Desktop Synth needed - Hum.....

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So, I have an RD2000 and FA07 for keyboards.  There both great at what they do - but for synth stuff.....  The FA is capable enough, but modulation is limited (two LFOs max, no mod envelope, and can only assign to filter, vca or pitch), lacks more than basic real time control, and only allows one FX per patch.

So the answer is a dedicated desktop synth module (no space for anything else with keys - so not another board.  Shame as there are a few not available in module format Id consider).

So - Im after lush evolving pads (not basic 80s pads - the FA does that really well), both evolving automatically (so needs a decent Mod matrix and controllers) and with manual control (lots of knobs/sliders).  I also want it to do more stabby, arpegiated stuff - preferably with programmable arp patterns.   Needs to be Polly though (for the pads) which rules out a lot.
  
Everything Ive looked at is decent, but limited in some way, so its whats best to fit the bill.

1. Deep Mind.  Looks great for the cash. Shame Osc 1 is simple square wave, and no mixer (all or nothing on Osc 1).  If it had 2 complete Oscillators and a mixer it would probably be the one (especially at the price).

2.  Rev 2 (8 voice).  Cant really afford/justify the 16.  Great build, good mod matrix and 2 proper oscillators.   Not sure its particularly good at the stabbing stuff, and no idea if the arp is programmable (think it has a step sequencer though which is just as good if not better).  

3.  Peak.  Really comprehensive if a little more modern sounding - BUT only 2 Mod sources.  Thats a deal breaker if Im reading it right. 

4.  Virus Ti2.  Most expensive, and least real time control from what I can see.  Worth considering a used one though I guess.

5.  Possibly an old, used Nord Rack (2 or 3) if I can find one - but honestly no idea how this stacks up to the others.

So - anyone shed light on which might best suit my application - or suggest something Ive overlooked.



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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 1128
    edited December 2018
    Korg 05r should give you everything you want if you have a controller ,  just so happens have one if I can find it’s power supply £50 posted 
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • I'm after lush evolving pads ... both evolving automatically ... and with manual control (lots of knobs/sliders).
    As you already suspect, this sounds like a job for Tom Oberheim and/or Dave Smith. 
    Be seeing you.
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  • horsehorse Frets: 716
    Peak has a large mod matrix, and whilst only 2 LFOs it also has 2 envelopes which I believe you can assign as mod sources.

    Blofeld and P12 are other options at different price points which fit the bill. I have a rev2 and a Blofeld, and what the Blofeld can do for the money is very extensive.

    I think all the options are good, so prob best to try a few out and see what feels best to use to you.
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 590
    edited December 2018
    Is the Blofeld a mono synth?  might be wrong but thought it was.  I need poly.  It also doesn't have the real time control I want.  The FA07s synth section is really nice BUT it lacks a decent Mod matrix (one s x LFOs only if you include the dedicated Mod LFO, and you can only apply it to 5 things) nor does if have enough real time control.   Its these two things I want to address.  Its automated Arp runs (with evolving ones) and evolving pads (both automated and manually manipulated in real time) that the FA lacks - and what Im trying to add with the module.

    On the Peak...maybe I have it wrong.  Its not the lack of Modulation sources it lacks, but how many you can apply per tone.  I thought there were just 2 Mod slots per voice.
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 590
    edited December 2018
    OK - seems the Peak has 16 slots (from reading a review) rather than the 2 (which it appears to have from Video reviews).  Need to look at Peak more- both on its capability, and real time control.

    The DM12 is looking quite nice though actually, after watching a few "patch building" vids on Youtube.
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  • horsehorse Frets: 716
    I'd love a DM12 too - there's so many great options right now.

    Blofeld is very much poly and in fact multi-timbral too. Often referred to as a evolving pad machine. The sledge uses a cut down version of the same engine and I think you liked that sound? Blofeld has a v sophisticated mod matrix with modifiers, wavetables available on 2 of the 3 oscillators, 2 separate filters per patch (with more filter types than the sledge). The matrix control system does let you easily grab and adjust most main parameters too. Plus it can sit on the end of my electro!

    As I say, I have a 16 voice rev2 as well, but for the £220 I paid for my used blofeld it is amazing.
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  • horsehorse Frets: 716
    Peak is great too though. Although you could prob get a DM12 and a used Blofeld for less, and that would give you fairly infinite scope for evolving pads
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  • DM 12 and Blofeld sounds interesting.  Would give me the following set-up:

    1: RD2000 - weighted action, all Pianos, organs, EPs, Clavs - and basic layering Pads/strings.

    2: FA07 - synth action control board, sequencer, Programmable Poly Arp, Orchestral sounds, Basic Synth sounds (those needing only 1 effect, or 1 modulation source).

    3. Blofeld - complex evolving patches (3 complete Oscillators and complex capable Mod Matrix) that doesnt require real time manual manipulation, with decent FX, 2nd Programmable Poly Arp

    4: DM 12 - patches requiring complex modulation, that can be achieved with more limited Oscillators, but that has greater FX capability and real time manipulation. 3rd Programmable Arp.

    Im struggling to see a downside here (as they will fit side by side behind the FA07) with the exception that Id need a Midi splitter (the Blofeld doesnt have Midi through meaning I cant daisy chain from FA to DM to Blofeld to RD) and small audio Mixer (No audio ins on the DM or Blofeld). Adds a little cost BUT:

    Deep Mind 12 D - £550. Blofeld £380, Midi Splitter £40, Audio Mixer £80. Total £1050.
    DSI Rev 2, 8 Voice £1080
    Peak £1035.

    Given that setup is the same total cost as either other option........ Does that sound like the most complete package?
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 23222
    edited December 2018
    Out of the ones you list the only ones I would buy with my own money are the Virus Ti2 and the Prophet Rev 2.

    I have the Prophet Rev 2 and have been trying to find a Virus Ti2 for the right money (I had a Virus B years ago).
    The prophet is a darker tone- very warm.
    The Virus is more diverse but Access have been concentrating their energies on the Kemper and have not updated it for ages.

    If buying new then no question, a Prophet Rev 2.
    If buying used then I could go either way.

    "And what would humans be without love?"
    “RARE, said Death.”

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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 590
    edited December 2018
    Ha - I know your recommendations (and am keeping my eye open for a used Ti2 - Ive seen a couple at £800 and £850)), and as usual you are right really - Im just trying to get as much for my money as I can I guess.
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  • horsehorse Frets: 716
    Ultimately with all these options, what you do with them once you've got them is more significant than what you choose to buy in my opinion.

    Only other thing I'd add are that the FX on the Blofeld are probably its weakest aspect, and you can't manipulate them from the mod matrix. The DM12 will be different class in that regard, but you won't be short of options with that combo
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  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 1321
    The Virus - all day long. I had and sold one (Ti - same as Ti2, just a bit less polyphony, I think). And I still have a Deepmind and a Nord Lead 3, from your list. Also currently have an FA-08.

    Virus is reasonably flexible from the front panel, and at first doesn't look much advanced from the B/C models. But the Ti is almost unfathomably deep - it will definitely go places that none of the others will. Which is why I sold it - I'd sit down and a whole evening would disappear as I tripped through wonderful but unusable sounds and made no music. I'm not the right person for it. :(

    However, I am the right person for the Nord Lead 3 - that LED-ring interface makes it a dream to program, and with 4 layers in a performance, it's easy to get very rich, evolving pads, by combining and contrasting filter types. And as you can do FM with it, you can also combine FM and VA layers. I'll be selling mine, but only to get the keyboard version. (If you want to try a NL3, I'm in Cambridge.) Quite important - some people think it sounds 'too polished'.

    Deepmind is - as you say - just a weeny bit short of being a full-fat synth. But it's very immediate, and the FX make it sound great.

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  • Out of these it’d be the Prophet for me, by a mile 
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 590
    edited December 2018
    How is the effects section on the Virus.  Having looked online there seems just as much realtime control as the DM.  Only the Peak and Rev 2 have more - and getting to mod sources and Osc's that arnt available at a time seems one button press away - easier than the DM, but the FX doesnt look that strong?

    In Fact the  Rev 2 looks like it has more/better FX as well.  
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  • Well, got as quick play with a peak.  Only mins as it's my sons birthday, but think that ones out.  Sounds far too clinical and modern for what I want.
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  • horsehorse Frets: 716
    Well, got as quick play with a peak.  Only mins as it's my sons birthday, but think that ones out.  Sounds far too clinical and modern for what I want.
    That prob rules the Blofeld out too then I'd say as it is probably even more in the clinical direction
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  • Think I'll save another month or 2  for a rev 2 8 voice.  It can be upgraded at 16 voice later.  If I come across a used Ti2 at a good price before then I'll go for that as I'd not loose money off I didn't gel with it.
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  • paulmapp8306paulmapp8306 Frets: 590
    edited December 2018
    Ha - changed my mind again.  I got to play a Peak for a couple of hours today.  Its actually very nice sounding (and not as clinical as I thought once you play around with filters and envelopes), and its very immediate and logical to use.  It does have some limitations compared to the Rev-2, namely 2 LFOs rather than 4 (and one of those 2 is hard wired as the Pitch mod for the LFOs should you use that), and the Mod matrix doesnt allow modulation of FX parameters.  This is weighed against having 2 Mod  Envelopes (against Rev 2s one) and 3 LFOs v 2 (though Rev has a Sub as well).  The Rev 2 only allows 1 FX per voice, while the Peak can have all FX applied - BUT Rev 2 has more FX types (Peak has reverb, delay, Chorus and distortion only)

    BUT, Ive just finished a chat with a Beta tester for Peaks new FW - and it adds the ability to Mod FX functions AND adds 2 more LFOs as well as a much more comprehensive Wave table function (and of course it has FM as well).  Add to that its seem a £100 drop in price over the last week so now comes in at £990 v Rev 2 (8 voice) £1110. 

    The only remaining Downside is its 8 note polyphony - which cant be upgraded unlike the Rev 2 - and that Rev 2 is Bi-Timbral so you could have a 4 Osc patch - though realistically Id need the 16 Voice Rev to really make use of that.

    Think I might just grab a Peak tomorrow....
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  • horsehorse Frets: 716
    Cool. I seem to remember the peak had a lot of scope for adding drive at different stages too, which can no doubt warm things up if needed.
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  • Got me a Peak - and the new FW goes live later today.  Only had a quick play (check my routings and such) as Ive got no way of mounting it on my keys stand yet.  Have a suitable laptop stand, but need a shelf to go on the stands arms under the top board.  Should get here tomorrow - then its pictures and play time.
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