interesting modern digital synths?

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htor
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interesting modern digital synths?

Post by htor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:51 am

i want to get a new digital synth for my setup and need some advice from you mufflers.
please feel free to post cool synths that does not fall directly into my preferred category, as long as they are somewhat new and digital. i'm interested in learning what are the options in this area.

i'm looking for a synth that:
* has keys (but i'm open to suggestions for variants without)
* has midi in/out DIN connectors
* has modern, interesting dsp cababilites, synthesis engines and algorithms.
* can be configured in its entirety mostly using physical controls and knobs (not just in menus)
* has a price below 1000€

so far i've checked out two synths. these are very capable i think:
* blofeld (has an lfo sync issue?, no keys, but other than that is looks very nice, and affordable)
* argon8 (newer, has keys, looks promising with a lot of direct control knobs)

what synths would you recommend?
what do you think about the argon8 and blofeld?
Last edited by htor on Wed Jul 22, 2020 6:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Christopher Winkels
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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:59 am

ASM Hydrasynth.

I've not had mine for long but there is a metric fuckton of waveshaping options including FM, ring mod, and multiple flavours of sync and width modulation.

I played an Argon8 and came away less than impressed. It felt cheap, didn't offer the same level of visual feedback, and the interface wasn't nearly as intuitive. If I'd wanted that level of frustration I'd have bought an Elektron....

I had a Blofeld but there is a lot of page scrolling and I found it buggy even though it was purchased new a full four years after the synth was introduced. I lost a half dozen patches to lock ups midway through programming.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Voltcontrol » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:10 am

htor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:51 am
* blofeld (has an lfo sync issue, but other than that is looks very nice, and affordable. no keys though)
* argon8 (newer, has keys, looks promising with a lot of direct control knobs)

what synths would you recommend?
what do you think about the argon8 and blofeld?
Don't forget about the Blofeld keys! Has a very satisfying keybed and build quality imho and still very affordable as keys version.
Blofeld has some issues in programming yes, but a very workable menu structure and so many great results are possible.

Recommendations:
# ASM Hydrasynth as mentioned, excellent machine. Within budget as desktop, exceeds budget with keys. If you like the sound it's kind of a no brainer considering the sonic capabilites combined with it's price.
# Elektron Digitone. Probably not what you are looking for though being an FM monster. Within budget as desktop, exceeds budget with keys.
# Korg Wavestate. Check if the programming and sound is for you. If so an interesting choice.
# Sequential Rev2 (desktop or keys). Probably not what you meant but a great sounding digital synth with digital oscillators at a great price.
# Novation Peak. Probably not what you meant but a great sounding synth with digital oscillators at a decent price. I would not recommend the Summit by the way, still too many issues.

Some more thoughts:
I really like but would not recommend the Modor NF-1, too many issues.

The bigger Modals have impressed me in a negative sense build quality wise, so those are a no to me.
I've however recently added a Modal Craft 2.0 to my setup. It does NEED the app to gain full control over preset design, but the results are very satisfying and sound great. Modal Craft 2.0 + a tablet is a better choice than the Modal Skulpt imho.
If you play it with a master keyboard or other external midi device if offers a lot of 'new/digital' sound at a very attractive price.
Also: Sequencing it + applying parameter locks from the Digitone is a ton of fun in my experience.
So, let's call the Craft 2.0 my wildcard suggestion, but if you like the sound you will love it. Heck, you could even get a Craft 2.0 and a Blofeld desktop and a keyboard controller at your budget.
Gaun Yersel!

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by PLNB » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:16 pm

Christopher Winkels wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:59 am
ASM Hydrasynth.

I've not had mine for long but there is a metric fuckton of waveshaping options including FM, ring mod, and multiple flavours of sync and width modulation.

I played an Argon8 and came away less than impressed. It felt cheap, didn't offer the same level of visual feedback, and the interface wasn't nearly as intuitive. If I'd wanted that level of frustration I'd have bought an Elektron....

I had a Blofeld but there is a lot of page scrolling and I found it buggy even though it was purchased new a full four years after the synth was introduced. I lost a half dozen patches to lock ups midway through programming.
Re: Argon 8 UI is pretty much basic subtractive specs with the wave tables, modifiers, fm, and modal goodies baked in. Can't see where frustration builds up outside of the lack of a better mod matrix page, long envelopes, and the fx sucking the wind out of the VCA's. Used units are in the 600 range now, which is a steal.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:36 pm

Merely reporting my experience. Compared to the Hydra I found it less intuitive and not inspiring to use.

Of course a Hydra is nearly twice the price.....

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by jmax313 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:56 pm

Voltcontrol wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:10 am
# Sequential Rev2 (desktop or keys). Probably not what you meant but a great sounding digital synth with digital oscillators at a great price.
If you are talking about the prophet Rev 2, they are DCO's, so dunno if OP would want? But yes, it sounds great, it's a monster synth with limited menu diving - the 8 voice version is more than capable. But sounds can get real freaky and the filter self resonates too, there is some FM style stuff you can do with it.

Can't speak for much more, but I did get a Roland D-05 which is a reboot of the Roland D50 (dunno if this counts as modern?), but it's real fun to play around with it.

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blw
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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by blw » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:08 pm

Immediately thought of Waldorf Quantum until I saw your price limit. Nails this, though:
has modern, interesting dsp cababilites, synthesis engines and algorithms.
Last edited by blw on Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Voltcontrol » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:08 pm

jmax313 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:56 pm
Voltcontrol wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:10 am
# Sequential Rev2 (desktop or keys). Probably not what you meant but a great sounding digital synth with digital oscillators at a great price.
If you are talking about the prophet Rev 2, they are DCO's, so dunno if OP would want? But yes, it sounds great, it's a monster synth with limited menu diving - the 8 voice version is more than capable. But sounds can get real freaky and the filter self resonates too, there is some FM style stuff you can do with it.

Can't speak for much more, but I did get a Roland D-05 which is a reboot of the Roland D50 (dunno if this counts as modern?), but it's real fun to play around with it.
Did you see the Dtonics controller for the d50/d05? Seems like a very fun combination!
Gaun Yersel!

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by jmax313 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:44 pm

Voltcontrol wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:08 pm
Did you see the Dtonics controller for the d50/d05? Seems like a very fun combination!
Yes! I can't justify the price tag of it though :-(

I'm using this plugin instead https://d-05-d50-editor-controller.jimdofree.com/
Otherwise editing the parameters alone on the D-05 is so insane!

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Voltcontrol » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:53 pm

Nice! Will give some other editors I see there a try. Good stuff by the looks of it.
Gaun Yersel!

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by khyber » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:56 pm

Great D-05 (among other Boutiques) web editor here as well: http://www.breadandbuttersounds.com/

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:09 pm

Access Virus KC
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htor
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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by htor » Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:04 pm

thanks for the tips! keep em coming!

wow, hydrasynth is a nice sounding thing, will have to pass on that because of the price though.
Christopher Winkels wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:59 am
I played an Argon8 and came away less than impressed. It felt cheap, didn't offer the same level of visual feedback, and the interface wasn't nearly as intuitive. If I'd wanted that level of frustration I'd have bought an Elektron....

I had a Blofeld but there is a lot of page scrolling and I found it buggy even though it was purchased new a full four years after the synth was introduced. I lost a half dozen patches to lock ups midway through programming.
i have to admit, i like (the newer) elektron interfaces. so when i said not too much menu diving, take it with a pinch of salt :hihi:
good to know that about the argon8, i got the feeling it has some cool bells and whistles but the build quality is not comparable with other synths here discussed. about the blofeld keys – i 'm actually leaning against that currenlty, as i hear a lot of good things about it and it is very deep. can you elaborate on the issues you had?
Voltcontrol wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:10 am
Some more thoughts:
I really like but would not recommend the Modor NF-1, too many issues.
this one looks seems very nice too! what are you referring to when you say issues? i'm curious now..
the build quality looks a bit sketchy at first glance i'd say – the knobs are wobbly and cheapy?
blw wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:08 pm
Can't speak for much more, but I did get a Roland D-05 which is a reboot of the Roland D50 (dunno if this counts as modern?), but it's real fun to play around with it.
good one! but too small for me. i need keys and knobs sized for normal sized hands.
jmax313 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:56 pm
If you are talking about the prophet Rev 2, they are DCO's, so dunno if OP would want? But yes, it sounds great, it's a monster synth with limited menu diving - the 8 voice version is more than capable. But sounds can get real freaky and the filter self resonates too, there is some FM style stuff you can do with it.
this one sounds analog (i guess from the analog amps + filters) and that's cool, but i want something more of a "clinical" digital sound, which doesn't resemble analog gear or actively tries to at least.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by nostalghia » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:12 pm

Yamaha Reface DX? Not exactly "new" type of digital synthesis (FM ala DX7 as name suggests, though easier to edit), but has keys, din midi (via breakout cable), low cost and sounds great.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:16 pm

nostalghia wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:12 pm
Yamaha Reface DX? Not exactly "new" type of digital synthesis (FM ala DX7 as name suggests, though easier to edit), but has keys, din midi (via breakout cable), low cost and sounds great.

This is a good take.

Those are surprisingly powerful and the little bender lever is more rewarding to play than one would immediately assume.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by desdinova » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:46 pm

The Sledge is mostly a blofeld with a great UI and much hotter outs, I'd suggest it wholeheartedly especially at the prices it's going for these days.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by nthall » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:02 pm

The reface CS might be a good choice too. Actually most of the 90s virtual analog synths sound more modern to my ears now than they did when they were new.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Chopper » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:12 pm

desdinova wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:46 pm
The Sledge is mostly a blofeld with a great UI and much hotter outs, I'd suggest it wholeheartedly especially at the prices it's going for these days.
THIS.
or the blofeld keyboard. Less control, but a tad cheaper and more power. The keys themselves are very good and you've got the sample licence already installed. And the bugs have been vastly ironed. I would never part from mine ....

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by blipson » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:02 pm


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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by coolshirtdotjpg » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:09 pm

Prophet 12 module seems like an option. Just bought one for 1000 even.
New video on Prophet 12 Drone Patches:
Prophet 12 Drone Patches

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by drxcm » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:18 pm

Roland System 8 ticks all your boxes. The different oscillator and filter types are awesome, and it has a few different flavours with the included plugouts too.

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by onthebandwagon » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:40 am

Voltcontrol wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:10 am
htor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:51 am
* blofeld (has an lfo sync issue, but other than that is looks very nice, and affordable. no keys though)
* argon8 (newer, has keys, looks promising with a lot of direct control knobs)

what synths would you recommend?
what do you think about the argon8 and blofeld?
Don't forget about the Blofeld keys! Has a very satisfying keybed and build quality imho and still very affordable as keys version.
Blofeld has some issues in programming yes, but a very workable menu structure and so many great results are possible.

Recommendations:
# ASM Hydrasynth as mentioned, excellent machine. Within budget as desktop, exceeds budget with keys. If you like the sound it's kind of a no brainer considering the sonic capabilites combined with it's price.
# Elektron Digitone. Probably not what you are looking for though being an FM monster. Within budget as desktop, exceeds budget with keys.
# Korg Wavestate. Check if the programming and sound is for you. If so an interesting choice.
# Sequential Rev2 (desktop or keys). Probably not what you meant but a great sounding digital synth with digital oscillators at a great price.
# Novation Peak. Probably not what you meant but a great sounding synth with digital oscillators at a decent price. I would not recommend the Summit by the way, still too many issues.

What are the issues with the Summit?
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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by estin » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:50 am

ESQ-1

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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by jdaddyaz » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:31 am

I've never been much of a lover of FM as it always reminded me of really cheesy 80s commercials, and the hair pulling frustration of pressing and holding buttons to change parameters, but I have to say The Digitone is never far from my side. Programming it is super effortless, and encourages tweaking. You can go from lush to gnarly with a quick couple of knob turns. It's one of my favorite synths right now, and probably forever.

That said, Korg are really doing some great stuff right now, and I'm excited to hear their new FM synth at Superbooth, that's coming up soon.
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Re: interesting modern digital synths?

Post by Voltcontrol » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:39 am

jdaddyaz wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:31 am
I've never been much of a lover of FM as it always reminded me of really cheesy 80s commercials, and the hair pulling frustration of pressing and holding buttons to change parameters, but I have to say The Digitone is never far from my side. Programming it is super effortless, and encourages tweaking. You can go from lush to gnarly with a quick couple of knob turns. It's one of my favorite synths right now, and probably forever.

That said, Korg are really doing some great stuff right now, and I'm excited to hear their new FM synth at Superbooth, that's coming up soon.
The renaissance of new-old stock FM chips is (also) very interesting imho.

https://soundcloud.com/twisted-electrons/sets/megafm

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