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Paega

"bread and butter" knobby, digital hardware synth?

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you can get jd800s for around $400 - $700 pretty easily, they aren't very rare. The Jd990, the more advanced rack unit version of the 800 you can snag for super cheap, i bought one at guitar center used last year for $200

 

Hmm. You know, I think I might want a JD990, actually. I could use some softer sounds, and besides that it looks like a crazily flexible synth. How difficult is it to edit from the front panel?

 

pretty difficult but I use Sounddiver to edit it and the editing via that is extremely smooth. Only problem is you cant do it on a mac past Snow Leopard and the windows version of sounddiver is fucky.

 

 

oh well. the price in Europe seems closer to $450 than $200 so I guess I'll have to pass anyway - maybe it's rare around here or something... actually JD-800s with some defect seem to sell for less than JD-990s!

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Sorry for the stupid question but what, if any, is the difference between say the Nord Lead 2x and the Nord Rack 2x? Is it literally just the keyboard?

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I believe that is the only difference, yes.

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I just wanted to put my 2 cents in on the Micron. Sounds OK (but just OK) for certain things. On paper it looks awesome, and there's all sorts of goodies in there. Once you start digging in though, the interface is absolute shit (it makes the TX81Z feel like a breeze, no joke, I could elaborate but just flip through the manual to get an idea of what editing is like - the step sequencer is a nightmare to edit), the MIDI spec is garbage (you get like 3 CCs and a hellscape of NRPNs), the multitimbral functionality is wack (if I remember right it may have only supported ONE MIDI channel despite being like 8-part multitimbral), the sequencer is bizarre, and the chinsy little screen is in the most awkward possible position, not to mention the lilliputian spider egg for editing the thing. I wasn't a fan of the funky horizontal sliders, either, and the light-up pitch bend annoyed me after about an hour, although that idea has apparently found its way onto much more expensive hardware.

On top of that, there's a weird lo-fi kind of flanging sound to a lot of its high-frequency timbres, especially those with lots of modulation. The hi-end was just generally not right, really did not whet my whistle. The effects are pretty lame, especially with the stingy delay times; and this would be minor complaint but to put it in perspective, this is an ALESIS product and they kept their lights on making effects processors in the 90s. There's way too many filter models, and a lot of them sound the same and only a couple sound good. But worst of all, the envelopes had this fuzzy attack with no snap to it. I forgive that on the TX because it sounds so good but that was the nail in the coffin for me and I couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

 

All that said, some people, apparently much more patient than I, have done some pretty decent stuff with one. 11hzrobot did a whole bunch of stuff including some pretty crazy drone. There's a couple wizards on YouTube too doing some pretty bizarre FM with one. And of course there's that famous Dorian Concept video. So, it can be done.

 

I would really only get this as a first synth and even then it would be a pretty cruel introduction. It might function best as a litmus test to see whether a person has a real love for synths. It really made me question mine.

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Guest chunky

ms2000

used to own one, was ok, good for learning. interesting patches, versatile.

but they are old now, easily bricked. easily faulty these days. so be careful with those. if you really want one try to find an unopened boxed one. it's funny how small the pcb is inside.

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Virus TI is actually pretty easy all things considered. Plugin + knobs etc

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I just wanted to put my 2 cents in on the Micron. Sounds OK (but just OK) for certain things. On paper it looks awesome, and there's all sorts of goodies in there. Once you start digging in though, the interface is absolute shit (it makes the TX81Z feel like a breeze, no joke, I could elaborate but just flip through the manual to get an idea of what editing is like - the step sequencer is a nightmare to edit), the MIDI spec is garbage (you get like 3 CCs and a hellscape of NRPNs), the multitimbral functionality is wack (if I remember right it may have only supported ONE MIDI channel despite being like 8-part multitimbral), the sequencer is bizarre, and the chinsy little screen is in the most awkward possible position, not to mention the lilliputian spider egg for editing the thing. I wasn't a fan of the funky horizontal sliders, either, and the light-up pitch bend annoyed me after about an hour, although that idea has apparently found its way onto much more expensive hardware.

 

On top of that, there's a weird lo-fi kind of flanging sound to a lot of its high-frequency timbres, especially those with lots of modulation. The hi-end was just generally not right, really did not whet my whistle. The effects are pretty lame, especially with the stingy delay times; and this would be minor complaint but to put it in perspective, this is an ALESIS product and they kept their lights on making effects processors in the 90s. There's way too many filter models, and a lot of them sound the same and only a couple sound good. But worst of all, the envelopes had this fuzzy attack with no snap to it. I forgive that on the TX because it sounds so good but that was the nail in the coffin for me and I couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

 

All that said, some people, apparently much more patient than I, have done some pretty decent stuff with one. 11hzrobot did a whole bunch of stuff including some pretty crazy drone. There's a couple wizards on YouTube too doing some pretty bizarre FM with one. And of course there's that famous Dorian Concept video. So, it can be done.

 

I would really only get this as a first synth and even then it would be a pretty cruel introduction. It might function best as a litmus test to see whether a person has a real love for synths. It really made me question mine.

agreed for the most part...used to have a micron - decent synth engine, shit interface. the ion on the other hand has the same synth engine and a great hands on interface.

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Yeah, I know there's some coolness in there and I might have even found my own slice of it had I stuck it out. I just didn't have the patience for it. At the time, it replaced an SQ80 (mostly as a keyboard controller) which was a breeze to edit despite only having the one data entry knob and standard mod wheel & pitch bend. So it may just have been a rude transition and a case of maladjusted expectations.

 

Yeah I remember checking the firmware thinking the envelope had to be a bug, but at the time (2010) it was the latest firmware. I'd be surprised if there's been a new update since.

 

It was weird. I'm seriously not usually this surly about gear. I had a Matrix 6R for a while and let that go for similar reasons but the thing sounded great, I just felt at the time that its character was too similar to the SQ80.

 

If I got a hankering for another cheap mini VA, I'd go Microkorg, or maybe one of those older Novations - I think it was the K-Station that I played with at a store years ago and really liked the sound and interface.

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Also multitimbral/performance mode seems to suck in general. It sucked on the Micron, it sucked on the MicroQ (which the Blofeld is based on), it sucked on the Matrix 6R. It seems to be generally decent on hardware samplers because that's what they're made for. Also the TX81Z has a decent performance mode although it's annoying to edit. And it was alright on the SQ80 although iirc you had to use the sequencer to set it up, and then if it ran in sync with the sequencer you were controlling it with, it would reset the mod wheel on each channel to 0 on restart of the SQ80's internal sequence length.

 

OK rant over.

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I've been playing with an SQ80 vst and it's great. Would love to get my hands on the real thing some day.

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Oh yeah Buchty did a GREAT job on that VST. It's seriously close enough that I wouldn't even bother hunting down the real thing. If I remember right he even got that weird sync bug right where you can make it play the drum wavetable in a loop.

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korg_ms2000_angle_lg.jpg

that was my first baby (although mine was the b). thought it sounded awes at the time (been about 8 yrs since i owned it). never had any issues with it at all. it's pretty big though.

Edited by juiceciuj

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Here's the shruthi XT by mutable instruments. digital sound generation and analog filter. But it's mono and DIY

 

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one last thing with the micron: were you aware of the keys acting as menu buttons when you hold down the program button? because it took me a couple of months to realise and man that saved me time. my biggest gripe with this was that the text for the functions should have been written on the top of the panel, not in a place that requires you to lean back to read what each key jumps to. and if you had it tilted on a rack the normal way, game over man.

 

i feel like the micron was probably rushed or designed in a relaxed way cus they already had the ion. for me the micron is a 8/10 for explorability but 6/10 for ease of accessibility and sound quality.

 

i slaved over a max editor for the micron and it works fine but man the midi cc nrpn or whatever it was that changed the values inside the synth was a nightmare, and totally inconsistent. the manual for the micron is pretty good but it doesn't mention any of that stuff.

 

fyi the tx81z is so friggin crystal clear, i love it to bits. i feel like they must have been using some crazy good tech for the time..maybe why the midi buffer sucks haha

 

 

I knew that you could use the keys to switch between "categories" (ugh I hated that too, and deleting the hundreds of crappy factory patches to reduce clutter was such a chore). I don't remember using them for moving through other menus.

I thought the same thing, that it must have been rushed. It really could have been a great synth, there were just a few too many flaws and I just couldn't roll with it.

 

I'm kind of glad I had it though. I felt like I learned from someone else's design mistakes, trying to cram as much functionality as possible into a tiny space. It's a noble but treacherous endeavor. For similar reasons I'd like to get a MicroKorg sometime, just to compare how Korg did it. Flipping through the manual and having played with one once it seems similarly awkward but they labeled everything really well and it doesn't hurt that it's cute as a button.

 

Yes, the TX's MIDI control is brilliant. I've had a few other Yamaha synths besides the TX81Z and one thing they've almost always seemed to do right is MIDI. Although in some cases they went WAY overboard. Check the manual for the CBX-K1 sometime, it's hilarious.

 

Here's the shruthi XT by mutable instruments. digital sound generation and analog filter. But it's mono and DIY

 

I love the Shruthi. I have the smaller acrylic case one with a digital filter board, built from a kit. It's such a good time and a pleasure to tweak.

 

That said, it's nothing near what I'd call a "bread and butter" synth. This is more a "the odds are good but the goods are odd" synth. You put on your explorer's cap and venture into the jungle and you are bound to discover some interesting species. You can dial in, say, a serviceable PWM bassline. You can even make some snares in it. But if you're remotely as anal retentive as me, you'll get annoyed at it sounding a bit off when trying to do this stuff. There's so much cheap real analog now you'd be better off picking up one of those for that kind of thing.

 

For example when you mix the oscillators, you can really feel the 8-bit mixing shaving off a lot of detail from the waves. Especially when you mix the waves 50/50ish and also add in the subosc. Also it makes no qualms with zippery, steppy parameter changes - I became very conscious of the little 8-bit pipes all the data is flowing through. But the way it works with (not around!) this is so charming.

 

Also it's monophonic and I might be making an assumption but when I hear "bread and butter" I think poly.

 

It's such a good time. It's as good as something with that hardware can get - "the simplest synth that could rock". If you're fairly open minded you'll probably really enjoy it, it just doesn't sound like anything bread-y and buttery. More like an ESQ-1 from Mars or a modular synth made out of overclocked gameboys with a fairly fat filter at the end of the signal chain. It doesn't sound like much anything else (especially with the crazy digital filter board) and it's got bite to it too. It's a joy.

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Oh yeah the sound is great too. There's something special going on with its converters where it handles the high in a really nice way. I've noticed the Mirage doing a similar thing, although with a much different character. Even though something is sampled at a pretty low sampling rate, there's high end content coming out that's very realistic and crisp that doesn't seem to be there with the samplers I've had with higher sampling rates. "Crystal clear" is a good descriptor, I often think of it as "glassy". And I guess the Mirage is... grainy? It's almost like 35mm where other samplers are digital video.

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what's this special thing then?

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Anyone here own or ever play on a Roland D-05? None of the Roland Boutiques ever caught my eye, but this one looks pretty cool, and it's very cheap. I've tried my hand at digital before with the reface dx, the volca fm, and the digitone. None of them clicked (digitone came closest, though). Was curious if anyone had any experience or thoughts with the D-05?

 

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I've never tried a d05 but I know a guy with an original D50 and programming it isn't as bad as its reputation but it's still pretty far from spontaneous.  Roland really should have released a mini PG-1000 to go with this thing, because as it is you would need to drop like $400 at least to get an original one to go with this thing if you wanted intuitive hands-on control.

 

I've got a D-110, which has a similar architecture but a bit simpler, and programming that thing is a pain, even with the programmer.

 

If you want spontaneity then an LA synth is probably not the right choice but they do sound really cool, and as far as I can tell this thing is really close to an orignal D-50 (I know a guy with one of those and it is one of the best sounding digital synths I've ever heard). There's still a bit of that blanket-over-the-speaker quality I've noticed with literally every DSP based digital synth I've encountered so far, but it's not that bad, it's like a very slightly soft-focus version of the original and in a mix nobody would notice or care.

 

This is the only Roland Boutique that has really grabbed my attention so far.

 

 

BUT, I just checked eBay and there are a few original Roland D-550s on there all for about $100 less than the D05, so if portability isn't a concern and you're OK with vintage gear you could save $100 and get the real thing.  They were closer to $500 when I checked a couple months ago, so maybe it's a good time to grab one.  There's one for $300 shipped including a memory card with the factory presets on it.

Edited by RSP

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I've never tried a d05 but I know a guy with an original D50 and programming it isn't as bad as its reputation but it's still pretty far from spontaneous.  

 

 

Sweet. Thanks for the info and the tip!

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It's comparable to programming a Yamaha FM synth.  Slightly more intuitive architecture but less intuitive interface.

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It's comparable to programming a Yamaha FM synth.  Slightly more intuitive architecture but less intuitive interface.

That sounds horrible.

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There’s a free online patch editor/librarian for the D05 and a couple of other Roland Boutiques. I’m really grateful for them because the super tiny sliders make my JU-06, and JP-08 unusable. Now they’re kind of fun. I don’t know if the DO5 is like the other Boutiques. I had to buy an iConnect Mini to access the parameters via SySex thru the Midi DIN connections. Roland really went a bit too far with that idea, I think. It works really well, though! I’ll probably pick up a D05 if I find one cheap but, the Roland Cloud is always there too. Here’s the link to the free editors:

 

http://breadandbuttersounds.com/

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d50 is such a deep cool synth

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Yeah, I would love to have one but when I was still getting synths the D550 was always over $500 and the D50 was like $700 usually, and that was just way too much.  If the prices stay like they are now maybe I'll still get one some day.

 

Back in 2007 or so the band I was in played a show and one of the other acts was a sort of early example of what became modern Synthwave.  Their entire set was one person on D50 and the other on a Korg M-1, with a Boss pedal I didn't get a look at on one of the keyboards and nothing else. Very soundtrack-y, in a more bog, Terminator type way than a John Carpenter or Goblin way like you usually hear today.  It sounded amazing.

 

The D-50 is one of those rare synths like a Juno or a Minimoog that you just touch it and it instantly sounds RIGHT, no matter what sound it's actually making.

 

But they're kind of crap to program.

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