First synth - damn low budget

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
Idrochinone
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First synth - damn low budget

Post by Idrochinone » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:38 pm

After having great time with a bunch of iPad apps (mostly ims-20, animoog and sunrizer), I decided to buy a real (or virtually real) synthesizer. I'd like to play rock/rock-blues/70s/alt-rock/radiohead :mrgreen:
I'm in love with monophonic analog synths, I think that being monophonic it's not such a limitation for those genres (radiohead apart). I'm not that radical on being analog, because I will play for my own pleasure at home, with headphones on... I don't know if going analog would be a total waste, considering my budget (300€? - readers from U.S. please keep in mind that in Europe prices are higher, even on the second hand gear).
Anyway, my options could be:
- microkorg/microkorg xl (minikeys should not be an issue, I've not big hands)
- alesis micron/akai miniak
- mopho + cheap midi keyboard
- nanozwerg + cheap midi keyboard
- alesis dock and keep playing on ipad (+ cheap midi keyboard)

Advices?

(sorry for my bad english :) )

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by Ashe37 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:48 pm

Add to your list:

Novation A-Station + midi keyboard...

(more tomorrow too tired to post)

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bouzoukijoe1
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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:54 pm

for a first synth, my top recommendations would definitely be an MS-2000 or Mopho keyboard. you're going to want a ton of knobs.

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by Ashe37 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:23 am

Mopho keys is out of his stated price range. I don't know what European MS2000 prices are like. (Also don't know what a K-station goes for in Europe)

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:46 am

sorry you're right. misread his Mopho on the list. tight spot.
I have a hard time recommending anything less than an MS-2000. it's such a great first synth.

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by Idrochinone » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:42 am

Thank you for the inputs.
While Mopho Keyboard and Ms2000 are over, an used K-station looks affordable (but the 2octaves keyboard scares me a bit, I think 3 octaves would be perfect for me).
Speaking of the Microkorg (not XL), the editing path looks pretty clear to me, at least way better than the Micron's one. A Micron keyboard/sound with that interface (and look, hehe) would probably suits all my needs.

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:26 pm

The Novation KS came in 3 sizes, the others being 4 and 5 octaves. They'd be within budget.

I wouldn't recommend a MicroKorg, personally - the minikeys are dreadful, the editing is a drudge, the sound is nothing special and the polyphony drops to merely 2 if you want certain combinations of waveforms. I's long in the tooth and showing it.

You could grab a Mopho module and a cheap MIDI controller keyboard - as long a you don't mind editing sounds in software that could be do-able. Same for maybe a used Evolver module.

There are other more vintagey things available within budget that people seem not to want to spend money on - if you can find them - such as the Bit 99/1/One, or Roland's Alpha Juno models, or digital/analogue hybrids like the Korg DW8000. You could get some absolutely mad preset monosynths for that money too, and if you didn't mind straying from the analogue path, Yamaha's DX series comprised a whole bunch of variations on the theme, some of which are stupidly cheap and once you get your head around the programming, capable of interesting results. Very different in tone to regular analogue though.

Even on a budget of 300€, you can get a good synth, maybe even two if you're lucky.

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by NovationLover » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:09 pm

Novation KS Rack ;)
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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by krzeppa » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:49 pm

nathanscribe wrote:The Novation KS came in 3 sizes, the others being 4 and 5 octaves. They'd be within budget.
+1...these guys sound great, are inexpensive, and really easy to use. I have K-Station, and it is so easy to use. It has a quite a bit of knobs and immediate access to major parameters for such a small synth. If you are looking to bass or leads, the 2 octaves is fine. However, I do understand your concern for the extra octave. If this was a 3 octave synth it would probably be my most favorite VA of all-time. That being said the KS4 or KS5 are also really underpriced. These tend to go for not much more that the K-Station on ebay in the states. You could also look at the KS Rack and a Midi Keyboard. Seriously, take a good look luck at these guys because I think there is a lot of bang for your buck.

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by condit79 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:30 am

Being in your same situation months ago I got a mopho and ended up with the keyboard as the sound possibilities are so great and the sound for the price is great. Plus you can get some cool polys in the iPad. A good poly costs real cash where a cheaper analog mono gets you so much more as far as tweak ability and sound for the cash. Look into the korg polys for cheap as they're great as well as Alesis ions as well. A mopho+ midi keys is a great start and gives you a taste of something new. The sound tower editor is a must for the desktop unit when you start as you can see the envelopes and how that effects sound and all the parameters are right there.
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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by Idrochinone » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:30 am

Thank you guys, now it's only a money matter, I'm lurking eBay and forums to find the bargain :P
I'll let you know

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by Synthead » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:36 am

I bought a Casio CZ-5000 for $100 on craigslist and an Ensoniq ESQ-1 for $140 at a pawn shop, although the Casio is a unique synth without filters, and the ESQ-1 is a digital synth with analog Curtis filters. A little more, My Juno-106 was $250 with some bad slide pots, cost about $40 for replacements. The Electribes are fun little boxes for under $300 too.

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by Nightdare » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:12 pm

I scored a Roland D50 for €250 (with stand), a Roland JV-90 for €200 (with Orchestral expansion)
all on the local 'craigslist'
and have a hard time not spending more money on anything interesting below €350 :D

Unless you want new or 'vintage' there's a lot to score, especially if you're not dead-set on certain features/sounds

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by Nik » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:36 pm

Sell your iPad and get a proper synth :D

Think about Novation Bass Station, Doepfer Dark Energy or Korg Poly 61 - if you want something vintage.
Practice cures most tone issues.

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Re: First synth - damn low budget

Post by SSquirrel » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:01 am

Nik wrote:Sell your iPad and get a proper synth :D

Think about Novation Bass Station, Doepfer Dark Energy or Korg Poly 61 - if you want something vintage.
iMS-20, Animoog and Sunrizer are all pretty great tho, especially if he has a MIDI connector and can use a controller keyboard with it. The Dark Energy and Poly 61 are also probably well outside of his $300 price range. No clue about the Bass Station. If he could stretch to $500 I'd say get a pre-order in for an Arturia Minibrute. Those can be had from Novamusik.com for $457. I have that and a Minitaur both pre-ordered :)

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