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Suggestions for a Small Performance Synth


Doug Robinson

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Are you sure about that? The SK2 doesn't respond to pitch bend and mod. I am not home now, but I happen to have the SK2 manual in Dropbox (nerdy, I know) and I just checked the midi implementation documentation to confirm.

Nothing nerdy about having the manuals handy bro. I do the same. :2thu:

 

There was a software update ... and some of it is discussed here, and in this Keyboard Magazine review:

 

"The SK1 and SK2 dont have the pitch and modulation wheels of the XK-1 and XK-3C, and at first, my unit didnt respond to external pitch-bend or modulation messages. Since then, Hammond has posted an OS update in the support section of their website that fixes this in addition to offering many useful tweaks and some new Extra Voices. Only the Extra Voices respond to pitch and mod, which makes sense, as you probably dont want to pitch-bend your B-3 sounds."

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So what, you buy some kind of pitch bend mechanism? Or are you suggesting carrying around a 2nd keyboard to control the extra voices in the SK1? I'm not up on the latest offerings, but I haven't heard extremely cool and edgy distorted synth sounds from that axe.

Doug Robinson

www.dougrobinson.com

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So what, you buy some kind of pitch bend mechanism? Or are you suggesting carrying around a 2nd keyboard to control the extra voices in the SK1? I'm not up on the latest offerings, but I haven't heard extremely cool and edgy distorted synth sounds from that axe.

 

And no way of changing anything on those sounds, what you get is what you get. At least on another synth, even if you are not into deep editing, using performance controllers like filter and resonance, modulation, etc, can enhance your performance. Those options are not there with the SK1 add on synth sounds.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

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Wow. :blush:

 

Friends, I didn't expect to confuse or offend anyone with my suggestion to the OP. Let me explain ... and please bear with me. I am not the SK1 expert here. This is merely what I think is a creative suggestion. This is a looooong explanation .... of why I thought Jazzooo might want to add an effects device rather than a synth. If you want the short answer though ... it's a) bang for buck and b) for a guy with keyboard chops, it's more than adequate for what he wants to accomplish.

 

First off, as CEB points out, $500 isn't much for a decently built synth. It's a decent amount of money for an effects device, but the only two "true synth" contenders I would look at are Gaia and Ultranova. I don't know the Casios well enough to recommend them or not. I think I need to get to know them better! :) Ultranova is sonically a good fit, but quite complex for someone who is "not into programming". It has appropriate sounds buried among the arps, sound beds and hoovers though. Gaia ... well CEB has made peace with it even though it's a trifle weak in the oscillator/filter department. That said, if you are looking to merely frighten geetarists, and you have chops, (and Jazzoo I think you do) any synth with over drive/amp sim and a delay effect will help you do those "fun, soaring 'special effect' solos". :2thu:

 

But you will need some tonal control and some pitch control, which DanL alluded to, won't you .... ?

 

YES! And this is where the extra voices come in. If the extra voices respond to pitch bend and provide vibrato (which they apparently do, per Keyboard Magazine) and there is a decent oscillator sync sample in there ... then Jazzooo needs to only add effects (wah, amp sim and delay) to to begin scaring his guitarists. :roll: The clavs will take care of his polyphonic needs (power chords etc.) and the sync lead will take care of the monophonic ones. A multi-effect box with wah, amp sim and delay will take care of the rest.

 

So, to SK1 experts, do all extra voices (including clavs) provide vibrato when modulation through external midi is applied? Your answer is important.

 

To Jazzooo .... did you hear this Sync Lead sound on your SK1 ... and what did you think of it ...?

 

[video:youtube]_yNCaRjOK2s

 

Remember we aren't talking about the quality of the playing but the tone ... :)

 

(side note to keyboardists ... if you want to sound masculine, play in the masculine range, not the stratosphere.)

 

If so, then it will sound even better if you add some overdrive and delay, but most especially if you add pitch bend and modulation (vibrato). Hence the second keyboard ...

 

Or are you suggesting carrying around a 2nd keyboard to control the extra voices in the SK1?

This. :thu: If you are an organist, you've probably been wanting that second manual for awhile anyway. ;)

 

And no way of changing anything on those sounds, what you get is what you get. At least on another synth, even if you are not into deep editing, using performance controllers like filter and resonance, modulation, etc, can enhance your performance. Those options are not there with the SK1 add on synth sounds.

 

Agree completely. :thu:

 

You and I went the full analog Moog route and that is quite satisfying ... however for Jazooo, I am not sure he wants a full synth. He wants lead sounds. Would you agree that once you add a multi-effect box which has a controllable wah, distortion (amp-sim) and delay, you start to get a quite a bit of tonal control, and the extra voices become "oscillators" in a synth chain that goes from oscillator (extra voice) ==> filter (wah) ==> VCA (distortion) ==> delay (delay)? This way he avoids the ADSR's (which are the components of a synth most likely to trip up an organist).

 

Jazzooo, if Voodooman floats your boat ... then you might enjoy checking out the Hammond extra sounds and the multi-efx pedals (especially eventide and line 6) on the web. For those of you who are wondering what Voodooman is, here you go ... :rawk:

 

[video:youtube]01R8BpbQJu8

 

 

Fellas, think of this as a creative suggestion, which costs little to explore. The conservative suggestion is a small rompler or if traditional synthesis is required, the Ultranova. Peace. :)

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If the Micron has the same keyboard as the Miniak, watch out. Otherwise both of those instruments sound very good, especially for the money.
Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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First of all, thank you for all of the great suggestions. And to those of you who suggested that i probably have chops and something to say musically, I thank you as well. I am definitely playing better than ever, and yes--I can usually play effective solos all night without pitch bend or screaming synths. I just miss doing that :)

 

Of all the ones suggested here, it seems like the Novation Ultra is the closest to what I'm looking for...however, I've been watching videos for the ultra nova and the mini nova and I'm pretty impressed with the latter. I have no idea if I'd dig the mini keys, but I also play a lot of melodica so I figure if I can get around on one of those, the mini nova wouldn't be too hard to get used to.

 

Anyone here have a mini nova they love? Or hate?

Doug Robinson

www.dougrobinson.com

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What kind of synth do you need? I recently pressed my VR-09 into service as a synth for synthy sounds. It has a bunch of bread and butter voices, and you can tweak attack, decay, release, filter, and cutoff live. And basic effects. No programming required, dial up the patch and tweak if/as needed using the organ drawbars for the synth parameters. Then save in a performance.

 

It works great for playing covers of songs with synthy parts, e.g. "Just What I Needed", "Power Of Love", "Workin' For The Weekend", "Turn Me Loose", "Sunglasses at Night", etc.

 

Not really what you want for covering Rick Wakeman, but definitely a contender for its flexibility, price, and ease of use.

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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After much thought, if I could pitch bend my SK1 I'd be satisfied--I've done some very cool solos bending a Rhodes sound on my Yamaha S80, in fact, but that stays in my studio at night.

 

But I can't bend the SK1 (I do like the suggestion of an efx box but again, bending is more important than anything else), so the next step is to find a small keyboard with cool sounds that I CAN pitch bend...and that is what lead to this thread.

 

I'll probably find 2-4 sounds that I love and stick with them forever for now. I'm not into endless exploration of sounds--I do believe that hip note choice and rhythmic intentions make for more interesting solos in my music than from having various wav forms to choose from. But hey, these little synths sound excellent to me so maybe I'll stretch out a little more than I realize--I like the vocoder capabilities on the Nova line.

Doug Robinson

www.dougrobinson.com

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After much thought, if I could pitch bend my SK1 I'd be satisfied--I've done some very cool solos bending a Rhodes sound on my Yamaha S80

 

Bending piano sounds is taboo. :laugh:

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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So having demo'd I think all of the contenders mentions (and I own a Venom), I'm still coming back to a used Roland Gaia.

 

It's not going to sound like a vintage Moog, but it does offer a lot of value, and the presets will take you a long way before you ever think about getting into tweaking.

 

The thing is also knobby enough to support future tweaking.

 

And I recommended one to a bass player I work with - I thought it sounded surprisingly nice for the money (he bought one used as well).

 

I can also recommend AGAINST the Venom, for a lot of different reasons. I got mine on a blowout sale, it does a few things well but would not be a good choice for your stated needs.

 

Just my 0.02.

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