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Unpopular synths


Muad’Dib

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I have noticed over the years, the number of unpopular synths. Roland U-20, W-30, KORG DSS-1, KARMA, WAVESTATION, Yamaha V50, just a few examples, and I often wondered what were the manufactures, thinking, when they came up with some of these synths? I know KARMA sounds were integrated, into the TRITON.
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I owned a Korg DSS-1 and quite enjoyed it. There was a boot up time waiting for your disks to load, but otherwise it played great. It was the first 12 bit sampler and became the basis for the M1. No other keyboard at the time gave me the ability to have grand piano samples, brass, organ, and strings along with applause and toilet flushes available on a simple button press (and I admit to wasting at least 40 gallons of water before immortalizing the perfect flush - it worked great every time our singer tried a joke that bombed).

 

Jake

1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

 

"It needs a Hammond"

 

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Tony Banks used Wavestation sounds on later Genesis albums. Many cover acts got a Wavestation just to have those sounds.

Life is subtractive.
Genres: Jazz, funk, pop, Christian worship, BebHop
Wishlist: 80s-ish (synth)pop, symph pop, prog rock, fusion, musical theatre
Gear: NS2 + JUNO-G. KingKORG. SP6 at church.

 

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Tony Banks used Wavestation sounds on later Genesis albums. Many cover acts got a Wavestation just to have those sounds.

 

Tony also had a Synclavier before that, but not many cover acts ran out and bought one of those. :D

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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I really liked my U20. Was a basic little thing but a handy go to synth for small gigs or if I wanted some nice digital strings. Looked pretty nice, too, IMO. Liked that clean look.

 

Theres been a Karma for sale in a shop near me - for about 5 years - think hes still trying to sell it for the equivalent of around $1000USD.

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Not sure the Wavestation belongs on that list...IIRC it was a popular and well respected synth in its day, although it was unique in its synthesis approach. :cool:

 

The others you mentioned certainly weren't bad synths. They were most likely just overshadowed by something else that was dominating the market at the time. :crazy:

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Steve

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Yamaha YS200/YS100/TQ5 would qualify I think. 4-op FM, "Easy Edit" which means you have to edit from an Atari application for anything deep.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Hammond: SK Pro 73 | Korg: Triton LE 76, N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3 | Technics: WSA1R

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Yamaha MX61, Behringer CAT

Assorted electric & acoustic guitars and electric basses | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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I owned a Korg DSS-1 and quite enjoyed it. There was a boot up time waiting for your disks to load, but otherwise it played great.

yup. DSS1 was a fantastic sounding board, and also had probably my favorite synth action. It had a unique waveform drawing feature, too. Downsides were the long loads, heavy travel weight, and the complexity of the interface for working with your own samples. But it was a great board, was it really unpopular? I know it still has its devotees, there were even aftermarket upgrades.

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Yamaha YS200/YS100/TQ5 would qualify I think. 4-op FM, "Easy Edit" which means you have to edit from an Atari application for anything deep.

Beauty is only skin deep. You can thank (or blame) designer Masamichi Udagawa, who worked for Yamaha at the time of the YS200, for its look. He later worked for Apple.

 

These were under-appreciated models. They were basically similar to the TX81Z/DX11 with certain differences. The YS series units have no micro tuning capability, no variable portamento, no sustain or chorus footswitch capability, and pitch envelope generator settings are fixed at center value. They do have built-in effects, however, and the YS200 has after-touch. So a TX81Z editor, for example, will work with a YS series synth, but you won't have total control of the available parameters. I solved the "Easy Edit" limitations for myself by writing a DOS-based editor/librarian for my YS200.

 

 

Yamaha: Motif XF6 and XS6, A3000V2, A4000, YS200 | Korg: T3EX, 05R/W | Fender Chroma Polaris | Roland U-220 | Etc.

 

 

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I owned a Korg DSS-1 and quite enjoyed it. There was a boot up time waiting for your disks to load, but otherwise it played great.

yup. DSS1 was a fantastic sounding board, and also had probably my favorite synth action. It had a unique waveform drawing feature, too. Downsides were the long loads, heavy travel weight, and the complexity of the interface for working with your own samples. But it was a great board, was it really unpopular? I know it still has its devotees, there were even aftermarket upgrades.

 

Yes, I also really enjoyed this synth while I had it. Up until I bought my PC3 recently, the DSS-1 had the best aftertouch sensitivity I'd ever experienced. It also had very nice analog filters, and allowed hard-sync on PCM waveforms. It was indeed a fat sounding beast. I created an entire web site devoted to it, over a decade ago (which is still up).

Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Alesis Ion, Kawai K3M
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I actually loved my Emu Morpheus! I had a Proteus and a Morpheus, there was nothing I could not accomplish :)

 

Now, my Moog Rogue could be on the list.

 

My old poly-800 SHOULD be on the list as far as I am concerned...never liked it and it had tuning issues.

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I owned a Korg DSS-1 and quite enjoyed it. There was a boot up time waiting for your disks to load, but otherwise it played great.

yup. DSS1 was a fantastic sounding board, and also had probably my favorite synth action. It had a unique waveform drawing feature, too. Downsides were the long loads, heavy travel weight, and the complexity of the interface for working with your own samples. But it was a great board, was it really unpopular? I know it still has its devotees, there were even aftermarket upgrades.

 

The DSS-1 earned a better appreciation during the analog renaissance due to the great sounding VCF in each voice. They used the CJM4069 - Korg's clone of the SSM2040 - and could be configured in 12dB or 24dB mode. The 4069 VCF was used in derivative products such as DSM-1, DW6000, DW8000 but they didn't sound as good as the DSS-1.

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This thread brings back memories of my ARP Quartet; one of many love/hate relationships from the 1980's, and not all of those were with gear. :crazy:

 

I was going to mention the Kawai K3 I owned for a couple years, but it was actually a pretty cool sounding synth.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

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Yamaha YS200/YS100/TQ5 would qualify I think. 4-op FM, "Easy Edit" which means you have to edit from an Atari application for anything deep.

Beauty is only skin deep. You can thank (or blame) designer Masamichi Udagawa, who worked for Yamaha at the time of the YS200, for its look. He later worked for Apple.

 

These were under-appreciated models. They were basically similar to the TX81Z/DX11 with certain differences. The YS series units have no micro tuning capability, no variable portamento, no sustain or chorus footswitch capability, and pitch envelope generator settings are fixed at center value. They do have built-in effects, however, and the YS200 has after-touch. So a TX81Z editor, for example, will work with a YS series synth, but you won't have total control of the available parameters. I solved the "Easy Edit" limitations for myself by writing a DOS-based editor/librarian for my YS200.

 

 

I actually really like the look. But I'm weird that way with odd-looking items. Never had any luck running an Atari emulator on my Mac so I can use YSEditor unfortunately.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Hammond: SK Pro 73 | Korg: Triton LE 76, N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3 | Technics: WSA1R

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Yamaha MX61, Behringer CAT

Assorted electric & acoustic guitars and electric basses | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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