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A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.

Postby Synth_Dude » Sat Sep 30, 2006 2:03 pm

Herr Roboto wrote:hey guys, I need some help too and don't think it deserves it's own thread, so I guess this might be the best place to ask

I'm totally new to synths and want to buy one
it will be my first synth and I could spend max. €400

what I'm looking for:
it would be great if the synth is a master keyboard too
normal key-size or microkorg size doesn't really matter, though I would prefer normal size
it has to be polyphonic(atleast 4-voice), have an arpeggiator and give a good "fuzzy" sound for basslines and the usual stuff
I guess I'm just looking for the ordinary synth sounds

for musical reference: I want sounds like the band muse

so far I've looked at the obvious microkorg and micron, but my stomach tells me to look for something else
the novation xiosynth looks great(and at ebay you can get a new xiosynth49 for exactly 400), but it's really hard to find reviews about that one

are there other alternatives or someone who can tell me if, for example, the xiosynth is good and worth buying?

unfortunately I don't have the possibility to try the synth, the music shops in my area are unbelievable bad
that's why opinions are quite important for me

thank you in advance
a

hey i'am in the same postion as you , I'am looking for a sound like muse so if anyone could help us both out!!

thanks
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Postby nathanscribe » Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:21 pm

I watched a Muse gig on TV recently, and I think they were using a Moog Voyager rack... a little over 400 in any earthly currency - about £1400 new.

I can't help you with info on those synths you mention. You could look for 2nd hand, there are so many to choose from that would do more or less the right thing. Novation seem to have a good reputation, but there are mixed opinions on them, as with everything. I started off with a used Roland Juno 6, which has 6-note poly and was £120. I also have a Nord rack, which was £485 new - you could find a Nord used for your budget, maybe. Bear in mind if you go for old gear, it might not have very good (if any) MIDI spec. Synth buying is a minefield when you're new.

there's a lot of debate round here about the micron vs the microkorg. search the forum for the threads, they might help you out. :)
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Postby Daevid » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:37 pm

I'm new to Virtual Analogue synthesis after purchasing a Korg MS2000B. I did originally want to get an MS-20 but the maintenance/ tuning issues plus my low level of knowledge (thankfully) put me off... I then considered the Legacy collection but the fact that it is software and one day may not be supported by Korg put me off... True the MS2000B has limited poly but i'm not a great pianist in need of maximum noteage :wink:

Oddly enough i did start with a Triton Rack, but that was for live use as backing in multi mode... now i have a decent PC setup and Fostex FD4 for live use, the Triton did not get a look in, so had to go...

The MS2000B is great to learn on as well as having great sounds. It has all the user friendly interactivity that the Triton did not...

Will still consider obtaining an Analogue synth one of these days (probably a Juno) but until then i am content with just the one

:D
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Postby jimi_t » Thu Nov 23, 2006 1:56 pm

[quote="Synth_Dudehey i'am in the same postion as you , I'am looking for a sound like muse so if anyone could help us both out!!

thanks[/quote]

Cite some examples. Are you talking about stuff like Space Dementia, or their newer stuff like "Take a Bow"? They use a Juno 106 for take a bow and a lot of stuff on Black Holes and Revelations, but you could realistically emulate it well on a VA with a decent arpeggiator (I can nail it on my Nova).
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Postby sepiakeys » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:18 pm

When it comes to buying new gear, and more gear...

I once read an interview with Liam Howlett, which has some nice quotes about this topic.

See: http://www.keyboardmag.com/story.asp?se ... rycode=152
Last edited by sepiakeys on Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Good programming is worth more than the most expensive synthesizer.
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this really does help

Postby lochen » Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:15 am

Being new to this i always wanted to just get my hands on a Moog, I just got the opportunity but i think im going to go with the Roland D-10 =. My other equipment is newer (Alesis Micron and Korg Electribe). I could use that the saved money towards other items such as a mooger fooger and something else for my guitar. I think I had the whole "OOOO I just want a sweet Moog!" Some day when I learn more I'll nab one :]
All I have is an Alesis Micron and a Korg Electribe A mkII and I'm happy :]
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Postby Antonino » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:40 am

Hello everyone.. i'm really confused about what synth I should buy.. it's going to be my first synth.. here are some infos
the budget is around 500euros, the genre are electronica/ambient mainly, polyphony is welcome and also I'm sure I'm going to use the vocoder..
Since now I thought about:
ms2000b (around 450 euros) cons: limited polyphony
alesis ion (around 480 euros) cons : crap vocoder; risk of being defective since it's used and I can't try it before buying it; not usable 100% ad a midi controller
I know little about the roland jp8000, but from what i've read it's got good polyphony and a great vocoder - could it be the right choiche? compared to the ION and the ms2000 what are the pros and cons?
i'm also going to buy a korg electribe es1 and I already have a roland pc-200 midi keyboard controller, just to let you know :)

Thanks in advance!
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Postby badmrfrosty » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:24 am

Antonino,

I got, and play, both an ION, and a ms-2000, my thoughts...

The ms-2000, with it's effects, is more fat, not in the analog sense, just all over...and it has more interesting arpeggiator/loop sounds. The buttons are a bit small though, but laid out well.
The ms vocoder is better than the ion's. It's light and portable...and the built in- mic for the vocoder is cool (ms-2000B) although I use a headset...
There is a nice mix of "modern" ssynth sounds, and classic lead/bass.

The Ion has 3 oscillators so I think there's a wider range of classic analog type sounds. The presets definetly remind one of classic analogs...but, like a real old analog, it need processing...especially delay..the limited effects onboard are weak.
It does have 3 wheels though...very cool, and of course they light up.
Mine already has a silent key, and the main outputs seem to have given up...I use the aux outs 3&4, but then there's no volume control!
It's heavy as hell, and I don't think it's particularly good looking...it looks like a "kit" synth lol made in the USSR!

Presets aside, it probably has more programming potential, due to the third osc.

Have you had a chance to cheack out a Novation K-staion/KS-4/Ks-5?
I love my K-station...it can nail both the "sandstorm" patch, and benny benassi "satisfaction"...don't know what he used on that, but novation nails it
And VERY funky "quack" basses, better than MS or ION

But all three are great synths, for synth sounds, none of these do good pianos/organs/clavs etc.
For that, you need a all-in-one like a motif/triton etc

None makes a particularly good controller IMO, just basic midi...

The X-station novations apparantly are synths AND a proper controller!

The best (clearist) vocoder is the ms-2000.

I use it in my song "reruns" on my myspace....

Good luck, keep us posted what you get!
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Postby Antonino » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:20 pm

Ok.. now I just bought my first hardware synth.. :D
In the end I chose to start with an alpha juno2 ... I found one for 200 euros.. and I think it's really great as sound.. it's a juno! ok it's difficult to program with the alpha dial, but there's always the editor on the pc.. and it's real analog thing, not a virtual analog, so I'm just thrilled about my new synth..
probably i'll also buy a mk for 300 euro, so with 500 euros, my budget, and roughtly the price i would pay for a ms2000b or an ION, I've got 2 synths :D
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Postby Yoozer » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:34 pm

And thankfully, one with 2 oscillators :). The chorus and sub-oscillator aren't always the greatest solution for making the sound fatter :). Congratulations on your find.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.
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Postby OriginalJambo » Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:38 am

badmrfrosty wrote:Presets aside, it probably has more programming potential, due to the third osc.


Or the extensive modulation matrix? :P
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Postby PABLO DIABLO » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:33 pm

Hi Mr P, my names Pablo and ive only just become a member on this web site, ive been looking for a new sound mod or synth to ad to my little cave of enjoyment. I am using a g4 mac with pro tools, mackie onyx desk, hs50ms with hs10 sub, a triton st 61, xp50 and am also the proud owner of a virus ti keyboard. I bought the virus after i bought an ms 2000b. I took it back to the shop and got a refund as the tempo select button would'nt go up in increments of 1, only after about 145 bpm though. I do venture into a little bit of drum and bass from time to time so it was too frustrating for me. I am picking up a tr 606 on saturday and can't wait. I would be greatfull if your kind self or any other uses who read this could give me any ideas on a sound mod i might find useful. Im into most genre's of dance and electronica. I will post some pictures of my set up soon and some of my music too. PABLO.
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Postby PABLO DIABLO » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:10 pm

:P :P :P
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Any help greatly appreciated!

Postby rupert » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:01 pm

Hi, Im looking at getting my first synth and until I started looking around didnt consider myself to be completely clueless but after two weeks of looking on Ebay I still have no idea what Im looking for, so Im going to answer these questions below and see if any one has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated

1. What is your budget?

Probably about 300quid, so I dont know what that is in dollars, like 600 or something, although as Ive read if something is just above that price range I could hold out a little longer.

2. What are you into? (music, sounds, etc)

This is where it gets tricky, when I play with my friends we generally play rock music, so to that end I need something that'll add a bit of depth. I like those rich lush sounds you hear from bands like the secret machines and the dears, but then Im also quite into Dance/House/Techno type stuff like Soulwax and Aphex Twin. So I guess I want something that could give me both an organ or string and stuff, but then offer some much harsher and crazier sounds heard in dance music. However I have effects pedels so Im not overly bothered about things like chorus, and phaser or whatever being on the synth, Im more interested in it having things that only synths.

3. Live, studio, or personal home use?

Personal Home Use mainly, but with an eye on the stage in the future, so nothing too massive

4. Level of synth expertise? (beginner, intermediate, etc)

If you hadnt guessed, Beginner, although Ive played on Keyboards before, but beginner is definately the name of the game

5. List what gear you already have.

Synthwise absolutely fuck all, I have effects and guitars and a base and a drum machine, this is where I need the synth to come in and bolster up the sounds I can make.


I've been looking at a Korg MS-10 and a Yamaha CS-10 which are going on Ebay but Ive read vintage synths are risky business for beginners. Am I heading in completely the wrong direction from what I just outlined? Begging for help here, Thanks in advance!
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Re: Any help greatly appreciated!

Postby Jason13 » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:14 pm

rupert wrote:Hi, Im looking at getting my first synth and until I started looking around didnt consider myself to be completely clueless but after two weeks of looking on Ebay I still have no idea what Im looking for, so Im going to answer these questions below and see if any one has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated

1. What is your budget?

Probably about 300quid, so I dont know what that is in dollars, like 600 or something, although as Ive read if something is just above that price range I could hold out a little longer.

2. What are you into? (music, sounds, etc)

This is where it gets tricky, when I play with my friends we generally play rock music, so to that end I need something that'll add a bit of depth. I like those rich lush sounds you hear from bands like the secret machines and the dears, but then Im also quite into Dance/House/Techno type stuff like Soulwax and Aphex Twin. So I guess I want something that could give me both an organ or string and stuff, but then offer some much harsher and crazier sounds heard in dance music. However I have effects pedels so Im not overly bothered about things like chorus, and phaser or whatever being on the synth, Im more interested in it having things that only synths.

3. Live, studio, or personal home use?

Personal Home Use mainly, but with an eye on the stage in the future, so nothing too massive

4. Level of synth expertise? (beginner, intermediate, etc)

If you hadnt guessed, Beginner, although Ive played on Keyboards before, but beginner is definately the name of the game

5. List what gear you already have.

Synthwise absolutely fuck all, I have effects and guitars and a base and a drum machine, this is where I need the synth to come in and bolster up the sounds I can make.


I've been looking at a Korg MS-10 and a Yamaha CS-10 which are going on Ebay but Ive read vintage synths are risky business for beginners. Am I heading in completely the wrong direction from what I just outlined? Begging for help here, Thanks in advance!


Hmm well for 300 quid you are unlikely to get an MS10 and I think that would be a bad choice anyway as your only synth, as changing the sounds and using the patch cables can take a little while. Obviously not good in a live situation! The CS10 is another nice monophonic analogue synth that is pretty well regarded on here, I am not very familiar with them and I have no idea of the price ranges. It is interesting that you have named a pair of vintage analogue monophonic synths, is this deliberate on your part or do you aspire to playing chords in the future? If you do (which is probably likely in a rock band) then you are barking up the wrong tree with the MS10 and the CS10. Another consideration on vintage analogue gear is that you must be prepared to spend some money on servicing and expect that from time to time there will be repair bills!

Might I suggest a good Virtual Analogue Synth, you will get good value for money on a 2nd hand one on Ebay. The good ones can simulate analogue sounds rather well and are loaded with modern features like memory banks, effects and polyphony. For an absolute beginner you need something clearly laid out with lots of knobs on it and a good display so you can easily work out what is going on as you change your sounds. I think that the Yamaha AN1x would be perfect for you. On Ebay in the UK you would be looking at around 160 - 180 quid for one, so it would be well within you budget. If you want to go down a more techno/trance route then the Novation K Station is a good choice, expect to get a 2nd hand one on Ebay for around 180 - 200 quid. Alternatively you could save up a bit and get them both! That would be the start of a very nice rig especially with your FX pedals!

Hope that helps.
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