January 12, 2007

Open Thread: An experiment...

by Chris Randall

One of the blogs I read on a daily basis has an Open Thread every day (several, actually) where people can just discuss what's on their mind. I thought I'd give that a whirl here. It remains to be seen whether or not it'll work, but here 'tis. Obviously, we should stay within the general realm of topics normally discussed here. Have at it.


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Jan.12.2007 @ 11:30 AM
I'm fairly curious about those MFB products too. The only thing I've heard was someone saying the OSCs sucked because they were DCOs, but I'm not sure if the guy had actually heard them or was just making a blanket comment about DCOs.

Jan.12.2007 @ 11:32 AM
brandon daniel
The Rev is cool and all, but don't consider the effects to be much of a feature, there's essentially no editing of their default settings, so in the case of the delays, for instance, you'll get one delay length and like it!

Jan.12.2007 @ 11:48 AM
Yeah, just checked the spec sheet after I posted..

Jan.12.2007 @ 12:10 PM

You may want to consider the Kawai K5000 series. Its an additive synth that you dont hear too often. I've had mine for damn near 10 years now, and while synths may come and go, they will be prying that one from my cold dead fingers.



Jan.12.2007 @ 12:11 PM
noisegeek, JG, shamann,

Well, I have been looking around, and listening to people's suggestions, and have been able to narrow down what I am looking for:

1. I like the synths with 8 bit digital PCM waves, combined with analog or digital subtractive filters. Ones that look cool:

Kawai K4
Kawai K3
Ensoniq ESQ-1 (as DM mentioned above)
Maybe the Roland D-50 (I am not sure if the filter works on the PCM, or only the square wave... if only the square wave, then that sucks)

2. Synths with exotic synthesis

Kawai K5 or K5000 (additive synthesis)
Yamaha FS1R (as noisegeek mentioned above)

3. FM synths

I like pretty much all of the DX family - the only problem is that they are SOOOOOO used, they were sooooooo ubiquitous in the 80s, that I worry it just won't sound unique enough. Same with the Nord Lead - Sounds great, but so ubiquitous that I wonder if it is played out!

Aside from that, I am looking for versatility. I am going to be making all sounds with 1, or maybe 2 keyboards and then sampling them... so I need to be able to get a very wide range of sounds from them. Including percussion sounds.


Jan.12.2007 @ 1:17 PM

My collection seems to consist exclusively of PCM/analog filter hybrids:
(SQ-80, ESQm, K3m, DW8000, Ensoniq Mirage):

One thing to look for is the speed of the envelopes: People often complain about the speed, athough I dont think any of them are that bad, the K3 has by far the fastest, most percussive envelopes, if you wanted to make those sorts of sounds..I think you should probably seek to optimize the interface and modulation possibilities, for maximum sampling potential. Only the ESQ/SQ has the ability to sync/rindmod the oscillators, which gives a much wider palette of weird digital artifacts. The SQs are my current go-to synth for almost any sound simply due to the easy interface and modulation options, and I even managed to make a decent snare once. The only thing they can't do is "smooth" - the DW and K3 oscillators a bit better in this regard, although the k3's are much less aggressive (a shame, given the great filter).

As for FM, i think most of the over-sampled sounds are likely to be FM bass or else terrible 80s sounds - i do think there is a ton of spiky metallic/dissonant sound in it left to be explored. (Currently working on programming an all TX81z drumkit).

Finally, the Korg z1 (physical modeling, would fit in under your "exotic" category) is supposed to be amazing at weird stuff, but I find few examples or reviews online, so it remains a bit of a mystery to me.


Jan.12.2007 @ 1:18 PM
Rex - wouldn't the Kawai K1 (keyboard, tabletop, or rack) be ideal? 8 bit PCM, sort of a poor-man's Wavestation. Quite crunchy...no filters, but it doesn't look like that's something you're too worried about. However, I think the K3 (or is it the K4) *does* have filters. But the K1 goes for cheap - it's actually been on my acquisition list for quite some time.

The Yamaha TG-33 is pretty similar, too, and also cheap, though I hear it's very difficult to program...there's also the TG-77. Both are combination FM/PCM synths, so that may be exactly what you're looking for.

Oh yeah, one last aside: I think that any synth is only 'played-out' if you're lazy with your patch programming. Part of the reason that DX synth stuff is that way is the fuckers are so hard to program and a lot of folks use the stock patches...being all knob-laden and such, you may find it's easier to get a non-cliche sound out of the Nord. However, it seems like digital (not faux analog) is more up your alley, since you want something more unique...I guess my parting advice would be to get something you know you'll be able to program to your liking.

- J


Jan.12.2007 @ 1:23 PM
Oh yeah, going off of amassivetree's post above, what about the Korg Prophecy? It's a hybrid with multiple synthesis types, so that might fit your 'exotic' category, plus it's compact...actually, now that I look it up, the Z1 is basically a Prophecy on steroids (and polyphonic, whereas the Prophect is monophonic). Just a thought...

Jan.12.2007 @ 1:23 PM

based on your last post, i'd strongly recommend the korg emx-1. yah, looks like a "groove toy" but has a very flexible synth voice architecture.
analog modelling/FM/PCM/etc.and it's easy/quick to edit. yep, it has all of the things you said you didn't need, but it also has all of the things you said you wanted.

i use mine as a synth/drum/bleep source and not at all for any of its on-board groove/sequence/arpeggio functionality. as such, it's 5 monosynths

the filter isn't awe-inspiring, but it's not terrible, either.

the dave smith evolver is a good fit, too, if you want the 8-bit wavetable goodness. (not to mention analog filters/osc's)


Jan.12.2007 @ 1:26 PM

What about an Adrenalinn? See www.rogerlinndesign.com.... Maybe that's too DSP'd, but it's smaller and cheaper, there's no synth, it has delay and filter effects, as well as others, has the Roger Linn name attached to it, or whatever, and the modulation possibilities are supposed to be great. But <cough> since I've never used it, I raise it to see what folks who visit this site think of it.


I don't understand.... You don't want knob twiddling, but you want versatility in making a sound? If you just want one-offs to sample, but don't want to twiddle, I think you're talking about (ugh) a sample CD, which fie on you if you are. A simple analog thingy, with some (but not a lot) knobs, would be a 4ms triwave, or a SoundLab MiniSynth, or a SID. I tried the Dave Smith Evolver once in a shop and I liked that a lot, too.


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