Old 03-06-2017, 07:06 AM   #1
pixeltarian
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Default Budget Polyphonic Hardware Synths?

Blofeld, Micromonsta, Tetra, Minilogue, Streichfett

In the $500 range (used is fine) and I want sane controls. Tetra is the most drool worthy as a 4 voice analog but i hear a lot of complaints about the menu diving. I have a mininova and i'm sellin it asap because i hate the controls. Maybe there's a good setup for an external controller though?

I love the sound of the streichfett but it's a bit of a one trick pony. $500 is going to be it for my gear budget for the year and a poly synth is the hole in my setup.
Already own: meeblip triode, novation circuit, alesis nanopiano, op-12, op-14, lexicon mx200, kmi kmix, keystep. (And mininova but im selling it to fund part of this purchase)

Any thoughts about what to look at would be greatly appreciated. Also anyone who can think of a plugin that integrates perfectly with a certain controller greatly appreciated. I mostly want great controlls and layout like lfo, vco, filter, osc1, osc2, etc.

All knowledge and insight welcome!
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:00 AM   #2
EvilDragon
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Blofeld will give you the most synthesis possibilities, since it does virtual analog, wavetable, FM, and sample playback. Polyphony is dynamically allocated so it can get pretty low if you have an "all out" patch with lots of above things happening. Effects are so-so (forget about the reverb, delay and chorus are fine).

Micromonsta is like Blofeld's cousin. It doesn't do as many synthesis types as Blofeld, however it is very vintage in sound (as opposed to Blofeld's initial digital precision, unless you program your own "analog" sound - see Don Solaris Analog Voltage soundset) and without effort. Seems pretty simple to use and just lots of fun, and the price is ridiculously good. I'd get that eventually no matter what you choose in the end.

Tetra I don't have any experience with. Half of a P'08 with added sub oscillator. I wasn't impressed with P'08's sound so not sure how Tetra ties into that. Pretty bland character for an analog synth, as opposed to...

Minilogue! It sounds awesome! In some ways it's quirky (no modwheel and an awkwardly positioned pitch stick), but it's easily the most characterful of the lot. Those oscillators can provide a HUGE array of sounds even before reaching the filter. The filter is very smooth and just sounds great, honestly. Delay is somewhat lo-fi, which only adds to character. Voice modes are a stroke of brilliance - you can get so much out of those 4 voices of polyphony. Motion sequencer is also great - you can basically record your knob tweaks. This would be my recommendation. (And then get a Micromonsta later on for sure!)

Streichfett... yes, one trick pony. Get it if you do a lot of 80s porn groove music.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:23 AM   #3
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Ooh!! Thanks for all of that! I really want to love the miniloge but i wasnt able to get any sounds i was in love with. I agree about the prophet 08. Ot sounds fine but nothing amazing. There's something about maybe the filters on some synths that is a bit dull for my taster. Streichfett more reminds me if dark gritty vangelis vibes. There some kind of grit in thr filter or something. I will go play with the minilogue again and see if i can fall in love.

I also just made the mistake if watching videos on about the Parva synth. It is crazy over-budget but now that ive heaed it i cant look away, and the controls are laid out beautifully. ahh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Blofeld will give you the most synthesis possibilities, since it does virtual analog, wavetable, FM, and sample playback. Polyphony is dynamically allocated so it can get pretty low if you have an "all out" patch with lots of above things happening. Effects are so-so (forget about the reverb, delay and chorus are fine).

Micromonsta is like Blofeld's cousin. It doesn't do as many synthesis types as Blofeld, however it is very vintage in sound (as opposed to Blofeld's initial digital precision, unless you program your own "analog" sound - see Don Solaris Analog Voltage soundset) and without effort. Seems pretty simple to use and just lots of fun, and the price is ridiculously good. I'd get that eventually no matter what you choose in the end.

Tetra I don't have any experience with. Half of a P'08 with added sub oscillator. I wasn't impressed with P'08's sound so not sure how Tetra ties into that. Pretty bland character for an analog synth, as opposed to...

Minilogue! It sounds awesome! In some ways it's quirky (no modwheel and an awkwardly positioned pitch stick), but it's easily the most characterful of the lot. Those oscillators can provide a HUGE array of sounds even before reaching the filter. The filter is very smooth and just sounds great, honestly. Delay is somewhat lo-fi, which only adds to character. Voice modes are a stroke of brilliance - you can get so much out of those 4 voices of polyphony. Motion sequencer is also great - you can basically record your knob tweaks. This would be my recommendation. (And then get a Micromonsta later on for sure!)

Streichfett... yes, one trick pony. Get it if you do a lot of 80s porn groove music.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:32 AM   #4
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Do you need it to have a keyboard, or will a module do? I just picked up one of the Roland Boutique models (the JP-08, a 4-voice remake of the Jupiter 8) for $300 Canadian, and I'm really enjoying it so far. As far as "sane" controls go, that might be an issue, as the knobs and sliders are tiny. I'm planning to set up a preset on my Novation controller to access the most useful functions with larger controls.

There's also the Korg odyssey reissues.

Like you, I bought a MeeBlip Triode. Haven't found a lot of use for it yet, but it's fun to play with.

$0.02

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Old 03-06-2017, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixeltarian View Post
Ooh!! Thanks for all of that! I really want to love the miniloge but i wasnt able to get any sounds i was in love with. I agree about the prophet 08. Ot sounds fine but nothing amazing. There's something about maybe the filters on some synths that is a bit dull for my taster. Streichfett more reminds me if dark gritty vangelis vibes. There some kind of grit in thr filter or something. I will go play with the minilogue again and see if i can fall in love.

I also just made the mistake if watching videos on about the Parva synth. It is crazy over-budget but now that ive heaed it i cant look away, and the controls are laid out beautifully. ahh!
Watch Marc Doty's series of videos on the Minilogue!


Parva is also something I'm eyeing, too.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Watch Marc Doty's series of videos on the Minilogue!


Parva is also something I'm eyeing, too.
So would you get the parva with 2 voices or minilogue?

I have a vocla fm for 3 voices and a nanopiano for keys stuff. I also I have novation circuit for polyphonic stuff. Nothing analog, but it seems so cool that I can get a parva monophonic and just add voices for $100 each over time.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:45 PM   #7
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I had some pretty good luck with selling off gear I don't use. I could afford an 8 voice Parva now, but I decided to be practical(ish) and get the micromonsta and a squarp. I feel like midi is going to get really hard to manage really fast and the sooner I buy a "brain box" the better. I'm going to play with ModStep for iPad a little bit but I feel an impulse to get away from anything that can do things that are not music related.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Watch Marc Doty's series of videos on the Minilogue!


Parva is also something I'm eyeing, too.
Some time has passed, and I now own a minilogue that I found at the pawn shop for $350

Big problem though: The EG section is messed up. Attack doesn't work, it just keeps setting itself to like a value of 20. Sustain kind of works like attack instead. If I use the sustain knobs for a bit, then I have to crank the attack knobs all the way to max to get any sound. tons of screwy behavior all around. If I plug in a sequencer and keep sending "attack = 0" messages on every step, I can get some stabbing sounds out of it, but man am I discouraged. I don't want to take it back because I'll only get pawn shop credit and they don't have anything great most of the time.

Just the pads and string sounds I've been getting out of it are phenomenal though! I could fall totally in love if the EG section was fixed.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:42 AM   #9
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i have a blofeld and a minilogue
both amazing. but if you're looking for a "feeling" with a synth then minilogue hands down.
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