For discussion about setting up your studio and advice on the gear and equipment within it.
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By starmanwarz Wed May 03, 2017 5:21 pm
Initially I was thinking of buying a synth in the 500 euro range but then I though that maybe I should save some more money and get something really really good, something that stands out. Currently I'm saving for the MPC X, so the synth will have to wait a couple of months.

Anyway, this thread is more of a "how I use my synth(s) making X genre" etc and less of a "what should I buy" thread. Every comment regarding the above synths or any other is more than welcome, though :nod:

I'm just looking for inspiration at the moment and trying to make sure that I could fit a synth in my workflow before I pull the trigger.
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By terry towelling Fri May 05, 2017 2:14 am
a mate just bought the korg volca FM. it's a small digital FM synthesis synth that costs $120.
i'm really impressed with it. FM synthesis makes great basses and piano, organ sounds, as well as much much more.

it has great sound, it is well set up for editing and tweaking and making your own sounds. there are some realy nice touches -- the motion recorder of tweaks (can't remember the proper name). it really adds some great dynamics. it also has a very, very useful arp and sequencer. brilliant! it's a no-brainer
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By sciguy Tue May 09, 2017 6:30 pm
all the big music companies are stepping up their games with regard to hardware synths
there's so many good options out there right now. can't really go wrong.

my #1 suggestion is just go with whatever fits your price range and catches your eye/ear based on video demos and such. don't go in thinking "i want to do exactly x or y, and have this one particular workflow." go with what looks fun, and let that shape how you do stuff.

true, once you go into hardware synths, you can never have enough... but if you're like me, it's just so satisfying to be able to have basically entire song generated in real-time. nothing committed/locked out from resampling or whatever, everything is fluid and endlessly tweakable.
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By Headphones Mon May 15, 2017 1:52 pm
Buying a first synth, with the idea of learning the basics of synthesizers, is quite a broad stroke of a brush on your pallet. Digital, Analogue, Eurorack, Rompler, Subtractive, Mono, Poly, FM, Knobs, Sliders, CV, Midi, and anything I just mentioned is just one possible avenue for exploration!

A Moog Sub37 is a great investment, and you'll learn about waveforms (square, triangle, saw, sample+hold), filters, Control Voltage, and it's a synth you won't get bored of easily. But sooner or later, you will want to explore other synths to compliment it.

You can spend insane amounts of money out there, but not to worry, you can probably find some bargains out there too. Use eBay as your last resort if you can't find a certain synth in your area. Mainly because you can't exactly try it out & see if it's got the sounds you'd want in your tracks. If you have a used musical instrument shop in your area, drop by. Look at what you see. Ask the salesperson what they can tell you about the synth. Some are old, but jumping in value or price. Yet, because they're a bit old, they are trapped in primitive MIDI control (Note on/off), and won't have all the bells & whistles of something you can get for new. But it will have a warmth or charm the latest synths don't.

At the end of the day, eventually you will understand how a synthesizer makes its sounds, how the filter cuts out frequencies that make the sound harsh or nasty, to nice & smooth, and how the LFO (low frequency oscillator) wobbles the sound, and how the amp sends it out to your mixer/daw.

When you're ready, you might want to invest in a modular synth, and the tons of filters, oscillators, clock dividers, envelopes, FX out there. You can make a sound that you won't be able to buy from any manufacturer or sample library. But as soon as you unplug the cables, you may never get again. (Keep a notebook handy or take as many pics in your camera to figure out what cables you routed to where, & you might possibly get that sound again). It's going to be a rats nest of wires if you invest in a Eurorack modular synth, but you can always start with a Artuia Minibrute & expand around it. There's also the Roland System 1m, Dreadbox Erebus, Make Noise No-Coast, Doepfer Dark Energy that can get your feet wet in CV synthesis.

Oh, another thing to think about. Since you're setting your sights on a Moog Sub37, think about expanding its capacities with Moogerfooger FX pedals. Especially a CP251, since you can further process the waveforms, filters from it. But having a ring mod, phaser, chorus/flange will make it sound dope too.

Have fun, do your homework, watch YouTube clips, and ask more questions on other forums if you don't find the answers here.
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By starmanwarz Tue May 16, 2017 3:20 pm
Another very informative post, thank you Headphones.

Unfortunately my area (my whole country to be exact) doesn't offer any choices in the used market so I'm looking at buying new gear, mostly, although I have an eye on eBay for any bargains.

Modular seems very complicated to me and at this point I'd prefer to avoid it.

My plan is to get the Sub37, learn synthesis with it and then get a poly (Novation Peak and DSI REV2 seem interesting) and be done with it. After all, samples is my main focus and synths will be "filling gaps" in my music. It depends on how much I will be experimenting (I'm thinking quite a lot :wink: )

I will definitely get some FX pedals, at least some basic ones for starters, like delay and reverb.
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By Headphones Wed May 17, 2017 12:33 am
Keep in mind your Sub37 is semi-modular already. If you look at the side of it, there's Pitch CV, Filter CV, Voltage CV, and Gate, besides the audio in/out, midi in/out. So for instance, if you had a foot pedal, and a MF-107, you could give yourself a extra oscillator to your sub 37 that will give you more possible sounds that you can filter sweep from the foot pedal. Yeah, Moogerfoogers are a bit pricy, but they're worth every penny. And when you add a CP251 expander, you're really going to find tons of options of patching to any Moogerfooger, Minotaur (if you decided you wanted one), and your Sub37 especially. And if you have your eye on other synths out there (Digital, analogue, virtual analogue), you'll already have somewhat of a idea what gives the Sub37 its fat sound, and how it sounds different from the other synths you mentioned.

But explore every knob on your sub 37, and at least consider discovering what CV can do when you include it to your education. There's a Dreadbox Hades that's almost the price of a miniBrute, and even Dreadbox has some CV pedals that expand the options it has.

Most guitar pedals mainly are audio in/out, and maybe a foot pedal control if it's included. And you guessed it, THAT's CV as well. So you can probably control it from your Sub37, even if it's a Boss, Eventide, ElectroHarmonix (or whatever manufacturer's pedal you decide on) pedal, if it has the option for a foot pedal, you can control it.

Probably you just want to spend time making patches that's going to fit with the samples you have. And heck, you will probably want to sample your sounds for further editing. So take your time, stick to a budget, and you'll pick up how a synth makes its sounds in no time.
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By campbellmontgomery Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:56 pm
I initially started with just samples but have implemented synths more in the last couple years. The first synth I got was the Korg Microkorg and it's great. Small and easy to mess about with the sounds. Simple layout but you can get in deeper if needed. Midi is useful too as I sync it up to the MPC and can play notes from there or record notes in. Great for basslines and playing over samples.
There are so many synths out there these days I think it's pretty much down to what you like the sound of.
Can't go wrong with Moog though!
By OmegaStylesBC Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:50 am
the behringer deepmind 6 just came out, along with the rack mount 12 voice version. they are DCO analog with 2x OSC. i'd look into one of those or one the virus units. i've also been looking at the volca keys for some Boards of Canada style stuff + it's small & 3 voice analog. one poly synth + one mono synth is what I'm setting out to use. record audio in, switch patches, record another layer, rinse repeat. this stuff can get quite expensive really quick lol
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By starmanwarz Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:15 pm
Yeah the Deepmind is getting praised a lot, it's definitely good. I think that for me, a mono synth would be a better choice as a first synth, though.

My plan is the same as yours, 1 mono and 1 poly, although it's going to get a bit delayed because I had to buy a Digitakt :smoker:
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By starmanwarz Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:13 am
So, after months of research and countless videos I went ahead and ordered a.......... 0-Coast.

Yes, I know, it makes no sense for a first synth. Especially when I'm not interested into going the modular route. There's something about it that makes it extremely interesting to me, looks like a lot of fun. Scored a decent Black Friday deal on it too.

Now I'm waiting for the Behringer Model D to satisfy my Moog needs and that will be all for now, no more buying for a long time!

So, anyone here rocking a 0-Coast?
By Cockdiesel Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:28 am
Don’t own one, but there is a lot that can be learned from modular or semi modular synths, so I think you made a good call. Can do some crazy stuff with the elektron sequencer so you should be in for a real treat. Can also make some keygroups for the live with it too. So you can pull Poly if you wanted to. Lots to experiment with that setup.
By Tomes Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:46 pm
I have an MPC, slim phatty, virus c and ipad combo. If i had to choose one of those with the mpc, i would take ipad with its very good virtual synth plugins. Ipad serves as more than just a synth plugin host, its also a mixer(with fx plugins), arp, additional sequencer(drawing in notes etc), additional sampler(when i need more advanced than what mpc offers), sometimes i also play melodies with it using some app with scale and/or chord modes. It really takes MPC to another level. However if i had to choose one hardware synth, i would take the virus. I love how slim phatty sounds, but a synth combined with mpc needs to be polyphonic with a lot of patches playing at the same time. Mono synth as a only synth is a bad idea imo, unless you want to be sampling it all the time or recording melodies instead of just sequencing. Digital like virus offers much more flexibility than any analog, thats why i dont think analog is usually the best choice with the only synth with mpc. Analog mono is the right choice if you also have other synths or are willing to sample it and dont want polyphony ofc. Poly digital fits with MPC A LOT better as the only synth.