Which synth to choose?

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Blackfire74
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Which synth to choose?

Post by Blackfire74 » Thu May 27, 2021 9:58 pm

Hello,
I'm rather new to synts, except short episode with Volcas :)

Actually, I'm a guitarist and bassist but I need some synth sounds for my new projects.
I'd like to get something compact in size, rather affordable max to $300 and with specific sounds like dark choirs for metal music; nice pads, strings and sounds for ambient chillout and good drum set similar to Roland TR 909.
I was thinking about Korg X5D although it is big one and I'm not sure about drums as no one presented them on YT. Also, I don't know if this one has similar sound editing stuff like microKorg, which I like for chillout ambient music.
And arpeggiator of course is highly wanted.
Of course I don't prefer VST plugins. I'm far from using a computer, except of EZ Drummer as it suit my needs perfectly for real drum sounds. If it only had 909 kit with ability to tweak sounds like Volca Kick.
I suppose there might not be any suiting my needs completely, but it is worth trying to ask.
BTW, can I create choir sounds on microKorg? And I don't mean pads sounding something like choir but real choir like sound? I might not stick to 909 sound in synthesizer but others are rather a must.
Thanks for any help.

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meatballfulton
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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu May 27, 2021 10:25 pm

Blackfire74 wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 9:58 pm
BTW, can I create choir sounds on microKorg? And I don't mean pads sounding something like choir but real choir like sound?
No, you cannot.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by groy » Fri May 28, 2021 2:38 pm

Roland MC-505 fits the bill, though I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

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meatballfulton
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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by meatballfulton » Fri May 28, 2021 5:32 pm

Have MC-505's fallen to the $300 point?

I see them for $400-500 on eBay and Reverb. The memory cards are obsolete (expensive!! saw a 2MB card for $99 on eBay) 5V Smart Media and the displays commonly fail and need replacement...ugh.

But old Roland grooveboxes in general are worth looking into.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by groy » Fri May 28, 2021 6:58 pm

meatballfulton wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 5:32 pm
Have MC-505's fallen to the $300 point?

I see them for $400-500 on eBay and Reverb.
You're right (as always), they do look to be more than $300.
And they won't make realistic choir sounds either, but have a few options of 'choir' type waveforms to work patches from.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by Blackfire74 » Sat May 29, 2021 12:13 pm

Ok, letting go of drums and choirs, foxusing on ambient chillout stuff, which will be most capable for it: Yamaha Reface YC, Reface CS, Korg X5D?

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by Ashe37 » Sat May 29, 2021 12:25 pm

the X5D does ok if dated choirs.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by Blackfire74 » Sat May 29, 2021 12:33 pm

Oops, I meant Reface CP or Reface CS? Korg X5D is kinda big for my desk, but it has tons of sounds, pads, synths, drums and acrually fit my needs best, I think, but too big. Reface CS is just VA synth no other sounds but for chillout ambient music. Reface CP is limitating music style a little too, but there are a lot of jazzy, chillout, lounge music using Rhodes, Wurlitzer, but I won't get pads from it.
Seems X5D is a go to for everything, but still too big ;(

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by mikespot » Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:59 pm

Blackfire74 wrote:
Thu May 27, 2021 9:58 pm
Hello,
I'm rather new to synts, except short episode with Volcas :)

Actually, I'm a guitarist and bassist but I need some synth sounds for my new projects.
I'd like to get something compact in size, rather affordable max to $300 and with specific sounds like dark choirs for metal music; nice pads, strings and sounds for ambient chillout and good drum set similar to Roland TR 909.
I was thinking about Korg X5D although it is big one and I'm not sure about drums as no one presented them on YT. Also, I don't know if this one has similar sound editing stuff like microKorg, which I like for chillout ambient music.
And arpeggiator of course is highly wanted.
Of course I don't prefer VST plugins. I'm far from using a computer, except of EZ Drummer as it suit my needs perfectly for real drum sounds. If it only had 909 kit with ability to tweak sounds like Volca Kick.
I suppose there might not be any suiting my needs completely, but it is worth trying to ask.
BTW, can I create choir sounds on microKorg? And I don't mean pads sounding something like choir but real choir like sound? I might not stick to 909 sound in synthesizer but others are rather a must.
Thanks for any help.
Picking The Right Synth
If a synth is giving you the sounds you want, it doesn't matter how much you paid for it.
If you can't hear it, it doesn't matter.
Sound Above all else, sound is king.
Features – The type of sounds a synth is capable of making is determined by two things: the guts and the controls.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by KayBur » Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:48 am

I don't think you can get a quality synthesizer for $ 300. This is how much synthesizers cost for beginners who are just learning to play.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by Ashe37 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:53 am

KayBur wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:48 am
I don't think you can get a quality synthesizer for $ 300. This is how much synthesizers cost for beginners who are just learning to play.
I beg to differ, there are plenty of semi-but-not-truly-vintage (i.e. 90s) synths that are pretty high quality for under $300, as well as things like Behringer's offerings.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by SciNote » Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:20 am

Let me offer an alternative choice. Now, I know you are concerned about size when considering a desktop synth. My suggestion is a keyboard unit, which obviously would be much larger than a desktop synth. But if you are also considering keyboard synths, then for something brand new in the $300 (US) range, you may want to consider the Yamaha PSR-E463.

Yes, this is a "portable home keyboard", but before you laugh, consider the following. It has well over 600 built-in sounds, from basic saw and square waveforms, to strings, brass, and yes, choirs. And unlike most home keyboards, this keyboard has a resonant filter and an A/R envelope generator for the volume (amplifier). Any two sounds can be combined -- similar to a dual-VCO synth -- and each sound can have its own filter and envelope settings. The volume and octave can also be set separately for both sounds, giving you a very wide range of sounds. Chorusing (including flanger) and reverb can be added (with the levels independently adjustable for both sounds), and there is also a DSP feature with selections like phase shifter, rotary speaker, and distortion. And also unlike most home keyboards, there are two assignable knobs that can be set to adjust the filter, envelope generator, or other settings on the fly.

On top of that, there is an arpeggiator with 150 settings, and a harmony/echo feature that can give repeating and echo type effects.

There are various drum kits available (where each key is assigned a different drum), as well as a built-in drum machine. A basic six track, ~19000 note sequencer is also included.

On top of all of this, the keyboard can be split, and an independent sound can be assigned to the left hand (the filter and envelope are not available here, but volume, octave, reverb level, and chorus level can be adjusted), or it can be used for auto-accompaniment back-up styles. There is also a "DJ" mode that includes around 35 dance/DJ style patterns.

Of course, this is a stereo keyboard, with panning adjustments available, and it has a velocity sensitive keyboard, as well as a pitch-bend wheel. There are 32 registrations available, which are equivalent to synthesizer patch memories that allow most of the main parameters to be stored in a memory.

It's not perfect. Other than the pitch-bend wheel, there is essentially no control over bending the pitch, in that there is no LFO-effect for pitch (like vibrato) other than what is pre-programmed into some of the sounds, there is no pitch envelope generator, and there is no portamento. Also, please note that the successor to this keyboard, likely to be called the PSR-E473, will likely be released sometime this year, which may have additional features. But still, the PSR-E463 may be worth a look. The main keyboard in my personal set-up is the PSR-E433, which is one of the predecessors to the E463. I am no beginner, as I have been playing keyboard for over four decades, and I still find this keyboard very versatile and with a great sound even after owning it for over seven years.

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meatballfulton
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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:38 pm

KayBur wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:48 am
I don't think you can get a quality synthesizer for $ 300.
For $300 , look at used equipment. The OP is already looking at a Korg X5D which is about 20 years old. A lot of older (90s) digital synths can be had for peanuts these days, you just have to put in the time looking for them.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by KayBur » Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:04 am

Ashe37 wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:53 am
KayBur wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:48 am
I don't think you can get a quality synthesizer for $ 300. This is how much synthesizers cost for beginners who are just learning to play.
I beg to differ, there are plenty of semi-but-not-truly-vintage (i.e. 90s) synths that are pretty high quality for under $300, as well as things like Behringer's offerings.
I will not argue. If you take older models or used synthesizers, it may be cheaper. I'm just a supporter of paying more right away, but buying a thing that will be useful for a long time.

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Re: Which synth to choose?

Post by GrigoriyMolchanov » Tue Jul 13, 2021 10:09 am

Guys, your advice really helped me decide on a choice, thank you for that!

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