Which first synthesizer?

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I am at it again, pondering on buying a hardware synth.

The iPad synth Apps are all well and good and work but after a while the limitations of screen based adjustments come to the fore. Why oh why do App designers persist in trying to use screen knobs rather than sliders? Can anyone get a screen based knob to function correctly, I struggle (whinge over).

So following hints in previous posts of mine I have been browsing and I found the online video by Jack of Andertons about why to buy a Behringer Deepmind 12 @ £659.


Then there is the Behringer Sledge @ £639.


Upping the budget and there is the ASM Hydrasynth which for me is bending the budget a bit to much @ its £1299.


There is a plethora of Korgs available but with so many different ones produced by them I do not know where to start.

A bit of everything in adds confusion.


Thoughts?
 

happyrat1

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A Deepmind or a Hydrasynth as a beginner synth will probably fry your brain. Way too complicated.

The Sledge is easier since it's one knob per function and it has a nice Fatar keyboard with aftertouch. It's not analog though, so it has a few digital artifacts at higher sample rates. There's a terrific series of over 50 tutorials on Youtube on how to design iconic sounds from all genres.

But for starting out I'd suggest a Behringer Poly D or even a Neutron Module to start you off with the basics of keyboard synthesizers. The poly D has a really cheap keybed with aftertouch, but still feels cheap and wobbly and unresponsive at times.

My Deepmind 6 by contrast has an excellent keybed and I assume they made a design choice with the Poly D to save a few bucks.

None of this matters of course, if you are using a different keyboard as your controller so I'm not put off by it.

Or you could take a look at the ARP Odyssey clone Benhringer just came out with which was a staple of many an 80's band.

Gary ;)
 
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I am at it again, pondering on buying a hardware synth.

The iPad synth Apps are all well and good and work but after a while the limitations of screen based adjustments come to the fore. Why oh why do App designers persist in trying to use screen knobs rather than sliders? Can anyone get a screen based knob to function correctly, I struggle (whinge over).

So following hints in previous posts of mine I have been browsing and I found the online video by Jack of Andertons about why to buy a Behringer Deepmind 12 @ £659.


Then there is the Behringer Sledge @ £639.


Upping the budget and there is the ASM Hydrasynth which for me is bending the budget a bit to much @ its £1299.


There is a plethora of Korgs available but with so many different ones produced by them I do not know where to start.

A bit of everything in adds confusion.


Thoughts?
Biggles...

So many synths, so little time :)

I have a Behringer Deepmind-12 and LOVE it. There is so much to it. I get a lot of satisfaction when I play mine. There is a taletop module of this as well.

The AMS Hydrasynth is also incredibly impressive. There is so much there and it is a digital synth. There are so many possibilities in that thing.

I am not terribly familiar with the Sledge, so I cannot comment on it.

If you can hendle the small keys, the Yamaha Reface CS may be worth taking a look at. I have one of these as well. I have mine hooked up through a Korg NTS-1 (for the EFX engine) and I get some neat sounds from it.

Another one with small keys is the Korg Minilogue XD. I have one of these as well and I love it too :) I also have the module version of this and so if you only need a module, it could work for you.

I am not sure that I would consider the Deepmind-6 though. There is not enough polyphony, in my opinion, and to get really neat sounds out of the Deepmind, you will likely be stacking voices.

Korg does have the Wavestate and there is supposed to be a newer version with full-size keys on the horizon (if not released already). It also adds features that the original version does not have. Korg also has the Modwave coming out (if not already released) and that looks interesting too.

There are also the Modal Cobalt and Argon synths available. There are module versions of these as well.

The Poly-D could be an option, as could the Behringer MonoPoly...

I am not a fan of soft-synths, myself, but I did use the iGrand for an album I arranged and played on back in 2013. It had a great piano sound.

Grace,
Harry
 

happyrat1

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One of the main attractions for me for the Deepmind 6 is the 3 octave keyboard instead of the 4 octaves of the 12. It suits the space requirements of my studio very well.

Also I think 12 oscillators are overkill for a starter Analog. 6 is a more manageable number for sound design.

Gary ;)
 
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Also I think 12 oscillators are overkill for a starter Analog. 6 is a more manageable number for sound design.
I haven't played a DM, but I thought the sound deign aspects of the two were identical, it was merely a matter of polyphony.

Some comments on the others mentioned... I haven't played the ASM, but the polyphonic aftertouch is one thing that makes in intriguing, in terms of playable expressivity. But for a first synth, the Minimoog-inspired Berhinger D models sound good and are totally immediate in operation. No presets, though. If you can find a deal on a used Nord Lead 3, that is perhaps unique in that it stores presets, but when you recall a preset, every control "moves" to its correct position (for one sound, though you can layer 4 sounds). It can do this because all of its knobs are endless encoders with LED ring displays, and all its switches are buttons with LEDs as well. It really helps when, not only is every control always in its right place when you want to manipulate it, but visually, all the others are as well, so you see how all the parts relate to what you're hearing.
 
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I haven't played a DM, but I thought the sound deign aspects of the two were identical, it was merely a matter of polyphony.

Some comments on the others mentioned... I haven't played the ASM, but the polyphonic aftertouch is one thing that makes in intriguing, in terms of playable expressivity. But for a first synth, the Minimoog-inspired Berhinger D models sound good and are totally immediate in operation. No presets, though. If you can find a deal on a used Nord Lead 3, that is perhaps unique in that it stores presets, but when you recall a preset, every control "moves" to its correct position (for one sound, though you can layer 4 sounds). It can do this because all of its knobs are endless encoders with LED ring displays, and all its switches are buttons with LEDs as well. It really helps when, not only is every control always in its right place when you want to manipulate it, but visually, all the others are as well, so you see how all the parts relate to what you're hearing.
The Deepmind synths are a two oscillator affair. The difference is polyphony and the ability to stack voices to get thick pads and lead sounds. You could make a saw lead with a single oscillator, but it is very thin, even when using the Chorus. You have to have at least two oscillators and two voices. I end up stacking 3 voices for my saw leads and that gets me 4 notes of polyphony on my DM-12. On the DM-6, you would be limited to 2 notes of poly in the same saw lead with stacking 3 voices.

To be honest, I actually am considering buying at least one of the DM-12 tabletop models, because the pads I create use at least 3-4 voices and I need the polyphony :)

I have no experience with Nord at all, so I cannot comment on them...

Grace,
Harry
 
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If I had it to do over, pretty sure it would be the Studiologic Sledge for me. Nice big knobby knobs spread out all over the thing. Plus, the tutorial series mentioned by happyrat would be priceless.

I kind of had my heart set on a Nord, got a smoking deal on a Lead 2x and having a blast with it....
 
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I looked into the Sledge quite some time ago, and really liked it... fun board to operate, nice feel, sample loading, lots of capability for the price and weight. It just ended up being physically too big for where I'd have wanted it (the control panel is quite deep). I don't remember, but I assume there's a way to tell it to just make the sound in sync with the current position of all its knobs? Run it like that, and it's as direct and apparent as a Minimoog (or the Berhinger D equivalents). It may not sound as "analog" but it sounds good, has recallable presets, has the polyphony, etc. Geoff Downes uses it to play the Yes stuff that was originally done on Minimoog. The ability to process samples through it is cool, and not that common. In that respect, it's a bit of a poor man's Nord Wave 2 or Sequential Prophet X.

 

happyrat1

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Actually I agree that it's rather huge, but I have mine stacked above the Kurzweil and use it as a secondary non hammer action controller. In that it excels with a 5 octave Fatar keyboard and channel aftertouch it is a pleasure to play.

As for menu diving? There is virtually none with a few buttons to select and store presets and pretty much everything else is pure audio control.

They ship from the factory with about a hundred presets out of around around 1,024 empty slots.

If you are looking to get up and running quickly, this is a great source for free patches.

http://analoguesque.x10host.com/

Gary ;)

EDIT >>> BTW, one other nice feature is that it's Bi-Timbral since the 2.0 update.
 
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happyrat1

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Actually Col, since I own all three of the synths you mentioned I can honestly say if you don't mind a lot of menu diving then the Deepmind or the Hydrasynth are the paths to glory.

BUT, if you are a novice to sound design and need to get a feel for what VCOs, LFOs, Filters and Mixers and VCAs and routing patches are all about then my first choice would be the Poly D or the Sledge.

Either one will have you up and giggling within hours. The difference can be seen by comparing the manuals.

They Hydrasynth and the Deepmind read like Russian Novels, while the others aren't much more than pamphlets.

So the question to ask yourself is how fast do you want to jump off the deep end if you're not a strong swimmer.

Gary ;)
 
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I know this is an old thread, but .... here we go.

I just 'reverb' bought a Studiologic Sledge. Don't have it yet. The online support for this instrument is noteworthy.

Let's say I was into synths in my 20's and understood everything. I might take a different route. But, since I am learning late, this is the way I choose to learn. My Mojo 61 does the bread and butter and makes me want to be a better player, however I want to turn knobs as well....
 

happyrat1

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Did you get the basic black or the ambulance yellow? :)

Personally I love the crazy color and if you don't abuse it it will survive til your grandkids wanna play with it :)
 
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Jumping in and asking: what's the difference between the black and yellow Sledge 2.0? Is it the keyboard (semi-weighted for the black version)?
 

happyrat1

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Nothing. Originally the black was released with 2.1 firmware. After update yellow was identical.
 

happyrat1

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Keyboard on the yellow has an excellent weight and feel. You can feel the weights when you pick it up. The aftertouch is priceless. AFAIK though the Black and the yellow perform identically except for colors.

Black keys? I can't play without my reading glasses to begin with. On a dark stage? Rotsa ruck.... :p
 
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Gary - wasn't sure what to think of the black keys, but you know what? It is a non - issue. I can play like $#!t on black keys just as well as the white ones. (seriously - after a couple of seconds, you are just playing as usual)

On the Sledge (now that I have one and have spent a few hours on it)

- it is a big gal.... the depth from front to back is noteworthy
- the keybed feels excellent. Not quite like the DX7, but very pleased, feels so good
- absolutely love the huge dashboard, and no menu diving, it is all right there in your face
- The on - board effects are nice, and the overall sound is pleasant...... for comparison, My Nord Lead2x has a pathetic keybed, no effects but the rest of the instrument is built like a tank, and the sound is very much "in your face" and that is sexy
- not that one buys a VA to emulate Rhodes and Wurlitzer, but damn, the Sledge is oddly satisfying

The Studiologic Sledge .... very much looking forward to the tutorials and learning how sounds are crafted
 

happyrat1

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Actually Studiologic no longer makes the yellow version opting only to sell the black models now, so the question is moot.

But I'm happy with big yellow in my studio :)
 

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