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SonicAdam



Joined: 17/09/07
Posts: 154
Synth advice
      #520653 - 18/09/07 09:10 PM
Hey there, over the past few years ive been getting into recording music thanks to studying music tech at college and im now going on to do a HND in music production.

Recently i have been getting into dance, trance and ambiance and expanding my home studio bit by bit, but at the moment when it comes to synths im limited to soft synths and my m-audio oxygen 49 midi controller, and for a while have been wanting to purchase a decent synthesizer although with me being relatively new to this sort of thing im overwhelmed with whats available!

I have a friend that has an Access Virus TI, and i think it sounds awesome, although the price tag of £1500 is out of my league unfortunately! as i was looking around the £500 mark!

would any of you be able to offer any advice on either synths that you have or have info on that you would recommend or features that i should look out for etc!

thanks!
Adam

--------------------
www.myspace.com/adbobsuk
www.myspace.com/ajconnell


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Peter Conz Connelly
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520666 - 18/09/07 09:26 PM
You could pick up a 2nd hand Virus B / C for that amount. Nearly as good as the Ti. Some may argue better!

P

--------------------
Composer, Songwriter, Producer, Sound Designer
www.peterconnelly.com


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leslawrenson



Joined: 14/03/06
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520670 - 18/09/07 09:32 PM
The best advice anyone is goin to give you with this query is this.

Get yourself a sampler and tons of sample cds. Then you can have any synth you want.

There are so many cds out there crammed full of every vintage synth you could desire, that you would be mad to think you could do it all from original synths for a mere £500.

You can get yourself something like an AKAI S6000 for about £270. Spend the rest on sample CDs. Or get yourself an old MAC computer (something like a G3 or G4 ) for around £100, so that you can do some editing, and also run a cheap but effective DAW (such as Cubase 5.1). The Mac should have a scsi connection so that you will be able to hook up your sampler to do the editing with the akSys software. You will have everything you need to get whatever sound you want. And you should stay in budget.

Just my observations.


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Jumpeyspyder



Joined: 20/01/06
Posts: 1249
Loc: Yorkshire
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520672 - 18/09/07 09:36 PM
Hi Adam

I'm not particularly into dance music so please take my suggestions with a pinch of salt.
There is nothing wrong with soft synths but I understand your desire for hardware.
If you have a limited budget you will have to prioritise.

Do you need the latest current trendy synth or is there something less new / fashionable that will do what you need.

Do you need a keyboard or will a rack /expander do?
Mono or polyphonic ?
Multitimbral ?

For £500 I'd be tempted by something like a CLAVIA NORD RACK 2X or DAVE SMITH INSTRUMENTS EVOLVER which might be perfect for the job.

Hope this is of some help


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SonicAdam



Joined: 17/09/07
Posts: 154
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520676 - 18/09/07 09:42 PM
I'm gonna have a look into the Virus B/C

thanks for the idea!

That idea about the sampler really is advice i wasnt expecting! but it sounds like a good idea!

--------------------
www.myspace.com/adbobsuk
www.myspace.com/ajconnell


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leslawrenson



Joined: 14/03/06
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: leslawrenson]
      #520677 - 18/09/07 09:43 PM
I would add that every dance producer, from M C Hammer to Snoop Dog to Eminem, to 50 Cents, etc use samplers exclusively in their work.

If you go the sampler route, you simply need a very good way of editing your samples before you load them up and rip out your toons...

Hence my suggestion of an old Mac. Don't be fooled by the "elite" into thinking that you need an expensive machine to make good music. You don't.

Nuff said...


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leslawrenson



Joined: 14/03/06
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520679 - 18/09/07 09:48 PM
Quote SonicAdam:

I'm gonna have a look into the Virus B/C

thanks for the idea!

That idea about the sampler really is advice i wasnt expecting! but it sounds like a good idea!




A Virus B (if you can find one) is going to set you back about £400. And all you will get are sounds that the Virus B can produce.

For about £350, you can get ourself an AKAI 3000XL (fully maxed) and a Roland VP9000, and spend your remaining £150 on getting tons of 2nd hand sample cds. You will be able to get any sound your heart desires.

Why would you want to limit yourself?


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GLENN



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Posts: 326
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520694 - 18/09/07 10:12 PM
I would say if you had to go the sampler route for synth sounds use an Emu as the filters are nicer but thats just my view mind.
I have a Virus Ti and would have to say i can get any sound i want out of it.
The virus just kicks ass end of.
I have a separate sampler which i run throught the virus then resample also.
I dont have a car so i could buy a ti and a push bike for transport lol.
I chuckle to myself when i see a virus sample cd for sale.
If you want a virus because you love its sound then get one as nothing else will do it.


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GLENN



Joined: 24/10/04
Posts: 326
Loc: Manchester
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520696 - 18/09/07 10:15 PM
There is a list of second hand sample cds doing the rounds also pm me if you want it.
Not much left on it mind.


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Dave B



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Posts: 5640
Loc: Maidenhead
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520707 - 18/09/07 10:46 PM
For just a tad above your 500quid mark, you could now get an Alesis Fusion. It may not be the coolest, or most hip synth, but the spec is little short of mind boggling. If I don't get a Mac for my birthday, then I'll grab one of those. It should cover all the bases that you might want : S+S, VA, FM, Sampling, sequencing...

--------------------
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi
(I came, I saw, I conkered)


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Evie McCreevie



Joined: 06/09/04
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520708 - 18/09/07 10:46 PM
Quote SonicAdam:

...I have a friend that has an Access Virus TI, and i think it sounds awesome, although the price tag of £1500 is out of my league unfortunately! as i was looking around the £500 mark!




If you £500 to spend, go second hand. And as you have a keyboard already, you can stretch your budget, and save space, by getting a rack synth.

For £500 you'll easily get:
some flavour of Nord Lead, or
some flavour of Virus, or
Novation Supernova, or
Roland JP8000, or
Korg ms2000B.

All the above are good machines, suitable for dance, trance etc, and you'll learn loads from any of them. Don't worry if someone says "You can't do this with that, or X is better than Y for Z... You'll get great bass, leads, pads, noises out of all of these - while learning about LFOs, modulation routings etc.

The main differences between the machines are in the polyphony/multimbrality/FX areas. Sonically, it's all very subjective as to what sounds "better".

With £500 you're in a good position to get a bargain, and I bet you'll have some change left over.

(PS. Send me a PM if you fancy a Supernova. )


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Arpangel
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520759 - 19/09/07 07:07 AM
You need.....this

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VINTAGE-RARE-MOOG-SYNTHESISER-10-SYNTH-1970-MODULAR_ W0QQitemZ150161620066QQihZ005QQcategoryZ38071QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Tony


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ZukanModerator
Zukan


Joined: 12/09/03
Posts: 9298
Re: Synth advice new [Re: Arpangel]
      #520770 - 19/09/07 08:19 AM
Quote arpangel:

You need.....this

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VINTAGE-RARE-MOOG-SYNTHESISER-10-SYNTH-1970-MODULAR_ W0QQitemZ150161620066QQihZ005QQcategoryZ38071QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Tony




Rust included in price.

--------------------
Samplecraze
Stretch That Note


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Stoney



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 573
Loc: London
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520816 - 19/09/07 10:22 AM
IMHO, one of the main things you need for "dance" is a variety of sounds. So, if your budget needs to cover everything, I would suggest getting as many different (cheap) items as possible...Or a sampler.

However, you want to get a synth to build your studio around, then Virus may be the way to go...


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Stoney



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 573
Loc: London
Re: Synth advice new [Re: leslawrenson]
      #520817 - 19/09/07 10:24 AM
Quote leslawrenson:

I would add that every dance producer, from M C Hammer to Snoop Dog to Eminem, to 50 Cents, etc use samplers exclusively in their work.





...all the way through to Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Obie Trice


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ZukanModerator
Zukan


Joined: 12/09/03
Posts: 9298
Re: Synth advice new [Re: Stoney]
      #520861 - 19/09/07 11:58 AM
Quote Stoney:

IMHO, one of the main things you need for "dance" is a variety of sounds. So, if your budget needs to cover everything, I would suggest getting as many different (cheap) items as possible...Or a sampler.

However, you want to get a synth to build your studio around, then Virus may be the way to go...




This is the best advice.

It's a golden era for buying second hand hardware.

You could pick up some real dance classic synths:

Emu Audity
Juno2
Wasp
Juno 106
Waldorf Micro Q
1080 plus cards
Emu Ultra E4 XT with a massive library
Polysix
Monopoly
Tecnox
Quasar
Raven Max
Micro Wave
JP8080/8000
Polymorph
.........................................and so on.

--------------------
Samplecraze
Stretch That Note


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Michael B
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520862 - 19/09/07 12:00 PM
BUt if you get a samplersurely you won't get the all important arpeggiator that the hardware synths have?


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Michael B
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520865 - 19/09/07 12:04 PM
Zukan, I notice you mention the Audity there, but I thought the xTreme Lead was a successor to that and much better too?

The only reaon i ask is because I was thinking of getting the Audity (was one on here for £75!) but another forum user said go for the xTreme, has same arpeggiators etc but better sounds and easier editing. I currently have a Supernove but it keeps locking up when controlled from SX3


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leslawrenson



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Re: Synth advice new [Re: Michael B]
      #520870 - 19/09/07 12:07 PM
Quote Michael B:

BUt if you get a samplersurely you won't get the all important arpeggiator that the hardware synths have?





You can pair the sampler up with a hardware sequencer.

I am a big fan of the Yamaha QY700, but you could make do with a QY300, or one of the other models.

The good thing about the QY series of sequencers is that they have little rubber button pads that all you to play notes or trigger drum samples, etc, so with a sampler hooked up you can use it a bit like an MPC.


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ZukanModerator
Zukan


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Re: Synth advice new [Re: Michael B]
      #520872 - 19/09/07 12:08 PM
Yep, the Xtreme Lead is better but the Audity has different soundsets, of which some were incorporated in the XL1.

The XL1 is better and sounds better too and Beats Mode works nicely. The Arp patterns are aplenty and editable.

I threw the Audity in there because of trying to show how many cheap synths there are that can be had for very little that would help the poster in deciding what to go for.

--------------------
Samplecraze
Stretch That Note


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KNB



Joined: 05/02/06
Posts: 378
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520874 - 19/09/07 12:09 PM
Get a roland SH201 it's realllly good and loads of fun!

http://www.portlandmusiccompany.com/sh201_pics/SH-201.jpg


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Richie Royale



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Posts: 4402
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520885 - 19/09/07 12:18 PM
Samplers are good, but can be limited by the quality of samples and available RAM. They're also not so hands on to a newer user. I would recommend a Nord Rack 2, but having said that the Nord's tend to make more pleasant sounds and you may want something grittier? There are tonnes of potentials in the price range, but I suppose it comes down to features and the sonic palette you wish to draw from, others have suggested synths to look at so I won't suggest another list of them.

--------------------
http://soundcloud.com/richie-royale
http://www.mixcrate.com/richieroyale


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leslawrenson



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Re: Synth advice new [Re: Richie Royale]
      #520895 - 19/09/07 12:29 PM
Quote Richie Royale:

Samplers are good, but can be limited by the quality of samples and available RAM. They're also not so hands on to a newer user.





If you get the AKAI Z4 or Z8 you can sample at 24bit/96mhz, using the digital input. And with the akSys software, you can link a mac/pc to one of the two usb ports and use drag-and-drop tools to quickly, easily and intuitively build programs and performances. It could not be easier to use, and the sound quailty is amazing.

My Z4 is maxed out to the Z8 spec, with 512MB RAM, has an 80GB hard drive, and the fx board. It has an in-built midi file player, 36 different filter types, and the usual full compliment of synth programming options.

I paid a stupidly low £340 for mine about 3 months ago. A Z8 recently went for £475 on Ebay.


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themajorblip
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520929 - 19/09/07 01:19 PM
Adam

Whilst the Sampler advice is handy if you want access to simple examples of many synths-I doubt it will be the best for you.

Evie McCreevies list is bang on - but For your type of music I would suggest either an Access Virus C, or Roland JP8080 or Supernova 2 (all secondhand). They are top notch dance synths in your price range and widely used in your genres. They are both plenty versatile for what you are looking for. The Virus is more powerful, but I actually prefer the sound of the JP8080-The Virus is quite mean and dark sounding-but many like that. Synths are much more than the sum of their parts-each has a character of its own-and that is raraely captured on a sample cd. I have not tried a Supernova-but they are said to be great for Trance.

I have owned most of the synths above and spent much time tying the ones on the market out-you will learn a lot from programming your own synth instead of messing with samples, and finding out which you like the sound of most...Its a lot of fun!

Edited by themajorblip (19/09/07 01:23 PM)


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leslawrenson



Joined: 14/03/06
Posts: 2509
Loc: Outside Mothercare
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #520961 - 19/09/07 02:34 PM
I have the following hardware synths in my studio (and excluding my samplers):-

(within your budget):-
Novation Supernova
Roland JP8000
Access Virus C
Korg Z1
EMU Audity 2000
Waldorf Micro Q
Oberheim Matrix 1000
Roland XV3080
Yamaha FS1R
Roland VariOS (with the VC1 & VC2 cards)

(outside your budget)
Korg Triton Studio
Alesis Andromeda A6
SC Prophet 5
Future Retro 777
Roland Super Jupiter + MPG80 controller

Which one of these would I recommend? All of them! Otherwise I would not have bought them all, nor would I keep them all. I can't recommend any particlar one to you, because they all make useful noises. Each one is slightly different. None (apart from the XV3080 and the Triton Studio) is a jack of all trades

And therein lies your problem.

If I was pushed to pick, what I believe is the most comprehensive from within that selection, I would point you towards the Roland XV3080, which you can pick up for around £350 these days. I have the House and Techno cards fitted, for which I paid about £75 each.

I hate the expression "dance synth" since a synth is a synth. What you use it for is up to you.

But I still say that the sampler route in the best way for you to go. Get yourself an AKAI S3000XL and a Yamaha QY300, and start collecting sample CDs. And I would add, that the XV3080 (and all the JV synths before it) is little more than a sampler playing back samples! Indeed, I believe the XV5080 has the ability to record user samples for integration into preset patches.


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Snailzer
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #521007 - 19/09/07 03:59 PM
Cheapest good synth I have is a Yamaha TG33:
http://homepage.mac.com/synth_seal/html/tg33.html (demo mp3s).

Cost about £50 on ebay.

Like ffs, listen to this: http://homepage.mac.com/synth_seal/files/tg33/tg33_fix_pad.mp3

Play it with you existing midi controller and spend the rest on fridge full of nice beers. Only bad point is no onboard filters.

For an entry synth I'd recommend a MS2000 (loads of instant control), a Roland SH-201 or for all round good sounds maybe a Korg Micro-X. They are all available new within your budget.

btw, I also have a Korg ms2000, Korg Z1, Korg Prophecy, Korg EX800, Roland V-Synth, Novation BassStation rack, Casio SK1, Roland mc303 and a Yamaha Portasound 1. They all have their own 'niche' specialty. The TG33 is very good too, for the money.

--------------------
http://www.myspace.com/dubreakdublin


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Arpangel
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Posts: 5527
Loc: London
Re: Synth advice new [Re: Zukan]
      #521183 - 19/09/07 10:18 PM
Quote Zukan:

Quote arpangel:

You need.....this

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VINTAGE-RARE-MOOG-SYNTHESISER-10-SYNTH-1970-MODULAR_ W0QQitemZ150161620066QQihZ005QQcategoryZ38071QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Tony




Rust included in price.




Zukan, rust or no rust, I'd do "very rude things" for the chance to get my sweaty paws on this machine. OK, it probably needs a good "once over" but hey, what a classic piece of kit, I'll just have to dream I suppose.

Tony.


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J-M



Joined: 21/02/05
Posts: 133
Loc: Belfast Rock City
Re: Synth advice new [Re: Arpangel]
      #521195 - 19/09/07 10:44 PM

Sorry if this hi-jacking the thread a little bit, but has anyone tried the Novation Xiosynth? Its cheap as chips and although my experience of hardware synths is somewhat limited, i thought it sounded really cool. The interface took some time too get used too (was tinkering in the shop for about an hour!).

I noticed it doesnt have a MIDI IN, though, which seems odd, especially for those using a hardware setup, even though it has a USB interface.

Any thoughts on it?


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ZukanModerator
Zukan


Joined: 12/09/03
Posts: 9298
Re: Synth advice new [Re: Arpangel]
      #521253 - 20/09/07 08:03 AM
Quote arpangel:

Quote Zukan:

Quote arpangel:

You need.....this

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VINTAGE-RARE-MOOG-SYNTHESISER-10-SYNTH-1970-MODULAR_ W0QQitemZ150161620066QQihZ005QQcategoryZ38071QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Tony




Rust included in price.




Zukan, rust or no rust, I'd do "very rude things" for the chance to get my sweaty paws on this machine. OK, it probably needs a good "once over" but hey, what a classic piece of kit, I'll just have to dream I suppose.

Tony.




True my friend, it is moist inducing.
But then you need to lok at the Modular or an Arp 2500.

--------------------
Samplecraze
Stretch That Note


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Arpangel
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Loc: London
Re: Synth advice new [Re: J-M]
      #521257 - 20/09/07 08:09 AM
If I was in the market for a reasonably cheap synth I would start with Novation. I have an A-Station, which is wonderful, for all types of music, and sounds very good indeed. It's extremely "analoguey" with nice snappy envelopes, and some great effects as well. The aprpeggiator is also very cool, with a nice random setting. Novation do some great synth's for the money. But if you buy an older one make sure you have the latest software installed, it makes a difference to the resolution of the knobs, earlier ones were a bit course.

Tony.


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SonicAdam



Joined: 17/09/07
Posts: 154
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #521922 - 21/09/07 11:03 AM
Thanks for all your help guys

Got alot of options to think about now lol!

Cheers

--------------------
www.myspace.com/adbobsuk
www.myspace.com/ajconnell


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MarkOne



Joined: 15/02/07
Posts: 1147
Loc: Bristol, England, Earth, Perus...
Re: Synth advice new [Re: Dave B]
      #521948 - 21/09/07 11:47 AM
Quote Dave B:

For just a tad above your 500quid mark, you could now get an Alesis Fusion. It may not be the coolest, or most hip synth, but the spec is little short of mind boggling. If I don't get a Mac for my birthday, then I'll grab one of those. It should cover all the bases that you might want : S+S, VA, FM, Sampling, sequencing...




I have an 8HD and IMO the fusion is one of the best kept secrets in the keyboard world.

It has an incredible spec, huge polyphony a virtual analogue that has great flexibility and a very capable sampler.

The sound on sound review criticised it for the built in factory sounds, but since then sound designer (and sometime poster here) Hollow Sun has in official collaboration with Alesis, created a whole bunch of free downloadable gems.

The FM synth is a little quirky, but still capable of some gorgeous FM sounds, The physical modelling is limited.

There is a free PC/Mac utility to convert from Akai and Soundfonts (a little sampling knowledge is helpful because you need to tweak velocity/filters/etc, post conversion)

And the 40Gb (80Gb on some builds) hard drive means that you can store thousands of samples.

Best of all you can mix the synths together to create monsters from samples, VA FM etc.

Not hip or cool perhaps. but a gem nonetheless

--------------------
New album 'Fantasy Bridge' available now!
Making of Fantasy Bridge Diary


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thenaturallevel



Joined: 28/02/07
Posts: 1210
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #521959 - 21/09/07 11:59 AM
Another angle to come at this is the VST/plugin route. There are some great virtual synths out there such as those by Arturia or NI. You could two or three for your budget. Just a different option to consider.


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masElektro



Joined: 18/09/07
Posts: 6
Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #522027 - 21/09/07 01:02 PM
Hi

I wouldn't say that it was mad to be looking for a synth in that price league. -Unless ofcourse you want anything like a Virus ... There are loads and loads of old analogue synths which (i think) sounds better than most of the digital synths out there. But you could check out this site: vintagesynth

Br

Mads


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Arpangel
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #522192 - 21/09/07 05:26 PM
If I was being completely honest here, I would say just get a computer and Reason, you'll have the absolutely heavenly and wonderful Malstrom synth, plus lots of other superb effects and samplers to play with, and it will cure your gear lust, because you'll be able to create any rack you want. Its the only way to go, but then again, I am biased !

Tony.


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table for two
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Re: Synth advice new [Re: SonicAdam]
      #522202 - 21/09/07 05:43 PM
Zero-G Nostagia + MIDI KB conroller + PC


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caveman82



Joined: 30/01/06
Posts: 1294
Re: Synth advice new [Re: table for two]
      #522225 - 21/09/07 06:22 PM
if you're gonna go the hardware route, and money is tight, there are a wealth of cheapish old digital synths on ebay often going for a few quid. some of them are pure sh*te, but some of them sound quite odd and could have great uses. one of my mates, made a few albums with a collection of synths which he paid no more than a tenner per synth!

ffs, the mighty autechre use a load of casio sk1/sk5's which they circuit bent to hell though. which is something i'd recommend. some of the best synth sounds IMO were made by the mighty richard d james (aphex twin) who again is a huge fan of taking apart synths then putting them back together again.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr04/articles/autechre.htm

if you go for modding the cheap "junk" synths from ebay, then even if you f*ck up a bit, then there isn't a huge loss.

i'm not saying to forego buying a clavia or something like that, they are great pieces of kit but are a more expensive option, however it's something i have little experience with so cannot give any real tips. however, if i had £500 to buy a synth, i'd buy this without a moment's hesitation http://www.turnkey.co.uk/web/productAction.do?dispatch=showProduct&SKU=CLA V-NORDG2EN&context=WEB

in part agreement with the chap recommending you get a sampler. i bought a akai s2800 not too long ago for £40, basically the price of a few rounds in the pub! akai sampler prices are silly at the moment, so you could probably get a sampler in addition to getting a synth as well if you so wish....


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