Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

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rossharrison
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Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by rossharrison » Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:49 am

Hey everyone... I write and record alternative/indie songs consisting of mainly guitar/bass/drums and more recently my little Casio MT-30 and Roland Piano Plus 60 I got for dirt cheap. They both have me interested in getting a proper synth so I've been doing some research but still not coming up with anything solid.

Essentially I'm just looking for polyphonic synth suggestions under $600. Sounding classic is more important than sounding modern to me.

The main names I've been able to dig up so far are:
JP8000
MS2000
Alesis Ion
Juno 2
Juno Stage
DX7 or other DX series
JP-08 Boutique (or other boutique)

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by gcoudert » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:10 am

The DX7 is an absolute classic but it is a p*g to program and it is not very versatile as a first synth. It excels at wood-against-wood and metal-on-metal sounds but I don't see it fitting in well into your musical genre.
The JP08 sounds fantastic but its polyphony is limited to 4 notes. That's why I sold mine after 2 months.
The Juno Stage offers a very wide palette of sounds and lots of cool functions if you intend to gig but it's very much a ROMpler.

You'd get a lot of mileage out of a Juno or the JP8000. I personally like the latter and have been considering buying a JP8080. It also has a one-knob-per-function panel, which you would love.

I can't speak for the Alesis or the Korg.
GC

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by madtheory » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:21 am

Do you have a computer? Huge possibilities there, any synth you want basically, many cheap or free. Use a nice controller for that hands on feel.

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by rossharrison » Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:47 pm

That's basically the same thing i've been reading about the DX7. I suppose if 4 note polyphony is a real inconvenience it may be best to eliminate the JP-08 and MS2000.

Are there any Juno's you would suggest over another? The main ones i see in my price range are the Juno 2, Juno Stage, and Juno D/DI

Also I'm really liking the JP8000. If one pops up on craigslist around me I will most likely get it. But not if I'm convinced otherwise!

madtheory: I have a computer.. I actually started off producing with ableton and software instruments but have been moving more and more towards analog (recently started recording to tape). I want to play with some knobs!! lol

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by ninja6485 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:24 pm

You can chain 2 JP-08s together (or more?) to get more polyphony. You should be able to pick 2 up for $600, and if one of your other keyboards has midi out, you can just buy the modules (forgoing the little keyboard, which I actually like; though I'm alone on this) and play it from that. That's also a nice option because you can buy them new.

I had a Radias as my first synth (after software), and I couldn't have picked a better choice. The MS2000 is similar, and might also be a good choice too! I haven't played one myself though.

The question of "which synth seems like it would be more fun to play with" is actually more important for buying a synth than a lot of people generally consider. Like, if there's a synth you really want, but you're thinking of getting something else because the other instrument is more functional, sometimes it might be a good idea to go with the synth you really want! There are obviously exceptions, maybe even the dx-7 example above, but generally speaking, you're going to be able to do leads, basses, pads, and all your other bread and butter sounds on pretty much any poly synth. So if there's one you really like from the get go, your interest and joy in the synth itself is actually doing to a lot of work to get you involved with playing the synth and pushing it to its limits. And ultimately, the more involved you are with your synth, and the more you're experimenting with it, the more things you're going to discover it can do, and the more satisfied you will be with the results.

Obviously, for your first synth, things like having a frustrating work flow, or being constantly broken could be a huge hindrance. I'd go with something that's more modern, and very hands on.

Also, you've got to know your individual needs. Although I do enjoy playing songs on a keyboard from time to time, I'm more of a techno-programmer. I have different needs than a synth playing keyboardist, so of course different synths appeal more to me than they do to some others. The beauty of synthesizers is that there is so much variety, and each one has its own unique character and quirkiness.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by gcoudert » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:06 pm

ninja6485 wrote:You can chain 2 JP-08s together (or more?) to get more polyphony. You should be able to pick 2 up for $600.
Well, it's not that simple. If you chain two units together, the second one will only pick up the 'overflow' notes. Try playing 4-note chords with a longish amp release and you'll experience voice stealing. That's not true 8-voice polyphony. It'll still work for most applications though. Whilst a JP8000 doesn't quite sound like a JP8/JP08, it has a similar set of parameters and more, plus normal size knobs and sliders.
GC

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by madtheory » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:03 pm

Yes, agreed. The JP8000 is a nice synth, if you like it, get one.
rossharrison wrote:Are there any Juno's you would suggest over another? The main ones i see in my price range are the Juno 2, Juno Stage, and Juno D/DI
Don't be misled by the word "Juno" they're not all the same. The ones you mention are romplers, mostly. I think you might hate them! But you can easily try them out, most shops stock them. Juno 2 is the exception- I assume you mean Alpha Juno 2? Very nice sounding vintage DCO synth, classic Roland poly sound. But it has a digital interface- you'll probably hate that. There are MIDI controllers available for it though... which brings us back to my earlier point about using a knobby controller with your synth plugins on the computer.

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by gcoudert » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:29 pm

madtheory wrote:Yes, agreed. The JP8000 is a nice synth, if you like it, get one.
Or a the equivalent JP-8080 module. Add a small controller keyboard and a mic and you can use the vocoder. If someone asks you 'out of the blue' to do a cover of "Mr Blue Sky", you'll be ready!
GC

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by madtheory » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:42 pm

I see what you did there :)

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by rossharrison » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:55 pm

Hey thanks for the input everyone. Ended up finding a deal on a JP 8000 I couldn't pass up.

Now that I'm getting to know the synth I have a question. When I pull up a patch it will sound as it is supppsed to for a few seconds, then an asterisk pops up next to the patch number as though I have modified the patch and the sound changes. This is all without touching any knobs or faders. Perhaps someone with experience can shed some light on playing the patches unmolested.

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Re: Making a Decision (first "real" synth)

Post by gcoudert » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:26 pm

rossharrison wrote:Hey thanks for the input everyone. Ended up finding a deal on a JP 8000 I couldn't pass up.

Now that I'm getting to know the synth I have a question. When I pull up a patch it will sound as it is supppsed to for a few seconds, then an asterisk pops up next to the patch number as though I have modified the patch and the sound changes. This is all without touching any knobs or faders. Perhaps someone with experience can shed some light on playing the patches unmolested.
This doesn't sound good. I'd return it if I were you.
GC

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