Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

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Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by jdom84 »

I am really frustrated I cannot get a decent synth.

I have the modal Skulpt which I love but I wanted something to expand on this, hard luck.

I just bought the waldorf blofeld and I am very dismayed it sounds kinda crap, does anyone else think so? Just has this nasty harsh sound to it, very digital.. I heard that the effects are bad so maybe its the patches that have this distortion effect that are bad. Most patches have a click at the start of the note and its not the amp eg as I have tried to remove it. It lacks impact and depth.. Just kinda might as well use a free softsynth on a laptop.

I have been through so many synths its getting frsutrating. I just want a nice diverse poly synth to be my main synth.. The more practical controls the better.

I love the modal sound so I guess maybe I will try one of those.. The Korg minilogue or whever its called seems nice but its limited..

Looking at a second hand behringer deepmind 6 they are so cheap its incredible. But they lack multi timbre.. Which I guess its ok at this price point..

The Alessis micron is tempting but the interface puts me off, anyone have experience with that?

I tried the Behringer pro 1, hated it. .The behringer Neutron hated it.. To me both sounded harsh and nasal not analogue at all. Shame as the behringer crave is great..

Its so frustrating buying a synth then not liking it then I have to sell it and lose money. I tried to listen to YT videos but its not really like having the synth at your finger tips. I thought the blofeld sounded a bit harsh and high frequency but assumed it was YT compression. But yeah, it just sounds harsh and kinda weak.

Please please recommend a very versatile synth around £500 or less please please its driving me nuts..

love the digitone, love the modal skulpt, love my deluge.. Just be nice to have a main go to synth for many styles. Pads, mono bass..etc.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by The Elf »

Do you really mean you need this synth to be 'multi-timbral', i.e. capable of many different sounds simultaneously? Or just capable of accessing many different sounds, one at a time? Multi-timbrality is a rare feature in a true analogue synth. My Super-Jupiters and Super-JX are bi-timbral at best.

Above you've swept off the list some very capable and good-sounding (some obviously monosynths) synths IMHO, so you're clearly hearing something I haven't. I also had a Deluge until a short time ago - much as I liked it, it was not a great-sounding synth engine, and definitely not analogue!

With this in mind it's going to be hard to know what you may genuinely find to your liking, but I can make a couple of suggestions (YouTube is not the way to understand what a synth sounds like, TBH).

My favourite 'lot of controls' polysynths are the Roland System-8 and the Novation Peak (or Summit).

You seem to have an aversion to 'digital', so I'll mention that the S8 is fully digital VA - the Peak/Summit has digital oscillators and effects, but is otherwise analogue. To me it makes no difference - they both sound fabulous.

Higher up the food chain you'll need to be looking at fully analogue gear such as Oberheim, Sequential, Moog and the like, But multi-timbrality is going to be a stumbling block.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by jdom84 »

thanks

I kinda dont care if its digital maan just how it sounds is important I said I like the digitone and also the modal skulpt so not sure where you are getting my aversion to digital synths...

Hence why I bought the waldorf blofeld...
I will try playing around with it more as it might just be the distortion FX is what makes it harsh..

It doesnt have to be multi timbral just looking for something very versatile, the multi timbral part will mean I can rely on it a lot and keep my set up minimal...

I also said I am thinking of the alessis micron... IDC if its analogue at this point just want something that doesnt sound crap... and is versatile..

deepmind looking more and more tempting

thanks the two synths you mention are a bit expensive...
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Re: any decent reasonably priced poly synth with multi timbers/voices?

Post by The Elf »

Well if you want lots of controls the Micron is the polar opposite! I had one and found it far too difficult to program. It wore out my patience, but it did sound great.

If we are at this level then I'd also suggest the AudioThingies MicroMonsta 2 (I paid around 240 quid for mine). You may be be put off by the few controls, but I'll tell you that programming it is a doddle and it sounds amazing (bi-timbral too). It's my most cherished polysynth - in fact I bought two.

Only one problem - they are extremely difficult to get hold of. Every batch sells in 24 hours of notification. Might be worth getting on the mailing list.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by jdom84 »

yes I said that about the micron...

ok i will have a look...

thanks for response

strangely similar to the format of this oddd preen FM synth I have been eyeing up on ebay

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/164592341043
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by Martin Walker »

jdom84 wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 2:06 pm yes I said that about the micron...

ok i will have a look...

thanks for response

strangely similar to the format of this oddd preen FM synth I have been eyeing up on ebay

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/164592341043

I suspect that's a fairly common format for small synths with an LCD display - here's the Mutable Instruments Shruthi that I reviewed back in SOS September 2012:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/mu ... -shruthi-1

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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by jdom84 »

thank you all,
yes that mutable instruments seems to be DIY?

tbh I think the waldorf blofeld is the only thing on the market that does what i need and I have played around more and found some niceer sounds..

just seems maybe its the distortion FX is bad or sumink?

I had a juno patch and it sounds very analogue and lush, more analogue than most of the analogue behringer synths I used..

Good to know what else is on the market, I looked and searched and its hard to know them all...
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by resistorman »

The only way to know what a synth really sounds like is to turn off the EFX and start a patch from scratch. I had a Blofeld, and I kinda wish I'd kept it, it's small enough, sounds good and I lost a few bucks selling it.

Aside from my modular, I have three hardware synths that have survived all the the buying and selling. Cobalt 8, Hydrasynth desktop, and Wavestate.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by t-sun »

Multi-timbrality is surprisingly rare these days, since most people who want to have multiple sounds in one box just go with VSTs in a DAW setup. Bi-timbrality is much more common for analog synths because you need a completely separate signal path for each analog timbre, or you run it through the same output so the filter and notes retrigger all the sounds. Sequential did a lot of multi-timbral analogs in the mid-late 80s of varying features and, er, quality.

The Micromonsta 2 comes to mind as a solid bi-timbral option that people here really like, they do them in batches but the wait isn't too bad. If I understand what you're looking for in an analog sound, you might check the new JX-08 Roland boutique, it's also bi-timbral and has hands-on controls.

Most of the older multi-timbral synths came out after they moved away from hands-on controls and, well, interfaces intended for humans. The D-10 series was subtractive and capable of some analog sounds, although I would personally go for one of the S series samplers since they're the same just with different sound generators and easy to work with. The JD/JV series were extremely popular descendants of that line which are also pretty common. The Micron is a solid choice but you might prefer to look for the actual Ion, if you can find one. I think a lot of them died due to build quality issues.

I think the Access Virus might be the best option, there are a lot of them but most may be too pricey.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by BillB »

jdom84, you will struggle to find anything better than the Blofeld as a multi-timbral synth. The Micron/Ion mentioned is four-part multi with only 8 voices to be shared, compared to the Blofeld's 20-ish voices across 16 parts. Blofeld's reverbs are a bit weak, most of the other FX are fine, although limited when distributed across multi-timbral parts (unlike, say, a Novation Nova or KS synth).
Otherwise, as has been suggested, the Rolands or Korgs of the 1990's through to say 2007 will give you strong sounds in 16 parts (JV/XV/Fantom, Trinity, Triton) but no hands-on knobbiness! The blofeld UI achieves a good compromise in this respect.

There are lots of good YT videos showing off Blofeld 'analogue' sounds - look for:

Waldorf Blofeld - Analog Voltage Soundset (Don Solaris, includes some well-known comparisons with a Juno)
Waldorf Blofeld demo microtracks
Waldorf Blofeld Organica 128 presets by Chronos
Waldorf Blofeld Sound Addicts - Analog Pearls Vol1
Waldorf Blofeld Soundset - The very best of analog synth

The main thing is not to judge the character of a synth by surfing its presets - although we all do it!

Hope that helps.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

jdom84 wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 12:36 pm Please please recommend a very versatile synth around £500 or less please
...
Just be nice to have a main go to synth for many styles. Pads, mono bass..etc.

I reckon you should consider a good condition, second-hand Yamaha Motif ES7 or Motif XS7. Both are 128-note polyphonic and 16-part multi-timbral. They sound fantastic and are enormous value for money (they were when they were new, too).

I have an ES7 and an XS8 in my collection and I'll never part with either of them. This and this were both created with the onboard sequencer (and multi-timbral sounds) of the Motif XS in the main. The overdubs are my electric guitar and vox only.

This is a direct-to-stereo recording of a piece created using the sequencer on a Motif ES.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by resistorman »

Good stuff Eddy!
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by Arpangel »

Behringer Deep Mind 12.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by DGL. »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:41 am
jdom84 wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 12:36 pm Please please recommend a very versatile synth around £500 or less please
...
Just be nice to have a main go to synth for many styles. Pads, mono bass..etc.

I reckon you should consider a good condition, second-hand Yamaha Motif ES7 or Motif XS7. Both are 128-note polyphonic and 16-part multi-timbral. They sound fantastic and are enormous value for money (they were when they were new, too).

I have an ES7 and an XS8 in my collection and I'll never part with either of them. This and this were both created with the onboard sequencer (and multi-timbral sounds) of the Motif XS in the main. The overdubs are my electric guitar and vox only.

This is a direct-to-stereo recording of a piece created using the sequencer on a Motif ES.

I will say that on my XS7 I find the multitimbrality not all that well implemented, primarily because I have the GEM S2 which is probably the gold standard in that respect. What primarily annoys me is that part transpose is only +/- 2 octaves which isn't really enough, the S2 can do transposing of the full midi range iirc so a good few octaves. It's ability to have any part or zone be either from the internal keyboard, MIDI or the sequencer (and any combination of that) seems to be far above what the Motif XS can do.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by tea for two »

DGL. wrote: Sun Aug 21, 2022 3:58 pm
I have the GEM S2

It's one of those I never got round to getting I wanted to get because of it's polyAT (at least I think it has polyAT and I don't know how well its polyAT was implemented).

Also Novation Supernova II another I wanted to get but never got round to getting (it had standard AT as far as I recall).
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by DGL. »

tea for two wrote: Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:38 am
DGL. wrote: Sun Aug 21, 2022 3:58 pm
I have the GEM S2

It's one of those I never got round to getting I wanted to get because of it's polyAT (at least I think it has polyAT and I don't know how well its polyAT was implemented).

It is Poly AT and the implementation is very good, absolutely lovely keybed and the way it's set up it makes it a fine 16 zone master keyboard as well, even has two full sets of MIDI I/O with various merging, filtering and channel transpose options.
Naturally having polyphonic aftertouch is great when using multiple zones as they all can have their own aftertouch that doesn't affect the other zones, also aftertouch can be switched to channel mode if necessary.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by jdom84 »

hi just wanted to update this and I went with the blofeld, waldorf.. It is a very cool synth I have not even started with the multi timbral aspect!
The only thing is that its a bit on the large and heavy side..
Smaller options are the mutable instruments..
Zynthian linux diy synth..

Anyone have any more ideas? Just that I want to go on holiday with my sp404MKII and one synth that can do 16 timbres so that is an entire studio.

anyway if not I will take the blofeld its worth it hehe...
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by resistorman »

Cool, thanks for the update. You'll probably need to take the Blofeld :D
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by jdom84 »

resistorman wrote: Fri Dec 30, 2022 4:03 pm Cool, thanks for the update. You'll probably need to take the Blofeld :D

hehe that i did and I am so excited to use it more!!
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by Arpangel »

jdom84 wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 1:54 pm thanks

I also said I am thinking of the alessis micron... IDC if its analogue at this point just want something that doesnt sound crap... and is versatile..

deepmind looking more and more tempting

I was thinking of the DeepMind, my first recommendation.
Micron? It’s my main synth, I’ve had it for years, and know it pretty well, for me, it has to be one of the most interesting and "playable" synths, I made a whole album with just it, not because I didn’t have anything else, simply because it was just so playable and did exactly what I needed, yes, it’s a bit convoluted to,program, but I only go to those places I need to go.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by t-sun »

jdom84 wrote: Fri Dec 30, 2022 3:05 pm hi just wanted to update this and I went with the blofeld, waldorf.. It is a very cool synth I have not even started with the multi timbral aspect!
The only thing is that its a bit on the large and heavy side..
Smaller options are the mutable instruments..
Zynthian linux diy synth..

Anyone have any more ideas? Just that I want to go on holiday with my sp404MKII and one synth that can do 16 timbres so that is an entire studio.

anyway if not I will take the blofeld its worth it hehe...

You mentioned the PreenFM originally, and in the meantime since the thread was posted I've built a MicroDexed-touch which I think is a bit better than the PreenFM due to compatibility with original DX series and all Dexed patches. It has two instances of Dexed, two virtual analog monosynths, an 8 voice Braids oscillator, an e-piano, a sampler, an 8 track sequencer with piano roll and tracker-style interfaces, multi-effects, mixer, MIDI and USB-HOST in/out. It's all thru-hole soldering and costs around $100 give or take $20 depending on if you need to pay for the case to be 3d-printed. There's also a helpful discord for builders and the dev team are highly active and open to suggestions.

There's also the original MicroDexed, which is purely FM synthesis.
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by BillB »

jdom84 wrote: Fri Dec 30, 2022 3:05 pm hi just wanted to update this and I went with the blofeld, waldorf.. It is a very cool synth I have not even started with the multi timbral aspect!
The only thing is that its a bit on the large and heavy side..
Smaller options are the mutable instruments..
Zynthian linux diy synth..

Anyone have any more ideas? Just that I want to go on holiday with my sp404MKII and one synth that can do 16 timbres so that is an entire studio.

anyway if not I will take the blofeld its worth it hehe...

Ahh, when you said "go on holiday" that made me think of my line of enquiry here:
https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... hp?t=78597

For me, that led to a Korg MicroX (muilti-timbral but with no sequencer) subsequently replaced with the Korg MicroStation - as the name implies, a mini-workstation in the trinity tradition. Both recommended in their own mini-ways.

However, if you want a decent real keyboard and multi-timbrality, the Blofeld keyboard is a cracker. If you want something smaller, Blofeld desktop, but then you have to factor back in some kind of controller keyboard, and the extra cables and PSU. Which is why, despite the fact that it doesn't have the best sequencer, I ended up with the one-box solution of the MicroStation. Yet to be used in anger - and might be a labour of love!
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Re: Any decent reasonably priced multitimbral polysynth?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

DGL. wrote: Sun Aug 21, 2022 3:58 pm I will say that on my XS7 I find the multitimbrality not all that well implemented...

... What primarily annoys me is that part transpose is only +/- 2 octaves which isn't really enough.

A little late to reply but I just clocked this and feel the need to add some corrections in the interests of fairness. Without disputing that it's an issue for you I can honestly say that I've never had occasion to transpose anything in realtime more than an octave. Two seems generous. That said, in Song mode on the XS you can use Play FX to transpose any given track +/- 99 semitones:
XSNoteShift.JPG
More details on page 184 of the manual ...
XSNoteShiftManual.JPG
Also, if you are using an internal voice on any given channel then you can simply edit the voice (from within the sequencer) to obtain however many octaves of change you desire.

The XS has a nice feature called 'mix voices' which means that in Song mode the patches 'assigned' to tracks are actually copied and can be edited from within Song mode without affecting the original voice itself.

DGL. wrote: Sun Aug 21, 2022 3:58 pm It's ability to have any part or zone be either from the internal keyboard, MIDI or the sequencer (and any combination of that) seems to be far above what the Motif XS can do.

It really isn't. The XS can trivially control an internal or external voice, both or neither on a per-track basis in Song mode. See the red ticks:
XSInternalExternal.JPG
I'm not saying that GEM didn't do good implementations of multitimbrality; I've no experience of them but I can assure you they aren't alone (Korg did an excellent job with the Trinity and Triton too) and as someone familiar with the XS series the criticisms you cite above seem unfair to me.

I stand by the assertion that the multitimbral support in the XS is extremely good and would go as far as to say it's up there with the best of them ;)
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