Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

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georgemarauder
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Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by georgemarauder » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:49 am

Hello. Due to serious financial difficulties, I am forced to sell my Oberheim OB-12 synth. As much as it pains me to do so.

I'm now in the market for a cheap midi controller/synth. Under $200. All the midi I need is the ability to play the samples on my Roland MV-8800. Velocity sensitive is my only requirement. Don't care about anything else really.

Side question - is there a midi controller that lets you invert the velocity curve? Meaning the harder you play the key, the softer the sound? If so, please let me know which controller offers that feature.

As for the synth aspect, any type of synth capabilities will do. I make soundtrack/groovy/weird stuff, so anything that can do your basic basses, strings, leads, etc, and I'm happy. Something that is relatively easy to program would be great too. Something to where I can just start a new patch and dial up a bass sound quickly and pain free would be amazing.

Is there a synth that offers these things in my price range? The cheaper the better really. Please let me know. Thanks,

George.

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:23 am

Under $200 limits you to used instruments.

You're looking at gear like the microKorg and Alesis Micron plus early digital synths from the 80s/90s, far too many to list.

I'm not aware of any keyboard that supports inverted velocity curves...anyone?
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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by rhino » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:26 am

M-Audio and Alesis make controlers. Older ones might be CME(?), Roland A-30. MK-300 (?), etc.

For synth sounds:
Korg DS-8
Ensoniq ESQ-1
Kawai K-1 or version 2 (K1-II)
Korg DW-6000

Kurzweils and Ensoniqs offer reversed velocity curves
Last edited by rhino on Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by georgemarauder » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:27 am

I should have mentioned, used is what I'm looking for.

I'm looking for something bigger than a Microkorg or Micron. Something with 49 keys or more.

What are some of the "early digital synths from the 80s/90s" that are too many to list? I really don't know much about that era of synths at all.

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by georgemarauder » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:32 am

I think an ESQ-1 might be exactly what I'm looking for. Easy to program, large keyboard, can make sounds quickly, plus has the midi features I'm looking for. Now if I can only find one for under $200!

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by mharris80 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:13 am

georgemarauder wrote:I think an ESQ-1 might be exactly what I'm looking for. Easy to program, large keyboard, can make sounds quickly, plus has the midi features I'm looking for. Now if I can only find one for under $200!
That shouldn't be a problem. Might take a bit of patience/waiting, but they're out there. I found mine last year at a pawnshop with 1 RAM and 1ROM card included. (and a hardcase, to boot!) I think with tax included it came out to around $140 or so.

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by silikon » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:48 am

Novation KS4 --

I also have a M-Audio Ozonic MIDI Controller (that has a firewire audio interface built in as well) -- if you want it, drop me a PM. Obviously, under US$200.

Other items that may come in around $200 -

Novation X-Station
Yamaha SY-77 (I think Alex E is still selling his here.)

And another here.
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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by n3wt15 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:05 am

i had a novation ks4 before, i really loved the sounds that I made with that, but the build quality was c**p, most the knobs started changing by themselves after a while

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by georgemarauder » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:46 am

I'm finding a few ESQ-1's on Craigslist and various sites for less than $200. Amazing. I owned the SQ-80 and it was a terrific synthesizer. If the ESQ-1 is anything like it, that's a serious steal for one.

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:32 pm

georgemarauder wrote:I'm finding a few ESQ-1's on Craigslist and various sites for less than $200. Amazing. I owned the SQ-80 and it was a terrific synthesizer. If the ESQ-1 is anything like it, that's a serious steal for one.
The SQ-80 is just an expanded ESQ-1.

The ESQ-1 lacks keyboard aftertouch, disk drive, has less sequencer storage (2400 notes stock, 10K with expansion) and only about 30 waveforms...none of the attack or drum waves.
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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by Oppression » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:54 pm

n3wt15 wrote:i had a novation ks4 before, i really loved the sounds that I made with that, but the build quality was c**p, most the knobs started changing by themselves after a while

yeah i had a k station. you had to be very careful with sliders and pots etc. have heard alot of complaints bout the build of the ks. i got a k-station anyway tho cuz the filter was great for being digital.

But for the midi controller ????

in my oppinion the novation Remote sl has some of the better key action ive ever used period on any synth or controller. my preference i guess but i love it. and you can get those for cheap on ebay. but if you wanted a synth with a ton of real time control for midi as well id say a x-station or possibly a roland gaia sh01 as the real time controls are pretty simple. and the envs in the sh01 gaia were impressive not a bad little unit.

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by georgemarauder » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:27 pm

I haven't decided on a synth yet. Any other suggestions? Must be sub-$200. Thanks,

George

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by Hugo76 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:42 pm

What about a Yamaha cs1x, cs2x or cs6x? What prices these go for I have no idea, but if you can afford the cs6x, I think you seriously should consider it. Look for demos on youtube

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by georgemarauder » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:46 pm

I have no clue about the CSx series, but I did a quick youtube search for the CS6X and it looks amazing! Is it easy to use? I really loved the various piano sounds that were built in to the synth. Can you also create your own sounds? I will give that one some serious consideration. I really need something that not only sounds great but is very easy and quick to use...so when I want a certain sound I can just go in and create it without hassle. Does the CS6x have that? Thanks,

George

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Re: Please recommend me a cheap midi controller/synthesizer

Post by Hugo76 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:59 pm

The cs6x has some great sounds, and the filters and effects are great, too (many of the sounds rely heavily on the effects, but basic sounds are good, nonetheless). It does have some interesting sample mangling functionality, as well, like loop remix, which can rearrange samples in more or less interesting ways. The arpeggiator is also very good, but unfortunately you can't program your own patterns.

When it comes to programming your own sounds, it can be quite tedious, as there is a lot of menu diving. Basic stuff is easy, as there are dedicated controllers, but for more serious programming I used the dedicated software editor. Also, it's possible to plug in extra synth engines, but these are discontinued, so you'd have to get them second hand.

I think it's a good buy for what you're after, if you can get it at a decent price

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