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Advice needed for first analog synth sub$1300
Old 14th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Advice needed for first analog synth sub$1300

Hello...
I'm tired of using vst's.
I make all sorts of stuff from hip hop to downtempo to rock.
I would pay less for a monophonic than a polyphonic and hence am not super excited about monophonic Moog's. The Minibrute and used Mophos seem like a good value for a mono synth.

When I get into the $1300 dollar range I start to get overwhelmed and am looking for advice regarding a used MEK, desktop Prophet 8, Mopho 4x, Juno 60, etc. I could get a couple of DSI desktop units for $1300 used as well. My concern is that I actually USE it and am INSPIRED to use it, which I fear a mono evolver desktop might not inspire me to do because it doesn't look fun to program. I want some knobs to get me away from the computer screen - I edit video all day so it's tough to motivate and sit in front of a computer again at night to make music, looking for something that will be fun and help with that. Thanks for any thoughts.
Old 14th September 2012
  #2
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atma's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
yeah—definitely get something with tons of knobs and sliders—it does make all the difference in the world. i can sit and **** with the minibrute for hours on end and it's always enjoyable because all the parameters can be adjusted instantly, realtime. i've found that synths with terrible interfaces that lack many knobs/sliders are never enjoyable or inspiring to use.

if you want something ridiculously flexible you could build a small modular setup for that price, which could be expanded indefinitely over time to suit your needs, and that's all completely hands-on and never redundant, as you can basically set it up differently each time, however you want.

that's essentially what i'm going to do, as i came to the conclusion that it becomes pointless to keep buying different and expensive analogs which all have limitations, when i can spend the same money and build whatever i want with individual modules, which can be expanded upon.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #3
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Eric J's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by atma ➡️
yeah—definitely get something with tons of knobs and sliders—it does make all the difference in the world. i can sit and **** with the minibrute for hours on end and it's always enjoyable because all the parameters can be adjusted instantly, realtime. i've found that synths with terrible interfaces that lack many knobs/sliders are never enjoyable or inspiring to use.
So much +1 on this.

I've owned a lot of hardware synths over the years, but I never realized how important interface was for me until just recently. The immediacy of synths like the Minibrute, MT, DE and others that are "one-knob-per-function" is wonderful and inspiring.
Old 14th September 2012
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I find mono synths much less inspiring so I'd definitely avoid that for a first synth. I have a Moog Voyager but I rarely play it. I see it more like a machine to send arps to and tweak the knobs but then again I'm not really very good at keyboards. I'm a guitarist. I hate not being able to play chords on a synth.

You could probably get a few synths. Some cheaper ones I have are are:

Juno 106 - this is cheap and good value because there's loads of them. Very nice sound. Typical Roland. Nice pad sounds and filters. It's got MIDI despite being old.

Tetra - This lacks knobs but can do quite a lot. Much harder sounding than the Juno.

Oberheim Matrix 1000 - lacks knobs again (no knobs actually) but is easily editable via computer apps. This is actually my favourite synth. It has flaws but it definitely has some of that Obie Vibe. Fantastic for pads and bass. Total bargain second hand. Total fun to play as long as you don't mind editing via computer. I bought two of them.

Probably some other people can give better advice. I'm not totally into synths. Those three above are great bang for buck.
Old 14th September 2012
  #5
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Well, I find mono synths to be more inspiring. Especially modular.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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atma's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
see, i think the juno is fairly uninspiring and boring/limited, and honestly doesn't sound all that amazing. they were cool when they used to cost 200 dollars in pawn shops back in the day, but for what they go for these days, i don't think they're at all worth it. the tetra has like 4 knobs and everything else you're stuck menu-diving or using software to edit sounds. and the matrix 1000 is probably the absolute worst choice—you HAVE to use a computer to alter sounds with it, and none of the software editors work consistently or very well at all. it's capable of some awesome sounds, but it's also fairly digital sounding, as it's an 80's DCO with very precise digital control over its parameters.

i think i'm actually going to sell mine because i really can't handle having to use ****ty software editors to make patches with it. to me, that's exactly what takes the enjoyment and creative stimulation away from playing a synth. BUT, for what they sell for, they're certainly a flexible and awesome poly synth.. it just isn't something i enjoy working with. it mainly gets used for utilitarian reasons.
Old 14th September 2012
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah but the problem is more knobs = much more cost.

And I think the Obie Matrix is a bargain simply because it doesn't have knobs. Of course you need a separate keyboard, same with the Tetra. There are several good apps to edit it. It has dodgy speed with the filters but you generally don't do that kind of thing on it. Sure, I'd like an OBX but that's out of the question.

The best Matrix editor is one called ObieEditor:

Obie Editor v1.1 for Macintosh OS X

That's OSX so could be a problem but the Windows ones look OK as well. The Matrix is in fact quite powerful in what you can edit. I really have no problem with the software editor because generally it's the type of synth that you set up sounds with some movement in them and then leave the sounds like that. Maybe tweak the filter a bit in realtime.

Juno 106 is a perfectly decent synth.

Any analog synth will be better than any VST. Those synths I listed all have way more character than VSTs. If those are crap synths then the VSTs are utter crap.

Mono synths are less inspiring because you can't work much with harmony except working it in with arpeggiations. This is not so much fun for many people. I wouldn't advice that at all for a first synth. it won't be so much fun if you want to actually play it.
Old 14th September 2012
  #8
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Well, I have plenty of other synths for harmony. But I find myself more inspired by mono synths.
Old 14th September 2012
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Maybe the 106 isn't such a bargain anymore. i got mine quite cheap.

The Tetra is good. There may be others but these are what I've got and they give you some different flavours. I certainly wouldn't advise a Moog. How much is the Prophet 8 second hand? That's probably the best bet since it has knobs.
Old 14th September 2012
  #10
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Rust Creep's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I love programming and playing monosynths... you will get more sound design options with a mono.

With todays daws polyphony is over rated.. multitrack that ****. I have a future retro xs and new patch pannel SEM. The xs or s my favorite

Sent from my DROIDX
Old 14th September 2012
  #11
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've got a Prophet 08 Rack and I love it. Lot's o knobs and and if you're patient you can find them pretty cheap.
Old 14th September 2012
  #12
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Of course it all depends on what the person who is playing it is into. I just like playing at least two notes at a time because then I can think at least in terms of bass line and melody. The Obie Matrix 1000 is very cool because even although it's not as good as the older Obies it has some of that magic when you play polyphonically.

I do actually really like the sound of my Moog. I can get some awesome sounds but generally I sequence this and play with the knobs.

dolomic seemed to be suggesting that a poly synth was going to be more suitable especially from a cost for what you get angle.
Old 14th September 2012
  #13
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Robonaut's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, unless you're looking for a specific sound (like vintage Roland), I agree that a used Prophet 08 is by far your best bet. Lots of programming depth and (despite what some folks say) great sound.

I would recommend getting one without the endless rotaries, though.
Old 14th September 2012
  #14
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah, I agree.

From what you've said you are after and the price area go for the Prophet.

I just fired up the Juno 106. I keep hearing that they are not that good ,blown away by 60s (no MIDI) etc but I really like mine. Nice chorus which really adds to it. Limited in scope compared to Tetra and Prophet but those synths sound more modern. Juno sounds old school which gives it a uniqueness.
Old 14th September 2012
  #15
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verve92's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Mono:
Dave Smith Instruments Mono Evolver Keyboard.
All in all the best mono ever IMO. Most complex sound engine of any mono maybe ever. Also a signal processor. Wavetables and FM. Modulation monster. Knobs galore. Can't say enough. Maybe my favorite synth.
They are out of production but can still be had in your price range, but not for long. It is and will be a modern classic.
You could always go for the Moog LP, but very limited.

Poly:
Another vote to get P08 (PE version) rack or maybe an Alpha Juno 1 or 2 with a controller.
The Juno 60's are so insanely priced anymore, you can get more synth for the money IMO. Not many polys in your price range.
Old 14th September 2012
  #16
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dougt's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Try to look out for a Chroma Polaris. Still the best analog synth under $1500...
Old 14th September 2012
  #17
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Rust Creep's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I dont think the Juno is overpriced... even with the hype... the synth is a few decades old... DSI synths have notorious encoder problems but my uwave XT has never had one.. makes me wonder what other corners were cut in the DSI synths... i dont think they'll age very well

Sent from my DROIDX
Old 14th September 2012
  #18
Deleted User
Guest
First of all, you will apreciate dedicated knobs. Except the sound, simplicity is a winner in the analog hardware world. This is what I would go for at the sub $13k budget:

Monophonic
Any Moog. Minitaur sounds fantastic and gives good value to the money

There are many classic analog synths from Arp etc in this price range that are nice.

I woul not go for a bunch of desktop synths without dedicated knobs (as Minitaur has).

Polyphonic
DSI Prophet 08 (second hand or table top) or Mopho x4
Oberheim Matrix1000 (second hand) with a software editor

I would not go for Juno-106, Juno-60, Poly-6/61 or similar. Nothing wrong, but not fun in the long run - for me.
Old 14th September 2012
  #19
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danielb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Interface is definitely important. I sold my Mopho module because I just couldn't face it any more.

I was very close to selling my Matrix 1000, but then I discovered there is a Lemur editor for it on the iPad. This makes editing quite bearable, and it really does sound very good.

If you want fast manual filter sweeps on the Matrix 1000 then assign filter cutoff to a mod wheel. Do not try manual filter sweeps using sysex, it will be slow and zipper-noisy.
Old 14th September 2012
  #20
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DesolationBlvd's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
What about the Prophet-600? It's got knobs. Last time I checked, they were around $1k.
Old 14th September 2012
  #21
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3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Polysix!
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Deleted User
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesolationBlvd ➡️
What about the Prophet-600? It's got knobs. Last time I checked, they were around $1k.
Absolutely, P600 are great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pro5 ➡️
Polysix!
Sounds ok, but very limited
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Nut
 
spertia's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesolationBlvd ➡️
What about the Prophet-600? It's got knobs. Last time I checked, they were around $1k.
This!! Get a P600 and be done with it (several hundred $$$ under budget as well).
Old 14th September 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
You can pick up a Mopho Keyboard and a Tetra for 1400. You would get 5 note polyphony, multi-timbrality and the knobs on the MKB control the Tetra. Minitaur is a great bass synth. Minibrutes sound like a ton of fun. Heck u could get Minibrute and Minitaur and still have 200 left over for an Alpha Juno 2. 2 Monos and a poly. The poly will want a controller unless u want to play w that alpha dial all the time but the BCR 2000 is cheap and if u have an iPad I'm sure there are apps for it you could use to make patches. Also remember that synths w Cv in and out can make use of things like the Moog Freqbox and you can add a 2nd oscillator to your mono synth that way. MB can also be used to control the Minitaur w Cv, double everything you play on it in the MT.


Sent from my iPad HD
Old 14th September 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Get modernish and used so you can try out a lot of different options without losing money and trouble shooting issues. Even a knobby digital synth with help you figure out what you like.

One disadvantage to many polys is that they share knobs for the voices and I'm not gonna pretend it's a huge problem, but you do lose a bit of immersion.

If you're getting overwhelmed now, do not even think about modulars!
Old 14th September 2012
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for all the great responses! Based on what I'm hearing there is a lot of prophet 8 recommendations, and the Prophet 600 looks really cool and I wasn't even aware of that model. There is one on ebay for about a grand right now, not sure if that is a good price or not, any thoughts on that?

Also, on CL in my area is a Mopho keyboard for 500 bucks, an Evolver desktop for $350, a Prophet 08 keyboard for $1400, a Mopho desktop for $240 bucks, and a Tetra for $750 bucks. Based on these real world options, what would everyone recommend for maximum knob-tweaking, anti-computer staring, fun and inspiration? I could also just get a Mopho 4x but I'm not hearing a lot of recommendations for that, perhaps because no one has really played it yet?

Thanks!

Last edited by dolomick; 14th September 2012 at 06:38 PM.. Reason: forgot to mention something
Old 14th September 2012
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I forgot to mention used mono evolver keyboards are also in my price range. Seems like DSI is a popular option in this range of money. Also, thoughts on good combos like a Minibrute and then a cheap used poly?
Old 14th September 2012
  #28
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thermos's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dolomick ➡️
I forgot to mention used mono evolver keyboards are also in my price range. Seems like DSI is a popular option in this range of money. Also, thoughts on good combos like a Minibrute and then a cheap used poly?
That's what I'd do, get a minibrute and a jx3p, jx8p, matrix 6, or something like that. The minibrute is really great.
Edit: also, I got my mks80 rev 5 for $1300. Great synth. You can find them if you wait for one on Craigslist or gs.
Old 14th September 2012
  #29
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DesolationBlvd's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If you are getting the Minibrute, I think you could get away with JX-8P (maybe JX-10), and possibly squeeze the PG-800 in with it.

The Prophet-600 isn't exactly snappy, but it's usable for some of the faster sounds. The JX-8P suffers from some of the slowest minimum attacks and so should be paired with a mono for faster attack sounds.


thermos: How long ago did you get the MKS-80? Prices seem to have floated out of that range, and you can forget about the MPG.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet ➡️
Absolutely, P600 are great.



Sounds ok, but very limited
Well junos were being mentioned and they are even more limited in my experience. And as for sound - polysix sounds more than just 'OK' to my ears

The problem with trying to suggest a jam packed analog synth for this kind of cash is that what you gain in features (i.e a JX-8P) you lose in sound, to the point you may as well not even bother going analog but get old (good) digital.
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