Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

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zardoz677
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Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by zardoz677 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:41 am

Hello Everyone

I have decided to get into the world of hardware synths both for the beautiful analog warm sound and the creative advantages of being able to turn away from the computer for a bit and just use my ears! Also, the other main reason is to make bass sounds which I feel software does not do a good enough job at. Anyways I am torn over what exact synth to get and also whether or not I want to go on ebay and get a vintage one or to get a new one.

Here are my sort of preferences:
- I really love the warm analog sound of the 70's and 80's : Talking heads, king crimson (80's) and all that and artists that use vintage gear loke boards of canada and ceephax acid crew
- Love the analog stuff AFX and the tuss records have
- I am specifically looking to make bass sounds, especially percussive bass sounds and acidy type sounds.

at 4:30 is a perfect example of the type of bass I am really into .

- Previously I just use Reasons thor, so something with 2- 3 oscellators, a couple of filters, and at least a couple of lfos would be great


Some people have suggested a moog or a pro one... Any specific models come to mind when reading my preferences?

Also, how necessary do you feel it is to get a vintage piece VS a new model?

Any help would be very helpful.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by visceralvoids » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:40 am

A Pro-One is a very nice synth - but it is kind of expensive (over a grand)
Also it's a monosynth so you will only be ably to play one note at a time. How much can you spend

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by garranimal » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:54 pm

That video bass example reminded me of a Juno-106: classic polysynth quite capable at making a plethora of widely used bass sounds.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by space6oy » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:13 pm

this belongs in the buyer's guide section.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by zardoz677 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:43 am

Sorry about posting on the wrong area, I dont know how to move this so if someone does, please move it to the buyers guide...

I am really loving the sound of the Juno 106, this is the exact sound I am looking for. For nice warm basses and percussive bass sounds what would you recommend? I am thinking about the pro one or the Juno 106. But then theres the moog phatty as well.....


Any thoughts on vintage vs new?

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by visceralvoids » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:40 am

Juno 106 prices go from $600 - 1000. That's a good price range, for that amount of money you can get a good hardware synth like a hi-end hybrid or VA for all kinds of bass sounds too, such as: Access Virus kb/kc, Clavia Nord Lead 2X, DSI Prophet '08 etc and probably even that Moog you mentioned, all on the second hand market. With that kind of price range you'll be sure to find something you like. Shop around, play with a few models a bit and pick one you click with.
My thoughts on vintage vs new is only that with new gear you don't have to worry about servicing it as long as you treat your gear well, but vintage will always have this "oomph" in the sound, it's very pleasing.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by skizzle » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:12 am

for a first synth it would be advisable to stay away from vintage for mechanical and monetary reasons. my advice is to stay away from vintage until it finds you: if you find something at a garage sale, craigslist, or forum at a good price point, do it, but don't let your lust for gear get the best of you and race to buy something you really don't even want.

there's so much gear out there that goes un-noticed(just because its not being read about in forums) its really worth doing the research and thinking about what you want before pulling the trigger on a synth buy. on the flip-side of that, you won't ever know what you like until you get your hands dirty and until you're familiar with your synthesizer process and all of the nuances of different hardware(and that takes some time).

vintage/analog is a highly inflated market. roland sh-101's go for over $700 sometimes and tb-303's are like $2k on ebay! both of those are used by AFX/ceephax/squarepusher for much of their acid tone. the prices were half that a couple years ago. check out http://kunz.corrupt.ch/products/tal-bassline to get your (free) 101/303 on.

i'll cut to the advice you want to hear, and i don't know you're relationship with your midi controller, so i assumed you love it and can save some money and get a rackmount or desktop synth...

analog rawness(all monophonic/new/with midi, around $800):
slim phatty
doepfer dark energy
studio electronics atc-1
mfb-synth ii(although i'm not seeing it for sale currently)

not new but useful virtual analog(v/a) polyphonic hardware(that can also do great analogish bass for around $500):
ax80(vintage)
mopho or desktop evolver(rack)
virus(rack a,b,c, one of the most versatile synths ever, but NOT analog)
nord (rack)

all of these synths can make beautiful, different, warm analog tones... so can software, but when you find one(or a whole house full) that moves you to make beautiful music, it really helps you understand the power of connecting with your instrument.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by ryryoftokyo » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:37 pm

Sounds like you should look into the Yamaha AN1x.
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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by Horace » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:56 am

skizzle wrote:not new but useful virtual analog(v/a) polyphonic hardware(that can also do great analogish bass for around $500):
ax80(vintage)
mopho or desktop evolver(rack)
virus(rack a,b,c, one of the most versatile synths ever, but NOT analog)
nord (rack)
Mopho is analog, baby. I don't own a Mopho keyboard, but it does look quite nice for the price. Has patch storage, an on-board sequencer/arpeggiator too.

If its acidy sounds you want, can't go wrong with an x0xb0x. Great little unit, and distortions and fuzz boxes really make it sting.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by zardoz677 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:45 am

Thanks allot, I really appreciate the input folks!

The one problem is that I am really obsessed with the whole vintage sound of the late 70s and especially the 80's and unfortunatlly all the demos of new synths never showcase any of the type of sounds I like, in favour of newer more polished "popular" sounds that I really dont like at all (overpolished house and dub step sounds etc...).....
Do you feel that a new analog synth like the moogs have sort of become built for the modern sound and are less geared towards one wanting to produce the old warmer sounds?

I am really loving the pro one and the Juno 106! I feel like those have been BY FAR the most enjoyable synths to check out. The moog slim phatty seemed alright also. Given that these have been my favourites, which modern synths would be their equivalent in terms of sound?

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by Rick N Boogie » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:19 am

An analog mono synth such as the DSI MoPho keyboard, or Moog Little Phatty, are only limited by your own imagination and understanding of subtractive synthesis. Forget the demo sounds, YOU create the sounds you want, and if you like the 70's and 80's analog sounds, either one of these little machines will float your proverbial boat. I'd suggest the MoPho over the Little Phatty, (I own both), because of the added features on the MoPho, such as the 16 step sequencer, 4, count'em 4 LFO's, 3 EG's, and an awesome sounding sub-osc for each of the 2 DCO's. Can't go wrong.
Bassist, synth junkie

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by skizzle » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:53 am

Horace wrote:
skizzle wrote:not new but useful virtual analog(v/a) polyphonic hardware(that can also do great analogish bass for around $500):
ax80(vintage)
mopho or desktop evolver(rack)
virus(rack a,b,c, one of the most versatile synths ever, but NOT analog)
nord (rack)
Mopho is analog, baby.
Oops! I wrote in Mopho as an afterthought when I only had desktop evolver there. Now that I look at it, I don't know what i was thinking when i typed that header- neither dsi are poly, either.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by georgemarauder » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:57 am

Well I'm going to suggest my current favorite synth, the virtual analog Oberheim OB-12. It fits your description for what you need. No, it's not real analog, but who cares? It can emulate the analog greats of the 70s and 80s with ease. Great for 70s sounds like Arp Odyssey and Arp Axxe sounds, and great for 80s polysynth sounds, like a Jupiter 6/8, etc. Also great for percussive and snappy basses, because the 2 envelopes are super fast, meaning you can easily program a punchy bass tone with it. 2 LFOs with 4 waveforms, sync, ring mod, 2 filters with 3 modes per filter, etc. I could go on forever about it, but bottom line is it's a great, creative synth.

Do yourself a favor and don't fall into the category of people who must own a vintage analog synth just because it's a vintage analog synth. Most times you will overpay for features that you can get for half the price with a more modern synth. Yes, every synth has a certain "sound" to it, but in a mix often times their differences are so subtle, even the most experienced analog junkie wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them. If it sounds good, it is good. So I say go for more bang for your buck and check out the modern synths, specifically the virtual analog synths which are amazing, much cheaper than an analog, and sound great. Look no further than the OB-12. Just don't buy it as a preset machine either. Make your own sounds.

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by zardoz677 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:35 am

Rick N Boogie wrote:An analog mono synth such as the DSI MoPho keyboard, or Moog Little Phatty, are only limited by your own imagination and understanding of subtractive synthesis. Forget the demo sounds, YOU create the sounds you want, and if you like the 70's and 80's analog sounds, either one of these little machines will float your proverbial boat. I'd suggest the MoPho over the Little Phatty, (I own both), because of the added features on the MoPho, such as the 16 step sequencer, 4, count'em 4 LFO's, 3 EG's, and an awesome sounding sub-osc for each of the 2 DCO's. Can't go wrong.
Cool. I am realizing this more and more (about being able to create all the sounds I could want). I am also starting to see the advantages of a newer synth also. I guess my questions are: 1. How the mopho compares to the phatty in terms of sound and analog warmth and 1. Where would a prophet 08 fall into this? I know its more expensive than both of those others, but do you feel it is worth it?

And last question...... Im still loving the sound of the Juno 106 and it seems like you can get some for under 1000. What would be the disadvantages of going with one of these? Do they break easy or have lots of problems?

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Re: Please help on deciding on my first hardware synth

Post by Pro5 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:11 am

zardoz677 wrote:
Rick N Boogie wrote:An analog mono synth such as the DSI MoPho keyboard, or Moog Little Phatty, are only limited by your own imagination and understanding of subtractive synthesis. Forget the demo sounds, YOU create the sounds you want, and if you like the 70's and 80's analog sounds, either one of these little machines will float your proverbial boat. I'd suggest the MoPho over the Little Phatty, (I own both), because of the added features on the MoPho, such as the 16 step sequencer, 4, count'em 4 LFO's, 3 EG's, and an awesome sounding sub-osc for each of the 2 DCO's. Can't go wrong.
Cool. I am realizing this more and more (about being able to create all the sounds I could want). I am also starting to see the advantages of a newer synth also. I guess my questions are: 1. How the mopho compares to the phatty in terms of sound and analog warmth and 1. Where would a prophet 08 fall into this? I know its more expensive than both of those others, but do you feel it is worth it?

And last question...... Im still loving the sound of the Juno 106 and it seems like you can get some for under 1000. What would be the disadvantages of going with one of these? Do they break easy or have lots of problems?
yeah the voice chips die on them. You can attempt an acetone fix or buy some new ones (set of 6 gets quite pricey). 106 doesn't do much for me and I've had a few junos but it IS a nice first hardware synth as it has a lot of what you need - and is simple to get your head around. Prefer the Polysix and JX-3P myself for sound and features :)

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