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what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:00 am
by sophistipop
I've recently been interested in fm synthesis and was looking to purchase a yamaha DX7 since i've played with them before and love how they sound. Then while researching I realized i could purchase a yamaha tx81z, which is a rack mounted synthesizer that is similar and arguably better, for less than half the price. This got me thinking that maybe even a poor hobbyist like me could build a decent collection of vintage synths. Do you guys have recommendations? ideally i wouldn't be spending more than 200 dollars plus shipping on a rack mount, but i could make exceptions depending on the nature of the equipment.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:27 am
by Alex E
If you look around, you can get a TX802 for $150 - $200.

But you can also get a DX7 cheaply if you really shop around. Remember, they built a TON of them back in the day.
That was my philosophy with the D-50 and I scored one for cheap eventually.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:06 am
by m127
Try the XV-3080, incredible bang for the buck, tons of resources.
Also the MS2000 is excellent-
The CS6R sounds beautifully, filters are great, sort of unique in a very nice way... just pleasant.
A Supernova I or a Nova can be gotten for less than 400.

Funnily enough, looking at it, for less than $1000 I'd say the above selection can give a super pallette of awesome sounds, simply outstanding. Maybe just add some modern plugin processors to bring the whole thing up to date or to something innovative. Layering and experimentation are the key to the rabbit hole almost regardless of the tools.

I love having all of the above, except the XV, which I traded for the higher up in the scale: xv5080.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:14 am
by Synthacon
Just look at specs. For instance the TX81Z is nowhere near a DX7, different architecture but the same family.

Rack stuff is cheaper as your not paying for extra hardware.

Good deals....

Korg Wavestation SR - Great pads
Korg TR Rack - Trinity Rack, very nice sounds (48khz samples)
Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Nice analogue poly and very deep
Roland MKS50 - Analogue poly with a couple of nice tricks
Yamaha TX802 - The best of DX
Yamaha TG77 - A massively powerful synth

All the above can be had for £100-£300.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:06 pm
by Pro5
TG77 is the best value hands down! that synth alone can do so much and will take years to fully exploit! sounds great.

MKS-50 is also a beauty. Lovely tone (Alpha Juno in a rack - my favourite DCO synth overall)

Both of these are cheaper than the next price up (MKS-70 upwards) and imo much better, more flexible and nicer sounding (esp in combo) - you could get both for less than a 'lesser' single rackmount!

go for it!!

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:42 pm
by cornutt
Yeah, I don't think I'd describe the TX81z as "better" than the DX-7... the 81z is only 4-operator synthesis, vs. the 6-op of the DX7. However, the TX81z is very cheap (I see them for $75-100), and it's actually not a bad way to get introduced to FM synthesis, on a machine thats' less complex. Once you get used to it, you can "graduate" to a DX7 or TX-802 if you want.

Another cheap rackmount synth that seldom gets mentioned is the Alesis Nanosynth. Note that to edit patches on it, you must have a computer and software (also true of the Matrix-1000).

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:15 pm
by Synthetech
I might add the Kawai K series rack and "wedge" units- K1/K4. (Wedge is a desktop module).
There's a cheapie Kawai half rack module too.. the Xs-1 is kinda unique compared to the usual GM romplers.

There are other nice wedge units like an older Roland mv30 sequencer/module wedge with a D70 sounding engine inside it.
An old school digital/analog hybrid unit is the Korg EX800. The wedge version of Poly 800.
And a similar unit to the above korg's is the Siel DK 70 and other Siel units.. including a "Suzuki" brand copy of the DK 70 in a wedge module.. they are a cheap way to get into the classic SSM filter chip sounds.

All the above units can be had for $30-$200 each.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:13 pm
by EmptySet
I don't know if it classifies as "good" or not, but you can find Roland D-110's for really cheap usually. And they're multitimbred. (albeit a bit obstuse). Another oldie but a goody are some of the JV racks. I have a JV2080 that I paid quite little for and it sounds great and has some pretty snazzy programming under the hood if you're willing to learn it. Lastly, thumbs up on a TX81Z.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:49 pm
by rhino
Some not-so-common racks that have unique sounds:

Ensoniq ESQm

Casio VZ-10m (or 8m) (both bloody h**l to program from the panel, but sounds like nothing else.)

Alesis QSR - great little ROMpler: 64 voices + built-in Quadraverb

Kawai K5m - see Casio above. If you get one, PM me and I'll send you a sketch of the rack ears I made for it.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:59 pm
by gs
Don't forget the lovely Kawai K3M. Digital waves with analog filters -- similar to Korg EX-8000 and Ensoniq ESQm. I have one in my rack and snagged it for $150. Sweet. (Also much easier to program than the other two; every parameter has a dedicated button.)

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:02 pm
by _seph
Kawai synths are greatly overlooked. I have both the K4r and XD-5 and they're excellent. Having more gear than space I'll probably be parting with my K1m, but for a synth that's around $100 they're great and it seems they've become quite popular with the soldering iron crowd.

I really think the best value for $300 and under is either Yamaha's TG77 or the Kurzweil K2000r. Both are incredibly powerful and flexible deep synths. There isn't much you couldn't do with either.

also worth mentioning would be E-mu's Proteus-derived sound modules, all a bit different but great ROMplers with some interesting filters.

and speaking of E-mu, you can find stupid deals on rack mount samplers. Their E4 Ultra series (E4, E6400, E5000) are powerful synths and not worth much of anything along with their competition especially Yamaha's A series.

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:17 am
by wildpaws
I'll give the TG77 another vote as a great, flexible, affordable rack synth, the presets only hint at the sonic power within that will be unleashed when you learn how to edit the voices and use all of it's capabilities. I call my SY77 and SY99 "chameleon synths" because they can be programmed to sound like most anything you want.
Clyde

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:31 am
by forcedopinion
I bought a KAWAI K3m for $40 that was in excellent condition. Good synth for the price, easy to edit. Nice pads, strings, good for making atmospheric/ambient sound, can do big basses but I've never used it for that. However, (and I'm no expert programmer) every time I try to program PPG/80's Tangerine Dream type patches it sounds very thin. Still, worth the $40.

I made this track entirely with a Kawai K3m and Yamaha FB-01 (speaking of cheap as h**l synths).


Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:20 am
by fh991586
I find the Roland U-220 and Korg M3R have great sounds for cheap (less than $100).

Re: what are some good affordable rack mounts?

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:37 am
by Synthetech
_seph wrote:and speaking of E-mu, you can find stupid deals on rack mount samplers. .



+1 on the samplers... especially when they have the nice filters and effects built in.
Stupid deals like around $70 for a nice EMU rack sampler.. loaded with about 8MB and effects.
I just found a Roland SP808 Sampler Groovebox for $80.. 150 crazy wild FX in it, a zippy and wild analog modeled synth with tons of Analog parameters... and that cool D Beam controller on it.
And if that isnt enough, it is a 4 stereo (8) track digital recorder as well.

a simple akai s3200xl sampler track I stiched together.