Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Polytrix

First cheap analogue mono synth - advice?

Recommended Posts

Hello.

 

I'm on the search for a cheap analogue mono synth hopefully for less than £100. This is probably asking too much I know.

 

I basically want something just solid and in some way interesting that I can experiment on and bash out ideas without having to wait to fire up my DAW and ensure all my midi controllers are working etc etc.

 

I've been learning about subtractive synthesis via Ableton's Analogue instrument and the original Novation Bass Station VST (endless fun). But I want something I can bash about and send through some guitar pedals/DAW effects etc. Would be even better if it's possible to run it off batteries so I can mess with it out of my bedroom.

 

Going to check Ebay now to see what I can find. Any recommendations?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I'm gonna have to say less than £50!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

korg_monotron.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the Korg Monotron is your only option at that price but it's not a great one, more of a one-trick pony.

Poly800s were almost this cheap for a while but they're not monophonic. I can't remember whether it even had a mono mode.

 

Otherwise for a few more notes you can get a Volca Bass or Volca Keys. Maybe even in your price range if you get a used one. I have a Microbrute which is just a little more expensive than that and it's fine for this kind of thing.

 

If you're not dead set on analog mono and just want a hardware synth to fart around with, the digital TX81Z can't be beat in this price range. The CZ101 was that cheap a while back but I think it was too cute to be immune to vintage inflation.

 

If you're that skint, you might just try playing with feedback loops with your stompboxes. It's a much more volatile way to work, and you're almost definitely going to have to do a lot of editing to get useful results, but you can get pretty unique sounds, and if you're clever you can try this method for close to free (hint: Y-cables, passive mixers, and/or alligator clips)

Edited by sweepstakes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool. It doesn't have to be monophonic of course. Just whatever I can get for the cash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

man, if you save up just a bit more you can get something really powerful, like a second hand Arturia Microbrute for example. check out AutomaticGainsay's several part review of it (YouTube).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah cool man. I think I'll wait and save to get an Arturia then. Yeah, I just want something with a proper set of keys...was looking at the volca stuff and it sounded amazing but it looked kinda complex to me...I'm new to synths so I just want something well, idiot proof :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

meeblip anode maybe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

£50 is well limited, as someone said Volca Keys would be best option

 

I'd get a bit more together though and get something a bit larger and more knobby/old school like the Jen SX1000, they are pretty simple to learn and well fun, sounds good through some pedals too! They normally go for £200ish, £150 if you get lucky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I've learned over the years is that by and large you get what you pay for when it comes to instruments and music gear. Of course there are those great bang for buck products out there, but try as much as is possible to know what you are buying.

 

The MicroBrute isn't a terrible option. Would be fantastic for someone with no clue about synthesis to learn on. I will say that after about 18 months with one, I just never got on that well with it. There was a honeymoon period but I found more and more that it either sounded terribly bland or distorted (good distorted, but not my flavor).

 

That's probably about your best option at that price point. You might get a DSI Mopho Desktop for that much, but if you've never programmed a hardware synth before, you'll likely loath the Mopho Desktop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^ hate to agree with the above sentiment about cheap gear. Always, always always try it out for a while in the shop, demos can be deceiving. Also, don't hole yourself into just thinking 'analog' is the only way to get interesting or 'those' sounds. I recently picked up a TX81Z and it is a pretty wicked beast that sounds pretty rich and emulates my 'analog' sounds quite well with the right editor/editing.

 

Personally, every time I buy cheap or very limited gear, I use it like a maniac for a few weeks, find the limitations, get annoyed by lack of features and limitations then get something with more oscillators, better mod routing possibilities, ect. Some are exceptions to that rule (korg emx-1 for the sequencer/drums,TX81Z and volca keys) but I have noticed one has to spend about 450$-500$ to get a synth that's worthwhile for more than farting around on and making limited patches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posts! I thought this had died out but it seems there is still interest so cheers. I actually plan to go and demo the microbrute at my local town to see what I think...and yes, I'm very new to it all. Right now I just love the idea of instantly being able to make sound and experiment with oscillators without having to boot up my laptop/DAW etc...inspiration comes at random times right...so something that's instantly going to work and make mad sounds is very interesting to me...otherwise I play with the BassStation VST and end up making really cool patches with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yea....4-500usd is pretty much the synth entry point price IMO. and I'm not sold on all these cheap modern mono analogs...I feel like the brutes and the new bass station are pretty bread and butter...I actually far prefer NI Monark to all three...but any of them would be good to learn on. I know it's gotten a lot of hate one the web but I love the new electribe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I third (fourth?) the Volca Keys as best quality you can get on the cheap. They are not too difficult to learn but they have a couple of limitations, like a few of the parameters not being midi controllable and the square wave is ring modulated. Additionally you will unfortunately have to spend a bit of additional $$ for a power supply and an external MIDI keyboard (the ribbon sucks if you have big fingers like me) The microbrutes sound great but I tried one and the knobs and faders felt a bit flaky and loose for my liking. You are probably better off with saving up $500 for a decent one, like these guys say, but the volca keys is a really good unit onto itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...