Established 29/05/2015

This page was last updated - 28/08/2018

   
Home   .   Portsmouth FC   .   Celebrity   .   Music Technology   .   On This Day   .   Video   .   Autoliv AGB   .   Film   .   Blog   .   Contact


 
 

Music Technology   -   Synthesizers

 

Home

 

Synthesizers    .    Drums    .    Mixers    .    MIDI    .    Effects    .    Accessories    .    Software


         

 CURRENT COLLECTION

       
         
           
  Roland JX-3P + PG200 OSC Oscar Casio CZ-101 Yamaha TX81Z Korg DW8000
  Novation A-Station Kawai K4r Access Virus B Roland SH-32 Yamaha MU90R
  Alesis NanoSynth Roland JV-1010 Alesis NanoBass E-mu Proteus 2000 Casio VZ-8M
  Korg 03R/W Quasimidi Quasar Korg MS2000B Roland Gaia DSI Evolver
    Waldorf Streichfett Roland JX-03 Roland SE-02 Roland D-05
  Roland SH-01A     Studiologic Sledge  
           

 

Roland JX-3P

 

1983

 

This was the first serious piece of kit I managed to purchase, courtesy of my pay off at the end of my apprenticeship. Not as highly regarded as its stable mates the Juno 6 and Juno 60 but I'm glad I bought it. It has the benefit of the extra oscillator. I also got the optional programmer (PG200) without which it would be a bugger to program.

To my knowledge it was Rolands first MIDI synthesizer and the second only to the SCI Prophet 600 in being the first to have the interface. The MIDI spec is though limited by today's standards

Considering it's age it still works perfectly and has only been removed from my setup as a space saver and replaced by the Roland JX-03

 


 

OSC OSCar

 

1983

 

I got one of the last few they made of these when they were being sold off via E&MM magazine.

Nowadays these are a big collectors item and worth a fortune which isn't true of any of my other gear.

Personally I never took to it in a big way, always found the envelopes lacked any real punch. The waveform building though is a big plus as it enables some great waveforms to be produced and this is how I mainly use it.

Billy Currie used one of these to replace the ARP Odyssey before moving onto software

 


 

Casio CZ-101

 

1985

 

This came as part of a package deal along with an Akai S612 Sampler.

The sampler has long been relegated to the loft to gather dust as it is totally obsolete but the Casio still gets a lot of use.

The advantage the Casio has over a lot of newer and better spec synthesizers is that it has a sound of its own and nothing replicates it. It is fairly easy to program once you get the hang of it although I do find the over complex envelopes a bit of a bind. Also it's small number of patch memories and their very volatile nature is a big shortcoming.

I have tried a few software versions which come close but not quite the same, would love to upgrade to a full size CZ-3000 or CZ-5000 but space means that is highly unlikely.

 


 

Yamaha TX81Z

 

1987

 

In the mid 80s the Yamaha DX7 arrived and pretty much killed the analogue synthesizer market for awhile.

The DX7 was way beyond my price range but Yamaha moved into the budget arena with the keyboard DX100 and DX11 (which was basically a TX81Z with a keyboard). I chose the TX81Z and got myself a, slightly battered, second hand one.

To this day I, along with many others, never understood it. I've used various editing software and recently got a Stereoping 81Z Programmer to help but generally it's pure luck if you get a sound you want or that is even usable.

As with the CZ-101 it's benefit is that it sounds different even if FM synthesis is looked down on nowadays by the purists, luckily I'm not a analogue snob.

 


 

Korg DW-8000

 

1985

 

This was "Synthesizer Of The Year" at one point and I think deservedly so.

It's basically an analogue synthesizer with additional waveforms which enhance its sound considerably while retaining the ease of programming. It was also one of the first synthesizers to include a digital delay which was a great bonus at the time.

As with the Casio CZ-101 I find its over complicated envelopes more of an annoyance than a feature.

I recently got a Stereoping 8000 controller which replaced the Philip Rees version I was using and it's a great improvement.

My synth does exhibit an occasional fault in that the "F" keys sometimes hold a note and wont release it unless you mash the keyboard! I'm also not a fan of the early Korg keyboards in a physical sense, I find them very heavy and noisy, coupled with the fault I usually use this as just a sound module and run it from the Studiologic Sledge. If I could find a cheap EX8000 I would replace it

 


 

Novation A-Station

 

2001

 

A lot can be crammed into a small space and this is a good example.

Novation started making a series of nice and cheap synthesizers when the others seem to be going more upmarket (expensive) and this is a lovely sounding machine but the space saving comes at a cost and the shared oscillator controls make it a bit difficult to understand what's going on.

I recently moved it to a more accessible position so have re-discovered it's potential

 


 

Kawai K4r

 

1999

 

This was very much an impulse buy and I think my first ever ebay purchase.

They were quite cheap at the time and probably still our. Once again not the easiest of synths to program even with the Stereoping K4 to help but they do have a fairlyunique sound which is hard to describe but at best I'd call "gritty industrial"

Very good for atmospheric pad sounds.

 


 

Access Virus B

 

1999

 

Much of Gary Numans retro sounds come, I believe, from an Access Virus although a later model not the B.

It's is probably one of the nicest sounding synths I own, capable of some really lovely thick analogue sounds.

The filters routing can be confusing at times and once again an over complicated envelope (ADSR works perfectly well). There is also a loot hidden in menus including the effects, I tend to just use external effexts as it's easier.

Mine does have a minor fault with the display in that a line is missing but it doesn't effect its use.

 


 

Roland SH-32

 

2001

 

Another synthesizer that was very much an impulse buy but it was a good one.

Not been that impressed by Rolands later instruments (see Gaia) but this does have a lovely sound.

The interface does leave a lot to be desired and the shared oscillator controls are a pain. I've probably not even scratched the surface of it's multi-timbral capabilities as the manual confused me so much when I tired to access the drum sounds I gave up. I still don't know how to get drums from it.

I guess the interface will appeal to the "dance music" fraternity

 


 

Yamaha MU90R

 

1997

 

I use to own a Yamaha DB50XG Soundcard which bolted onto my existing card and gave me access to some wonderful Yamaha XG sounds as well as the standard GM.

Unfortunately after many an upgrade of my computer that card was no longer a viable option so I went for this and it's good.

I mainly use it as a preset device but it gives some great basic sounds from the XG and GM range along with many of it's own.

Mine does have a slightly temperamental volume control and I quite often lose one side of the output

 


 

Alesis NanoSynth

 

1997

 

Not a lot you can say about these units.

They have no real editing features apart from an effect level but what they do supply is a large number of good sounds to use in a very small package.

One thing I did find though is they are very particular about the PSU you use, a standard variable voltage one I tried using would not work with it.

 


 

Roland JV-1010

 

1999

 

Much like the two Nanos this was purely bought as a preset instrument.

You may be able to edit it via software but nothing I have come across.

Its sounds are very good and usable and there is an option to expand it but not something I have looked into.

 


 

Alesis NanoBass

 

1997

 

Exactly the same as the NanoSynth except this is purely dedicated to bass sounds.

It does a very good job at doing this covering a vast range of sounds but once again no editing facility

 


 

E-mu Proteus 2000

 

1999

 

These are a wonderful source of preset sounds covering a wide range of styles with easy editing of the main components.

I got mine second hand and not sure how the previous owner had it set up but the display didn't show the current sound being played and every time I used it I took ages to get it right but now I have found the parameter to change the default it is almost perfect and I've fallen in love with it again. I say almost perfect as for some reason (possibly the previous owner again) it defaults to fully panned right and I can't find how to change the default to central

 


 

Casio VZ-8M

 

1988

 

An enhancement of the Casio CZ series which I am a big fan of.

Unfortunately the poor interface and lack of patience on my part means I've never really got beyond the presets which is a bit of an injustice to this machine as the factory sounds are great.

One day I will dedicate some time to it.

 


 

Korg 03R/W

 

1992

 

This was very much an impulse buy being both fairly cheap and a more up to date Korg than I currently have.

As is too often the case with digital synths they are a nightmare to program so this has served as nothing more than a little used preset synth not because it sounds in any way bad but mainly because it sits at the bottom of the rack so gets largely missed.

Another I need to spend more time with

 


 

Quasimidi Quasar

 

1993

 

You don't see many Quasimidi products and the company wasn't around long and has long since folded.

This was going moderately cheap and from a manufacturer I had no units form so it was worth the purchase.

Useful and large range of presets

 


 

Korg MS2000B

 

2000

 

This was a present to myself as away of cheering myself up on being made redundant

I was originally going to get a MicroKorg but decided instead to go for its big brother, I believe they have the same sound engine.

The presets don't exactly excite being very much aimed at a dance audience but once you get past them it's a good sounding instrument especially with the additional waveforms. Also for a Korg the keyboard has a far lighter feel to it.

As far as I know the only difference between the MS2000B and the MS2000 is colour scheme and microphone socket

 


     

 

Sledge

     

     

 

Gaia SH-01
     

     
 

Evolver

     

     

 

 

Streichfett

     

     

 

JX-03

     

     

 

SE-02

     

     

 

TR-08

     

     

 

D-05

     

     

 

SH-01A

     

Home   .   Portsmouth FC   .   Celebrity   .   Music Technology   .   On This Day   .   Video   .   Autoliv AGB   .   Film   .   Blog   .   Contact

   

TOP

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Optimised for Google Chrome - Dave Wateridge