Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
TYPHY
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:36 am

Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by TYPHY » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:13 am

I'm looking for a portable poly synth with keys (no bigger than 3 octaves).
I want it to have as many knobs as possible because I am a noob at synthesis & hate menu diving.
My budget is $700.

I've thought about the Korg R3, tho it does not have many knobs.
Microkorgs but they have small keys, ugh.

Any other options?

User avatar
V301H
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 754
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:58 am
Gear: Fender The Strat, Stratocaster, Jazz Bass Rickenbacker 360-12, 320 Messenger(Mark Farner)
Band: The Characters
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by V301H » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:51 am

Not a lot of Poly's with 3-octave keyboards. Maybe the Akai Miniak with 8-voice polyphony. Then there is the Korg MS2000 with a 3 1/2-octave keyboard and 4-voice polyphony.
Prophet 5 rev.2, Pro-One, Juno 60, Jupiter 6, Matrix 12, OB8, MS20, Poly 800, CS70M, DX-7, CP35, Casio PX-5S, Hammond C3/M102, Vox Continental/Super Continental, Gibson G101, Farfisa Compact, RMI 300A, Pianet N, Combo Pianet, S770, S760, S50, NS3C

User avatar
Psy_Free
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 818
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:36 pm
Gear: Synths 'n' stuff.
Band: Klangzeit
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by Psy_Free » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:15 pm

Novation K-Station (assuming by portable you mean easy to transport rather than runs off batteries).
"Any noise is good. For what is a different matter"
Bandcamp 1
Bandcamp 2
Soundcloud

User avatar
stephen
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:04 pm
Gear: Laptop
House Brick
Renoise
Loomer Aspect
FM8
Location: UK

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by stephen » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:35 pm

+1 for the K-Station. I've been meaning to pick one up for some time now.
Stephen(2)

User avatar
TheKeytarist
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 252
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:58 pm
Real name: Joseph
Location: Los Angeles CA

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by TheKeytarist » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:13 pm

+1 for the novation. Their stuff is pretty sweet. I just checked guitar center used, and at the moment, there's a K-station used for $199. Also, what about the roland gaia? Don't have much experience with these, but they seem decent. Any thoughts?
"A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one."
— Benjamin Franklin

:keys1: :drums: :keys2:

User avatar
V301H
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 754
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:58 am
Gear: Fender The Strat, Stratocaster, Jazz Bass Rickenbacker 360-12, 320 Messenger(Mark Farner)
Band: The Characters
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by V301H » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:34 pm

Novation Ultranova. Three octave keyboard. 18 voices. Microphone.
Prophet 5 rev.2, Pro-One, Juno 60, Jupiter 6, Matrix 12, OB8, MS20, Poly 800, CS70M, DX-7, CP35, Casio PX-5S, Hammond C3/M102, Vox Continental/Super Continental, Gibson G101, Farfisa Compact, RMI 300A, Pianet N, Combo Pianet, S770, S760, S50, NS3C

User avatar
garranimal
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1728
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 8:57 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by garranimal » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:34 pm

The Miniak is versatile, has good sound, and the number of keys you're wanting. But the interface is not a lot of fun. Give those Keytarist mentioned a look. I agree the Microkorg toy-size keys leave much to be desired.

Hair
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 402
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:31 pm
Location: Edison, NJ
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by Hair » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:38 pm

I actually like the R3's interface because the LED screens+rings show you what each knob is doing at a given time, but that may be better if you already know what you're doing - I feel like a lot of the first steps in learning synthesis are "ooh what does this knob do" moments, in which case the K-station is great.

I'm not a big fan of how the Gaia/SH-201 sound personally, Ultranova is another option but I think I like the K-Station's interface better.

MS2000 also has 3 octaves, not sure if it's too deep physically for what you're looking for, and only has 4 voice polyphony I believe, but the interface is knobby as h**l.

Another interesting thought would be the Nord Modular G1, it fits the bill and budget (the ones that are actually selling on eBay are going for about $600) - to fully program it you need a computer, but once you have it programmed it's fully portable.

TYPHY
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:36 am

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by TYPHY » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:47 pm

I've down to Korg R3 vs Ultranova.

The Ultra seems like it has more knobs.

But the important factor here is... which one sounds better?

User avatar
samuraipizzacat29
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 819
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:40 pm
Real name: Nate

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by samuraipizzacat29 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:20 pm

poly 800! it can be had for $150 occasionally, and even though it's push button editing - all the params are listed on the faceplate right in front of you. It sounds awesome and has 8 voices of analog polyphony.

grab that and midi up a microkorg and away you go for half of your budget ;)

oh and of the two you mentioned - my inkling would be r3 based on the features I've read of it and my impression at the time vs the ultranova which doesn't strike me as all that interesting for the price tag. Never had either one though. poly 800 and mk on the other hand, yes, have definitely owned.

User avatar
V301H
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 754
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:58 am
Gear: Fender The Strat, Stratocaster, Jazz Bass Rickenbacker 360-12, 320 Messenger(Mark Farner)
Band: The Characters
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by V301H » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:15 am

The Poly-800 has a lot going for it with analog oscillators and battery operation capability. Has a 4-octave keyboard though.
Prophet 5 rev.2, Pro-One, Juno 60, Jupiter 6, Matrix 12, OB8, MS20, Poly 800, CS70M, DX-7, CP35, Casio PX-5S, Hammond C3/M102, Vox Continental/Super Continental, Gibson G101, Farfisa Compact, RMI 300A, Pianet N, Combo Pianet, S770, S760, S50, NS3C

User avatar
GuyaGuy
VSE Review Contributor
VSE Review Contributor
Posts: 1547
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:10 am
Gear: YES PLEASE!
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by GuyaGuy » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:18 am

There's always the Roland Gaia.
Seems pretty lackluster but it fits the criteria.

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:13 am

TYPHY wrote:I've down to Korg R3 vs Ultranova.

The Ultra seems like it has more knobs.

But the important factor here is... which one sounds better?
I'm in a similar position and I narrowed it down to those two as well (the Nord Modular G2 would fit the criteria too but I've already got one of those) and I think I'm gonna go with the R3. Apart from being a fair bit cheaper I just like the sound of it more from the demos I've heard. It's a personal preference thing.

User avatar
sequentialsoftshock
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2413
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:57 am
Real name: Zayne
Gear: Pro~One, MS20, MPC60, Aalto, Volca Beats, Volca Keys, Beatstep, Casio MT18, BitOne (sorta), Circle, Orbit 3, K5, Stylos, Univox Hi Flier, iPad
Band: Echo & Liora
Location: Paris / Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:36 am

I would suggest a MicroKorg... That's what I am buying one for.
bonne chance

Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3859
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Real name: Unpronounceable
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: Portable Poly Synth (suggestions?)

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:36 am

I like the R3...

Post Reply