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Newbie seeks synth recomendations


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I am looking for recomendations on which synth to purchase in the range of $1000 or less. I am completely new to the world of synths, although I've played guitar for about 12 years and I had a piano at home as a kid.


There are two reasons I want a synth. First, I would like to augment my "home studio" recordings with a lot of other realistic sounding "instruments" (mainly orchestral and brass sounds al la early Moody Blues, and some piano and drum sounds). For the record, I have a PC with Cakewalk Pro Audio 8.1 (if that helps in your recomendations).


Second, I love playing music and wouldn't mind becomming a bit proficient with another instrument. I am not a professional musician...just an avid hobbiest. However, I am not looking for one of those "toy" keyboards you get at Sears...I want a serious instrument that sounds good and will enable me to grow as a musician and will be a great addition to a home studio and suitable for live applications.


I would also like the synth to be expandable (so I'm not always stuck with the same sounds) and midi compatable. Don't really need weighted keys though.


I've been giving the Roland XP-30 serious consideration, especially since (in my opinion) it has great sounding brass and orchestral sounds, along with a bunch of other patches that I could use and it's expandable. Plus, most of the reviews I've seen have been good.


However, the XP-30 has a few things I'm concerned about for the simple reason that I've heard some caveats from other musicians:


1. I hear the standard piano patches aren't that great (although I could fix this with an expansion card, right? And are the standard piano sounds really that awful?).

2. It "only" has a one stereo out jacks (How many do I need? Why would I need more?)

3. It has no sequencer. (Do I really need one for digital recording? what situations would I use a sequencer...is it only if I'm playing "techno music" and need "a few extra hands" to do the things I want it to. Also, if I get the XP-30 w/o a sequencer and then decide I need one, could I just buy a sequencer and hook it up to the XP-30?)


So what do I do? Is the XP-30 the way to go, or is there another model that's better for me? As you can see, I'm pretty much in the dark about this, so any advice,recomendations would be greatly appreciated. Sorry about the long post, and thanks for any help.

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If you don't mind used, I would recommend the Kurzweil K2000. It is one of the deepeset synths in terms of programmability, and sonority, and you can add ROM chips to it to expand. There is one called the Orchestral Block, and it would supply all your real world needs. It is also expandible in terms of RAM and you can add a sampling option to it should you ever want to go that route.


They're all over eBay and Harmony Central in the 500-900 range.


Here's some user reviews from SonicState:


Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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The XP-30 really does represent good bang for the buck, especially when you consider how many sounds it comes with out of the box (everything that a JV-2080 has, plus 3 SR-JV expansion boards.


If you need others to compare it to, you may look at the Yamaha S30 (what's with all the "30's" anyway?). It uses the same sound engine as the larger S80, which overall gets very favorable feedback.


The choice between the Roland and the Yamaha depends on you. Like I always say, "Some people are Honda people, other people are Toyota people - they're both good cars."


A used K2000 isn't a bad idea, as it already has a sequencer onboard, and the quality of sounds is very good, though the quantity of presets is less. But for what you've described, you may find everything you need right there.


Triton LE? I'm always a bit wary of recommending any product that isn't yet shipping.


Happy shopping!

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For a grand, you might be able to swing a used K2000 (an excellent choice) AND a used Roland JV-1010. With the JV-1010, you get the XP-30 sound set and the future ability to add one of the very good Roland expansion cards. It's a nice little module. The K2000 & the JV-1010 is a potent set-up that should take your music pretty far.


Good luck.

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