Best all in one synth for beginners?

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Michael L
KVRAF
2797 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:45 am

For a different viewpoint, perhaps start with a synth whose sound you LOVE. For example, I do not care for subtractive synths and prefer a few other methods.
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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
2947 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:34 am

kovacsszandra wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:33 am
For a newbie is Synthmaster a better choice then?
No.
kovacsszandra wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:33 am
I see Serum is preferred by many here, but is more expensive and is apparently notorious for its high CPU usage.
A lot just recommend the synth they love and know already inside out, they forgot how they reached that point...

Argineau
KVRer
1 posts since 20 Jul, 2019

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:35 am

I'm afraid that as chiefly as a guitarist and home recording buff, I still have a lot to learn about synths, but amongst my favourite sounds are from string machines and the EHX Mel9 mellotron emulator as well as theremin. Guess I'm fairly old school there!

zzz00m
KVRAF
1947 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:26 am

I like SynthMaster 2, but I think SynthMaster One would be best for a beginner. It is only one layer, accessible and well laid out, with simple workflow. Can't say that about the original SynthMaster 2. Hopefully all that will be addressed when SynthMaster 3 is released next year.

Just ignore the wavetables in SM One until you are comfortable with the basic subtractive oscillators that are provided. The filters are very good, and this synth is capable of any style of music.

If you read the free e-book "How to Make a Noise: a Comprehensive Guide to Synthesizer Programming", you can pretty much follow along with any of the subtractive tutorials in the book. The book was published in 2007, and last revised in 2014, so it is a bit dated as far as the synths used in the examples. The book featured a handful of vintage soft synths in the tutorials (Cameleon 5000, Rhino, Surge, Vanguard, Wusikstation, and z3ta+), which included a couple of legendary soft synths that I have, z3ta+ and Surge. Unfortunately z3ta+ is no longer available, but Surge has been released as free and open source.

Of that list, the only other original one available that I am aware of is Rhino, from Big Tick for $49. I think there is also a new version of Wusikstation, but since that is used to demonstrate wave sequencing, it is probably not relevant to pure subtractive parts of the book.

SynthMaster One is on sale right now for $29 here: https://www.pluginboutique.com/deals/show?sale_id=5418

And Surge is free here: https://surge-synthesizer.github.io/

Can't go broke acquiring those two synths!

So I think that with SM One and Surge, and this free book, you could learn a lot about subtractive synthesis with a little bit of time and determination. Yes the book is a bit dated with the synthesizer examples, but basic ocsillators, filters, & modulation haven't changed much since the book was published.
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cnt
KVRist
284 posts since 9 Mar, 2001

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:27 pm

Try out maybe the top 5 freeware synths first. Start with Synth1. And read the "How to make a noise" as suggested.
Then maybe U-he Tyrell N6, OBxd.
Surge is way too complicated as a first synth, its VERY good though.
/ C'n'T
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highkoo
KVRAF
3870 posts since 26 Jun, 2004

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:58 pm

Noobs need to SEE things.
Massive OG is one of the best to teach with.
ImageImageImageImage

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Benedict
KVRAF
2949 posts since 5 Mar, 2004 from Gold Coast Australia

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:00 pm

Synth1 sounds good and is pretty standard.
Tyrell sounds great but is not exactly easy as some of the architecture is arcane.
Surge is very versatile and sounds good but again complex.

The thing tho is that most DAWs come with a simple subtractive so why not work with what you have? If you are always looking over the fence, you can't see what you have in your own home, let alone learn to make the most of it.

I started with a Casio CZ-1000 so the generative engine does not have to be analog, but it is best if it is reasonably straightforward. Then you need to create the mind maps in your own head that let you connect knobs to results. This article is about that: https://benedictroffmarsh.com/2015/09/0 ... aking-art/

You might like to use this wee fellow. A simple architecture with a few surprises under the hood: https://benedictroffmarsh.com/2019/06/1 ... -free-vst/

:-)

zzz00m
KVRAF
1947 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:07 pm

cnt wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:27 pm
Try out maybe the top 5 freeware synths first. Start with Synth1. And read the "How to make a noise" as suggested.
Then maybe U-he Tyrell N6, OBxd.
Surge is way too complicated as a first synth, its VERY good though.
I'm not sure about recommending Synth1 to a beginner. It's an awesome sounding synth for free, with a bazillion free presets available, but I would expect the interface could be a bit hard to follow for anyone not already familiar with synths.

I totally agree with Tyrell N6, I love that synth! It is a good all around subtractive synth, modeled after a classic Roland Juno synth. It has all of the necessary elements of a vintage analog synth. The filter and envelopes are all adjusted with sliders, so you get a good visual impression of what those settings are. Preset banks: https://u-he.com/PatchLib/tyrelln6.html

I also love OB-Xd, but for a beginner that might be hard to grasp. It has limited oscillator options (saw and pulse). There are some great free preset banks for it, including Daniel Stawczyk's "Stamina". The user manual doesn't really cover how to use the synth, so I downloaded the old hardware manual for the original Oberheim OB-Xa for that.
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kovacsszandra
KVRer
6 posts since 20 Jul, 2019

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:34 am

Thank you for everyone, this is really useful to know!!

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
3147 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:01 am

Tj Shredder wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:34 am
kovacsszandra wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:33 am
I see Serum is preferred by many here, but is more expensive and is apparently notorious for its high CPU usage.
A lot just recommend the synth they love and know already inside out, they forgot how they reached that point...
You don't need to know Serum inside-out to make use of it. It can be as simple as any other subtractive synth, such as Sylenth1. Wavetable extravaganza is just an extra feature for synthesis connoisseurs.
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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
2947 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:40 am

But you need to know the basics of synthesis already... I bet you do... That was my point...

dellboy
KVRian
983 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:58 am

Before you buy a synth read this great simple to understand Ableton tutorial on synth programming here ............

https://learningsynths.ableton.com/

Dim Vision
KVRist
62 posts since 1 Jul, 2017

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:49 pm

Speaking from experience, my own beginner's journey has been characterised by a lack of constraint, GAS, Analysis Paralysis, improper focus and unrealistic expectations. As a consequence I've inhibited the progression I might have gained through deliberate, persistent practice. Instead, I've clung to the comfort of knowledge and gear acquisition, and have never really moved beyond the stage of conscious incompetence.

Close acquaintance with particular synthesisers and a fundamental understanding of several synthesis types has not immunised me from the frustration and inevitability of meeting my incompetence face-to-face. Eventually, the knowledge I've acquired must be applied, and here is where certain tendencies arise: to attribute my frustrated efforts to the shortcomings of a particular synthesiser, or to suspect that the answers are to be found in the right book, forum or video someplace, somewhere.

This strikes me as largely a mechanism of avoidance and a fear of moving outside of my comfort zone, and perhaps the fear of discovering that my own limits are more bounded than I would have hoped for. What's more, it is a mechanism which serves to additionally increase the overall sense of paralysis and to yield an even deeper and more troubling frustration — one relating to the value and utility of the whole enterprise.

As a beginner, I have found that the most challenging aspect of designing sounds for use in music is to develop an ability to generate specific timbres — or at least, timbres I find interesting — with an acceptable degree of intent. Some people may find satisfaction in hours spent noodling with parameters until something agreeable emerges, but personally I become discouraged and intimidated by the recognition that I have no idea where I'm going or how to get there, even when I know how to operate just about every parameter at my disposal — even the more esoteric functions.

I would say that if you are like me, you will suffer less and grow more if you impose constraint upon yourself, or even better, if you additionally have it imposed upon you by others — both of which are, unfortunately, challenges unto themselves. With suitable constraint I believe it would be easier to develop this sense of direction and intent more readily, given that the number of places you can go is curtailed by the limitations of the synthesiser.

It's exciting to open up a new synthesiser like Massive X — so much seeming potential and possibility — but with the eyes of a beginner, this experience is somewhat like that of a child walking into the cockpit of a commercial airliner — is that a sense of wonder you're feeling? Intimidation? Maybe you simply have the urge to press buttons and see what happens. In any case, you aren't ready to direct the airliner anywhere but into the ocean or into the side of a mountain — if you can even get it off the ground, that is.

If you're able to resolve to limit yourself to a more humble, simpler synthesiser, you will also likely have to contend with the temptation to be lured off in the aforementioned directions — namely, on the path toward further knowledge and gear acquisition, without having really pushed the boundaries of what you have at your disposal — perhaps even after only having dipped a toe. In this respect, those who have constraint imposed upon them externally have a kind of paradoxical, good fortune. I've always admired those whom can work with what little they have, but in another sense I've envied their position — they often have little to no other choice. Temptation and choice simply aren't on the cards.

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Benedict
KVRAF
2949 posts since 5 Mar, 2004 from Gold Coast Australia

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:02 pm

<Wot he sed

Yes, working within constraints and focusing on what must be understood and therefore leaned, bears fruit. But only if you have the discipline. Sadly these days that is a mindset that is discouraged by almost everything around us, have it now, instant, why do anything difficult, there's no time to waste... Of course, once you work out that it doesn't work out it seems rather hard to turn around. That, of course, is part of the trap in itself.

Also remember that the greats are never alone in their journey yet people in Forums do all they can to be completely alone. The Sex Pistols DIY'd it with each other and Malcolm McLaren. Same with Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails... So why is it that people who are hanging in forums work so hard to not work successfully with others?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCEMGx0dBYM

Fear Is The Key lyrics:

We live our lives in fever
In a choking sweat of fear
In the heat of the night you can
feel so much
In the heat of the night I scream
"Don't touch!"

I remember a time when we
used and abused
And fought all our battles in vain
I remember a time we thought that
passion was free
In the heat of the night... bodies aflame

We live in fever...

I hear your secret heartbeat
I can hear your silent cries
The kids have lost their freedom
And nobody cares till somebody
famous dies...

I remember a time when we
used and abused
And fought all our battles in vain
I remember a time we thought that
passion was free
In the heat of the night... bodies aflame

Now we live, in a world of uncertainty
Fear is the key - to what you want to be
You don't get a say, the majority
gets its way
You're outnumbered by the bastards
till the day you die...

we live in fever (x3)

I hear your silent heartbeat
I hear your silent cries
Oh and it's just lies and lies
The kids have lost their freedom
And nobody cares till somebody
famous dies
And turned it in to lies of lies of lies and lies and lies

I remember a time when we used and abused
and it was just lies and lies and lies and lies and lies ...!
I remember a time when we thought passion was free
and it was just lies and lies and lies and lies and lies ...!

Live in fever...
We live in fever! (x2)

Now we live, in a world of uncertainty
Fear is the key - to what you want to be
You don't get a say, the majority
gets its way
You're outnumbered by the bastards
till the day you die...

Vleker
KVRist
60 posts since 8 Jun, 2019

Re: Best all in one synth for beginners?

Post Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:06 am

Serum would be my go to depending on your style

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