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Old 04-06-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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The Hardware Thread

What would you recommend. I don't have nor do I plan to make any specific style. Since I don't want to limit myself I want one that can make MANY if not ANY type of sound I want. Also not too expensive but it doesn't have to be too cheap.

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Old 04-06-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

tenner says by the end of this thread you've been talked out of it lol

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Old 04-06-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

I would recommend a laptop

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Old 04-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

You will be convinced into taking the software route and you should.

BUT if you don't want to and really want some hardware, I would reccomend the Dave Smith Evolver Desktop or Mopho Keyboard (not the desktop one for lack of knobs) or a Novation Nova Desktop.

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Old 04-06-2012, 01:15 PM   #5
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

i think you should get hardware tbh, auto is on to a winner with the Dave smith stuff but there is a much bigger array than that which is immediately findable

no one comes into music production wanting hardware any more it's all 'lets get an ipad'

if you get a desktop synth it will help your synthesis skills massively compared to using software because you will learn to get much more out of a synth and it might even give you your own sound kinda... never know

any way i forgot that this thread wasnt about convincing you to get some hardware lol

look up the evolver desktop, its monophonic but brilliant

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Old 04-06-2012, 02:03 PM   #6
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

...Or get a tempest...

Ok now seriously, you should ask yourself why you want hardware. You want something that sounds better than software? You want knobs to fiddle with?
Expensive hardware sounds only marginally better than software. VA's sound about the same as software (compare a blofelt with largo for instance, or a novation V station with a K station), so for better sound you can look at analog synths. If you want versatile, you want polyfonic synths.

So good sound and versatile and knobs equals a lot of money.
BUT If it's only knobs your're after with good sound, look at the VA's: novations like auto and FMB said, or the virus / nordleads. If it's analog you want, look at dave smith instruments or moogs.

But plz keep in mind that you won't be blown away by the sound of any of these devices. The difference is not so huge anymore. Hardware has a lot more limitations than software, and introduces new challenges like syncing/recording etc

Cheers!

Last edited by steeboo; 04-06-2012 at 02:17 PM..

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Old 04-06-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

arturia minibrute

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Old 04-06-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Originally Posted by steeboo View Post
...Or get a tempest...
Your Tempest video posted on Dave Smith Instruments' page gave me some serious gear lust!

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Old 04-06-2012, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Originally Posted by FunkMasterBrown View Post

no one comes into music production wanting hardware any more it's all 'lets get an ipad'
I want hardware...Fuck IPADS
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:07 PM   #10
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

I have the dsi mopho which sounds great.

I also have the Roland Gaia and despite what some people say regarding its sound I can make some really fat sounds with it. The best part about that synth is the large amount of knobs. Creating soudns sounds is so fun when it is hands on like this. I usually sit down to write music and just end up coming up with crazy synths for hours on end. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something to quickly get you into the creative mood.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Originally Posted by rodan View Post
I also have the Roland Gaia and despite what some people say regarding its sound I can make some really fat sounds with it. The best part about that synth is the large amount of knobs. Creating soudns sounds is so fun when it is hands on like this. I usually sit down to write music and just end up coming up with crazy synths for hours on end. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something to quickly get you into the creative mood.
Also, the great thing about the Gaia is that it acts as an audio interface as well, and it can transmit its sounds via USB straight to a DAW.

I'm actually trading my Gaia tomorrow, but not because I don't like it. I just don't need it because I also have a Nord Lead and a Micron (which I love to death).

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Old 04-06-2012, 05:48 PM   #12
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Yep! I actually use the gaia as a midi controller as well for the knobs/sliders that transmit cc values.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:00 PM   #13
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Yep! I actually use the gaia as a midi controller as well for the knobs/sliders that transmit cc values.
Yes. It is a very good value, and a great synth to learn on since there is a knob for every job.

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Old 04-06-2012, 07:10 PM   #14
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

first, you have to define what's important for you. is it sound/character? is it the tactile elements - knobs and sliders?

you also didn't mention the most important thing. what's your budget? not too expensive is relative. if all you have to spend is $200-400, then you don't really have a lot of options: microkorg, micron, ms2000, ion. and that's if you buy on craigslist, stay patient for a good deal, and bargain (talking about ms2000/ion here). used to see jp8000 in the 300-400 range too, though it's been a while since i've seen one.

but as others have mentioned, i think a midi controller + plugins is what you should stick with while you are defining what you want and learning synthesis. cause the concepts (oscilators, lfos, envelopes, filters, etc) are still the same, regardless if it's software or hardware. i went through a stage where i was gas'ing after hardware. it was pretty cool at first to have that physical response. but then i realized that even with knobby synths, you set the basic things up pretty quickly, but then when you want to get really interesting sounds with a lot of movement, you have to go menu hunting on this tiny-ass screen. so if you are going to do that, then why not do it on a big ass screen with a mouse. much quicker. and can get things to sound just as good.

you also have to think about ergonomics. you want to be able to switch quickly between the synth and your computer keyboard/mouse. depending on your desk or how you have your stuff set up, it might be awkward to do. if you put the synth on the side, perpendicular to your desk, then it also sounds weird cause your head is turned. i used to own Virus KC. 61-keys which felt really great. tons of knobs. lots of possibilities. but after a while, it just sat untouched. sold it. have a cheap oxygen 8 which works just fine for me. all you really need is a few knobs to record some automation. i love the fact that i can just put it on my lap or move my wireless keyboard away and put it in front of me with one hand. then move it away quickly when i'm done using it. don't underestimate the importance of things like that, your workflow, when gas'ing after more things which will probably complicate your set up or distract you from actually making music.

but i also can understand how working with a physical piece of gear can be inspiring. so it's really a personal thing. you just got to define what's important for you. there's little downside to just trying things out, as long as you hunt for good deals. if you do that, you can always sell things for the same amount you bought them. hell, i even made money when i sold my virus.

happy hunting.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:12 PM   #15
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by rodan View Post
I have the dsi mopho which sounds great.

I also have the Roland Gaia and despite what some people say regarding its sound I can make some really fat sounds with it. The best part about that synth is the large amount of knobs. Creating soudns sounds is so fun when it is hands on like this. I usually sit down to write music and just end up coming up with crazy synths for hours on end. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something to quickly get you into the creative mood.
I really can't understand why it got bad reviews. I've played one myself (gaia) next to a nordlead and a virus. When heard next to each other, the gaia appealed the most to me! Richest sound, screaming filters and most fun to tweak. If I had the space, I would buy one!

@Automageddon: On the dsi site? whut? Cool Do you have a link? Or you mean the tempest forum?

Cheers!

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Old 04-06-2012, 07:40 PM   #16
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by steeboo View Post
@Automageddon: On the dsi site? whut? Cool Do you have a link? Or you mean the tempest forum?
Cheers!
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One thing I can't understand is why Dave Smith's synth don't send CC, but only receive them...

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Old 04-06-2012, 07:43 PM   #17
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Originally Posted by elendro View Post
arturia minibrute
+1


If I were to buy a hw synth right this minute, and was on a bit of a budget, like I always am, then the Minibrute is exactly what I would buy. Well, that or the Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard. A little more expensive though.

So yeah, the Minibrute, or the Mopho.

Or a DSI Prophet. lol

Oh, and a Tempest.

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Old 04-06-2012, 07:55 PM   #18
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Originally Posted by Automageddon View Post
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One thing I can't understand is why Dave Smith's synth don't send CC, but only receive them...
Hey cool, thanks for the link @Automageddon! The developers are working on a full midi implementation for the tempest so I've heard...

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Old 05-09-2012, 06:12 AM   #19
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

I have a GAIA (that I got ridiculously cheap.) I can't say I love the sound of it but I love the 1 for 1 controls. Creating sounds on it is actually really fun!
I also have a Micron and that is one little fucker I would never part with, I love that thing.

If I were to buy another HW synth it (on a tight budget) it would DEFINITELY be the Minibrute or in the total opposite direction a Novation Ultra-Nova

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Old 05-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #20
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

I'd also like to give a plug for the Waldorf Blofeld module. Talk about a beast! I recently purchased another one after trading my first one away a couple of years ago. The reason I bought another one is simple: ever since trading, I missed it in my set up.

$ for $, I don't know if there is a better value than the Blofeld. The sonic possibilities on that thing are incredible. It's got your basic subtractive synthesis, coupled with wavetable and some FM synthesis, and the modulation matrix is basically like having an entire modular system at your fingertips - it has 16 fully programmable modulators that can send and receive any parameter to any other parameter. The arp is powerful and intuitive, 3 OSC per voice, 25 voices, 16 part multi, 2 great filters, and 2 f/x tracks, all for like $700. It's also very easy to program thanks to the large screen, and even though it only has 7 knobs, it is a breeze to move through.

It's also small enough to put in a small backpack, and built like tank.

A few complaints: it only has MIDI in - no out or through. No audio in. It can be a bit buggy, but Waldorf has been supporting it since it's release, and the newest OS seems very stable.

Also, for an additional $99 you can unlock it's sampling bank, and then have space to load your own samples which can also be used as wavetables in OSC 1 or 2.

Anyhow, that's the Blofeld. And no, I don't work for Waldorf!

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