, or the roland gaia or akai ax60 already mentioned.

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Dec 25, 2010 7:42 am

Scories wrote:I saw Glass Candy live and the guy just had a Minikorg 700 and a delay pedal.
when was that? When we played with them it was an MS2000, right after beatbox came out.

I think for analogue on a budget the MFB stuff is hard to beat, as is the doepfer dark energy. Either of those with a cheap digital synth to use as a midi controller and run through the audio in would be a great way to get a unique sound.

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:39 am

A talent module :lol: :P
bonne chance

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RD9
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Re: analog on a budget

Post by RD9 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:27 am

My two cents: save up another $100 and get a groove box (like an Emu Command Station, Korg Electribe, or Yamaha RM1x) and get an affordable MIDI keyboard controller. With a groove box, you get multi-track ability, a synth engine, a drum machine, and a sequencer. Basically everything you need for dance music/LCD type of stuff. After you get proficient at making dance tracks, you can slowly start buying specific synths or higher quality analog gear.

I would agree with any of the recommendations above if you already have a computer that you can use for sequencing and/or mixing tracks. If not, I recommend a groove box.

Good luck!

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Re: analog on a budget

Post by Scories » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:40 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:
Scories wrote:I saw Glass Candy live and the guy just had a Minikorg 700 and a delay pedal.
when was that? When we played with them it was an MS2000, right after beatbox came out.
It was last summer at the Festival d'Été de Québec. I came to see Caribou, and they were there. Everytime I see a Minikorg I feel so stupid because I bought a beaten one for 150$ a dozen years ago and passed by a mint one being sold for 80$ a few years later. Anyway, the Minikorg700 adds a nice glitter retro disco sound to their music.

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