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Need advice for best mid-budget hardware synth and drum machine

Discussion in 'GEAR Talk Forum' started by Patrick de Caumette, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Patrick de Caumette

    Patrick de Caumette Chasing the muse around

    Hi,
    I want to move away from a software-only creative solution, and integrate a couple of hardware elements to complement what I already have.
    I'm thinking about getting one analog synth and one drum module.
    I don't have much space to spare, so I don't want to get a synth with full keyboard.
    There are a lot of new products that seem to offer what I am after, and I am hoping that those of you, enlightened ones, that have been doing this for a while, could generously advise me on the best pieces of gear on the market today.

    What I need:
    a synth with lots of knobs and tactile interface, a fat sound, and probably a built-in step sequencer (not 100% necessary): I want to be able to grab knobs and switches and be able to quickly create sounds, noises, sequences. Full MIDI implementation so that I can interact with it from my DAW.
    Something that allows me to create some interesting sound design type of stuff too...

    a drum module with built-in step sequencer, a great rhythmic feel, and a great sound set.
    Something modern sounding. not sure that I want to be stuck with TR-808 sounds only.
    Would NI Maschine be a good bet for this?
    I want to be able to quickly create percussion tracks and FXs, without spending hours going through sound banks, and need a user-friendly interface to quickly sculpt the sounds. A plus would be pads that are responsive and velocity sensitive, in order to create dynamic stuff. Looking also to be able to load kits that are instantly reminiscing of contemporary popular genres. I am good at drum programing, but not necessarily hip to the latest trends when it comes to sounds.

    Overall, I don't want to spend more than $1,500 for the two combined, but would appreciate suggestions, even if they are beyond that price range...

    Thank you so much!
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  2. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    Hi Patrick I don't think you're going to get both units for that price range so I'm going to go ahead and make my suggestions based on that statement first.

    For the hardware synth with built-in step sequencer I would take a hard look at the Arturia Matrixbrute or Moog Sub 37.

    For a versatile modern "Non" 808 drum machine I would take a look at the Elektron Rytm, Akai MPC range, or the NI Maschine ( just keep in mind that there is accompanying software that runs with Maschine).
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  3. OP
    OP
    Patrick de Caumette

    Patrick de Caumette Chasing the muse around

    Thanks for the input Synthpunk!
    How about the Roland-SE-02?
     
  4. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    If you have small fingers yes :cool:, it is very tiny. But everything I've heard so far it sounds very good. Saying that you did mention you wanted something with some possible sound design capabilities and I feel my first two suggestions perhaps would do that better.

    You could also take a look at the Korg Minilogue/Monologue with a Arturia Beatstep.

     
  5. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  6. OP
    OP
    Patrick de Caumette

    Patrick de Caumette Chasing the muse around

  7. j_kranz

    j_kranz Senior Member

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    Hi Patrick, keep in mind Maschine is not a hardware drum machine in the traditional sense, the hardware is purely a controller for the software (there's no audio coming in/out etc). Perhaps something like the Drumbrute, Jomox, or DSI Tempest might be more along the lines of what you're after (not a knock against Maschine, it's great for what it does!).
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Patrick de Caumette

    Patrick de Caumette Chasing the muse around

    Thanks for the recommendations Jonathan!
     
  9. passsacaglia

    passsacaglia Senior Member

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    I also vote for something like the Korg Minilogue, it is capable of doing absolutely amazing stuff and you got lot of controls and the keys are good size I'd say. My older brother has a Maschine and used it for a while, it's super quick to make beats and also get them into your daw. The buttons are great and also the sounds and all modulation you can do with it.
    He recently bought the Analogh Rhythm and absolutely loves that too, he is pushing me to buy every gear he has although I'm not interested haha! But he's very into gear and a skilled guy so he does a lot of research before he buys stuff.
    You can go very far with everything synthpunk and the others said, I'm just pushing Minilogue, AR and Maschine because I've seen them in action, used them a lot and know what they can do. :) my 0.02 c's.
    Check all the promo videos and see which is more sexy to you and go for that ;)

    You can also get very far with a Novation Bass station II for example. Korg MS20 is top notch (monophonic), oh yeah, be sure to check if the synth you're buying is mono or polyphonic. :) Roland JD-xa is also a good guy. You also have the desktop versions of the old Dave Smiths synths (OB6 and Prophet) or the Mopho 4X, or a used one of the other DSI synths. :)
    Best of luck! /Daveman
     
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  10. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    The Waldorf Blofeld module is a very nice piece as well especially at the price. Being a wavetable synth it's certainly differs a little bit and perhaps can do a little more sound design type stuff.

     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  11. chillbot

    chillbot Forum Bot

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  12. chillbot

    chillbot Forum Bot

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    I should specify, since I so factually stated that it is rackmountable... that you need to find one with the rackmount kit, which, apparently, is more difficult to come by. A quick search of the internets just shows a bunch of posts from people searching for the kit. There's also a panel that goes above to hide the cables, turning it into a nice-looking 5-space synth. IF you can find the kit. If rackmounting is not an issue then carry on.

    20170812_101827_resized.jpg
     
  13. joed

    joed Active Member

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    If you go the used route you could also check out Reverb.com.
     
  14. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    Check with Perfect Circuit Audio they used to make OEM rack ears for all the different Virus models. That's where I bought rack ear kit for my Virus TI a couple years ago
    https://www.perfectcircuitaudio.com

     
  15. OP
    OP
    Patrick de Caumette

    Patrick de Caumette Chasing the muse around

    You guys are amazingly helpful: thank you so much!
     
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  16. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    Your welcome Patrick let us know what you end up going with.

     
  17. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    Just an FYI for the archive I checked with Perfect circuit audio and they have no remaining inventory of access virus rack ears and do not immediately plan any additional production runs.

     

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