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New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

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New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby ainternational » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:32 am

I'm after a new/secondhand synth to expand my arsenal.
Looking for something that's easy to program (good knob to parameter ratio) with decent factory patches to use as starting points. I'm no great programming expert, but enjoy hands-on synths and want to add something that'll give me some hefty bass sounds as well as good pads, leads, fx etc.

I already have a few vintage synths (Junos, 101, Jen, SY2, MS20) so am looking for something modern but with a vintage/analogue sound and preferably polyphonic with a degree of multi-timbrality, though this is not essential as it's for recording only.

I've always fancied a Nord, and have been pondering whether to go for 1, 2, 2x or 3 (presently suspect it should be 2x rack due to 2nd hand price being ok and not needing another keyboard - no aftertouch on the 2x). I am also tempted by a Prophet 08, as long as I could get one cheap enough. In truth I'd love a Voyager - but too pricey and I'd quite like polyphony. Tried the Virus for Powercore, but didn't really get on with it (sounded a bit dated?): this probably was as much to do with my lack of programming skills than the Virus' abilities though.

I've nearly bought a Nord 2x rack three times now, so that's the general direction I'm heading. My budget was around £350-400, but thoughts of a Nord Lead 3 or Prophet have made me consider selling another Juno and making the budget nearer £700.

Some sage advice would be appreciated, thanks.
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:42 am

I love my Nord Lead 2. That's all I can say! It's great, usable, versatile and a pleasure to own. I've not used any of the other versions of the Lead.
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby ainternational » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:51 am

Thanks, further extensive reading suggests that a Nord 2 or 2x rack is likely to be the one for me. I love the sound of the Prophet, but suspect that I need more of an all-rounder for now.
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby Frankenstein you are out of time. » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:29 am

Get a nord lead, great 'phat' but still digital sound and you could pick one up for £350 odd.
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby nathanscribe » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:44 pm

I've had an Evolver (owned a Mono keyboard, borrowed a Poly keyboard for a couple of months) and they are good... but to be honest I found programming them more difficult than I expected given the quantity of knobs. Becuase they're endless rotaries I found myself spending more time squinting at the screen than when using a more intuitive (for me) standard pot and using my ears.

I also had a Nord rack 2X for three years, and of all the stuff (new and vintage) that I've sold, that is the one thing I'd have back in a shot. It's super-easy to program, sounds good, and covers a lot of bases. It can sound more 'genuinely analogue' than you might expect too, as there's just enough modulation to be able to introduce a bit of uncertainty into the patches. And it's 4-part multitimbral, which I found extremely useful for setting up quick & dirty demos with a minimum of gear.
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby vinyl_junkie » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:05 pm

It's funny the Nord Lead was an attempt to copy the Prophet 5 sound wise :headbang:
Out of the two I would go with a Lead 2 or rack version, I'm not that much of a fan of the new DSI stuff or perhaps lack of sonic identity but I do like the Nord's
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby ainternational » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:17 pm

Frankenstein, you're out of time. wrote:Get a nord lead, great 'phat' but still digital sound and you could pick one up for £350 odd.

Yep, just got to find one. Been under-bidder on a couple of 2x racks on Evilbay and had 2 deals fall through via SOS ads. If anyone out there has a 2x that's not getting used please get in touch.
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby ainternational » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:20 pm

nathanscribe wrote:I've had an Evolver (owned a Mono keyboard, borrowed a Poly keyboard for a couple of months) and they are good... but to be honest I found programming them more difficult than I expected given the quantity of knobs. Becuase they're endless rotaries I found myself spending more time squinting at the screen than when using a more intuitive (for me) standard pot and using my ears.

I also had a Nord rack 2X for three years, and of all the stuff (new and vintage) that I've sold, that is the one thing I'd have back in a shot. It's super-easy to program, sounds good, and covers a lot of bases. It can sound more 'genuinely analogue' than you might expect too, as there's just enough modulation to be able to introduce a bit of uncertainty into the patches. And it's 4-part multitimbral, which I found extremely useful for setting up quick & dirty demos with a minimum of gear.

Thanks: that couldn't have been a better recommendation - I was suspicious of the programming foibles of the DS stuff. My mind's made up.

Thanks to everyone for their input: now I just need someone to sell me one...
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby vinyl_junkie » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:28 pm

Why not just settle for the original Lead 2 not the "X"
Imo it's the best sounding one before they went to the high quality converters or may be it's my my head but I thought the 2 sounded different.
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Re: New Synth advice: go Nord or Smith??

Postby forumuser695516 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:38 pm

If you decide you want a Nord Rack 2, I could be persuaded to flog mine. I've never really used it! Not that it isn't good. Because it is. It's just I tend to find myself enjoying my mono synths more. The Nord is just gathering dust currently.
I've got my eye on yet another mono synth, but I promised myself im not buying any more new gear until I start to shift some stuff I don't use!
By all means PM me if you are interested :)

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