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Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:47 am
by SkaNeverDies
Hey everyone - it has been a LONG time since I've posted here. A tough financial situation and starting a record label forced me to part with all of my synths (Moog Micro Moog, Korg Lambda, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600, Casio CZ-1000) except for my Yamaha DX-7. Honestly, it's hard to think about and coming back here just bums me out! I hope one day I'll have replaced these and can join the conversation again.

But anyway, I do actually have a question. I'm getting ready to start a new project with some friends that would require a super bright 70s combo organ sound. As I've probably made clear by this point, I can't necessarily afford the real deal right now, or at least something that I'm going to have to put a lot of maintenance work into. Does anyone have any suggestions to getting that 60s/70s sound VOX/FARFISA sound for cheap? Thanks in advance!

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:37 am
by Dano
Take this with a grain of salt (as I often say) since my only experience with the real things is from what I've heard on recordings but, having said that, I think those samples on E-Mu's Techno Synth Construction Yard ROM are good. (...also available in the Orbit 3 module.)

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:40 pm
by meatballfulton
Have access to a sampler?

Check out Vintage Keyboard Sounds. He's got sample sets of a few combo organs. I've been very satisfied with his Mellotron sounds and the price is right.

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:12 pm
by tim gueguen
You do have a DX7, and organs are one of the things they do well. I'm sure there must be more than a few combo organ programs floating around online.

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:18 pm
by Blue Monster 65
There used to be all kinds of combo organs out there. These days, though, they're mostly in the landfills.

Best bet for finding an actual one is to keep your eyes peeled on the usual sources: Ebay, CL, any used musician sites, etc. I sold the last one we had in the shop about a year ago, unfortunately or I'll drop you a line. I'll keep my eyes open, too, as I know a source for them, but he's been quiet lately.

In the meantime, you might want to try a home keyboard and see if they pass. Seems to be one of the Casio models had a pretty happenin' "96 Tears" patch on it. That was a fun find!

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:13 pm
by madtheory
The DX-7 can definitely do good combo organs, although it takes a bit of work to make them buzz like a Vox. Get searching on the web. That's your cheapest option.

The Casio CZ is even better though, that's the one with Blue Monster 65's "96 Tears" patch.

Do you have a soft sampler? The Emu Farfisa and Vox sounds are spot on, they've been in every Emu sampler library since the Emax. I have them imported into Kontakt. I also have the vintagekeyboards.com stuff, they're excellent as meatballfulton said. He's got the Gibson that does Beatles Lucy in the Sky opening riff.

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:59 pm
by walkathon
As others said, you can likely get close w/ the DX-7. The trick to fake organs is just as much in the processing ... record it through an amp, give it air, add spring reverb, a dab of distortion, EQ to taste, etc. Props on sacrificing your other boards for starting a label, BTW.

An underrated (and sometimes underpriced) combo organ is the Farfisa Matador-R. There's a couple of versions, and the one to get is the one w/ the drawbars and built-in rhythm box. Instant High Llamas.

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Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:09 pm
by perfectdefect
How about a non-compact? Lots of free or very cheap organs on Craigslist. I would think some of the cheaper ones (when new) would be based on the same principles used in the combos.

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:37 pm
by silikon
You would be hard pressed to find anything in the ballpark that would get you close to a Continental, perhaps except for the following:

Hollowsun

Really really inexpensive, and the sample libraries are outstanding. The one thing you'll need is NI Kontakt -- but if you have that already then you might be in.

Is software an alternative for you, or is hardware a must?

Is the Nord Electro out of your price range? That might also be an alternative...

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:14 am
by TheKeytarist
This probably won't nail the sound(and I don't have any experience to say so either), but try this http://www.martinic.com/combov/

the guy is also working on a farfasia model too...

Just my thought.

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:03 am
by V301H
Any of the Casio WK series with the Tonewheel Organ sim have all the necessary footages to do a fantastic Vox Continental sound with a little tweaking. It can even do a great impression of the Lowrey/Gibson G101 for the Beatles "Lucy in the Sky" and The Doors "Waiting for the Sun" sounds. I often use real Vox organs on gigs but sometimes use the Casio as a substitute.

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:44 pm
by Blue Monster 65
Yes - the CZ-1 will do an excellent compact sound, but the WK-series is what I was thinking of.

Both are cheap enough - grab one!

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:17 pm
by BluMunk
How cheap? I know the ROMpler suggestion can draw a lot of ire from folks here, but a used Roland JV-1010 or 1080 with the 'keys of the 60s and 70s has a lot of great combo organ options, and both the unit and card could be gotten for less than $300 if you're patient.

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:54 pm
by tim gueguen
Thinking about it I would imagine even the more obscure combo organs like the Ace Tones and Italian brands like Gem likely aren't cheap anymore either.

Since no one posted it, here's lots of info on the genre. http://www.combo-organ.com/

Re: Cheap alternatives to VOX or FARFISA?

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:35 pm
by TheKeytarist
I just downloaded the beta version of the farfasia, and it was pretty sweet.

http://www.martinic.com/combof/