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Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

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vintageroad
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Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

Greetings all! A little new over here to the forum, but been a fly on the while for a while. I'm looking to set my sights on my next synth and figured you all have the knowledge of what's out there (and possibly what's coming!).

I currently have a Hydrasynth 49 and Sub37. Both are great but both feel like auxiliary to a missing main synth I don't have. I find the Sub37 to be great at the growl and that Moog sound, and I find with the Hydra that I love some of the patches, hate others, and tweaking for me takes things out of control quickly (I have no pride preventing me from saying the Hydra might be too much for me if that's the case).

So, in trying to find my next piece of inspiration, I'm open to letting the one or both of the others go. I do ambient swelly pad stuff and layer guitars on top. Electric guitar was my main instrument for 20 years so I’m comfortable with effects pedals and the linear though process of sound source modulated by effects and then amplified.

Some of the things I’d love to see in my next piece:

- polyphony. Is 6-8 voices enough? My piano playing style wouldn’t have more than 7 notes at a time. I do love the paraphony of the Sub37 but 2 isn’t enough.
- timbres. At least 2 so I can layer or split
- digital/analog. Don’t think it matters. Or at least I don’t know if it does
- desktop vs keys. Open to either but ideally 61 full sized at at least semi-weighted. With desktop I can use a controller. Aftertouch is nice. Don’t “need” Poly AT or MPE
- sequencer. Can always use an external sequencer but love the idea of sequencing like the digitone with multiple internal tracks and midi tracks to add on
- I/O. Prefer stereo audio in and at least stereo audio out. More outs are better.
- audio interface. Would be nice to go direct into ableton to record via usb without the need of an additional interface.
- budget. ideally $2500 or under although I can save as long as I need to for the right piece

None of these are a dealbreaker as I may not be able to get everything i want. I’m quite open to being schooled here as there is much I do not know. Appreciate all your wisdom and thoughts!
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diophantine
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by diophantine »

Sequential Rev2 fits most of your bill. I'm just not sure about USB audio. And no audio in (were you planning to process external signals?). I don't use USB audio but I don't think many (any?) synths work as an audio interface... you're probably better off with a dedicated audio interface to send multiple signals to your DAW.

Stereo outs per layer. 61 keys. Sequencer (though not an Elektron style one). You can get the 16-voice one (so 8 voice polyphony per layer) for $2600, or the 8-voice for $2000. Great interface that might be more "friendly" than the Hydrasynth for some. Great for ambient pads.
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diophantine
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by diophantine »

Novation Summit has stereo inputs but no sequencer (at least I don't think so). I think that and the Rev2 fit your bill the best in your price range.
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by GuyaGuy »

Are you looking for presets to tweak or looking to design your own sounds? If the latter I would say keep what you have and learn the hell out of them. If tweaking a preset takes you "way out of control" then you just need to learn to control it!
Technologear?
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by Technologear? »

I think you might like a poly from Sequential. That ticks a criterion for me that you didn't include in your list: have a sound that I love and inspires me to create.

A part of your journey could be listening to patch videos of patches that other guys make and sell. Just listen on headphones, don't watch. It's a quick way to get through lots of sounds that a synth can achieve.

Once you narrow it down, then watch a 'how create a patch' or 'deep dive' on that synth. Assess if you feel like you can understand it's functions and suits you.

I also agree with guyaguy - a concurrent focus should be spending time with what you already have, even if it's to learn that you don't like it and want to flip it. You have insights on what works for you and what doesn't at a very specific level then.

Reply back with how you make music: layering tracks 1 at a time into a daw? Using a looper? Single live take? That impacts how much you actually need the features you requested
Jiffybox
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by Jiffybox »

Juno X ticks a lot of your boxes. Love it for sound design, pads, audio in, 61 keys, that chorus…great board and I got mine for 400 bucks off the 2k list price as b-stock. Highly recommended and way way less esoteric than a Hydra.
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dubonaire
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by dubonaire »

diophantine wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:02 pm Sequential Rev2 fits most of your bill. I'm just not sure about USB audio. And no audio in (were you planning to process external signals?). I don't use USB audio but I don't think many (any?) synths work as an audio interface... you're probably better off with a dedicated audio interface to send multiple signals to your DAW.

Stereo outs per layer. 61 keys. Sequencer (though not an Elektron style one). You can get the 16-voice one (so 8 voice polyphony per layer) for $2600, or the 8-voice for $2000. Great interface that might be more "friendly" than the Hydrasynth for some. Great for ambient pads.
Rev2 was my first thought, but then I always recommend Rev2. USB is class compliant MIDI not audio. Some of the Roland gear has audio out over USB.

There are two sequencers in the Rev2 - a polyphonic step sequencer with up to 64 steps (6 notes per step) and a separate 16 x 4 gated step sequencer that can be used for modulation or notes. It's bi-timbral and the two sequencers can really produce some interesting results when the layers are stacked. I would get the 16 voice so you can have 8 per layer.

It's great for the swelly pad stuff. Some people don't like the Curtis filter. I thought I didn't until I owned this synth. I think it is a great filter for pads. it's a much more modern synth than people imagine.

I have the desktop, but it would be nice to have the keyboard version.

There is something intangible about the synth that I find really compelling. I really can't put my finger on it. It just seems that Dave Smith was a very good synth designer.

I think the Novation Summit is a great recommendation as well. It does have audio inputs and is also bi-timbral. Its wavetable functionality is good for pads. I have the Peak. Together the Peak and Rev2 make a great pair.
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by Voltcontrol »

Perfect suggestions so far!

A Peak + DT for sequencing would be tons of fun too!

I'd compare the Novation and Sequential products mentioned for sure.

Waldorf Iridium might be for you too, but more as a replacement later down the line perhaps.
Gaun Yersel!
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

Thanks for all the advice this far!
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

Technologear? wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:51 pm Reply back with how you make music: layering tracks 1 at a time into a daw? Using a looper? Single live take? That impacts how much you actually need the features you requested
Typically layering 1 track at a time in a DAW. But have been using the Polyend Tracker lately in the same way to try and stay out of the box.
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

GuyaGuy wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:18 pm Are you looking for presets to tweak or looking to design your own sounds? If the latter I would say keep what you have and learn the hell out of them. If tweaking a preset takes you "way out of control" then you just need to learn to control it!
Probably presets to tweak to start and then design myself once I “get” it. You’re not wrong about learning what I have currently. I just don’t think I’ve “gotten” the Hydra yet.
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

Jiffybox wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:43 pm Juno X ticks a lot of your boxes. Love it for sound design, pads, audio in, 61 keys, that chorus…great board and I got mine for 400 bucks off the 2k list price as b-stock. Highly recommended and way way less esoteric than a Hydra.
After hearing everyone rave about the UI of the Hydra, I didn’t think of it as esoteric…just thought it was me missing it
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

vintageroad wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:55 am
After hearing everyone rave about the UI of the Hydra, I didn’t think of it as esoteric…just thought it was me missing it
…which of course is entirely possible
Technologear?
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by Technologear? »

Don't beat yourself up about the Hydra. Learning synths is just like learning any instrument, including not vibing with something even though others may love it. Pack it away for another day, or flip it for something new, if you're not feeling drawn to it.

If you're layering synths 1 pass at a time, then a versatile poly played through your fx pedals would be a good fit. Using it over and over again for each sound, which typically need to be different from the last, will help you learn it and get familiar. This would be the Buy Well Buy Once path, where you save for ages to buy something.

You see this approach in interviews with producers who have been working for a decade, who'll comment "I used to be surrounded by heaps of synths, but I found I only needed a couple and the rest just distracted me".

I'll add the Udo Super to your list of potentials. I love that interface.
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

Technologear? wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 1:49 am Don't beat yourself up about the Hydra. Learning synths is just like learning any instrument, including not vibing with something even though others may love it. Pack it away for another day, or flip it for something new, if you're not feeling drawn to it.

If you're layering synths 1 pass at a time, then a versatile poly played through your fx pedals would be a good fit. Using it over and over again for each sound, which typically need to be different from the last, will help you learn it and get familiar. This would be the Buy Well Buy Once path, where you save for ages to buy something.

You see this approach in interviews with producers who have been working for a decade, who'll comment "I used to be surrounded by heaps of synths, but I found I only needed a couple and the rest just distracted me".

I'll add the Udo Super to your list of potentials. I love that interface.
Thanks mate. Appreciate the advice!
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

Technologear? wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 1:49 am

I'll add the Udo Super to your list of potentials. I love that interface.
I’ve got the UDO in my sightline. Drawn to the binaural, the 12 voices, and what seems to be an immediacy of the UI. Curious though when those 12 voices go to 6 stereo is it actually still 12 but in stereo or is it 6? I’m finding myself with some voice stealing on the hydra’s 8 so trying to see what that would mean with a 6-voice
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

vintageroad wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:54 am
I’ve got the UDO in my sightline. Drawn to the binaural, the 12 voices, and what seems to be an immediacy of the UI. Curious though when those 12 voices go to 6 stereo is it actually still 12 but in stereo or is it 6? I’m finding myself with some voice stealing on the hydra’s 8 so trying to see what that would mean with a 6-voice
Voice stealing as the notes ring out. Still not hitting more than 7 keys at a time
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by skkatter »

Prophet 10.
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Guizot
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by Guizot »

You really can't go wrong with a Sequential or DSI poly...
Very intuitive and wonderful sound.
I have a Prophet '08 in my home studio that is wonderful. At work I have a Prophet 6, Rev 2, and Pro3.
They are all amazing and would probably work great for you.
Maybe not the Pro3 as its a monosynth...
Yamaha VL-1, Modal Modulus 002, Endorphin.es Shuttle System, DSI Prophet '08, Roland MKS-70 w/MPG-70 controller, Arturia MatrixBrute, Korg Wavestation A/D, Yamaha TG77, Kurzweil K2500RS, Yamaha EX5R, Simmons SDS7 Kit (Red Hex), Axe FX III Mark 2, Kurzweil PC2x, & Moog Grandmother.

Linnstrument, Buchla Thunder, Ableton Push II, Landscape Stereo Field, & Sensel Morph plus
tons of guitars, basses, effects, and other sound makers...
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

Guizot wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 11:20 am You really can't go wrong with a Sequential or DSI poly...
Very intuitive and wonderful sound.
I have a Prophet '08 in my home studio that is wonderful. At work I have a Prophet 6, Rev 2, and Pro3.
They are all amazing and would probably work great for you.
Maybe not the Pro3 as its a monosynth...
Definitely researching that Rev2. Looks amazing!
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by mutierend »

vintageroad wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:45 pm Some of the things I’d love to see in my next piece:

- polyphony. Is 6-8 voices enough? My piano playing style wouldn’t have more than 7 notes at a time. I do love the paraphony of the Sub37 but 2 isn’t enough.
- timbres. At least 2 so I can layer or split
- digital/analog. Don’t think it matters. Or at least I don’t know if it does
- desktop vs keys. Open to either but ideally 61 full sized at at least semi-weighted. With desktop I can use a controller. Aftertouch is nice. Don’t “need” Poly AT or MPE
- sequencer. Can always use an external sequencer but love the idea of sequencing like the digitone with multiple internal tracks and midi tracks to add on
- I/O. Prefer stereo audio in and at least stereo audio out. More outs are better.
- audio interface. Would be nice to go direct into ableton to record via usb without the need of an additional interface.
- budget. ideally $2500 or under although I can save as long as I need to for the right piece
Your requirements sound like you want a workstation, like a Montage or Fantom. They have all of those features and then some.

But if you want a synth, the first thing that comes to mind is a Virus Ti2 61-key. 40 voices, 8 part multitimbral, digital and virtual analog synthesis, stereo in and 4 stereo output pairs, and less than $2500. It has USB audio with the new 3rd party plugin. The audio interface feature is hit or miss with modern PCs/Macs.

The Waldorf Iridium and Quantum have a lot of those features. Iridium is less than $2500 but the Quantum is not.

If you can go back in time to 2017 or have $6k to spare, the Modal 002 would be the perfect choice.
Robert
Co-host, Buchla podcast at http://sourceofuncertainty.audio
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Guizot
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by Guizot »

vintageroad wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:45 pm

If you can go back in time to 2017 or have $6k to spare, the Modal 002 would be the perfect choice.
As an owner of a Modal 002 I can DEFINITELY agree with this.
My favorite.
They rarely show up used but if you get the chance I'd jump on it immediately!
Yamaha VL-1, Modal Modulus 002, Endorphin.es Shuttle System, DSI Prophet '08, Roland MKS-70 w/MPG-70 controller, Arturia MatrixBrute, Korg Wavestation A/D, Yamaha TG77, Kurzweil K2500RS, Yamaha EX5R, Simmons SDS7 Kit (Red Hex), Axe FX III Mark 2, Kurzweil PC2x, & Moog Grandmother.

Linnstrument, Buchla Thunder, Ableton Push II, Landscape Stereo Field, & Sensel Morph plus
tons of guitars, basses, effects, and other sound makers...
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obscurerobot
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by obscurerobot »

vintageroad wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:45 pm [...] and tweaking for me takes things out of control quickly (I have no pride preventing me from saying the Hydra might be too much for me if that's the case).
Another vote in favor of the Virus. I had a TI2 61 key for years and loved it. I now have a TI1 Desktop that I love even more. It doesn't have a built in sequencer, but I drive with an Octatrack or a NDLR. The Virus plays very nicely with sequencers.

Another reason to go with the Virus is that it has been around for decades so there are decades worth of patches you can just buy if you don't like programming the synth yourself.

A note on pricing: keyboards, particularly the 61-key, change hands rarely. Desktops are much easier to find, and they tend to go for somewhere between $1,000-$1,500. On the other hand, the keybeds used in both the 61-key and 37-key Viruses are top of the line Fatars and a joy to use. I have no regrets paying full price for my 61-key: It allowed me to later trade "down" to a TI1 desktop and a few other synths & toys.
vintageroad
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Re: Looking to the braintrust on deciding next synth

Post by vintageroad »

obscurerobot wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 6:36 pm
vintageroad wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:45 pm [...] and tweaking for me takes things out of control quickly (I have no pride preventing me from saying the Hydra might be too much for me if that's the case).
Another vote in favor of the Virus. I had a TI2 61 key for years and loved it. I now have a TI1 Desktop that I love even more. It doesn't have a built in sequencer, but I drive with an Octatrack or a NDLR. The Virus plays very nicely with sequencers.

Another reason to go with the Virus is that it has been around for decades so there are decades worth of patches you can just buy if you don't like programming the synth yourself.

A note on pricing: keyboards, particularly the 61-key, change hands rarely. Desktops are much easier to find, and they tend to go for somewhere between $1,000-$1,500. On the other hand, the keybeds used in both the 61-key and 37-key Viruses are top of the line Fatars and a joy to use. I have no regrets paying full price for my 61-key: It allowed me to later trade "down" to a TI1 desktop and a few other synths & toys.
Great to know! Thanks!!
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