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Looking to buy my first non-modular synth
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Looking to buy my first non-modular synth
Jturbide
Hi, I'm looking to buy my first synth. I'm slowly building a little modular system but, I would also like a polyphonic synth. I don't know much about which synth is good for what and all that stuff so... Oh and I'm looking for something kinda cheap, there's no way I can afford a DSI prophet or Nord.

I'm basically looking for a poly synth (at least 4 notes poly) which is great for organ sounds. I don't think I want to go for a one trick pony thought... like I'd love a Vox Jaguar but 1- expensive , 2- one trick pony.. So, I asked a band I love what they use. The guy told me, vintage phillips philicorda organ, vintage farfisa organ, and Korg Poly-800 and lots of effects...

Here's some of them tunes if that helps:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7ec4sVK6Mk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ5JRxmXyMQ

So yeah basically a cheap poly synth with good organ/dreamy/pads sounds, that exist ? Or would I be better off with a dedicated organ + a synth (don't like that idea much since I will probably hunt a vintage vox jaguar or something like that when I have more money)..

Thanks
bmot
I recently got a Yamaha SK30, it ticks a lot of boxes.

Firstly there's a decent organ section, less combo and more Hammond clone.
Secondly a mighty beefy mono synth, that thing can shake the foundations!
Thirdly there's a poly string synth, I've never owned a string synth before but I'm underwhelmed by this one.
Finally a simple but decent lead poly synth.

There's effects in top, and sliders for everything. Lots of controls for the organ. A few presets too. You can mix them all together in any combination and get some unique combinations. It also has CV/gate inputs which work with the mono synth, and individual audio outputs.

For the money (around 500 euros) it's a proper good instrument and looks rather nice if you like that style. The only downside for me is the size and weight, not impossible to move around but you do need space. For what it's worth, I had a philicorda once and hated the key action. Sound was nice, but the myriad Italian combo organs sound equally as good/cheesy and if you're lucky you can get one for next to nothing. So maybe check out combo organ heaven and hang around the classified ad sites patiently.

Here's the SK30:

chaosick
Jturbide wrote:
Hi, I'm looking to buy my first synth. I'm slowly building a little modular system but, I would also like a polyphonic synth. I don't know much about which synth is good for what and all that stuff so... Oh and I'm looking for something kinda cheap, there's no way I can afford a DSI prophet or Nord.

I'm basically looking for a poly synth (at least 4 notes poly) which is great for organ sounds. I don't think I want to go for a one trick pony thought... like I'd love a Vox Jaguar but 1- expensive , 2- one trick pony.. So, I asked a band I love what they use. The guy told me, vintage phillips philicorda organ, vintage farfisa organ, and Korg Poly-800 and lots of effects...

Here's some of them tunes if that helps:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7ec4sVK6Mk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ5JRxmXyMQ

So yeah basically a cheap poly synth with good organ/dreamy sounds, that exist ? Or would I be better off with a dedicated organ + a synth (don't like that idea much since I will probably hunt a vintage vox jaguar or something like that when I have more money)..

Thanks


Sounds like you just want a cheap electric organ.
Jturbide
bmot: Thanks for the suggestion, it looks really cool. There is actually a SK15 for sale near me and I was interested until I found out it was mono. Kinda big too, I don't have much space. Thanks anyway thumbs up

chaosick: yeah probably !? Any good/cheap brand or model in mind?

I was wondering if I could get some organey/dreamy sounds with something like a minilogue (really tempting) or reface DX/CS, or if I might as well just get the reface YC (which sincerely looks like a toy) or some other dirt cheap electric organ...
dubonaire
Also have a look at the Waldorf Streichfett - this could be exactly want you are looking for.

It sounds awesome actually. There is a ton of demos on youtube.
Jturbide
Thanks for the suggestion dubonaire! Problem is I don't have a keyboard except for my Qunexus.. I'd prefer a synth with a keyboard.

I've just read on some forum (google links) that the minilogue excels at mellotron and organ. I'll have to watch more demo but this one is really tempting. Other suggestions are still more than welcome thumbs up
diophantine
So, what sort of price range are you looking at? There's about $2000 between the Minilogue and the Prophet/Nord stuff, so I'm not sure what your cutoff point is.

I'm going to second the advice about the Streichfett. You seem really set on having vintage electric organ sounds, and that is your ticket. While perhaps not as versatile as some polysynths, you can get a wide variety of sounds out of it, while still being able to dial up a great electric organ sound with ease.

A Streichfett and an Arturia Keystep is just under the price of a Minilogue. Sure, you lose half an octave on the keyboard, but you gain full polyphony (over 4-note poly, which I consider pretty small for doing that sort of stuff), you get a 64-stage poly sequencer (vs. 16-stage), and you don't have to use the Keystep exclusively with the Streichfett. Heck, start with just the Streichfett and your QuNexus, and see how you like it.

If you're willing to go a little higher, price-wise, check out the Studiologic Sledge. It ain't analogue (nor is the Streichfett, of course), but it is basically a Blofeld with a full-size keyboard (in key size & number of keys) and knob-per-parameter. Still a lot less than a Nord or a Prophet. But, again, programming those vintage organ sounds is not nearly as quick as with the Streichfett.

For a good while the poly setup in my studio was a Sledge & a Streichfett.
umma gumma
I was going to suggest yamaha reface as well

you could always hook a full sized midi keyboard up to it, I believe?
Michael O.
If you're looking for organ/dreamy then don't discount Casio as an option. Specifically, I love the HT and CZ series (all fully programmable, one a dco analog style and the other like a more intuitive DX) and have used them on some relatively classy productions.
Huba-Swift
Got a Korg DW-8000 a while ago and it does organ very well thanks to its wavetable oscillators. They're pretty cheap and can be found for around $300. The sound is great and is analog except the wavetable oscs. It's also worth mentioning how great the onboard delay is. It is possible to creates chorus-like sounds, phasher-ish sounds. the two main downsides for me are the lack of knobs, and the clunky keybed.

JX-3P is also worth taking a look at. It doesn't do organ sounds quite as well (but still just fine). It does those '80s analog polysynth sounds a bit better though. I've seen these go from $350 to $500 w/out the programmer.
Xmit
I'll second the Studiologic Sledge : I got a brand new 2.0 Back edition for £750 here in the UK.

it'll do all your basic organ / keyboard tones ( it even has a decent piano preset due to the onboard sample ROM ) plus a whole lot more, obviously.

Keyboard action is decent & if you like a simple interface with a knob / switch for everything... Guinness ftw!
roger
Waldorf Blofeld KB used could fit the budget, the soundengine is the same as the sledge(or the other way around actually), and you get keys and a versatile synth.
alternating.bit
diophantine wrote:
So, what sort of price range are you looking at? There's about $2000 between the Minilogue and the Prophet/Nord stuff, so I'm not sure what your cutoff point is.


When someone says they want a synth "cheap," and with so many out there now in the $350-$800 range nowadays, I don't think he'd be anywhere close to the 2 grand mark lol
However polyphonic does jack up the price considerably from those lower price points.

My suggestion would be the DSI mopho x4. I owned it only for a weekend but thought it sounded incredible with a vast range. Though the polyphony is limited to 4, it is expandable which you could do later. It has a very solid build quality and the keys feel great. This synth falls a bit above the $900 mark.

Jturbide
Thanks everyone for the suggestions thumbs up

My budget is around $500 CAD ($400 USD) so of all the above I'd be interested in a DW-8000, JX-3P, casio cz or minilogue. I'll have to watch some demo and see if I can expand or cut down the this list.
crm114
I second JX-3P!
calaveras
I'm going to put in my 2 cents on the Streichfett. I'm not a poly kind of guy. Most of my life I've been a bassist or drummer. Which kind of sets your brain in a linear non-chord way of thinking.
The Streichfett really ignited a fascination with polyphony for me. It's very playable and fun. The lack of menu diving and other nonsense really makes a difference. Once you get oriented on how it works it is very straightforward.
It's also a lot more than a stringer. There is a String section and synth section. You can vary the mix, and it can also be split somewhat.
I get all kinds of non string sounds out of mine. From Kraftwerk to New Order sounds as well as a dead on PolyMoog 'Vox Humana' sound.
The effects are decent, esp the modulation. But all have one adjustable parameter each.
I picked mine up cheap used($200). And I already had a Novation SL MKII controller. You should be able to find a used Streichfett and a midi keyboard for your stated price range.

Another option might be the infamous Korg Poly 800. This was a cheap synth when it debuted back in the 80's. It's analog-ish. There is a single filter across the whole 4/8 notes. But the oscs are not exactly analog oscs. They are Square or saw approximations made up of different footages. I think they are accumulators? Yeah it's kind of similar to organ drawbars. And it can get some cheapy lofi organ sounds.
I always found mine kind of thin. So I'd record a midi performance in my sequencer, then record into the DAW a couple times, changing the detune a bit for each recorded track.
sansnom
I love my minilogue -- it's remarkable what one can do with 2 oscillators. It plays nicely enough with the modular with its clock out too.

Plus it's small and light enough to put into a medium sized backpack.

They're cheap enough used too.
BugBrand
JX3P is great.
Even better with the programmer or currently available clone (mode machines etc).
+ there are high class mod options too for future upgrade/expansion routes.

A lot of fun & still relatively easy to find.
robzit
I think that if you need organ sounds then you need.... an organ or better good organ sounds.
And if you want to play ten finger chords then you need polyphony.
I find that the Reface is a really good option with all the classic sounds, from the Hammond to the Farfisa, via the Vox Continental etc., a 128 voices polyphony and a nice price (now way cheaper than when it was introduced).
I was very skeptic when Yamaha introduced the Reface serie but when I played, all four of them, inside a music store I was astonished by the sound quality and the incredible action of the mini keyboards.

Just my cents and no, I'm not a Yamaha enployee or a Yamaha reseller hihi
Chopper
I second the Blofeld keyboard suggestion.
Not only the keybed itself is great, but it is basically one of the only two non-modular synths i still use. It goes everywhere my modular cannot go. Don't be too judgmental about the interface, as it is far easier to navigate than it looks. The most powerful synth i ever had, and does far more than the big glassy pads and textures it is famous for. Oh, and definitely in the cheap end of the spectrum...
Scories
i praised the jx3p on many threads but never managed to convinced anybody; a great synth with a polyphonic sequencer that can be triggered by an external pulse.
gentle_attack
Roland JP-8000 can do a bunch of organ and E-piano sounds
Does really well on VA sounds too, can cover a lot of Jupiter and Juno sounds 'good enough for live work'


I see them on stages all the time. I sold mine when I was moving a bunch and didn't have a case for it, and didn't want to mess it up (stupid reason). They're great swiss army style synths.
yeskeys
For my money a second hand Korg Karma is your best bet. Has TONS of great sounds, plus the KARMA functions which could keep you engaged on a desert island for years. Decent pianos and pretty good organ tones. Plus a sh*tload of great synth, drum, fx, and crazy stuff to boot. They can be had for as little as $400!
Jturbide
Well, thanks everyone. I'm now considering:

Minilogue

and if I can sell my modular (yeah I know... but I can't afford buying more modules and I'm too limited now so.. blablabla ...yeah cry ) :

DSI Mopho X4

Waldorf Blofeld KB
commodorejohn
There's some quite good organ patches for the Roland D-50, and as far as pads go it's a dream machine. I highly recommend it.
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