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Should i buy a Synthesizer or an Arranger to use in conjunction with a DAW?
Old 19th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Should i buy a Synthesizer or an Arranger to use in conjunction with a DAW?

Hello i´m new here, and i need some advice if i should buy a Synthesizer or an Arranger to be used in conjuction with a DAW(Digital Audio Worstation)
Let me explain my situation here. I have been making music only with DAWs and other audio related software for about 1 year and a half .I´m currently using ableton live and producing songs with it and other audio softwares to help me make other synths and sound effects and i don´t know nothing about keyboards and hardware audio equipment.
But i´m kinda feeling like i could be making my melodies and rhytims for my songs with more efficiency and also expressing and playing my song ideias with more flow if i had a some kind of midi keyboard to help me compose it.I also got interested in the others features they offer.


I already know what each of them has to offer:
Arrangers:are kinda lika a sequencer tool,that allows me to construct a pattern of sounds over time in a linear fashion.

Synthesizers:they are used to generate sounds by generating song waves and mixing and Modding them to create a complete new kind of sound


So like i said i above i need some advice to know which know is better for me to buy for help me to produce songs in conjunction with a DAW for mainly to be used as a MIDI controller for making songs,creating melodies and other stuff.I got interested in other features that the Arranger and the Synthesizer offer,but i currently can only afford to buy one so i need to choice.
So can someone who has experience in using arrangers and synthersizers in conjunction with Digital Audio Workstations tell me which one is better for me to buy and which one i wont need so much because the DAW already offers its features.
Which one will be more helpful for someone that will use it in conjunction with a DAW?
Old 19th September 2012
  #2
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Years ago there was a marked difference between "proper" synths and arrangers: usually synths sounded much better than arranger keyboards.

Starting with the Roland E-20, this started to change, and today the line is even more blurred.

Modern arrangers have sounds that rival (or are imported from the same ROM waveforms) of synths, and synths / workstations have some elements that used to be territory of arrangers only (for example, the ubiquitous "press one key orchestra / multi / combination present in all modern synth workstations).

That said, it's really up to you because the main differences are:

- arranger keyboards allow you to very quickly make a song using the automatic patterns, and record the notes to your DAW via MIDI, all parts (drums, bass, accompaniment, melody etc.) at the same time, and - depending on the level of the arranger keyboard - you get sounds that are about the same of synths (the top ones, like Yamaha Tyros or Ketron Audya, arguably sound better than some synths). The downside is that usually their synth section editing parameters are not as many as you'd find on a synth, not even close.

- synths allow you to sculpt the sound exactly to your specification, and create new, even exotic ones via a myriad of parameters. They also are usually expandable with cards / boards / samples. But you have to record each part separately on each DAW's track, so you can get better sounding songs thanks to sounds that are more customizable, but the downside is that it takes much longer to compose the song.

In short, if you are in a situation where you have to compose and create finished songs very quickly, an arranger is probably your best choice; if you can afford time in your studio with your DAW, I'd go with a proper synth.

EDIT: it also depends on your playing ability level: if you aren't yet at the level where you can proficiently play / program different instrument patches (drums, bass, synths, strings, piano etc.) in a variety of styles, then an arranger is going to be very helpful to you, because it will do the job for you, and you can learn from it. It's a quick way to create professional-sounding songs very quickly - simply press the Intro, Verse 1, Verse 2, Chorus, Ending etc. buttons at the appropriate moments in the song. The downside is that there might be other people out there who are using the same accompaniment patterns that you're using, so you run the risk of having a song with the same sounds and arrangement that someone else is already using...
Old 19th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
i think what your looking for is a midi controller.
Old 19th September 2012
  #4
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
<- This
Old 19th September 2012
  #5
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Personally, I find sequencing hardware to usually be much more clumsy than software. Even Maschine, with it's software/hardware hybrid nature, falls down flat in many ways compared to Live's basic arraigner. It is nice to have some glowey buttons to hit, but I don't think it's that much better than a good midi keyboard, and even some of those have nice drum pads (look a the Akai keyboards)

I'd go synth. If you're worried about using one, don't be. An analog like the Little Phatty or MoPho can be controlled with a software editor and seem just like a software instrument. However, you will need an audio interface of some sort to get audio from an external synth into your computer. Some hardware like the Access Virus TI can transmit audio and midi via USB, but most do not.

So, I don't know what your budget is, but you should probably factor that into your plan. Beware of cheap digital synths like the Gaia. While they can be fun to edit, I found their sound to be not nearly as good as an inexpensive analog like a MoPho, Minibrute or Studio Electronics ATC-1.
Old 24th September 2012
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I wanna say thanks for everyone in this thread for helping me to make my choice of buying a synth, thanks everybody.
For the last days i have been doing a lot of research about the synthesizers models and the best brands in the market.
Whatever because i don't have a lot of experience about synthesizers keyboards i am kinda worried about making a bad deal and buying a bad synthesizer,so am gonna ask for some advice from your guys here.Could your guys recommend me and point me which synthesizers models are a good deal for me to buy? Like i said in my first post i can´t currently afford something too expensive but i also dont want to buy a cheapy synthesizer with bad sound quality.

I can spend something around 800-1500 so could someone here who already has a lot of experience with synthesizers and already owned several ones give me some advice about some good synthesizers models that arent so expensive but have a good quality sound and have the most features for me to make some good sound synths?

Thanks everybody.
Old 24th September 2012
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
We can't recommend anything if we don't know what kind of synthesizer you want/need.

What plugins do you already have? It makes little sense to buy a virtual analog when you already have 4 plugins that do that kind of synthesis. Do you need realistic sounds (e.g. piano, strings, brass, etc.) or synthetic ones?

What audio interface do you have? If you're using your computer's built-in soundcard, you will probably need something bigger/better if you want to hook up a hardware synthesizer.

It may be smarter to split things up into a separate controller keyboard and a sound module; arrangers usually do not come with sliders or knobs to control a DAW with, and you're paying money for pre-built song material which you may not use. For cheaper arrangers, MIDI may be rudimentary.
Old 24th September 2012
  #8
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Demokid's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What is your budget? Buy used or new gear?

I say buy a used VA synthesizer like the Access Virus KB or KC. It’s a great as a master keyboard to control software or other hardware synths. The Virus also sounds pretty good. Use Ableton or another software midi sequencer to compose your music.

Workstation (Arrangers) with built in sequencers are pretty limited and it is hard to get an overview of a track. It is much eaiser using a computer as a sequencer (arranger).

Best regards
Demokid
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➡️
We can't recommend anything if we don't know what kind of synthesizer you want/need.

What plugins do you already have? It makes little sense to buy a virtual analog when you already have 4 plugins that do that kind of synthesis.
Do you need realistic sounds (e.g. piano, strings, brass, etc.) or synthetic ones?
Well I have been using Ableton Live built in synths maker plugins and some other VSTs synths plugins and also Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio and Celemony Melodyne Editor,so like you said its kinda like useless to buy some types of synthesizers if i already have a lot of plugins that do the same kind of sounds.Thats why i am kinda feeling that i don't know which kind of synthesizer i should buy. I first got interested in buying a synthesizer because I heard they could help me create sounds with more customization and quality
than the software synthesizers and ,also i would be using it as a midi controller while i don't buy a midi controller keyboard to do only that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➡️
What audio interface do you have? If you're using your computer's built-in soundcard, you will probably need something bigger/better if you want to hook up a hardware synthesizer.
I´m planning to use my 5.1 sound surround system in my room with the synthesizer and my other gear equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➡️
It may be smarter to split things up into a separate controller keyboard and a sound module; arrangers usually do not come with sliders or knobs to control a DAW with, and you're paying money for pre-built song material which you may not use. For cheaper arrangers, MIDI may be rudimentary.
Yes i agree with you .But at the moment the money i can use to spend with my gear is something around $1500 and its the only money i will have for some months.So i was planning to get a synthesizer and use it to generate and make some more unique sounds and also use it as my MIDI keyboard while i cant buy a separate controller keyboard and a sound module.
In the future when i get more money to spend on my gear i plan to split my sound hardware equipment in a controller keyboard to connect my synthesizers and other instruments and a sound module like you said.
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