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Old 21st February 2011
Lives for gear
Originally Posted by omegaomega View Post
I also have a SY77 (which I love). Having two different studios, I'm considering to buy the TG77 for my second studio. Do you know if the TG77 offers any advantages to the SY77 or it is EXACTLY the same but obviously without the keyboard?
I tried to search for information but it seems I can't find anything really (I think I remember the TG77 had some advantages to the SY77 but can't really recall what exactly).

Also, I'm eying the SY85. Do you think they sound different enough to justify buying that too (I've found one for a mere 250 euros)...
GAS and all, you know...

I have an SY77 also, my favourite (Digital) synth! It's got a whole world of (AFM) sounds in it and often inspires me with new ideas based on it's classy yet unusual/different sounds (in comparison to analog or pure romplers who's presets get overused). I don't use the PRESETS on the SY77 and I barely use it in 'rompler' mode at all (much better stuff out there for that), however in AFM mode or mixed mode it is a beast. And in a mix especially it sits so well and can emulate all manner of gear and do unique stuff aswell, it out VA'd my AN1x (I found the 77 had way more bass/character in the lower end AND a better filter than sounded more 'analog' even), and lots of software I compared it against, it just has presence and is extremely versatile while being good at all of it imo. And quite hard to tell it apart from analog (when using it for analogesque pads or leads etc) in a song full of other stuff (for most listeners not synth nuts)

IIRC the TG77's only advantage is multi ouputs (8 or something?). Personally I prefer the SY over the TG because:

.The extra wheel which can be used to good effect in custom patches
.the jog wheel which is a great aid in programming vs only a slider
.The floppy drive (this is one machine where I regularly use/fill banks of sounds with custom ones off the net AND masses of my own! nicer than midi dumps)
.better panel layout for editing (and as these machines are so advanced you need as much help as possible with the layout, easier to on/off elements/ops etc)
.Horizontal so you look down comfortably, and your hands rest on it comfortably while you program a 'spaceship taking off in the pouring rain' patch for 6 hours (maybe you could tilt your rackstand to almost flat though)

SY also has the sequencer that the TG lacks but I've never used it nor ever will so it's not really important but to some it might be.

Also It looks great (for a black digi) AND they tend to go cheaper than the rack! (Probably as lots of space conscious folk prefer the rack, as the SY77 is quite a beefy unit)

Though I'd be happy with either really and you could program it from the PC with mouse which would be fine for the rack.

About the drive, don't worry at all! I replaced mine with a simple ribbon cable mod (move some wires around) and then used a standard (black) PC Drive which cost me £5 and is modern belt less, it's never going to die and even if it did you just swap another £5 one in!

Also I fitted the 'bright white on blue' LCD screen in mine which is a massive improvement over the stock screen for both clarity, looks and silence (the original can start buzzing from it's inverter)

I also had a DX7 II-D which I really liked but the '77 runs rings around it, I don't care if the '77 has a 'cleaner output' or less aliasing (in fact I do care and I prefer the output on the '77, I'll save my fm grit/punch for the TX81z if I need it). I sold my DX7 for over TWICE the price the '77 cost me! which is insane, it's ALL about the 'badge' here. If they had called it DX77 it would have now been a lot more popular (but I'm glad it isn't)

As far as I know, the SY85 drive isn't so easy to use a cheap one with though the 'proper' ones may be a bit cheaper than the '77/'99 proper ones.

As for the sound, if you need some decent quality romplage going on then an SY85 is a great deal (I prefer the rack in this instance - TG-500 at just 1 rack unit high is a great size/performance ratio - I've had both the rack and they keyboard).

Nothing wrong with the SY85 but it's not really a 'synthesizer' in the way the SY77 is, I use my TG-500 as a bread and butter sound source and tweak it a little to suit. The '85 is easier to tweak as it has a set of 8 cool edit sliders under the screen and bar graphs on the LCD when you edit but it's still nowhere near as good/impressive as the screen on the SY77 which is typical of the larger LCDs of that era (Wavestation A/D etc) very detailed and with all sorts of graphs and numbers in plain view, not quite so much 'through the letterbox' with the '77. Though the 85 is far simpler so it's letterbox programming may not be a problem for anyone used to such things.

The PCM samples in the 85 are a bit better IIRC over the SY77 *BUT* this is why it and it's rack are cool for rompler activity, it doesn't get much use with me but it has some of my sounds in that I used a lot in the 90s so keep it around as I can't get them elsewhere (and I don't really care for sampling them). Also the 85 Can use limited sample memory + upgrades etc, the '77 can't (the '99 can) but really it's overkill for me as I'd never use it but YMMV.

Anyway the SY/TG77 gets a 10/10 recommendation from me, the SY85/TG-500 would only get a 5/10 all things being equal, and then only if you wanted some decent quality rompler sounds without going more modern/expensive. THe 85 (like the 77) does have a GREAT digital filter though that many modern synths seem unable to compete with, but the 85 is lacking FM totally and is every bit a rompler and nothing else (A TG-500 is typically cheaper than the SY85 and for what they offer, a better space/sound ratio but it's not a must have like the SY77 imo).