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Most underrated / under-appreciated gear you have used or own? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 4 weeks ago
  #241
Gear Maniac
Novation Xio 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
I never took issue with the build of the Micron. I just kind of regret settling it because of the form factor as a controller. The keybed is much nicer than on my Alesis V-whatever controller.
As dinky synths go that Micron is certainly top of the list in terms of engine and just being so pocketable.

Another on that short list of cool mini synths is the Novation Xio 25. Great sounding little 3 OSC VA with a rather nice 2 octave weighted keyboard... yes weighted!

It does not have the modulation power of the Micron and the interface organization is obtuse. It does have more knobs and therefore somewhat quicker editing and it has a great sounding, self-oscillating filter IMO. There are other little gems down in the engine as well like FM which even the Ultranova lacks. The effects are also WAY better than the Micron. It even runs on 6 AA batteries if you want. Oh yeah, stereo audio interface as well.

These don't pop up very often. I found one in a Sam Ash for $50 and took it home figuring it would sound like a Speak-and-Spell. It doesn't. It can throw some huge bass notes around. Also because of the x-y touch pad it has an expressive capability you would not expect. There is a preset that I tweaked only a little to come up with the best Blade Runner intro CS80 lead impression I've heard.

One thing that does suck... MIDI In is only on the USB. It does have MIDI Out on a DIN connector though. What were they thinking?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #242
Lives for gear
 
string6theory's Avatar
I’ll throw in 4x Korg MR2000S DSD Master Recorders, 2x Korg MR1000 DSD Mobile Recorders and 2x Tascam DA-3000 DSD Master Recorders. These are for three separate rigs, plus the mobile recorder pair.

For sounding how these do when recording at 5.6MHz 1-bit DSD, the Korgs have easily been some of THE best values in audio recording gearz, for a good 15 years running, imo. And, seriously undervalued and underrated.

Yes, they record standard PCM, but it’s their DSD implementation that sounds soooo right. I picked up the dual Tascam’s for my new synth rig, include SD & CF recording mediums and a remote control.

I’m looking forward to recording my synths straight to DSD off the console mst bus out. And, always for music mix-downs and masters. The PT HD interfaces aren’t going anywhere, but these DSD recorders are just special. I also really enjoy having a quick and spontaneous way to record live to disc, sans DAW/computer and they excel at it.

I think of well-implementation, high rate DSD as the most natural and least destructive way to get from analog to digital. It’s like it still is analog upon playback.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #243
Cool topic! Let's see...

Jv-2080. People say it's obsolete. No way. Such a beast, sounds warm and I even like the filters.

Electribe 2 sampler. Just bags of fun. Does a lot for the money.

Spl vitalizer MK2, transistor based version (hardware). Sounds better than the plugin alliance MK2-T (tube) version, which I also own.

Behringer mdx2100 compressor. Germany made. Nice and snappy!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #244
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syntonica's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AxxeMan317 View Post
Another on that short list of cool mini synths is the Novation Xio 25.
i can't stand the sound of the engines in the Circuit, but for some reason, I love the sound of that little guy. I think it was meant as a mini-master controller, thus, the goofy MIDI implementation. USB for connecting to the computer and the MIDI out for kit further down the food chain.

I never see them for sale locally... I wish I'd bought one while they were in the stores.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #245
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
i can't stand the sound of the engines in the Circuit, but for some reason, I love the sound of that little guy. I think it was meant as a mini-master controller, thus, the goofy MIDI implementation. USB for connecting to the computer and the MIDI out for kit further down the food chain.

I never see them for sale locally... I wish I'd bought one while they were in the stores.
They show up on Reverb occasionally but not for $50. :-)

They packed in a controller and audio interface and then figured out the could include the whole X Station synth as well so why not! A unique and surprising little beast that can sound MUCH larger than one would expect.

BTW, I got that Xio for only $50 because it looked as though somebody had spilled a Coke in the back panel and indeed the pc board needed quite a cleanup but it was worth the effort.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #246
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syntonica's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AxxeMan317 View Post
They show up on Reverb occasionally but not for $50. :-)

They packed in a controller and audio interface and then figured out the could include the whole X Station synth as well so why not! A unique and surprising little beast that can sound MUCH larger than one would expect.

BTW, I got that Xio for only $50 because it looked as though somebody had spilled a Coke in the back panel and indeed the pc board needed quite a cleanup but it was worth the effort.
Oh yeah, I forgot about the audio interface part. Truly a Jack-of-all-trades!

Edit: There's one for sale for the steal-it-now price of $600 + $35 shipping.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #247
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aligak's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by axs1 View Post
King Korg and Roland System-1.

The first was probably unsuccessful because of it's cheezy name and "champagne" color scheme. Also, Korg released the ms20-reissue at almost the same time, which made "VA" immediately unhip, and started the "cheap analog" craze. But it sounds really good, is easy to program and has a lot of useful sounds if you're a live player.

The System-1 was a little meh originally, but then they updated it with more oscillators and it was suddenly a beast. The plug-outs are cool, though they haven't offered very many (somebody should get on that), and the SH-2 plugout is simply astounding. When adding good external effects this machine goes from crazy FM glitch to complex rhythmic ambient to smooth keys, arps and very acceptable basses. It's also one of the more fun/intuitive synths to program that I've come accross.
I think the ugly factor for both of these is key. The KingKorg did look ugly & bulky with a terrible color choice. Terrible name too. Then again I think the names Moog has been putting out lately are awful as well. But overall I’d pass by it at music stores because I always assumed it was a digital piano or organ from its interface. That was another mistake on the part of Korg. Don’t these companies hire a “human factors” tester / consultant or they let the engineers decide the interface and workflow?

I think the new Roland look with flashing bright green and red lights (especially the AIRA line) looks cheap and ugly AF. They really need to fire their whole industrial design team. That’s why I never considered the System-1 despite hearing good things about it. I simply cannot look at or work with something ugly - whether synths or a DAW so always cringed when I’d see a ProTools screen. But working with my Elektron mk1 boxes with Bitwig or Studio One... now that’s inspiring!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #248
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synthguy's Avatar
Anything and everything by Roland. Some of you people need a box of clues for Christmas.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #249
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jbuehler's Avatar
 

Wah wah pedal on other sounds than guitar used in different ways. Great for electronic music and I don’t hear them mentioned much here.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #250
Gear Addict
+11 for the Micron / Ion / MiniAk

I don't see it the way most probably do, because I hooked up both a BCF and a BCR mapped out to almost all of its parameters. So I have a knob-per-function wundersynth. For me, the Micron is not a UI-hampered "could-have-been", but a real accessible and thick VA with Andromeda DNA.

More than the A6, it has all those 19 filter types, and in a Dual Filter config with panning. 3 OSCs with wave-shaping. Multi-stage ENVs with custom curves. 8-part multi-timbral. Phrase recording. Audio in. Endowed mod matrix. Tracking generator. Decent vocoder and FX.

To my ears, it sounds better than a Virus in VA mode. On paper, it gives the Moog One a run for the money.

I reckon only the KingKorg is a worthy alternative in hardware.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #251
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aligak's Avatar
Blofeld
Old 4 weeks ago
  #252
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuehler View Post
Wah wah pedal on other sounds than guitar used in different ways. Great for electronic music and I don’t hear them mentioned much here.
Yeah, being that Wahs are usually bandpass filters they are great used with synths that only have a lowpass.

Also good “parked” some times for specific effects.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #253
Lives for gear

While I originally bought this for guitar, I am having loads of fun running a Minimoog thru it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #254
Gear Maniac
 

Rolls HA43 headphone amp (seriously). Very small, plenty powerful for my uses. Admittedly, my main use for it isn't as a production tool -- but as a troubleshooting one, to trace line-level signals.

Also, another vote for the Behringer MDX2100. I saved one from a curbside trash pile years ago -- needed the main power supply filter capacitors replaced (I went ahead and replaced all of the electrolytic caps... but these old units are a pleasure to service). Reflowed a couple of dodgy solder joints, and it's been working flawlessly since. Amazing what some people throw out.....
Old 3 weeks ago
  #255
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robotunes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
Korg 707. A lost and forgotten bit of synth junk from the late 80s which I find to be the most useful FM I've ever owned. Not just cutting, clear and bright like a lot of others from that era, but a definite punchiness too. Dead easy to program. I love the thing.
It gets even better when you automate CC6 and send it to the 707. It affects whatever parameter you have active in editing mode.

Playing the keys as the osc1 frequency gets jerked around while it's "cross modulating" osc2 is just bananas. Add a thick chorus and a trippy delay and you've got something going. And you can jump around in editing mode and every parameter you touch suddenly gets automated. Love it!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #256
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marzzz View Post

While I originally bought this for guitar, I am having loads of fun running a Minimoog thru it.

Looks like you can eat your soup with it too. What is it?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #257
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by felis View Post
Looks like you can eat your soup with it too. What is it?
It’s the Plus Pedal, a “sustain pedal for all melodic instruments” that will automatically capture a loop of anything you play through it and let you simply hold the pedal to sustain it indefinitely. Intriguing.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #258
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by felis View Post
Looks like you can eat your soup with it too. What is it?


Gamechanger Plus Pedal

It was sorta intended for guitar, but works well with any instrument. Here it is with a trombone, only because I have always wanted to post a trombone video on a synth forum:



Imagine it with a mono synth, and you get the idea...aside from sustaining with natural decay or even indefinitely, you can build drones or chords and continue playing over it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #259
Here for the gear
 

Access Virus C ... old, digital and replaced by subsequent versions as well countless ‘it’ synths, but it still sounds great, with lots of knobs for hands-on control.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #260
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aligak View Post
Blofeld
I don't think the Blofeld is underrated or under-appreciated.
Not by me anyways. For others, I don't think so.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #261
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by felis View Post
I don't think the Blofeld is underrated or under-appreciated.
Not by me anyways. For others, I don't think so.
No underestimating here... Blofeld is a little box of wonders.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #262
Alesis QSR... with a vintage card plus a card loaded with Expando banks.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #263
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breakmixer's Avatar
 

Is the Reface DX I have underated as to my ears it competes soundwise with any of its 4op older siblings. I'm very happy with mine.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #264
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marzzz View Post


Gamechanger Plus Pedal

It was sorta intended for guitar, but works well with any instrument. Here it is with a trombone, only because I have always wanted to post a trombone video on a synth forum:



Imagine it with a mono synth, and you get the idea...aside from sustaining with natural decay or even indefinitely, you can build drones or chords and continue playing over it.
Cool.

It's like someone took a looper pedal and refined it as a performance tool.

$300 though...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #265
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by breakmixer View Post
Is the Reface DX I have underated as to my ears it competes soundwise with any of its 4op older siblings. I'm very happy with mine.
Definitely underrated.

People slagged on it when it was easily available (mini keys, 4op, etc). Now that it's out of production people want it and I can't find one for love nor money.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #266
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breakmixer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Definitely underrated.

People slagged on it when it was easily available (mini keys, 4op, etc). Now that it's out of production people want it and I can't find one for love nor money.
Tried EBay? I've seen a few show up.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #267
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breakmixer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Definitely underrated.

People slagged on it when it was easily available (mini keys, 4op, etc). Now that it's out of production people want it and I can't find one for love nor money.
Funny though that the most sought after 4op are the DX100 with mini keys and TX81Z with no keys, nostalgia seems king.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #268
When I'm doing more noisy electronic stuff, this maligned fella usually makes an appearance.

Put an eq pedal infront of it and you can get an impressive range of rawness.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Definitely underrated.

People slagged on it when it was easily available (mini keys, 4op, etc). Now that it's out of production people want it and I can't find one for love nor money.
Is it really out of production? Sweetwater seems to sell out of all the Refaces fairly often, but they're always back in stock again. Actually, it looks like they have the DX in stock now.

Access to this page has been denied.

I think all the Refaces are pretty underrated as far as digital emulation goes, but I guess YMMV.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #270
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by quartizte View Post
When I'm doing more noisy electronic stuff, this maligned fella usually makes an appearance.

Put an eq pedal infront of it and you can get an impressive range of rawness.
Try this one too:

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