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Best analog poly for me?
Old 26th January 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Best analog poly for me?

Lookin for a new analog polysynth to complement or replace my current P08. I want a warm, fat sound. I do music along the lines of ambient electronic/soundtrack (vangelis,tangerine dream, etc) with acoustic elements. Pads/strings are rather important therefore. I have a preference for a VCO synth.

Here are my options, since I can't afford the big 4 (JP8, P5, cs80, memorymoog):

A6 - nice pads but has a cold harsh gritty sheen to it when filters open.

OBX -- The smoothest and creamiest sound due to discreet design, but old and hard to find, very expensive, unreliable, too simple perhaps.

OBXa -- a bit too raw perhaps, but fat and organic - not very versatile

OB8 -- Too similar to p08? More versatile than obxa and more reliable.

Xpander -- As above --- too complicated for me perhaps also and sounds rather too perfect/polite.

Omega 8 --- to0 expensive, not available much used.

MKS80 -- heard it was rather agressive sounding for pads - so out.

Others: Sunsyn ( can't find used), jp-4, crumar spirit.

Any others?

Thx
aqua
Old 26th January 2009
  #2
Gear Nut
 
memedesigner's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
CS-50 or CS-60? Even smoother and creamier than OBX, and for pads & strings gives you something totally else. Fatness is relative...
Old 26th January 2009
  #3
Deleted 8456dd3
Guest
As someone thats owned all these synths you mentioned, ill give you my opinion for what its worth.
I think you summed it up pretty good. For the ones you werent sure about:
Sunsyn sounds clean, weak filters, no dirt or grit. I really wanted to love the Sunsyn, sold a Waldorf Wave to buy it!! Sold it as quick as i bought it. Bought another Wave!
Omega 8 is very good at bass, reminds me of a more flexible JP6. Good synth. Clean too. Nice filters, moog filter is great as are the Oberheim LP/HP/BP. Can get fat as hell like a Memorymoog!
Xpander is nice, its a mellow CEM sound. Prophet 08 is a bright CEM sound i think they would compliment each other nicely.

Id recommend either an Omega 8/ Code 8 or an Xpander for ambient stuff to complement your P08.

Dont forget the Synthex, thats great too for ambient stuff too..

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquablu8 ➡️
Lookin for a new analog polysynth to complement or replace my current P08. I want a warm, fat sound. I do music along the lines of ambient electronic/soundtrack (vangelis,tangerine dream, etc) with acoustic elements. Pads/strings are rather important therefore. I have a preference for a VCO synth.

Here are my options, since I can't afford the big 4 (JP8, P5, cs80, memorymoog):

A6 - nice pads but has a cold harsh gritty sheen to it when filters open.

OBX -- The smoothest and creamiest sound due to discreet design, but old and hard to find, very expensive, unreliable, too simple perhaps.

OBXa -- a bit too raw perhaps, but fat and organic - not very versatile

OB8 -- Too similar to p08? More versatile than obxa and more reliable.

Xpander -- As above --- too complicated for me perhaps also and sounds rather too perfect/polite.

Omega 8 --- to0 expensive, not available much used.

MKS80 -- heard it was rather agressive sounding for pads - so out.

Others: Sunsyn ( can't find used), jp-4, crumar spirit.

Any others?

Thx
aqua
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I didn't realize that the cs50//60 could beat an X...must look into that. Also the synthex, even though its DCO.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
how about a vintage string machine ? IMHO this is the nicest ( and now the most expensive ) of the lot, with the vocoder :

YouTube - Roland VP-330 Vocoder Plus (old version)

These are really* expensive now, but there are much cheaper and less glistening machines about.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
analogbass's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think you're quite particular, and it's hard to say exactly what you're looking for so it's not gonna be that easy to suggest something you like.

The OB8 is nothing like an 08. Given it's fairly nature and warm vintage sound it might be one of the best choices. Also, sometimes their prices aren't that high.

For pads as you've described i'd also suggest you consider a Roland MKS-70/JX-10/D50 or a Matrix 6 unless the sound is as you said about the Expander too perfect. Don't know if i agree that it's too perfect but that's just a matter of taste.
Old 26th January 2009
  #7
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Space Station's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquablu8 ➡️
Lookin for a new analog polysynth to complement or replace my current P08. I want a warm, fat sound. I do music along the lines of ambient electronic/soundtrack (vangelis,tangerine dream, etc) with acoustic elements. Pads/strings are rather important therefore. I have a preference for a VCO synth.

Here are my options, since I can't afford the big 4 (JP8, P5, cs80, memorymoog):

A6 - nice pads but has a cold harsh gritty sheen to it when filters open.

OBX -- The smoothest and creamiest sound due to discreet design, but old and hard to find, very expensive, unreliable, too simple perhaps.

OBXa -- a bit too raw perhaps, but fat and organic - not very versatile

OB8 -- Too similar to p08? More versatile than obxa and more reliable.

Xpander -- As above --- too complicated for me perhaps also and sounds rather too perfect/polite.

Omega 8 --- to0 expensive, not available much used.

MKS80 -- heard it was rather agressive sounding for pads - so out.

Others: Sunsyn ( can't find used), jp-4, crumar spirit.

Any others?

Thx
aqua
Well..my first choice from that list would be the Xpander but I'd also seriously give the Prophet 600 a go...very good for what you describe.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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rafkey's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Keep your P08!!!

For strings/pad => JX10, JX8P, Juno60
for old string ensemble(BBD) => korg Trident and also fabulous dark bass pad

Here, you can hear a combination of a polyevolver (lead), jx10 (pad) and Virus kb ( washing noise ) >rafkey - ReverbNation => song 'DialogueP1'
The synths have been recorded with a mackie 14/2 and with a sde330 and dep5 FX in AUX1 & 2;
Old 27th January 2009
  #9
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clusterchord's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquablu8 ➡️
Lookin for a new analog polysynth to complement or replace my current P08. I want a warm, fat sound. I do music along the lines of ambient electronic/soundtrack (vangelis,tangerine dream, etc) with acoustic elements. Pads/strings are rather important therefore. I have a preference for a VCO synth...
get an OBX and be done with it. from my personal experience, its the warmest of all that you listed. may or may not be important, but it was paramount to TD sound from 1979 to 1985. CS60 is also very nice, esp if you aim at those vangelis tones, but if i could pick only one, id still go w OBX all the way. fwiw, its easier to fix and upkeep than later oberheims. my frined fixed mine and his, in a flinch. i replaced all chips in it (mlutplexrers, opamps etc) for some 60 bucks. not that i needed, but just in case. and unlike others, it uses the rare CEM chips only for its envelopes.



i also do/did lotta stuff in vein of 70s TD/Vng. i would strongly suggest, whatever you choose, to pickup a string machine from the 70s as well, to complement these polysynths. they are going for very CHEAP nowadays. cpl of hundred. either a Crumar Multiman-S, ELKA Rhapsody 610 or Eminent Solina. you wont regret it. for that music, u always "need" a string machine arround.

TD also used a lot of Franke's Prophet 5 revision 2, but they are very rare and very expensive nowadays. all the crossmod and filter fm sweep sounds.. to me, Rev2 plus OBX is the holy grail (Tangram and Exit).


a Trident mk1 is also a nice recommendation. it sounds very 70s i might add. and combines a very warm SSM polysynth with a typical frequency divide string machine. however i wouldnt want it to be my main, or only polysynth. its just too limited.

fwiw, i also use A6 for this type of music, daily. and it works just phenomenal. and i do agree with what you say about open filters, i just don't run into those situations often. i use OBXa for open filter sounds.. i like the CEM sizzle. (ps there are other styles, like DnB or Psy where open filters on A6 are just what the doctor ordered)



or, theres always the true GearSlut way.. just dump P8. get OBX and CS60.

many combinations. check here for tons of polysynth demos, might give you a hint or two:




good luck
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks... i am not sure about the cs60, wasn't too warm or lush from the online demos i heard.... OBX is hard to find unfortunately.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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Carey M's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJB06 ➡️
Sunsyn sounds clean, weak filters, no dirt or grit.


I just have to disagree with this one. I think it's a great synth for gritty and dirty sounds. I only sold mine to get an Omega...

Regarding the original question... if I had the money, and the opportunity, I'd get the OB-X. Just because TD used one And yes, a string machine is essential.

- CM
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Consider Prophet VS as well. Though it's digital, the filters are analog and sound is warm and it is very very good (if not best) at pads
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Nut
 
memedesigner's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sounds like you need an OBX. It can take you a year to find and get one, but during that time you can save/beg for the monies needed ... and that will be a straightforward route compared to getting something else, realizing you really want OBX after all, and then starting all over.

As clusterchord pointed out above, you can actually maintain an OBX. It's like a Mini from that point of view and a huge, huge plus. Compare with CS-series. A tech declined to do a bit of upkeep for my CS-50 because according to his words 'I opened up a CS-80 once, had a look, closed it and I'm not gonna touch one with a 6 feet pole.' heh

This lush/warm dimension is pretty subjective, but in my experience Prophet VS doesn't have a chance lush/warmness-wise compared to Xpander, and Xpander vs OBX, well, there's pretty sound (obvious, tired pun) difference there as well.
Old 27th January 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
What about Akai AX80? Thats a VCO polysynth
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Moderator
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord ➡️
i replaced all chips in it
What again? But i replaced them all before putting the unit in your car. heh heh heh


P.S. It's a cakewalk to repair OB-X. I've never encountered a more simple and straightforward design. BIG bonus are the PCB boards that can be lifted, without taking the synth apart.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Deleted 8456dd3
Guest
Sure, well thats what makes it interesting, some people love synths that other just dont like! I personally just dont like the sound of the Sunsyn..

I guess what i meant is it does do grit and dirt but in a modern, precise way.. if that makes sense. There is ZERO magic in the Sunsyn. Not like a Prophet VS or Wave for samples through an analogue filter. The analogue engine on the Sunsyn was pretty bleh too.
The filters just sounded weak and lame to me.

Again, this is just my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey M ➡️


I just have to disagree with this one. I think it's a great synth for gritty and dirty sounds. I only sold mine to get an Omega...

Regarding the original question... if I had the money, and the opportunity, I'd get the OB-X. Just because TD used one And yes, a string machine is essential.

- CM
Old 27th January 2009
  #17
Moderator
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquablu8 ➡️
Lookin for a new analog polysynth to complement or replace my current P08. I want a warm, fat sound. I do music along the lines of ambient electronic/soundtrack (vangelis,tangerine dream, etc) with acoustic elements. Pads/strings are rather important therefore. I have a preference for a VCO synth.
I don't know if i can be of any help. From polyphonic VCO synths i own: Roland Jupiter 8, Oberheim OB-X, Oberheim OB-8, Andromeda A6 and a Korg Polysix.

For the bang for the buck, i still think you should go with Andromeda unless you know the exact sound / instrument that band used. Things then are pretty simple - go buy the instrument if you want THAT sound. Judging by the music you mentioned, i think OB-X is a board for you. I have no idea how much they cost these days. I do know however they appear once or twice a year on ebay.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Brickman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not sure if u are looking primarily for a keyboard.....but have u thought about the Rozzbox V2 . Sounds stunning and is extremely flexible .

L.L.Electronics, Home Of The RozzBox
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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Space Station's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJB06 ➡️
Sure, well thats what makes it interesting, some people love synths that other just dont like! I personally just dont like the sound of the Sunsyn..

I guess what i meant is it does do grit and dirt but in a modern, precise way.. if that makes sense. There is ZERO magic in the Sunsyn. Not like a Prophet VS or Wave for samples through an analogue filter. The analogue engine on the Sunsyn was pretty bleh too.
The filters just sounded weak and lame to me.

Again, this is just my opinion.
Totally with you on this. But then I dont like the sound of any Jomox product..it's all bleh to me.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Deleted 8456dd3
Guest
Not sure if id recommend an OBX over say an Xpander for ambient / soundscapes stuff..

I guess i like "dreamy" synths too.
I ended up with CS80, JP8, Synthex, Code 8, Waldorf Wave, Prophet VS rack, Xpander and Andromeda... would like to add a Prophet 08 rack down the line too..

Again, i would recommend a Studio Electronics Omega/Code 8 or an Xpander to go with your P08. (Both of these are nice sounding, expressive synths that will need little maintenance)

While ive had several revision Prophet 5's and several OBX's, ultimately i found them really limited. What they DID do they sounded great.. but... not for me. I always found the OBX nicer sounding than the Prophet 5. OB8 is a fab board too, but pretty limited too. Xpander and Prophet 08 is much more appealing to me than Prophet 5 and OBX...

Personally i hate string machines, i think they are all ****E. Maybe with the exception of the RS505 and VP330.
I like the chorus effect on those machines, but as instruments themselves and the physical space they take up for "that" sound.. hate them.

Also these guys make what looks like an awesome string chorus unit:

Synthoma : Reparación sintetizadores analogicos , sintetizador analogico , Sergio Koval

Just feed something like a Juno saw waveform in.. bobs your uncle as we say here in blighty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris ➡️
I don't know if i can be of any help. From polyphonic VCO synths i own: Roland Jupiter 8, Oberheim OB-X, Oberheim OB-8, Andromeda A6 and a Korg Polysix.

For the bang for the buck, i still think you should go with Andromeda unless you know the exact sound / instrument that band used. Things then are pretty simple - go buy the instrument if you want THAT sound. Judging by the music you mentioned, i think OB-X is a board for you. I have no idea how much they cost these days. I do know however they appear once or twice a year on ebay.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Moderator
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJB06 ➡️
Not sure if id recommend an OBX over say an Xpander for ambient / soundscapes stuff..
That depends what kind of ambient we talk about. If he is after TD (which he mentioned) then it's a one way ticket to OB-X which is exactly what they used.

If we talk about ambient electronic music, then the answer is simple: A sampler and an Oberheim OB-8 (or Xpander). In fact this is exactly what pioneers of ambient electronica (The KLF) used, AKAI sampler and OB-8.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Deleted 8456dd3
Guest
Ahhhh... my bad. Missed the OP asking for Vangelis/ TD synths..
I guess OBX would be good.
TD also used T8 and Xpander later..
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Carey M's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJB06 ➡️
There is ZERO magic in the Sunsyn. Not like a Prophet VS or Wave for samples through an analogue filter. The analogue engine on the Sunsyn was pretty bleh too.
The filters just sounded weak and lame to me.

Again, this is just my opinion.
I agree on the point about the RCO oscillators. But my opinion differs greatly on the analogue enginge. But hey, I prefer red haired women to blondes too

- CM
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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shadowfac's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What's a good price for an OB8? I know a guy who knows a guy...
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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Phaidon's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Since you mentioned pads:
I don't think anything comes even close to an Elka Synthex,when it comes to pads in the analog domain.
Really!
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
How much for the synthex?

MKS-70 worth more than $350 on ebay? There is one now with Buy now for 500 or so...too much?

can cs-60 sound anything like the lush thick warm cs80?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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Phaidon's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquablu8 ➡️
How much for the synthex?
Around $3K ,I would say,for one with midi.
They're very rare though.
MKS-70 is very cool for the money,but make sure you get the PG800
programmer for it.
...speaking of which: I just saw one going for like $480 on Ebay!!!
Geez. The thing with analog stuff is outta control on evilbay!
Enough about the economic downfall...
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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clusterchord's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris ➡️
What again? But i replaced them all before putting the unit in your car. heh heh heh
no. i meant i had em replaced, it was a figure of speech. alright so DON SOLARIS REPLACED MY OBX CHIPS. is that better ?

indeed, Don did a great job, fixed my PWM LFO too, and few other little quirks.



bottom line, yes, cept for CEM3310s, all OBX parts can be found for peanuts,in your local electronic parts store. we even discussed that, if hard pressed, we could actually produce a full drop-in replacement OBX voiceboard.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Moderator
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord ➡️
no. i meant i had em replaced, it was a figure of speech. alright so DON SOLARIS REPLACED MY OBX CHIPS. is that better ?
Better.

But i would like a larger font. heh heh heh


just kiddn'

Old 28th January 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 
oldgearguy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've also owned quite a number of the synths mentioned in this thread. I do have a belief that if you pick up an old polysynth like an OB-X, you will decide to sell your P08 and buy a second old analog. The difference in presence between those older boards and the newer ones is very great. You don't need a lot of tricks to make it sound wonderful.

I also believe that if you buy an A6, you may find the A6 and P08 overlap a lot sonically -- for the kind of sounds you want to make.


When I saw the list and what you were looking for, the MKS-70 (w. PG-800) came to mind even though it's DCO. That would even cover some of your string synth type sounds.

Of the synths on your initial list, I'd also have to recommend the OB-X. A rev 2 Prophet 5 would be great too.

One thing to note - if you're a programming type person that loves to add modulations, tweak routings and envelopes and such, most of the older polysynths will be disappointing. They have a fairly basic signal path and fairly conventional choices for modulations. The beauty is that you spend more time playing the synths and learning how to get a wide variety of sounds out of a small set of parameters.

There are some exceptions of course -- the Xpander/M-12 and the Chroma are two that come to mind.

Out of all of the polys that I had, I kept the Jupiter-8, Elka Synthex, and the Chroma. I recently decided to buy back an Oberheim Xpander. Of all the others, if I had to pick another old poly to buy, it would either be the OB-X or the rev 2 Prophet 5.

If you can perform basic tech work yourself, none of these older machines should completely scare you away. Some are certainly harder to work on than others, but all are serviceable.
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