Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

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Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

So i've always dug oldschool synthwave to ebm and industrial (lots of late 70s early 80s to 90s belgian bands doing that - b movie, front 242, absolute body control, vive la fête)

More modern stuff too, I love carpenter brut, peturbator, lazerhawk, to harsher stuff like hocico, alien vampires, mokushi, aktivehate, front line assembly, tactical sekt etc...

I also like my dose of harsher chiptunes. (sabrepluse and dauragon some of my favourites)

just so many bands...

The thing is, i've always bought guitars and guitar related music gear...guitars are my thing... but i've always been interested in synths (like i've always wanted drums but never got any because i couldn't play them anywhere).

I just don't know where to start.

It's not like i'm going to buy access virus synths and a bunch of moogs, eurorack collection and prophets...out of my budget and space.

But i also don't want to end up having to get 4 or 5 things to get some sounds i'm after.


What would any of you say, for like a starter...step seq synth/device, or a synth and sequencer, recommend ?

The minibrute 2 or s2... seems cool but ..it isn't really the sound i'm after...

I'm a bit all over the place, i like oldschool 90s-2000s ebm industrial but also that retro 80s synthwave and then chiptune thrown in

Recommend me stuff to spend money on
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by ekwatts »

kim wrote: Fri Feb 04, 2022 8:19 pm So i've always dug oldschool synthwave to ebm and industrial (lots of late 70s early 80s to 90s belgian bands doing that - b movie, front 242, absolute body control, vive la fête)

More modern stuff too, I love carpenter brut, peturbator, lazerhawk, to harsher stuff like hocico, alien vampires, mokushi, aktivehate, front line assembly, tactical sekt etc...

I also like my dose of harsher chiptunes. (sabrepluse and dauragon some of my favourites)

just so many bands...

The thing is, i've always bought guitars and guitar related music gear...guitars are my thing... but i've always been interested in synths (like i've always wanted drums but never got any because i couldn't play them anywhere).

I just don't know where to start.

It's not like i'm going to buy access virus synths and a bunch of moogs, eurorack collection and prophets...out of my budget and space.

But i also don't want to end up having to get 4 or 5 things to get some sounds i'm after.


What would any of you say, for like a starter...step seq synth/device, or a synth and sequencer, recommend ?

The minibrute 2 or s2... seems cool but ..it isn't really the sound i'm after...

I'm a bit all over the place, i like oldschool 90s-2000s ebm industrial but also that retro 80s synthwave and then chiptune thrown in

Recommend me stuff to spend money on
The Minibrute 2/S is a great synth to get if you want to learn all about analog synthesis and the modular side of things. If you're not really that arsed about that, though, and just want sheer SOUNDS, then...

Arturia Microfreak. So many sounds. So many. Through multiple firmware updates it has vastly more than it launched with, AND now even has a vocoder. But just so many sounds. Basically the only criticism anyone has of it is that it doesn't have any onboard effects, but as a guitarist that's probably not an issue for you. I think the price has gone up over the last few years, but it's still the most synth you could possibly get for your money. If you can't find a specific synth sound in its hundreds of presets then you can likely make it (or download it).

Another box I've had my eye on is the Sonicware Liven Bass&Beats. http://sonicware.jp/pages/liven-bassandbeats
If you did go for a Microfreak and this, you basically have a little band.

If you were to go even further, and to specifically nail down some of those 80s sounds, a Korg Volca FM is basically a Yamaha DX7 in a small box, except for £130 (or something, I got mine for £80 secondhand).

That's my recommendation. I've basically been where you are now maybe two years ago, and since then I've ended up with a Novation Circuit, four Korg Volcas (FM, Sample, Keys and Bass) and an Arturia Keystep Pro sequencer, as well as my Korg Microkorg which I bought when I was in college. But if I was to do it over again, I'd exchange the Sample, Keys and Bass Volcas and the Circuit for the Microfreak and Liven Bass & Beats, and probably will at some point since the Microfreak has been on my shopping list for a while now.

Behringer throws a spanner into some of this in that they're making near-perfect recreations of vintage analog gear for pennies. You could spend about the same as the setup I've outlined above on purely Behringer gear and end up with a decent setup too, I suppose, but you'd be losing some flexibility for the analog sounds. That said, the Behringer Crave sounds great, you can get recreations of the TB 303 and TR 606 for less than the Volcas I've mentioned, and so on. All of this stuff sounds amazing but you lose out on the presets and slightly more powerful (but not by much) sequencing abilities of the above stuff.

If you want pure sounds, go for the Microfreak first. If you're more interested in learning sequencing, then something like the Liven Bass & Beats is your thing (and there are lots of boxes out there that do what this does, this is just one that interests me because of its abilities and the price).
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Thomas »

Lots of good recommendations there!!

For something that’s useful for recording and using for multiple things (sequencing etc) my first stop would be a cool controller and something like Ableton push/Live combo.

You can pick it up with the software for pretty cheep abs you can do everything on it. Including using it as your DAW. Plus you can load all types of soft synth stuff into it so you can use it for any type of sound. You can gig with just the controller too. I think it’s be the best fit for the sort of stuff you’re talking about. Tho definitely not restricted to that.

For less than the cost of a couple of cheaper instruments you could be proper set up.

Standalone synth wise I definitely get on better with stuff that’s a little more immediate and hands on. My current fave to sit and play with is the Poly D by Behringer. I think mine was £250 preowned. It’s basically a 4 voice model D with built in Distortion and Chorus (the Juno one). But that’s more of an “instrument” thing and not that good for the style you’re talking about, programming and stuff. I like this for jamming with the RD8 drum machine.

If I was buying a “one synth to rule them all!” I’d definitely be looking at something from Dave Smith as there mikes ahead of everyone else in the analog market.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

Def looking for standalone/instrument stuff over vst's and controllers yeah.


Thanks for the tips eric and thomas, will do some further investimmmigations on demos, prices, space and budget.

Those moog mother series seem fun too but def having a better look at the mb s2, microfreak, volca keys for lols ...maaaybe the prophet stuff...

More looking for pure synth/step/sequencing than beats as i am obsessed with superior drummer 3.
Also because i don't plan on anything live but mainly programming and recording.



Crap...that behringer odyssey...it sounds lovely !
Last edited by kim on Sun Feb 06, 2022 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Thomas »

You can’t go wrong with a preowned Prophet.

Elektron are worth investigating too. They’re not a brand I’ve personally owned but they. One highly recommended.

The Deepmind 12 is insanely good for it’s price too. Behringer are supposedly ready to go with their UBX-1 (Oberheim OB-Xa clone that’s now supposedly evolved way past that ) that’s gonna be a must buy for me. I love the Dave Smith/Oberheim OB6 but at around £3k it’s just too pricey for me.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

will have to keep an eye on that behringer release, any date known ?
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by dub »

Yeah if I was in europe, a second-hand Elektron Analog Four would be sweet. Prices elsewhere, bit brutal.

Korg Minilogue XD is a nice option too, the voices have a digital osc that can run custom firmware, same with the built in effects, so it's a synth with some room to grow like the microfreak has.

If you're going for a more hands on route it can be hard to avoid ending up with a table of devices.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Thomas »

kim wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 10:17 pm will have to keep an eye on that behringer release, any date known ?
Apparently it’s been ready to go for a few months but has been delayed due to the current supply chain issues everyone is having with components. So no firm date currently.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Nick »

I have a bad habit of ignoring perfectly good new affordable gear in favor of cheap 80's crap that's usually finicky if not a bit broken. I currently have a Korg Poly61, a Moog MG-1, Roland RS-09, Casio CZ-101, and a number of cheap casiotones and portasounds, and mini "boutique" keyboards like the Roland JU-06 and Yamaha Reface YC. And that's after selling a bunch of stuff recently....it got especially bad when I found myself buying metal shelving for my basement just to store all my crappy keyboards. Apparently, I still haven't learned my lesson because I'm picking up a Roland Alpha Juno 1 from my friend's shop this Saturday.....My advice is to not live like I do.

Keep in mind I probably have no idea what I'm talking about. But this is what I would do if I was starting over:

One good modern mono or low-count polyphonic synth for bass and leads like a bass station, monologue, Grandmother, or any number of Behringer clones - MS101, poly d, monopoly etc
One good poly synth to play as a keyboard/for synthwave pads, etc, at least 49 keys but preferably 61. Probably a Behringer Deepmind or Prophet.
A drum machine to use as a clock. I still need to sort this out myself. I had a Roland TR-8 for a while but it was way too complicated for me. Looking at Behringer RD-6 or RD-8 but also older 80's crap like Yamaha RX-15.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Thomas »

Nice! The Alpha Juno is great!

That sort of brings me on to what I think is the most important part. Make sure you really like the sound of the synth. I know it’s an obvious thing but it’s easy to get blinded by specs and the temptatioj]n to get into loads of cheap modules. Here’s what I learned on my personal journey into synths.

Old analogue stuff sounds amazing but it can be a faff to integrate into your setup.

Some modern repro stuff like the Roland Boutique series sound great but the 4 note polyphony is restricting (especially if you’re buying one for pad sounds like I use the Juno for).

I love the feature list of the current ARTURIA line up HOWEVER I don’t like the way any of them sound. At first I just loved the way they worked and how easy they were to use, but they never got recorded because I didn’t like the sound at all (Minibrute, Microbrute and Drumbrute).

I also found out that I don’t like the sound of the Korg stuff either (ms2000, Volca series, Minilogue)

After I had to sell all my gear the first thing I bought again was the DeepMind12. It’s insanely featured and I can make it sound like ant synth I want, super easy to get all the vintage sounds I love. Routine possibilities are crazy in this thing but it’s also super easy to get into. The only other synth I’ve had that rivals it in this way is the Dave Smith stuff. But it’s 4x the price.

Drum wise I went for the RD-8 mainly because it sounds amazing and it’s not too speedy. Tho I think for a startup I would go for pairing the DeepMind12 and something like the Roland MC-101. It’s a groove box so can do all your drum stuff and much more. It sounds amazing too. It comes with loads of kits and you can use your own samples in it too. It’s pretty cheap too.

The Circuit is also an option but the Roland is better. If you wanted to get all spendy the Deluge is pretty much the big momma, in a class of its own.

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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Nick »

Thomas wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 11:13 am Nice! The Alpha Juno is great!
I feel it’s my last chance at an analogue Juno for a reasonable price ($500, but I have trades), prices on 60’s and 106’s have gotten out of hand.

Still kicking myself for not getting the Juno 1 just a couple years ago for $199 at another local shop (nearly pulled the trigger but at the time I was holding out for the 2)….also not buying the *mint* 106 the same shop had for $1250 a few months later….also returning the $900 HS-60 I bought from Guitar Center instead of replacing the one dead voice chip it had. And I’m still mad for not buying the $2200 Jupiter-8 that was at the Guitar Center for a few days in 2008 when I worked there.

But for what I’m using it for, the Alpha 1 should be a good 2nd tier companion to the boring but functional Korg Triton LE I use in the band, the slim 49 key form factor is actually perfect for my use.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

haha, i have 'a whole new woooorld' on repeat in my head when i think about synths.

Not that i never was interested in them before, been using vst's on and off since i first started making music in 2000-2001 and have a few friends with nice collections that i can drool over.

I agree, more than any features, names, reputation etc SOUND is what matters most.

It's gotta give you goosebumps when you hear it. Versatility second. For a first one. All the other things you may like or want are for later on. First things first : sound.
Plenty of vst's out there for stuff the hardware you currently have won't do.


I really dig that deepmind (12!) for pad stuff and step, it's got that beast of a synth vibe like the dave smith stuff, sounds massive and its price point is pretty ridiculous tbh, MS101 repro too, not going for a juno or prophet or some other fancier stuff, basics first (at this point in time, i can spend €1000-2000 on a guitar i REALLY want, but not yet on a synth i think ).

That behringer odyssey repro (with some added features) is what's giving me most goosebumps in sound and the price point, it's just so classic and very very versatile. It's duophonic.
Pad and more 'modern' the deepmind 12 but not spending €700-800 currently.
I think that's a good plan, something you really love in sound with plenty of fiddling and then something to cover more ground later on.

I have an old roland R5. I have a novation launchkey 25. A bunch of guitar pedals. I have DAW's. A beastly PC.
So really, it's more about venturing into the world of hardware synths combined with my love for guitars. I like my hardware. I've already learned quite a bit using vst's. This is the next step.
But no one starts out with an 8k instrument. Or buys a whole collection in the span of a year. Well, i guess some do, i can't. lol.

I don't 'need' anything, i just want it. :P

I already know what i like, learning more about what's out there, that's a start, let my ears and wallet make the decisions when i'm zooming in on things.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

Well, i now have a behringer odyssey (arp odyssey repro).

My girlfriend got me it for valentines but got it yesterday when she came over after work, all i had for her was a silly external ssd and a few bags of coffee from a local roaster (carlos coffee, rosbeiaard edition).

I told her the squier VI is hers to keep.

I absolutely am loving the odyssey, we've both been learning its workings.
Love the extra features behringer put in, also been messing about with putting it through the mustang micro, using headphones splitter and having a blast making sounds.
Next using some guitar pedals, 2 tgd's and the oceans 11 alone will be lots of fun. Octaver fuzz. Also the xp200 with it's rotator/panning stuff.

There is A LOT there.
Lots to learn, i think this one is the perfect starting point and it sounds wonderful but can get very brutal too.

Curious about pairing it with the roland R5 but i'm such a noob at this.

I don't deserve it, i'm lucky.


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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by plopswagon »

I saw the video on Instagram, was wondering what it was.

What a lovely gift.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

indebted

:oops: :P
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Thomas »

Amazing!!!!! What a beautiful and apt way to start your synth odyssey!!!

I love mine. It’s a bit of an oddball compared to other synths but it’s definitely worth it. It definitely has a sound all of its own.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

Yeah it's got a big personality, complicated, not the simplest not the easiest but goddamn did behringer do a great job repro'ing it. ...i think.

I love all it has to offer, it's really as said 'journey'. I'm loving getting to know it. Got up at 4am, headphones on, explore. So many sounds there !



I think, perhaps if she wouldnt've, i'd gone for this one as a first too. Just so classic, so many things i like old and modern that use something like this.

Absolutely love it.
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Thomas »

Current Odyssey patch:
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by kim »

cool thomas, i'll check that out !

they weren't kidding with the name, every sesh is a journey
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Re: Synths...EBM/industrial/synthwave/retrowave/coldwave

Post by Thomas »

If you turn up the A R sliders (top right with that patch it sounds totally different but lovely)