What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

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What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby broadcasterguy » Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:43 am

Dear Forum,

I collect old music gear, and am kind of an old fashioned kind of guy. I'd like my next purchase to be a synthesizer. My son plays the guitar and has a cheep casio keyboard. I'd like to get he and I something that will replicate extremely well the sound of a piano, but mostly so he can play cool music. Expecially from the 80's.
Van Halen Jump, Ah Ha Take on Me ect..

It looks like the Yamaha Motif XS can do all I want: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3JZCl2ZdWs

But I want to get something really cool and collectable. Something that will hold it's value.
I realize Van Halen used an Oberheim OBXA. But can an old Oberheim do all the songs and effects from the 80's?

I really like collecting vintage high end music gear. A cheep electric guitar and practice amp would suffice. But I prefer an old PRE CBS Fender and Marshall JCM 800 Half Stack.

The problem is I don't know much about keyboards.

Which model was most used by professionals when recording and playing live back in the early 80's, that can do all the sounds I need it to?

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby synthparts » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:27 am

There's no one synth that can do all those sounds. The ones that were most used back then were -

Jupiter-8
Prophet-5
OB-X/Xa/8
Memorymoog
Juno-6/60
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby Ashe37 » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:05 am

a Alesis Ion or Micron can approximate a lot of 80s sounds very well for a reasonable price.
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby karmag » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:10 am

broadcasterguy wrote:I'd like to get he and I something that will replicate extremely well the sound of a piano, but mostly so he can play cool music. Expecially from the 80's.
Van Halen Jump, Ah Ha Take on Me ect..

It looks like the Yamaha Motif XS can do all I want

If you want all the sounds, and especially if you want a good piano, then a good modern digital synth seems like the way to go. This place, VSE, doesn't really have that particular focus, but like synthparts said, no one classic synth will get you everything.

I guess in guitar terms it would be like getting modeling amps/pedals vs. spending a ton on money on having all the vintage tube gear that was ever made, or something like that.

But I want to get something really cool and collectable. Something that will hold it's value.
...
I really like collecting vintage high end music gear. A cheep electric guitar and practice amp would suffice. But I prefer an old PRE CBS Fender and Marshall JCM 800 Half Stack.

In that case, welcome to VSE and your new time and money sink. :)
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby max badwan » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:36 am

synthparts wrote:There's no one synth that can do all those sounds. The ones that were most used back then were -

Jupiter-8
Prophet-5
OB-X/Xa/8
Memorymoog
Juno-6/60

you forgot the DX 7
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby synthparts » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:05 pm

max badwan wrote:
synthparts wrote:There's no one synth that can do all those sounds. The ones that were most used back then were -

Jupiter-8
Prophet-5
OB-X/Xa/8
Memorymoog
Juno-6/60

you forgot the DX 7


It sounded like he wanted the sound of the early 80s...
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby Sheherezadeh » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:55 pm

I don't see a specific period of the 80s mentioned other than just a few song references from the first half. The Korg M1, Roland D50, and E-Mu Emulator II were also big in the latter half.

karmag wrote:I guess in guitar terms it would be like getting modeling amps/pedals vs. spending a ton on money on having all the vintage tube gear that was ever made, or something like that.


Yep, it's like getting an Axe-Fx vs. a silverface Fender, plexi, AC30, '59 Les Paul, '63 Strat, etc.
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby max badwan » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:56 pm

synthparts wrote:
max badwan wrote:
synthparts wrote:There's no one synth that can do all those sounds. The ones that were most used back then were -

Jupiter-8
Prophet-5
OB-X/Xa/8
Memorymoog
Juno-6/60

you forgot the DX 7


It sounded like he wanted the sound of the early 80s...

and we both forgot the Fairlight - now that's a mad collectable from the early Eighties.
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby Sheherezadeh » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:42 pm

Or a Synclaver, for that matter.
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby ekosynth » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:51 am

The Juno 60 (~£900)or Juno 106(~£600) would be a great compromise of price and vintageness I think. (compared to an OBXa or JP8)
Perhaps the 60 would be a better choice as it doesn't suffer the voice chip rot of the 106.

They are pretty much the same layout and very hands on - you can tweak all the parameters unlike the Alpha Juno or JX8P which require a separate programmer to really get the full benefit of tweakability.

In terms of the sounds, a lot of what you can get out of them will sound familiar if you listen to 80s music. They were the cheaper workhorse synths of the day and sit well in a mix. I think the lower price probably meant more widely used on records too due to accessability.

If you want to specifically play Jump. The Junos won't get very close as the sound is really two oscillators beating against each other - Junos only have one osc. Here's my JX8P (two oscs) playing Jump https://soundcloud.com/dot/roland-jx-8p ... -van-halen

Another benefit of buying vintage gear is if you buy fairly widely desirable stuff then you can always sell it back for what paid for it (unless you were ripped off). Compare this to buying a modern synth that will lose value as soon as you take it out of the box.
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Re: What kind of Synth should I get for playing 80's music

Postby Solderman » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:01 pm

broadcasterguy wrote:I'd like to get he and I something that will replicate extremely well the sound of a piano, but mostly so he can play cool music. Expecially from the 80's.

The Ensoniq ESQ-1 and SQ-80 both have an excellent multi-sampled piano, a typical 80's sound and plenty of character.
Here is me playing(badly) two different settings of the ESQ-1 piano:

broadcasterguy wrote:I want to get something really cool and collectable. Something that will hold it's value.

Just so you can make cool 80's music? If you just want to treat them like toys, get in line and be willing to pay a hefty price. These are devices that need regular maintenance and require a sense of curious exploration and creativity to fully appreciate, not fetish items with presets, that a strangely predominant majority seem to think they are.

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analogue. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." - Brian Eno
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