ASM Hydrasynth...Have One?..Your Thoughts....

Discussion in 'Instruments' started by Lois Lane, Jan 21, 2023.

  1. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    I'm thinking about picking one up in a few months and want to enjoin the brain trust to help me make a decision about which model to buy, the Deluxe with 73 keys, ribbon controller and easier access and less page diving than the smaller sisters in this synth famiy, the Keyboard version with 49 keys, the Explorer with 37 or the Desktop without keys. I love the sounds I've listened to from reviews and might pair it up with a VECTOR Synth and focus on some ideas in my head and go in this direction as opposed to using mostly soft synths.

    Thanks up front for your input.

    Lois
     
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  3. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Rock Star

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    Have you seen this vid yet? Maybe it will help?



    The ASM Hydrasynth is the only modern synth (that I know of) that I like. If it fit into what I was doing I would def have the the DELUXE just for the 16 voices and keys alone.​
     
  4. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

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    Hi @Lois Lane, I'm all for the "ASM Hydrasynth Deluxe" if you have the space for it and the money.
    73 keys is definitely better than 49. It's also a good investment.

    HYDRASYNTH: Full Review // Keyboard vs Desktop // Poly aftertouch tutorial

    ASM Hydrasynth - All Playing, No Talking!
     
  5. 9ty

    9ty Kapellmeister

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    Agree, if space & money is enough, go for 73 keys, why not.

    Having the Explorer with 37 keys myself, I can tell you that it works perfect for me. Perhaps I'm to limitated in playing keys, but I'm rarely using big steps in the octaves if there are more of them available. Skipping through the pages in the main section is not a problem at all and works fast. It was a matter of seconds from day one for me to select the different modules (OSC, Filters, FX, LFO, etc.) and even doing without stop playing. Even if I'm not skilled at playing keys at all. I heard some thoughts about the keys being to small. It works for me. Quality of the keys is really good, if you don't expect a piano... I'm somehow sure you don't. Aftertouch works great and all in all the keys brought instant joy while playing them. On the other hand... if a had the money to buy a Hydrasynth Deluxe (~1850 in my country), I would probably go for the Expressive E Osmose (~1800) and spend some more money to get the Hydrasynth Explorer (~600), too. :bleh:

    Soundwise I really love the Hydrasynth and think it is a great decisions to buy one. Since I bought one I replaced many synth/strings tracks I created with VSTi's (most of them Serum, Omnisphere, Diva or Kontakt). The signals you get from the Hydra are so f#'in clean, but not in a sterile way. In these A/B situations the original VST-tracks sounded dull and muddy to me in many cases, compared to the Hydra. You see, I'm on the hypetrain for sure.
     
  6. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    I have the original desktop model and it's ok. It is definitely "clean" but I do feel it is on the sterile side of things. Very digital, and I do not think in that great of a way. Depending on your other gear, you could probably figure out a better way to spend the money. just sayin.

    they are a rather specific thing, put it that way. The Desktop model is built like a tank. Many people sell them because of how they sound, or operate; but not because they are junk and falling apart. I'd definitely consider getting one used for the correct price.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023
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  7. screetones

    screetones Noisemaker

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    its an incredible synth and you will not be disappointed by it. I would get the explorer or the 49. The deluxe is overkill, the keyboard is the most important part of it so buying the desktop module isnt worth it IMO. By buying one with a keyboard you're getting the addition of an amazing expressive poly aftertouch keyboard. I had a 49 and an explorer and ended up just keeping the explorer. They are the best mini keys ever made on a keyboard, and the polyaftertouch is incredible on it. I like how portable it is but also very powerful, also an amazing value. So I would get the regular 49 key or the explorer
     
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  8. screetones

    screetones Noisemaker

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    The sound of the hydrasynth is nearly limitless, it really has to do with the programmer. It can do purely digital/fm, very realistic virtual analog, wavetable, or a total SFX modular monster. The only type of synthesis it can't do is physical modeling and granular/sampling. The sound quality is unreal once you realize how to exploit its sweet spots.
     
  9. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    it's not that complex to program even. this is the Sigabort MidiSynth editor for it if you don't like to memorize menus:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. ironmother

    ironmother Ultrasonic

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    I hear this sentiment being repeated within the circle I trust, as well. In the end we went for the warmer, analog sound and so decided on a Poly D. But recently I had my eye on the Moog Mother 32 as well. There are many others. If someone is going for that digital-esque vibe then why not go for something like the Polybrute?
     
  11. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    Thank you all for your replies.

    I guess my next step is to actually play the synth and see if I can bond with the flow and in the flesh discern if, as a few have mentioned, if it is too "sterile" for my ears.

    After parsing through the replies of the brain trust which is helping in really thinking it out, I imagine edging towards the smaller 49 key version to take advantage of the poly after touch which is a selling point while hopefully being able to set it up perpindicular to my desk while not making it impossible to walk by it as my room is narrow (it might help to rid myself of some unplayed guitars and their cases on that wall). I'd miss the multiple stereo outs and the second sound engine of the big kahuna, but as others have mentioned, it is rather expensive and I do have a budget. I need a new computer to replace my 2012 3700K dinosaur (another thread coming) and also will replace my aged Babyface from 2014 for probably an RME UCX 2. All that will hopefully keep me going for at least another 10 years or so as long as the bottom of Europe doesn't drop off and shit hits the fan.

    Thanks again for helping.
     
  12. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    I went to a local musical instrument store here in Basel and they were nice enough to pull out an Explorer, the one with the smaller keys. I plugged in my headphones...and the sound was not really what I was expecting. The filters which are super important to me were really lacking in heft to my ears. If I'm going to sink good money after a synth it needs to wow me and sorry to say this wasn't how it went. I'm going to find a poly aftertouch controller and at least for now keep on using the soft synths that I enjoy using. Surge should be able to do what I need with a new controller.
     
  13. Xenon

    Xenon Producer

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    Grab a seaboard! Gamechanger! So awesome crazy what you can do with softsynths!
     
  14. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    This is exactly my thoughts about it. I use it frequently still, but it is literally my least sonically appealing hardware synth. I will take sounds from my virus, moogs or even the Nord over Hydrasynth's sound any day of the week. I love all the design options but the actual sound is just not ready for prime time. imho. Especially the filter. The overall sound is very digital and great for cutting into a mix. But I figured you would not like it, as a guitar player who has appreciation for "tone". If they attached mine back to their spy balloon for a return flight, I would not entirely mind. But if you want a thin digital pad sweep, risers, and strange FX, this thing is king.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2023 at 5:06 PM
  15. 9ty

    9ty Kapellmeister

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    Virus, Moogs, Nord, guitars ... so many incredients thrown together in a pot, but where is the connection? The guitar is also what I'd call my main instrument and yes, the dedication for "tone" was there for me right from the beginnings. Perhaps I misunderstood you, but arguments like these can be misleading. I just see no connection between being a guitarist, "tone" appreciation and liking one specific synth or not. On the other hand it is clearly an opinion, which is totally fine to me. :wink:

    I somehow agree on the filters - they are definitely not the most offensive/aggressive ones. As always it depends on what you want to do. I figured out that the filter characteristics of the Hydrasynth help me performing some long and subtle envelopes. On some synths (both hard- and software) it is more difficult to do that kind of stuff, because the filters act to harsh/hefty.
     
  16. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    You can call it whatever you want. Say it's difficult to program, there is an editor that makes it easy. It's sound cannot be changed and for a synth that costs almost *real money, the thing sounds more like a behringer than someone with Lois educated ears will want to hear for hundreds of bucks more. Read the result of such a listeners take on it above in his comments. Mine is overall the same. If you cannot hear that it sounds digital as all hell, that's your ears because you are comparing it with the vst plugins mentioned above in your prior post. if I was trying to be dishonest about it, I would say how great it sounds and then offer to sell it. I bet you have to saturate everything from it to get it where you would "start" with another VA synth. Yes, I can put my vintage Channel Strip/FF/kirchoff/etc strip on it; but is that what you expect for 800 bucks?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2023 at 9:00 PM
  17. 9ty

    9ty Kapellmeister

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    Well, here is the good old "my-and-my-friends-ears-are-so-much-more-educated-than-yours"-route! Maybe those ears are already a little above the zenith... nah, I'm just kidding and totally respect your opinions and the advice you are giving here. :) To be clear about one specific thing: yes, I can hear it sounds "digital". That's what I was about calling it very clean sounding. To me, there is nothing wrong about sounding digital, if that's the characteristic we are talking about. The only analog synth I was a-b-comparing it to was the Korg Minilogue, which is the same price range as the Explorer by the way. As I stated above, for the *real money the deluxe version of the Hydra costs, I was probably going after other things. So yeah, my tests have been quite limited regarding this (somehow cliche-driven) digital vs. analog topic. Anyway, in this comparison the Minilogue TO ME was the one synth sounding dull, although not digital. I'm not a fan of the overall sound of the Minilogue in general, I have to admit.

    My comparison to vst plugins is just a real life situation for me, because I have no garage full of hardware synth at my home, but many projects with vst instrument tracks on my computer. It means a lot of opportunities to a-b checks on synth tracks within the context of a mix. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd be that convinced of the Hydrasynth, if I only played it with headphones in a store, without any context. It's not that I am blown away by specific sounds per se, but I think this synth really shines in the way it sounds in (my) mixes. I don't know... "Louis educated ears" :)bleh:) loved the sounds of the demos he listened to, maybe these demos placed the sounds in some kind of context?
     
  18. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    To be honest, my hearing is not quite what it used to be at my ripe old age of 64. Even so, and even just with headphones at a store I feel that a Hydrasynth isn't in my future. It is built really well and I was totally impressed by how the knobs seemed mounted to the metal top and solid, the buttons of a high quality and that the poly aftertouch after adjusting it more to my liking was expressive and fun to play. But those positives aside, "It's the sound, stupid", and that's where the foundation for my position not to buy one is fully anchored. I would kick myself in the butt if I had just to see if I'd grow into it. It's not gonna happen.

    Thanks for all the replies, and Xenon I'll get back to you about your generous offer. Thanks for thinking about me. I'll DM you.
     
  19. 9ty

    9ty Kapellmeister

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    Out of curiosity, not debating here, what would you recommend to buy in that range?
     
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  20. Kluster

    Kluster Rock Star

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    I have the original 49 key model and love it.
    The poly aftertouch keyboard and ribbon controller are like a CS-80.
    I have various other hardware and software synths.
    It complements them and unlike other posters, I like the filters.
    As a controller, it's fabulous.
    No regrets :)
     
  21. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    see how many different good synths you could find used for just under 1000$. it's a very big list!

    VA? Look at prices for any of the DSP56300 based synths (some virus). All well under that price.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2023 at 12:38 AM
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