Need Synth with Most Old-School Built-In Sounds


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I am a studio musician doing mostly early Nashville country and soul/blues music from the 60's. I am looking for a synth that will get me good horn, drum and string sounds. I don't want to do any sampling and as little editing as possible. I just want a synth, preferably on the smaller side, that has the most built-in sounds. If there is a brand/model that leans more on these genres of music that would be great. I don't do dance, electronica or 80's-90's pop etc, but I realize that many of these synths have sounds from every genre. Also, I like to do drums on the keyboard and I need a click track and some quantitization so can lay the drums on the beat. Does that mean I need a keyboard with a sequencer?

Also cheap is a main consideration! Like under 300 used if there is something. I would prefer a keyboard but maybe a midi keyboard and a rack module would be the way to go?

Thanks for the help in advance. I'm not a piano player!
 
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happyrat1

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I was with you until you quoted $300...

Pickings are slim in that price range.

Check your local craigslist and ebay for a used Roland Juno G or Juno Di

Maybe a used Korg TR61.

Maybe a used Yamaha MX61.

Those would be the only vintage synths in your ballpark that aren't too old to worry about breakdowns.

Gary ;)
 
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The thing is with a used Synth is that it is not like a used guitar where you can see a warped or twisted neck and worn frets and anything wrong with the pickups is easily sorted.

A keyboard is another matter, you have wear and tear on the keys, dirt build up, potential dry electronic joints nit to mention that the operating system is way out of date so it could easily cost a couple of hundred bucks to get it sorted.

I would up the budget 2x and get a Juno or go the MIDI route and accept that the tones generated maybe a little lacking compared to a proper Synth.
 

happyrat1

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Biggles does make a valid point.

A state of the art Roland Juno DS61 with a full warranty, brand new, sells for $699 USD.

If you are uncomfortable buying used gear then this would definitely be an option.

If you are OK with used gear, then I would definitely advise using craigslist or kijiji or schpockit or whatever sales app is local to you so you can go and give it a thorough test drive before you buy.


Gary ;)
 
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The thing is with a used Synth is that it is not like a used guitar where you can see a warped or twisted neck and worn frets and anything wrong with the pickups is easily sorted.

A keyboard is another matter, you have wear and tear on the keys, dirt build up, potential dry electronic joints nit to mention that the operating system is way out of date so it could easily cost a couple of hundred bucks to get it sorted.

I would up the budget 2x and get a Juno or go the MIDI route and accept that the tones generated maybe a little lacking compared to a proper Synth.

I see your point! My son has a DS-88 that we use for gigs, but I can't drag it to my overdub/mix room because he needs it to practice on. I didn't want to spend that kind of money, but I can see how fixing a broken synth is more complicated than a guitar. Thanks!
 
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Biggles does make a valid point.

A state of the art Roland Juno DS61 with a full warranty, brand new, sells for $699 USD.

If you are uncomfortable buying used gear then this would definitely be an option.

If you are OK with used gear, then I would definitely advise using craigslist or kijiji or schpockit or whatever sales app is local to you so you can go and give it a thorough test drive before you buy.


Gary ;)

You just brought up another good point. I don't enough about using one to test-drive it properly, haha! There is a Juno DI on Craigslist not too far away for 300. I might take a stab at it if the seller will meet me half way for delivery.
 
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The thing is with a used Synth is that it is not like a used guitar where you can see a warped or twisted neck and worn frets and anything wrong with the pickups is easily sorted.

A keyboard is another matter, you have wear and tear on the keys, dirt build up, potential dry electronic joints nit to mention that the operating system is way out of date so it could easily cost a couple of hundred bucks to get it sorted.

I would up the budget 2x and get a Juno or go the MIDI route and accept that the tones generated maybe a little lacking compared to a proper Synth.

When you say MIDI route you mean a rack mountable synth module and a MIDI keyboard? If so, can't I find a rackmount module with good sounds for a good price like a Roland JV1080?
 

happyrat1

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Basically to test out a synth without any ability to play is not that hard.

1) Check each and every key. Do the notes sound properly for each key? Do they sound louder when hit harder? Do they sound softer when hit softly? Is the sound even across all the keys?

2) Check every switch and button and slider and knob to make certain they are all performing optimally.

3) Check all the connectors. Outputs, headphone jack, MIDI ports and USB ports. All should be functioning nominally.

4) Check the exterior for dings and scrapes from gigging. Ideally I'd be looking for a unit that was never gigged and sat in a studio all day long.

5) Did it come with a dust cover or a case? Bad things happen when a keyboard sits all day without a dust cover. Dust gets into the contacts and causes problems later on.

A thorough check should take a little over an hour.

If you're meeting on neutral ground it may be difficult to test all this with a working amp and computer.

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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The Micro X is a mini VA Synth with a two octave keyboard.

Not the bread and butter pianos, organs, strings and orchestral sounds you are looking for.

Would be nice as a secondary keyboard for synth work but not as the main machine for a working gig.

Gary ;)
 
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happyrat1

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The Casio WK-6600 is not bad, though he's basically selling it for the new price.

https://www.amazon.com/Casio-Workstation-Adjustable-Instructional-Polishing/dp/B074F3MXG5/

If you can knock him down to $200 or less it might be OK.

I owned one once a few years ago and I picked it up brand new at a post Xmas Sale for $179 CDN.

Prices have gone up a lot since then.

It sounds OK for a basic general purpose keyboard, but it won't sound as good as a Roland Juno. But the sounds are somewhat tweakable so it is possible to squeeze some good tunes out of it.

Gary ;)
 
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The Casio WK-6600 is not bad, though he's basically selling it for the new price.

https://www.amazon.com/Casio-Workstation-Adjustable-Instructional-Polishing/dp/B074F3MXG5/

If you can knock him down to $200 or less it might be OK.

I owned one once a few years ago and I picked it up brand new at a post Xmas Sale for $179 CDN.

Prices have gone up a lot since then.

It sounds OK for a basic general purpose keyboard, but it won't sound as good as a Roland Juno. But the sounds are somewhat tweakable so it is possible to squeeze some good tunes out of it.

Gary ;)
Much thanks!!!!!!!!
 
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You also might want to consider an old Roland U-20. I've had 3 at various stages since the early 90's. I liked the sounds a lot and they were easy to get around on. You might be able to find one fairly cheap now.
 
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Maybe Roland SK88-pro?
There are a few for sale on E Bay for under $300. Manual can be found on the web just by searching for it by name.
Has many sounds - manual says it has over 1,000 sounds, and over 40 drum sounds. You can search you tubes for this to hear the sounds, and sound quality. The sounds should be exactly the same as the SC88-Pro, which is a sound module that is far more popular, since it is a sound module that really hits the spot for sound modules.

You can simply run it into amp, or mixer / board, although you will need a cord that works - audio output is RCA connections, not 1/4 inch guitar.

It is 3 octaves. If you wanted more, you could take any midi keyboard and plug it into this.
It has midi out, as well as midi-in. That opens up an entire world - if you run it through a computer, you can have whatever sounds you want, but there is a learning curve to "DAW" digital audio workstation.
 
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As the song says 'everything old is new again'. I got a cheap Novation board due to the large number of assignable sliders which could simulate organ draw bars. I was surprised that PC based organ simulators supported so many of the oldies even my first portable/luggable organ - Farfisa and my first electric piano - Hohner clavinet. Also originals like the Vox organ commonly used by many Brit pop groups and the ubiquitous Fender Rhodes are well developed. The development of tone-wheel sims is even more amazing with simulation of cross-talk, electronic hash, clicks, fold back and miscellaneous distortion; the big difference is adjustable attributes: as we all know, no two tone-wheels had exactly the same personality.
 
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I am a studio musician doing mostly early Nashville country and soul/blues music from the 60's. I am looking for a synth that will get me good horn, drum and string sounds. I don't want to do any sampling and as little editing as possible. I just want a synth, preferably on the smaller side, that has the most built-in sounds. If there is a brand/model that leans more on these genres of music that would be great. I don't do dance, electronica or 80's-90's pop etc, but I realize that many of these synths have sounds from every genre. Also, I like to do drums on the keyboard and I need a click track and some quantitization so can lay the drums on the beat. Does that mean I need a keyboard with a sequencer?

Also cheap is a main consideration! Like under 300 used if there is something. I would prefer a keyboard but maybe a midi keyboard and a rack module would be the way to go?

Thanks for the help in advance. I'm not a piano player!

Hi Skoolboy, I would try and obtain a Roland XP-50 for around $400 bucks they are a superb keyboard very robust and should still work fine. I have had mine for nearly twenty years and never had a thing wrong with it. Great built in synth sounds and a great work station. Some great features if you can download a manual for it will do all you require.
 

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