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My first real synth...


Sundown

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It was around 1988, and I was ~13 years old. I was a subscriber to Keyboard and Roland Users Group, and I would pore over the pages and drool over the prospect of owning a professional instrument. I had a Yamaha portable at the time, and while it was fun to play, it just wasn't a synthesizer. A local music store had a D-50, an S-50, and a JX-10, and when I heard the JX-10 for the first time, I needed a change of underwear. When I saw the price tags, I needed an antacid and some smelling salts.

 

I found a new music store, and they had a Roland D-20 . I knew the MSRP was $1,795, and for the first time I learned about this thing called "street price". By God, I could have a Roland instrument for about $1,300...

 

I waited and waited, and saved what I could. I would go to that music store and play that instrument several times per week. I became a fixture there.

 

One Friday at around dinner time (near my 14th birthday), my mother decided to change my life forever, and we went to that music store and bought a D-20. I can remember it like yesterday. We came home and I plugged in a pair of tiny Yamaha powered speakers, and I turned the instrument on. Patch A1:1 came up, and I held down the keys. This wonderful, slow synth pad filled the living room. It was called "Warm Pad Fade".

 

I played that instrument all the time, and as much as I would drool over other instruments, my age and limited resources constrained my gear to just that axe. And as a result, I learned it inside and out. I still have it, and while it sounds thin and tweezy by today's standards, it still makes for a great board for fast leads and drum programming (thanks to it's fast action). The original back-up battery is still going (over 25 years later), and most of the sounds in it are my own creation.

 

I will never part with it, for sentimental reasons.

 

What's your story?

Sundown

 

Working on: The Jupiter Bluff; They Live, We Groove

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

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nice, thanx for sharing!

I guess everyone here has a story!

 

 

My first real synth happened around 2003 maybe (I'm a kid by the KC standards)

 

It was a Yamaha S-03 and yes, I was about 15 and my parents got me one.

 

I used the hell out of it, playing countless rehearsals and few gigs, learning everything about multitimbrality, midi, effects, sysex. I got a lot of mileage out of it :)

 

 

Next one was a hi-end axe in 2006 bought with money hard earned flipping burgers :)

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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Cool post Sundown!

 

I have fond memories of the D-20 as well. My first synth was a DX7 as I guess they were the most visible at the time and I knew nothing about different synths, but hey Tony Banks had one in Genesis Live at Wembley so it must be awesome right? Wrong! Or for me anyway. I still have it.

 

Around the same time in 1990 a friend of mine had a new D-20 and I remember loving it. Probably twice the price of the DX7 i bought, but it sounded it too, or at least to me. I remember the Warm Pad Fade, still a great sound today. The reason I know this is a bought a D-110 last year on the cheap to get those D-20 sounds again. I used a D-110 at uni on my music projects and wanted to get one again to re-record some music. Still sounds good if you focus on what it's good at. Has some fat synth sounds.

 

Anyway my first real synth being the DX7 but not true love, my next one was a Yamaha TG33, in my price range and closer to my tastes, nice evolving sounds and wider range. Quite a cute little module capable of some truly unique tones.

 

The big one for me though was the Roland D-70. I didn't own one but the MIDI studio at Uni had one as it's master controller and one of it's main synths. First time a played it I loved it. I wrote quite a lot of pieces where it was used and always lent a "high end" feel to everything. The synthesiser sounds are sensational and have warmth the subsequent Rolands (JV line) never seemed to. Fast forward to 2010 and I finally bought one second hand after using so many other things along the way. It was like coming home. The D-20 probably opened my eyes and ears to Roland but the D-70 sealed the deal. Sentimental I know, but I love it all the same. Those two synths the TG33 and D-70 are ones I'll never sell and will replace if they die. They were such a huge part of my musical development at an important time in my life (90-93)

Roland Fantom G6, D-70, JP-8000, Juno-106, JV-1080, Moog Minitaur, Korg Volca Keys, Yamaha DX-7. TG33, Logic Pro, NI plugs, Arturia plugs etc etc
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I did my own drooling over pictures of synths from the early 1970s on. Local music stores had early Davolisint, Yamaha and Roland synths, and the local music college that I attended had an EML ElectroComp Model 101 that sounded pretty good. However, after hearing Hammer, Moraz, Corea and Powell, etc. I knew that I had to have an instrument that had a dedicated pitch bender. In 1977, though I wished that I could afford a Minimoog, I purchased a Moog Micromoog and worked at getting everything that I could out of it. In 1978 I traded the Micro in in for a Moog Multimoog. I still have, use and love it today (2nd Multi purchased for $200.00 in 1986).
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The Univox Multiman was my first in 1975. It was versatile.

 

Bought it at Straub Music in Plainview, NY. I think the list price was $1,200 or $1,300. Straub only had one Multiman (the floor model) and they were eager to sell it. I bought it for $835.

 

Built a wooden case for the Mulitman along with a stand that doubled as a trunk for all my gear (featured below). My dad had a wood shop in the basement so I built my speaker cabinets too.

 

Bought the below Radio Shack book in the 1970s and it was my resource for cabinet building, wiring crossovers, etc..

 

The Multiman was my only keyboard for about two years - it was a workhorse.

 

Five years later (1980 or thereabouts), I sold the Multiman for $350 to another Long Island Band. Terrific ROI.

 

Man, I loved those brown boots... they were hot.

 

http://www.coscia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Misty-Blue.jpg

 

http://www.coscia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Speaker-Book.jpg

Steve Coscia

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Funny... the Roland D-20 was the first "professional" synth for me too. I also had a Roland E-15, a Korg M3-R and a Yamaha TG-55, my sequencer was an Amiga 1200 with Dr.T's KCS 3.5, and my recorder was a 4-track Fostex X-26.

 

I used to compose and record much more music back in the days than today that I have a full blown recording studio.

 

 

 

 

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I do still use one patch from my D-20 regularly. It's labeled an acoustic bass, but it's really just this great, simple thumping bass with a short decay. I've used it on Hip Hop tracks, rock tracks, etc. It's my go-to bass sound when I need some bottom end, but I don't want to draw attention to it. It occupies just the right amount of space in a mix.

 

There are a couple of good pad-like organ sounds as well.

Sundown

 

Working on: The Jupiter Bluff; They Live, We Groove

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

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Leh173,

 

I was a big fan of the D-70 as well. Roland put out a NAMM newsletter with new products (among them the D-70 and S-770), and I waited, and waited, and waited for the D-70 to reach the market. I was going to buy a D-70, when I later chose my Wavestation. In hindsight, neither was the right instrument for me at the time, but I still have my W/S and I use it as my main MIDI controller.

 

What the D-20 did for me, was teach me a little bit about everything (sequencing, synthesis, drum programming, songwriting, etc). The polyphony was constrained (some patches could only play 4 voices with 8 stacked partials), but I still made some decent sequences with it. In retrospect, the Korg M1 had only 16 voices, and the D-50 the same (with a maximum of 4 partials through 2 stacked tones).

 

Great times...

Sundown

 

Working on: The Jupiter Bluff; They Live, We Groove

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

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I bought a new Roland D70 when they came out (1990ish?) , was an awesome sounding,light weight, and very easy to program keyboard with a nice keybed.

The only thing I wasn't happy with , was the water thin and weak piano sound on it.

The D70 made a nice little high pitched hum when switched on :).

 

Brett

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I enrolled in a 'Synthesizer' class in my first semester at a local College in the LA area. We had a PAIA modular system for use in the class and the teacher had built himself a Serge Modular system. He gave me Serge's address and I went there that summer and got a job. He paid me in modules... So my first synthesizer was really a 'real' one. :)

 

One panel got stolen a decade later and I sold the other two. Just this last year, I've put together another Serge system, twice the original size (and 6x the price...)

 

Stephen

 

 

 

 

.

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I built my first synth myself when I was about 14, based on a modified project from an electronics magazine. I did it with the help of a friend, and it was totally awful. That was around 1973. Then I worked a whole summer at a gas station to earn the money to buy a 'real' synth... but all I could afford was a Davolisint, which I sold immediately. Fact is, I had a friend who owned a Model D, so I could tell the difference! Next was a FBT Synter, marginally better, but it was logically laid out at least, so I started to learn programming. That one lasted a few months.

(In case you never heard of those two synthesizers, they were early Italian instruments)

 

Then in my early twenties I started touring as a pianist, and in the meantime polyphonic synth became popular... so as soon as I had some money to spend, I bought a Korg Trident (mkI), my first 'serious' synth.

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I enrolled in a 'Synthesizer' class in my first semester at a local College in the LA area. We had a PAIA modular system for use in the class and the teacher had built himself a Serge Modular system. He gave me Serge's address and I went there that summer and got a job. He paid me in modules... So my first synthesizer was really a 'real' one. :)

 

One panel got stolen a decade later and I sold the other two. Just this last year, I've put together another Serge system, twice the original size (and 6x the price...)

 

Stephen

 

 

 

 

.

 

Hi Stephen! , I love this - and getting paid in modules :).

 

Best Regards,

Brett.

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I had previously owned some meaningful synths like a MiniMoog, Prophet-600 and Kawai K5, but everything I had learned up to that point came together in the Korg 01Wfd. Suddenly, I could multitrack in-house, with enough sequencer memory and effects means to create full-sounding pieces. I learned about several things NOT to do as well, a couple of which muddied the mix badly. I think of it as my first "real" synth because it stands solidly between my first dabbling and my use of Logic today. It taught me proper techniques and better work habits. I've sampled it at length for convenience, but it still sits up and barks.

 

 

Well well well, if it isn't the consequences of my own actions.
    ~ from Twitter

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I still have it, and while it sounds thin and tweezy by today's standards, it still makes for a great board for fast leads and drum programming (thanks to it's fast action). The original back-up battery is still going (over 25 years later), and most of the sounds in it are my own creation.

 

I will never part with it, for sentimental reasons.

 

What's your story?

I have a D-10 I bought in early '89. It's essentially a D-20 without the sequencer or floppy drive. Like you, it was my first synth. It still works and still has its original battery (it helps that the unit is always plugged in). I too see no need to sell it (its not worth much if I did). There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of aftermarket patches out there that are MUCH better than what it originally came with. For the uninitiated here are some videos that I think best show what the D-10/20/110 series can do:

 

[video:youtube]

[video:youtube]

[video:youtube]

[video:youtube]

 

 

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Picked up a used one of these felines around 1980. Sat it on top of my 1st ever keyboard, a Model 200 Wurly.

 

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m305/Koda_Vonnor/Misc/octaveCat2.jpg

 

~ vonnor

 

Gear:

Hardware: Kurzweil Forte7, Korg Kronos 2, Novation Summit

Software: Cantabile 3, Halion Sonic 3 and assorted VST plug-ins.

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Very first setup I had was a Farfisa VIP 600 with a Roland SH- 101 on top, I was about 15 or so, used to spend hours playing that combo, trying to emulate dire straights sounds......, then came a DX7 which I hated not having real time knobs to tweak, then onto a Juno 60. I always gassed for a Jupiter 6, but never eventuated, then the Farfisa was sold, and my first B3 was brought, heaven I tell ya ! Kept the Juno for many years, but that was eventually replaced by the newest kid on the block, a Korg 01Wfd. Should have kept the Juno, but oh well, who knew . The next synth after that was 1 month ago when I got the MOXF8. Hammonds Ive owned is another story.....

"Ive been playing Hammond since long before anybody paid me to play one, I didn't do it to be cool, I didnt do it to make a statement......I just liked it "

 

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Pro One was my first real synth. I already owned a Crumar Performer, but I didn't really consider that a true synth. The Pro One was knob heaven.

 

The next real synth I could afford was a Juno 60, which sat on top of my Rhodes for a few years. I got a lot of mileage out of those two great instruments.

.

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I bought my Brother's Korg polysix off of him sometime in the mid to late 80s followed by a CZ-101. Around '90 they were blowing out the VZ series and I picked up a VZ-8M. I remember being so excited around '90-'91 when I got the new Roland JV-30 and finally could play "real" sounds, lol. My sequencer of choice through those years: Alesis MMT-8.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I think about fifteen years elapsed between wanting a synth and actually getting my first "real" synth. Up until 1996 or so I'd only ever borrowed other people's synths, or programmed them in the shop (my efforts to see a K250 or any of the other really swanky synths at the time in person failed on multiple occasions, although I did get to mess around with all the Ensoniq/Kawai/Roland stuff at my local music store at the time, Guitar City in Centerville, Utah).

 

In college I got to play with "real" synths for the first time, namely a Moog Modular and an Alesis QS6. After that I started with software, Vaz Modular and a bit later Rebirth. After college when I had a job/money I finally landed a K2000RS and briefly owned a few other things (Casio CZ-101, Juno 106, JP8080, among others). I guess the Casio CZ-101 is technically the first hardware synth I owned, followed by the Juno. The JP808 got traded in about a week after I bought it to get the money for the K2000RS (the JP8080 solidified for me that I wanted something that had some depth to it).

My music http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Pk12

 

My Soundware (Kurzweil PC3)http://pksoundware.blogspot.com/

 

My Kurzweil PC3 Tutorials http://www.youtube.com/user/poserp.

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1973 white faced mk1 ARP Odyssey that I still have but it's in retirement now. I replaced the sliders and all the caps and was using it in the classic rock band I play in, but some of the outdoor shows we were playing in the summer drove it crazy with the heat. Bought a Roland GAIA and am quite pleased with it as a replacement.

 

2nd was the mk1 ARP Omni. Believe it was circa '75. Of course, it is more of a string synth than anything else but I did use it for horn patches using the synth section. Still have it but I'm also still in the process of restoring it.

John Cassetty

 

"there is no dark side of the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark"

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