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Have you ever been UNDERWHELMED by a classic vintage synth? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 11th July 2018
  #1
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drockfresh's Avatar
Have you ever been UNDERWHELMED by a classic vintage synth?

As a companion to the "Is vintage gear still worth the high prices ..?"

Did you ever finally get to sit down at that classic vintage synth you always dreamed about and get underwhelmed. "Wait... this is all it does?"

Like just a sinking feeling like, yeah it's good but it's not ALL that.

I have read a few people saying they never loved the Jupiter 8.

I'd take a Solaris over most vintage Polys.

I look at my Minimoog Reissue and yeah, it's nice tone but I'm sure I'd be just as happy with a Dominion 1 with all the filter options or even a Matrixbrute.

Feel free to tell me what a stupid thread this is.
Old 11th July 2018
  #2
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Synthbuilder's Avatar
The OB-Xa. I just didn't gel with it. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was a little bit unpredictable, or maybe it was just so large both physically and sonically. I sold it to buy a TVS-1 which was probably my favourite of all the instruments I have ever owned.
Old 11th July 2018
  #3
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Probably anyone that buys a synth purely on the flawed Vintage Synth Explorer descriptions. Case in point, anyone that reads this would believe that the Poly 800 is comparable to or superior to the Juno 106. Korg Poly-800 | Vintage Synth Explorer
Old 11th July 2018
  #4
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After buying and fixing up a totally dead Polysix I was really ready to love it and keep it forever. But was pretty underwhelmed with every aspect of it, from the cheesy build (particle board? What is this, IKEA?), to the ****ty keyboard (I couldn’t get these above 80% reliability even after cleaning and adding Bob weigel’s fix), to the sound (fancy string machine).
Old 11th July 2018
  #5
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The trouble with most vintage synths that people covet is that they have usually heard them on a record, back in the day, and want to own that sound - forgetting that the synth has been tracked through an Api/Neve/SSL desk via a vintage (at the time) pre, eq, compression and printed onto tape (with all the saturation that that inherently brings), mixed with vintage (again, at the time) reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, pitch shifter, more compression etc and back out to 2-track master tape before being mastered and back onto tape once more.

The synth is just the beginning of getting the "sound"/"vibe" from it. Good mixing and mastering can literally transform a sound completely even before you consider all the analog saturation that's happened on the way in and out. Ergo: auditioning the raw sound of a synth should be something one takes great care in doing if not in any valid musical context.

Old 11th July 2018
  #6
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drockfresh's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
After buying and fixing up a totally dead Polysix I was really ready to love it and keep it forever. But was pretty underwhelmed with every aspect of it, from the cheesy build (particle board? What is this, IKEA?), to the ****ty keyboard (I couldn’t get these above 80% reliability even after cleaning and adding Bob weigel’s fix), to the sound (fancy string machine).
Amen amigo.

I battled the Polysix keybed spending hours trying every fix and it never was 100%

Worst. Keybed. Ever.
Old 11th July 2018
  #7
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WozNYC's Avatar
My Jupiter-6 with Europa mod. I just never gelled with it.
(Though I absolutely adore the Jupiter-8.)
Sold it last year for $3800.

Old 11th July 2018
  #8
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markodarko's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC View Post
My Jupiter-6 with Europa mod. I just never gelled with it.
Sold it last year for $3800.

Was it because you were using it as a rug?
Old 11th July 2018
  #9
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WozNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post

Was it because you were using it as a rug?
Ha I took that picture when I was moving things around.
Old 11th July 2018
  #10
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sentokan's Avatar
I felt that for all Junos, the Minimoog, D50, AN1X and many others..
I just felt that they can t come close in power and sound quality to a PolyEvolver or a Nord Lead for example. It didn t really bring me much to the table.
I felt I got too little for too much.
Old 11th July 2018
  #11
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BassX's Avatar
Yes, i was very underwhelmed by :

Roland Jupiter 6
Korg polyphonic ensemble
Yamaha CS5
Korg Polysix
Moog Voyager OS

all vintage and expensive but just too limited for me.
Old 11th July 2018
  #12
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Not underwhelmed, as the classics have their undeniable qualities,
but - and this took me many years and much money - i have no use
For most of them.

A collector wants many, some musicians use many,
but some only need a few certain synths with a certain sound.
Old 11th July 2018
  #13
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

I can't say I've ever been underwhelmed by a vintage synth. Most of the time, they meet my expectations. Occasionally I'll run across one that exceeds them--for example, the Yamaha SY-2. The first time I played one, I was truly impressed. I honestly wasn't expecting it to sound as good as it did. What a great instrument! Would love to have one around.
Old 11th July 2018
  #14
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Hazmatic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
The trouble with most vintage synths that people covet is that they have usually heard them on a record, back in the day, and want to own that sound - forgetting that the synth has been tracked through an Api/Neve/SSL desk via a vintage (at the time) pre, eq, compression and printed onto tape (with all the saturation that that inherently brings), mixed with vintage (again, at the time) reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, pitch shifter, more compression etc and back out to 2-track master tape before being mastered and back onto tape once more.
Exactly. This.
Old 11th July 2018
  #15
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC View Post
My Jupiter-6 with Europa mod. I just never gelled with it.
(Though I absolutely adore the Jupiter-8.)
Sold it last year for $3800.
I also had a JP6 with Europa mod and also couldn't gel with it. It had to go to fund a Minimoog, which I pretty much instantly gelled with. Didn't sell for that much, however, but I felt no remorse about getting rid of it.
Old 11th July 2018
  #16
yes! underwhelmed by a roland system 100 keyboard. but i figure it was because it was in so poor condition, some rust on surface, scratchy and some how "slimy" faders with strange response and noise, never tried one well maintained. That said, i played around with a vintage model d which also wasn't perfectly maintained, oscilator 3 knob didn't respond well and a key didn't sound at all... still loved it.
Old 11th July 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
Did you ever finally get to sit down at that classic vintage synth you always dreamed about...
Oberheim Xpander. I always saw it as the ultimately flexible Oberheim, and I love the sound of the SEM and OB-X: pure science fiction!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
...and get underwhelmed.
It was more a question of how it sounded: there was a character to it that I just didn't like. I'd take my OB-6 over an Xpander or Matrix 12 every time.
Old 11th July 2018
  #18
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WozNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post

Didn't sell for that much, however, but I felt no remorse about getting rid of it.
CraigsList of all things. Somebody snapped it up within 90 minutes of my post.
Old 11th July 2018
  #19
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by WozNYC View Post
CraigsList of all things. Somebody snapped it up within 90 minutes of my post.
Nice! The first times I saw the JP6 thread here on this forum, I had a few feelings of doubt. Perhaps I was not using it right? Then I reminded myself of why I sold it - I felt it sounded like a JX3P on steroids minus the quirky charm and chorus.

"But how can you not like a classic?" Well - there are lots of classic albums as well, and you can't tell me you like them all either, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate the effort.

With plugins and VAs - if the designer loves say, industrial music - it's going to shine through in the product's voicing and range choice (moreso because this is usually an effort of a single person). I don't know what the designer of the JP6 liked, but it's different - and that's OK.
Old 11th July 2018
  #20
The subjectivity here is the usual meat and potatoes of Gearslutz. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and vice versa.
Then factor in musical tastes or the lack thereof and the end result is yet another list of every synth ever made.

So is it a valid response if I just post a list of every synth ever made or will that take all the fun out of it?
Old 11th July 2018
  #21
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WozNYC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Nice! The first times I saw the JP6 thread here on this forum, I had a few feelings of doubt. Perhaps I was not using it right? Then I reminded myself of why I sold it - I felt it sounded like a JX3P on steroids minus the quirky charm and chorus.

"But how can you not like a classic?" Well - there are lots of classic albums as well, and you can't tell me you like them all either, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate the effort.

With plugins and VAs - if the designer loves say, industrial music - it's going to shine through in the product's voicing and range choice (moreso because this is usually an effort of a single person). I don't know what the designer of the JP6 liked, but it's different - and that's OK.
Just wanted to take this opportunity to say you've probably become my favorite poster on this forum. You're always helpful and really have a great attitude. If you ever find yourself in New York, drinks are on me!
Old 11th July 2018
  #22
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autoy's Avatar
Moog Rogue. A friend lend me his and it didn’t hold a candle against my slim phatty honestly. Although yeah, it’s probably the worst of the Moog classics.

Roland Juno 106. Ok so this was after owning a Polysix and a JX-3P. To me these other two are much better buys. The 106 has an unpleasant nasal tone that keeps it away from the other Junos. It works great for strings and bass but I preferred many other options to do those.
Old 11th July 2018
  #23
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
So is it a valid response if I just post a list of every synth ever made or will that take all the fun out of it?
Is every synth a classic?

I think there are a few factors. I'm just making these up right now.

- has had a noticeable impact on the musical landscape
- can be found in many studios
- isn't cheap
- is 10+ years old

The more boxes that are ticked, the more classic it is, I guess. So the topic is specifically about something that is most or all of those things and it still didn't leave much of an impression.

A synth that won't really tick any of these boxes might still have fans that call it a classic - but arguably that's not going to be a classic on the same level as the really big ones. Of course, all of this is arbitrary, but rules of thumb and all that...
Old 11th July 2018
  #24
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Polysix - Bought one, cleaned it up and sold pretty quick. Too much hype.
Jupiter 8 - Not that I don't like them, but hate some of the famous sounds. Love the 4.
Yamaha SK20 - Loved mine while I had it because it was cheap but don't understand why people go nuts for them.
Old 11th July 2018
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Is every synth a classic?

I think there are a few factors. I'm just making these up right now.

- has had a noticeable impact on the musical landscape
- can be found in many studios
- isn't cheap
- is 10+ years old

The more boxes that are ticked, the more classic it is, I guess. So the topic is specifically about something that is most or all of those things and it still didn't leave much of an impression.

A synth that won't really tick any of these boxes might still have fans that call it a classic - but arguably that's not going to be a classic on the same level as the really big ones. Of course, all of this is arbitrary, but rules of thumb and all that...
It seems what’s in order is a set of predefined definitions for categories such as classic synths, vintage synths, classic vintage synths, classic contemporary synths etc.
it could be a sticky thread
Old 11th July 2018
  #26
Gear Addict
 

I've pretty much played them all extensively. As far as disappointed only one comes to mind

1) Roland Jupiter 6. Too clean too cold. And it's the only synth I've ever played that has no identity.

There's a few that I'm not too excited about but not necessarily disappointed.
1) Sequential Prophet 5 Rev3. The Rev 1 has balls, when compared there's no way I would buy a Rev3. I would prefer a modern DSI Prophet Rev2 instead of the Rev 3.
2) Sequential Prophet T8. Prefer Prophet 5 Rev 1 or 2.
3) Oberheim OB-8. I prefer the OB-Xa and the OB-X. For whatever reason they're more alive and organic and evoke more emotion when played. Especially the OB-X though it's not bi-timbral.
Old 12th July 2018
  #27
Anyways my on topic reply is the Roland Juno synths.
I had both the 6 and 106 but it was not at the time where they were recognized as classics or even vintage for that matter. I got them cheap from stores that couldn’t manage to get them sold due to new popular technologies.

I did the best I could with them but ultimately was pretty bored with them and never developed any love for their sound which always struck me as generic and one dimensional.

I’ve never understood how they became the status symbols they are now.

I never missed them after they were gone and I never felt any desire to get them back.

I will say that the Juno 6 did have its moments though. There was one patch for it I adored and that patch turned out to be possible to recreate on the Casio CZ-1 of all things.
Old 12th July 2018
  #28
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digital 1010's Avatar
Roland sh9, my mate got 1 and I thought it was boring when I played around on it recently.

Also I remember using a tr808 a longtime ago and thinking it wasn’t that amazing really. The post above alludes to using compression, fx, pre amps etc making “that sound”. On its own the tr808 ‘tis a bit boring and over used.
Old 12th July 2018
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Rev 3 Prophets - going all the way back to when they were released. Back then no one (that I knew anyway) were aware that the chipset had been changed, or even called them the Rev 3. They were just "Those new Prophets" and "They don't sound very good".

And thus it began... the search for vintage gear. And I still feel that way about the Rev 3 Prophet 5.
Old 12th July 2018
  #30
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I can't say I've ever been underwhelmed by a vintage synth. Most of the time, they meet my expectations. Occasionally I'll run across one that exceeds them--for example, the Yamaha SY-2. The first time I played one, I was truly impressed. I honestly wasn't expecting it to sound as good as it did. What a great instrument! Would love to have one around.
SY-2 may be one of the most underrated synths ever!

Funny enough, I was initially underwhelmed by the Jupiter-4. Then I sat down and actually figured out what I was doing wrong.

I'd say the majority of 'underwhelming' synths get that label because someone sat down in front of it and didn't immediately land in a lush fat sweet spot of instant sonic gratification. For that reason alone the Jupiter-6 will always top these lists.
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