Inexpensive Synth Thread

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StevenO
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Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by StevenO » Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:45 am

I'm kind of in the market for a new synth. Preferably something with a lot of options, yet still easy to use, and can get a little dirty/analog-sounding if it's not analog to begin with.

I have a 1973 Roland SH2000 that a majority of the presets died on, but only the cool stuff has remained. I also use a couple of cheap toy keyboards that I run through pedals just for fun. But now I need something a little funkier.

From the sounds of it, I like the Korg MS-20 Mini. What else is out there that is actually good? I tried out the Arturia MiniBrute yesterday, but I couldn't exactly wrap my head around it so I wasn't completely in love it (I was only using headphones, but there also seemed to be a delay/latency in response time which I couldn't dial out).

What's out there that you can attest to?

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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by NoiseNoiseNoise » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:10 am

Moog Sub Phatty?
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by SummerLeftMe » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:27 pm

Love the MicroBrute. No menu diving. Everything has a dedicated knob. . well, some sequencer functions require software. But also no presets as it's purely old school analog. And a monosynth, so only one note at a time. Microbrute seems more flexible than the Minibrute as it has a mod matrix. But I haven't used the Mini. .

Also the Korg Monologue is pretty fun. Another mono synth, but they do have the slightly more expensive 4 voice polyphony Minilogue. I'd go for the Minilogue. Pretty amazing you can get an analog polysynth for under $500. You can make some beautiful pads with it.
Both are a lot of fun. Again there is a dedicated knob for each function. I think that's crucial to getting your head around it all.

It's always been hard for me to understand how synthesizers work coming from the huge sample libraries with 50 plus gb of samples and cluttered pages. I always knew the synth basics like envelopes and lfos, so I found there was no learning curve really with these synths. I was making patches with an hour or so. ;)

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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by NoiseNoiseNoise » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:37 pm

Those of us over 50 and just coming to synths need help. ;)
SummerLeftMe wrote:Love the MicroBrute. No menu diving. Everything has a dedicated knob. . well, some sequencer functions require software. But also no presets as it's purely old school analog. And a monosynth, so only one note at a time. Microbrute seems more flexible than the Minibrute as it has a mod matrix. But I haven't used the Mini. .

Also the Korg Monologue is pretty fun. Another mono synth, but they do have the slightly more expensive 4 voice polyphony Minilogue. I'd go for the Minilogue. Pretty amazing you can get an analog polysynth for under $500. You can make some beautiful pads with it.
Both are a lot of fun. Again there is a dedicated knob for each function. I think that's crucial to getting your head around it all.

It's always been hard for me to understand how synthesizers work coming from the huge sample libraries with 50 plus gb of samples and cluttered pages. I always knew the synth basics like envelopes and lfos, so I found there was no learning curve really with these synths. I was making patches with an hour or so.
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by Zork » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:18 am

I just bought a Novation K Station. It's butt ugly and the presets are a cheesy happy hardcore trance nightmare. But it has a full size keyboard, hands on control on all the parameters with dedicated one function per knob controls and for some hidden features some very useful menues with easy access. It does the moogish filter overdrive, some basic FM synthesis and has quite useful effects on board. It's a great sounding synthesizer once you overwrite the presets and you can get it for around 250€ used.
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by vale » Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:19 pm

microbrute is my analog go to, & microkorg for fake-analog.

the best thing about the microbrute is the mod-matrix patch pad, so you can tap into the signal from the lfo etc & feed it into other stages & functions of the brute (or right out into something else entirely). or take signals from outside & feed in. that's the big win on something not expensive.
i paid £150 for a little-used second-hand one which is all i had to spend (carer's wages) but i feel i got a lot for that.
has a nice abrasive 'brute factor' filter too, for harsh & evil waspish tones.

it's my first proper analog synth & i really like it. & not hard to work out what to do with it through playing, as i am not tech minded (& too lazy to read every line of manuals).
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by mgeek » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:08 pm

I've got a microbrute, MS20 and (an old)MS10.

Gotta say I find the microbrute kinda baffling/impossible to return to any given sound. There have been a couple of occasions where I've genuinely thought it was broken til I flicked the right switch, and I've used it on a 35 date tour, so it's not like I haven't put the time in. Could just be that I'm used to the MS's but...

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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by Gav Haus » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:37 pm

If you've got a midi keyboard, you'd struggle to find a better way to spend your cash than on an Oberheim Matrix rack. Either the 6, or the even more affordable 1000.
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by vale » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:23 pm

mgeek wrote:I've got a microbrute, MS20 and (an old)MS10.

Gotta say I find the microbrute kinda baffling/impossible to return to any given sound. There have been a couple of occasions where I've genuinely thought it was broken til I flicked the right switch, and I've used it on a 35 date tour, so it's not like I haven't put the time in. Could just be that I'm used to the MS's but...
it is very old school in a way i like but may annoy some used to different schemes.

i worked up from things like the monotron/modded monotron & the weird sound generator. they are like super-simple one or two basic square-sign-triangle oscillators & basic lfo/mod & tone stack/filter. really minimal. so function-wise they are a bit like safe cracking. you work them until you get that perfect little sweet spot & then you record. hit & run.

but because they are so sensitive & all the parameters have such a sweep, it is probably like getting planets to realign to get exactly the same thing twice. but i use for bedroom recodring so i don't go always back. or if i do, i can put in the time to recover the sweet spot. i sometimes take a photo of the control settings (or using those paper patchpads).

but maybe that would make it not suited for touring. i've never toured with it so not my field of expertise.

btw mgeek, what do you prefer about the korgs over the brute. just curious about what makes them that much different.
i haven't tried either the ms10/ms20. i live in a small village with few music shops nearby, so not many options to try.
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by Telliot » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:34 pm

mgeek wrote:I've got a microbrute, MS20 and (an old)MS10.

Gotta say I find the microbrute kinda baffling/impossible to return to any given sound. There have been a couple of occasions where I've genuinely thought it was broken til I flicked the right switch, and I've used it on a 35 date tour, so it's not like I haven't put the time in. Could just be that I'm used to the MS's but...
Would you recommend the MS20 mini? I've been flirting with the idea of grabbing one for quite some time now.
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by fuzzjunkie » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:01 pm

Gav Haus wrote:If you've got a midi keyboard, you'd struggle to find a better way to spend your cash than on an Oberheim Matrix rack. Either the 6, or the even more affordable 1000.
I've been thinking about the Moog Mother as well as some modular units as I have an Akai controller for soft synths already. Or I could blow my tax return on a Moog Sub 37.

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ROLAND RS-09!

Post by garyfanclub » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:32 pm

Can be had for $250 - $300 - warm analog strings and organ sounds, killer Roland chorus, plays nice with pedals. Small and simple enough to use for those who don't play synth as their main instrument. I submit to you...

Image

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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by mackerelmint » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:42 pm

Gav Haus wrote:If you've got a midi keyboard, you'd struggle to find a better way to spend your cash than on an Oberheim Matrix rack. Either the 6, or the even more affordable 1000.
I had a 1000. Sounds great. Just you try programming it, though.
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Re: Inexpensive Synth Thread

Post by eggwheat » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:21 pm

mackerelmint wrote:
Gav Haus wrote:If you've got a midi keyboard, you'd struggle to find a better way to spend your cash than on an Oberheim Matrix rack. Either the 6, or the even more affordable 1000.
I had a 1000. Sounds great. Just you try programming it, though.
Well you can't unless you hook up an external programmer via MIDI. but then that wasn't the point of it when it was sold originally..it was sold as preset machine with a 1000 presets. Programmability wasn't even built in to it.

Even these are raising in price now though.

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Re: ROLAND RS-09!

Post by eggwheat » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:25 pm

garyfanclub wrote:Can be had for $250 - $300 - warm analog strings and organ sounds, killer Roland chorus, plays nice with pedals. Small and simple enough to use for those who don't play synth as their main instrument. I submit to you...

Image
Yeh these are a great buy for those wanting a cheap and portable string synth..not as warm as a Solina..quite 'icy' sounding in fact. Down side is there are some expensive IC's inside if they go wrong.

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