|Author||Topic: What good hardware synth for less that 650 euros ?|
Posted: 22nd December 2004 02:58
Hello I plan to purchase a new synth and don't know what to choose. I play mostly hip hop, rnb and nu soul/jazz.
I can't afford to spend more than 650 € (less than $600).
I was quite interested in getting a MicroKorg (synth and vocoder bundle), or maybe a Alesis Micron, or maybe some second hand gear (don't know what, maybe an old emu audity 2000)
I wan't lots of tweaking possibilities!
What's your opinion ?
Posted: 22nd December 2004 03:07
With the current exchange rates, €650 is roughly US$870, not 600. (Sorry for being pedantic, I used to work for a bank).
Posted: 22nd December 2004 03:08
650 € = $870
Posted: 22nd December 2004 03:17
MicroKorg was the first thing that came to mind when I read the thred title. What you have to be aware of is that the mini-keyboard is quite bad to play (even compared to other mini-keyboards) and that stepping through the matrix for editing is something you have to get used to. Other than that, it delivers a fantastic sound and great tweaking possibilities for the price and size!
If you like to have a knob for every parameter for easy programming, you could also consider to get a second hand Nord Lead or something along that line.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 03:22
I got a brand-new K-Station for a lot less than that last year and I have been very happy with it. The newer X Station might cost a little more than you want but it has USB audio built-in so you are getting a low-latency ASIO soundcard with good effects, a good MIDI controller and a great sounding synth in a single package.
EDIT: I just googled up a price and found an X for around US$700 so its well within your price range.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 04:20
What you want is this
Posted: 22nd December 2004 05:40
It's rompler . I thought it's Juno 106 successor.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 06:02
They can be found on ebay for about 450 500$us.
Warm, great action key, built like a tank (but its very heavy)
You get multiple synthesis VA VL1 awm2 and fdsp.
The filters are very good but some of the internal wave are so so but you can load your own wave (make sure youve got the csci option)
Posted: 22nd December 2004 08:16
Alesis Ion. They go for much less than the list price of $999, and even less than the advertised price of $799. As a matter of fact, my local music dealer quoted me a price of $650, well within your range.
The Alesis ION is feature packed, eminently tweakable, and sounds plain good, to my ear. Every time I go into the store, I get stuck on it for at least 20 minutes. As a matter of fact, the only VA I've auditioned with equal oscillator(s) and filter(s) is Fabfilter One, but it's very short on features (which can be a positive or negative, depending on personal preference - I'm a sound quality kinda guy, so its no big deal for me)
The Micron has the same sound engine, plus reverb/delay, and a phrase sequencer/drum sequencer, but lacks the knobs, and hence the tweakability. It also has one octave less keys.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 08:46
These 3 NEW handy powersynths
MFB Synth Lite > 185 EUR !!
Real analogue MOOG 24db lowpass filter !
RedSound DarkStar XP2 > 133 EUR !!!
Spacy and analogue sounds with joystick !
Korg Microkorg > 350 EUR !!!
The MS2000-engine as a handy battery controller with vocoder !
the ALESIS Micron > 470 EUR
The sound of the Alesis ION as a handy desktop synth with vocoder is worth a look too.
(But the 3 above together are way better !)
Posted: 22nd December 2004 10:34
I owned the DarkStar XP2. It is really cool (especially for the price). It sounds quite raw and rough and could use some effects processing sometimes, but that's sometimes just what you need.
For the price, you can't complain. You get a fully featured VA synth for less than 150euro...crazy
I also owned the K-Station, which I didn't like at all. It is easy to use because of the heaps of controls on it, but afterall, it sounds like plastic. Filter Decay leads, for example, sound a bit like the Casio SK-1 onboard demo, but that's a matter of taste.
My tune "plastik" was made using the K-Station exclusively (except for drums). You can find it at:
Posted: 22nd December 2004 10:40
Posted: 22nd December 2004 10:59
I sent a total of 3 emails to them this year asking them where I could BUY their synth... never even had a reply. Great support...
Now imagine if I would have bought one and had problem with it, I would think I would get even faster reply...
Posted: 22nd December 2004 11:02
A used Waldorf microQ or Microwave...
Posted: 22nd December 2004 11:20
Hehe, I bought the DarkStar XP2 _only_ to be used as a MIDI controller for that price. I don't even have the audio out connected
The stick and the knobs have a nice feel and they send MIDI cc - I control the softsynths and FX with it.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 11:44
i recommend novation stuff
i really like the sound
Posted: 22nd December 2004 11:44
they're sitting in berlin/germany.
you can phone with mr. fricke himself, if you want.
distribution is via "schneider's bureau"
(they have 2 pieces for 160 EUR now )
or via your retailer as e.g. THOMANN
same with service.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:40
I just picked up my Alesis Micron from Guitar Center but I won't be playing it till Friday when I can unpack it under the Christmas tree.
I did look at the manual and I'm blown away by how much this thing does, sequencing, phrase's, patterns, drums&rhythm.
If you can wait a couple of days, I'll let you know.
I did quite a bit of research before buying it cause I was considering the Korg and by all accounts everyone loves the Alesis better.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:50
Be careful unwrapping it for vurt's sake ... from the Y! group on the Ion/Micron I have been reading that there are no parts for the Micron yet in stock and that the navigation knob has been known to come free of the unit if knocked.
Be careful, and let us know how you like it. I've been considering a Micron for a while now. I also have a MicroKorg and think they'd make an ideal combination.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:52
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:54
I'm sure I typed the G-d word.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:55
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:56
YOU'RE CRAAAZY DOOOD!
tarnce roxoerz!! NOT!!11!!
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:57
seems ok there
lemem try again
for god's sake
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:57
Do you know if you can edit patches in the Micron? The way its written up on the Alesis website it almost sounds like you are stuck with preset sounds unless you have an Ion to edit patches to load.
Ion certainly looks the goods and has had a few glowing reviews. If I needed a bigger keyboard than the K-Station it would certainly be near the top of my list.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 14:57
hehe dunno what happened then
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:02
Thanks for the info, I will let you know what I think and I'll be careful.
I already took it out just to make sure everything was ok but didn't plug it in.
Musician's Friend had them on back order and I got the last one from the Michigan guitar center.
ohhhhh, I can't wait.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:03
Are you nuts!?! It may not have the squelchiest filters ever but the oscillators on it are unbelievably fat. We use it live in every song and it fairly wreaks havoc on PA's.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:11
Yes, you absolutely can edit patches in the Micron.
I NEED to edit.
I have the manual right here and although there are many submenus there are control and performance controls on the top of the keyboard and you can use shortcuts by pressing a button and then hitting one of the 37 keys.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:33
MMMmmmmmm... intersting. 3 octaves would be the perfect size for me.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:42
There are also quite a few realtime controls available for live playing.
Two sliders(usually vibrato for one and one for filter sweeps),pitch wheel, 3 knobs x y and z for realtime use, tap tempo and other neat stuff.
After I've spent a little time with it this weekend I'll post some of my first impressions about it here in the Instruments forum.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:43
I'm amazed nobody has actually asked you what kind of sounds you are looking for.
The recomendations you're probably getting in this thread will be more people's personal tastes rather than what might actually be right for you.
Are you looking for bass/organs/pads/analog/digital/sfx/what?
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:47
Rozzer,I think this original post says what he's looking for.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 15:55
ok, I just thought some more details might help pin it down a bit.
A "hip-hop, rnb, jazz synth with lots of tweaking possibilities" isn't that much to go on
Posted: 22nd December 2004 16:01
been a while since I checked out your site, looking real good Roz.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 16:12
Posted: 22nd December 2004 16:17
I still have a soft spot for my old Roland JV-1080. A true classic (circa 1994)
Posted: 22nd December 2004 16:19
why thank you
Posted: 22nd December 2004 16:27
makes me wish I still had my microwave XTK for the patches but it found a good home.
good stuff, didn't realize you had so much going on.
Sorry for going OT.
Posted: 22nd December 2004 17:49
I just ordered mine today! It says in stock 12/30, so it'll possibly be a couple weeks before I get it, but I've been reading the manual, and it seems straight forward. I think the vast majority of the parameters respond to MIDI NRPN, so hopefully some kind soul will do an editor, or I might try my hand at a Logic Environment editor... Or maybe even a SoundDiver adaptation!
There are some user reviews here: http://www.harmony-central.com/Synth/Data/Alesis/Micron-01.html
Posted: 22nd December 2004 20:27
...which is no problem if you use SoundDiver.
...unless you consider the equal in price Emulator-X nowadays, which has all the Z-plane filters and can loed a Morpheus core-samples set.
Posted: 23rd December 2004 04:52
Hey seamonkey, how many patterns does the Micron hold? The more I look into it, the more it seems to be perfect for what we want to do live. If it will hold a dozen or so user patterns it will be perfect.
Posted: 23rd December 2004 08:17
hmm.. first h/w as a controller and sound module, that much cash??
and you're looking at that stuff?? :p
i'd suggest either a used nord lead.. decent va, but the pitch stick is worth it's fucknig weight in gold as a musical tool. if you'll be getting most f your sounds from s/w or sound modules, i'd say you'd be fucknig mad not to get a nord.
oter used h/w.. korg z1.. decent controller, loads of 'acoustic' (modelled) sounds you won't find for free that i'm sure you will find useful.
why spend all that cash on somethnig that will give you the same sorts of sounds as any free vsti? :p
Posted: 23rd December 2004 08:27
To give you more details.
Im'using already a Roland D70 as master keyboard and also have a novation remote 25 as a midi controller.
I'm using a tascam fw1884 for the soundcard/control surface part.
The idea of going hardware is to get a fat sound, a stable gear for hip hop/rnb/nu jazz live performances and composition, possibly with a decent vocoder, nice bass sound, clear sound and easy to tweak.
Hope that helps !
Posted: 23rd December 2004 14:47
I just picked one up today as a little xmas present to myself. Looks like it ships with 233 factory preset patterns and you can edit or overwrite any of them.
It's a very cool little synth.
Posted: 23rd December 2004 15:10
Except for the vocoder [which has gotts run out of steam soon, surely] I would say that a Novation K-Station fits your requirements perfectly. You can download the V-Station demo and get a perfect idea of the K's sounds as the presets are identical. I use ours live over our PROPHECY and a bunch of other synths because it sounds so huge and is easy to use live. The main reason I am looking for something else is I want to be able to pre-program bass-lines and trigger them live so that we can play more and more of our stuff and have the computer do less and less. [WOW! I never thought I would hear/see myslef saying/typing that.] I haven't even heard an Ion/Micron but it certainly looks the goods for what I need. Mind you, I will continue to use the K as well.
Posted: 24th December 2004 04:20
Bones, this page gives you all the info you need as far as pattern & preset memory for the micron.
I played with it a bit yesterday and this thing is built for LIVE playing, enough real-time controls to make you happy I'm sure.
There is also an audio demo for dl in the upper right hand corner.
I think the construction of it is quite good and I like the key action and the size of the keys.It is much better than the keys on the ION.
The pitch wheel is rubberized and turns red when you turn it and the knobs also feel like rubber but sturdy.
Editing is quite deep and can be done by pressing the control knob and turning until you find the edits you wish to change.
I was playing mine with my Voyager last night and my wife said they kept winking at one another.
She likes it so I guess that says a lot.
It also has a tap tempo button which continues to blink with the tempo you set.
I think it excels in the bass and lead dept and as I said before this thing cries out for live gigging.
It's so light you can easily carry it under one arm and still carry a pint in the other.
Sound is subjective, I don't think it sounds like a Nord, Korg, Albino or Vanguard. It is what it is, an Alesis.
I'm usually a 61 note keyboard kinda guy but this thing was so much fun I didn't even miss the other keys.You can switch octaves in a blink of an eye with the buttons at the top and they glow bright red when you do.
Bang for the buck, I don't think you can go wrong but that's just my opinion.
I think the fun will really begin when I can start rolling my own patches.
Posted: 24th December 2004 09:36
Seamonkey - how do you use the Micron in your host? I can't figure out a good way to select patches from Cubase. Cubase's bank and patch numbers don't seem to correspond in any logical way with the Micron's patch numbers.
Posted: 24th December 2004 10:05
I wish I could help you out on that one but I've just been playing it through my mackie mixer and monitor speakers, haven't even gotten to using it in Tracktion yet.
You might try addressing this question directly via e-mail to Alesis customer support or try the Ion/Micron user's forum on yahoo.
good luck and happy microning.
Posted: 24th December 2004 10:16
I'll try the Yahoo group. I didn't realize there was one. Thanks!
Posted: 24th December 2004 10:39
Posted: 24th December 2004 13:40
When I octave up/down on the fly with the K-Station it hangs any note that I am too slow to release, making it too dangerous to do live. Does Micron handle that any better? You said its light, is it metal like Ion or plastic?
Posted: 24th December 2004 17:49
No problems here changing octaves while playing. Seems solid on that count.
The shell is metal with plastic endcaps. The whole thing seems reasonably sturdy although I wonder how long the control knob is going to last since it's pretty much the entire programming interface.
I figured out how to handle program changes in Cubase. If you hold down the program button for a second it will show you the bank and patch number corresponding to the current preset. Putting these numbers into Cubase seems to do the right thing, although you have to use a number one higher in Cubase than the Micron suggests.
Posted: 24th December 2004 19:36
If you are considering the Audity 2000 then I suggest you also check out the Emu Command Stations. I've been very happy with my XL-7. Expansion ROM's are cheap, and the sequencer is easy. The only problem is that the Mo Phatt sounds have probably been on more Hip Hop hits than any other instrument. I'm not sure how much new stuff can come out of it.
Posted: 25th December 2004 00:17
More excellent news. At least you know what will fail and there is only one to fix.
That happens between different brands of hardware too so its not uncommon.