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First analog keyboard?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author First analog keyboard?
It's kind of strange, but I have never owned an analog synth in keyboard form. I have bought and sold a bunch of romplers, virtual analogs, etc. And of course I bought a good amount of modular gear. But never a keyboard.
I am starting to like the idea of having something pre-patched and ready to go. An instrument that I don't need to build each time.

I have been looking on the cheaper side of things to start out. Maybe a Yamaha CS 15 or some other two+ oscillator synth. I can dream about the cs 80 later smile

I have seen some people sell off keyboard synths to get modular. So, if I go for a keyboard synth, having euro rack modular experience, will I be disappointed?...Underwhelmed by the sound of these smaller synths?
just a different approach.. i still use my keyboard and it's CV all the time
If you want to play melodies... and you are a keyboard player... of course you should have one. It's an invaluable compositional tool, and a concrete way to immediately hear the notes you're thinking of with immediate visual feedback.
You'd have to decide it it is a comedown or an advantage

CS-15 is great if you can find one. The only minus is it's Hz-V rather than the 1v/oct standard of the vast majority of modulars... but if it's really to stand alone that's no problem.

To me at least monophonic or polyphonic is a big difference. Some people don't seem to care but it's surely a big factor in sound, features, price and playing technique.

Certainly the Phatty or Mono Evolver are solid modern analog mono keys that are decently priced and as a bonus save patches and can be used as MIDI controllers.
Rod Serling Fan Club
I think you should at least experience it. There are many people who went modular and turned back to just keyboards. It might be your thing and you don't know it yet. You might want to consider something that is 1v/oct w/cv ins and outs so you can easily integrate it with your modular. Audio input is another nice option for the same reason.
Any of the SH series with CV/Gate, Pro-one or mono/poly would be a fantastic instrument on it's own but all will integrate very well with a modular system as well. Especially the pro-one and SH101 for quick step sequencer patterns to play about with.
I am not a keyboard person eiether but the Korg MonoPoly, Mono Evolver and Akai VX600 (though you won't find one) are my 3 all time favourite keyboards - all pretty quirky though and the MonoPoly is rather suddenly not so cheap anymore

of course the Juno 106 takes some beating too

Edit: actually its the Juno 60 I've worked with, never used a 106
I have been thinking about this for a while. Thanks for the reassurance, guys!

Mono is more realistic at this point. I would love to have polyphonic analog, but the price of some I have seen, seem to be pretty high. I would have to save up for a little while.
For the most part, I have been looking at older stuff. But modern synths like the little phatty, evolver and prophet 8 are tempting as well.

I think I have to do some more research, and money saving Mr. Green
I have both the Yamaha CS15 and Korg Monopoly...both are great, but if you want to interface it with your modular (1volt/oct) or even just a few modules, I'd really recommend the Korg Monopoly...even though it is mainly a mono synth it can also be used poly phonically (4 voices) works so well with my euro...they were made for each other! Just my 2 Cents...
Keyboard synths are great because of their closed architecture. They are their own instruments. They may have limitations, but they are interesting in how they were each designed and implemented. I recently obtained a Micromoog and it is so sweet. It has a huge pallette of possibilities in a such a small instrument. The Roland SH-5 and SH-7 also interest me as larger monophonics.

I think that you are on the right track with a Yamaha CS-15 (or CS-30 for a monster almost modular approach) or something similar. Recently I tooled around on a DSI Mopho keyboard and was blown away. It sounds incredible. The keybed is a short range, but it sounded better than any CS unit I have played (CS-5 thru CS-15).
I forgot to mention that I also have a Mopho keyboard, and it is also great! I like each of my mono boards for different reasons, they each have their strengths and weaknesses...but having limitations is a good thing, it makes you to actually get more work done and makes you think out of the box as well.
The modular is best at sequences, processing audio, etc. but despite the sound I tend to use keyboard synths way more for solos. More immediate = easier and faster to translate your ideas to sound.
Just me
My Voyager is a pry it from my cold dead fingers type of keyboard. I like better than my 2600 (sold), MiniMoog (sold), MemoryMoog (sold). It has an immediancy and tonality I really love. I could have had a Phatty, DSI Prophet 8 or OS, but the Voyager just gelled instantly. (And was so like many of the other machines I had over the decades that it was instantly useable.)
I'm seeing them under $2K if you look hard. Worth every penny.
drewtoothpaste wrote:
The modular is best at sequences, processing audio, etc. but despite the sound I tend to use keyboard synths way more for solos. More immediate = easier and faster to translate your ideas to sound.

Thats exactly the draw for me. I want an easy way to just sit down and play a melody. Or just add a quick little rhythm or bass part to a song.

I have been looking at old synths because of the amazing demos I have heard lately. But patch memory is starting to become a factor in this. Also, unless I can get a great deal on these more simple synths, I might as well save up and go big SlayerBadger!

The Voyager would be very cool, if I could find one for that price.
Then the idea of polyphony creeps back in. The DSI Prophet 8 has always looked interesting. Anyone have good or bad experiences with it?
itijik wrote:
unless I can get a great deal on these more simple synths, I might as well save up and go big

i can back this idea
Just me
I got my Signature for $1600 on eBay. I've seen several on Craigslist in the $2K range over the last few months. Keep shopping an you can find one less expensively.
On the DSI, the POT edition is much better than the encoder edition. (Or so I'm told.)
another vote for Korg Mono/Poly. It's the first analog keyboard I've owned but I've played plenty of others.

The mono/poly is a very "playable" synth in my opinion. I think this has to do with the layout/spacing of the controls. It's a huge bonus to be able to get four voices in Poly mode as well.
I'm in the south bay near san jose and have a Mono Poly I could sell but not too keen on shipping. PM me if interested.
computer controlled
The 3 that come to mind for quick dirty uasable analogue sounds that will go with your modular well are (as already stated):


The 101 and Pro-One interface with the modular like a dream due to their sequencers.
a me too - if you want to just have simple bass sounds, fx or leads as a performance synth then the mono analogues are worth considering. I still get out the Roland SH2 for certain sounds and of course all the perfornace controls are already patched in and ready to go.




honorable mention:

Akai AX-60

no question.
Roycie Roller
I've been going back to keyboards too lately....

Look at any of the early SH Rolands (preferably one with cv output, for controlling your modular)- these all sound very similar to the hyped SH-101, but can be found much cheaper.

Also RS-09 strings/organ

Akai AX-80, 60, VX-73 (no cv outs, but cheap as cheaps analog polys, sound evil)

Don't overlook Ensoniq SQ-80 & ESQ-1's- wavetable synthesis through analog filters love
This is where the shit is at, IMO!
Pro One is Bad Ass
Now the anti keyboard synth post, lol.

At this point, I don't think I want a mono keyboard. I am thinking about 'finishing' my modular before anything else. I realized that the most impressive demos of keyboard synths were the mono synths, or the polys playing a solo. I think I can get that solid mono voice I am looking for, in the modular, honestly. Then I will add a nice controller/midi-cv, or a dedicated cv keyboard, plus a buffered multi.
Maybe I'll use my other 6U case and a keyboard as a dedicated mono synth, always patched and ready to go eek!hmmm.....
First and only Analog(ish) keyboard for me is the Juno 106.

I'd like to replace it with a Juno 6 someday, but don't really have any active plans to do that.

It feels really good to pound on, I love the feel of this synth and that L to R pitch/modulation joystick Om
It kinda feels like having a guitar around, just plug it in and wail away!
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