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Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:41 pm
by dannyfc
So I'm after my first hardware synthesizer, looking to spend no more than £200 ($300).

Want I'm after is that fragile typically analog sound thats hard to replicate with soft synths, the most luck I've had is with Arturia's CS-80V by utilising the wandering sub-oscillators.

I'm not looking for much in terms of functionality, just a Poly synth with some nice filters really.

So far I've been looking out for Redsound's Darkstar, and the Alesis Micron. Both VAs but have that 'edgy' character you don't get in soft synth. As a contrast, I was recently offered an Xiosynth for relatively cheap and found the sound totally lifeless. I'm into Lo-Fi music, so any warbling or inconsistent tuning is a bonus.

I hope this gives enough insight, and can provide some much appreciated suggestions. This is new ground for me so don't bite my head of if some of my information is slightly ignorant. :?

Thanks, Dan :D

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:04 pm
by dannyfc
After further reading it appears what I'm after is a cheap 'Analog-modelling' synth, any suggestions?

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:14 pm
by space6oy
I suggest next time you put a thread like this in the appropriate section. :thumbright:

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:41 am
by ravenmek
I had a miniak ( =micron) and a Xio, both of them are really good sounding if you program them carefully.

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:29 am
by Sir Ruff
Easy... ESQ-1/SQ-80.
Done.

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:55 am
by dannyfc
How about the VFX SD?

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:16 am
by Ashe37
dannyfc wrote:How about the VFX SD?

No, not easily.

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:39 am
by Stab Frenzy
Those kind of sounds are pretty easy to get with any synth if you know how to program it. Use LFOs on pitch, HPF as well as LPF to thin the sound out, a bit of reverb helps too.

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:54 am
by nogginj
for true lo-fi my vote goes for an old beater organ every time.
hit up craigslist, swap meets, grandmas...spend very little money invest lots and lots of love.

esq-1 is also a very good suggestion.

'lo-fi' with 'dsp' is a bit of an oxymoron to me but im always excited to be proven wrong.

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:02 am
by dannyfc
Ashe37 wrote:
dannyfc wrote:How about the VFX SD?

No, not easily.
Not easily obtainable or doesn't achieve the sound very easily?

nogginj you're right, Lo-Fi was probably the wrong terminology to what I'm trying to describe. Basically just a raw sound with intrinsic imperfections that give sonic variation and character.

It is possible to emulate such behaviour in soft synths with pitch modulation and various plug-ins, but IMO I don't think you can sufficiently create the richness of timbre that certain hardware gives.

Appreciate the replies guys, apologies for posting in the wrong place originally!

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:22 am
by Dr Amazing
My two cents...no software or virtual analog sounds like analog. Doesn't come close.

But I did own an Ion (same engine as the Micron) and I could get it sounding pretty damn similar to my Juno and Prodigy...albeit a bit flatter...it was closer than I was expecting it to get.

I was also never super happy with Ion...I never found any really uses for it other than trying to make it sound like my analogs...although I think people seem to really love it!

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:48 pm
by dannyfc
Thats true enough, and on a budget I wouldn't really expect to get close to an analog. Still these Analog-Modeling ones still have some character of their own, and sound less clinical compared to some of the other digital ones.

Any other suggestions?

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:12 pm
by Psy_Free
Novation K-Station maybe. As stated above the 'fragile'ness comes from programming.

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:18 am
by James Mandible
dannyfc wrote:]Still these Analog-Modeling ones still have some character of their own, and sound less clinical compared to some of the other digital ones.
Personally I've found it's the opposite as far as sounding clinical goes, my Miniak has a much colder sound than my TX81Z for example. I haven't checked it against anything more current like a Blofeld though. Not to say the Miniak/Micron/Ion is a bad series of synths, quite the contrary, I agree it's got it's own character, not bad, just different. Speaking of, there are/were a few stores in the US selling Miniaks at rock-bottom prices. If it's a VA you want and you're on a budget, that might be the one to look into if you can find a place that still has them for cheap and will ship to the UK.

Re: Looking for a budget 'fragile' sounding synth

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:51 pm
by thehighesttree
I'm totally biased, but within your price range you might consider the Korg R3. It has a feature called "Analog Tuning" that applies a random tonal offset (within a controllable range) to your notes. When you use this along with other features like sample+hold and filters you can make a sound that really trembles randomly like an old voltage-controlled synth. This effect can be applied to whatever base tone you want (even other instruments by using the audio-in as a waveform!) You really can't go wrong with the R3 as a starting synth unless you've been playing keys all your life and need more than 8-note poly.