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I bought a load of hardware synths......because because I'm an idiot
Old 27th May 2019
  #1
Deleted cec0d5b
Guest
I bought a load of hardware synths......because because I'm an idiot

...because I'm an idiot.

On my journey over the last year and a half in rebuilding my studio from scratch, I have bought (and sold) the following hardware... (in order of appearance)

Waldorf Pulse 2
Korg Minilogue
Novation Peak
Roland System-8
Roland TR-08 (sold)
Casio CZ-1
Elektron Analog Rytm mkII (sold)
Akai S3000XL (+upgrades. for sale)
Elektron Analog Heat mkII
Mood Subsequent 37
Korg Prologue (sold due to tuning problem but re-bought)
DSI Rev2 (sold)
Korg Prologue
Korg Monologue (for sale)
DSI Rev2 (sold - still didn’t gel)

And to me, that’s excessive - so I’m pairing down.

However, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my needs and synthesis in general during that time. Namely:

1. Drum-machines are not for me, and
2. Learn what the BUFFER SIZE does in a DAW before thinking that you need hardware synths because your computer is too slow.

Yep, I’ve spent all this time with the buffer size on my Focusrite Clarett set to 32. Of course the latency was amazing but I couldn’t play any soft-synths without crackles and pops. Uh huh. Yep, I’m THAT stupid.

Thanks go to @ zerocrossing for chatting about this the other day because since then I’ve realised I can set the buffer to 512 and still only have 22ms round-trip yet play all the softsynths I like... and that is what I’ve started doing.

I have quickly realised that softsynths sound pretty darn hot these days. I am actually contemplating selling all my hardware purely because the workflow suits me so much better ITB, but, I have heeded ZC’s advice and not done that. Yet.

If I could go back in time and give myself advice on setting up my studio all over again it would be:

1. Learn how to use the right buffer size(!)
2. Learn Logic’s Alchemy, EXS24 and Ultrabeat and don’t buy a single piece of hardware or software until you know them like the back of your hand.
3. Be choosy about any hardware.

I’m not entirely sure what the point of this post is other than to humiliate myself, but if it did have a point I guess it would be to state that after all the HW searching and GASsing, I feel I’m going to be happier leading a more ITB existence from now on... Certainly from a composition POV. I still love playing with my synths though.

Honestly, GS is great but I think sometimes it can steer you down a path that you don’t necessarily want to go down through FOMO and other GAS-like acronyms.

It’s a crazy world out there, folks.

Thanks for listening.

Old 27th May 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

To be brutally frank, you didn't do much wrong. What you did (and I've done) is buy similar instruments. One poly is enough, a couple of monos, a sampler with pattern sequencing. It won't do everything you dream of, no amount of gear does.
Old 27th May 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
shreddoggie's Avatar
… at least you had a good reason.
Old 27th May 2019
  #4
Deleted cec0d5b
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaveItAll View Post
To be brutally frank, you didn't do much wrong.
Now you’re just being nice.

Quote:
What you did (and I've done) is buy similar instruments. One poly is enough, a couple of monos, a sampler with pattern sequencing.
I’m definitely a “poly” guy though. I bought the CZ-1 to give me a different colour to my sounds (and plus I always wanted one as a teenager ) but I find I don’t use it much these days.

So, poly-wise I’ve got (not counting the Minilogue as, although hardly used now, not worth selling as I’d get peanuts for it):

- Prologue (which I love)
- System-8 (fantastic native engine)
- PEAK (I like a lot for certain sounds)
- CZ-1 (love the sound, just don’t use it much)

So from the polys I’ve listed, they all have a different “flavour” to them, in my book. But, if I were to do it all again I’d probably just get the Prologue as that’s the one that “speaks” to me most. Plus the System-8 and CZ-1 can be found as a VST.

But... of course, I’m not doing it all again, I already have them so it’s a different situation. To be honest I’m on the fence with selling the CZ-1 too as I’d always wanted one. That’s sheer nostalgia speaking there, I concede.

Old 27th May 2019
  #5
i love the sound of CZ. always liked it but in recent years, playing a friend's 5000 i realized it just might be one of my favorite digital synth sounds. yes its limited, its slow to program etc, but dunno,,, is it nostalgia.. who cares if it is. if it inpires one to play or write and make something nice or to paint a sonic picture of what you have in your head - why the hell not then ?



so decided to get one of them. probably 3000 or 5000 whatever comes up cheap locally.



as for your "mistake", just look at it from a positive angle: use this oportunity to try all of them thoroughly, and from there find little more about your tastes, desires when it comes to synths. little by little sell the surplus, and have a nice tight and interesting setup. and of course, next year add more

cheers
Old 27th May 2019
  #6
Deleted cec0d5b
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
but dunno,,, is it nostalgia.. who cares if it is.
True. Truth is I’d probably regret selling it.

Yes, I would. Thinking about it.

Right, going to unlist it from the sales pages!

Old 27th May 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Since you already own the stuff, don't sell it! I have a few overlapping synths, selling them seems more like wasting money than having that extra palette on hand.
Old 27th May 2019
  #8
Well, I don't think you're an idiot. I do think it's an uncommon epiphany, but if you're happier it's all good. Personally, I have a "sell no gear" policy because I'd rather keep it than lose my investment, and typically I get things at a pretty good discount. Would I have bought differently had I to do it again? Probably, since there's so much new, good gear on the market now.

That said, my once beloved Kronos is now being shelved to make space for my once-hated Montage. Go figure! After my year-long sojourn into analog-land, I've lately been drawn to my digital triumvirate: Quantum, VirusTI, Montage.

Also, shelving gear has its own benefits. After shelving my Montage for a few weeks, I really began to miss it. Now, pairing it with my Quantum adds up to a whole lotta digital goodness. My advice is to keep as much as you can, but if you need to clean house and start over, it's your journey . . .
Old 27th May 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 
jazzcabbage's Avatar
 

You have/had some excellent gear kudos to you amigo.

In sort of the same boat but I really don't know what I could get rid of at the moment because I love all of it.
Old 27th May 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 
draig's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
I have quickly realised that softsynths sound pretty darn hot these days. I am actually contemplating selling all my hardware purely because the workflow suits me so much better ITB, but, I have heeded ZC’s advice and not done that. Yet.
Yeah... hold off on selling everything until you have spent some time ITB with 512 buffer size and make sure it works for you for more than just a quick play. I can adjust to it, but I still like a shorter latency than 22ms for playing.

Me, I like the sound of my softsynths distinctly more at 96khz. Especially in the high end they sound more coherent and artifact free. Also, most of my favorite softsynths are on the heavy side with CPU use.

So I started buying some hardware for the same reason as you... more voices without having to immediately bounce all the time. I've already bought and sold some hardware. I also did the same thing with software. It took me a while to find the softsynths that really stuck to me. I expected the same thing with hardware. If I have to buy 12 synths to find the 4 that really stick with me, I consider that part of the process and a success.

In exploring hardware, I've discovered that I prefer more hands on synths, minimal menus, 1:1 interfaces, big knobs and enough space to feel like I'm not hunched over some tiny little thing. And I most certainly value and enjoy the kinesthetic experience of a well made synth and tactile control.

Even though I love them, I miss that with softsynths. One of the other pleasing aspects of having a few hardware synths is I can invite a friend over and we can play together.
Old 27th May 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Bignatius's Avatar
As long as you're happy.
Old 27th May 2019
  #12
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
* Get a nice fast mac computer 6 core 3.33gHz will do, mac mini or cheesegrater if you like.

* Get the largest monitor you can, screen real estate is so important when making music in a DAW, it really makes everything so much easier.

* Get a nice pair of Genelecs.

* Get a decent audio interface with a min 8 line inputs MOTU or RME will do.

* Get the best poly synth you can afford with nicest keyboard action, use as your master controller, you kill two birds with 1 stone, I use the Virus Ti2 but a Prophet 6 or OB6 or Nord lead 4 would suffice also.

* Get a nice sounding mono synth, MS20, Mini Moog or SH101 etc..get a filter you like, preferably not the same type as in your poly so you have different flavors covered.

* Get a nice 12 channel mixer that lets you patch in randon things like mics, samplers, drum machines, iphones etc, just have it there and patch it's stereo outs to a pair of ins on your interface, this will act as a bridge to getting these random things you aquire into your DAW.

* Get all your fav plug ins, load them into your fav DAW.

Now smile, you are spoiled rotten and you have a magnificent system that will let you write anything you can ever imagine.

Old 27th May 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
* Get a nice fast mac computer 6 core 3.33gHz will do, mac mini or cheesegrater if you like.

* Get the largest monitor you can, screen real estate is so important when making music in a DAW, it really makes everything so much easier.

* Get a nice pair of Genelecs.

* Get a decent audio interface with a min 8 line inputs MOTU or RME will do.

* Get the best poly synth you can afford with nicest keyboard action, use as your master controller, you kill two birds with 1 stone, I use the Virus Ti2 but a Prophet 6 or OB6 or Nord lead 4 would suffice also.

* Get a nice sounding mono synth, MS20, Mini Moog or SH101 etc..get a filter you like, preferably not the same type as in your poly so you have different flavors covered.

* Get a nice 12 channel mixer that lets you patch in randon things like mics, samplers, drum machines, iphones etc, just have it there and patch it's stereo outs to a pair of ins on your interface, this will act as a bridge to getting these random things you aquire into your DAW.

* Get all your fav plug ins, load them into your fav DAW.

Now smile, you are spoiled rotten and you have a magnificent system that will let you write anything you can ever imagine.

Really good advice.

and...

512/22ms is too much latency Marko. With a good mac and interface at 96k we're talking under 3ms.
Old 27th May 2019
  #14
Gear Nut
 

There are an imense amount of tweaks and experimentation to be done to make your DAW of choice work at its optimum.

For myself the latest 'discovery' is to let my computer/DAW run 'Freewheel' with my external clock via my audio-interface; I got a Black Lion BXMk3.

As for HW synths and outboard gear, this is my hobby - I like HardWare. I got a few I don't feel I need or gel with, so I like you will ofload them.

I'm also a huge fan of Software and what you can do in-the-box. So things to interact with that enviroment is really a bonus; like X-touch for a hands on mixing desk, a big TouchScreen for that instant use (got a 24" set up in my synth-corner to control Software and DAW with easy hands-on without the need fiddling with a mouse).
Going to get a wireless trackball because the mouse just isn't the perfect interface for me working in my DAW and such.
And a good keyboard that you use to interface with your Software synths, giving you as much immediacy as possible.

In the end I always justify my purchases with 'it is my hobby' but one really should keep an eye on Making Music not gear acquisitions.
Old 27th May 2019
  #15
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
I’m now talking people into keeping hardware. Can we make a note of this somewhere, for the record?

Old 27th May 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
 
d33psp33d's Avatar
I know what you mean this year has been a personal wtf put on the brakes for me, so far in 2019.
  • Moog 1
  • Waldorf Quantum
  • Prophet X
  • 2x Deckards dream w/ expander
  • System 8
  • Linnstrument
  • Octatrack MKII
  • Rhythm MKII
  • Kemper Profiler
  • Alienware M51
  • Komplete Kontroller

Ive decided to sell one of the Deckards Dream though.
Old 27th May 2019
  #17
Finally a thread with sensible thoughts on gearslutz!

Synths are cool but hardware is getting truly out of fashion for a Reason.
Old 27th May 2019
  #18
Lives for gear
 
string6theory's Avatar
Welcome to Gearslutz! (Yes, now you are a gearslut. Anyone can buy some stuff. It’s what happens after that counts. But, maybe being a Softslut is your new way? It’s a slippery slope!)

Out of my recent studio renaissance synth haul, I’ve only returned the Moog One. I will never sell any of the others, “the bonding” has happened.

Maybe it’s time to shift to organs? I can highly recommend the new Hammond B3 (that is, the XK-5)! No software sim or VST comes close. Believe me now and hear me later. It’s a real instrument using an in-house developed multi-contact keyboard. I just received my A3 System (just like a B3) and it’s truly fantastic, albeit expensive.


Although, it seems talking about expensive hardware instruments has also gone out of fashion at Gearslutz. It’s sad actually. There’s a whole lot of entitlement and resentment out there due to oligarchic/hyper-capitalist economics and media control/filtering way beyond the scope of this forum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I’m now talking people into keeping hardware. Can we make a note of this somewhere, for the record?

Noted!
Old 27th May 2019
  #19
If anyone has too much gear/synths/etc. - just PM me and I'll collect and distribute to poor children without synthesizers.
Old 27th May 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 
jiffybox's Avatar
I am this thread, this thread is me. But it’s really all a learning experience and, while I have regrets and perhaps a bank account that has been depleted a bit more than I’d have liked, I’ve had a lot of fun along the way and I suspect you probably have, too, marko. I’ve certainly learned a hell of a lot from the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of many of you in this thread as you’ve shared your gear-sluttery with the rest of us here. Let’s just keep on chooglin’
Old 27th May 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
 
string6theory's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post

...hardware is getting truly out of fashion for a Reason.
Boo. Where’s the thumbs down emoji? Rouse the townsfolk, raise the pitchforks! (j/k)


I think the true reason, in general, comes down to economics (or space, or maybe faults/issues), cause it sure ain’t sonics, ergonomics and beautifully tactile interfaces (like from Sequential for example).
Old 27th May 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Cornish1999's Avatar
Can identify with this OP

When I got back into music , as a hobby I need to add lol, a few years ago I got utterly seduced by fixations in pieces of gear . Fortunately I focused on cheapish stuff via eBay etc. However I spent some decent money on things I’d rarely use practically to make music . I.e old rack samplers , old phrase samplers , old groove boxes , random plugins.

However I did need to go through this to get to know what does work for me.

I now have 2 set ups , hardware jam station for fun and the DAW station , nice monitors , big screen, for some “proper” production .

I’ll export some of the hardware jam magic moments into the daw set up if sounding good.

Currently I’ve found the bridge between these 2 set ups to be my DJS1000 sampler. I can take hardware jams through and into it, roughly live sequence parts from the DAW with it. Most content I’ve been.

Future GAS is on improving sound through a new mixer and maybe a couple of select outboard pieces .

I spend money now on lessons and learning resources . Much more music comes out of this and a few OMG how did you do that moments from friends.

Oh and any new sampler that takes my eye
Old 27th May 2019
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

If you’re an idiot then so am I.

Buying and selling has been part of my process of figuring out the right setup which I’ve almost accomplished. I’m not sure how else I could’ve done it. Listening to demos online only takes you so far.
Old 27th May 2019
  #24
vlz
Lives for gear
 
vlz's Avatar
So, for me it's keyboards, to be played. In fact, I don't even have them hooked up to MIDI
(not interested in that).

I have a couple of modules from the 90s (Morpheus and the EIIIXP sampler),
which I bought back then together with the 88-key Fatar Studio 2001. Then my work shifted to
purely software-based stuff and I actually stopped playing regularly. I think the kinds of synths
available in the mid-to-late 90s were not very inspiring for me. The rise of the rompler workstation
felt really mundane compared to the exciting things I was getting out of programming the computer.

It was only about 10 years ago that I got another synth, the Voyager OS, and that was originally
for a research project in VA models. Later, I dabbled with the idea of becoming a jazz guitarist, got
a couple of guitars, but after a while that did not feel natural to me.

Then I got a modular, and after a while, last year with some space in my office I decided to look
into getting a poly and there were some reasonable options appearing (the REV2 and Prologue 16
looked very inspiring).

I don't spend money on softsynths, mainly because I prefer to write my own
if I want (I am also involved in maintaining/developing a large music
programming system), and because I like complete self-contained instruments
(and will generally avoid buying modules now).

I think there are some great instruments in production and planned for the next
few years. The Summit looks really good, and the Moog One is fantastic. If/when
the Behringer polys materialise, the scenario will be enhanced even more.

My problem now is that I am going to be moving offices twice in the next couple
of years and I am not sure how I can accommodate the rig, let alone expand it.
Old 27th May 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
 
cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markodarko View Post
I have quickly realised that softsynths sound pretty darn hot these days. I am actually contemplating selling all my hardware purely because the workflow suits me so much better ITB, but, I have heeded ZC’s advice and not done that. Yet.
I have a pretty good collection of Hardware and software.....

I love sound and for me this whole slutty thing isn't always about making music, some people are happy pottering around the garden and enjoy that, i like pottering around my studio messing with synths, messing with tape and generally just making noise, something thats not as satisfying in the box (the tactile thing). I sometimes have friends over at the weekend and theres nothing more fun than jamming about on the hardware (oscilloscopes and larva lamps a must )

However when i am in the mood to produce music, most of it is done ITB.

those people who go 100% ITB i can see how some get bored and disillusioned over time.......

Last edited by cane creek; 27th May 2019 at 09:50 AM..
Old 27th May 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 
SonicBern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I’m now talking people into keeping hardware. Can we make a note of this somewhere, for the record?

It may be too late for that now...




Old 27th May 2019
  #27
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
Finally a thread with sensible thoughts on gearslutz!

Synths are cool but hardware is getting truly out of fashion for a Reason.
first wave of 'out of fashion' was around when Reason appeared, with all the
other software around, and new viability of computers.
happy recipients enjoyed a 2nd wave of studio clearouts around 2000.
i suspect some major collections were built up around that time.

then people who went off and did other stuff with their lives came back round
to it again. i suspect it's a cyclical phenomenon anyway. but unlike other
type of instruments, there's a rarity element, that led to a certain kind of
hysteria. the internet pushed it a lot too. GAS that you only got going into
shops or other people's studios is now on your screen.

and then there's the fact that for most people there's a saturation point,
where, just as you think you're getting somewhere, you realise you've got
more stuff than you need or can handle. that's the 'cabin fever' point
Old 27th May 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
 
lost_the_peace's Avatar
 

Lots of gear = cognitive load

I don't think you need much to make music, hw or vst wise, with current quality.

Sometimes one could use one good synth over another in a song without huge material difference.

People (myself included) buy a shed load of synths with massive overlap. Why do people need so many subtractive polys that each cover 90% similiar ground, for example?

Though "whatever makes you happy" also applies!
Old 27th May 2019
  #29
Lives for gear
 
chaocrator's Avatar
hehe. i used to run a Linux system where everything worked perfectly with 32 samples buffer, but tired to maintain it, because software updates broke something regularly.
maintaining hardware takes way less time.
Old 27th May 2019
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by lost_the_peace View Post
Lots of gear = cognitive load

I don't think you need much to make music, hw or vst wise, with current quality.

Sometimes one could use one good synth over another in a song without huge material difference.

People (myself included) buy a shed load of synths with massive overlap. Why do people need so many subtractive polys that each cover 90% similiar ground, for example?

Though "whatever makes you happy" also applies!
Yes - just recently I had an alphajuno 2, JX10, a Siel Opera 6, two jx8Ps and a D50. Sold the analog ones & kept the D because it's capable of doing much of those sounds but so very much more than that as well. Sampled my favourite sounds directly in Reason & feels like I won't be missing them really. And then I am one of the biggest fanboys of these. But the hw synths I am keeping are all digital except a Minibrute 2 & currently thinking again if I might sell more stuff. It gets in the way and it gets me in a procrastinational mode over and over and over again. Really I would be so happy with just Reason and a newer Mac. I tend to tell myself all the gear are cool for making YT videos. And the stuff I have collected is not even worth the price of a Prophet 6 so it might be wise to try using it and just be happy with it until a day comes when it has gone up in value. Can't wrap my head around that my minty SY77 is worth than a dusty DX7 so the synth market truly has some catching (ca-ching) up to do.
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