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Just a simple question from someone new to synths
Old 5th December 2012
  #1
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🎧 5 years
Just a simple question from someone new to synths

Hi all, this site seems great.

I'm a classical pianist in background. Recently I've been inducted into a new band and I need a good piece of gear, so I'm looking for advice.

We play psychadelic-style music similar to the Australian band Tame Impala. The link to some of our music is here: Coloured Clocks

In the songs "Cycle" and "Miles", I'm looking for a synth which can easily make that spacey transition on stage. I've been playing on an Arturia laboratory hooked up to a laptop with Ableton Live 2.0 but this is clunky, breaks down and generally a pain in the ass. I'd like a stand-alone synth, analog or not, and would prefer to spend around $1000.

We don't need anything too fancy, just something which sounds good, works consistently and is easy enough to jam with in rehearsal and on stage. So far I was recommended the Roland Juno-Di, which in my opinion doesn't sound great, and I know about the Nord Lead 2x, which is very cool but a bit more than I want to pay, though I might still get it.

What would you recommend I get?
Old 5th December 2012
  #2
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maisonvague's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Tons of options out there... but when I played in bands similar in sound to what I heard on your bandcamp page I was using simple analog synths like the Roland Juno-2 and JX-3P. Both of these, however, need external programmers to create original sounds (unless you fancy one-button editing, which I don't). Personally, I'd go for a used Roland JP-8000. For me, this synth is a kind of composite of many vintage Rolands. It's totally digital, however - "virtual analog" - which is a compromise - but in a band setting it works well! The panel is very well designed, making sound creation/tweaking very intuitive and easy to learn. So, if it were me, I'd be looking for a JP-8000 (well, actually, I wouldn't be, since I already have two of them! lol). Great synth!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
Hi all, this site seems great.

I'm a classical pianist in background. Recently I've been inducted into a new band and I need a good piece of gear, so I'm looking for advice.

We play psychadelic-style music similar to the Australian band Tame Impala. The link to some of our music is here: Coloured Clocks

In the songs "Cycle" and "Miles", I'm looking for a synth which can easily make that spacey transition on stage. I've been playing on an Arturia laboratory hooked up to a laptop with Ableton Live 2.0 but this is clunky, breaks down and generally a pain in the ass. I'd like a stand-alone synth, analog or not, and would prefer to spend around $1000.

We don't need anything too fancy, just something which sounds good, works consistently and is easy enough to jam with in rehearsal and on stage. So far I was recommended the Roland Juno-Di, which in my opinion doesn't sound great, and I know about the Nord Lead 2x, which is very cool but a bit more than I want to pay, though I might still get it.

What would you recommend I get?
Old 5th December 2012
  #3
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shponglefan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If you're looking for something more for playing than tweaking, then probably just a used workstation would fit the bill (i.e. a Motif, Fantom, M3, etc).
Old 7th December 2012
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks very much! I'll try to get my hands on one of those synths. Toy sounds cool, the sort of sound we're going for is around about that. If I get the JP-8000 I'll have to get it shipped in from Japan, though, ah well.
Old 7th December 2012
  #5
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Your question will have many many subjective answers. Just a word of warning.


Your easiest route is to get a synth with plenty of knobs.

I can recommend simply the Juno 60, 106, JX8P, or JX3P but it sounds much more analog than the JX8P which sounds a bit more modern.


As for a virtual analog JP8000 is ok but be aware it distorts really easy and the polyphony always is a pain in the ass. The sliders wear overtime and begin to skip values.

The Nord Lead is good but I find that too to have limited polyphony many times in a patch. The sound is also something you have to like and you may not. It's hard to explain.

The Alesis ION is another suggestion along with the Korg MS2000 or Korg Polysix.


Now that I think of it the JP8000 would be good for what you are going for but I wouldn't pay more than 500 tops. It's not worth more than that to have it shipped for 100 bucks more. You can find them on craigslist quite a bit.
Old 7th December 2012
  #6
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
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🎧 5 years
MS2000 only has 4 polyphony. Not very good for chords.
Old 7th December 2012
  #7
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The mod sequencer is out of this world though. He might want that. I agree thought the limited polyphony sucks at times.
Old 7th December 2012
  #8
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Susceptor's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Virus TI (search for desktop, second-hand)
You could also consider a Korg M3 module (I don't really know how much they cost SH though)
Old 7th December 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susceptor View Post
Virus TI (search for desktop, second-hand)
You could also consider a Korg M3 module (I don't really know how much they cost SH though)
If his budget permits I'd highly suggest the Virus too. With that should be plenty to work with.
Old 7th December 2012
  #10
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tjporter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
So far I was recommended the Roland Juno-Di, which in my opinion doesn't sound great...
The secret weapon needed to make a Juno-Di sound better...
Old 10th December 2012
  #11
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🎧 5 years
What do you guys think of a Korg Krome 61? I live in Australia so there's less available gear near me on ebay, gumtree and in second hand stores. A list of all the stuff available near me is as follows:

Korg X2 (negotiable)
Roland XP50 (450)
Nord Lead 2X (1100)
ROLAND JUNO DI (460)
Roland JX3P Synthesizer + PG200 Programmer (700)
access virus b (800)
KORG MICROARRANGER (650 or less)

I probably need to grab one in the next week or less, so it would be a good idea to get it quickly. At this point I'll probably grab either the JX3P or the Lead, both seem pretty sweet and I'm not knowledgeable on how to use the Virus B with my midi controller.
Old 10th December 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy;

[COLOR="Red"
Korg X2[/COLOR]
Roland XP50
Nord Lead 2X
ROLAND JUNO DI
Roland JX3P Synthesizer + PG200 Programmer
access virus b
KORG MICROARRANGER
Ignore the stuff in red as they are romplers. The best thing for great editable synth sounds is an actual synth.
Old 10th December 2012
  #13
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jrakarl's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
What do you guys think of a Korg Krome 61? I live in Australia so there's less available gear near me on ebay, gumtree and in second hand stores. A list of all the stuff available near me is as follows:

Korg X2 (negotiable)
Roland XP50 (450)
Nord Lead 2X (1100)
ROLAND JUNO DI (460)
Roland JX3P Synthesizer + PG200 Programmer (700)
access virus b (800)
KORG MICROARRANGER (650 or less)

I probably need to grab one in the next week or less, so it would be a good idea to get it quickly. At this point I'll probably grab either the JX3P or the Lead, both seem pretty sweet and I'm not knowledgeable on how to use the Virus B with my midi controller.
Yep, if I were in your shoes I'd go the JX3P too as long as the programmer is with it. You may need some fx to go with that, like a simple reverb unit...

The JP8000 2nd-hand is also a good option. I wouldn't be paying for one from Japan though. Shipping would be a pain in the arse.
(FX units from Japan are a different story. I like the Boss/Roland SE70.)

After getting used to synthesis, you could also look at a JD990 with vintage synth expansion card.



Sent from my GT-I9300T
Old 10th December 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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maisonvague's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
What do you guys think of a Korg Krome 61? I live in Australia so there's less available gear near me on ebay, gumtree and in second hand stores. A list of all the stuff available near me is as follows:

Korg X2 (negotiable)
Roland XP50 (450)
Nord Lead 2X (1100)
ROLAND JUNO DI (460)
Roland JX3P Synthesizer + PG200 Programmer (700)
access virus b (800)
KORG MICROARRANGER (650 or less)

I probably need to grab one in the next week or less, so it would be a good idea to get it quickly. At this point I'll probably grab either the JX3P or the Lead, both seem pretty sweet and I'm not knowledgeable on how to use the Virus B with my midi controller.
Based on the kind of music you want to make, from that list I'd go with the JX-3P. If it hasn't already been upgraded, there's a kit available (the Kiwi kit) which would make it an even better synth. In another thread, I was just discouraging the OP from going vintage, but this price is still within the realm of reason.

You'd get more "musical mileage", however, out of the Nord. But then, that'll cost you another 400 units.

I've got a JX-3P with the Organix MIDI upgrade + PG200. Great synth!
Old 10th December 2012
  #15
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🎧 5 years
Sorry if I'm new at this and asking obvious sorts of questions. What do you mean exactly by musical mileage? Also, what does the Kiwi kit do to it to change the JX3P? I'm hoping it's not essential and I won't be limited without it. The Nord would be cool but analog also holds an appeal.

I'm interested in being able to play two sounds at once as well (say one with the left hand and one with the right) but I'm guessing this is hard to do on either synth. Thanks very much for the answers, fellers, you kick ass

<EDIT> found what the Kiwi Kit does online. That's interesting, seems to make it very much a modern synth. The one I want to buy is unupgraded so I'd be able to add that later
Old 10th December 2012
  #16
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choond's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I agree with all the advice on this thread

My first synth was a Jp8000 but if it hasn't been said already, it should be noted that it has only 8 note polyphony. A piano player who isn't expecting that limitation might find it lacking for some things.

My 30th birthday pressie was a JX3P with the programmer. I could never really fall in love with it (apart from its gorgeous looks), its probably my fault though. I think I found it overly bright on first impressions, but its more likely I just didn't know how to get the most out of it. I sold it fairly quickly.

Of all the suggestions on this thread, I've been happiest with the Jp8000 , Virus, and Roland romplers like the XP50 (though I use a fantom now, and love it). Never had the pleasure of trying a Nord, though I'd love to.
Old 10th December 2012
  #17
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Septik's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'd go for a Yamaha AN1x in your shoes. GREAT sounding digital synth that is deeply programable, has some great onboard FX, and sounds great with little effort. Also has a nice large keyboard, and is lightweight. They can be found for as little as $250 with some luck, and for no more than $400 if you are patient. It is impossible to make AN1x sound bad, and IMO it blows anything under the $600 range out of the water for a player's poly synth
Old 10th December 2012
  #18
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🎧 5 years
You know, the polyphony thing is something I only just realised ... the JX3P only has 6 notes at a time. As a background piano player that's a bit of a bummer because not only am I used to playing up to 8 tones at once with my fingers, but also liberal use of the sustain pedal during arpeggiated passages ... the Nord's 64 note polyphony is seeming a lot more of a drawcard with that in mind.
Old 10th December 2012
  #19
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Septik's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Actually, Matrix 6s are pretty rad as well, but are much more tedious to program than AN1x and don't have fx built in
Old 10th December 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
You know, the polyphony thing is something I only just realised ... the JX3P only has 6 notes at a time. As a background piano player that's a bit of a bummer because not only am I used to playing up to 8 tones at once with my fingers, but also liberal use of the sustain pedal during arpeggiated passages ... the Nord's 64 note polyphony is seeming a lot more of a drawcard with that in mind.
If you try to play a synth like a piano the results wouldn't be that good anyway. Think of it that way. Tyipcal a synth is used for chords, lead, or bass, but pretty much never at the same time. Analog with poly with 8 or more is really expensive (with exception of the Prophet 08).
Old 10th December 2012
  #21
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🎧 5 years
There's a Nord Lead 2 (not X) which is what I found when doing another search on Ebay, it's 900 bucks. Sounds pretty reasonable to me as well. I'll have to decide out of those three options (lead, lead 2x and the jx3p). Seems like I can't find anything else that isn't a rompler, which is a shame.

Quote:
If you try to play a synth like a piano the results wouldn't be that good anyway. Think of it that way. Tyipcal a synth is used for chords, lead, or bass, but pretty much never at the same time. Analog with poly with 8 or more is really expensive (with exception of the Prophet 08).
Fair enough, but it would still be annoying for me to cut out old sounds accidentally because I played too many notes in my chord.
Old 10th December 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
There's a Nord Lead 2 (not X) which is what I found when doing another search on Ebay, it's 900 bucks. Sounds pretty reasonable to me as well. I'll have to decide out of those three options (lead, lead 2x and the jx3p). Seems like I can't find anything else that isn't a rompler, which is a shame.



Fair enough, but it would still be annoying for me to cut out old sounds accidentally because I played too many notes in my chord.
Do not buy a Nord Lead 2 if you do not like a lack of polyphony.

I always find notes cutting out due to limited polyphony more than all my keyboards even my 6 polys. I know it's supposed to have a decent amount but that's not the case.
Old 10th December 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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choond's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
You know, the polyphony thing is something I only just realised ... the JX3P only has 6 notes at a time. As a background piano player that's a bit of a bummer because not only am I used to playing up to 8 tones at once with my fingers, but also liberal use of the sustain pedal during arpeggiated passages ... the Nord's 64 note polyphony is seeming a lot more of a drawcard with that in mind.
Yes, it does make a lot of difference. Low polyphonic Synths are great for sound design, leads, bass etc. But when you know how to play piano, you can't help but ache for the ability to play lush, complex chords using unique layered sounds and arps. This is why you get some people suggesting that you consider checking out a good workstation with high polyphony, perhaps to compliment a nice synth.
Old 10th December 2012
  #24
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jrakarl's Avatar
I can't help but wonder if you know exactly what you're after...

Do you want to be able to manipulate filters, LFOs and resonance on an analog/or modeller?
* Roland JX3P; Yamaha AN1X; Roland JP8000; or JD800; Jupiter 4 (prob over your price range).

Do you want to build layers of pad sounds, or sounds that evolve over time?
* Yamaha SY77; Korg Wavestation; Casio S5000;

* play multiple sounds at a time? On one keyboard?
* Do you want to design your own sounds? Or have the sounds you want out of the box?

Some of us have multiple keyboards simply because they offer different sounds, level of control and interfaces...

I need to know more before I can help you... And maybe you need to try out a lot of keyboards in order to appreciate the differences between each of them and a piano.

Exciting times!


Sent from my GT-I9300T
Old 10th December 2012
  #25
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Apprendista's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Waldorf Q or Blofeld.
Old 10th December 2012 | Show parent
  #26
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maisonvague's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckupcurlyguy View Post
What do you mean exactly by musical mileage?
I simply meant that the Nord Lead 2x is a much more sophisticated instrument than the JX-3P, with several different filter types, split keyboard and layering capabilities, onboard drumkits, etc. It's like a mini-workstation. This would give you more "musical mileage" in the long run in that you could go a lot further with it than the JX-3P.

Concerning polyphony and piano-style playing on synths, while it's always nice to have lots of polyphony, in many genres it's not necessary or even appropriate to play a synth like a piano with big chords, etc. When playing chords, in most cases, three voices is enough (this is especially true if another instrument is already covering bass), since a chord is defined by having a minimum of three notes. And in traditional harmony, there are usually just four voices (SATB) with one voice often doubling another still leaving you with a three-note chord.

The deciding factor (as always) is context. In a style of music such as Tame Impala -- which is totally neo-60s psychedelic Lennon-influenced rock -- you're not often going to want piano-style synth parts (if ever). If you play simple (one hand) organ chords, monophonic leads, some trippy sound FX, etc. your bandmates are going to be stoked. If you play Elton John or Billy Joel style "piano-man" chords, I imagine they might start talking behind your back.
Old 10th December 2012
  #27
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synthguy's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
One that would fit your requirements perfectly would be a KORG Radias. Up to 24 voice poly, nice filter types, highly deeply programmable, up to four layer/splits, lots of knobs, step sequencer AND arpeggiators, nice effects I believe ported from the OASYS because it was the first KORG verb I liked. Nice balance of modern sheen and some vintage juice.
Old 10th December 2012 | Show parent
  #28
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choond's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I simply meant that the Nord Lead 2x is a much more sophisticated instrument than the JX-3P, with several different filter types, split keyboard and layering capabilities, onboard drumkits, etc. It's like a mini-workstation. This would give you more "musical mileage" in the long run in that you could go a lot further with it than the JX-3P.

Concerning polyphony and piano-style playing on synths, while it's always nice to have lots of polyphony, in many genres it's not necessary or even appropriate to play a synth like a piano with big chords, etc. When playing chords, in most cases, three voices is enough (this is especially true if another instrument is already covering bass), since a chord is defined by having a minimum of three notes. And in traditional harmony, there are usually just four voices (SATB) with one voice often doubling another still leaving you with a three-note chord.
Hey Masonvague, Those are excellent points, as usual That was a good call checking out Tame Impala's work. I am just listening to their work for the first time (being an Australian band) and I can see why the JX3P came to mind- that bright sound would fit in very well with their style. Good call!

High polyphonic workstations are great for when you mix styles, and for production as well as live, which it doesn't seem you'll be doing much of ?
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