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synth newbie --need advice for live setup from scratch Desktop Synthesizers
Old 24th December 2010
Gear Maniac

synth newbie --need advice for live setup from scratch


I'm in the process of creating a synth setup for a new band. I'm dropping guitar and bass for this. First time with live synth and on a budget (at least in the short term). Here's what I need:

1) sounds I favor most: organ-y, bass-y (but we will have a bass guitar, so I don't want to play synth bass), lo-fi, gritty, warm

2) effects I favor most: delay (and looping), envelope filter, slice/gate, tweaking knobs on the spot to take a simple vocal/synth sound and turn it into something completely different and incomprehensible (but still beautiful somehow)

3) I can either go laptop + MIDI Controller route or total hardware; the biggest advantage of the laptop would be being able to use PureData / Csound which I want to get into

4) I don't want any rack equipment

5) I want to be able to use pre-sampled sounds (e.g., field recordings) with effects on them, so if no computer, then I should be able to load some custom sounds into the hardware

6) While creating synth sounds, I would intermittently be singing into the mic and perhaps controlling vocal effects thru an EHX Voice Box with the keyboard.

I did some research and found some things that seem right for me: Alesis Micron or DSI Mopho. I'm wondering if there's a small (non-rack) multi-effects box for synth that I could add on to Mopho (or does it have enough effects of its own).

I'd like to get your other ideas about what's out there that fits the above. I'm on a budget, so the cheaper the better. I don't believe I need high-end expensive gear to create good music (I respect the gear and the people who use it well, though). I don't have much knowledge of electronics, but if there's any chance I can get somewhere with DIY (homemade pedals, circuit-bending, behringers, etc. hooked up to an old cheap synth) I would try it. I'm also willing to keep everything inside the laptop and learn PureData etc. to create the sounds I have in mind.

What are your recommendations?

My new band and I would really like to thank the individuals who respond in advance, as you definitely will be helpful and influential in our choice of gear and thus our sound.
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