Synths

In this chapter I will list all synthesizers that I used in my studio in the past years (or still have in use), with a short comment and what I think about every machine. In alphabetic order.

 

Enjoy!

access music Virus TI Desktop

First: the access virus is a great synthesier for all kind of sounds: Pads, Basses, Leads, Sequences. Everything is possible at high quality. It sounds a little bit digital for an VA and has an powerfull engine. There is also an excellent effects engine on board. The complete synth can be programmed and managed via USB (audio and Midi) via an additional VST. So it integrates into a DAW like a usual plugin, also with total recall. Another goal of this synth is the great and over the years growing preset library with tons of ideas, available on the access website.

4 of 5 stars

Arturia Drumbrute

The Drumbrute is a nice and warm sounding analog drumcomputer. It has a lot of great sequencer features like polyrhythmic and microtuning. Both let Your drums groove. Its a specialist for analog drums, apart from 808 or 909. It´s easy to programm and extremely well built for the price.

4 of 5 stars

Arturia Minibrute

The Minibrute is a characterfull analog synthesizer. It´s different from other subtractive synths, because of the strange oscillator section, where You can mix several signals together. I am a big fan of the Minibrute, because the sound is extremely rich of harmonics and the filter sound excellent: Brutal, warm, rich and characterful.

5 of 5 stars

Behringer DeepMind 12 Desktop

Behringer´s DeepMind is a characterful analog synthesizer with not less than 12 voices polyphony. The Deepmind has a extremely warm and kind sound and is a specialist for pads and evolving sequences. The FX engine inside is one of the best that I know.

I own both desktop and keyboard-version for some time and decided for the keyboard. It´s more fun to programm sounds while having the keyboards directly beneath the faders.

5 of 5 stars

Clavia Nord Drum

The Nord Drum is a tiny and punchy drumsynthesizer. I use it as an additional percussion synth for the Arturia Drumbrute.It has only one mono output, but with some additional effects You can do a lot of interesting sounds with it. I love the sub basses and kick drums. But You can also use it for some unusual electronic percussionsounds. The workflow is excellent for such a tiny machine.

 

4 of 5 stars

Clavia Nord Lead 4r

The Nord Lead 4 is a very precise synthesizer. It sounds very "HiFi" and clear and has a lot of possibilities with the oscillators. For me it´s one of the best actual VA synthesizer on the market. The user interface is on the one hand very intuitive, but on the other hand there are too many double clicks necessary to reach any parameter. I love the randomice feature to create unusual sounds.

4 of 5 stars

Dave Smith Instruments Evolver Desktop

The Evolver/Mopho/Prohet 08 has the hard and rasping DSI-sound. I don´t like it at all. I tried out several machines from DSI with this Curtis chip over the years, but no one of them satisfied me.

The matrix programming of the Evolver is like a trip to hell. You need good eyes (if not buy an magnifier) to read the panel lettering,

2 of 5 stars

Dave Smith Instruments Mopho

The Evolver/Mopho/Prohet 08 has the hard and rasping DSI-sound. I don´t like it at all. I tried out several machines from DSI with this Curtis chip over the years, but no one of them satisfied me.

The Mopho is a nice synth for the money. Lot of features but the programming is extremely clumsy. So if You want to programm directly with the machine, buy another one.

2 of 5 stars

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08

The Evolver/Mopho/Prohet 08 has the hard and rasping DSI-sound. I don´t like it at all. I tried out several machines from DSI with this Curtis chip over the years, but no one of them satisfied me.

The programming of the Prophet 08 makes a lot of fun. There is a bunch of knobs and buttons. Also the polyphony of 8 voice is a good choice for pad sounds. Keep in mind: You need additional external effects to make it sound pretty well.

4 of 5 stars

Dave Smith Instruments Pro-2

The Pro-2 is the best monophon analog synthesizer I know. It has the most features of all. The sound is warm, rich and has the most bottom end of all my synths. A bit more than the Moog Sub 37. If You like to fiddle around and find new, never heared sounds this is the right synthesizer.

 

5 of 5 stars

Elektron Analog Keys

The 4 voices of the Analog Keys sound very modern and aggressive. The presets on this machine are boring for my kind of music. The sequencer has lot and lot of possibilities. More than any other synth on the market. But it´s hard to learn the complicated structure of this machine. Absolutely not intuitive. So it´s not a synth for anyone. Also not for me.

 

3 of 5 stars

Kawai K5000W

This additive synthesizer has a different soundengine and so it sounds very different from other synths. The sound of the K5000 can be extremely cold and digital but the synth can also sound warm and smooth. For my ears it sounds too brittle and a bit cheesy in some moments. But I am in general no fan of the late 90th sound of digital synths. I heard this sound too often....

2 of 5 stars

Korg Electribe MX

The electribe MX is a dynamic and powerful groovemachine. It has not many but very inspiring possibilities. It has an absolut present and a bit dirty sound, also it´s digital. Also it´s not the most intuitive machine, I liked it very much and I have regrets, cause I sold it.

 

4 of 5 stars

Korg Radias

The Radias is a good sounding VA synthesizer with great effects, a perfect user interface and a good vocoder. Anything sound very clear and analytic. The Radias has a powerful synthengine with a lot of possibilities. Maybe the most for an VA. The sound is a bit cold and digital, but in a positive sense. I am a big fan of the Radias!

5 of 5 stars

Korg Wavestation

The Wavestation was developed by Dave Smith and is an interesting digital Synthesizer. It can produce complex pads and textures. It has also some surprising bottom end. The sound of the instruments is rich of harmonics and creates a special mood. Also the hardware sound much brighter and deeper than the VST-version. Finally it has a good portion of the 90th digital sound, but with a special note. I like the Wavestation.

 

3 of 5 stars

Korg M3

The Korg M3 is a great workstation with good natural and synthetic sounds. It offers a lot of effects and possibilities. It´s also a great machine for arpeggios and sequences. The KARMA engine is interesting and generates a lot of ideas. But it is a workstation and always sounds like a workstation.

 

3 of 5 stars

Kurzweil K2000

I owned a lot of samplers over the years, but never a K2000 until 2016. This machine sounds incredibly warm and organic. I don´t know what it is, but inside this machine something magical happens. No matter what sample You load in, the result is not static or boring. So I bought a lot of sample libraries and collect sounds for the K2000. I use it for any track on my album "Schwarzmond". The Kurzweil became an important part of my studio and musical work.

 

5 of 5 stars

M-Audio Venom

The Venom ist a good sounding synth for beginners. It offers a good soundengine, Keybaord, Controller and audio interface. For the money You get a lot of synth. Some say the Venom sound like cheesy plastic. I agree, but in some productions this sound is very interesting as a contrast. So give it a chance if You like to have a cheap toy. It makes a lot of fun!

 

2 of 5 stars

Mode Machines ADX1

The ADX1 is a drumsynthesizer. It creates a lot of self-modulating percussion sounds at high quality. The sound is a bit weired but in content with other drumsounds very interesting.

 

3 of 5 stars

Mode Machines x0xb0x

The x0xb0x is another TB-303 clone. But for me it´s one the most interesting ones. It has a great sequencer. It also sounds very analog and have a special TB-303 feel. Means it doesn´t exactly sound like a three-O-three and that in a positive way.

 

4 of 5 stars

Moog Sub 37

If You want the oldschool Moog-sound, than this is the right synthesizer. It includes the oldschool sound and parameters in a modern instrument with preset storage, digital contoller, sequencer and more. The Sub 37 is the perfect synth for basses and leads in Moog style. A must have in any electronic music studio. For me it´s a workhorse. Please never try to compare a Moog-VST-clone with a real Moog.

 

5 of 5 stars

Native Instruments Maschine

OK the NI Machine is no synthesizer. It´s a huge Midi controller, which needs a computer. I use the MK2 together with the Machine Jam. An excellent Pair. For me these machines are an instrument. You can intuatively arrange songs, create drums/sequences and use it like a real instrument.

 

4 of 5 stars

Novation Bass Station 2

The Bass Station 2 is an excellent analog synth for beginners. You can easily learn the subtractive synthesis with this machine. It sounds a bit hard and crispy for my ears. The filters are great but also very aggresive. In all a pretty good synthesizer, but I don´t like the sound.

3 of 5 stars

Novation Mininova

Little plastic synth with some good sounds and an interesting vocoder. It´s a synth with a lot of possibilities under the hood. But: If You know a VA like a Virus, Nord Lead or Radias You will properly not like the Mininova. Less dynamic, less of anything. So better save some money and buy another machine.

 

2 of 5 stars

Novation Peak

The Novation Peak is a great and powerful sounding synthesizer with 8 voices, a lot of knobs and a pretty design. It´s extremely well built and gives a lot of possibilities. It has an also powerfull and well sounding effectsgenerator built in. The reverb is one of the best I ever heard in a synth. Also the whole sound is fresh ans so far new. The only problem is that the synths is extremely present in the mix.

 

4/5 stars

Pioneer DJ DSI Toraiz AS-1

The Toraiz AS-1 is an excellent sounding littel synthesizer with one voice of the Prophet 6. It has a deep, warm and detailed sound. The little box is full of nice and inspirational features. Al lot of sound fo rthemoney.

 

4 of 5 stars

Roland D 50

I heared so much from this famous topseller synthesizer, that I impulsively bought it some years ago. After some hours of playing around, I thought: Thats all? Ok it creates a lot of cool pads and have a charecterful digital sound. But it´s not the magical instrument for me (also like the JD-800).

 

2 of 5 stars

Roland JV-2080

Same story as for the D 50. Some interesting synth-sounds but the natural instruments sound awful. Same for the effects.I found some rarely interesting and inspiring preset in it. I don´t think that I will try to program it. It´s a rompler.

 

2 of 5 stars

Roland MC-505

The MC-505 is an oldschool groovebox. It contains a lot of good drumkits. It also contains a huge library of sampled electronic sounds of the 90th tekno/house/hiphop age. At the moment this sounds are not interesting for me. But I thing it will become an interesting machine in future. Cause You can also use it as a soundexpander.

 

3 of 5 stars

Roland TB-03

Nice little clone of Rolands iconic TB-303. It´s all digital but sound extremely similar to the original. Well built-quality and additional features like effects, USB and an easier sequencer-mode. I love this machines, cause it delievers a very similar feel I can remember from my TB-303 in the early 90th.

 

3 of 5 stars

Roland V-Synth

The V-Synth is a great sample based synthesizer with lot of possibilities. It has a warm, present and rich sound. I like the filters (also the are digital) and the effects. It´s an imposing machine with a lot of controllers and an excellent keyboard. Besides the K2000 it´s a great sampler/synthesizer.

4 of 5 stars

Strymon Big Sky

Strymon´s Big Sky is an effect machine primarily buitl for guitars. But it can also be used for synthesizers. The Big Sky has the most powerful effect engine for reverbs ever (until this day). It sound so wonderful and epic that You have to listen to it, to understand what I mean. Besides the standards there are a lot of unusual reverbs like shimmer, bloom, or cloud in this machine. You can transform a cheesy buzzer into an majestic soundscape with it. It´s a magical machine...

 

5 of 5 stars

Waldorf Blofeld

The Waldorf Blofeld is a constant part of my productions. It has a crisp warm digital character. If You search for a synth which can deliver the known "Waldorf-Sound" the Blofeld is the right machine. It can generate both, the oldschool and modern sound. The matrix is easy to handle and the synth is very well built. It´s also an interesting machine for synthetic drums.

 

4 of 5 stars

Waldorf Rocket

The Rocket is a nice second synthesizer. For basses and lead sounds it does a good job. The possibilities are limited. But there is a lot of sound in this tiny synth. I liked the polyphonic functionality within the oscillators. It sounds warm and modern with a special mood.

3 of 5 stars

Waldorf Streichfett

The Streichfett is a modern, digital string synthesizer. It can emulate a lot of different string ensemble sounds and has an additinal solo part. Both parts are well done by the synth. But the reverb is very noisy and there are still some cruel resonating frequencies in the sound. So it´s difficult to mix it right.

 

2 of 5 stars

Yamaha CS1x

I still own the CS1x because I did a lot of emos with in in the 90th. The sound is digital and rough. For sure the instrument has it´s own character but this character is what I no longer expect from a synthesizer.

2 of 5 stars

Yamaha Motif 7

The Motif sound is my favorit sound of workstations. Some like Roland Fantom, some Korg Kronos. I would prefer the Yamaha sound, cause its more Hifi and present and much less GM. The Motif 7 is a heavy built machine with a lot of inspiration.

 

3 of 5 stars

Yamaha MOX6

The Yamaha MOX6 is a good sounding workstation. It delivers both, the natural sounds and the synth ones, in pretty good quality. It´s also a good synthesizer. You can stack up to 64 (!) voices together to ONE. The filters are not the best. The sound of the MOX is more crisp and present than the Korg and Roland workstations. As a former owner of the Motif 7 I must say that the MOX6 has a wider and more detailed sound, but the old MOTIF has a bit more character.

 

4 of 5 stars

Yamaha RM1x

The Rm1x is a cool sequencer/groovebox. The sound is OK (low quality 90th PCM smples), but You can also use it to trigger external devices. In this case You get a great machine with lot of live features and a great realtime control.

 

3 of 5 stars

Yamaha SY77

Th SY77 was my first "big" synthesizer. It has a characterful, bright, digital sound. There are a lot of famous samples inside. You can also use it as a FM synthesizer (DX7 inside) and combine this sounds with PCM. There are alot of User sounds out there for free.

 

3 of 5 stars