Yeah the four voice polyphony is my main concern and ultimately why I think something like a Prophet might be better for me in the long run. The sound seems a bit basic too yeah, it’s not the worst thing I’ve heard but it’s not very distinct either from the demos I’ve heard. Really appreciate the input though, I think I’ll check one out in person first for sure. Thanks!
Three hardware polys had long lives in my studio and on stage:
Korg PS3100 was my first (something like $450 used at guitar center. don’t kill me. it was the early 80s, no one there knew what it was or cared). I adored it. It spoiled me as far as having a true knob per function interface, and I never got used to menus as a result. IT had three major issues though:
- straight ahead subtractive synthesis isn’t that exciting to me as a player - though the AMAZING amplitude modulation, the resonator, and general ability to slightly muck about with a sort-of patch bay went a long way toward alleviating this.;
- No velocity sensitivity.
- Really noisy output.
I then moved on to a DX7 and later an SY77. I fell head over heels in love with FM synthesis and its possibilities. Still am. But the limitation as to how much I could tweak in real time, combined with my first realization that the coarse resolution of midi control makes me insane, were major problems.
Tried various Prophets, OBs, Yamaha CS80 but none excited me, though I loved the real time control options on the yamaha.
Give me an SY77 sound engine with a knob/fader/button per function interface, MPE, smoothed aftertouch, and OSC or 14-bit midi resolution control over everything and I might even ditch the modular and the computer.
OK, no, not the computer, because Pianoteq and Bidule
A friend picked up an alpha juno 1 and I’m quite impressed with it. I had been under the assumption that it sounded very digital (perhaps by association with the infamous hoover) but it can be quite lush sounding!
reading that bit about the PS-3100 hurt my soul a little bit
starting with a PS-3100 is crazy! I can’t imagine the ways that would change your expectation for other polysynths after that.
I just got a Juno 106 delivered from Japan which I’m eager to jump into.
What would be the logical step up from the Minilogue as a relatively affordable, relatively hands on (e.g. minimal menu diving), polysynth? Seems to be a pretty big gap, but maybe there’s something I’m missing?
Roland JD-XI? Behringer Deepmind?
Pickup a used Nord lead 1 or 2
Prologue/ deepmind / prophet 6 / OB6
Related to the Deepmind, I found it kind of annoying that is has 3 envelopes but only 1 set of envelope controls and a selector button. I get that combining the envelope controls saves on cost and panel space, but it would otherwise be essentially knob per function (disregarding the effects).
Does it have to be new? Does it have to be analog?
No and no. Just more knobs and polyphony than say, a Microkorg - a synth I more or less like the sound of, but hate the interface.
Kudos on the Nord Lead suggestion. I loved the synth1 plugin, and I like that there’s enough room to put my Electribe or some guitar pedals in top of them!
Forgot about the Deepmind, I thought for some reason they were more expensive!
Also the DSI stuff is in another league - price and quality-wise.
Roland Alpha Juno 1 / Roland JX8P + Controller. Expect the controller to be almost as much as the synth itself. The original Roland controllers are expensive but both have aftermarket versions available.
As above but the Korg DW6000 or DW8000
Older digital subtractive synths:
Roland JP8000 (or JP8080, which is the desktop version)
Roland GAIA SH-01 (looked down upon by synth snobs, but serviceable hands on synth)
Novation Nova (not the newer Novation synths though, they don’t have as many front panel controls).
The Roland Boutiques are hands on (even if the controls are a bit small), but only have 4 voice polyphony (even the SH-101 boutique is polyphonic)
already mentioned this once further up the thread, but i can’t recommend the prophet rev2 enough—biggest, richest sound of anything out there right now in my opinion, and very affordable as an added bonus.
I have to second the Prophet Rev2. Even though the Prophet 6 and OB6 sound amazing, the Rev2 can sound just as good with a little extra work and has many many more diverse sounding sweet spots to unlock. Very impressive synth!
We’re using it as best we can!
I got a Mopho X4 as sort of a Lil Rev2 and I like it pretty well until I try to play anything with a long decay with 2 hands…even as a mediocre keyboard player, 4 voice polyphony is definitely a limit to keep in mind, as has been mentioned.
That said, having the X4 and liking it definitely makes me want a Rev2!
the sixteen-voice option is part of what makes it so head and shoulders above the rest in my eyes—i never feel like i’m running short, even when playing classical-ish pieces
Almost forgot that my Deckard’s Dream, that I lovingly built during the cold Jan of this year, is indeed a poly.
The Mopho X4 was the only thing besides the Rev 2 I’ve been considering instead of the Minilogue. To me it sounds a lot better than the Minilogue but that four voice polyphony still seems limiting like you said. The 8 voice Rev 2 seems like the way to go, I looked at the Phophet ‘08 but the price is basically the same and the Rev 2 seems like quite an improvement.