Evil Poly Pad Machine

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Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by tomorrowstops » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:07 pm

Which 'crappy' poly synth am I going to get along with the most! I haven't owned either of these:

Polysix
Prophet 600

Its going to be an evil pad machine. Think shitty obscure slasher movies. Surf Nazis Must Die, Endangered Species, etc. It would also need to be fairly mellow at times as well. I'm going to be playing it, not externally controlling it. Arps + seqs are cool, but not prerequisites. The simpler the machine, the better. I don't even care if its got memory capabilities.

Right now I'm leaning toward the Polysix, because it seems to have a wider tonal range than the P600. But maybe the P600 would be enough. Both are commanding prices more than they're worth, but at least they're attainable. They each come with they're own set of inherent issues, but I'll buy accordingly....

I've had a couple of Prophet 5's and Jupiter 6 - GORGEOUS sounding machines, just too rich for my blood. This new pup needs to be sub $1500.

I've also owned a Juno 6 - still technically an option, but I've already been there, you know? I'd love to fall in love with a girl I've never met...

Don't bother debating between VCO's and DCO's - that's not what this is about. If there's a old DCO synth that fits the bill, so be it.

Suggestions?

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by zoomtheline » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:10 pm

Crumar Stratus

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by Carey M » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:55 pm

Both would be great for that thrashy slasher flick sound. But I'd say the P-600 is more versatile and can be a bit more "evil".

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by Solderman » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:30 pm

My first thought was Ensoniq ESQ-1 or SQ80. Akai AX60 can give some nice saturated edge. Alesis Andromeda has the capability to produce quite alot of bite. I'd venture to guess the Poly-Evolver could sound pretty mean.
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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by garranimal » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:31 pm

Solderman wrote:My first thought was Ensoniq ESQ-1 or SQ80. Akai AX60 can give some nice saturated edge. Alesis Andromeda has the capability to produce quite alot of bite. I'd venture to guess the Poly-Evolver could sound pretty mean.
Yeah, you seek AX-60 I think. You also might check out a VSE'er Jexus who has a lot of youtube demos posted, of all kinds of different synths, making the kinds of sounds you are looking for.

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by tomorrowstops » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:41 pm

The Ensoniq/Akai stuff is definitely interesting, but I that era of synths and I have never quite gotten along. Just an awkward combination of 'look whats new' and 'hey its still kind of old' and some weird way of getting there.

I've had the Poly Evolver. Nice machine, but like all DSI synths, it tries to cram to much under the hood, over-complicating the interface and to some degree the potential sound character. Plus the damn thing has only 4 notes of polyphony. Adding yet another piece of hardware (desktop Mono Evolver or hunting down the rack version) to gain another voice or 4 is ridiculous.

Carey, your description of the P600 potentially being more versatile than the Polysix intrigues me. I mean of course on paper it totally makes sense with the features and all, but the sounds I'm hearing between these two videos kind of contradicts that. At least in tonal range. I always considered my P5 as kind of one trick ponies tone wise, (albeit an incredible, never-gets-old trick). I've just assumed the P600 is just a little substandard of that. But the Polysix just seems like it has greater range.






again, these are two very different synthesists at work, so take anything I assume (based on their programming) with a grain of salt...

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by Carey M » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:24 pm

tomorrowstops wrote:Carey, your description of the P600 potentially being more versatile than the Polysix intrigues me. I mean of course on paper it totally makes sense with the features and all, but the sounds I'm hearing between these two videos kind of contradicts that. At least in tonal range. I always considered my P5 as kind of one trick ponies tone wise, (albeit an incredible, never-gets-old trick). I've just assumed the P600 is just a little substandard of that. But the Polysix just seems like it has greater range.
I was referencing to P600s versatility because of its features. Two VCOs, three waveforms for each osc simultaneously, two envelopes, osc sync, cross mod, filter FM and portamento, it just has a much bigger range of timbres. But yeah, there is "The Prophet" sound that kinda is there all the time. But it's a sound that fits to the "thrashy slasher flick" style better than almost anything, imho. Polysix definitely is also very suitable for doing the Carpenter / Troma / Italo / etc. thing. I'd imagine the Ensoniq ESQ1/SQ80 being suitable as well. I've owned a couple of Polysixes and I'm on my second P600 now, ideally I'd have them both ;)

I'm actually scoring a trashy italo b-movie (think Enzo G. Castellari) style postapocalyptic short film this spring/summer and I definitely wouldn't want to be without my P600. (and I'm happy my band mate has a Polysix..) :)

Here's a soundcloud set of mine of P600 demos, a couple of them are maybe a bit in the style you described.

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by rhino » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:52 am

Suggestions:
1) Roland JD-800. Exciter can give a screeching high-end, and the reverb is jangley and metalic.
2) Casio VZ-1. h**l-gone-to-h**l to program, but tones you'd never hear without putting a DX-7 thru a wood chipper.
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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by c-level » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:55 am

tomorrowstops wrote:Which 'crappy' poly synth am I going to get along with the most! I haven't owned either of these:

Polysix
Prophet 600

Its going to be an evil pad machine. Think shitty obscure slasher movies. Surf Nazis Must Die, Endangered Species, etc. It would also need to be fairly mellow at times as well. I'm going to be playing it, not externally controlling it. Arps + seqs are cool, but not prerequisites. The simpler the machine, the better. I don't even care if its got memory capabilities.

Right now I'm leaning toward the Polysix, because it seems to have a wider tonal range than the P600. But maybe the P600 would be enough. Both are commanding prices more than they're worth, but at least they're attainable. They each come with they're own set of inherent issues, but I'll buy accordingly....

I've had a couple of Prophet 5's and Jupiter 6 - GORGEOUS sounding machines, just too rich for my blood. This new pup needs to be sub $1500.

I've also owned a Juno 6 - still technically an option, but I've already been there, you know? I'd love to fall in love with a girl I've never met...

Don't bother debating between VCO's and DCO's - that's not what this is about. If there's a old DCO synth that fits the bill, so be it.

Suggestions?
how do either of these synths qualify as 'crappy'? because theyre actually in your price range and not a daydream?

try a jx8p? or an ax80? and theyres always poly800, poly61, alphajuno etc....

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by tomorrowstops » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:42 am

Carey M wrote:
tomorrowstops wrote:Carey, your description of the P600 potentially being more versatile than the Polysix intrigues me. I mean of course on paper it totally makes sense with the features and all, but the sounds I'm hearing between these two videos kind of contradicts that. At least in tonal range. I always considered my P5 as kind of one trick ponies tone wise, (albeit an incredible, never-gets-old trick). I've just assumed the P600 is just a little substandard of that. But the Polysix just seems like it has greater range.
I was referencing to P600s versatility because of its features. Two VCOs, three waveforms for each osc simultaneously, two envelopes, osc sync, cross mod, filter FM and portamento, it just has a much bigger range of timbres. But yeah, there is "The Prophet" sound that kinda is there all the time. But it's a sound that fits to the "thrashy slasher flick" style better than almost anything, imho. Polysix definitely is also very suitable for doing the Carpenter / Troma / Italo / etc. thing. I'd imagine the Ensoniq ESQ1/SQ80 being suitable as well. I've owned a couple of Polysixes and I'm on my second P600 now, ideally I'd have them both ;)

I'm actually scoring a trashy italo b-movie (think Enzo G. Castellari) style postapocalyptic short film this spring/summer and I definitely wouldn't want to be without my P600. (and I'm happy my band mate has a Polysix..) :)

Here's a soundcloud set of mine of P600 demos, a couple of them are maybe a bit in the style you described.
Thats what I thought...funny, despite my own comments, I'm totally leaning towards the P600 anyways. I do love 'the Prophet' sound. I'd also be plenty happy with the Polysix. I'm keeping my eye open for both, so we'll what better deal comes along first. Those demos you have are great, they definitely show a couple of different sides of the P600 I haven't heard yet. Your scoring project sounds like its going to be pretty cool, good luck with it!

...And don't worry c-level I was just trying to be funny. These synths simply haven't reached 'icon' level and probably never will - so they must be 'crappy'! I'll defintely check out the Poly800 and 61, I forgot about those ones. I've flirted with my friends alpha juno 2 and again, it was just too awkward for my tastes.

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by syntheticsolutions » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:48 pm

I currently own both of these and have done for some time.

The Prophet 600 seems to suit your requirements more so that the Polysix. In my experience, the Polysix is very soft and polite, although it has a lot of balls and can really cut through a mix, I still perceive it as a soft, gentle, stringer.

The Prophet 600 sounds consistently dark and evil. It has a somewhat haunting presence whenever I programme a patch into it. Just beware of the technical issues, I had a bloody nightmare with mine.
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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by jereopaq » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:52 am

Actually, based on what you described in the first post, you may want to investigate a Korg Wavestation or yammy sy22 or sy35. Those will give you the eerie pads you desire. You prolly don't want digital though.

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by tomorrowstops » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:58 pm

syntheticsolutions wrote:I currently own both of these and have done for some time.

The Prophet 600 seems to suit your requirements more so that the Polysix. In my experience, the Polysix is very soft and polite, although it has a lot of balls and can really cut through a mix, I still perceive it as a soft, gentle, stringer.

The Prophet 600 sounds consistently dark and evil. It has a somewhat haunting presence whenever I programme a patch into it. Just beware of the technical issues, I had a bloody nightmare with mine.
Interesting thoughts. Naturally, in addition to dark and evil, I'd like soft and gentle at times. I could never get the Prophet 5 completely over to soft and gentle land, it always had this lingering harshness about it. I've been assuming the P600 isn't too far off from that. From demos I've been listening too, the Polysix definitely seems to have a sweeter sounding filter, much closer to the Jupiter 6 (and Juno 6) I used to have. Your description makes perfect sense. I'm thinking what I really am looking for is a really flexible stringer. More flexible than an actual stringer (Solina, etc). The 'dark and evil' part might be satisfied enough by the MS20 that just arrived today. Maybe I'll switch my debate from Polysix/P600 to Polysix/Juno 6.

What technical issues did you have with the P600? I hear that membrane panel can be a b***h...

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by Deuterostome » Fri May 03, 2013 2:18 pm

I used to have this synth in my possession - I borrowed it in return for lending a punching bag. I still don't have my punching bag. :D

I was looking at the P600 as a do-all synth, and it wasn't. I was able to coax excellent pad sounds out of it though! At the time I was using it (roughly 13 years ago) I wanted more Aphex-Twin type sounds from it and I was just ignorant and didn't know any better. Now I don't want those sounds and I could actually use a P600. It has a nice sound.

BUT

I did not like it's filter action because it was digitally controlled. The filter sounds nice, and it made great sweeps on its own when the LFO was controlling it, but when you go to tweak by hand, the filter "stepped". That bothered me to no end. In fact, it would probably still bother me if I wanted to use it for anything but pads. Its attack is weak, but you can coax some soft pluck-like sounds out of it if you really work with it. Also, the attack length was a bit short for me for pad sounds. I wished it had a longer rise and a longer release. The volume on mine was a bit low. Its keys felt nice, the keyboard was heavy as all get-out and the memory patches were useful.

This all could have been due the the heavy use of the synth before I borrowed it or it's age. This was my experience with it.

It is not a bad synth, but it's strengths really like in the pad territory without any real manual messing around. If you don't mind a VA, the Alesis Micron is an amazing synth for pads, just wonderful, especially if you take time to program it. Really spacious and can be "wide". Run it through a ZVEX Instant Lo-Fi Junky for the 80's sound. You'll get it in spades.

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Re: Evil Poly Pad Machine

Post by GuyaGuy » Sun May 05, 2013 4:05 am

Deuterostome wrote:I used to have this synth in my possession - I borrowed it in return for lending a punching bag. I still don't have my punching bag. :D

I was looking at the P600 as a do-all synth, and it wasn't. I was able to coax excellent pad sounds out of it though! At the time I was using it (roughly 13 years ago) I wanted more Aphex-Twin type sounds from it and I was just ignorant and didn't know any better. Now I don't want those sounds and I could actually use a P600. It has a nice sound.

BUT

I did not like it's filter action because it was digitally controlled. The filter sounds nice, and it made great sweeps on its own when the LFO was controlling it, but when you go to tweak by hand, the filter "stepped". That bothered me to no end. In fact, it would probably still bother me if I wanted to use it for anything but pads. Its attack is weak, but you can coax some soft pluck-like sounds out of it if you really work with it. Also, the attack length was a bit short for me for pad sounds. I wished it had a longer rise and a longer release. The volume on mine was a bit low. Its keys felt nice, the keyboard was heavy as all get-out and the memory patches were useful.

This all could have been due the the heavy use of the synth before I borrowed it or it's age. This was my experience with it.

It is not a bad synth, but it's strengths really like in the pad territory without any real manual messing around. If you don't mind a VA, the Alesis Micron is an amazing synth for pads, just wonderful, especially if you take time to program it. Really spacious and can be "wide". Run it through a ZVEX Instant Lo-Fi Junky for the 80's sound. You'll get it in spades.
Attack and Release time are both around 8 seconds. That's plenty of time for most applications. As for the filter stepping: You can use CV to control it. As for the slow envelopes, I'm not so convinced. It may not be a lean mean mono machine but they certainly aren't super sluggish. Some audio samples below.
GuyaGuy wrote:OK, CLIPS!

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11367482

0:01-0:07 CV control of filter
0:07-0:13 Knob control of filter (stepping)

^You can hear the stepping pretty clearly here

0:15-0:20 CV control of filter
0:20-0:25 Knob control of filter (stepping)

^I think the difference isn't so great here because I turned the cut off knob faster.

0:26-0:36 Slowest LFO rate, modding filter
0:36-0:41 Fastest LFO rate, modding filter

0:41-0:49 Slowest LFO rate, modding pitch
0:49-0:53 Fastest LFO rate, modding pitch

0:53 Envelopes: Fastest settings on filter and amp with little res
1:01 Envelopes: Fastest settings on filter and amp with higher res

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