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Looking for a Good Budget Synthesizer
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Supernova5
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#1
15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Looking for a Good Budget Synthesizer

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to these forums. Looks like a nice little community you guys have here! At any rate, I'm looking for a synthesizer, around $700 or 800 max, but I can go higher if there is something out there that's much better for a little bit more dough. I'm mainly interested in making dubstep and electro. I don't expect to get amazing bass sounds in my price range, and would rather use software for that anyway.

I'm mostly looking to make some great sounding leads, preferably with a synth that's very flexible, can make a wide variety of sounds, etc. I would have a bigger budget if I was really into this sort of thing, but this will be my first synth, and I'm mainly just looking to play around with one and make as many interesting sounds as possible. I don't really have a preference about analog vs. digital. Can you guys just fire off some suggestions, because I really have no clue about this stuff. Thanks in advance for your help, everyone! I really appreciate it
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Hi Supernova5! DSI Mopho KB is a great instrument with lots of low end and aggressive sound. It's monophonic though.

You might like a Novation Ultranova if you make Dubstep and want a reasonably priced digital synth workstation which can make a big variety of sounds...
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15th January 2012
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My first poly synth was going to be a Roland Gaia. I like the controls (more sliders than I prefer, but that's ok), it sounds good, and it would cover the needs of what you're wanting to use it for.
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Do you already have a MIDI keyboard? Consider a generic controller + desktop/rack module.

Are you generally happy working with software, at least for some of your sounds?

One of the older Virus modules might be worth a shot. Supernova 2 can be had for that price too. Nord lead is in the price range, but not really as flexible. I think these are all fine for first synths.

For analogue in the price, the options are limited, specially if you need polyphony and a keyboard, and easy programmability. You could look at MFBs monos, a Neptune 2, or a Mono Lancet. An MKS-7 sounds nice, and is reasonably versatile, but not so nice to program, and no user patch memory (i think). Matrix 6R/1000 are good bang for the buck, but not user friendly.

For your genre, I suspect you might be best with a virus keyboard, and lot of software synths, processing, and sample/audio manipulation.
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectral Climax View Post
Hi Supernova5! DSI Mopho KB is a great instrument with lots of low end and aggressive sound. It's monophonic though.
Hmm, didn't think of that for some reason. Good option. Versatile, and decent control interface.
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15th January 2012
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+1 for the Mopho keyboard

If you have a MIDI keyboard, you can also consider a DSI Tetra (polyphonic version of Mopho) or two small desktop mono synths, like Vermona Mono Lancet, Mopho Desktop, MFB Microzwerg and Doepfer Dark energy.

However, as an all-in-one analog synth, the DSI Mopho Keyboard is hard to beat.

Edit: Another option is a second hand Moog Little Phatty
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post
Do you already have a MIDI keyboard? Consider a generic controller + desktop/rack module.

Are you generally happy working with software, at least for some of your sounds?

One of the older Virus modules might be worth a shot. Supernova 2 can be had for that price too. Nord lead is in the price range, but not really as flexible. I think these are all fine for first synths.

For analogue in the price, the options are limited, specially if you need polyphony and a keyboard, and easy programmability. You could look at MFBs monos, a Neptune 2, or a Mono Lancet. An MKS-7 sounds nice, and is reasonably versatile, but not so nice to program, and no user patch memory (i think). Matrix 6R/1000 are good bang for the buck, but not user friendly.

For your genre, I suspect you might be best with a virus keyboard, and lot of software synths, processing, and sample/audio manipulation.
Yeah I was gonna say one of the older Virus models too (anything pre-TI is pretty cheap these days). I would recommend that over any analog in your price range as they cover a lot more ground and sound great too.

If you pick up one of the keyboard models you will also have one of the best keybeds out there so when you are using your softsynths (and good modern softsynths like Massive, Synth Squad and Sylenth are really what you want to make modern dubstep and electro) you will have an awesome MIDI keyboard along with your very versatile hardware synth.
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Wow, I didn't expect to get so many thorough replies so quickly I see a few votes for the DSI Mopho already. I never even heard of that one so I'm glad you guys brought it to my attention. I'll definitely be giving that one a closer look, along with all the other ones that were suggested. Oli, unfortunately I don't own a MIDI keyboard yet. to answer your other question though, I do enjoy using software very much. I've been working with NI Massive and Ableton a lot recently. Thanks again, guys! If you have any other ideas, please let me know!
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15th January 2012
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The Arturia bundles come with great keyboards. When installed all knobs do work right out of the box.

Another option would be a bundle with a remote controller and a DAW. For that amount of money you could get Cubase and a Yamaha keyboard. Or Cakewalk and a Cakewalk/Roland keyboard. Cubase and Cakewalk do come with a whole load of softsynths.

The Korg M50 is a great offering.
The Yamaha Mox6 is a world of sounds. Dawcontrol, VST-i's a full motif synthesizer, drummachine.... boatloads of stuff.... USB connection.

Both the Korg and the Yamaha have all sorts of possibilities..
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15th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizness80 View Post
Yeah I was gonna say one of the older Virus models too (anything pre-TI is pretty cheap these days). I would recommend that over any analog in your price range as they cover a lot more ground and sound great too.

If you pick up one of the keyboard models you will also have one of the best keybeds out there so when you are using your softsynths (and good modern softsynths like Massive, Synth Squad and Sylenth are really what you want to make modern dubstep and electro) you will have an awesome MIDI keyboard along with your very versatile hardware synth.
i second this motion
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15th January 2012
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honestly if you are making dubstep and electro - these days it makes a lot of sense to use some of the best plugins for those styles...Massive, Razor, Gladiator 2, Harmour and Sylenth...with some good genre specific presets you will be on your way. IMO where hardware comes in handy is providing solid low end bass - in the form of real analogue synthesis. In this case - I would recommend a MOPHO, Slim Phatty or this new Moog MiniTaur...

If you do want to spend money on virtual analogue (digital) hardware - go with the best - and get a Virus TI in snow or desktop format A Snow can prob be picked up in your budget. The TI integration is so worth it. Also the constantly updated OS and improved synthesis options for todays modern sounds...Although good sounding - it will take you a while to learn to program an older virus thru its interface - and the presets they come with sound dated...also - routing and recording it all - is a hassle when plugins are almost comparable quality now. I had a Virus B and a TI. I'd never bother with a Pre-TI Virus now.

Dont get me wrong - an old Virus is a sensible suggestion - but Im saying this because ideally you want to get something that gets you making the type of music you want asap...rather than spending ages learning an instrument and it getting in the way of your workflow...
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17th January 2012
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You surely have to get the synth which best matches your name.

The Supernova is excellent.
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17th January 2012
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17th January 2012
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Don't forget that in purchasing an analogue synth, though you will get heaps of guts, you won't get the sort of sound that is common in wubwubwub type tunes straight up. You will have to put it through some amount of processing to achieve that sorta sound.

If the Moog Minitaur ends up being anything like the Taurus (which it will I think) this is definitely worth considering for bass sounds - check out what's out there about it. Inside your price range too. A synth like that will give you the guts and you can build upon that sound.
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17th January 2012
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Akai Miniak. It's extremely versatile, and sounds fantastic. Best of all, it's REALLY cheap, at only $250USD.There's also a software editor available for it (You have to buy it, but It's not expensive.) I personally feel that software is easier to get around, cause you can just see everything right in front of you. I really hate the sound of most software synthesizers though, which is why I love this combination so much.
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17th January 2012
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Minitaur is lovely, but it's a bass synth.

As first synth on a budget all the recs here are good; my vote would be to go Ultranova, as it has a particularly good mod matrix for a synth at its price point, great keyboard, and its size and USB connectivity integrates nicely into a software-based environment as well.
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17th January 2012
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The Gaia is cool for the money. Nice sounds. easy to use.
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17th January 2012
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17th January 2012
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I'll plus one for the DSI Tetra. It's a polyphonic DCO based synth with lots of modulation options and it sounds great.

DSI Tetra Polyphonic Synth Module - Combo Presets - YouTube

Not what one would say was a "knobby" UI, but if you're already used to getting your instruments done ITB there's a editor that works pretty well.
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18th January 2012
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Alesis Ion is nice. Are these discontinued?

Also, Waldorf Blofeld will satisfy basic needs and is capable enough to go into interesting wub.

Support for DSI via Mopho is a good thing in my book, but only go analog if you know you want it
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18th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchXI View Post
Alesis Ion is nice. Are these discontinued?

Also, Waldorf Blofeld will satisfy basic needs and is capable enough to go into interesting wub.

Support for DSI via Mopho is a good thing in my book, but only go analog if you know you want it
Yeah, Ion is discontinued, but the Miniak is the exact same sound engine with additional expansions.
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18th January 2012
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and far less controls....
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18th January 2012
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I just bought a Moog Slim Phatty! I'm about two hours into it, it didn't cost that much, and it really works nicely with my Voyager (knobs/functions mapped logically).

I haven't had it long, but so far I love the sound. Very cool and usable.

Feel free to ignore me. I just had to post about this on someone's thread!
#24
18th January 2012
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monophonic - slim phatty or dsi mopho (I prefer the mopho)
polyphonic - roland gaia or ultranova (I prefer the ultranova)
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18th January 2012
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A used Blofeld Keys is a GREAT first hardware synth, but it tends to have that whispy (some call it harsh) Waldorf sound. I think its just fine. Keybed is very nice. Velocity sensitive with aftertouch. IF you want to actually play keyboard parts with both hands, 49 keys are pretty great.

The Miniak, Ultranova and Gaia are all good alternate choices which are in your price range new, but as far as being keepers, their construction is a bit more disposable/plastic, plus they only have 37 keys.

Now, for the Virus, the B is somewhat overrated and the C under-rated (I'm no sure why), but as a result they can be had for about the same price used, and in your price range. They also have pretty great interfaces for learning subtractive synthesis and in my opinion don't require computer editors. But you will need a MIDI keyboard with those.

Others have touched upon the obvious strengths of the affordable modern analog synths. But you should really be sure that you want one if that's the rout you go. Monophonic synths can feel very limiting.
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18th January 2012
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Well, i suggest the JP8000, its kinda like the gaia but its from the 90s and its a great sounding early virtual analog synth with deep basses, i even got the deadmau5 strobe lead on it within a day of owning, its a great synth. Even though its my frist synth, sounds alot better than a gaia, great 8 note polyphony synth, i got mine for around 640, and it's normally cheaper than that.
#27
18th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
and far less controls....
If you read my previous post I mentioned it has a great software editor, which for me is a bit easier than knobs.
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