Synthesizer Guidance

daniel's picture

What would those of you with interest in this area recommend for me? I have a couple of MIDI keyboard controllers, one as part of an M-Audio Venom. What I need now are some more sampled sounds--strings, piano, etc. to use with my band. The most important thing is cost, so I'm looking pretty much at vintage stuff. I'm leaning towards a Roland JV-1080, but realize I know almost nothing about this stuff. Any recommendations?

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Sammy G's picture

FWIW guidance

Yo D,

Most of the keyboardists I've played with over the years have two needs - live and studio. Their rig is separated between these two needs and differentiated as such.

A way to illustrate my point is by using drummers as an analogy. I was in a studio session where the drummer arrived with one snare. The engineer/producer and I quickly exchanged the 'uh-oh' glance. You don't come into the studio with one snare. You bring multiple snares because you have to account for potential sound probabilities. But this guy showed up with one because that's the one snare he'd used live for generating a particular sound with his live band.

So much of electronic keyboards these days is software-driven. Especially in the studio. The studio is all patched sound fonts, and the digital libraries are massive. If you are looking to replicate sounds for recording you will not use your native board as master but slave to a board patch. But this costs.

Since it appears you are looking to go live, and the most important thing is cost, I would absolutely go with a simple 88-board with basic sounds. However, these sounds may not be vintage. The good news is that you can get decent, weighted 88-boards for relatively cheap. Check craigslist. Get used. Lots of peeps trying to unload their gear for cheap.

Look at the used offerings and reference models offered for sale against online specs and reviews.

Be careful about buying heavy. You will get sick of heavy gear.

Be sure to get an in-line power conditioner. I've had brown power during sound check stopped by these 'bullet eaters', which not only saved my more expensive instrument but preserved the gig as well.

Rock on forever with no set breaks,
Sam