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Praxisaxis
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12th February 2013
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Help Me Choose!!! etc

I'm giving myself a treat of a new synth soon. There are a bunch that I like the look of, many appeared at NAMM recently.

Trouble is I can't decide which general direction to go in. I already own 2 moog monos and a vintage yamaha mono, and a spectral audio neptune (another analogue mono), plus a shruthi in full working order (which is, wait for it, mono).

I have some poly capability but none of it is analogue, because my Jupiter 60 is brokened.

Do I need another monosynth? like a korg MS20, say yes or I'll kill you.

I do music with a glitchy, experimental focus and I love sound design. Is the analogue 4 a better plan? I can afford about that much.

Is modular a road to go down, for around about that price? I've never tried modular and frankly I'm scared of it.

help me to help myself.
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12th February 2013
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If you built the Shruthi yourself, how about the Mutable Instruments polysynth? Currently out of stock though, no idea if it'll be available again.

Other than that, for about 1k max budget, definitely the A4. Maybe wait for the polymode to be added (if it ever will) first.

IMO you have enough monos, what exactly is your digital poly arsenal? For glitchy, experimental stuff the Waldorf Microwave XT might be right up your alley.
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12th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barfunkel View Post
If you built the Shruthi yourself, how about the Mutable Instruments polysynth? Currently out of stock though, no idea if it'll be available again.

Other than that, for about 1k max budget, definitely the A4. Maybe wait for the polymode to be added (if it ever will) first.

IMO you have enough monos, what exactly is your digital poly arsenal? For glitchy, experimental stuff the Waldorf Microwave XT might be right up your alley.
Thanks... I'll follow up this suggestion. I'm a complete noob to Waldorf synths.

Poly-wise it's pretty slim pickings. I usually rely on software for pads (which actually does the job well). I LOVE my TX81Z which punches so much above its weight. I have a Nord Stage II with the synth section which is very versatile but cumbersome, size-wise, and because it's played a lot it gets moved around a heap. I also have a Casio CZ1000 which is good for pads and unusual digital sounds and/or retro sounds. There's probably other bits and pieces lying around I've forgotten about.

But yeah... somewhere between $1000 and $1500, with a focus on sound versatility via patch editing. Doesn't need to be "warm," just character and flexibility.

Edit: I did build the shruthi, and the other MI stuff is appealing, but it's as you say. Also, there's a lot of tricky menu jumping in the shruthi, which is *very acceptable* given the price-to-amazingness ratio, but, yeah looking for something a bit more upmarket maybe...
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12th February 2013
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Listening to demos of the waldorf now. DAMN why haven't I checked this out before???
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Maybe you should go modular… Not only can you expand your system slowly, say a module a month. You can run your existing synth or other audio thru the modular or create crazy or “normal” sounds . Your imagination is the limit.

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Praxisaxis
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12th February 2013
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OK... can I go all out noob and ask for recommendations for beginning modular for, say, about $1500?

(If that's even possible)
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You can get a long way with $1500 especially if you start off with a few modules and then expand when you learned what kind of modules you are actually needing.

I bought a system with 6 VCO’s. I seldom use all VCO’s, usually I use three. Two audio VCO’s and an LFO or one VCO and two LFO’s.

The fun thing with modulars is that you are not bound by a hardware design/flow. You can patch sound/control voltage the why you want. I find it is fun to have a lot of different filters and modulation sources like a stop-sequencer controlling something else then pitch.
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vsynth xt!
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12th February 2013
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Sound design? Love for monosynths? Sir, it might be time to go modular.
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Of if you don’t want to go modular then a used Clavia Nord Modular G2 is a fun virtual modular synth.

Clavia Nord Modular G2
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I definitely second the Microwave XT. Amazing digital synth. Best purchase I have ever made. And you can probably find one for around $600.
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13th February 2013
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I have to admit there are a couple of things putting me off modular. It's not because I don't find the idea intriguing. Mainly, because for an initial, not unaffordable but still rather significant setup cost, I only get another variety of what I already have, i.e. a basic analogue mono.

The idea of having that sound from a modular is certainly attractive. But where I want to go with my production, I'd probably be looking at committing a fair whack of money on more than just bread and butter stuff, plus setting it all up. What I really want is to jump straight into experimental timbres, and digital seems like more money-efficient to me in this regard.... Dare I say it... I'm a bit thin on the digital side of things right now. I've got bread and butter digital. I've got software, but I find it tends to make me sound like a lot of other people and I don't enjoy that.

The Waldorf is a hugely attractive option, having looked at it a bit now, but doesn't seem there's a lot of availability... maybe people hang on to them. So... I guess, more along those lines?

Not that I'm ruling out a wall'o'synth...just needs to be the right time.
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13th February 2013
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BTW thanks for all the helpful replies.
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13th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
The Waldorf is a hugely attractive option, having looked at it a bit now, but doesn't seem there's a lot of availability... maybe people hang on to them. So... I guess, more along those lines?
setup an ebay watch, they go up all the time

isn't the blofeld somewhat similar?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
I LOVE my TX81Z which punches so much above its weight..
would be nice to run it thru an MS-20 mini,,..
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Maybe you should look into a polysynth, eh?

Prophet 12 perhaps?

I just got the Prophet 8 a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
I did build the shruthi, and the other MI stuff is appealing, but it's as you say. Also, there's a lot of tricky menu jumping in the shruthi, which is *very acceptable* given the price-to-amazingness ratio, but, yeah looking for something a bit more upmarket maybe...
I hear you on the menu-jumping. Mapping parameters to my x-station, as well as liberal use of a patch editor make life more bearable and, even better, has made me appreciate the amazing-ness of shruthi even more. I absolutely LOVE that filter (SM4mkII). MMm warm and juicy

So, needless to say I would recommend the Ambika, though I've not built one myself as yet. That and the MS20mini and you'll have money to spare.
The Anushri has patch-points too, so it can work with the MS20, kickstarting a modular.

Dammit, I want an Anushri now too. Not enough hours.....
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FYI - I just checked and saw that Anushri kits are available again.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarlywarly View Post
FYI - I just checked and saw that Anushri kits are available again.
What about the Ambika?
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14th February 2013
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Another MI is inevitable, if for no other reason that they're fun to put together.

I think in any case I'm going down the digital road this time.

But in terms of instant gratification, I've narrowed it down to a Waldorf Microwave (which isn't really instant gratification because I have to wait for one to turn up), or a Dave Smith Evolver.

So..... Evolver vs Microwave? Thoughts? Again, I'm after sound mangling, complex spectral characteristics, new and interesting sounds, that kinda thing. But easy front panel editing is desirable and DAW MIDI CC control is a real help too. While I'm at it, considering it's another hybrid synth, how do you think the Ambika rates against those other big guys? They're all roughly in the same ball park in terms of being hybrid, but obviously different in many respects too (e.g. the Ambika is multi voice).
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14th February 2013
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I think you should sell one of your Moog monos. Also, fix the Jup. Then buy something much weirder than either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
Listening to demos of the waldorf now. DAMN why haven't I checked this out before???
XT is great for what you describe. Better than the demos, is what you will do with one for yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
...beginning modular for, say, about $1500? (If that's even possible)
But it will never end (mixed blessing)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demokid View Post
Of if you don’t want to go modular then a used Clavia Nord Modular G2 is a fun virtual modular synth.
I was going to suggest the same. Really great to explore synthesis with. Can get really crazy, if you can think far enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crufty View Post
isn't the blofeld somewhat similar?
Different character, but can cover some of the same ground. Can cover a lot of other ground too, and cheap as chips used. There is also Largo, which is better spec in several regards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
So..... Evolver vs Microwave?
I think the XT gives more bang for the buck. 10 voices for $700. Crazy stuff, in a different way from an evolver.

As for editing, I really like using the ctrlr editor for the XT. It really helps me to visualise the modulations. The XY function is great fun, and helps you get really wierd in fun ways, without risk of infection.
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14th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
I do music with a glitchy, experimental focus and I love sound design. Is the analogue 4 a better plan? I can afford about that much. Is modular a road to go down, for around about that price? I've never tried modular and frankly I'm scared of it.
Do yourselfe a pleasure and get the Nord micro modular! This one is ideal for experimental focus. And, yes, the Mini-MS-20 is a good idea for you.

(yes: I don't want to be killed - i am not a mini-ms-20-hater and I AM NOT CHRISTOPHER DORNER)
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Thanks all. Can anyone tell me, the editor for the Nord modulars (either G1 or G2), are they just stand alone or do they come as plugins?

What I hear of the Waldorf sounds amazeballs. If anyone wants to get rid of one soon let me know

And yet I'm still interested in the evolver!! It sounds unlike either of the other two.

edit: And yes, then there is the blowfeld too. Damn. It also sounds great. Pros and cons of blowfeld vs microwave anyone? Blowfeld has a lot less knobs... anything else to keep in mind?
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14th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
edit: And yes, then there is the blowfeld too. Damn. It also sounds great. Pros and cons of blowfeld vs microwave anyone? Blowfeld has a lot less knobs... anything else to keep in mind?
The Nord modular editor is a good one but works as standalone. The biggest differences between Blofeld and Microwave II:

* Blofeld: you can do a lot of inspiring experiments with samples
* Blofeld: is capable to sound very bright and cristal clear
* Blofeld: can do VA stuff
* Blofeld: can do different wavetables on each oscillator
* Blofeld: better Arpeggiator, slightly better mod matrix
* Microwave II: more individual outs, less polyphony
* Microwave II: slightly better filter, maybe slightly better sound
* Microwave II: multistage wavetable envelopes
* Microwave XT: great interface
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looping Loddar View Post
The Nord modular editor is a good one but works as standalone. The biggest differences between Blofeld and Microwave II:

* Blofeld: you can do a lot of inspiring experiments with samples
* Blofeld: is capable to sound very bright and cristal clear
* Blofeld: can do VA stuff
* Blofeld: can do different wavetables on each oscillator
* Blofeld: better Arpeggiator, slightly better mod matrix
* Microwave II: more individual outs, less polyphony
* Microwave II: slightly better filter, maybe slightly better sound
* Microwave II: multistage wavetable envelopes
* Microwave XT: great interface
Thank you, that's what I needed to know.
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And by the way Oli, I'll be getting rid of one of my Moogs like I'll be getting rid of one of my testicles.

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14th February 2013
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For your polysynth needs maybe you should consider an ensoniq esq1 or korg dw 8000 ( i am at the hunt for one of them at the moment). They are cheep and you could buy something else with it.
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14th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
I do music with a glitchy, experimental focus and I love sound design.
After listening to your sig (cool stuff btw) I have a different opinion than most. I wouldn't get another synth if I was you (especially another mono), I would think about software that can take the sounds you have and manipulate them.

Or, I might consider a nice mic/pre for field recordings or perhaps some new sample CDs with some more experimental sounds. I know the sample CD suggestion is taboo, but some of the sounds you use really got a foley/Hollywood Edge type feel to them, and it's also the kind of stuff that the vast majority of people (making EDM) aren't very knowledgeable about (meaning that unlike a Vengeance sample CD, foley material is often rarely heard by the masses). Maybe it's the excellent way you used the typewriter (?) samples, but I get the feeling you may be far more inspired by a collection of real world recordings than yet another (especially subtractive)synth.
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