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I'm new and need some advice from veterans :)
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quantumbug
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#1
20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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I'm new and need some advice from veterans :)

Hi all I'm a complete newbi!

I love electronic music and have done since I was a child! When I was young I had the opportunity to learn instruments but never took the time. I'm a lot older and a lot more patient, and would like to learn how to play the keyboard. My main goal in the end would be to produce tunes, love my hardtrance, psytrance, hardstyle and other similar genres.

I will be getting a synthesizer! but as you all are know there are a lot and a lot at very different prices! I'm on a budget and as I have no idea how to actually play one don't want to spend a lot for my entry level synth. Having done a lot of research at my budget of ~£400 most synths have only a couple of the options I might want. This is where you guys come in!

I want HARDWARE! , I've toyed with fruity loops and ableton but realy want to interface with a piece of hardware and learn the keyboard part. My questions are what would you recommend for my budget and the genre I like?

I've looked at the Novation MiniNova and this seems like a real nice synth, but it isn't multitimbral, will this be a problem or can I use this to interface with ableton and lay down a track? would it be worth me stretching my budget to get the UltrNova if this is a viable option?
The other I looked at was the Yamaha MX49, which is multitimral and has some real good old preset sounds (although that not to important as I'm up for tweaking and making my own!)
The microKorg which is in the same category has the Novation, but seems to have less synth capability.

Would love to hear your comments! Cheers dudes!
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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I recommend trying to find a virus KB or KC. This synth almost defined trance. Its 16 part multi timbral and can do an amazing palette of sounds.

my .02
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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waiting for the korg volcas might be beneficial.. i think i want all 3 of them.. but in any case the polyphonic one since its covering a gap, since i allready own little drumboxes and monosynth..

Other korg products are also excellent and appeal to beginners as much as to "veterans"..

the electribes for example..

Beside that MFB is a great synth company that manages to have a big sound with low prices..

And on teh second hand market? whatever is not hyped right now but sounds good can be interesting..kurzweil K 2000 for example..but the handling is a bit deep and tiering.. But a lot of sound design possebilitys for small money..
#4
20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Don't know why I ****ing bother, to be honest.

This forum should have some cut-n-paste replies ready next to the smilies that just say "Get a ****ing Virus xxx bla****INGbla"

Get a Nord, they normally get twats a massive erection.

Better still, use the £400 and get laid.

Last edited by John_Merrit; 20th July 2013 at 01:50 PM.. Reason: I'm invisible !!
#5
20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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I like Ultranova and it's a good choice if you want a new instrument, but I'll have to agree that a Virus KB or C is a better option. Sound-wise, it just crushes the Ultranova.
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quantumbug
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Hmm the virus range is very tasty, but even second hand you are looking towards £800+, which is too rich for my blood at the moment.

But would you say multi timbral is a must for what I want? or would it be sufficient with the novation range for example and use it to layer a track on the pc with ablton or another VST? (if that is even possible with these synths?)

Maybe for what I would like to do and what I can actually afford isn't achievable just yet? As a beginner and my ~£400 budget are any of the synths I listed a good entry point?
#7
20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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shesha is offline
Have you considered purchasing a MIDI controller instead of a synth? At your budget, you could maybe get a Novation SL Mk II or an Axiom Pro which will perform all the functions you're looking for. Only keep in mind that while MIDI controllers can help you achieve a much wider sound palette through VSTs, they cannot be played independently like synths - you can only use them as an interface for your DAW.
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Get a Modular synth.
You know to want it.
#9
20th July 2013
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learn theory.

I dont know how much keyboard playing is needed for those styles but go for it anyhow.

Read books/the net/youtube on synthesis/ production/ mixing/ signal flow.

Have a real career to pay for your hobby.

Remember buying toys is fun but its even more fun when you know exactly *why* you want something. That takes time.
quantumbug
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Merrit View Post
Don't know why I ****ing bother, to be honest.

This forum should have some cut-n-paste replies ready next to the smilies that just say "Get a ****ing Virus xxx bla****INGbla"

Get a Nord, they normally get twats a massive erection.

Better still, use the £400 and get laid.
WOW dude are you feeling alright?

This is meant to be a friendly professional/hobby forum. Not sure where you are coming from! If you think you are invisible, maybe you should have some patients as I have looked at your M-audio Venom and the Korg MS2000. Not sure if your rant is even directed at me, but it doesn't seem very constructive.

And by the way I don't know what your doing if you need 400 quid to get laid, it's called being a nice person and you will get it for free!
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#11
20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Merrit View Post
Better still, use the £400 and get laid.
Cut out the middle man, save yourself the effort, pay directly for dope and women!

Seriously though, it's an impossible pain to track prices and in the worst case you'd be influencing them because someone's going to look at your "suggestion" and will think "well, I can probably increase that with 10% and find someone stupid enough to fall for it" - thus pushing up the average.

So even if the Virus and Nord are standard answers - they're capable synths, and I don't recall running out of sounds was ever an issue.

quantumbug: what do you have in terms of gear otherwise? Audio interfaces, MIDI controller keyboards, good monitoring - all part and parcel of a home studio. It makes no sense to invest in hardware if you lack the means to control and record, and if you already have a controller it opens up the world of rack synths and modules as well.

edit: the Virus B desktop is not the TI. B desktops (the 1U rack version is not a B!) go in Germany (where they were made and where they are probably easy to find) for 350-400 euros so that should be within your budget.
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Threads to check out: Chord Generators & Tips | Pop Sound Sources - synthesis tutorials
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Cut out the middle man, save yourself the effort, pay directly for dope and women!

Seriously though, it's an impossible pain to track prices and in the worst case you'd be influencing them because someone's going to look at your "suggestion" and will think "well, I can probably increase that with 10% and find someone stupid enough to fall for it" - thus pushing up the average.
oh man. when I first read this paragraph I thought you were still talking about women. I wish I was recording my facial expressions.
quantumbug
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Yeah I have looked into midi controllers, and I think they are a viable option, but if I can stretch to it, I would rather a synth.

As for learning the theory, I know electronics well, my career as such I'm an electrical test engineer, and have played with signal generators and frequency response analysers. I love waveforms and all that sexy geek tek!

I really like the idea of leaning to play the keyboard though, learning an instrument is a life goal that I would like to achieve. I've been buffing up on reading music off the net as it's something I can do for free.

I don't know much about modular synths really, I'll have a look into them.

If a synth isn't multi timbral, can you still use it's MIDI connectivity to use a VST to lay down a track with multiple samples and layers?
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20th July 2013
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I meant learning music theory.
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quantumbug View Post
Yeah I have looked into midi controllers, and I think they are a viable option, but if I can stretch to it, I would rather a synth.
You're going to need a MIDI controller anyway. It's better to have 61-key (fullsize keys) MIDI keyboard and a Novation Nova (older but cheap - and multitimbral!) than to get a MiniNova with tiny keys, IMHO.

Quote:
I really like the idea of leaning to play the keyboard though, learning an instrument is a life goal that I would like to achieve. I've been buffing up on reading music off the net as it's something I can do for free.
Then a MIDI controller with room is even more vital.

If you don't have one yet, that's the most sensible investment - the knobs control your plugin's knobs on screen and make the experience feel a lot more like hardware. Yes, the new Novation stuff has knobs as well, but you're still menu-diving.

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I don't know much about modular synths really, I'll have a look into them.
There's a reason it's called "Eurocrack" - very addictive. 400 might get you a modest Doepfer starting set of sorts, I guess. However, if you're not afraid of soldering things there's lots of great fun to be had. Time-consuming, everything -but- instant gratification.

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If a synth isn't multi timbral, can you still use it's MIDI connectivity to use a VST to lay down a track with multiple samples and layers?
The way to turn a synthesizer multitimbral is simply to record the outgoing audio repeatedly.

You could even use the plugins as placeholders - e.g. "OK I know this supersaw sounds like crap with plugin XYZ but I'll lay it down anyway, then I'm going to work on the bass part with plugin ABC which also sounds like crap, but drums have to be sampled anyway" and so on. Then, you can decide to dial up the sound you really wanted on the synth itself and disable plugin XYZ and instead send the notes to the MIDI output.

The whole VST integration stuff is pretty new. Cubase has so-called "Device Panels" which allow you to construct your own editors for hardware synths that send MIDI information. MIDI is an ancient standard - 1983! MIDI is digital sheet music first and foremost; it can not enable multitimbrality on synthesizers that do not have this.

I mean, you could switch between patches really quickly but that's still not the same as playing simultaneously and it's such a giant headache that you really don't want to do this.
quantumbug
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
quantumbug: what do you have in terms of gear otherwise? Audio interfaces, MIDI controller keyboards, good monitoring - all part and parcel of a home studio. It makes no sense to invest in hardware if you lack the means to control and record, and if you already have a controller it opens up the world of rack synths and modules as well.
Well I haven't got much to be fair.

I have no specific hardware, I have a lot of software, the likes of FLStudio, ablton, but I find sitting at my computer laying samples in the sequencer a little disconnected. Hitting some keys to produce a layer of sounds and the expression of your body making a machine make sounds really is what I'd like to get into. I am no expert and certainly do not have much experience.

However I would like to learn to play the keyboard and end goal would be to lay down a track using both synth and VST. I don't know if you have ever heard of them is a couple of guys called Lab-4 (Adam Newman and Lez Elston), I saw them when I was in my early 20s and they smashed the place! they had a whole arsenal of sound equipment but just them hitting the keys and laying the tracking in front of my eyes was magic. This is what my motivation now is. I don't expect to ever be as good as them, but just to toy with the possibility is cool.
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Originally Posted by quantumbug View Post
Well I haven't got much to be fair.
So you have a computer, and you have FL Studio (this points to a Windows PC), and you have Ableton, and probably some set of speakers or headphones, and what about the soundcard - you're using the on-board unit, or do you have an actual audio interface with multiple inputs and all that? Because on-board and multitracking (the way to turn monotimbral synths into multitimbral ones) is going to be a giant pain.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - before you start picking hood ornaments we have to be certain you've got an engine and wheels
quantumbug
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20th July 2013
Old 20th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
So you have a computer, and you have FL Studio (this points to a Windows PC), and you have Ableton, and probably some set of speakers or headphones, and what about the soundcard - you're using the on-board unit, or do you have an actual audio interface with multiple inputs and all that? Because on-board and multitracking (the way to turn monotimbral synths into multitimbral ones) is going to be a giant pain.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - before you start picking hood ornaments we have to be certain you've got an engine and wheels
ha-ha I like the analogy!

You are bang on with the PC system and yes only got the on board sound at the moment, and yes it will be an upgrade I am looking into. As for speaker, I have a pretty good setup, and headphones I have. I have CDJs with mixer so have got the equipment to play and mix but it's now the production and manipulating I wish to get into.
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