What synthesizer should I buy and why?

Feb 15, 2012

  1. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    I know that this is a dumb question and that there is no one but myself that can ultimately make a decision, but I need some help here.

    I already have a DSI Tetra but find it a very tedious little machine because it's basically useless without the software editor.

    I also have a JX-8P that I sometimes use for pads.

    So I mostly use VST soft-synths.

    I have two problems with my current setup. I'm a "tweaker" and rarely bounce and commit to things. I think a hardware synthesizer might help here.

    Secondly, I'm really fed up with using the mouse for everything and wiring up my midi-keyboard for controlling parameters.

    That said, I'm looking for a decent hardware synthesizer.


    • I don't care much for analogue, so it can be either analogue or digital. In fact I think I'd prefer a digital machine at the moment.
    • I make electronic music. The synthesizer should cover a wide range of sounds. I'd also like it to offer some interesting synthesis options.
    • It should have a decent interface to work with. If the synthesizer's interface is as reduced as the DSI Tetra's it will not interest me. I'm not against Desktop versions if they offer a good interface but would probably prefer a synthesizer with a keyboard.
    • It should work. This means it should have decent vendor support. I'm a little bit wary of buying 20 year old classics that might fall apart any given minute and where you have to pray to God before attempting to dump your patches or to update the OS. I'm also hesitant to buy a boutique synthesizer.

    Considering all of this, what options do I have?

    A Blofeld? Its interface doesn't look exciting at all. It's cheap tho.

    Prophet 08. Since I already have a Tetra, this might be interesting because of the poly chain. Or it might not be interesting at all, because it will probably sound the same.

    Poly Evolver Keyboard. I don't know, this might be too expensive for me.

    John Bowen's Solaris - This looks very interesting. It's way over my budget tho.

    Radikal Technologies Accelerator. I'm very interested in this synthesizer, but Jorg Schaaf's record when it comes to customer support is a bit... shaky. I also have no way to test this in person. But damn, it could be great.

    A Virus TI2. Ok, do I really have to buy this? I personally have never had any desire to own a Virus.

    NordLead 2X. Oldie, but Goldie?
  2. barryon Fiddely Dee. Rumpity Doo.

    barryon
    4,051 posts
    Since Dec 9, 2008
    Out of all of those i would probably go for the poly evolver. I have the desktop evolver and loved it. The interface was a pain in the balls though.
  3. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    Thanks... If you have any more suggestions (outside the one's I've listed) I'd be more than thankful. I mean there are beasts like the Kurzweil PC3 that no one ever seems to talk about.
  4. Ibunshi Mpc Pilot

    Ibunshi
    8,399 posts
    Since Jun 8, 2007
    for a wide range of sounds, i would have gone with the virus, i cant really think of any electronic music where the sounds it can produce would not be useful for.. but then i am not so familiar with some of those other synths when it comes to their sound abilities..

    i liked the virus because the wide range of sounds, and because of that i rarely had to start from scratch when making a sound, i could take something that was close to how i wanted and then continue from there.. + the randomize button was very fun sometimes and could give some great stuff to continue to work with
  5. reesearch

    reesearch
    681 posts
    Since Mar 27, 2006
    Why are you not interested in a Virus?

    Alesis ION is also a very deep synth, with lots of different filters. Borrowed it for a while and really liked the sound. I think it can be had relatively cheap second hand.
  6. luthatron \o/ Lord Wavey \o/

    luthatron
    42,211 posts
    Since Feb 3, 2004
    if you like tweaking and not committing, don't get hardwear imo.
  7. joemaki

    joemaki
    1,234 posts
    Since May 15, 2010
    dune its the power of the virus ti in soft synth form
  8. Wattdogg

    Wattdogg
    136 posts
    Since Dec 29, 2009
    Personally, I'm sick to death with midi controlled external equipment. Automation can be a chore. I'd be looking to the future and only really concidering anything with a usb/firewire interface for the day to day. Maybe also have a simple analog synth for sampling.
  9. parsley

    parsley
    6,586 posts
    Since Apr 25, 2004
    what about a vostok.

    they just look awesome

    [​IMG]
  10. Ibunshi Mpc Pilot

    Ibunshi
    8,399 posts
    Since Jun 8, 2007
    sexy! ..and looks like advanced nipple torture equipment.. it not only makes you scream, it also records the scream and feed it back to you so you can hear yourself scream like a girl, which only furtherly humiliates you:slayer:
  11. puzzlefactory

    puzzlefactory
    477 posts
    Since Nov 30, 2009
    What about the new Arturia Minibrute analogue synth coming out in April? Looks pretty sweet!

    Personally I would love a Virus TI, but it's going to take a while to save up for it! For ages I was dead against it (as far as I was concerned all VAs were just soft synths in an external box), but now I really like the idea of all the soft synth processing being done outside the box...
  12. Ibunshi Mpc Pilot

    Ibunshi
    8,399 posts
    Since Jun 8, 2007
    think that is a pretty common reason many people didnt want a synth like that.. that and also the fact that its a popular synth so "everybody has one" and people often want to be original and so they stay way for that reason alone which isnt the best reason really IMO... and there was a time where you could hear what pretty clearly was just presets used from a virus pop up in many tunes..

    there are lots of software synths that i would have loved to see being put in hardware with its own dedicated hands on control though.. the hands on is attractive enough for me.. just feels like a more musical way of working.. even automating stuff feels more musical with hands on control.. as you dont need to sit and draw in the automation with a mouse, you just use your body to record your own movements and tweaks in realtime.. so its more organic because the automation doesnt follow a line you have drawn, instead it follows you moving to the music :love:

    however, you can get that with a midi controller and the synth still being in the computer so thats a bit offtopic :teeth:
  13. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    The Arturia Minibrute is not interesting to me since I'm looking for a polyphonic synthesizer. I'd probably buy a Moog here.

    I'm currently leaning towards the Radikal Technologies Accelerator. The only thing holding me back is the fact that it's a "boutique" synthesizer - their Spectralis 2 was plagued by problems and Joerg Schaaf's strong point isn't customer support :smile: There isn't that much information about it available, but the few reviews out there all give it very high ratings, especially when it comes to its sound quality.

    The Virus TI2 doesn't excite me that much. I really don't know why. It might be the fact that the Virus has been around for ages.
  14. luthatron \o/ Lord Wavey \o/

    luthatron
    42,211 posts
    Since Feb 3, 2004
    that does indeed look utterly awesome.
  15. qwert678!!!! Helios Primus

    qwert678!!!!
    733 posts
    Since Jun 22, 2010

    This made me laugh! :twothumbs:laughing:
  16. H-Arms sunrise > sunset

    H-Arms
    4,073 posts
    Since Jun 3, 2003
    I have a PC361 and I love it, so much so that its my only keyboard. The lush sound has inspired me to want to learn to play keys better. Bread and butter sounds covered, VA-1 engine is nice, VAST fx control modulations can be DEEEEEP, yet presets are more than adequate sound wise. I don't really use it as a synth or VA, as I have other gear that has those duties.

    Too bad there isn't really any modern VCO polyphonics.
  17. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    If I may ask, what do you use for your synthesis needs? VST?
  18. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    Fuck me. I just ordered a Radikal Technologies Accelerator.

    It's a lot of dough... I already hate myself.

    [​IMG]
  19. monkey man

    monkey man
    6,032 posts
    Since Jun 15, 2001
    That thing sounds pretty great (I did lol however at the motion sensor)
  20. barryon Fiddely Dee. Rumpity Doo.

    barryon
    4,051 posts
    Since Dec 9, 2008

    Yeah wtf is the story with the motion sensor? I can see a lot of keyboard stands going flying.
  21. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    I think in hindsight they probably curse themselves for ever integrating the motion sensor because everyone seems to ignore the synthesis capabilities of the Accelerator. From what I remember the accelerometer costs them approx. 2 USD per unit. It's probably a cool feature for live performances.

    Anyways, I'll promise to report back once it arrived. I'll try to bounce some presets and maybe shoot a video or whatever... I hope this thing delivers...
  22. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    Small update regarding the Accelerator:

    "Hallo/ Hello/ Bonjour _____ ________ Ihre Bestellung wird heute versendet. Your order will be shipped today! Votre commande sera expédiée aujourd'hui."

    As I said before, if you guys wish, I'll do a small review with sound examples and maybe a couple of videos.

    GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) reaching maximum level.
  23. monkey man

    monkey man
    6,032 posts
    Since Jun 15, 2001
    Cool. How much did it set you back? (If you don't mind me asking)
  24. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    2470 Swiss Francs

    According to Google: 1699 GBP, 2695 USD, 2042 EUR

    I won't buy anything else related to audio this year. And other than that my life style is rather frugal, I go on vacations with my gf but that's about it :smile:
  25. cmgoodman1

    cmgoodman1
    213 posts
    Since Jun 4, 2011
    I'm thinking about getting the moog "little phatty", not so much for drum and bass but for some different stuff. I got the chance to play around with one the other week and it sounds wonderful.
  26. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    The Accelerator is here... I'm having multiple eargasms :teef::tea:
  27. H-Arms sunrise > sunset

    H-Arms
    4,073 posts
    Since Jun 3, 2003
    Virus Rack XL for VA, Studio Electronics ATC-X and Future Retro 777 for mono duties, and Roland MKS70 for poly analog(mainly pads)

    I use VSTs mainly for FM, additive, and wavetable stuff.
  28. feisar 2001 or STFU

    feisar
    10,287 posts
    Since Jun 18, 2001
    Guys, if you can, do yourselves a favour and play this synth at your local dealer. Invest an hour or so.

    This is the most fun with audio gear I've had since... well I don't know.

    It sounds so phat. It's a joy to work with. Great audio quality and synthesis possibilities, very well thought out organization of the patches and the way you can organize and layer them into performances and song chains. There is an innovative ARP and Step Sequencer. Mr Schaaf contacted me on his own and sent me the latest OS, and voluntarily showed me a couple of screen shots of the ipad editor for the Accelerator that he's currently working on, seems like a nice guy.