Looking to get into synth's... Looking at lower priced options

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by tomsy49, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. tomsy49

    tomsy49 Member

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    I am contemplating picking up an analog synth like the Arturia Minibrute, Korg monologue or the volca series. I generally like the tactile feel of knobs and buttons but would my ipad and a controller be a better option?? I went down the ipad path for practising guitar but i usually just ended up dicking around with different software apps and whatnot. Any suggestions or options would be appreciated!
     
  2. ArborMan7

    ArborMan7 Member

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    I also recently started to get into synths, the learning curve seems to be pretty steep and the options are overwhelming.
    Before spending too much and buying an analogue synth, I recommend starting with the Arturia iMini ipad app (a Moog emulation).
    It did give me a better idea as to what to expect when playing with synths overall and it sounds great!
     
  3. Black_Label

    Black_Label Member

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    If you want to get seriously into it, I think having a hardware synth is the way to go. If you just want to add some synth sounds to your recordings, download Animoog and tweak a couple of their presets to your liking.

    All three of those options are great entry synths. I'd probably go with the Arturia because I feel like their stuff is well made, well thought out and smartly implemented. The Volca stuff is cool for really cheap analog gear but it's got those tiny keys that you 'use' more than 'play'. The Monologue and Minilogue are good low end synths. Opinions may differ, but I tend to think of Arturia as being better quality than Korg. Another option to look at is one of the Roland boutique synths. They're digital and not analog but they sound great and aren't too steep. The little Juno they make is pretty simple to use and sounds a whole lot like an old 106.
     
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  4. aussie_owner

    aussie_owner Member

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    Korg has their apps on sale for 50% off until January. I have several Korg apps, and they're all good. Pick up a USB keyboard and the camera connection kit, and you're set. I would also look at Syntorial - it's a full featured synth, but there is also a course to learn synthesizer programming. The first few lessons are free, but will get you on the road. I've learned quite a bit from just the starter courses.
     
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  5. 909one

    909one Member

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    Moog Mother 32. Highly recommend.
     
  6. Modulator

    Modulator Member

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    pushing your finger around on a piece of glass is nothing like knobs. Never will be.
    Look in your local craigslist, you should be able to find plenty of low end synths to get started with.
     
  7. stevel

    stevel Member

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    OP, many of those "mini" or "micro" synths have MINI KEYS.

    If you want FULL SIZE KEYS, please make sure you check out any synths/controllers and confirm that before you buy.

    I play two handed "real" keyboards and for compact, yet enough keys to play, I kind of put the limit at a 61 key keyboard.

    But if you only play one-handed, or only want to make sounds, do bass lines, or lead lines, a 49 or 37 key would be ok (But most of the 37s and below are not full size - which is OK if you're just going to do simple kind of stuff).
     
  8. Catch

    Catch Analog>Digital Converter

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    I was in your position last year. I looked hard at the Arturia products. I settled on a used Moog Sub Phatty. Incredible machine--so many outstanding tones to manipulate.
     
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  9. Devnor

    Devnor Member

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    Check out the Reface CS.
     
  10. weallplaysynth

    weallplaysynth Member

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    Are you planning on recording / playing out or do you just want something to mess around with? Cheapest route is probably a USB keyboard into an iPad (and those come with knobs that can usually be MIDI assigned), but you kind of get what you pay for and I can't imagine it would be too satisfying in a performance setting.

    If you've already got a laptop, modelers are getting pretty good. U-HE makes some awesome ones, e.g.
    Diva
    Repro-1
    and I'm a fan of NI Monark too

    You get all the possibilities of something like a minibrute, and then more. Requires a semi-quick computer (U-He stuff) and a little more knowhow than just plugging it in, though.
     
  11. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    It really depends on what you want to achieve, and what types of sounds you want to get. The Minibrute and Monologue are both monosynths, meaning you can play one key at a time...no chords. They're great for leads, basslines, and sound design, but not quite so good for full voiced pads. But, they are good tools for learning how to program synths.

    If the one key at a time won't suit your needs, then you'll need to look at something like the Korg Minilogue, which is four voice polyphonic (up to four keys at a time). If you're willing to go with a digital synths, there are several good options in that direction as well (ex. Roland JD-Xi).

    As others have mentioned, there are some terrific software synths as well, and you could go that route using a standalone MIDI controller. Be cautious though, as some soft synths can be resource hogs. The Diva soft synth that someone else recommended really needs a pretty highly spec'd computer to run effectively.



    If you share a bit more about what you want to achieve, I'd be happy to provide further suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
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  12. rsm

    rsm Member

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    I think a good option would be a Roland System-1 or Korg Minilogue; most of the controls are on the surface, minimal menu diving...makes it more accessible IMO than something like the Roland JD-Xi

    +1 on Syntorial.

    If you really want to get into it, I highly recommend the SOS Synth Secrets series, now archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20160403115835/http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/allsynthsecrets.htm

    for a good, relatively easy to use software synth, have a look at KV331Audio's SynthMaster2. edit: it's on sale now too! http://www.kv331audio.com/

    http://audulus.com/ is interesting for modular software. If you have Ableton, Max For Cats OSCiLLOT is worth a look: http://maxforcats.com/category/oscillot/
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
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  13. Franktone

    Franktone Member

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    I think the best low priced analog option will be the Behringer Deepmind 12 when it soon comes out for right around $999.99.
    It is fashioned after the Roland 106 but has even more capability with its effects matrix and two oscillators.
     
  14. champion ruby

    champion ruby Member

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    +1 I think it's perfect for someone who wants to learn Subtractive Synthesis. You get a better understanding of synth architecture by physically patching. The sequencer is very intuitive, you can mix both waveforms, use almost anything as a modulation source, use the LFO as a limited range second oscillator and break out of your musical box just by applying melodic patterns to the sequencer ie. Slonimsky, Stockhausen or something completely random.

    Just my opinion but programming software is the total opposite to working with hardware, the magic is lost and the journey doesn't ever quite start. Software is great when you already know what you want, then it becomes a powerful tool and should not be dismissed.
     
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  15. Alan Dunn

    Alan Dunn Member

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    I've owned a few synths over the past 35 or so years and the one I'd recommend to a newbie is a Roland Gaia. It's not analog, it doesn't sound great, it's not built like a tank, it doesn't have a display, and the keys on it are at best passable.

    What the Roland Gaia does have though is a very intuitive programming interface which will see pretty much anyone being able to program useful sounds on it just by reading though a few short Roland tutorials.

    I probably made more useful sounds on my Gaia in a month than I did on my Poly 800 , JX3P or D-50 in over 35 years of ownership.
     
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  16. p.j.

    p.j. Member

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    The Arturia Microbrute is fun and inexpensive. I also have the Volca Bass and it is fun.
     
  17. rsm

    rsm Member

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    I agree, starting with hardware is a better way to start, however, if you're not sure what you want or where to start, some of the software synths offer a good option. The SynthMaster2 I mention above covers many different approaches beyond subtractive; here's the description from the site:

    " SynthMaster is an 'all-around' semi-modular software synthesizer and effect plug-in that features many different synthesis methods including VA, Additive, Wavetable, Wavescanning, Phase Modulation, Frequency Modulation, Pulse Width Modulation, Ring Modulation, Amplitude Modulation, Physical Modeling and SFZ Sample Playback synthesis. With its multi-algorithm oscillators, analog modelled/digital filters, flexible effects routing with 11 types of high quality effects and a massive modulation architecture with 95 separate modulation sources and 650+ modulation targets; SynthMaster is a 'must-have' for all synthesizer enthusiasts! "
     
  18. tomsy49

    tomsy49 Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! i have decided a hardware synth will allow me to get the most out of it. I'm just not a fan of ipad apps for music after trying out the arturia moog modelled synth app. Can be too hard to turn knobs on the touch screen.

    As far as buying s hardware synth, I will have to purchase online as i live in rural Canada and not much in the way of synths anywhere to be found on kijiji (Canada Craigslist). I would be looking to spend $300-400 max at this time. Christmas has left me with minimal expendable cash. Looks like the Roland System 1 could be a good option. Any opinions on that vs say the minilogue or microbrute?
     
  19. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    Hardware synth all the way IMO. There are a lot of great options in the used market.
     
  20. mattymel

    mattymel Supporting Member

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    Mother 32 is pretty awesome. I have a Sub37 too. But it's much more complicated and $$$.
     

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