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#2888931 - 11/07/17 05:46 AM Dilemma in picking a virtual synth
BuckW Offline
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Registered: 06/20/17
Posts: 103
Googling best of lists are all different, provide nearly useless descriptions, and each has thousands of presets.

Not enough lifetimes to evaluate let alone the learning curves of programming.

Advice? Recommendations? Hints for quickly eliminating a candidate?

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#2888935 - 11/07/17 06:13 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
Markay Offline
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Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 2671
Loc: Australia
Windows or MacOS? If MacOS easy, start with ones that come with Logic or MainStage.

If Windows then what type of synth are looking for, classic analogue emulation, or an omnibus synth that covers most bases?

Price? Ranges from free, low cost Synthmaster, through to Omnisphere.

And they all sound a little different, so is fat bass important or are you looking for searing leads or pads?
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#2888936 - 11/07/17 06:14 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
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Really depends on what you want...
A software replica of a hardware synth you love but will never own.
A software synth that does stuff hardware synths dont or can't.

You can't really go wrong with NI Massive. It's pretty ridiculous what this synth offers in routing/modulation.
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#2888941 - 11/07/17 06:33 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: ElmerJFudd]
BbAltered Offline
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Have you tried to figure out what you want this synth to do, and how you want to use this synth? Because the answers to those questions may narrow down significantly some of your choices.

Go to KVR.com and try some of the free virtual synths. One of those may be your huckleberry, and if not, you will learn alot about what can be done and how to do it using a virtual synth.

NI Massive is indeed a good place to start. Or just get NI Komplete which includes Massive, Reaktor (modular synth of infinite possibilities), Kontact (virtual sampler), and about 10 other virtual synths. NI Komplete will keep you busy for years to come: if it can't be done in NI Komplete, it hasn't been invented yet.
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#2888945 - 11/07/17 06:40 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: ElmerJFudd]
johnchop Offline
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Registered: 10/29/09
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For programming, start low cost or free.

If this one

https://tal-software.com/products/tal-noisemaker

overwhelms you, slow down before trying anything else.

Otherwise, for general sound, let us know what kinds of sounds you like (with example songs perhaps) and we may be able to guide you.

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#2888956 - 11/07/17 07:02 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: johnchop]
AnotherScott Online   content
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Markay asked "Windows or MacOS" which is a good question, but I'd add, don't overlook iOS if that's an option. While iOS definitely lags the others in overall VST functionality, there are many nice (and cheap) synths, and this is an area where I think the touchscreen orientation can be really nice.

(I assume that some Windows synths are touch-oriented as well, with so many touchscreen-enabled Windows laptops/tablets being sold these days, so if you're going that way, that could be one more consideration in choosing your synth, maybe someone else will chime in with more about that...)
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#2888957 - 11/07/17 07:05 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
Al Coda Offline
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Registered: 08/31/08
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Originally Posted By: BuckW
Googling best of lists are all different, provide nearly useless descriptions, and each has thousands of presets.

Not enough lifetimes to evaluate let alone the learning curves of programming.

Advice? Recommendations? Hints for quickly eliminating a candidate?


How do you decide for buying a hardware synth ?
You have to do the same w/ commercial softsynths too.
And, before paying for high-end commerical software at all, think about if you need it at all for what you do.
There are many, many very good freeware synths out there, at least for Windows.
But when itīs for free, you have to find īem and check īem out.
KvR helps as also the bedroomproducers blog.

At least I can recommend:

Dexed for FM

PG-8X for subtractive analog

OBXd for the same purpose ...

Charlatan VA ...

Synth 1 VA ...

sampler that really samples ...

Plogue SFZ player

KX77 free plugins ...
(click on the download tap and read the warning according to levels and headphones !)

Full Bucket Music ... try all ...

the 6 supported free products in the middle of the page.
When you click on single items, youīll recognize they are available for MAC and PC 32/64Bit.

commercial:

Bundle ... for me thatīs NI Komplete (Iīm still on v7 !)

I also use:

Sonic Projects OPX Pro II


Waldorf PPGV3

Memorymoon - ME80, Messiah & Memorymoon,- where only ME80 up to now is pure C++ code, not Synthedit anymore and works in 64Bit systems too.
So the recommendation is ME 80 .

Learning curve ...
Yeah, there is one w/ each item more or less,- just like it is w/ hardware.

You also might wonder why I donīt mention excellent software from Uhe (Diva/Zebra), Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Trillian and others.
That is why I always look for low CPU consumption.

I also own enough real hardware instruments, so software for me is an addition.

smile

A.C.




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#2888958 - 11/07/17 07:06 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: johnchop]
Markyboard Offline
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I'd think about getting 2: one for virtual analog (Diva, OPX Pro II etc) and then a balls out digital like Omnisphere, Massive/Komplete, Korg Legacy etc.

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#2888959 - 11/07/17 07:09 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: BuckW
Advice? Recommendations?


Get a real synth... VA or genuine analog. Lots of options out there for cheap now. Much more fun.

rockit

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#2888960 - 11/07/17 07:09 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
JerryA Offline
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Originally Posted By: BuckW
Advice? Recommendations? Hints for quickly eliminating a candidate?


I'd begin with this question: What do you want to use the synth for?

VA sounds? DX style FM? Physical modeling? Open ended experimentation? Precise Sound-design? Sample mangling? Simple noodling? Something else?

Virtual synths are plentiful and capable these days. You will not "eliminate" a candidate easily. Good luck.

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#2888985 - 11/07/17 08:57 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: JerryA]
mate stubb Offline
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VNordLead. Your one stop solution for everything.
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#2889007 - 11/07/17 11:54 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: mate stubb]
Sven Golly Offline
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Originally Posted By: mate stubb
VNordLead. Your one stop solution for everything.


Damn you for beating me to the punch, Moe. wink razz
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#2889009 - 11/07/17 11:59 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
Sven Golly Offline
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Originally Posted By: BuckW
Googling best of lists are all different, provide nearly useless descriptions, and each has thousands of presets.

Not enough lifetimes to evaluate let alone the learning curves of programming.

Advice? Recommendations? Hints for quickly eliminating a candidate?


Wait, let me get my mindreading hat on:

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#2889012 - 11/07/17 12:22 PM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: Sven Golly]
johnchop Offline
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Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 2081
Loc: Georgia, US
To be fair, sometimes the issue is not even knowing how to frame the question, so I hope we've given OP some food for thought.

Synthoid's suggestion to go hardware would be a good idea if OP does not even have the requisite computer (and potentially audio interface) investment and wants to play live right away.

But...yeah, BuckW... we need a TON more context...like is this just for fun or do you have specific needs and preferences?

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#2889042 - 11/07/17 03:13 PM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: johnchop]
David Emm Offline
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First off: START. Whatever your platform, make sure you have the needed CPU muscle & RAM and that the synth version is current with your OS. If you're that new to it, I suggest a couple of freebies like Memorymoon and a couple of commercial synths so you can make good comparisons as you learn. Synthoid's idea has clear merit as well. How new ARE you to this? It might speed up the learning curve to have a modest hardware synth like a MiniBrute. Physical hands-on first is the best way to become good at virtual hands-on later.
I'll make a small pitch for the Korg Legacy Monopoly. Its a mere $50 and comes with a generous library, including some engaging Francis Preve presets. I scoped out many VAs until I decided on this one. Its a 4-osc pleasure to play, with a juicy filter. I mention it as just one tool to consider because its pretty broad, so it would make an instructive starter synth for small change.
Its also practical to point out the range of options, from Moog variants to wild Waldorf creations. If you see zero need for a piano, are you an EDM purist or do you need a soft-Buchla because you have a Subotnick jones going? See how simple it isn't?
grin
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#2889045 - 11/07/17 03:53 PM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: David Emm]
ksoper Offline
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Originally Posted By: David Emm

I'll make a small pitch for the Korg Legacy Monopoly. Its a mere $50 and comes with a generous library, including some engaging Francis Preve presets. I scoped out many VAs until I decided on this one. Its a 4-osc pleasure to play, with a juicy filter. I mention it as just one tool to consider because its pretty broad, so it would make an instructive starter synth for small change.


While the MonoPoly vst sounds awesome, the UI is a tiny nightmare rivaled only by Arturia's CS-80V--at least on my monitor. Maybe something a little easier on the eyes for a newbie. The OPX-Pro II gets my vote for sound and simplicity. I haven't tried the Obxd, but I imagine the interface is similar.

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#2889091 - 11/08/17 03:38 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: David Emm]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: David Emm
It might speed up the learning curve to have a modest hardware synth like a MiniBrute. Physical hands-on first is the best way to become good at virtual hands-on later.


There's nothing like the real thing. You can buy something like the MiniBrute, Monologue, or even the MicroKorg for less than $500... go for it.

I started with hardware back in the 80's and have purchased many synths and workstations since then. However, I experimented with softsynths about 12 years ago. It was fun for awhile--there are some great freebies out there--but overall, I just wasn't really connecting with them. I eventually bought the Korg M1/Wavestation combo, thinking that would make a difference as I had never owned either synth... but the novelty wore off rather quickly.

It's like watching baseball instead of actually playing the game.

YMMV. idk

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#2889095 - 11/08/17 04:15 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: Synthoid]
AnotherScott Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Synthoid
Originally Posted By: David Emm
It might speed up the learning curve to have a modest hardware synth like a MiniBrute. Physical hands-on first is the best way to become good at virtual hands-on later.


There's nothing like the real thing. You can buy something like the MiniBrute, Monologue, or even the MicroKorg for less than $500... go for it.

I agree, If subtractive synthesis is the goal, nothing beats learning on a real synth. Though I wouldn't suggest a MicroKorg because of how far it is from one-knob-per-function, not really giving you the immediacy... it will definitely slow down the process and make it less fun as well. I'd probably look at the Roland SE-02 or Behringer D, personally.
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#2889100 - 11/08/17 04:47 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: AnotherScott]
BuckW Offline
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Registered: 06/20/17
Posts: 103
Windows

I already have Kurzweil MP10 and Nord Stage 3 Compact; so something to compliment and accompany that. Choosing the NS3 was easy because I also wanted the organ.

For home studio composition, jazz fusion oriented. Polyphony required. I like wild, experimental sounds but musical. Not just weird sounds for the sake of weird sounds.

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#2889105 - 11/08/17 04:59 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: AnotherScott]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
I'd probably look at the Roland SE-02 or Behringer D, personally.


Meh... just buy the Schmidt. laugh

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#2889112 - 11/08/17 05:38 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: Synthoid]
GRollins Offline
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Originally Posted By: Synthoid
There's nothing like the real thing. You can buy something like the MiniBrute, Monologue, or even the MicroKorg for less than $500... go for it.


Not taking a position either way on whether the MicroKorg is a good or bad machine--especially for the OP's purpose--but coincidentally I saw one in a pawn shop here yesterday for $250. According to Reverb, that's a little towards the upper end of the regular price range...but pawn shops being pawn shops, I'd be willing to bet you could take it home for $150-175, perhaps less.

Just sayin'

Also, I heartily agree with what someone said above (I'm in the Quote screen and can't see anything but Synthoid's post), that sometimes it's difficult to know how to phrase things to elicit the right sort of response, even from those who are doing their best to help. I keep falling into this pit, myself. It's frustrating sometimes, but I try to maintain a sense of humor about it (sometimes I'm more successful than others).

Grey
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#2889116 - 11/08/17 05:51 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
AnotherScott Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BuckW
I already have Kurzweil MP10 and Nord Stage 3 Compact

Ah, well the NS3 gives you a hardware knobby synth you can experiment with, so that kind of negates the suggestion of staring with a piece of hardware. I'll leave it the Windows suggestions to others...
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#2889117 - 11/08/17 05:58 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: GRollins]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: GRollins
I try to maintain a sense of humor


thu
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#2889120 - 11/08/17 06:53 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: Synthoid]
Stokely Offline
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Yep, first is: Windows or Mac?

Then, type of music you want to play with it? There are wavetable, subtractive, samplers, FM etc etc style synths and they all bring a different sound in. I assume by "synth" you don't mean organ, piano, electric piano etc. Even so there's a huge range of synth styles out there.

Then, do you have a beefy newer machine or older one? Some of the newer ones need a powerful machine. Also, you have to consider 32-bit vs 64-bit (which is only going to be an issue with an old machine/old operating system).

Then, what is your price range? They range from free to very expensive (Omnisphere and probably others).


I recommend going to KVR and checking out the "one synth challenges". They normally pick one virtual synth and a ton of people go at it, making a song with that synth. Many of the tunes are really, really excellent and show off the capabilities of the synth (there are some really top-notch programmers that participate). Sometimes they do a variation where you can choose any one synth you want and make a song. I've noticed that Uhe's Zebra is far and away the best-represented up in the top of the rankings with that one. Mind, the tunes tend to be electronic stuff (see my second point).

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#2889122 - 11/08/17 07:21 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
JerryA Offline
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Originally Posted By: BuckW
For home studio composition, jazz fusion oriented. Polyphony required. I like wild, experimental sounds but musical. Not just weird sounds for the sake of weird sounds.


Emphasis added.

I'd direct you to Steve Fortner's recent post about the Tyrell N6:

http://www.synth-expert.com/news-blog/2017/11/1/friday-free-plug-in-u-he-tyrell-n6

Begin by adding a bit of overdrive to the oscillator mix to take you straight into classic jazz fusion territory. Add funky modulations (LFO's, zappy envelopes) for your first experiments.

You'll outgrow it quickly, but it will give you the warm, smooth entry into the wolrd of softsynths. It's freeware but you will want to add a knobby controller with as many knobs as possible. Something like the midi fighter twister would give you enough for a couple of ADSRs, some and some filter/oscillator/lfo parameters to get you started.

Plan on a more complex synth later, along with more knobs. thu

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#2889132 - 11/08/17 08:23 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: JerryA]
johnchop Offline
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I'm going to make some suggestions to refine your list a bit:

- Synths must have a 64-bit version (older freeware may not)

- This will be controversial--and as much as I like some of them--I'd say avoid "classic synth" emulations--they'll often have frustrating limitations baked into the hardware original.

- Stick with freeware to start, and will give a +1 to the u-he stuff suggested above (Tyrell N6/Podolski/Zebralette) + TAL Noisemaker + Dexed. That last one brings FM synthesis into the picture, which I think will provide familiar timbres for fusion-heads.

- Built-in effects are nice, but if they're absent or crappy, there are many quality free VST effects (reverbs, flanger/chorus/phaser, delays) that can make up for crappy or absent effects on synths. Another rabbit hole! Just thought I'd mention it.

Side question: are you planning to host these synths in a DAW (Cubase,Sonar, Live, etc.)? Or are you using something like Cantabile/Forte/Gig Performer?

Once you've sorted out what you like and don't like about the above, let us know. Then we can recommend ways to spend money. smile

-John

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#2889142 - 11/08/17 09:49 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: JerryA]
Al Coda Offline
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Originally Posted By: JerryA

... the Tyrell N6:


Damn ! thx for posting,- I forgot it in my list above.
Itīs installed on my DAW since years too and it sounds awesome, especially for a freebie !

A.C.

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#2889235 - 11/08/17 04:07 PM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: ksoper]
David Emm Offline
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Loc: Oz. Its too damned green.
Originally Posted By: ksoper
Originally Posted By: David Emm

I'll make a small pitch for the Korg Legacy Monopoly. Its a mere $50 and comes with a generous library... I mention it as just one tool to consider because its pretty broad, so it would make an instructive starter synth for small change.


While the MonoPoly vst sounds awesome, the UI is a tiny nightmare rivaled only by Arturia's CS-80V--at least on my monitor. Maybe something a little easier on the eyes for a newbie. The OPX-Pro II gets my vote for sound and simplicity. I haven't tried the Obxd, but I imagine the interface is similar.


Fair point, because it IS pretty squint-y, as is the fixed Applied Acoustics Systems GUI across their entire line. I'd love having just one or two more size options. Logic's Alchemy can be enlarged until it becomes a second-screen item. Its one of many function-over-form decisions one has to make, as with hardware. At least the MonoPoly has a high-contrast control panel with name-&-value labels that pop up when you hover over a knob. What fun it was to look quite critically at Diva, Minimonsta and Rob Papen's line. I stroked a raw spot in my chin, watching the numerous YouTube vids. Its a welcome First World Problem and then some! thu

You never know which tool will fire your imagination. I've laid hands to a lot of name synths, but I was a doof in the woods about what even a modest Oberheim could do until I heard this. NOW I get it! idea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJJtdVgK-Y4
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#2889302 - 11/09/17 05:11 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: David Emm]
BuckW Offline
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Registered: 06/20/17
Posts: 103
Studio One DAW on current ADK laptop.

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#2889316 - 11/09/17 07:09 AM Re: Dilemma in picking a virtual synth [Re: BuckW]
tfort Offline
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Registered: 05/06/16
Posts: 99
Can anyone recommend a few places to look into for learning the synths and effects that are built into MainStage?

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