Looking for bassy synth

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ribafish
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Looking for bassy synth

Post by ribafish » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:03 am

Hi,
So, here's the thing. I'm primary a bass player and I want to get me a synth for doing primarly bass sounds that are just not possible with bass and effects. I can get some wicked and synthy sounds out of my pedalboard, but there are lots of sounds I can't, so I feel the need to get a synth.
The budget is 600€, and that's already stretched. So, the budget includes Ultranova, R3, Venom, GAIA, DSI Mopho keybd and various MIDI controllers to use with software synth. My biggest problem is that where I live(Slovenia), theres no way I can try any of synths. Which is a shame. In the current band were doing some....weird rock with lotsa FX on everyting except drums, in some songs my sound is really synth-like, in others its dry...or at least with only some fuzz or something in that lines. At home I'm experimenting with sounds and creating tharshy/noisy dnb and stuff i'm not shure where to put it(until now i did that with the launchpad). I'm a begginner in hw synth world, as I don't own any, haven't tried a good one yet(at least not really try and fiddle with it....but I have been fiddling with soft synths for the past month or 3), but I like to fiddle with knobs, make weird sounds.

The best contender atm that i have found is the Novation Ultranova, because the interface looks to me like its easily programmed, I really like the Automap feature and aftertouch, the toush sensitive knobs sound like fun and as far as I can tell from specs it should do all kinds of sounds. I also like that it's kinda the whole package....synth that can be programmed on the fly, a simple interface, a midi controller for soft synths if I want to use them, I also have Launchpad and I could pair them for patch changes and so on...The monotimbrality is the only issue I have found this far...but I don't think its a big one, as I'll be doing mostly bass.
The DSI mopho keyboard looks good, but i don't like that its monophonic..I also feel like the ultranova has a more intuitive interface to me....specially because I really like to tweak everything...like assigning the mod wheel and stuff like that. Plus it has 5 keys less. And costs more.
GAIA....I don't know, i prefer the wheels than the joystick, it doesn't have aftertouch...I would rather get mopho or ultranova....somehow this doesn't look good to me, and i feel lost just by looking on the interface. Also, i feel that it isn't as versatile as some other i've mentioned. And the fact that the headphones cut out the master is just plain stupid.
The R3 has a great vocoder they say, but i feel it could use more knobs, it also doesn't have aftertouch...initially I was looking at microkorgs, but after some looking and thinkng and all that i decided I can spring far enough to include some more serious and faster to programm sytnhs...and this is the big bro.
Venom I like because its got 49 keys, but what I dislike is that it looks like it depends on a computer to program it more than others. Its got 4 part multitimbral option which is good...but it also just doesn't appeal to me...its too white and stuff.
Then there's also the option that i kinda dont really like, bc i have to carry my laptop around all the time, there's more thing to fail, it can freeze up and stuff like that. Yes, I'm thinking about getting just a nice midi controller and soft synths(which i already have...at least some). Something around the lines of novation impulse/remote or m-audio axiom or arturia the laboratory 49. I'd probably get a nice portable little audio interface, so I don't have to carry around the rack monster I have for studio use.

So, what should I do? I'm in no rush, as in this moment i don't have the money yet, cuz i just spent it on new skis and a week of skiing, but i'll get it soon enough. The things that worry me are the ones that I can't get from reviews, specs and manuals...how do they feel to the hand, how do they sound live(you can hear only so good with youtube vides). As I said, the main reason for getting one is to do nasty basslines, so the last thing I want is to get a thin synth. It will get used as a midi controller, shure, but the main thing is live tweaking and playing bass. If I forgot to tell any vital part in helping me decide, I will gladly tell it.
Any toughts?

PS: if its too much to read, skip the middle(big one) paragraph, its just my toughts on different synths in budget.

Ashe37
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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by Ashe37 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:47 am

Basslines are usually played monophonically anyway hence why most monosynths are known as bass synths.

The Venom sounds ok but requires a computer for any kind of patch editing.

The GAIA has an easy interface but sounds a little thing to me, and has some unfortunate limitations on its synth engine... (best example: turning on oscillator sync turns it into mono mode...)

I like the R3, my roomate has one. No, it doesn't have aftertouch but it does respond to it from another controller.

I have a Mopho desktop and use it for primarily basslines. It is good for that.

I also like the ultranova but agree that its monotimbrality is an unfortunate limit.

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by ribafish » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:24 am

Well, yes, I know that polyphony isn't needed for basslines, but I won't use it exclusively for that....just mostly. And it's gonna be the only synth for some time, so I kind of want it polyphonic, so I can do other stuff too. Have you tried the ultranova? How does it feel and sound? I also saw someone selling Virus B without keyboard....for 450€, for which i would need a controller too, but it fits the budget. How about that? If it holds out untill i get the money anyway....

Ashe37
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Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, BS II, JV-1080
Band: Eridani V
Location: Central VA

Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by Ashe37 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:11 am

Spent an hour or so on the Ultranova in the store, it sounds a lot like the Nova/Supernova but has a lot of additional functions, waveforms, and routings not available on the older versions of that sound engine.

The Virus B is a decent all-around VA.

You might also want to consider the DSI Tetra + controller if that is in your price range.

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by synthparts » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:13 pm

See if you can find a Moog Source. They are THE synth bass machine.
Vintage Synth Parts - http://www.synthparts.com

ribafish
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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by ribafish » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:03 pm

Well, the tetra is just outside my budget...and that's without the controller. It's an option, if I find a used one when I'll have the money...if I don't, then its outside the budget. Plus, I could use more knobs. And Moogs are out of my budget by...well, alot. I'd love to have a Moog, they are the coolest looking beasts out there, but the closest is little phatty...and even that is almost twice the budget new.

Did it have enough low end and fattnes to make some mean bass sounds? How does the Virus B compare to Ultranova? If it holds out...

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by Hybrid88 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:08 pm

Bass players always seem to like the minimoog for it's low end oomph 8-)

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by ribafish » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:18 pm

Yes, we do, but we dislike the price.... as I said...I would love to have one....well, you know, maybe some day

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by Hybrid88 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:14 pm

Sure, well you could do much worse than to start out with a Mopho keys - that has a nice full bass sound to it, a great little machine for the price. :)

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by ribafish » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:51 pm

Yeah, I know...I/m a strong believer in the buy less quality gear than more cheap, so I want something that I wont regret buying after a year....but I/m also not willing to spend more than I spent on my primary instrument(there is still some headroom)...I mean, I could wait half a year and get nord or moog something along that lines...but atm I/m just not willing to do that. Besides, that would probably be a bit of an overkill for a first synth, when I/m not yet 100% sure that I will like playing it as much as I like the sounds I can make. If you know what I mean.
The mopho keys...the biggest issue I see is the monophonic design, as I dont want a one trick pony...something more versatile, especially if its possible with the budget. At least if quality doesnt suffer.

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by Hybrid88 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:58 pm

Yeah, I see what you mean - though I will say there is a reason most of us have so much gear, and that is that no one single piece can cover everything.

...on second thoughts maybe the Venom would suit you best as it has the best combination of things you're looking for, good bass potential, immediacy, polyphonic and cheap. Though arguably the cheaper you go the more chance you may want to upgrade it down the track sometime. Conversely though, the less you have to pay to begin with means the more music you can get made with it now. All things for you to weigh up. ;)

Also, I recommend you check out some good YouTube demos to get an overall feel for what you're looking for.

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by ribafish » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:00 pm

Yeah, I know and I get that there isnt an ultimate all sounds machine....its the same with basses, and well...everything from cars to i dont know what...but I think that as a starting point is good to get something that does everything pretty well and than go for more specific machines.

Well, but still if I am to decide between venom and ultranova I would take the ultranova, simply because the interface looks easier to navigate at set....at least to me. Although it is true that its 100 euros cheaper....but still...i think i would go for ultranova.

Well, I think I have checked out pretty much every decent video of the synths in question....but none of them really concentrates on bass sounds, plus you cant really judge based only on youtube clips.

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by Hybrid88 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:23 pm

Sure. Ok, so take a holiday somewhere and try one out? :D

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by ribafish » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:13 pm

Yeah....if money was not an issue...well, then I wouldnt have a problem, I would just get a voyager or something :D (or buy al of them just in case...)

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Re: Looking for bassy synth

Post by Hair » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:26 pm

I wouldn't necessarily discount the R3 - I really like how it sounds (not so keen on the GAIA or Venom, haven't heard the Ultranova enough to judge) and though it has a limited amount of knobs, their accompanying screens and LED rings to indicate their current value make the whole experience of programming very immediate. Ultranova looks good in that regard too.

I'm not sure that I would necessarily want to learn synthesis from scratch on either of their interfaces, but both have nice, everything-on-one-page software editors which may be easier to wrap your head around.

If you've never done any synthesis, grab the free Synth1 VST (or similar) and look around at youtube tutorials, sound-on-sound's synth secrets etc! Then you may start to get a better idea of what you want out of a synth's interface.

Also, the older Viruses in your price range are definitely another good bet, they sound good and lots of knobs to play with. Same could be said of Korg MS2000 series and Alesis Ion.

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