Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

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Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

Post by Tacowitch » Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:46 pm

Just out of curiosity, what are some fun rackmount synthesizers/samplers/ROMplers/whatever that can be had on the low low (let's just go with sub $200, but flexible)? By fun, I mean make cool and/or dumb (but amusing) sounds, are interesting to tweak and play with, and/or are flexible/actually useful.

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Re: Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

Post by Psy_Free » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:08 pm

E-MU racks such as Vintage Pro, Xtreme Lead, Mo-Phatt, Orbit 3 etc are pretty good value for money & have a great set of features. They are also expandable, as you can buy them as ROMs & stick them in whichever existing one you might have bought, each one can hold up to 4 ROMs.
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Re: Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:13 pm

Wow, this list is really long.

By the end of the 1980s most mfrs were doing rack versions of all their keyboards. Many of these early digitals have fallen out of favor so you can get them for peanuts.

The most obvious on the synth side would be the dozens of units from E-Mu, starting with the original Proteus. The earliest units had no filters so programming was limited to amp envelope, splits, layers, etc. I remember when the 32 voice polyphony of the Proteus coupled with sounds from the Emulator library was groundbreaking. The Proteus was about $1000 new, today they go for $50! Once the Z-plane filters were introduced E-mu machines became a lot more interesting. The last generation allowed you to add or swap out the sample sets with ROM cards. The last two generations had the unusual Beats mode which was preset drum loops that could be "remixed" by playing keys on your controller. If you like sample based synthesizers, you can collect a pile of these for just a few hundred bucks. Go to the synth section here at VSE to read up on all the variations.

On to wavetables. The Korg Wavestation was highly regarded when first released and was quite expensive ($2000). The final rack version, the Wavestation SR sells for about $150. It is hampered by programming using the tiny display but it has that sound.

On to Roland. The various JV and XV series modules were the standard for sample based synthesis in the 1990s. I saw a JV880 going for $80 at Noisebug and it sat there for months before selling. I often see the JV1080 going for under $200.

On to FM. All of the Yamaha modules from the TX7 (a desktop) to the TG77 (FM plus sample based) can be found for $200 or less, although the TX802 and TG77 will require more looking since asking prices are often closer to $300. The 4-op modules are the TX81Z, FB01 and the totally oddball TQ5, the others are 6-op.

On to samplers. This is a wide open market because most hardware samplers today can be had for $200 or less, including most of the Akai S-series, Ensoniq EPS and ASR-X, Yamaha A series, and various E-mu machines. Relive the 1990s for a Franklin or two. Keep in mind with the dwindling availability of fresh floppies. There have been successful conversions made to replace floppy drives and SCSI hard drives with flash cards if you're the DIY type.
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Re: Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

Post by fh991586 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:22 pm

Korg M3R
Roland U-220 (or U-110)
Available for sale:
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-The Complete DX7- Howard Massey (with original enclosed sounds on soft disks)

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Re: Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:53 pm

And the obvious ones like the Roland JV-1080 and its near relatives. The Ensoniq SQr (about $100) and the MR Rack (about $250). The Roland MKS-50 *was* below $200... the Alesis QSR is around $200-250. Kawai K3m- and several other Kawai 1U synths. Uhhhh... *goes in the other room* well, I paid less than $200 for my ESQm. I think that about covers it. I guess i have a certain amount of expertise in this area because $200 is my monthly disposable budget.

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Re: Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

Post by mitchelviolins » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:35 am

got a roland d-110 on ebay shipped for like $80. decent and fairly flexible.

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Re: Cheapo Rackmount Synths?

Post by max badwan » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:04 pm

Yamaha TG-55 can be had cheaply.
Roland S-330.
JV 1010 in the 1/2 rack format, and the Akai 1/2 rack modules.
Korg 03Rw.
In Europe, you might find a Cheetah MS-6, and from memory, there are some Elka and Solton racks floating around.
I think all the other budget bargains have been listed.

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