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A Good Hardware Synthesiser For Less Than 1K.

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  • A Good Hardware Synthesiser For Less Than 1K.

    Hello there, everyone!

    For my current work, I normally use a lot of software synthesisers on both laptops and my iPad. (To name a few, Absynth 5, Crystal, Animoog and a bunch of other free VST/Apps). But after a year of gradually growing to love hardware synthesisers, I have finally come to the conclusion that I would love to invest in one of my own. My question to all of you that might help me is what would be a good hardware synthesiser for creating ethereal chords and spacey sounds in general? My budget is $1000.

    Thank you all for taking the time to read and/or answer my question and I appreciate any and all replies.
    www.eyeoftheta.bandcamp.com/releases

  • #2
    Good question, I'd be interested in answers as well! Currently, analog is all the craze, and while I love it, that isn't my number one choice for 'ethereal' or spacey. Waldorf Blofeld can be pretty outthere, aggressive and glassy...but I'd think I could get sth. like that in software. If I had the money and were looking for sth special out of a hardware synth that could add new flavors to my stuff, I'd be interested in something along the lines of a used Kawai K5000...definitely not a general recommendation though! Anybody else can chime in? I think Synth4Ever could have valuable input...check out his stuff here:

    http://www.ambientonline.org/forum/s...ardware-synths
    www.soundcloud.com/phoenstorm

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    • #3
      Hey, I had a bit of a look into some of the Access made synths. Rather pricy though. :S
      www.eyeoftheta.bandcamp.com/releases

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      • #4
        Two words: Waldorf Blofeld. Ethereal for days on that thing, and the module can be had pretty inexpensively used. I might have a lead on someone in NZ who'd be willing to ship to Australia if you can't find one locally. Nave on your iPad would be pretty similar.

        A used Monomachine could be the ticket, too, but that'd blow your whole budget, but man, what a way to do it. Or an Octatrack, you can use it with single cycle waves, sample manipulation, etc, it is a beast with nice reverbs on tap, too.

        A Virus TI Snow can sometimes be had for around a ground here. I don't know what Australian prices look like, though. iirc that guy selling the Blofeld a while back wanted... I think $350 NZD.

        Kawaii K5000S. The very best there is. If you absolutely, positively gots to have ethereal chords all over the motherfuckin' the room... accept no substitutes. Seriously great synth, if tedious to program. I don't have room for one anymore, but they sound amazing and a guy in Germany makes clones of the memory expander for something like $90 USD.

        I will almost always recommend buying used hardware that's in good condition. If you resell, the hit to the pocketbook is limited much more, if at all, and you might even make a few bucks.

        VA synths can do it, too, but imo nothing says ethereal, glassy, etc, like digital synthesis techniques. wavetable, fm/pd, additive, spectral, granular, etc.

        Examples in hardware:

        Wavetable - Waldorf microwave, Blofeld, phoenix iirc, Virus TI can do it, too. Monomachine
        Digital FM - Yamaha DX-7, some of the TXs, and FB-01 (only 4op, though, but cheap!). Monomachine 3 operator FM
        Phase Distortion - Casio CZs, it's similar to Yamaha's FM.
        Additive - Kawaii K5, K5000 (get the S, or possibly W, but the S has a nice arp vs W's sequencer).

        I think the best bang for the buck would be a Blofeld if you have a way to sequence it, or can find a cheap Electribe or something (USB to the computer works, too, and likely iPad if you have a camera connection kit). Or a Monomachine or Octatrack if you can find them for $1000 AUD or can stretch/save a bit.

        You can always add a synth module to the OT later, and sample your iPad synths in the meantime. Another option is the Blofeld keyboard if you'd rather play vs sequence.

        There can be a dizzying array of options when it comes to choosing gear o.O
        Last edited by KrisM; 07-05-2014, 09:27 PM.
        Meh.

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        • #5
          Interesting. That's the second "Electribe for ambient" recommendation I've heard in a week.
          Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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          • #6
            I was mainly recommending a cheap hardware sequencer, but I suppose the right one could be put to more use.
            Meh.

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            • #7
              Wow, there are so many options. Anything from the late 80's through the mid-90's would work. Off the top of my head anything from Novation (supernova, K series) or Waldorf (Microwave or Q0 would fit this bill. EMU gear like the Command Stations of the Proteus 2500. The Korg Wavestations.

              Even some traditional VS synths like the Korg MS2000 or the Alesis ION would be great fits.

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              • #8
                It's interesting that you mentioned the Blofeld because I came across a few while checking out some stores near the city.
                Unfortunately there weren't any out as a tester model but after listening to some audio demonstrations of the product, I can definitely see what you mean.
                A friend of mind keeps recommending Moog as a good brand to buy from but not only are they rather pricy, but I am not entirely sure that they would be geared towards the style I am aiming for. But then again I am sure that if I can make some spacey sounds on pretty much anything I have tried, then I could do it on pretty much anything.
                There are a few products from Korg (Like the MS-20 Mini and MicroKorg XL) that grab my attention as well. I have seen them used in a vast amount of ways with effect pedals and the end result come out as downright spacey.
                Another brand that I've only started looking into today was Nord but I am doubting that they would be available over here in Australia.
                www.eyeoftheta.bandcamp.com/releases

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                • #9
                  when I think of Moog, I think warm, fat, thick, juicy... they might be able to do "ethereal" with a triangle or sine if available, but it's not the first thing that comes to mind. Can definitely be 'spacey' though.
                  Last edited by KrisM; 07-13-2014, 05:09 PM.
                  Meh.

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