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[OT] synths - can you "survive" without a poly synth?

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  • [OT] synths - can you "survive" without a poly synth?

    this is for any synth guys here: could you work with only mono synths? or even if you don't use it a lot, would you always keep a polysynth on hand if you could?

    I've had a monomachine for a few years now, really like it, it covers a lot of different sounds but it lacks in two departments: bass and poly. you could fake poly if you put it in multi mode and run all six channels at once on the same patch, but that limits you from using other sounds at the same time. to resolve the bass issue I picked up a Moog minitaur, which I'm loving (though I've only had it a couple days). the monomachine sequences everything so i can play guitar/tweak effects at the same time.

    currently, I'm fairly happy with just using the monomachine & minitaur, but there are times where it would be nice to be able to do chords and fill out the sound a bit. I don't have anything in mind right now that absolutely needs poly, and I may be able to work around it if something came up, but in the back of my head it still seems like it could turn out to be a hinderance

    while I do have a venom, which is a poly synth, I really only use it as a controller while I'm writing and sequencing, the sounds are ok but nothing essential, and its a bit big. long term I just want to have a few small desktop modules that would be really portable, small footprint, and I can all sequence off of the monomachine

    so could you work with only a mono synth or two? or would you consider a poly synth of some sort a must have?
    we could be dangerous: art, as a real threat

  • #2

    I guess it all depends what you want? For me a mono synth is primarily for bass. Leads are great too, but mono synth bass is what I almost always use it for. Poly is a must for me, string sounds and pads really add a lot. 

    There are a lot of options,

    DSI tetra is a great sounding small footprint analog option if you have a good controller, don't mind menu diving or using software to make sounds. Takes effects pedals extremely well, but can only run in stereo. This can work as a monosynth as well but gives you 4 analog voices. 

    Lots of good digital synth boxes out there, new and old.




    • #3

      Maybe it depends on your playing syle. I don't think I would be happy with just monos and have only had polys.

      I've always liked the ability to use pads when using synths and I think it would be too tedius to record each voice in order to form a chord (I suppose you could tune the oscillators to make 5ths, though). It makes sense to have a mono if you can only get "that sound" from it and not a poly, but otherwise, I'd always choose a poly over a mono. 



      • #4

        When I think synth, I think monosynth. So, if I only had one synth, it'd be a monosynth. If I only had two, it'd be a mono and poly. But that's just me. Honestly, I think most of the cool stuff I've come up with was due to not having an ideal setup and having to work at getting something.


        • #5

          I'm old enough to remember when pretty much all synths were monosynths.  For me, they're great for sound effects, lead and melodic lines (such as the counter-melody Moog part in Here Comes The Sun) and synth bass, as well as textural things... and you can sequence them and multitrack to get poly type sounds... but for live use, a polysynth is very beneficial. In fact, if you're going to sequence things for live use, a multitimbral polysynth with dynamic voice allocation between the multitimbral parts is even better.


          I liked the Venom quite a bit when I first heard it, but if you don't need a keyboard controller for live gigs, I could see why you'd rather stick to just modules. Are you interested in analog type sounds exclusively? Any objection to modelling (virtual analog) synths, as opposed to "real" analog like the Moog? If virtual analog is okay, and you want something polyphonic, check out the Novation Nova. It's discontinued, but the latest OS upgrade gives it 16 note polyphony, and it's 6-part multitimbral too, so you can spread that polyphony across multiple sounds. There's an analog input, tons of knobs, onboard effects, and the bass is big and fat too...  you can probably find one for about $500 or so used.





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          • travisbrowning
            travisbrowning commented
            Editing a comment
            I've never even touched a real physical synth. However, I've downloaded a ton of software synths and I don't think I've ever gotten a long with any mono synths. Maybe I've never went past the presets but they all seem way to big sounding, they're either set up for lead or bass and they just never set in my mixes well. I did recently use a software synth of a Juno 60 for a bass line in a recent track (Tattoos N' Things on the EP in my sig) and that sounded great. So to answer your question, no, so far I haven't found a mono synth that has satisfied me personally, however they're always fun to mess around with and I have 3 plugins of monosynths soooo, yeah I keep em around.

        • #6
          some good points to consider, thanks. I'm not specifically attached to a certain sound or analog, I don't really have anything specific in mind to be honest, I just think it would be good to be able to do pads and chords or not even chords just a couple notes simultaneously. form factor is a big sticking point for me though, I want to be able to do all standalone hardware without being tied to a computer for editing (this is another problem I find with the venom), lot of knobs to directly access everything and tweak on the fly with minimal submenu navigation, but still be able to save and switch between patches. that's part of the reason I like Elektron stuff so much, it's pretty deep but everything is right there with only a couple button clicks.

          I'll have to look up the nova and I guess just listen to albums and see what's being used when I hear sounds I like.
          we could be dangerous: art, as a real threat


        • #7
          Mono synths are fun running into a harmony or octave pedal... To me...
          FOR SALEBruno Royal Artist 12 string hollowbody $525Tapco 6000R spring reverb mixer


          • #8

            I take back what I said about choosing a monosynth if I only had one. I just got done restoring an OB-Xa for a friend. Damn thing barely worked when he dropped it off. OMFG, this thing is amazing. And playing all eight voices in Unison Mode with detuned VCO2s is the sickest **************** I've heard. Made the Dave Smith stuff feel and sound like a toy in comparison. I have serious GAS now.


            • Ferdinandstrat
              Ferdinandstrat commented
              Editing a comment
              Damn guys, as if I didnt wanna learn to play keyboards already!

              Also, that nova thing is so 80's

            • Texas Noise Factory
              Editing a comment
              Imbuedblue, I used to have an 8 voice OBSX. I can vouch for what you say about that Oberheim. I still to this day miss the sounds that that thing made. One of those old Oberheim OB series poly synths is on my short list of synths to buy. NOTHING I've found sounds as massive as how those things sound.