Back at it, need help with a digital keyboard synth

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Back at it, need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby simpleisbliss88 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:17 am

So, last summer I decided I really wanted a keyboard synth and got a Korg wavestation. I liked the sounds of it, but it really isn't user friendly, like I had been warned. I ended up selling it and getting an analog mono (Bass Station II) so that it wasn't so hard to get some cool deep sounds out of my first synth purchase in a while. Well, a year later and I'm still really feeling the itch for a deep, dark, ominous sounding digital synth. I'm on a budget of less than $500 and would really love to find something comparable to the WS but more user friendly. I recently was turned into a Casio VZ-1 and think that might be more of what I'm looking for. Think Sci-fi, ambient, drone, Emperor "In the Nightside Eclipse" black metal. Any ideas?
Last edited by simpleisbliss88 on Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Back at it,need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby madtheory » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:51 pm

The VZ will get you those sounds but it is NOT user friendly. If you're in the US, check out Ensoniq ESQ-1, SQ80 or VFX. Still good value (tend to be pricey in EU), straightforward to use, and great sounding.
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Re: Back at it,need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby krzeppa » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:37 pm

It may just be almost impossible to find at you price point, but I love my Microwave XT. I was able to get the rack module last year for $600, but it took me over a year of looking. People tend to list them close to $1,000......so you may never find one in your price point. You definitely will NOT find the keyboard version in your price range though. I absolutely love mine! It is very deep and I constantly am learning new things everyday. If you are willing to save up for a little bit longer, I would say go for it. It is such a very unique piece of gear. I doubt I'll ever let mine go.

I'm not familiar with the Microwave I or II racks modules......they are much cheaper though, and perhaps someone would be able to help you out on those.....afaik, I don't think they are user friendly unless you have software editor though.

I'll also +1 the ESQ-1. I owned one of those and sold it about 3 years ago and regret it to this day. Another awesome and unique synth that has such a great sound.....it was also very easy to use.
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Re: Back at it,need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby simpleisbliss88 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:04 am

What about the TS10/12? Any experience with those? After a bit of research, I think the VFX SD might be closer to what I'm looking for than the esq-1. The VFX seems to be a little more capable in the "creepy wave synth sound" status.
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Re: Back at it,need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby Ashe37 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:09 am

The TS-10/12 is an expanded version of the VFX's synthesis engine with more voices and a larger sample bank, plus the ability to use user samples (borrowed from the ASR)
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Re: Back at it,need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby simpleisbliss88 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:17 am

There is a TS12 a couple hours south of where Iive for $400, but the TS 12 doesn't have poly aftertouch. It isn't necessary, but the VFX SD does, and can be had for less $$ it seems like. So, again I find myself coming back to the VFX SD.
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Re: Back at it, need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby Ashe37 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:39 am

TS12s have piano weighted keys, and no poly AT.
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Re: Back at it, need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby abruzzi » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:23 am

The TS-10 does have polyAT, but it tends to sell for more than the TS-12. As a digital aficionado, I'd consider some of the following:

Korg Z1: early VA, but a lot more besides. Usually right around $500 or so.
Kawai K5000: Fourier additive. Can sometimes be a bit tedious, but can sound great. The W model is usually the cheaper s, and around $500
E-mu Proteus Keys (or similar): assuming you want a keyboard. This will get you a underwhelming rom in a great synth engine for maybe $300. Then add three more ROMs to get the samples you want.
Yamaha EX5: a little everything. Mostly a rompler, but has some VA, some VL, and FDSP for going out there. $500-$600 usually.
Blofeld Keys: used they are easily found for $500. Wavetable/VA. Pretty easy to program.

And of course a Kurzweil K2000 or K2500, though a lot of other people seem to think they are too complicated or confusing (not me, but...)
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Re: Back at it,need help with a digital keyboard synth

Postby madtheory » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:12 pm

simpleisbliss88 wrote:There is a TS12 a couple hours south of where Iive for $400, but the TS 12 doesn't have poly aftertouch. It isn't necessary, but the VFX SD does, and can be had for less $$ it seems like. So, again I find myself coming back to the VFX SD.

You don't need poly AT to get the sounds you want. And anyway, it's only useful if you're a trained and well practiced keyboardist. Even at that, you wouldn't use it very often.
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