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90s and 00s VAs...any love?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author 90s and 00s VAs...any love?
anselmi
AN1x, Nord lead 2, JP-8000, Korg MS-2000, Alesis Ion...

prices are coming down since people want real analog, so is there a place for this synths today?
BTG
Sure, but it depends. Some classics of the era don't have sufficient sound quality to offset some maintenance issues (e.g. Radias, SuperNova, and others are known to have parts that die).

NL2 is still a great synth, but I'd argue the 4/A1 are pretty much better across the board (although I still miss the NL2's drum programs).

Some of the other stuff was good for its time but isn't really considered a classic (Ion). Ion also has reliability issues.

And of course the Virus A is still going strong.
commodorejohn
There's always a place for something if you like the sound. That said, there's only a few VAs I've encountered that ever really did much for me. The MS-2000/Microkorg, for example, doesn't really sound that much like an analog synthesizer, but on its own merits it has an interesting character and a good selection of features. On the other hand, Roland's full-fledged VA stuff outside of the JP-8000 is almost all some degree of wretched; the best it ever gets is generic blandness (SH-201, the VA section of the misleadingly-named Jupiter-80) and at worst it's disgusting plastic garbage (the thrice-damned Gaia, which sounds like water that's been left in a plastic bottle in a hot car tastes.) Which is astonishing considering that the D-50 was half a precursor to full-fledged VA synths and that sounded gorram fantastic.

I've always been of the opinion that digital synths sound best when they're fully embracing their nature as digital synths (the DX-7, for example, which never even tries to pretend it's anything but.)
Dave Peck
I've been getting a lot of great sounds out of an Alesis Ion that I picked up cheap recently. It has a couple of shortcomings (not enough mod matrix slots, not enough LFOs, it responds to external aftertouch but it's own keyboard doesn't generate aftertouch). But it's certainly capable of sounding really, really good. And the voice architecture is a lot more versatile than a lot of other synths that cost way more.
Chopper
You will get my Novation K-station over my dead body.
I actually prefer VA over real analogue as far as polysynths are concerned. They just fit better in the mix. The amount of eq-cut i have to do on a real analogue poly is just a shame sometimes. Well, in my world anyway.
The thing i always liked with Novation synths in general is that it takes me 40 seconds to program whatever i want them to do, and yes, they are not the thickest ever, but that is what i like about them. All those background arps and pads (they excel at those). If i need thick and credible bass/leads, then the modular/analogue monos get into action....
GUM
the Virus' A-C are still top notch pieces of gear, esp B+C.
WaveRider
anselmi wrote:
AN1x, Nord lead 2, JP-8000, Korg MS-2000, Alesis Ion...

prices are coming down since people want real analog, so is there a place for this synths today?


well my JP8080 does sound pretty unique, the osc can sound really synthetic smile overall still has great ambient sounds to use, but it is getting at the end of the line for me. A Blofeld should be a lot better.

I kept it as my last VA, I had Nord modular rack, Radias, witch I sold before. The JP8080 still has some magic going on, sounds colorful and Roland in a way, still has a place in a mix... always pleasantly surprised by it. Super fast to program.
rew_
The Korg MS-2000—which was literally my first-ever synth—is running $400-600 on Reverb right now. Unless you really care about the vocoder I cannot imagine an argument for buying that over the Minilogue, which has the same number of voices, is analog, and isn't a decade old.


some of the Nord/Virus stuff still has some appeal but not all of these VA units were created equal.
mongrol
Had a loan of a Novation Nova "laptop" for a while. It was way beyond my skillset at the time so gave it back. Had the chance to buy it for about $200 too. Awesome machine, very knob per function, 16 poly, multitimbral up to I think 8 channels. Packed some serious punch for the price. Dodgy power supply, had to make a new one.
Blairio
commodorejohn wrote:
the thrice-damned Gaia, which sounds like water that's been left in a plastic bottle in a hot car tastes.) Which is astonishing considering that the D-50 was half a precursor to full-fledged VA synths and that sounded gorram fantastic.


Totally agree on the Gaia - a very unsatisfying synth, and a nice analogy. However I am not sure the D50 was a precursor to VA. It was digital to the core. Look at how the 'filter' was implemented - Phase modulation, like the Casios of that time. The D-05 isn't VA. It is just a 'super' D50, especially when run in 'clean' mode.
commodorejohn
Blairio wrote:
However I am not sure the D50 was a precursor to VA. It was digital to the core. Look at how the 'filter' was implemented - Phase modulation, like the Casios of that time.

Oh, true enough - it's just that it was (as far as I know) the first digital synthesizer to implement analog-style subtractive-with-resonant-LPF synthesis, and it's ironic that it did that so much better than almost all of their later efforts that were specifically attempting to mimic analog synths.

(Also: I've heard a variety of stories on the oddness that is the D-50's filter. Has anyone done a writeup on that? I'd love to read about it in detail.)
Blairio
A small shout out for one of my favourite VA's, the humble Micorkorg XL, launched in 2008. It looks like a Wurlitzer E200 piano that got shrunk in the wash, and sounds great. I think it was based on the Korg R3 synth engine, but whatever, bases, leads and surprisingly good synth strings fall out of it, and that's before we consider the Vocoder. A little gem, that packs a punch. Even the mini-keyboard is playable - with practise.
computer controlled
The Ion will always be one of my favorite VAs. I consider the D-50 to be partial VA since it digitally recreates an analog synth. With digital PCM samples to boot. Just wish those could be run through the filter as well.
Blairio
computer controlled wrote:
The Ion will always be one of my favorite VAs. I consider the D-50 to be partial VA since it digitally recreates an analog synth. With digital PCM samples to boot. Just wish those could be run through the filter as well.


But there's the thing - The D50 has no filter. Filter effects are achieved by direct phase modulation of the oscillator waveforms - all in the digital domain. The PCM transients are simply overlaid on top of the oscillator waveforms.

By way of an (analog) analogy: a sine wave run through a wavefolder gains harmonics as you increase the fold intensity. Once you start backing off the fold intensity, the harmonics start to disappear, like closing a filter. But there is no filter.
computer controlled
Blairio wrote:
computer controlled wrote:
The Ion will always be one of my favorite VAs. I consider the D-50 to be partial VA since it digitally recreates an analog synth. With digital PCM samples to boot. Just wish those could be run through the filter as well.


But there's the thing - The D50 has no filter. Filter effects are achieved by direct phase modulation of the oscillator waveforms - all in the digital domain. The PCM transients are simply overlaid on top of the oscillator waveforms.

By way of an (analog) analogy: a sine wave run through a wavefolder gains harmonics as you increase the fold intensity. Once you start backing off the fold intensity, the harmonics start to disappear, like closing a filter. But there is no filter.


Interesting, i did not know that. I thought it was a filter.
lisa
As I’ve stated many times before; Alesis Ion is my all time favourite synth. Better than all the classics. Easy to use and veeery powerful.
commodorejohn
Blairio wrote:
But there's the thing - The D50 has no filter. Filter effects are achieved by direct phase modulation of the oscillator waveforms - all in the digital domain.

But how does the resonance work? Surely it's not just a matter of cranking up the phase-modulation depth - that sucker can go all the way up to self-oscillation, IIRC.
Blairio
commodorejohn wrote:
Blairio wrote:
But there's the thing - The D50 has no filter. Filter effects are achieved by direct phase modulation of the oscillator waveforms - all in the digital domain.

But how does the resonance work? Surely it's not just a matter of cranking up the phase-modulation depth - that sucker can go all the way up to self-oscillation, IIRC.


Its all done with math - hence the synthesis type is termed 'linear arithmetic' rather than virtual analog.
Blairio
computer controlled wrote:
Blairio wrote:
computer controlled wrote:
The Ion will always be one of my favorite VAs. I consider the D-50 to be partial VA since it digitally recreates an analog synth. With digital PCM samples to boot. Just wish those could be run through the filter as well.


But there's the thing - The D50 has no filter. Filter effects are achieved by direct phase modulation of the oscillator waveforms - all in the digital domain. The PCM transients are simply overlaid on top of the oscillator waveforms.

By way of an (analog) analogy: a sine wave run through a wavefolder gains harmonics as you increase the fold intensity. Once you start backing off the fold intensity, the harmonics start to disappear, like closing a filter. But there is no filter.


Interesting, i did not know that. I thought it was a filter.


That is why you can't filter the pcm partials on a D50: there is no filter to run them through. You can aggressively eq them, and certainly run them through mod-delay and phaser fx, but not filter them.
commodorejohn
Blairio wrote:
Its all done with math - hence the synthesis type is termed 'linear arithmetic' rather than virtual analog.

So, again, is there a full writeup on this anywhere? The more I hear about it, the more I'm curious to see exactly what makes it tick.
acidbob
I am a huge fan of the Casio CZ series. Really underrated synths in my opinion. Had a lot of older VA's but now only a virus rack and a blofeld is left.

Never tried a nordlead or novation
soundinett
my two VA survivors

Supernova
AN200

Supernova is kind of a cinemascopic VA, AN200 more Film noir.

AN200 has a nice form factor. Use it in my live setup.
Can be fat and dirty as well as soft and ambient. Very rewarding when deeply explored.
unclebastard
I still use my Nova IIX. 24 voices to make lush polyphonic pads and textures, vocoding and signal processing = keep.
slicetwo
I owned 2 MS2000r and hated them both. On the other hand, my Virus C is a glorious piece of kit with which I will never part.
chvad
Still have a Lead 4 and a K-Station in my setup. I love the K-Station so much but all of it's knobs are DEAD. Contemplating replacing them all but it ain't cheap. Also using the Deluge synth engine. I love analog stuff but for LIVE purposes I'll roll lightweight and digital all day.
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