Seeking Synth Advice

Discussion in 'Synthesizers' started by KidForToday, Dec 29, 2023.

  1. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    This is a lengthy post, but any feedback is greatly appreciated! During the last few months, I researched sounds I like (that I plan to incorporate into workflow) in tandem with gear that can make them. I’m not out to obtain a ton of gear since the focus is to build a base of tools, (mostly hardware since I’m more of a fan of that than software, although I know there are some great digital tools. Thankfully I can afford to obtain gear, but not at the level of owning an original Linn LM2 or a Jupiter 8. I’m not after creating music/sound in one genre, but there is a lean toward ambient / soundtrack-y material (think Boards of Canada), 80’s synth pop, and sounds from CFCF, Daniel Lanois, Depeche Mode, Kavinsky, LCD Soundsytem, Massive Attack, Metronomy, OMD, Radiohead, Talking Heads, etc.

    Juno 106:
    I have one and enjoy the sound and function so far and would like to add arp and sequencing. What are your thoughts on the KIWI-106 mod? I’ve come across this in a lot of the 106 forums, but not pressured to make the mod other than being curious if it’s “the way to go” to add arp and sequencing and don’t want to compromise the original / stock 106 setup. Therefore, is getting an external source for arp and sequencing a better option? I just obtained an OB-6. With that in mind, could I MIDI the 106 to the OB6 and use its arpeggiator (and other functions such as transmitting the sequence?)

    I like the complimentary setup of the 106 and OB-6 and would like to add the standard tools such a mono/bass synth, drum machine/sampler, and a sequencer. There are so many ways to obtain the functions of these devices, but figured you all in the synth world would be able to provide a healthy range of “pros and cons” / do’s and don’ts suggestions based on the list below of new and older gear. Feel free to add any to the list. Many thanks!!!

    Monosynths:
    - Sequential Pro3. Better than SH 101 based on newer tech?
    - Roland SH 101. No MIDI, but can add it.

    Bass Synths:
    - Novation Bass Station 2. Can’t find many negative things about it.
    - Arturia Microbrute. No patch save. Limited MIDI.

    Sequencers:
    - Korg SQ 64
    - Korg SQ 1
    - Arturia KeyStep. Can't save an arpeggio into a sequence and can't record pitch bend, Mod Wheel or Aftertouch into a sequence?
    - Arturia BeatStep PRO Black Edition - Steep learning curve, more features than Korg SQ1.

    Drum Machines / Samplers:
    - Roland T-8. Too limited? Portable.
    - Arturia Drumbrute. Same analog sounds/no import. MIDI. Steep learning curve.
    - Roland TR8-S.
    - MFB-Tanzbar.
    - Elektron Digitakt. Steep learning curve.
    - Sequential Tempest 6.
    - Alesis SR-16. Easy to learn/intro grade.
    - Roland SP404. Battery powered only.
    - Akai. MPC-1000. Can load samples from other drum machines. Should have pads replaced and upgraded software.
    - Sonicware LIVEN Lofi-12.
    - AKAI S1000.

    Monitors:
    Dynaudio BM5A MKII

    Software:
    Ableton

    Vocoder:
    Roland E-4

    Headphones:
    Sennheiser HD 25
     
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  3. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    Of all the items on your list, the only one I can't really give any negative "cons" about is the Bass Station 2; which you had already noticed. It's probably the biggest "bang for buck" item on your list. It's not just good for bass, and it can also be used with Omnisphere; because it has a hardware profile. It is controller mapping, basically. it's a whole lot of synth for the price.

    An item I would add, at some point; would be a Motu Midi Express 128. it is a 8x8 midi i/o interface for your computer. That way you can have your Ableton control everything via MIDI. If you like an external sequencer, many people also do; but you will have a difficult time controlling a lot of hardware simultaneously via MIDI thru connections. It's basically daisy-chaining. But I would also skip the MPC, the other sequencer, or both. That one depends on your usage. I would consider an audio patchbay also.

    The S1000 would probably be my favorite item on your list, but you need to be a little careful buying one. You have a computer, which also makes the S1000 the item on your list that you probably need the least. Hardware samplers really benefit from output to a mixer. It would also make the MPC needed even less, since you will already have a sampler.

    Dynaudio make great monitors, but I think you can find equal or better for the money. They are a little expensive for what you get, when compared with other manufacturers. And I would pick different headphones for general production.
     
  4. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    Thanks for the helpful info, it really helps!
     
  5. DJ The Darksider

    DJ The Darksider Newbie

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    I am missing some devices on that list that you "might" consider ;-)
    Sequencer: Novation SL MK3 (either 49/61 Keys) - 8 Track Sequencer and an absolute BEAST of a Midi Controller - you can create your own Mappings for Hardware/Software Synths and it works perfectly fine with Ableton

    Roland MC 707: OK it´s a Groove box and has it´s quirks but a vast array on different sounds and quite a nice way on how to arrange (Similar to ableton - with a Step Sequencer) - also Nice for Live performances. Plus - you have the ability to use a looper track ...which is basically a sampler :)

    As you considered an SH101 - Maybe have a look at the Roland S-1 (Sibling to the T8 - which together make an awesome portable combination)
    Basically it´s an SH-101.. .but polyphonic - and with a shitload of extra features. Love the Gyroscope as it looks funky to just pick the thing up in a live performance and pan&tilt it to tweak the filter :)

    Novation Circuit (either a used original one or the new Tracks)
    There is a quite nice Boards of Canada-esq Soundset out there for little money - basically it´s two poly synths and a drum machine (in case of the tracks with 2 Extra Midi tracks)
     
  6. 2poor2

    2poor2 Producer

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    I had a mpc 1000.... what i hated the most about it ? It would take minutes, to load samples from a compact flash card....
    As the internal memory starts loading the samples, the more it loads, the longer it takes.
    You load a program with samples, etc, you wait ..wait...wait... (no, nothing wrong with my memory cards or the device itself)
     
  7. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    Right on, thanks for the helpful info!!!
     
  8. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    Yeah, I think it's a "maybe someday" tool, but not for now / at first. Thanks for the reply!
     
  9. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    if you are planning on using this stuff for live performances, ignore my suggestions.

    Let me give you a maybe different way to look at this. I often buy/sell/trade used items. And so I have my own list like yours, but it is a list of items that i am "Passively shopping" for. Meaning, I am on the lookout for them, but waiting for a great deal on any of them; and I am not actively looking for them at all. I think I would do that with most of your list. It's all nice gear, but it's an awful lot of stuff.

    I would start with these 3 capabilities. I would give some serious thought about the drum machine/samplers/sequencer. You could easily spend $1000+ on just those, and just as easily do every last bit of that with your computer and Ableton. And you would have much more flexibility with the DAW and a software sampler. You could also consider an NI Maschine to cover a lot of that ground as well. Since you are using Ableton, I would definitely give a Push some thought.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2023
  10. El Cycer

    El Cycer Producer

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    I don't think you should choose your gear in terms of how you will incorporate into workflow. Try to choose it with your heart, in a totally irrational way: I am convinced that it will be the best choice
     
  11. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check those options out!
     
  12. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    Agreed....that is part of the process after vetting the list!
     
  13. 9ty

    9ty Kapellmeister

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    Some gear you might consider:

    - OXI One is a sequencing monster. It is not cheap, but other than that there are no cons to me at all. The workflow is really nice, not hard to understand/learn. If you plan to have different devices - this could be your centerpiece.

    - Moog Minitaur - Nothing but LOVE for this little guy. Really straight forward bass machine ... lovely subs. High recognition value. I am not a fan of the Bass Station, I have to admit. In comparison the two synths are very different.

    - Dreadbox Nymphes - I am not sure if your Juno-106 covers some of the samey ground. But I love the pure analog sound of this device. Some may hate it for it's design/workflow decisions, but I'd suggest try it yourself. Much value for the money. It has some tasty 80s vibe to it, so I think you could like it, taking the musical references into consideration, that you mentioned above.

    - ASM Hydra - some might dislike it's digital nature ... on the other hand it is very deep/versatile. I'm not a big fan of it's filters, but other than that I think it's a great device. Could be a great pad machine. It has many FX capabilities on board, which could be a factor if you don't have or like to use many outboard devices such as guitar pedals.
     
  14. OffshoreBanking

    OffshoreBanking Producer

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    Sequential Prophet 6 + Jomox Alpha Base would be a lovely duo.

    Access Virus TI2 + Elektron Monomachine (I don't think you will like this but it is in fact very sexy)

    You already have an OB-6, make sense that you would want a Tempest and a Moog Subsequent 37 (don't ask me why)

    J106 + SH-101 would be geriatric fetishitic disorder (nothing wrong with that)
     
  15. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    he's talking about doing synthwave style music. The Jomox are all pricey but great. I wouldn't spend the money for one unless a very good deal, or if @OP was making dance music. There are a bunch of Jomox style sounds in Rob Papen Punch2. I'm not sure if they are directly sampled from them, or just that sort of sounds.

    In that role, I do like the SR-16 as that was the most prevalent drum machine in the early 90s. I would also check out the Alesis HR-16, but not necessarily the HR-16B. The B is a black unit, and it has a bunch of industrial music type sounds. Drills and samples like that. Either would be cool for synthwave/retro music, and i'm sure you can find a good deal on any of them.

    If I was primarily interested in making synthwave/retro music, I would want some more old vintage synths. Yamaha DX7, Roland D-50, Korg M1 and/or Z1, MS-20 or SH-101, Kawaii K#. Maybe a low cost Oberheim Matrix model. Alot of the emulations of this stuff are good though, except the DX7. I do not like Dexed all that much. Those are some retro staples to add to your research list.
     
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  16. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    Right on, thanks for the recommendations to check out!
     
  17. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    Thanks for the recommendations, I'll check out some of the gear you listed.
     
  18. KidForToday

    KidForToday Noisemaker

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    The DX7 is on my "someday list!"
     
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