Gift help: Synth

All instruments that aren't guitars (or bass guitars).
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jakeisjake
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Gift help: Synth

Post by jakeisjake » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:49 am

Our daughter is a keyboardist (amongst other instruments). She's knows theory and can play quite well. But she isn't very tech-y. Last year we got her an MK III (I think that's what it is called), she understood the keyboard part, but was lost on how to use it, because it had to be set up with a computer.

Could someone recommend a synth that is on the cheaper side (a few hundred $ or less) and would just be a plug in and play sort of thing?

Thanks
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:25 pm

I haven't actually played one myself (yet!!), but I've heard SUCH good things from a number of people about the Arturia Microbrute. They've been out a while, so you can find them used for decent prices. I think they're only like $300-$350 new anyways.
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by mackerelmint » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:52 pm

Oh, there are so many! :w00t:

The Arturia is a great option. I like the microkorg, but it's kinda menu divey so maybe not right for someone not tech inclined. A korg Minilogue could be a good match, that's got 4 voices.

Would you say she'd be more interested to have a synth she can twiddle knobs on, or just something with a lot of nice presets she could play? Because 90s ROMpler synths are cheap and full of good presets.
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by Singlebladepickup » Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:43 am

One of those mini Roland Boutique I think they're called? The mini Juno 60

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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by jakeisjake » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:26 am

mackerelmint wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:52 pm
Oh, there are so many! :w00t:
The Arturia is a great option. I like the microkorg, but it's kinda menu divey so maybe not right for someone not tech inclined. A korg Minilogue could be a good match, that's got 4 voices.

Would you say she'd be more interested to have a synth she can twiddle knobs on, or just something with a lot of nice presets she could play? Because 90s ROMpler synths are cheap and full of good presets.
She wasn't sure what she wanted last year...We got her that MK III thing...and it just didn't work. The upside is she's been playing more guitar! I love to hear in the other room playing... whether it's piano or guitar (well, guitar more).

But she is a primarily a pianist. What started the synth thought again this year was this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKFiO53THuI
She was very taken by it's usefulness and it's simplicity.
Last edited by jakeisjake on Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by jakeisjake » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:39 am

Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:25 pm
I haven't actually played one myself (yet!!), but I've heard SUCH good things from a number of people about the Arturia Microbrute. They've been out a while, so you can find them used for decent prices. I think they're only like $300-$350 new anyways.
yeah...that's great. That's what she (and we) thought the one we got was going to be.
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by jakeisjake » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:42 am

mackerelmint wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:52 pm
Oh, there are so many! :w00t:

The Arturia is a great option. I like the microkorg, but it's kinda menu divey so maybe not right for someone not tech inclined. A korg Minilogue could be a good match, that's got 4 voices.

Would you say she'd be more interested to have a synth she can twiddle knobs on, or just something with a lot of nice presets she could play? Because 90s ROMpler synths are cheap and full of good presets.
What are they? I did a search for it but it didn't turn up much.

I have to add, she likes it being compact. She hates to draw attention to herself...so, carrying a keyboard (which she has) or even a guitar around bothers her. If it can fit in her back pack (like the Arturia) she'd be thrilled.
If I was a byrd, I'd be mighty sore every time they shut the door and I don't think I'd sing...

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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by stevejamsecono » Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:22 am

Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:25 pm
I haven't actually played one myself (yet!!), but I've heard SUCH good things from a number of people about the Arturia Microbrute. They've been out a while, so you can find them used for decent prices. I think they're only like $300-$350 new anyways.
+1 on the Microbrute. It's been my first monosynth and once you get the basics, it's very usable. Sounds are excellent too, imo.

However...
jakeisjake wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:42 am
I have to add, she likes it being compact. She hates to draw attention to herself...so, carrying a keyboard (which she has) or even a guitar around bothers her. If it can fit in her back pack (like the Arturia) she'd be thrilled.
I would HIGHLY recommend the Korg Volca series given this. Plenty of great reasons why:

- They are cheap, Under $100 used most of the time, but still of reasonably good build quality for the money.
- They are cute and toylike, so it makes them fun to play. I only have the Volca Beats drum machine so far, but I ALWAYS feel compelled to pull it out to jam, versus the Microbrute which although sounds awesome, requires more set up time.
- Battery powered with a speaker, so easy to carry around and jam wherever.
- MIDI compatible, so if she wants to hook up to a full-sized keyboard, easily achievable.
- They are designed to sync easily and work together, so if she wants more down the line (i.e. drums, bass, sampler, mono synth, FM synth, any combination of these) she can do that for relatively little money and get some great sounds.

The Volca Keys and FM both sound nice and there's some awesome videos of people doing retro music with them on youtube. My favorite lately was this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjPDnDjBvr8

I'd say if she wants to learn about synthesis, the Volca Keys would be better because it's easier to understand, but the FM has presets and gets all those cool "retro 80s/90s" sounds that the kids want these days, so you can't go wrong either way.
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by FrankRay » Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:27 am

I love my microbrute. It's really intuitive, with every knob making dramatic changes to the sound, which is basically awesome.
However after a few weeks the thing began to slip it's tuning, so whilst it can easily be tuned to record it's a PITA to play live with other instruments. Not a problem if you're solo, but an annoying glitch in the design.

Unless anyone knows how to fix it, of course??

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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by jakeisjake » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:12 pm

Thanks! I would have never known what to look for without your suggestions. I liked the microbrute...but I ordred the Korg Monologue. They were comporable, but the Korg had the battery power option.
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by Dave » Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:19 pm

jakeisjake wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:26 am
I love to hear in the other room playing... whether it's piano or guitar (well, guitar more).
This really resonated with me Jake. We recently got a free upright given to us minus cost of moving which was nothing huge. Our little girl (4) constantly blows me away when I hear her twinkling away in the other room, she makes the prettiest little sounds all by accident and has no idea what she’s doing, I hope to the stars she takes an interest and is either open to some proper instruction or just learns to play in her own way.

The only angle I might mention is, playing mono synth is sort of a whole different set of muscles/perspective if her basis is piano and she may not find “being a synthesist” as interesting or gratifying as “playing on a synthesizer” so I might lean toward polyphonic options perhaps?
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by jakeisjake » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:01 pm

Dave wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:19 pm
jakeisjake wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:26 am
I love to hear in the other room playing... whether it's piano or guitar (well, guitar more).
This really resonated with me Jake. We recently got a free upright given to us minus cost of moving which was nothing huge. Our little girl (4) constantly blows me away when I hear her twinkling away in the other room, she makes the prettiest little sounds all by accident and has no idea what she’s doing, I hope to the stars she takes an interest and is either open to some proper instruction or just learns to play in her own way.
Those were great days, Dave! Our daughter did the same at that age. She always had an ability to "make music"...even at 3 and 4. Her hands always were in the right place. She's taken lessons for years, both private and at school and is a whiz at theory. Sometimes I change the key 3 or times just for fun (I'll use a capo!).

Our upright was also given to us. It has seen a lot of use!

Sorry to get to bragging...

Here we are when the kids are about 11 and 12:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj_Uo-cIDdw

and a little cover she did all herself:
https://soundcloud.com/sunlightsplatter ... back-cover
If I was a byrd, I'd be mighty sore every time they shut the door and I don't think I'd sing...

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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by mackerelmint » Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:09 pm

jakeisjake wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:42 am
mackerelmint wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:52 pm
Oh, there are so many! :w00t:

The Arturia is a great option. I like the microkorg, but it's kinda menu divey so maybe not right for someone not tech inclined. A korg Minilogue could be a good match, that's got 4 voices.

Would you say she'd be more interested to have a synth she can twiddle knobs on, or just something with a lot of nice presets she could play? Because 90s ROMpler synths are cheap and full of good presets.
What are they? I did a search for it but it didn't turn up much.

I have to add, she likes it being compact. She hates to draw attention to herself...so, carrying a keyboard (which she has) or even a guitar around bothers her. If it can fit in her back pack (like the Arturia) she'd be thrilled.
Sounds like you already got this one covered, but in case you want to add to it at some point, the old roland JD/JV series are pretty classic romplers. The JV1010 is a half rack box with a bunch of presets you dial in with knobs. Stupid simple, small, and a couple hundred bucks. There are so many, though. Korg, Roland, and plenty of others made keyboards and rack modules that do the ROMpler thing, and they generally sound pretty good. People are starting to realize this, but they're still not appreciating in value too fast.
This is an excellent rectangle

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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by Dave » Sun Dec 06, 2020 5:08 pm

jakeisjake wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:01 pm
Dave wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:19 pm
jakeisjake wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:26 am
I love to hear in the other room playing... whether it's piano or guitar (well, guitar more).
This really resonated with me Jake. We recently got a free upright given to us minus cost of moving which was nothing huge. Our little girl (4) constantly blows me away when I hear her twinkling away in the other room, she makes the prettiest little sounds all by accident and has no idea what she’s doing, I hope to the stars she takes an interest and is either open to some proper instruction or just learns to play in her own way.
Those were great days, Dave! Our daughter did the same at that age. She always had an ability to "make music"...even at 3 and 4. Her hands always were in the right place. She's taken lessons for years, both private and at school and is a whiz at theory. Sometimes I change the key 3 or times just for fun (I'll use a capo!).

Our upright was also given to us. It has seen a lot of use!

Sorry to get to bragging...

Here we are when the kids are about 11 and 12:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj_Uo-cIDdw

and a little cover she did all herself:
https://soundcloud.com/sunlightsplatter ... back-cover
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Re: Gift help: Synth

Post by mediocreplayer » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:16 am

jakeisjake wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:01 pm

and a little cover she did all herself:
https://soundcloud.com/sunlightsplatter ... back-cover
I didnt get a chance to watch the video, but this cover is great! I hope she enjoys the monologue!

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