Best synths?

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tavasti
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Best synths?

Post by tavasti »

There seems to be nearly infinite number of synths. Most of them belong to some category, like additive, subtractive, fm, analog, ...
With my understanding it is hard to find reason why we need so many synths, do they have distinctive features really?

I have personally used mostly ZynAddSubFX, which has three different synths inside, and ton of features. For me it looks like having features for nearly everything. Or does it?

What are your favorite synths, and why they are so great? Preferably linux native synths, but even windows vst's if they are really worth mentioning.
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khz
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Re: Best synths?

Post by khz »

Similar to "Linux Plugins (LADSPA, DSSI, Vamp, LV2, VST)" >> viewtopic.php?p=94172#p94172?

Different synthesis forms sound different.
With the same synthesis, the different instruments can also sound different (DSP algorithms, ...).
The usability (GUI) can be different, CPU load,... .
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tavasti
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Re: Best synths?

Post by tavasti »

khz wrote:Similar to "Linux Plugins (LADSPA, DSSI, Vamp, LV2, VST)" >> viewtopic.php?p=94172#p94172?
Nearly similar, but that does rule out standalone programs, and for me, even windows vst synths might be interesting.
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Re: Best synths?

Post by sysrqer »

I've been enjoying Helm lately for making deep sub bass patches. I like that it is simple to use but can do some quite complex modulation.

Zynaddsubfx is another I use often. I'm still trying to get used to the new UI and have been struggling a little with that. Zyn has a few quirks and bugs though which make me use it less than I would otherwise, especially when it comes to bass sounds.

I really like Tunefish, it has a certain sound that is fantastic for leads and digital piano type sounds.

DiscoveryPro is another I use often. Again, it has a really good and unique sound, as well as some great features.

Monique is one I don't often enough but love to play with, it can do some crazy stuff.

I used to use Tal Noisemaker a lot but not so much these days.

I think that's mostly what I use. I like creating my own synth sounds in renoise by importing or drawing single cycle waveforms and applying all kinds of modulation to them.

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khz
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Re: Best synths?

Post by khz »

Mine are currently "Xhip Synthesizer", "Dexed" and "Discovery". The sound and the good operability (well, DX7 ;-)) of all three synthesizers convinces me.
Hypercyclic helps me to improve my ~talent. ;-) Very musical MIDI.
I find "transient mangler" by Steve Harris well in connection with DrumSynth, for example.
But: :like: ! H A R D W A R E ! :like:
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Re: Best synths?

Post by chaocrator »

just one word: hardware.

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Re: Best synths?

Post by Frank Carvalho »

I admit I have to agree with Chaocractors single word. Currently I am lusting for all the disruptive gear being announced by Behringer. But, otherwise I have had some pretty good results with the OB-XD soft synth.

Is anyone aware of a wavetable synthesizer for Linux? I have my trusty old Ensoniq TS12 to cover that area, but creating custom wavetables is a PAIN, which involves very strange sample rates, old PC floppy discs running strange formats, and an antiquated PC with a floppy drive capable of running DOS programs to write the discs :twisted:

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Re: Best synths?

Post by tavasti »

chaocrator wrote:just one word: hardware.
Objection, with one word: poverty!
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Re: Best synths?

Post by folderol »

I've been using Yoshimi since 2009, and these days I'm the limiting factor - not the synth :lol:

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chaocrator
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Re: Best synths?

Post by chaocrator »

tavasti wrote:
chaocrator wrote:just one word: hardware.
Objection, with one word: poverty!
oh, living in Ukraine, i understand your objection very well, since average income here is one of the lowest over Europe. due to this reason, i was a huge software synth fan for a VERY long time, but doing more and more rehearsal & jam sessions at last made me turn to the hardware side of the force.
but it's not obligatory to obtain those fancy overpriced machines advertised everywhere. i know some really affordable words from hardware world )
anyway, if you have to choose wisely, practicing with software synths helps a lot to understand what you really need.
so, my favorites are:
subtractive — Helm (FOSS), TAL Noisemaker (FOSS), U-He Tyrell N6 (freeware).
FM … well, both of them — OxeFM (FOSS) & Dexed (FOSS). i'm aware of Hexter and 6PM existence, but can't see any reasons to use them in real-world production environment.
others — ZynAddSubFX, Phasex and WhySynth. these are hybrid machines that don't have direct counterparts in hardware world … but there's one really magic word — Axoloti ;)

p.s. regarding wavetable: ZynAddSubFX/yoshimi both allow to do a lot of waveforms used in mainstream/commercial wavetable softsynths, just in a different way.

update:
sysrqer wrote:Monique is one I don't often enough but love to play with, it can do some crazy stuff.
Monique!! how could i forget to mention it.
absolutely excellent piece of software. i fell in love with it immediately and bought a copy on the sale, but was too busy with other projects to fiddle with it enough.

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Re: Best synths?

Post by Drumfix »

Dexed (for FM), Linuxsampler (for - samples), JP6K (Win VST for Supersaw) and a couple of HW digital and analog synths.

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Re: Best synths?

Post by khz »

Frank Carvalho wrote:Currently I am lusting for all the disruptive gear being announced by Behringer.
Behringer :twisted: is a good contrast to GNU from a philosophical point of view. :wink:
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Re: Best synths?

Post by tavasti »

chaocrator wrote:
tavasti wrote:
chaocrator wrote:just one word: hardware.
Objection, with one word: poverty!
oh, living in Ukraine, i understand your objection very well, since average income here is one of the lowest over Europe. due to this reason, i was a huge software synth fan for a VERY long time, but doing more and more rehearsal & jam sessions at last made me turn to the hardware side of the force.
In addition to price of hardware itself, price of having enough room for them. Now in my office I have barely space for Akai LPK-25 keyboard, and garage is cold most part of the year, so using it as studio is not an option. And anyway, stringed instruments are my main target, synths are secondary. It would be nice to work with hardware, get away from mouse, but at least now that is not reality for me.

In addition to actual budget, it is also mindset question: I don't want to spend money on anything unless it provides something real benefit. Therefore with software I prefer free options, and spend some money on supporting them.
chaocrator wrote:but it's not obligatory to obtain those fancy overpriced machines advertised everywhere. i know some really affordable words from hardware world )
If you have some hints for affordable & great hw, could you share them as well?
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Re: Best synths?

Post by Taika-Kim »

I have used music software from the 90s, and have also owned and currently own modulars etc.

Still, recently I have been doing almost everything exclusively with the Bitwig internal devices. It's possible to get very creative, and now with the new sampler recently added, advanced sample mangling is also possible.

Analog stuff sounds good for the filters, and also distorted, feedbacked etc non-linear sounds. Here still no soft synth reaches the quality of real analog components.

But then again, the possibility of having unlimited per-note modulations with high polyphony... There is so much more creative freedom with software.

I would also recommend U-he stuff, he has very good filter sounds, and Bazille is great for creative patching (then again, I sold it after realising how deep BW is). ACE is still my basic choice for analog-like sounds.

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chaocrator
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Re: Best synths?

Post by chaocrator »

tavasti wrote:In addition to price of hardware itself, price of having enough room for them. Now in my office I have barely space for Akai LPK-25 keyboard, and garage is cold most part of the year, so using it as studio is not an option. And anyway, stringed instruments are my main target, synths are secondary. It would be nice to work with hardware, get away from mouse, but at least now that is not reality for me.
and now, here comes an interesting part of my gear demands.
my hardware setup has a limit — to fit 40L backpack (excluding e-drumset and speakers).
In addition to actual budget, it is also mindset question: I don't want to spend money on anything unless it provides something real benefit. Therefore with software I prefer free options, and spend some money on supporting them.
absolutely agree. and when it comes to hardware, same criteria continue to work, because there is a lot of excellent gears with open design out there.
If you have some hints for affordable & great hw, could you share them as well?
sure.
preenFM2 — polyphonic & polytimbral FM synth (sized like 1/4 of my 13 inch laptop)
audiothingies micromonsta — polyphonic subtractive synth (very similar form factor)
IK Multimedia Uno — monophonic, but absolutely excellent little synth (approximately like 10 inch laptop in size)
my favorite one — axoloti. strictly speaking, it's not really hardware, it's semi-hardware — it's a dedicated unit to run patches designed in its IDE. anyway, it behaves like a very small hardware unit, costs only €65, has a large community with quite a lot ready patches, and allows to do many unusual things if you're willing to learn how to build patches for it.

the benefit is simple — hardware synths just sound better with much less effort than their software counterparts, and they do not eat your CPU, RAM and time (which is money too).

p.s. if you need a versatile MIDI controller for your synths (either hardware or software), i'd recommend a second hand Novation ReMOTE (they were made with different sized keyboards and with no keboard at all).

p.p.s. regarding space. lifehack number one: a second hand e-drums frame (with a little bit of DIY) is your best friend when you're really tight in space. all synths and controllers can be easily and conveniently mounted on it, and the folded frame takes virtually no space when it's not needed.

p.p.p.s. i even did not mention a mixer question, because it's very complex question. mine is Zoom L-12, which is not budget friendly, but i bought it to get rid of using generic laptops or computers in recording sessions.

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