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Synth recommendations around $500?

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  • Synth recommendations around $500?

    Hi ambientists,

    I've been a computer musician for around 3 years and I've decided to start going analog soon.
    My budget is around $500, and because of the nature of my music, I'm considering to get one of these based on several hours of research:
    • A set of 2 or 3 Korg Volcas (I like the FM, Keys and Bass)
    • A Korg Minilogue
    • A Moog Mother 32

    I know it all depends on everyone's choice, music style, patching skills, etc. but I would like to know your impressions on these synths, which one would you go with or if you have more recommendations to add to the list.

    Thanks in advance


    - Almanacs



  • #2
    I like the microKorg.

    It is duotimbral, which allows interesting sounds. Patches can be stored.

    It is not so easy to programm, because it violates the one-konb-one-function paradigm. But there is a software editor, which gives an intuitive acces to all parameters.

    The mod matrix is a bit limited. - 4 slots per timbre (which is not so bad) , and the set of modulation targets is a bit too small (which IS bad). You may check this here: http://cdn.korg.com/us/support/downl...ce14e74cca.pdf - on page 30 ("patches" = mod matrix)

    The DWGS waveforms (additional to the usual sine, saw, pulse...) make it possible e.g., to let the machine sing "aahh" and "oohh".


    Soundcloud - Youtube - Petroglyph Music - Bandcamp

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    • #3
      Originally posted by betadecay View Post
      I like the microKorg.

      It is duotimbral, which allows interesting sounds. Patches can be stored.

      It is not so easy to programm, because it violates the one-konb-one-function paradigm. But there is a software editor, which gives an intuitive acces to all parameters.

      The mod matrix is a bit limited. - 4 slots per timbre (which is not so bad) , and the set of modulation targets is a bit too small (which IS bad). You may check this here: http://cdn.korg.com/us/support/downl...ce14e74cca.pdf - on page 30 ("patches" = mod matrix)

      The DWGS waveforms (additional to the usual sine, saw, pulse...) make it possible e.g., to let the machine sing "aahh" and "oohh".

      Thanks so much, I have to confess that I've always underated the microKorg but you have given me a new perspective on it. I like the DWSG waveforms feature.
      Cheers!

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      • #4
        Another synth that is very similar to the microKORG is the MiniNova. It has a much deeper mod matrix with 20 slots per patch and 60 some destinations with recursive modulation. It has a surprisingly deep synth engine but some people prefer the microKORG sound. The MiniNova is monotimbral unlike the microKORG, but has greater polyphony (18 voices vs 4). However you said you want to go analog and both those synths are digital (although I think there's nothing wrong with digital synths).

        Out of the three choices you listed, my personal favorite would probably be the Minilogue. It is simply the best bang for your buck if you want to get an analog polysynth for under $500. It has a clean interface, nearly one-knob-per-function, a sequencer that allows you to record notes and parameter automation in real time or in steps, and some interesting voice modes. It only has 4 voice polyphony but that's enough to play chords! I don't have a Minilogue but I've tried it a few times. If I didn't already go overboard with getting too many synths, I'd buy it too!

        But honestly I don't think you could go wrong with any of those choices. I've heard awesome music produced by the Moog Mother and the Volcas. If it inspires you, get it! You are only limited by yourself, not your gear.
        Last edited by dreamware; 02-28-2018, 10:49 PM.
        SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/dream-ware

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dreamware View Post
          Another synth that is very similar to the microKORG is the MiniNova. It has a much deeper mod matrix with 20 slots per patch and 60 some destinations with recursive modulation. It has a surprisingly deep synth engine but some people prefer the microKORG sound. The MiniNova is monotimbral unlike the microKORG, but has greater polyphony (18 voices vs 4). However you said you want to go analog and both those synths are digital (although I think there's nothing wrong with digital synths).

          Out of the three choices you listed, my personal favorite would probably be the Minilogue. It is simply the best bang for your buck if you want to get an analog polysynth for under $500. It has a clean interface, nearly one-knob-per-function, a sequencer that allows you to record notes and parameter automation in real time or in steps, and some interesting voice modes. It only has 4 voice polyphony but that's enough to play chords! I don't have a Minilogue but I've tried it a few times. If I didn't already go overboard with getting too many synths, I'd buy it too!

          But honestly I don't think you could go wrong with any of those choices. I've heard awesome music produced by the Moog Mother and the Volcas. If it inspires you, get it! You are only limited by yourself, not your gear.

          Thank you so much! you just gave me a new perspective on the Mininova and I'm really considering.
          Yeah, I'm open to digital synth as well, the only thing I'm not sure about Mininova is that I can't see any physical LFO rate/amount control on it but I found out you can edit it on the computer editor.
          I've just discarded the Volca idea because of the lack of USB port.

          What do you think about the Novation Circuit? seems to be a complete box.

          Thank you.

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          • #6
            I have a Minilogue and it can work well for ambient music. In addition to the note sequencer, you can record four more parts in the sequence that will each control one of the synth parameters (knobs) such as cutoff frequency or delay feedback, etc. One thing that can be done is to record just the parameter sequences, and then play what notes you will. This gives more modulation possibilities. Preset libraries can be loaded/saved to/from your computer as well.

            So, short story is I quite like it.

            I don't have a track that is all Minilogue to share (have to work on that...), but here is a You Tube video featuring a Minilogue ambient jam (check Nick Jackson's other videos for more Minilogue ambient):

             
            Extreme complication is contrary to art.
            — Claude Debussy

            Hear some of my music at hearthis , Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or just say Ello! Also see H.P. Dronecraft collab with ontol.

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            • #7
              Also, and this is an assumption, I imagine you will at least initially be recording into a DAW on your computer. Just about any synth can sound real 'ambient' if you sack enough Fx on the track The big advantage I see with the Minilogue as compared to the others you listed is it has four voices of true polyphony, as well as several other modes (Monophonic, duophonic, unison, and more).
              Extreme complication is contrary to art.
              — Claude Debussy

              Hear some of my music at hearthis , Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or just say Ello! Also see H.P. Dronecraft collab with ontol.

              Comment

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