What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

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mojohey
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What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by mojohey » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:27 am

Hi everyone. Looking for advice, as my son who plays keyboard & drums is obsessed with early Genesis and plays most of their solos on his very old, basic Yamaha.
So he wants an ARP PRO SOLOIST for his christmas... :lol: hahaha i hear you laugh. As i'm not in the position to invest in a great piece of vintage kit... what is a realistic alternative to get very close to early Genesis without spending £1800 from a random ebayer across the globe.

Is the MS-20 anywhere near capable? I don't have any idea about synths and would really appreciate some advice.

Thanks.

M

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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by Big Gnome » Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:04 am

mojohey wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:27 am
So he wants an ARP PRO SOLOIST for his christmas... :lol: hahaha i hear you laugh. As i'm not in the position to invest in a great piece of vintage kit...
Yeah, that's probably wise. Aside from the upfront expense, a 40+ year old piece of gear like that is very likely to require some non-trivial repair work to get up to scratch, and (depending somewhat on your location), synth techs are rare and the work does not come cheap. Frankly I wouldn't dare unless I were prepared to drop several thousand dollars/pounds/euros between purchase and maintenance/restoration just for the sake of having a particular classic synthesizer.
Is the MS-20 anywhere near capable? I don't have any idea about synths and would really appreciate some advice.
Eh, yes and no. There's not a lot to the Pro Soloist, but it has some unusual features both under the hood and for performance. The basic monophonic, single oscillator, lowpass filter, 2 envelope, single LFO thing is very simple and practically any synth under the sun, MS-20 included, will get you in the ballpark as far as that goes. There's also a somewhat less common highpass filter (although the MS-20 has one of those, and it's a great one); and a resonator bank, which is a very unusual feature for synthesizers which you can pretty much forget about finding elsewhere (but that's not something I'd lose too much sleep over).

In my view, what really made the Pro Soloist special was that it had aftertouch by which to modulate pitch, timbre, and/or volume, and that it had (non-programmable) presets--not much in the early 70's gave players that kind of expressive control and the ability to change sounds instantaneously, and Tony Banks used that to its fullest--listen to the solo on the Cinema Show for an example. An MS-20 is not going to fulfil either of those (although you could reasonably repurpose some of the ARP's touch modulation stuff to the wheel); and a further consideration is that the MS-20, mainly due to the character of its filters, has a very distinct sound--it is a great sound and one which I really appreciate, but it's not very Pro Soloist-y and tends toward the aggressive. I'd give it a miss for old school Genesis.

I'm not really sure what to recommend you (I haven't been playing much recently and haven't been too involved with hardware synths of any description for quite a while), although I'd urge you to maybe look at virtual analogs, as any analog synthesizer featuring presets, aftertouch, and separate low- and highpass filters is probably going to cost more than you want to spend, and a decent VA will likely have a considerably wider timbral palette than the ARP as well (although for such a simple synth, the Pro Soloist does sound exceptionally nice). Alternatively, you might consider a KARP Odyssey, which, while not providing presets or aftertouch either, sounds a heck of a lot closer to a Pro Soloist than an MS-20 (why, it's even an ARP*... ;) ) and is in fact a much more sophisticated synthesizer than the Pro Soloist ever was, performance functions notwithstanding, and could also get your son into some of the weirder stuff Tony Banks was doing on the 2600. Food for thought anyway. Happy hunting!
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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by madtheory » Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:05 am

Ya the KARP is close. It is a brilliant synth. Such a pity they did not implement velocity, aftertouch or even pitch bend and mod over MIDI.

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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by Tidda » Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:55 pm

My KARP Odyssey Module recognizes pitch bend over MIDI.
Not sure about the other models though.

Tidda

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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by madtheory » Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:33 pm

Tidda wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:55 pm
My KARP Odyssey Module recognizes pitch bend over MIDI.
Not sure about the other models though.

Tidda
Has there been a firmware update? How do you set the pitch bend range for received MIDI? The manual is the same for both versions and it says "Note messages (velocity is ignored) are the only type of MIDI messages that the ARP ODYSSEY can receive via its MIDI IN connector."

MIDI implementation chart also shows it is not received:
https://cdn.korg.com/us/support/downloa ... n%2Fpdf%3B

Edit: looking around, the module does receive it. It's poorly documented :roll: I'd still like to know how you set the range though?

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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:58 pm

p. 18 of the manual:
The ARP ODYSSEY Module can receive MIDI pitch bend messages (±2 semitones).
So the range is fixed, forget about wild octave drops and such.

What is confusing is that it's mentioned in the section on MIDI over USB, while the section on MIDI over DIN cables doesn't mention pitchbend. It's not an advanced MIDI device, that's for sure ;)
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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by V301H » Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:13 pm

The Behringer Deepmind 6 could make a good modern substitute for a Pro Soloist. It has the same key-range and aftertouch. There is more than enough synth power to emulate Pro Soloist-type sounds.
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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:05 pm

Don't forget to buy him an original Mellotron M-400 with the fabled Eight Choir tapeset, for perfect renditions of Dancing with the moonlit knight... or a Mk. 2 for some authentic rendition of Watcher of the Skies, for that matter.

For some reasons, people seem to believe Pro Soloists or Pro-DGXs to be made of Fairy Dust TM and therefore worth asking prices beyond reason.

That's stupid, and only the stupid pay prices well into four figures for an extremely badly built piece of technology the bottom of which is made from fibreboard... most Pro-Soloists and Pro-DGXs suffer from bad key contacts and, far worse, from inoperative aftertouch sensor strips -- there are replacements but, if you're not handy with a soldering iron, a PITA to replace and install. Not to mention component parts well 45 years and older which need replacement.

If it has to be an expressive little monosynth which is vintage and plays in the range of the Pro-Soloist, try a Roland SH-2000 which sounds different in terms of sound but comes close in terms of expressiveness (and the Roland seems to have held up better than any ARP of that era, too).

Otherwise, a neat little monosynth (like the KARP suggested above) can be a good starting point to learn synthesis -- and a lot more scope it has, too.

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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by madtheory » Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:44 pm

Yes the SH-2000 is incredibly well built, as is most Roland gear. They've gone stupid expensive though! It's quite a thin sounding instrument, but people seem to like it.

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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by mojohey » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:11 pm

Thank you everyone, decided on the ARP Odyssey... would the Yamaha HS8 work with this alone, or do i need something else to get up and running?

Thanks/

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Re: What is close to ARP PRO SOLOIST sounds.

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:14 am

mojohey wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:11 pm
Thank you everyone, decided on the ARP Odyssey... would the Yamaha HS8 work with this alone, or do i need something else to get up and running?

Thanks/
A small mixing desk with some internal or external multi effects device (reverb, delay, chorus, phasing etc.) seems recommended -- you wouldn't want to listen to a pure synth tone, coming directly from the speaker.

Stephen
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