Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

- ask away
::BLM::
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 2630
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:09 pm
Location: London

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by ::BLM:: » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:18 pm

Hades wrote:
MarkA wrote:without creating a new thread, can anyone recommend a synth for pads for under £500? I've got an SH101 and 707 atm
there are so many synths that can fit that description... it's impossible to start.
what would you be using it for.
pads, yes, but I mean : what kind of pads do you like (yes, there are tons of different types), and how would you use the synth.
I've been a sucker for pad sounds for years, so I've had my fair share of buying (and selling) good pad synths.
Does it have to be a hardware synth ?
Because otherwise I would definitely go software for pads.
Unless you must have something exotic like additive or wavetable synthesis (which are both great for pads), I think the best pad synths for the moment are software.
My absolute favourite is Omnisphere.
Spectrasonics' Atmosphere was already great for pads, but it wasn't much more than a glorified rompler. Omnisphere has tons of great sounds (comes with over 5000 presets, nicely arranged so it's easy to find your way) and has a massive synthesis engine as well, so you can never get bored with it.
Omnisphere has it all covered pad-wise : from nice and rich analog pads to cold and digital ones, rumbling textures for soundtrack-scoring,...
They sampled tons of legendary synths to build the omnisphere library, and it's perfectly done as well.
For example : I have a JX10 behind me, and a K5000r next to me. If I play some of the best pads they have, I can find the exact same presets in Omnisphere, and I garantue you you hear almost no difference.
Another good option software-wise for pads is Absynth or FM8, but both won't be as "easily tweakable", let alone programmable as Omnisphere.
(of course, all these synths have tons of other great sounds as well, don't forget that)

hardware synths ?
that depends on the type of pads you like. If you want analog, I'd say a juno or a JX10, or a Matrix 6 (or even 1000 if you don't mind having no direct programming options) I've had all of these here for years, and they've all proven to be great sounding synths, that are still affordable (although prices have gone up over the years), and they're still stable synths that won't break down to easily.
If you want a VA synth, then an older Virus might come cheap enough.
I can also recommend you the Novation K-station or even better, a KS-rack. Both are easy to be found for around 200 to 300 I think.
The K-station is too much overlooked in my opinion. I really don't like VA synths, but I love my K-station, it has such a beautiful "liquid" kind of sound that gels easily into mixes.

If you want more exotic hardware, look into stuff like the K5000 or a wavetable synth like the waldorf XT or a Fizmo. But I wouldn't really go there if I were you, unless you're a die-hard synthesist.

But if you really need to get a hardware synth, I'd go for an older roland rompler model, like the XV series.
The advantage is they come loaded with tons of good presets, and offer you a very flexible range of pads. They're like a swiss army knife : good for all kinds of small jobs. And they don't sound outdated at all.

And finally, another model you could consider is the JD800, a real warm sounding pad monster...
yeah i like the jd800

what about something like a roland alpha juno?

Hades
mnml mmbr
mnml mmbr
Posts: 363
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:37 am
Location: Belgium

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by Hades » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:10 pm

::BLM:: wrote:
yeah i like the jd800

what about something like a roland alpha juno?
that's why I didn't bother to be more specific about which juno in my previous. I think all of them are good options when it comes to pads. A juno 60 or 106 are absolutely great, but alpha juno's are also very powerful machines,
only problem is you don't have the instant access to all parameters, unless you go look for a programmer for it.
I have a PG800 for my JX10, and I used to have a D550 + PG1000, but I'm still not so keen on the roland programmers.
Especially with the PG1000, that one was a real pain in the ass.
I got a mackie C4 programmer with the idea to use it as a programmer for a few of my synths, but it never worked the way I wanted it, and I hated loading all different programming-presets into it if I wanted to change synths, so I'm gonna sell the bugger.

::BLM::
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 2630
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:09 pm
Location: London

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by ::BLM:: » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:16 pm

yeah i know what you mean. i do like the sound of the alpha juno though, and i think it has that chord memory on so its perfect.

to be honest any poly synths are going to be good for pads. my esq1 is great for them, as is the prophet08 so i dont think it matters what you buy as they can all produce decent pads.

lem
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 742
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:31 pm

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by lem » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:22 pm

::BLM:: wrote:yeah i know what you mean. i do like the sound of the alpha juno though, and i think it has that chord memory on so its perfect.

to be honest any poly synths are going to be good for pads. my esq1 is great for them, as is the prophet08 so i dont think it matters what you buy as they can all produce decent pads.
+1

::BLM::
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 2630
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:09 pm
Location: London

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by ::BLM:: » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:24 pm

i suppose its the same for all synths/sounds really.

i mean i never not liked any of my synths because of the sound they made, i disliked them more to do with their interfaces.

i suppose its only natural to want to know if they make certain sounds though as we are spending our hard earned cash. i know i like to know if i can make decent sounds and i tend to check youtube vids over and over again of synths that i want.
Last edited by ::BLM:: on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

lem
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 742
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:31 pm

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by lem » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:31 pm

That ensoniq looks like it has a hard interface. How do you find it?

I have had synths that have had hard interfaces, but after a while of owning them I get used to it. e.g microkorg.
Now I haven't got the patiance to learn new interfaces.

My least favorite has to be any plugin with multiple pages.

::BLM::
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 2630
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:09 pm
Location: London

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by ::BLM:: » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:39 pm

its a pretty easy synth to use.

i can get some really nice sounds out of it. it has a really nice lofi sound about it, just i need to replace the battery so i kind of havent bothered to properly learn it. i find the whole asdr really confusing and i suppose i should sit down with it and the manual, but i find it hard to work that way. i tend to just go straight into making tracks rather then sitting there playing around. im quite direct in the way that i make music and i dont get a lot of time to do it, so i prefer to make something that i can play or listen to rather then sitting there messing around.

i posted up a track i made a while ago, but here is another one that is made just on the esq1. the kick is the mbase and some hi hat/clap samples but the rest is the esq1


lem
mnml maxi
mnml maxi
Posts: 742
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:31 pm

Re: Potential synth purchases. Would like some advice

Post by lem » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:00 am

Yeah I like your track. The ensoniq definitely sounds better than I thought it would. I was checking out the sounds when Hydrogen was chatting about getting one.

Reverb is your friend with pad sounds. Even bad reverbs can sound really cool on basic pad patches.

Post Reply