Story behind your first hardware synth!
Stevism
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#1
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Stevism's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Story behind your first hardware synth!

I thought this might be a fun idea...

What's the story behind how you acquired your first hardware synth?

For me, I went to a Neon Indian concert and stood right up front, staring at his Juno 60. I knew then I wanted to get my own polyphonic analog synth, so I began researching.

After being discouraged by the high prices of old Rolands, I stumbled upon a Craigslist ad for a Roland JX-8P that seemed pretty legit. I contacted the guy, found out he was a performing musician, and decided to make the purchase. After I got out of class, my friend and I departed campus and went into Philly to make the purchase.

The guy was super chill and took us up to his home studio. He had a ton of gear, and a lot of vintage synths that he either used or was repairing. The dude also helped design stuff for Ableton, which was pretty sweet. He was getting rid of the JX-8P not because he didn't use it, but because he loved the sound so much that he had acquired the rackmount relative MKS-70. I gave him the cash ($300) and left. He even threw in a hip-hop CD he had recently produced, which was actually pretty good.

The synth was in perfect working condition and I've loved it ever since

Here as a picture of it:

#2
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #2
digital ears love analog
 
Rogue Ai's Avatar
Bought a microKORG with high school graduation money. I no longer have it.

However my first experience with a hardware synth was the Alpha Juno that was sitting in my uncle's basement.

Unless you call a Game Boy with the sequencer in the Game Boy camera a hardware synth.

Call me young (22) but I have always loved hardware synths.
#3
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
shponglefan's Avatar
 

Started with a digital piano, but I wanted something with more control over the sound. Bought a Korg R3 simply because it was available used and inexpensive. Sold it last year as I've since moved on to bigger and better synths.
#4
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #4
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Travst's Avatar
In 1984, a guy offered me a Crumar Stratus in trade for.... something, I can't remember what. I always thought synths were cool, so I made the deal even though I was a guitar player who didn't know squat about synths.

#5
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #5
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 

I was at a swap meet (outdoor secondhand market) sometime in the early nineties and there was a CZ1000. I knew nothing at all about synths and just thought it was a giant Casio. The guy wanted $20 for it but didn't know if it worked or not, and it had no adapter. It didn't seem shifty, but more like one of those scenarios where your house ends up as a permanent storage dump for other peoples crap.

I offered him $10 which he accepted and I think we were both happy.
I found a wall adapter (I can't remember but the voltage was the same and the amperage close enough), and had it for a number of years.

I still can't remember where that one went - I remember being frustrated trying to program it, because from memory it had some meaningless arbitrary numbers each function went from zero to, and it had multi-stage envelopes which were hard to decipher for someone who had only ever played guitar.

It's been too long since I've even seen one of those these so I could be wrong about everything, except for the fact that it had some amazingly beautiful chorusy pad sounds.
#6
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #6
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cresshead's Avatar
 

a weird one i know but my first hardware synth would have been a jhs clip on drum synth for my maxwin 9 peice drumkit back in 1981 or there a bouts!

based on the idea that i wanted some synthy percussion sound like what joy division and new order were using!

looked something like this



actually this looks more like it!


it wasn't long after this - 1982 when i decided to go and get my fist drum machine a boss dr rhythm 55

#7
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
natefrogg's Avatar
 

walking by a pawn shop, what is that keyboard in the window? roland juno 60?

from reading about synthesizers on the internet i had come to know a little bit about them, and the name "juno 60" was something i kept running across as being very highly regarded as well as being used on many records that i had a liking for; the price tag said $200 and i was about $160 short, fortunately the pawn shop allowed you to do layaway and i had just enough make that happen! fast forward 6 months and i had it paid off, now time to save for a kenton pro dcb haha!

i still have it, unfortunately due to space restraints i do not get to use it nearly as much as i like, someday that will change and i'll have lots of space again i'm sure, love playing that thing so much

#8
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #8
My first synth was a Quasimidi Sirius. (I own one now, recently picked it up as an impulse buy at a local Music Go Round.)



I got it brand new, had to borrow the money. I played drums prior to learning keys and got into synths after some enlightening experiences with certain chemicals and electronic dance music. (It was the song "Thing in a Book" by Underworld that made me lust after synths.)



Anyway I got the Quasimidi Sirius and immediately afterwards fell in love with the newly released Korg MS-2000. I ended up trading in the Sirius for the MS-2000 which was a lot easier for me to understand at the time. This kicked off a synth trading addiction that persists even today. My band mates used to have a fit every time I showed up at practice with a new keyboard, but I always managed to make it work at shows.

Back then I never ended up doing anything with electronic music, but rather played synth in a rock band for a few years before getting back into electronic music after the band split up. The band lasted 3 years, during which time I went through 51 different keyboards...
#9
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
cryophonik's Avatar
 

I don't recall the exact year (1982 I believe) my dad found a Moog/Realistic MG-1 in the classifieds section of the newspaper and decided to buy it for himself, I guess. To this day, I still have no idea why he wanted it - he was not a musician and listened almost exclusively to old-school country and western. I think he used it for about 15 minutes before realizing that he had no idea what to do with it. I was about 14 or 15 at the time and was the only one of the 9 kids in our family to have any musical training, so I basically took ownership of it immediately. My dad was going to sell it, but once he saw that I couldn't leave it alone and was making all sorts of cool noise with it, he let me keep it, although I had to sorta buy into it with some of my paper route money/allowance. I think I sold it a few years later to help pay for a Juno 6.
#10
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
natefrogg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by natrixgli View Post
The band lasted 3 years, during which time I went through 51 different keyboards...
wow just wow! sooo many different flavors in a relatively short amount of time, fuuun!
#11
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #11
I had completely forgotten about those Quasimidi products, what a flashback from the past. Latter half of 90s was the time when I was starting out.

My first hardware synth was Korg Trinity Rack. I wanted something that I can do a whole song with, drums, synths, piano, fx etc. I think it was a match between Korg Trinity and Roland JV1080 and can't remember why I picked Korg.

It was great, eventually gave it in change for Triton Rack which I still own.
#12
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #12
Gear addict
 

Oh man, all these pics are making me drool!!!!

The story behind my first synth (well, ok, to be technical it was a workstation.rompler) is kinda unique...

I started playing guitar in 5th grade when Enter Sandman came out cuz of Kirk's solo...I was a total metalhead shredder for years, and by my mid teens I had gotten a cheap Tascam cassette 4 track, Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine, cheapo no name pawn shop bass, and cheap Casio keyboard so I could record all the insturments myself for all my guitar comps and add strings and horns and stuff...

I then got turned onto the KORG Triton LE with the EXB-SMPL sampling board, and I figured it would be perfect for me cuz I could record my guitar but have MUCH better sounding drums, bass, strings, horns, keys, synths, etc. etc....

Well, once I sat down with the thing and really got a feel for what was possible with keys, I put the guitar down and never looked back! (well, except for paying gigs)...seriously within short order I was banging away on the thing 8 hours a day, I couldn't get enough....

From there I was off and running, I used that exclusively for quite a while, then got TONS of other hardware synths (both keyboards and rack units) and just about every 88 key controller ever made LOL...

I then got turned on to Reason (2,0 at the time) and that was another "ah ha!" moment, and then soon got version 4.0 and went 100% ITB, just using Reason4.0 and tons of ReFills for a while, then I got Logic Pro 9 so I could use Komplete 5 along with Reason and use mixing and mastering plug-ins and make what I was doing in Reason sound better....

I've had the rig in my sig for several years now and honestly couldn't be happier with it, for me it's perfect....
#13
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #13
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seen-da-sizer's Avatar
 

I grew up influenced by Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Manfred Mann etc. Therefore the Minimoog was always the thing I wanted. Due to the lack of money I ended up with a DIY kit, the Transcendent 2000:



It was cheap and I could afford it. I used it mainly with my Revox Reel-to-Reel, doing ping-pong multi-tracking. Later on I added a Moog Prodigy to the set. Both synths are now long gone. Regrettably I gave away the Transcendent to a collector for free.

Once I started playing live, the set at that time was a Korg BX3, Transcendent, and the Prodigy. My 3rd synth was a Roland JX3P, followed by an OB-Xa. All of these synths above mentioned, I bought new.

A few months ago, I finally got myself a Minimoog D. I am still restoring it, but I got sidelined with other projects. One of these days I have to finish that project.

#14
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #14
Close to high school was a music store. They had the very first synth I 've seen, a second hand Yamaha SY-1 (Yamaha's first synth from 1974). It was unreal to me with a real synthesizer. Borrowed money from my dad. Since that I was stucked in the world of synths and had more than 60 during three decades.

Some years ago a purchased a SY-1 again of nostalgia (and added MIDI)

#15
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #15
Gear addict
 
balma's Avatar
After I went to a Depeche ModeĀ“s concert on 1993, I left the place thinking:

Must-buy-synth.

I saved money during several months, and I got this...


BTW, I went to buy the synth, all dressed in black....
#16
2nd December 2012
Old 2nd December 2012
  #16
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marino's Avatar
I built my first synth myself, with the help of a friend who was an electronic genius. We were both 15 y.o., and we just modified slightly a project found on an electronics magazine. It was based on a Sinclair Z30, and the year was 1974 or 75.

We were so broke that after having bought all components, we didn't have any money left for a box! So we assembled it on a piece of plywood, and only later we tried to integrate it into some kind of wooden box.
It didn't even have a keyboard... just a *pot* to control intonation. And I actually played it in public, trying to play melodies on it! I guess I sounded a bit like a monkey trying to play a theremin....

That same year (or the next one, can't be sure) I worked all summer to finance my first synth purchase. I bought a cheap Italian synth, sold it immediately, bought another one, sold it after a month or so.
The point is that a friend of mine had a Minimoog, so I knew how a 'good' synthesizer could sound like. I switched back to piano and organ for several years, and finally, with the money from my first tour, I bought a Trident. A year later, with the money from the *second* tour, I got a Rhodes Chroma with a two-drive Apple IIe and their pre-MIDI proprietary interface....
Stevism
Thread Starter
#17
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #17
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Stevism's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Wow, what a ton of great stories (and synths!) I had a feeling there would be a lot of unique experiences
#18
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
 

I was a metal guitarist in college back in '99. I wanted to get a keyboard to be able to sequence rhythm section parts and jam along.
I bought a Roland JP8000---realized it didn't have a sequencer. So the GC dude sold me a Roland MC505.
I became a Trance producer.
Then DJ.
Am getting back into metal guitars again.....along with the electronica.
#19
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #19
Lives for gear
 

I started out with Reason (1.0!), then quickly decided I wanted hardware...eBay was still cheap and reasonable around this time...2001??? I got a Roland HS-60 because prices started to get high for a high schooler...I was thrifty and knew it was a Juno 106 in disguise...I think maybe $125? I bought a lot of them because KMFDM used them...

I think I got a SCI Pro One next...around $200.

Then a Blue SH101 with mod grip $250-ish?

Future Retro 777 $600.

Nord Micro Modular $300

Korg DW 8000 $75


Needed to pay rent when I got out of college and they were all worth double or more what I paid... so sold all them...not realizing they would continue to go sky high... Then started rebuilding the collection a couple years ago with broken synths that I could fix up.. Ironically ended up selling the Blue SH101 to KMFDM.
#20
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #20
Gear addict
 

I used to read a magazine here in the uk called What Keyboard when I was still in single figures and started lusting after all the synths listed in the back. Eventually, I saved a few hundred quid by the time I was 12, so my dad made the deal that, if I took my grade 8 exam, he'd front the rest of the cash and get me a synth.

I took a train to kings Cross a few weeks later and walked to a synth shop about a mile north to look at a Bit One. It sticks in my head not just as the first time I got to play a synth, but because it was the first time I'd lied to my dad about where I was going. He thought it was to play football with some mates for the day, not jump on a train to the centre of town. I still remember the dark, small shop (not the warehouse I'd expected) and the guy showing me it. He was an Indian chap and must have known that this kid before him was not flush with notes. Nevertheless, he spent half an hour showing me the synth and letting me fiddle about with it.

Not long after there was a Korg convention at a Hotel near Watford, so for the first time I got to play on lots of synths. The Korg Poly 61 blew me away with some bass pizz type sounds and an airplane preset, so I had my heart set on that.

Some months on, my dad drove me down to a shop south of London to buy a 61 and an amp. But in the shop there stood not just the silverfox Korg, but also a Juno 6. It looked far more impressive up close, as the only pics I'd seen were black and white. As soon as I started playing it I knew that it was The One. The amp was at full blast and the filter was down and the guy selling it slowly cranked it up whilst holding a cluster of lower notes. I can still recall the shop almost shaking from the vibrations as it started to open up.

Sadly, I sold it a few years later to help pay for university, but I bought a Juno 60 when I hit 30 and have used it on and off ever since. The older we get together, the more I value it. I'm not losing one again. They may be limited but they are one of a kind and slender beasts from a great age.
#21
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #21
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cryophonik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevism View Post
I just noticed the patch name. I bet it sounds filthy.
#22
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
alexp's Avatar
 

What a great thread!

I was 10 years old. It was 1985. My mom had me into Erasure and whatnot, and I had found a Roland JX3P for 1400 dollars new. I mowed probably about a half a million lawns to get that JX3P. When I finally got it I was completely inseparable with it. I am now 37. I still have that synth. Will never sell it.

alexP
#23
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #23
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 

growng up in puerto rico wasnt not the bestee place for the old synsesis except there being the usa military soldiers and the brothers come down dressings in the clothes of the slave master but we be knowing they are the brothers. this some time in the time of the carter prez when i is still a simple farm boy eyes agoog at girls an smell o that wacky weed an the special proof alcohol

Usa big ship in town and in with the rooster and chicken an shit an snot nose kids like me running down main street with no pants on is a band o brothers one is the buddy miles mold, the other looking nothing like a pigshit 8 feetsa tall bb king and if itsa aint herbie hankocks mad uncle eisnestein with the first time ima ever be seeing the Moog mini. those sounds lika the orbs and spacestation faunas of the endogenous rico.

now there is being no way a blackas night boy like me is gonna affords one oh these in my lifetimes but i is a talking to the mad eisenstin brother of the herbs as i always be playing the broken honkey ton ken piano at ol uncle bobs shebeen and this brother be telling me to come near to the boat on the morn of the next coupla days before they is senting back for cubas and floridas.

it is be turning out that this mad navy goat is some sort lectronics whiz an thats why his freaky ass be on this ship in slave master usa uniform of the big seeing all eye.
this brother gives me a contraption nearly as crazy as his here head. its got no keys but a big metal ring around a pole which slide up and down to making the pitch.
he has special lever to make sound more upseedown or straight ahead, and for the thumb be another ring for making the filterish squall. he be making these machiune all the time because his crazy amped mind cannot be at rest-i thinking all this crazy radiation be frying him, but he is making nearly any object sings or emanate light an sound
a few buttons to flick to directions different but no is instruction.
he tells me is magic machine which will never 2 times the same sound and the battery is expensive but he says this contraption while not the science fiction of the moog mini should keep my is child mind occupied and maybe it will being of assistance when i is funky of the father be beating it will calm the childs mind.

this box is with me a long time an those special batteries be seeming to last forever and ever but this mad old hanckock brother i never be seeing again but i always feel in his debt for helps some black trash perto rico urchin into a world of magic music that i still is in into my middles age
i gets my scrawny
#24
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by clubheadjobby View Post
growng up in puerto rico wasnt not the bestee place for the old synsesis except there being the usa military soldiers and the brothers come down dressings in the clothes of the slave master but we be knowing they are the brothers. this some time in the time of the carter prez when i is still a simple farm boy eyes agoog at girls an smell o that wacky weed an the special proof alcohol

Usa big ship in town and in with the rooster and chicken an shit an snot nose kids like me running down main street with no pants on is a band o brothers one is the buddy miles mold, the other looking nothing like a pigshit 8 feetsa tall bb king and if itsa aint herbie hankocks mad uncle eisnestein with the first time ima ever be seeing the Moog mini. those sounds lika the orbs and spacestation faunas of the endogenous rico.

now there is being no way a blackas night boy like me is gonna affords one oh these in my lifetimes but i is a talking to the mad eisenstin brother of the herbs as i always be playing the broken honkey ton ken piano at ol uncle bobs shebeen and this brother be telling me to come near to the boat on the morn of the next coupla days before they is senting back for cubas and floridas.

it is be turning out that this mad navy goat is some sort lectronics whiz an thats why his freaky ass be on this ship in slave master usa uniform of the big seeing all eye.
this brother gives me a contraption nearly as crazy as his here head. its got no keys but a big metal ring around a pole which slide up and down to making the pitch.
he has special lever to make sound more upseedown or straight ahead, and for the thumb be another ring for making the filterish squall. he be making these machiune all the time because his crazy amped mind cannot be at rest-i thinking all this crazy radiation be frying him, but he is making nearly any object sings or emanate light an sound
a few buttons to flick to directions different but no is instruction.
he tells me is magic machine which will never 2 times the same sound and the battery is expensive but he says this contraption while not the science fiction of the moog mini should keep my is child mind occupied and maybe it will being of assistance when i is funky of the father be beating it will calm the childs mind.

this box is with me a long time an those special batteries be seeming to last forever and ever but this mad old hanckock brother i never be seeing again but i always feel in his debt for helps some black trash perto rico urchin into a world of magic music that i still is in into my middles age
i gets my scrawny
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#25
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
TheBrightSide's Avatar
 

Back in 1987 I was a pimply 15 year old crazy about electronic music, in particular DM. I worked part time at a supermarket, saving every penny to put towards my first synth. I bought a Kawai K1 new for $1195.
Man I had to stack a lot of cans of dog food to pay for that.
Not the greatest synthesizer ever produced, but I loved it at the time.
Fortunately my second synth was a Jupiter 8, which I bought second hand for $750. Good times.

#26
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 

I built a DIY synth in a suitcase in 1977 which was complete crap and mostly I remember the sound of mains hum and the stink of soldering. But my first purchase was 1990 with a Kawai K1 module and that also sounded crap although it didn't stink of soldering. I sequenced it to a Mac with Opcode Vision.

I've never had spare cash ever since...

B
#27
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #27
Gear addict
 
medearis's Avatar
 

My first synth actually was a Machinedrum. Long story but I was looking for something with audio triggers... MD fit the bill, so I fired away. It never quite did what I wanted but it lead me to making my own (electronic) music and... a few more synthesizers! Yay for misleading information on the internet!

Sent from my C5155
#28
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #28
Lives for gear
 
jbuonacc's Avatar
 

mid-1997...

at the time i was fooling around with playing bass (along with a Boss DR-550mkII drum machine) through a series of fx pedals. didn't know much of anything about synths, never even considered looking into them for some reason, even though i was huge into NIN, Skinny Puppy, etc for a few years by then.

so... i was in a local shop looking for used oddball fx boxes, when i walked up on a grey SH-101. this thing looked cool as hell, like a Star Wars prop or something. had no idea exactly what it was capable of, or even how to play it, but i had to have it. only after that did i realize how many people had used it and how good it really was.

soon i was bent on getting it synced up with the drum machine, but couldn't figure a way to do it. thankfully, i found a NOS TR-626 at another shop, and bought it hoping that the Trig output on the back would do what i needed. things just took off from there...
#29
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #29
Gear addict
 
LNerell's Avatar
 

Back in 1982 after saving up my hard earned cash I drove out to Hollywood to meet some guy who was selling my dream synth at the time, a minimoog. I paid for what I am sure now seems like a tiny amount of money, $410, but it was every cent I had (hence the odd amount) and was not that much less then what most mono synths were going for.
#30
3rd December 2012
Old 3rd December 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Septik's Avatar
I was visiting my family for thanksgiving, and I had been lusting after some synths for quite a while.. Unfortunately LA craigslist is always top dollar, and I hadn't really found a great deal on a synth that I wanted to jump on, though I had a few that I had been considering in the $500 range. Since the thanksgiving was in SD, I decided to check out craigslist while I was there, and found a mint MS2000 for $200! Though the price has gone up since what they were then, this was still a killer deal, and I made my uncle who gave me a ride down to SD take me 2 hours out of the way on the way home, ha! Fell in love with the thing as soon as I turned it on.. And the guy who sold it to me had the cutest 3 year old daughter who kept grabbing my hand and dragging me around the house to show me all her new toys, lol. Very nice family with a disco dad

This pic is old and the studio has changed a lot, but the MS2000 is still in the same spot (would take an individual shot if I was home)

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