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Analog sounds nowadays..
Old 26th March 2007
  #1
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Analog sounds nowadays..

I'm a keyboard noob. please be gentle.

I've got a home studio and incorporate keys from time to time, but would more if I could be inspired by the sounds. I was at my local gear shop and started messing with a Kawai K3 keyboard. The guy who traded it in had programmed some amazing sounds into it. For probably the first time ever, I was actually inspired by the sounds. The bass was FAT and it sounded very rich. They had another K3 there that wasn't previously programmed, and it sounded quite boring.

Currently I've got a CME controller and am using soft synth sounds, these being limited to Reason and the plugs in Cubase 3. There are some good sounds in there, but nothing fat and analog sounding. At least none I've heard.

SO, my question: Are there other boards that will give me the fat analog sounds the K3 gave me with perhaps an easier interface? How would the Nord Lead rack (original) compare? Something like a racked hardware synth would be easier to incorporate into my studio space-wise. And finally, are there any soft synths that would give any fatness close to analog? I've seen Reason Refill samples for example of a few of these classic analog keyboards..
Old 26th March 2007
  #2
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Nothing beats the real deal. Two ways to get into analog on the cheap;

http://www.moogmusic.com/detail.php?main_product_id=254

http://www.davesmithinstruments.com/evolver/photos.html

Nord's are cool for their own unique sounds as well but you will never regret going for real analog
Old 26th March 2007
  #3
i like the waldorf wavetable synths, like the microwave. The microwave xt has lots of knobs so programming is a breeze.

google waldorf microwave xt. you can get a used one for $500-700 on ebay.
Old 26th March 2007
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
Nothing beats the real deal. Two ways to get into analog on the cheap;

http://www.moogmusic.com/detail.php?main_product_id=254

http://www.davesmithinstruments.com/evolver/photos.html

Nord's are cool for their own unique sounds as well but you will never regret going for real analog
Those two ways don't seem to be on the cheap. The Moog is $1375 and the Evolver is $1495 just for the rack version. These are awesome pieces, but an example of analog on the cheap would be the aforementioned Kawai K3. (At least the filters and envelopes are analog) Recent auctions have closed on Ebay for under $200. I'd just like to find something with an easier interface.
Old 26th March 2007
  #5
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you have cheaper ways of getting an analog tone in your music. It'll all depend on what kind of sound you're looking for and if you want polyphony (for playing chords) or if a monophonic synth will do (for lead solos and bass).

if you want polyphonic then you really have to go for older DCO based units (if you're on a budget) because modern polyphonics and older VCO based polys are expensive.

If you prefer racks I'd check these ones.

oberheim Matrix 6r or 1000 and Roland MKS 50 or 70

If you're looking for a lead/bass synth than you have a lot to choose from vintage monos. or you can get modern ones. Check the MFB synth II, the studio electronics ATC-1 / SE-1, or even a desktop evolver that can be found for 350-400$ on ebay.

I think these are good places to start looking.

[SPAM] I'm actually selling an ATC-1 with the moog filter cartridge installed. If you're looking for a bass synth then this is probably your best bet. But read some more about these options on teh web. these get discussed quite often at vintagesynth.com and harmony-central.com KSS forums.[/SPAM]
Old 26th March 2007
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undermind View Post
Those two ways don't seem to be on the cheap. The Moog is $1375 and the Evolver is $1495 just for the rack version. These are awesome pieces, but an example of analog on the cheap would be the aforementioned Kawai K3. (At least the filters and envelopes are analog) Recent auctions have closed on Ebay for under $200. I'd just like to find something with an easier interface.
There's an evolver desktop at under $200 on eBay right now. I'm saving for the polyevolver myself.

I prefer the sound of real analog myself so the price of these instruments is worth it to me. If you are happpy with the Kawai that is great.

Good luck and happy hunting.
Old 26th March 2007
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
There's an evolver desktop at under $200 on eBay right now. I'm saving for the polyevolver myself.

I prefer the sound of real analog myself so the price of these instruments is worth it to me. If you are happpy with the Kawai that is great.

Good luck and happy hunting.
Thanks for the heads up on the Evolver on Ebay. I didn't realize that the mono evolvers were that affordable.

In regard to being "happy" with the sound of the Kawai.. Remember I'm a keyboard noob. The Kawai hybrid analog/digital sound was good to my ears.
BUT, I haven't heard the true analog pieces you're referring to. I'm quite sure I'd prefer it. I don't really wanting to be GAS'ing after a badass true analog synth right now. As someone who's not a keyboard guy, there's no way I can justify spending a grand plus on a keyboard.

bluemoon, thanks for the info. It's very helpful. I'll look into the units you mentioned.
Old 26th March 2007
  #8
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I don't think a Kawai k3 will necessarily sound better than a dsp synth just because it has analog components, though its cool that you enjoy it. The K3 was the first synth I owned, kind of dull sounding high frequencies, and the filter control via data-wheel was very limited, you can learn basic synthesis on it, but the sound was really nothing too special IMO. Same with novation bass-station rack v1, sure its analog, but just too clean. I get more satisfying tones from a korg z1 or oasys pci and those aren't analog. Along those lines, an older virus, nord or ms2000 type of thing would probably yield some variety of solid, useful tones.

I'd aim for something more like an sh-101, monopoly, or juno type synth, or even a modular, but I'm not super up on what the best analogs are. I guess I'm just saying , just because it's analog doesn't mean it will give you a rocking saw wave and low pass filter, stick with synths that have a solid reputation for a meaty or characterful tone.
Old 26th March 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undermind View Post
Thanks for the heads up on the Evolver on Ebay. I didn't realize that the mono evolvers were that affordable.

In regard to being "happy" with the sound of the Kawai.. Remember I'm a keyboard noob. The Kawai hybrid analog/digital sound was good to my ears.
BUT, I haven't heard the true analog pieces you're referring to. I'm quite sure I'd prefer it. I don't really wanting to be GAS'ing after a badass true analog synth right now. As someone who's not a keyboard guy, there's no way I can justify spending a grand plus on a keyboard.
I started out with softsynths myself so I completely understand. As I began to progress, I found my ear growing more discerning and my own personal tastes evolving towards real analog gear. I think whatever inspires you to write is great.

I've always felt it was more about the journey than the destination and these days there are plenty of great options to explore along the way!
Old 26th March 2007
  #10
Quote:
The guy who traded it in had programmed some amazing sounds into it. For probably the first time ever, I was actually inspired by the sounds. The bass was FAT and it sounded very rich. They had another K3 there that wasn't previously programmed, and it sounded quite boring.
the real lesson here is: a clever programmer with a good understanding of synthesis can get good sounds out of just about anything. so get to know your gear. dont judge a machine based on it's factory presets, get under the hood & tinker around. get to know yer gear.

Quote:
Are there other boards that will give me the fat analog sounds the K3 gave me with perhaps an easier interface?
the simple rule is: the more knobs/buttons/switches/sliders the better. more immediate control over every paramater. the painful truth is that if you learn to program on a major pain in the ass board like i did (roland d20), you'll be better equipped to demoralize the factory presets on anything else you encounter.
Old 26th March 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
the real lesson here is: a clever programmer with a good understanding of synthesis can get good sounds out of just about anything. so get to know your gear. dont judge a machine based on it's factory presets, get under the hood & tinker around. get to know yer gear.
Exactly, I agree 100%. The sounds I was getting were completely due to the programmer, this was very apparent. The salesperson says the guy was a prgramming wizard which is why the presets sound so good. Then he said "this is what the K3 normally sounds like" and played the stock K3. Completely friggin different. Sounded cheezy.

But here's the deal.. Honestly I'm probably not going to really learn any keyboard in and out. I just have too much to worry about in my studio and not enough time. This probably sounds like a cop-out, but I'm just being honest. I'm spending most of my time worring about writing number one, then on to the rest of the never ending pile of gear I need to master.. I think I would enjoy really learning every in and out of a keyboard more if I had more time. But I really need to spend my time producing music. I don't make "electronic" music. I make music that I'd like to flavor with a cool vintage sound here and there. But I have a home studio, not a commercial studio where I have access to real B3's and Rhodes and stuff. And what this means is that I'm probably going to cycle through the presets and find some favorites which I will customize to taste. That's why I'd really like something with a simpler interface that's gonna keep me interested.. This is probably a lot ask for on some 80's synth. But I'll jump in and will learn over time..
Old 26th March 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undermind View Post
Exactly, I agree 100%. The sounds I was getting were completely due to the programmer, this was very apparent. The salesperson says the guy was a prgramming wizard which is why the presets sound so good. Then he said "this is what the K3 normally sounds like" and played the stock K3. Completely friggin different. Sounded cheezy.

But here's the deal.. Honestly I'm probably not going to really learn any keyboard in and out. I just have too much to worry about in my studio and not enough time. This probably sounds like a cop-out, but I'm just being honest. I'm spending most of my time worring about writing number one, then on to the rest of the never ending pile of gear I need to master.. I think I would enjoy really learning every in and out of a keyboard more if I had more time. But I really need to spend my time producing music. I don't make "electronic" music. I make music that I'd like to flavor with a cool vintage sound here and there. But I have a home studio, not a commercial studio where I have access to real B3's and Rhodes and stuff. And what this means is that I'm probably going to cycle through the presets and find some favorites which I will customize to taste. That's why I'd really like something with a simpler interface that's gonna keep me interested.. This is probably a lot ask for on some 80's synth. But I'll jump in and will learn over time..
I recall the Electromechanical refill for Reason (used to be a free download for registered users) having a decent Rhodes patch plus Reason has a new modular synth on the way. As far as B3 goes, Native Instruments B4 will more than have you covered as far as sprinkling in some vintage Hammond flavor.
Old 26th March 2007
  #13
Quote:
I just have too much to worry about in my studio and not enough time. This probably sounds like a cop-out, but I'm just being honest.
i hear ya. if i hadnt invested years into being a midi junkie when i had a ton of free time as a teenager i probably would have never gotten into it now. it's a huge thing to wrap yer head around & requires a major time investment.


Quote:
That's why I'd really like something with a simpler interface that's gonna keep me interested.. This is probably a lot ask for on some 80's synth. But I'll jump in and will learn over time..
as far as rack mountable, analog(ish), synths with lots of knobs go. theres quite a few out there. ROLAND JP-8080, novation supernova, WALDORF Q, nord has a rack you mentioned. i've got a korg ms2000r.
dig around on vintage synth explorer & sonic state. they list just about everything ever made. then shop around.
http://www.vintagesynth.com
http://www.sonicstate.com/synth/
Old 27th March 2007
  #14
I know you're asking about rackmount synths, but i recently picked up a couple of old analog Roland keyboard synths, a Juno-106 and a JX3P, and am in love with the 106 which cost about $450 on ebay.

It can handle primitive midi input (note on/off and cv, and that's it I think) and has a pretty good assortment of sliders to control filters, lfo's etc. It sounds "retro" whatever that means and is limited in what it can do, but what it does, it does really really well and the sound is more rich than a soft synth is going to be.
Old 27th March 2007
  #15
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It wouldn't have to be rackmount, but space-wise it would fit better since I already have my controller taking up a good amount of space..
Old 27th March 2007
  #16
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another vote for the 106. it sounds great and has a very simple interface to start learning the basics.

In terms of VAs I didn't like the MS2000 at all. The filter was a joke and it always sounded too harsh in the highs for my ears.

If you're getting a digital board choose one with a good interface. Nord lead, JP8000, the novations can also be put here because they're well thought out and can be bought for cheap.

In terms of interface alone my favourite synth is probably the waldorf Q, but this is because of how the modulations are setup. I wouldn't recommend it for someone who is starting out. Get one of the 3 mentioned above and you'll be blasted by the sound (my guess :D)

edit: I forgot that you're looking for analog boards. if keyboards are allowed there are more options. The first would be the jupiter 6 (sometimes show up for 1000$), sounds very cool, I should never have sold mine. A cheaper board that also sounds goos is the kawai sx-240 (although the interface doesn't have knobs/faders). Also, yamaha CS-60s show up frequently as well for under 1000$. I never played on but I've heard good things about it.
Old 2nd April 2007
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
Nothing beats the real deal. Two ways to get into analog on the cheap;

:::::: MOOG MUSIC ::::::

Dave Smith Instruments

Nord's are cool for their own unique sounds as well but you will never regret going for real analog
The Evolver is awesome. I spent awhile with it today, and it's pretty much what I've been imagining, an awesome interface that gets you quickly manipulating sounds and keeps my interest. I'm assuming the desktop Evolver has the same sonic capabilities as the standard mono Evolver keyboard? The interface is obviously different, but it looks like it's all there. But just not nearly as "fun" to interact with (just by looking at the pictures, I haven't actually used the desktop version) Is anything lost when using a controller with the desktop evolver?

And by the way you're right, that NI Hammond B4 is pretty cool.
Old 14th April 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undermind View Post
The Evolver is awesome. I spent awhile with it today, and it's pretty much what I've been imagining, an awesome interface that gets you quickly manipulating sounds and keeps my interest. I'm assuming the desktop Evolver has the same sonic capabilities as the standard mono Evolver keyboard? The interface is obviously different, but it looks like it's all there. But just not nearly as "fun" to interact with (just by looking at the pictures, I haven't actually used the desktop version) Is anything lost when using a controller with the desktop evolver?

And by the way you're right, that NI Hammond B4 is pretty cool.
Glad you liked those. I think hunting for that 'perfect' piece of gear is half the fun!
Old 14th April 2007
  #19
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novation basstations are pretty cheap these days. pretty fat sounding. not a moog or an arp but nice and quite good for basses and weird stuff.
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