Buying a hardware synth advice

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The Good Son
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Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by The Good Son » Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:18 am

Hi,
It’s another one of those what would you recommend posts but about to spend £1000- £1300 on a hardware synth and tbh frank the runners were Rev2, Prologue and Hydrasynth. I’m looking to do something fairly contemporary and minimal, organic synth sounds, not the obvious. Weird , tonal, drone, acoustic . The hydra appears to be something that can make a world of weird sounds yet most YouTube demos make it sound pretty average to me.
Prologue I’m sure looks lovely but again all demos just play the usual blade runner pads yawn etc. Rev 2 I dot know much about except the reverb has put me off as it sounds pretty underwhelming. Am I missing some. Moog grandmother looks nice but I’m worried it’s limited to only a certain group of sounds. Anyone used these or tried other synths that can really sound rich, deep , distorted, yet organic and ... the words fail me.
Modal argon, cobalt ? Anything that I won’t get bored with after a year with killer built in effects. Grateful for any suggestions. Not buying another soft synth . I have enough.

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Re: Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by The Good Son » Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:23 am

P.s - can anyone proove me wrong on any mentioned. I appreciate all the above can do good things with enough delving.
Also adore the Lyra 8 , that’s the vibe I’m after without buying a synth that only does just one thing.
Big ask?

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Re: Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by madtheory » Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:50 pm

They can all do the same range of sounds from weird to boring. The differences will be in the user interface and the sound quality, mainly of the filter but also the oscillators. It's really down to how good you are at synthesis, and trying out the real thing for yourself. Would you be able to get close to the sounds you want with, say, TAL Noisemaker? Would you notice the limitiations of the sound quality of that synth? It's a very flexible and easy to use synth, I think it's only limitation is the oscillators are a bit too pure and probably aliasing could be addressed better. Not criticising it- it's the best free synth available by a long shot IMO. Their Roland emulations are quite different, much sweeter and really spot on.

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Re: Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by Atronixx » Sat Jun 05, 2021 10:47 pm

You could take you chance with a Minilogue XD, it sounds pretty different than even the Minilogue 1...and you could save some money waiting for something new.

Did you check all the Minilogue XD sounds on the YT? The great thing is that you can easily modulate the sound and record the movements (4 tracks)...My mind was blown when I bought the Mnlg XD and listened to the sounds, it's like a very expensive synth. You should try it out if you can...you can almost always get a useful sound of it, the delay and the reverb is also fixed. I mean, you could buy it and still have money left for something special, maybe a Korg Wavestate or ModWave. (if it comes out) It also depends if you want a full keyboard or a small one. (cheaper) Don't buy the Minilogue 1, it sounds bad with the crappy delay, really bad, in my ears....but they fixed everithing on the XD.

I also have the Yamaha AN1X, a poor man's Jupiter 6, it also sounds organic, there are many patches on the web and it's a great midi keyboard.

Good luck with your purchase!
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Re: Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by The Good Son » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:28 am

Atronixx wrote:
Sat Jun 05, 2021 10:47 pm
You could take you chance with a Minilogue XD, it sounds pretty different than even the Minilogue 1...and you could save some money waiting for something new.

Did you check all the Minilogue XD sounds on the YT? The great thing is that you can easily modulate the sound and record the movements (4 tracks)...My mind was blown when I bought the Mnlg XD and listened to the sounds, it's like a very expensive synth. You should try it out if you can...you can almost always get a useful sound of it, the delay and the reverb is also fixed. I mean, you could buy it and still have money
left for something special, maybe a Korg Wavestate or ModWave. (if it comes out) It also depends if you want a full keyboard or a small one. (cheaper) Don't buy the Minilogue 1, it sounds bad with the crappy delay, really bad, in my ears....but they fixed everithing on the XD.

I also have the Yamaha AN1X, a poor man's Jupiter 6, it also sounds organic, there are many patches on the web and it's a great midi keyboard.

Good luck with your purchase!

— thanks for bothering to reply. I realise it’s a standard question on these forums and quite hard to answer.
Yes! I’ve always bought Korg. Was out off the Minilogue and XD as had the monologue and thought the build was pretty crappy. The XD does sound like it’s hot more potential. Hate those small keys though.
It was between Hydrasynth, prologue and rev 2 but haven’t seen a YT video that pricked my ears up yet. I must be very fussy. Too much blade runner pads and saw sounds. Not my thing. Digitone keys was also a strong contender but I’m not a great menu diver.
This is definitely harder than I thought now I have the funds, and I thought it would be easy. Something in early adores the Grandmother but probably because it has a spring reverb . Just after something a little different this time, Rev 2 has a naff reverb from the sonic state video,
Thanks again

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Re: Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Jun 06, 2021 2:07 pm

Older synths (anything before about 1990) came without effects and it's easy to run modern synths through outboard effects when you don't like what's built in.

Reverbs cover a wide range of sounds, from springs with the metallic halo (and yes, if you hit the Grandmother hard, you can even get the spring to "crash") to early reflections, spacious cathedrals and "outer space" shimmering. Few reverb devices cover the whole range...spring units are the most limited. For spacy but not realistic reverbs, Eventide units like the Blackhole are a nice match for a synth like a Rev2 that has what I think is a nice sounding reverb but it won't get really extreme.
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: Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:19 pm

Good Son,

If you're after weird sounds, the effects can become more important than the synth itself.

This simple example was done on a computer, but the three sounds all started with the same simple sound and were processed though a single effects processor with it's own filtering, overdrive, gating, LFOs, EGs, chorus, flanger, delays, reverb and step sequencing of the various blocks. At the end of the track is the original sound with no effects at all, which may or may not surprise you.



Most modern digital synths allow chaining of multiple effects like this, but few analogs do.
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: Buying a hardware synth advice

Post by clubbedtodeath » Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:00 pm

Hello Good Son,

The Rev2 is a poly synth capable of complex sounds, but laid reasonably straightforwardedly. That said, it's only something to approach if you are comfortable with subtractive synthesis.

One of the strengths of the Rev2 is that it has an extensive modulation matrix; you can take almost any source (eg. LFO, velocity, filter cutoff, etc.) and modulate almost anything else. Moreover, one source can modulate multiple parameters.

As an example- It has 4 LFOs. I can take LFO1, and use it to modulate the frequency of LFO2, which I could use to modulate the frequency of LFO3, and so on. I can take any one of those LFOs and use them to modulate individual oscilator pitch, filter, etc. This can quickly lead to complex sounds; it's all very well laid out - DSI/Sequential know what they're doing - and whilst there is a little menu diving, it's kept to a minimum.

There's a four-part sequencer, too, which can also be used as a modulation source. It's pretty basic, but using note trig and getting it to modulate a random LFO (which in turn modulates, say, filter cutoff), you quickly get complex, non-repeatable sounds.

On the effects- These are usable, but not first class. One of their strengths, however, is that the effects parameters can be modulated too, so if you wanted to encorporate that into patch, you can. I'm not too hot on the reverb either, but I simply feed the output to a DAW and add a good reverb there. The patch reverb is just a reminder of what external reverb settings I need.

One thing it is not is a bass synth. I've tried! Not enough low-end presence in mono bass patches.

In short- it's still a great synth. And whilst not difficult to use, it's not a beginner's machine.

Cheers

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