Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

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Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Djberwick »

Hi all,

I write film music which is mostly comprised of orchestral instruments (vsts in a daw) but am frequently including either synth plugins or sounds from my Korg Wavestate. I'm really interested in getting into hardware analogue/semi-modular synths (in addition to what I'm doing already).

Please could anyone recommend a unique sounding hardware synth under £300-ish that my Korg Wavestate can't already do? Even its a one trick pony synth is fine, just looking for something different...

Thanks in advance
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Arpangel »

Secondhand, Alesis Micron, or Akai Miniak, ignore the presets, they’ve got amazing potential.
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Djberwick »

Thanks, I'll certainly check out those. I forgot to mention that I was thinking about these (so far)...

Behringer Neutron
Korg Volca Modular
Korg NTS-1
Bastl Kastle 1.5
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by resistorman »

Beware the modular trap… I was just going to get a couple cheap modules and am into a couple grand :SOS::wtf::beamup:
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Arpangel »

Djberwick wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:54 pm Thanks, I'll certainly check out those. I forgot to mention that I was thinking about these (so far)...

Behringer Neutron
Korg Volca Modular
Korg NTS-1
Bastl Kastle 1.5

Interesting selection, can you be a bit more pacific about your requirements?
Are you worried about polyphony? the potential for abstract sounds?
Korg NTS-1 because it has great effects, could be useful, Neutron is cool, very versatile, the Kastle too, great sound, their stuff is very unique, I’ve got a Microgranny, that’s an album in itself!
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Djberwick »

Apologies for my vagueness, I guess I am not totally sure myself (but will know when I hear it!).

Polyphony: not worried about this at all as will be part of a much bigger arrangement.
Abstract sounds: absolutely interested in this.

I like the look of the Microgranny but I think I could probably already get those type of sounds out of the Wavestate (I think....)

I was also looking at the Make Noise O-Coast but that's a bit out of my price range...
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by nathanscribe »

Nobody mentioned the Arturia Microfreak yet..?
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Arpangel »

The Microgranny has a great bit crusher, very controllable, once you get into it it’s addictive.
I had an O Coast, it didn’t grab me, but it depends, have you checked out the Strega?, but as you say, expensive.
If it were me I’d get an analogue mono synth, Arturia Brutes are cool, and team it up with a couple of nice pedals, something like a Zoom CD-R-70, and a decent distortion pedal.

nathanscribe wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:28 pm Nobody mentioned the Arturia Microfreak yet..?

Yes, not bad, a sort of junior Music Easel, good synth, but again, I couldn’t get on with it, keyboard, and polyphony, not as immediate as the Brutes.
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Djberwick »

I like the look of the MicroFreak - in my price range as well....
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Djberwick »

...the demos sound great for the MicroFreak but all sound like what I could already pretty much do on the Wavestate. Unless I am missing something?
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by IAA »

It’s a good package for the money, the keyboard (which takes some getting used to if like me you’re a piano player!) is very expressive and the vocoder and sequencer are great things really. I like it but find the little screen pretty hard to follow. If you’re a youngster or blessed with 20/20 vision you’ll be ok. I rarely use it in paraphonic mode though.
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Arpangel »

Djberwick wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:29 pm ...the demos sound great for the MicroFreak but all sound like what I could already pretty much do on the Wavestate. Unless I am missing something?

I had a MicroFreak for a few weeks, it just didn’t have that special something, something unique.
My Alesis Micron does, I can’t get certain sounds I’ve made for it on anything else, I had one for years, sold it, and then bought another one because I missed those sounds so much.
Trouble is as always, you’ve got to try it out, that’s why sometimes we have to buy stuff, and take a gamble.
But think about it, modular is viable on your budget, get a cheap secondhand case, a Mutable Rings, that’s lots of things in one module, a Maths, that’s a cool little set up, use a Volca to sequence it, if needed. Alternatively, look at the Behringer System 100 modules.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZvBYbVe7co
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Djberwick »

As much as I would love that setup with Maths and Rings once I add a midi expander to hook up to my daw it's around £700... I think I'll either go for a Neutron or see if there's a nice modular rack ready to go second hand :)
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by t-sun »

I'd definitely say that if you want modular specifically, the Neutron shouldn't disappoint and can be a start to building a setup if you decide to go the eurorack route. The Behringer desktop monosynths and the MS-1 keyboard, plus the Korg Volca range are the only things in your price range that come to mind, and the Neutron is the best of those options given what you've mentioned so far.

The Alesis Micron is one that's love/hate, lot of people swear by it but many didn't like the menus so you may want something more hands on. It's also long out of production, but there were a lot of them so they're in your price range used.

I have an Arturia Microbrute, for the price it's a great start as a semi-modular monosynth. Also out of production, but in your price range second-hand. Possibly a better option than the MS-1.
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Re: Unusual hardware synth recommendation...

Post by Arpangel »

Just get the Neutron, it’s a one box solution, maybe investigate modular later, you can always incorporate the Neutron into that, also, secondhand is the only way to go with modular, and it’s so simple to make your own cases.

PS.

I just checked out the Neutron, it’s basically a two oscillator mono synth, in the traditional sense, with a patch bay, personally, I’d go for something a bit more West Coast, dual oscillators like the Make Noise DPO (just an example) are far more versatile, when it comes to far out sounds, I know we can use our imaginations, but if we’re talking about versatility especially for the more abstract sounds, and bang for buck I'd go for the O Coast instead, the Neutron is a safe alternative, cosy, familiar, but that’s not what we want, is it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VA7UdNzBlbU

:D:D:D
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