First Synth: Should I buy a vintage analogue synth or a modern modelling synth?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
Dxnny
KVRer
2 posts since 5 Dec, 2021

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:17 am

Hi,
I have been saving for over a year now to buy a hardware synth (Arturia Polybrute).
Recently I felt in love with vintage synths after going to a synth collector studio and playing with the classics Juno60, Yamaha DX7, Moogs....

Do you recommend buying a used vintage synth for my first hardware synth and take the risk of finding a one that is well preserved and fully functional? Or should I just get a brand new modern synth?

kritikon
KVRAF
5683 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 11:23 am

New. All day long. Don't get me wrong, I love a load of the classics...used them, cherished them, still own many and now buying Behringer remakes of old classics. But for a first synth it doesn't add up, mainly just for price vs function. You will pay far more for most collectable/ old synths but plenty of the new ones both cost less, provide more and give the same character. Save buying oldies until you already have a good set of newer ones and you know you want to put precious money into a hw collection ( a perfectly reasonable thing to do if you love hw).

All of the synths you mention...there are better bang for buck new alternatives.
Juno 60...nice synth but very limited. Behringer Deepmind...based on Junos but extended vastly. You can even start low with a Deepmind6 rather than 12 - you get shitloads more and better envelopes, apparently stunning FX, far deeper flexibility and still analogue filters. Any kind of Juno...you get the initial warm fuzzies but after only a few days you quickly notice how basic they are. I still have a Juno106 and an Alpha2...very rarely use them any more. I likely will trade them in for a DM at some point.

Yamaha DX7...spectacularly difficult to program. Korg Opsix is cheaper, stunning Korg fx on all of their hw nowadays, infinitely easier to program and from what I can see takes FM into whole new territories while still doing the classics. I have a DX100 - will still keep it but definitely Opsix is my next hw purchase. One downside (I think) is that I haven't seen anyone do the classic in yer face basses on an Opsix that DXs were famous for, though they can still get very close. It definitely does the e-pianos, the organs, the glassy weird digital shit though...and more. And so so much easier to program even from scratch.

Moogs. You can buy real new Moogs cheaper than classics and they're better featured and way more stable. Moog notorious for unstable tuning with temperature. You can buy Behringer Moog...cheap as chips, stable sound great if you like Moogs (personally never liked the Moog sound).

There are so many others...I have a real Korg MS20 classic and I absolutely will buy a Behringer one. I might even buy a new Korg full size one...buying both is cheaper than buying an original one, and they all sound f**king superb. Behringer Monopoly...stunning and check out the price. They sound very close to the original...you might not even be able to find one for sale and if you can...get a mortgage! You can buy new genuine Prophets...still cheaper than classics and way better featured. Arturia Brutes...not that expensive yet quite quirky and characterful. Holy crap Batman, you can even get a 303 and a 101 for pocket money nowadays from Behringer. (303 not quite as true, but still extreme fun...101 is actually better than the original IMO and I have an old MC202).

Classic synths...I'm guilty of the obsession, but can't recommend them to you at the start of your journey/adventure. Don't waste that amount of money right now...later when you're hooked beyond redemption. :hihi:

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cryophonik
KVRAF
7562 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 12:09 pm

I agree with krikiton. Unless your sole purpose is to own a vintage synth, I’d stick with a modern. I assume you want to make music with it, so you can generally assume that a modern synth is going to be more reliable and many of them have modern conveniences like MIDI over USB, onboard effects, etc. Dave Smith/Sequential, Moog, Korg, Arturia, Behringer, and Studio Electronics are all making some amazing synths these days at really affordable prices. It’s a great time to be a synth enthusiast!

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MFXxx
KVRAF
3193 posts since 27 Mar, 2010 from UK

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 12:10 pm

So manuy more headaches eitj vintage. A passion you and your pocket may well regret.
Modern has so manu pros and really, unless youre a purist and happy to shell out a lot more than the initial outlay you budgeted for with an old skool classic.
Modern all the way.
IMHO.
Better integration , midi and audio functionality. Less likely to go wrong with lower maintenmce costs.
Soundwise. You probably wont notice the different. Workflow you will be grateful you took the modern route.
All sibjective of course 😜
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vurt
addled muppet weed
88191 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 12:14 pm

if its for using as an instrument, new is the way to go!
vintage is for collectors who like spending more time recalibrating stuff :hihi:

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vurt
addled muppet weed
88191 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 12:18 pm

that said, the polybrute is a beast for a first synth :o
what you would get in that, compared to a vintage of the same price, especially analog, :lol:
for a start, you can forget chords on your vintage, before we even get to all the mpe stuff...

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pdxindy
KVRAF
20859 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:05 pm

The PolyBrute has (IMO) the best hardware synth interface ever for a complex synth. Plus it is deep and versatile and sounds great.

Shabdahbriah
KVRAF
7606 posts since 19 Jun, 2008 from Seattle

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:16 pm

I'm with everyone else on this. I've had well over a dozen of what are now "classics" from all the major players (except Moog), starting with a Juno 60. Prior to just now, I had not even taken any notice of the poly-brute other than being aware of it existing, as I am not in the market for another keyboard. Very content with a Bass Station II and Studio Logic Sledge II (black edition).

That said, I spent several hours watching Poly-Brute product-intro vids of my usual favorite/trusted youtube demonstrators, and though I did not research any issues it may have, it looks and sounds amazing. If you've saved up for one, I would go with it, as it will doubtless provide you with a complex palette of musically relevant ear candy, and myriad levels of discovery and noise-joy. Really impressed with what I heard. :tu:
I'm not a musician, but I've designed sounds that others use to make music. http://soundcloud.com/obsidiananvil

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foosnark
KVRAF
6024 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:22 pm

I will also chime in, go new (or used but new-ish). Older gear often needs repair/maintenance.

New stuff often surpasses it in sound and usability, whether or not it has the same fame and reputation. And there's not really anything stopping a new synth from sounding "vintage" depending on what you do with it, anyway.

A lot of what makes the classic synths famous is they were in the right place at the right time, but in most cases they've been surpassed. There's been lots of great new analog and digital gear introduced in the past 5 years or so.

Bulbizarre
KVRist
213 posts since 31 Aug, 2020

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:05 pm

The Polybrute is a great choice IMO. Even pricier is the Moog One if you have unlimited cash. Unless you really love the specific sound of an old synth and there's no way around it, I don't think it's worth chasing vintage because of the maintenance costs. And we have better technology now, why not enjoy this too ? Do you want to simply collect synths (and dust) or make music ?

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Synthack
KVRist
324 posts since 4 Dec, 2021

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 8:01 pm

I'd pick up a real modern analog synthesizer. As for the modelling stuff, i think a lot of plugins have caught up to the hardware such as DIVA.
Do you have them all yet?

AdvancedFollower
KVRian
898 posts since 8 May, 2018 from Sweden

Post Mon Dec 06, 2021 3:05 am

The title of this thread doesn't make sense. The choice isn't just between vintage analog or modern analog modelling. There are plenty of modern analog synths including the Polybrute.

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pdxindy
KVRAF
20859 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:03 am

Bulbizarre wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:05 pm
The Polybrute is a great choice IMO. Even pricier is the Moog One if you have unlimited cash. Unless you really love the specific sound of an old synth and there's no way around it, I don't think it's worth chasing vintage because of the maintenance costs. And we have better technology now, why not enjoy this too ? Do you want to simply collect synths (and dust) or make music ?
I would rather have the PolyBrute... that is why I have a PolyBrute and no longer have the Moog One :lol:

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zerocrossing
KVRAF
11523 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:37 am

AdvancedFollower wrote:
Mon Dec 06, 2021 3:05 am
The title of this thread doesn't make sense. The choice isn't just between vintage analog or modern analog modelling. There are plenty of modern analog synths including the Polybrute.
Yeah, I think the OP is confused. The PolyBrute is a VCO based analog synthesizer, with no modeling technology that I’m aware of… unless maybe the digital effects section.

That said, if the sound of classics is what you want and this is your first synthesizer, the PolyBrute (which I own and love) might not be the best choice. I’d suggest maybe a Roland System 8. It comes with a few (3? I don’t own it.) classic synth emulations that sound very good to me. It’s also a much more simple synthesizer, which could be a bonus to a beginner. I’m not sure I could have handled a PolyBrute as my first synth, which was the must simpler Juno 106.
Zerocrossing Media

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itanever
KVRist
171 posts since 26 Jul, 2019

Post Mon Dec 06, 2021 8:47 am

I'd also go with a modern one. Less hassle and vintage gear is way overpriced in my opinion. Unless you have more money than you can spend, of course.

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