What synths suit my needs?

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
Ernosco
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What synths suit my needs?

Post by Ernosco » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:08 am

I want a synthesizer that has the following options:
-A keyboard
-Programmable Arpeggio's
-Realtime control
So far I've found things like the Roland Juno-Gi/Stage Roland V-Synth/Fantom, Yamaha Motif, the Kawai k5000 and Korg Z1
Any more suggestions?

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by CS_TBL » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:28 am

One of the (Novation) (Super)nova family. Certainly their synth options are very classy. In the rack module, the arp is tucked away in menu diving (at least in mine), but at least it's there.
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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by Ashe37 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:53 am

Novation Supernova/Nova (don't know if the KS or Vstation have the programmable arp)

Access Virus Ti

The Alesis Micron has programmable arps, does the Ion?

It largely depends on your budget. I'll say i literally held onto my Nova rather than trade it because i didn't want to lose the programmable arp.

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:21 am

Pretty much every keyboard synth made in the last 10 years fits that description.

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by krzeppa » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:35 pm

Ashe37 wrote:Novation Supernova/Nova (don't know if the KS or Vstation have the programmable arp)

Access Virus Ti

The Alesis Micron has programmable arps

It largely depends on your budget. I'll say i literally held onto my Nova rather than trade it because i didn't want to lose the programmable arp.
+1....definitely would look at the Supernova first then move on the Virus TI or Nova. The Micron is a good inexpensive choice, but it is a little more time consuming to get what you want.

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:40 pm

The Yamaha Motif ES, XS and XF do indeed have programmable arpeggios, but programming them isn't intuitive.

Essentially you can take anything created in the onboard sequencer and convert it into an arp pattern as long as it can be expressed in four tracks. That includes anything from Tangerine Dream basslines to drum patterns to complex CC manipulations.

For the ES (only) there is a Windows app that lets you create and edit arp patterns on your PC, luckily ES arp patterns can be loaded into an XS or XF. Highly recommended if you really want to dig into the Motif arpeggiator.

My guess it is not what the OP is looking for, however.
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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by Ernosco » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:04 pm

Ok I went to my local music store and the guy working at the synth departement said I should get a Korg M50 (he's quite a korg fanboy), is that a good choice?

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by Ashe37 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:13 pm

Well, it does have two programmable arps... all the synthesis is sample-based tho.. and you can't load your own samples.

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:45 pm

The V-Synth has a fully programmable polyphonic arpeggiator which can be key split as well. It also has a step sequencer that can run at the same time and a bunch of syncable LFOs. It has the best synth-action keyboard I've ever played, it has a bunch of realtime control (aftertouch, TT pad, d-beams, assignable control knobs) and is a VA synth and a sampler in one. It also sells for around half the price it rightly should. Get a V-Synth.

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:35 pm

Ernosco wrote: Korg M50 (he's quite a korg fanboy), is that a good choice?
The M50 meets your basic requirements in your original post, it might be a good choice.

What kind of music are you looking to do?

What other gear do you already have?
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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by Ernosco » Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:38 pm

What I want to do is music such as Vangelis but also the contemporary things like he did in "Beaubourg". I had a Juno-Di but I'm going to sell it because i've grown out of it. But i do still have a midi controller to do an extra sound... but i need a thing that's capable of good things on its own.

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by CS_TBL » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:58 pm

Ernosco wrote:What I want to do is music such as Vangelis but also the contemporary things like he did in "Beaubourg". I had a Juno-Di but I'm going to sell it because i've grown out of it. But i do still have a midi controller to do an extra sound... but i need a thing that's capable of good things on its own.
Beaubourg is an album from 1978.. define 'contemporary'.. :) Now, yell 'Vangelis' and you'll encounter an army of CS80 fans yelling 'CS80'. The biggest plus of the CS80 was its release date. It was there in a time when other synths were somewhat more static. It's how the machine reacts to velocity and aftertouch that made it an interesting (and expensive, and spine bending) machine. If you know how certain sounds were made then all you need to do is find a synth that has the same editing options.
Other aspects of Vangelis are quite dependent on the decade. In his Nemo days, the obvious equipment was: CS80, Rhodes, VP330, Acoustic Piano, CP70, Acoustic Percussion, Linn drums, E-mu samplers. And all going through truckloads o' long reverbs. In his mid and late 80's days, he added a DX7 to his common palette. From the early 90's onwards, he went all-Korg, added with bits from the Roland JV-line. Somehow I feel he's still using all that, because while large orchestral libraries have certainly outmatched those older synths, they only did so because they added key switching for articulations and featured restricted key ranges. This is all handy for programmers and orchestrators, but less handy for improvising players such as Vangelis. For people like Vangelis, it's not very practical that the violins stop being there below G-3, so he'll require full string patches whereas orchestrators require realistic key groups 'n articulations. So, from today's technological point of view, Vangelis' own orchestral work sounds somewhat dated.

So, what synths then?

If you know your way around tweaking sounds, then a great many synths will do. You'll get a lot of those sounds from a Supernova, and I get a great lot of those sounds from FM8. Naturally you could go for virtual versions of the synths I mentioned earlier: CS80v, some Rhodes library, sampled VP330 strings/choirs will do, sampled CP70, sampled pianos and percussion will do. You'll encounter an army of zealots who'll forever defend that only the original equipment will really sound like 'that'. That discussion is quite a can of worms btw.. :) Then, moving up the time line, you'll need FM. While it'll open more cans with more worms (watch out for the nasty TX816 zealot-worms!), I'll say that FM8 is everything you need. Then, the 90's. You might want to try the virtual versions of Korg instruments. A pity there's no virtual Korg 01/w yet, since that's what's he used on 1492. But in a nutshell: many ROMplers could be recreated with modern day sample virtual samplers.

Finally, all the suitable equipment you'd have doesn't mean you'll have the Vangelis mindset. Plenty people showcase their CS80, CS80v or whathaveyou and yell: "hey, listen, I have a Blade Runner horn here!". Fine, now create the whole Blade Runner soundtrack too if you please. "huh?"

In many cases, Vangelis' output is more than the sum of his equipment. So even if I'd deliver you all his equipment on a serving plate.. virtual versions perhaps, it's only going to be useful if YOU know what to do with all that..

Oh, having an unobtainable Direct device, or at least a Zyklus MSP helps too!
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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by Hugo76 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:48 am

The Korg Triton is also an option. The Trton is a fully fledged workstation, and can be had for really cheap second hand. Also, +1 on the V-Synth

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:02 am

+1 for the Supernova. best choice in terms of features, affordability, sound quality, hands on interface, and ease of use.

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Re: What synths suit my needs?

Post by nvining » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:25 am

A quick note on Vangelis: if you haven't seen the Mik300z videos on Youtube, go check them out. He does *very* good recreations of, and works inspired by, Vangelis (and I think there's a pretty hefty dollop of other stuff there.) His equipment is about 50% new, off-the-shelf stuff (Juno G, Microkorg), and not-particularily-expensive vintage (Juno 6, Juno 106, and a brilliantly programmed Ensoniq ESQ-1.)

The takeaway is this, as blasphemous as it is to say it here: it's not the gear, it's what you do with it! Much of this sort of thing is just a matter of technique, layering, and even studio ergonomics.



That said, ... yeah, the Supernova's pretty damn spiffy. I also had a good time a couple of years ago doing Vangelis-esque improvisations using an Alesis Andromeda and a grand piano to link together pieces of folk music; that worked very well. The absolutely amazing acoustics didn't hurt, either.
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