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Crappymonkey

Synth suggestions please

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Hey guys... I'm another guitarist looking at buying a synth :wave:. I was thinking of picking one up to mess around with at home just for fun.... playing stuff like Crystal Castles, Knives or Holy Fuck....

I was thinking of getting the MircroKorg it seems to have alot of different stuff to play around with, I like that it's analog, it's small, and that it has a vocoder... I already have an electric piano for real piano sounds so I just want a toy to play around with and make some electronic music. Can you guys suggest anything else in the under $500 range new or used?

I was also wondering what kind of speakers to play it through. I've seen a couple of keyboard amps advertised as bass/keyboard amps. Would I be able to use my bass amp for the synth? I have an old Traynor Mono Block II with a 4x10 and 1x15 cab. I also have some MDR 7506 reference headphones that I guess I could use if the bass amp thing doesn't work .

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I'm a guitarist that bought a Microkorg a few months ago to play around with and I just love the thing. Really straight forward, easy-to-learn. I'm starting to see some limitations that are inevitable with cheap synths, but it does really good ambient oscillations and buzzy lead stuff.

 

Just run it through your PA, live or in practice. The best part about it is that it's small and light, not a burden on top of all my guitar gear that I have to carry around. Stand, synth, cable--done.

 

You might also look at the Alesis Micron...

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Used Virtual Analog modeling synths that might work for you = Alesis Ion (has vocoder), Roland JP-8000 (don't pay more than 500 even if some people are bidding them up higher than that), Novation Xstation 49 or 61 (doubles as audio interface for your guitar and softsynths), or Nord Lead 2X if you can get one that cheap.

 

If you play acoustic guitar and want a nice acoustic amp that doubles as a mini PA and/or keyboard and/or bass amp, the Carvin AG100D is pretty nice. The price has gone up a little but you can probably get one used on Ebay if you watch.

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No, the Microkorg isn't analog. It's virtual analog. Big difference in design, but probably not so much difference for your purposes.

 

The MK should work fine for you, particularly if you can get one from ebay, craigslist, pennysaver/classifieds, for under $300.

 

Beyond just playing around, you might sell some of your old gear that you don't use to get a somewhat larger budget to buy a more capable used synth. Getting up to around $1000 will be enough to buy one of the top workstations from 3-5 years ago, or one of the value-priced synths that came out in the last year or two.

 

Bass amps are for basses. A synth isn't a bass. Doesn't even look like one (keytars aside). Keyboard amps are for keyboardists who are deaf in one ear, since to get good stereo sound from stereo keyboards needs stereo spatial separation of the speakers. Headphones do that. PA speakers mounted well apart do that. A keyboard amp doesn't (unless you've got two, or one that breaks apart). It makes no sense to me whatsoever to take a nice stereo keyboard and turn it into mono output with a single amp (even it has stereo speakers in a single box).

 

I'd sooner go back to listening to an ancient 8track home stereo than a single keyboard amp, since at least the 8track was stereo. Chain two keyboard amps together and you've got a PA but with heavy, underpowered, and overly expensive powered speakers. I'd much rather have light, powerful, inexpensive speakers with a powered mixer or discrete power amplifiers. I want more than stereo, and I've started composing music in 5.1 extended surround sound formats. Five channel surround arpeggios and rhythm tracks sound quite different than stereo.

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Thanks for the replies guys.

 

I don't have a PA anymore since I haven't playe out live in a couple of years :( That's why I was hoping my old bass rig might work.

 

Gribs... thanks for the suggestions. I'm going to a couple of stores tomorrow to try stuff out and I'll keep an eye out for those :)

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Bass amps are for basses. A synth isn't a bass. Doesn't even look like one (keytars aside). Keyboard amps are for keyboardists who are deaf in one ear, since to get good stereo sound from stereo keyboards needs stereo spatial separation of the speakers. Headphones do that. PA speakers mounted well apart do that. A keyboard amp doesn't (unless you've got two, or one that breaks apart). It makes no sense to me whatsoever to take a nice stereo keyboard and turn it into mono output with a single amp (even it has stereo speakers in a single box).

 

Keytars are the future :p

 

That's a good point on the mono output of a keyboard amp. I guess I can just use my headphones untill I need to play out loud and then I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

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I went to a couple of stores today an tried out some synths...

 

I tried a Korg R3. I liked it. It seemed to sound good and it was intuitive enough to play with.

 

A Korg Micro X. This one I didn't like as much. It wasn't easy to figure out and it didn't sound as good to me through my headphones.

 

A Novation Xstation 49. I didn't like this one either. The controlls were hard to read... but I did like the touch pad and the joystick controll.

 

A Korg Microkorg. I liked the sounds coming from it and it was easy to figure out. Seems like you can do alot of editing... but the small keys may take a while to get used to.

 

Of all the ones I tried I think I liked the R3 the best followed by the Microkorg. I was a little dissapointed that none of the shops has an Alesis Micron because I was considering one of those too :(. One of the salesmen told me that the Micron sounds great but is a bitch to program.

 

I think I may go for the MK... I found this thread:

 

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=1801186

 

there's a big list of MK users and Crystal Castles are on there as well as Chromeo, LCD Soundsystem, Isis, Kings Of Leon and Tool have used one :)

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the MK is fine if you have tiny hands, the R3 has a completely different sound engine (a 2-timbre Radias engine) and better vocoder

 

a friend of mine looked at both and spent the extra $250 (now $150 due to price drop) on the R3

 

imo, the MK is a toy, and a very fun one at that. It's very portable and light.

 

The R3 is a serious synth in a small package. not battery powered, bigger, but a step up from the MK.

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the MK is fine if you have tiny hands, the R3 has a completely different sound engine (a 2-timbre Radias engine) and better vocoder


a friend of mine looked at both and spent the extra $250 (now $150 due to price drop) on the R3


imo, the MK is a toy, and a very fun one at that. It's very portable and light.


The R3 is a serious synth in a small package. not battery powered, bigger, but a step up from the MK.

 

Unfortunately there is no $100 rebate offer for the R3 in Canada :cry:

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Unfortunately there is no $100 rebate offer for the R3 in Canada
:cry:

 

even on musiciansfriend?

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even on musiciansfriend?

 

 

Maybe... but over on the guitar forums MF has had some horror stories about their shipping taking super long or damaged goods :freak:

 

I was just offered a Micron for $300 and a Korg Prophecy for $400.... are they good buys?

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I like both the Micron and the Prophecy better than the Microkorg, but they're all good.

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I've played through a yorkville 400 bass amp with a 4x10, no you won't get the stereo effect, but it does sound clean, and LOUD. I can only imagine with a 1x15 on top of that! Many people will tell you to steer clear of using bass amps, but it really depends on which one. Try it, if you like it, one less thing to worry about. Another way to go would be just getting a controller to sit on your desk and play softsynths through some decent studio monitors, which if your tracking at home, you'll need anyway.

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I've been thinking about maybe hooking it up to my stereo... into the integrated power amp's aux imput, then the speakers.

 

Can they all give me sounds like these with tweaking?

 

[YOUTUBE]zUGyFYUlquo[/YOUTUBE]

 

[YOUTUBE]gecCt0F_6nM[/YOUTUBE]

 

[YOUTUBE]mY0DNqqC8xQ[/YOUTUBE]

 

[YOUTUBE]jIR5y9jksgI[/YOUTUBE]

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i guess it depends on how good you are at programming them :lol:

 

pretty extreme sounds though (and you'd want a vocoder for the synth vocals)

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i guess it depends on how good you are at programming them
:lol:

pretty extreme sounds though (and you'd want a vocoder for the synth vocals)

 

Yeah I think that's why I'm having trouble making a decision. I want to be able to recreate some of those sounds but all of the demos that I've looked up on Youtube are playing different types of music from what I'm looking for :cry:

 

Also want to thank you for your help. I really appreciate it :phil:

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One of the salesmen told me that the Micron sounds great but is a bitch to program.

 

Another retarded salesman. ;)

 

Look, download the manual from alesis.com and see for yourself. It's no problem, and there's always the micronizer. :)

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nice, i really wish they were battery-powered though, makes me want an ion

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