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Which synth have you owned that you won't forget?

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RWYCYA View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 14 2020 at 14:04
I'm sending back my Akai MINIAK one day later just because there wasn't a return from Amazon sooner (if anyone wants it, it will be back on Amazon as used, just like it was a week ago, in a week). Nothing wrong with it, but its vocoder was weak. What are some synths y'all have owned and loved?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tigerfeet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2020 at 17:56
My favorite keyboard I ever played was a brand new Kawai K1 when it first came out. 

The keys were so soft to touch and it played like a dream - great strings ! 


Edited by tigerfeet - May 14 2020 at 17:56
I'm sorry, if you were right, I'd agree with you. Robin Williams.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vompatti Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2020 at 01:08
I've only ever owned Casio keyboards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2020 at 11:47
Image result for prophet 5 synth
Prophet 5.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2020 at 02:12
Very nice, SteveG.

My first synth was a Korg MS-10 which made somewhat of an impression on me. 

I eventually sold it (for 175) and ended up sitting in A1 Music, in Manchester (long gone) next to a rack of Rickenbacker basses, which no one wanted at the time (early 80's). All 175. I picked one up, neck warped in three planes, the next one was too, and so were the rest of the rack.

So I left without a Rickenbacker bass. and that's probably the last chance I ever had to own one. ;-)

Having said that, I bought an MS-20 Mini five years back, and, of all my synths, that gets the most use because of the immediacy of it. I've got a tiny, tiny studio in a box room and moving stuff around tends to kill creativity. 

I've got a slightly different approach to synths now having built a modular. If I decide I want a new synth, I generally build one. ;-) I've got a construction method worked out for the cases, so I can basically take the elements of several synths (say, the CEM 3340 based oscillators from a Prophet and a Moog ladder filter) and create my own Frankenstein version. Matter of fact, I've got something sitting there in the electronics CAD package which uses VCOs from a firm called YuSynth and a vactrol gate based filter.

Oscillators can be tricky (the 3340 chip was revolutionary as it contained waveshaping and tempco on board the chip itself) - MIDI to CV is actually quite simple, as are LFO's - the main pain is envelope generators, believe it or not. The good thing about building analogue synths is that there are any number of vintage designs out there, all out of copyright, for an experimenter to play around with. 






Edited by Davesax1965 - May 17 2020 at 02:28

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2020 at 02:42
Here we go, construction method (this is a large phaser but same principle)

(1) All components are constructed onto the back plate of a case 
(2) The case is then drilled, with flying leads running to pots and jacks mounted on the front. The alternative is to use board mounted pots and jacks - this is difficult to lay out and even more difficult to drill. Wooden sides made as well.
(3) Graphics are then done in Photoshop, vinyl printed and stuck to the case.

Result, custom synth. Unfortunately, the amount of labour involved and the fact that I use through hole technology, instead of SMD, means that these Frankenstein designs are never going to be commercially viable.

I could sell kits - populated case, backplate and PCBs, but synth DIY forums are full of people who (having never picked up a soldering iron before) for some reason decide that they have the necessary skills to make a synth from a bag of bits. Or have one built for them. No chance. So it's really not worth the headaches. 

Some kit manufacturers charge absolute ripoff prices for modern replica synths. 2,500 for a replica EMS ? I don't think so. It's cynical exploitation based on the ripoff costs of surviving original ones. Not my style, I couldn't sleep at night having ripped anyone off. 




Edited by Davesax1965 - May 17 2020 at 03:23

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2020 at 03:21
Synths I would have liked to have owned - 

An OsCar - played one many years ago, lovely. 

Proper Polivoks - I actually built a Polivoks kit but could only get half of it to work as the idiot designer had included "original Soviet parts" including horrendous KT31x series transistors, which fail if you look at them and weird Soviet matched transistor arrays. The fact that the documentation was faulty and he only supplied 40% of the (expensive) kit meant it never worked. Not just for me. Got some filters and LFO's from one. 

ARP 2600

EMS Synthi A

That's about it, really. 


Edited by Davesax1965 - May 17 2020 at 03:24

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Easy Money Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2020 at 07:04
Originally posted by Davesax1965 Davesax1965 wrote:

Synths I would have liked to have owned -

An OsCar - played one many years ago, lovely.

Proper Polivoks - I actually built a Polivoks kit but could only get half of it to work as the idiot designer had included "original Soviet parts" including horrendous KT31x series transistors, which fail if you look at them and weird Soviet matched transistor arrays. The fact that the documentation was faulty and he only supplied 40% of the (expensive) kit meant it never worked. Not just for me. Got some filters and LFO's from one.

ARP 2600

EMS Synthi A

That's about it, really.

Korg has come out with a remake of the ARP 2600.
"Its going to disappear, one day, its like a miracle it will disappear" - hollywood donald vs the pandemic
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BaldJean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2020 at 10:54
EMS synthi A:

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/UdsAAOSwLSVdjK4f/s-l640.jpg



A shot of me as High Priestess of Gaia during our fall festival. Ceterum censeo principiis obsta
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2020 at 10:07
Thanks, BaldJean. ;-)

You know, looking at it now, there's that awful capacitor keyboard and the pin matrix which was as fragile as a hummingbirds' egg. But it sounded very special indeed. Peter Zinovieff was a genius, there are massive variations in all the synths he built. He just came up with a new idea and included it with no reference to how commercially viable it was. From what I last heard, he was still going at 95.

Strangely, I don't fancy the new Korg 2600 at all. Not least because of the ludicrous price. The Behringer version I would naturally avoid due to Behringer potentiometers being massively unreliable (I know they've improved their quality control, but I still don't trust Behringer gear).

I've got the schematics for the original 2600 somewhere, and whilst it's easy enough to clone, some of the stuff in the original is now made of Unobtainium, from what I remember. It's a very novel design. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bionic dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 19 2020 at 19:58
I owned a Cwejman S1 mark 1 and a mark 2 they were both very distinctive sounding and fun to use. The S1 mark 2 was the best mono synth I've ever used. 

I also owned a Moog Taurus Mark 3. It sounded very excellent for super low growly bass. The form factor is kind of clunky for adjusting knobs on the floor or kind of big if you are using a sequencer.

Of my current synth quiver I'd say the Pittsburgh Modular Microvolt has a pretty unique sound in a tiny form factor. It's kind of mash up of a Music Easel and a Odyssey. 

A friend owned a Jupiter 6 and that was a very nice sounding synth. The filter had a nice fizzy sound.

I would like to try out a Synthi A/VCS 3 because they seem intriguing. I like the soundscapes made by Michael Hoenig when he was in Agitation Free using an VCS3.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ProfPanglos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 22 2020 at 15:37
I had an Oberheim OB-8 for several years, it was a monster.  Unfortunately, I sold it decades ago (before those old analogs became highly-sought-after) for $700.  I could probably get $7000 for it today.  Yep, just checked ebay, there's one on there "in perfect condition" (mine was too) for $9500, haha.

You win some, you lose some.  It was a great synth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LithoJazzoSphere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 10 2021 at 20:47
I'm still pretty happy with my current main synths.  Tom Oberheim/Dave Smith OB-6, Access Virus TI, and Moog Sub37.  They get me the range of sounds I need for the sounds in my head, supplemented by various other synths and effects I have.  Vintage gear is cool to hear, watch, and read about, but the price and questionable reliability makes most of it unappealing to own. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 13 2021 at 17:29
The only keyboard I've ever owned is a hand-held Casio VL-Tone (with the slip-in, snap shut vinyl cover) which I LOVE! (especially for the Frippertronics delivered by the "fantasy" setting.) But my brother is a keyboard player and collector and my favorite instrument he ever bought was the Korg Wavestation (c. 1990-91). Just love some of the multi-layered bank sounds generated by that keyboard!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 11 2021 at 01:26
Finally decided to get rid of the modular synth, I don't think I've even switched it on this year. 
Trouble is selling these things. They tend to go for comparatively little compared to the cost of making them.

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