This blog was written for primeloops.com – check them out for some ace samples and to see my blogs 2 months earlier!
To counteract last week’s 7 deadly synths, let’s take a look at something that will make some heavenly sounds – 7 of the best, most impressive and most expensive hardware synths, workstations and in some cases all-in-one-studios about.
So here we go: 7 heavenly synths!
Openlabs NeKo XXL
The Damage: £4200
Are you one of those millionaires that is sick of putting in the effort of patching things together? The Neko is for you – a concise workstation combining a monitor, qwerty keyboard, mixer, trigger pads, alpha control module (for quick navigation through your DAW program of choice).
As well as having the Full Ableton Live software as standard, 10 inputs and 10 outputs from the inbuilt sound card, 4 terabytes of space and a coffee maker. Not really, but I’m sure they’d sell more if they had one – y’know, since this doesn’t have enough features already.
The Damage: £5000
Yet another massive workstation to join the list, this one has an absolutely spectacular orchestral sample kit amongst the thousands of patches. Combine that with vector synthesis, which allows for really textured, moving sounds, tons of effects, audio recording and too many features to list here without it seeming like a joke and you’ll see why this is synth heaven.
But the thing that makes this synth stand out is the “Karma” engine, allowing real-time composition of songs, altering multiple layers and adding in fills at the push of a button, allowing you to make interesting, varied tracks on the spot. Seriously Fun.
Yamaha MOTIF XS
The Damage: £2700
One of those all-in-one deals that really pulls it off well – integrates with computer-based hardware (Cubase), a massive selection of sampled sounds including extra dynamic control for certain banks, such as a guitar that allows you to play harmonics and have note slides.
This workstation is great for inspiration, with 6000 arpeggiator patterns and over 1000 preset voices.
Roland Fantom G8
The Damage: £2600
Brilliant for Live use – with a bunch of controls specifically designed for expressive performance, such as allowing the pitch bend knob to bend up only the last note in a chord, awesome effects (the unit can actually be used simultaneously as a synth and a multi-effects unit) and the useful ability to use a USB mouse with the backlit LCD screen.
It is awesome when it comes to drum emulation too – with a snazzy 3D interface allowing you to see what the drum you’re emulating looks like, controlling things like shell depth, tuning and muting (Roland make the immense “V-Drums” so they’ve had a lot of practice with synthesizing and sampling percussion).
Nord Stage EX 88
The Damage: £2200
Top-of-the-line quality piano, electric piano and organ sounds, amp simulation (including rotary for organs) and now some sweet sounding synths mean that the Stage EX is definitely the synth of choice when you want to get expressive, authentic piano sounds… but don’t actually want a piano (or want more control from the sound!).
The beauty of this synth is its simplicity – it’s very easy to use but controls a hell of a lot of power.
Access Virus TI
The Damage: £2000
Whereas a lot of synths have been designed for emulating other instruments, this is one synth that truly shines with it’s harsh, dark and powerful electronic sounds.
The options are amazing, the super saw is absolutely massive; so those trance leads will punch like Chuck Norris.
The warping, mental sounds are all categorised nicely and have some sweet functions I’d never thought of, like interpolation control on wavetables, formant tables and grain tables for some freakin’ intense, morphing noises!
Alesis A6 Andromeda
The Damage: £2500
Do you like twizzling, fiddling and in general playing with your patches? Then the Alesis Andromeda is perfect for you – 72 knobs and 144 buttons make this a veritable canvas for any prospective synth-y artists to paint their latest patch on!
The 7-Stage envelopes mean that this synth can make sounds never before possible on an Analog synth. Analog has never been so accessible!