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New Keyboard Day... becomes New (Pre-Broken) Synth Day. Now New (Pre-Broken) Synth (pt. II)


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In an attempt to diversify a little,  I purchased a Roland GO:Keys61.

Well. It would be 61 keys.  Because they don't do a 76 or 88...

 

I have, of course, taken to it like a fish to air, with my embarrassment only being spared by judicious use of a headphone socket. 

 

The keys are nice,  it's solid and functional enough,  and I'm sure I've barely scratched the surface of what it can do. 

Nonetheless,  there a degree of tactile response and immediacy that's lacking compared to bass guitar, and I don't think that weighted keys would address that. 

Furthermore, it feels like they've held back all the quality tones and sounds for the better models (Juno, Jupiter, Fantom etc.)

 

Have I been spoiled by too much contact with good basses, I wonder?!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Lfalex v1.1
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After some further messing around,  I've found that sacrificing "stereo" for mono and using a valve preamp pedal for just the slightest bit of drive really helps some of the duller patches come to life. 

I've also pressed my Zoom B3 back into action for Reverb, Delay and modulation fx duties.

That's proven to be similarly interesting, but it'd be great to have a user-definable  stereo "fx loop" to which a given sound could be assigned, subjected to various FX, then blended back into the overall mix. 

I guess you just buy a more expensive keyboard with onboard fx. Or a second keyboard....

 

GAS. Is it like this for all instruments?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Urgh! 

These things are as bad as basses!

The Roland is like a gateway drug;

 

"I wish I could control the envelope of the sounds more (at all!)"

 

Enter: Synth Gas.

Candidates: Novation Bass Station 2, Arturia MiniFreak, and my current fave; The ASM Hydrasynth Explorer...

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3 hours ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Urgh! 

These things are as bad as basses!

The Roland is like a gateway drug;

 

"I wish I could control the envelope of the sounds more (at all!)"

 

Enter: Synth Gas.

Candidates: Novation Bass Station 2, Arturia MiniFreak, and my current fave; The ASM Hydrasynth Explorer...

Ah, sounds like you're being sucked in also ! 😂 The moog Grandmother was my gateway drug ..

I do know of these models you listed . I haven't any of those , but the Hydrasynth looks fantastic from what I've seen .

In my defence , I just noodle and record efforts on soundcloud with the intention of improving etc. and have stopped the band malarkey years ago. 

 

I don't know your situation though , whether you gig in a band or not .  If you are still a regular bass player in a band , then you may not need much more . If on the other hand you are like me then , yeah ..go ahead within your budget.

I'm trying very hard to limit the stuff I really need ( want 😬) , and having started off with lower cost moogs I just pulled the trigger on a £45 Behringher polysynth which hopefully will be my lot for some time . 

You have a nice tidy setup. I'm getting peed off with the amount of spaghetti wires etc . Something to bare n mind .

@Bigredx should be along soon ..🙂

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I'm with you on the newfound keyboard GAS.

 

Bass Guitars are bad enough, but arguably one £500 Bass can pretty much do everything, but there's an almost legitimate 'need' to have a few different types of piano/keyboards/synths! 

 

Personally, I've got a Yamaha home piano for... well, home piano playing (big, heavy, 88 weighted keys, built in speaker, good piano sounds but other sounds not so good). An M Audio MIDI keyboard for Laptop DAW/VST stuff (and live stuff while I'm selling my MPC Key 61), it's fine - but I've ran into reliability issues using it at gigs.

 

So now I have my eye on something sort of in between: a stage keyboard for gigs, smaller than a home piano and more sounds, more reliable live than MIDI keyboard and Laptop. Ideally with decent organ sounds and drawbars. It's not a cheap game though (Yamaha CK 61 & Roland VR-09B being my front runners for my budget). 

Edited by SumOne
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Think I'm just GASsing for something that'll;

 

A) Let me play a different patch with my left hand while my right hand occupies another keyboard.

 

B) Have an arpeggiator/sequencer to play rhythm for me while I do other stuff.

 

C) Will let me dabble in synthesis.

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20240227_1606502.thumb.jpg.cdd44ce39be622bb6cc1ce66297b2085.jpg

 

Hydrasynth Explorer arrived today.

Complete with all accessories and just over 15% off the cheapest retail price I could find on the Net.

 

First impressions? Pretty good

Solid and well-built, but not too heavy.

Sounds better than the Roland. More depth and articulation to even the preset voices.

 

It's currently slaved in stereo through the Roland's speakers,  which aren't great. However,  I can play both simultaneously, use the Roland's headphone socket (which IS good) AND play along to music streamed to the Roland via Bluetooth...

 

Edit- I guess it'll be going back,  then. 

As you can see in the photo,  half the back-lights on the keys don't work. And you need them to, otherwise you can't see which LFO you're adjusting (they should illuminate solidly)

 

I tried the various menus, including the light menu and the system test. I've tried a factory reset. 

No luck.

 

Back to Bax.co.uk it goes, then, as it was described as fully functional, with light signs of use. It isn't. So I guess it's not sold as described then...

Edited by Lfalex v1.1
Malfunction
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  • Lfalex v1.1 changed the title to New Keyboard Day... becomes New (Pre-Broken) Synth Day.

I've set the wheels in motion with regard to return/refund.

We'll see how good their policy/ procedure is.

 

Will there be a replacement?

I did like it, and in the 15 minutes I spent tinkering with making a patch,  I (accidentally) made a passable Fender Rhodes voice. 

Going to wait for the refund, then have a think. 

 

Only negatives:

 

You can't play a second voice over the arpeggiator (only the deluxe can do that) but the Roland gives me that capacity. 

 

Control of the tempo is awkward. The Tap function is slow to respond,  and you have to use shift and another key to access fine control via a knob. A dedicated tempo knob would be nice. 

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In spite of my efforts,  no refund has yet been dispatched or received.

 

Both Parcelforce and Bax acknowledge that the return made it back to Bax.

Yet they've done nothing. 

Furthermore,  my vacuum cleaner bit the dust (after over a decade and many repairs by me) and the car needs a new battery. 

 

Looks like the Synth journey is over for now.

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On 24/02/2024 at 17:49, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Think I'm just GASsing for something that'll;

 

A) Let me play a different patch with my left hand while my right hand occupies another keyboard.

 

B) Have an arpeggiator/sequencer to play rhythm for me while I do other stuff.

 

C) Will let me dabble in synthesis.

 

I can see the Rick Wakeman cloak as part of the GAS.....

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I assume you'll get the refund at some stage . Fingers crossed for you , that you haven't too long to wait .

life and the cost of living crisis , does have a tendency to affect and annoy us at the wrong times unfortunately .

 

Having said that , it's a temporary blip for now and you'll carry on your synth journey before you know it . 
Keep us updated .

 

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Bax have,  after much chasing,  decided that I am "entitled" to a refund.

 

I certainly am!

 

They sent me a POS. I sent it back ASAP in exactly the state in which it arrived.

 

No sign of the actual refund,  though, so I'm still without product or funds.

 

Thanks,  Bax.

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Posted (edited)

That was timely! (But then again,  we are bassists!)

 

I received it yesterday. Thanks for asking.

 

An alternative replacement has been ordered courtesy of Andertons, in the form of a Modal Argon8x.

 

It was very reasonably priced, and given that they're not likely to be around much longer due to Modal being in administration since last year... Why not?

 

If I still feel the need for the screaming madness that a Hydrasynth can generate, they'll be around a while longer yet.

 

 

As with all the best things in life,  I've absolutely no idea where I'm going to put the Argon 8x!

There's already one keyboard too many in the lounge! 🤪

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Lfalex v1.1
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16 hours ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

An alternative replacement has been ordered courtesy of Andertons, in the form of a Modal Argon8x.

 

It was very reasonably priced, and given that they're not likely to be around much longer due to Modal being in administration since last year... Why not?

 

Good choice - I ahve an argon (the key one). Great synth.

Modal are still a going concern though, they released new synths this year at namm,  and their reps are saying it is just restructuring, so who knows. It would be a shame if they went as they have done some great stuff. They also release a carbon synth too.

 

I am still tempted by a cobalt to go with the argon.

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1 hour ago, Woodinblack said:

...and their reps are saying it is just restructuring...

 

That's what I'd heard from another source, although that was last year and since then it's gone very quiet with regards to further information.

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  • Lfalex v1.1 changed the title to New Keyboard Day... becomes New (Pre-Broken) Synth Day. Now New (Pre-Broken) Synth (pt. II)

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