Judging by your fondness for early synth pop any of the recent analog mono synths would be a great starting point. Personally I think starting out with a rompler workstation would ultimately kill any interest in sound design. In my opinion starting with a unit that immediately presents how signal flow works is crucial to understanding synthesis. My first synthesizer was an Alesis Micron which featured a very hands off user interface and required a ton of menu diving to edit a vast array of parameters. I really wanted to love it, I even picked up Jim Aikin's Power Tools for Synthesizer Programming, but ultimately I failed to grasp how a synthesizer worked.
It wasn't until I bought an ms2000br that I finally started to understand what exactly an LFO does, how an envelope generator works, what happens when you modulate the pitch of an oscillator synced to another, what a filter does, and so on. In short If your actually interested in programming your own sounds start with something relatively simple, that has lots of knobs, and few if any menus. I've yet to try a ms20 mini, but i think it would be a great option, as would a Arturia micro or mini brute (I currently own a micro-brute). Keep in mind the ms20 mini and microbrute lack full sized keys.
Last edited by nuketifromorbit
on Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
We'll always be remembered, we'll always be dismembered.