Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Talk about music gear for noise music

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GROSS
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Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by GROSS » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:56 am

I want to buy inexpensive full-sized keyboard synthesizer to make "normal" piano music. But at the same time I want to use it in my noise setups.

What can you recommend? I'm thinking about Yamaha PSR-E363. A new one in my country is $250.

And, more importantly, why one even need a keyboard for noise? Just as a sound sourse? I've seen a lot of noise setups with keyboards. What features you need in keyboard synthesizers for noise?

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¼ dead
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by ¼ dead » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:16 am

I could be wrong, but I don't think you can build timbres from scratch on the Yamaha PSR-E363, so it's not a "synthesizer" per se. I believe it's a ROMpler, perhaps with very limited patch-editing capabilities under the hood.

I have a Yamaha PSR-275, which I guess is a lower-end model. It has good enough bread-and-butter sounds for music, but it's not exactly "ideal" for noise. Whether using it in a noisy or musical context, I get a lot more mileage out of it by interfacing it with a MIDI controller or DAW and processing the hell out of the sound with external effects, which is essentially what was done for these recordings:

https://fgfy.bandcamp.com/album/irregular-clocks
https://fgfy.bandcamp.com/album/never-be-clean
https://fgfy.bandcamp.com/album/i-do-quite-well

At any rate, you don't "need" a ROMpler or synthesizer for noise. And you can save a lot of cash by buying a MIDI controller + module, or simply interfacing the controller with a DAW, which gives you pretty unlimited resources for VST synthesizers/sample players, or even your soundcard's own GM soundbanks.

But, if you just want a ROMPler-synth that lets you build timbres from scratch for its compact portability, I believe that tubby here uses a Korg Triton for most or all of his music and Power Electronics dabbling:
Image


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melkobukva
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by melkobukva » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:16 am

First of all PSR-E363 is not, strictly speaking, a synthesizer. It's a rompler. Which means it has very limited sound manipulation capabilities, you'll be stuck with factory presets. So yeah, it can be a very limited sound source, and a very limited midi controller (keys only, no knobs), and maybe a very limited FX processor, since it accepts external audio and has built in FX. Although you need to check whether you can apply those effects to external audio or they are for internal sounds only.

All in all, I wouldn't buy such a thing. It won't be much good for conventional piano music, because it has cheap sounds and cheap keyboard. And it won't be much good for exprimental stuff due to lack of flexibility. However, external audo input is a big plus, at least you can put it in a feedback loop :twisted:

Some suggestions.

1) As I understand, you're Russian. In that case, whatever you choose, buy used from Avito, you'll get stuff much, much cheaper. Like, 50% cheaper.
2) If a good full-sized keyboard is your top priority, get a good midi-controller and use software for sounds. A keyboard + sound module combo will always be more pricey than either keyboard or sound module of the same class purchased separately. At the same time, there are all sorts of free sample libraries and VST instruments. And midi-keyboard will have all sorts of assignable knobs and sliders to mess with. I assume you already have a decent audio interface, if you don't that's the first thing to buy.
3) If you really want a keyboard with a sound module, monitor Avito for Kurzweil K2000 (or K2500) for a while. This bad boy will do everything you want, it has a nice keyboard, good conventional sounds and expansive sound design capabilities. And sometimes they sell dirt cheap. The only downside is that Kurzweils weigh a ton.
4) Another option is Ensoniq ESQ-1, or SQ80, or VFX. However, they got kinda expensive and hard to find due to high demand. As for piano, Ensoniqs will get you only nasty early 90s digital sounds, but they are perfect for industrial music. Right now there's a broken VFX on sale, but I saw cheaper offers in perfect working condition earlier. If you wait, you might score one.
5) If you need sound design capabilities more than conventional timbres, look into Yamaha DX and Casio CZ synths. You can get those for the price of a new PSR [DX11, DX21, CZ1].
6) Some other options to consider are Yamaha SY85, Korg M1, Roland D-50. Read the reviews, skim the manuals, listen to some demos on YT, see if they suit you.
7) Alesis Micron has a keyboard with only 3 octaves, which is too small for "piano music", but it can make some pretty badass noise.

I am basing the suggestions on $300 budget, but if you're willing to pay more, there are more options. If I were you, I'd get three separate things: a nice midi controller ($100), an old but high quality pro grade sampler/rompler for "normal" sounds ($200-250), an inexpensive knobby monophonic analog or analog-modelling synth for noise/industrial type of sounds ($250-300): MS-20 Mini, Bass Station II, Micro- or Minibrute, Roland Aira or System-1m, even Virus A, those sometimes turn up rather cheap, some -zwerg from MFB would do if I could find one, maybe also Akai Timbre Wolf which might not be perfect sound-wise but has polyphony and sells for pocket change compared to other true analog devices. And Nord Micro Modular, those tiny things are freaking beasts. But if you want to go entirely outside the box, you'll also need FX units, and pedals, and a mixer, and some sort of recorder, and cables... and all that will pile up to at least another $200-300.

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jliat
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by jliat » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:48 am

The Yamaha Sy99 and SY77 & TG77 have samples but also complex FM synthesis which can make noise.
The SY99 is a bit of a beast but has a very good piano. Add to that extensive tunings, you can make each key play 1/4 and 1/2 notes..
- even reverse the keyboard - good effects and sequencer.. you can on the sy99 load your own samples. All FM and samples can be mixed..
i can see a sy77 in the uk ebay @ 200 ukp.

Two things - the floppy drive belt goes to jelly with age, and the display gets quite dim. The display can be replaced but its complicated.
The drive simpler. The inbuilt batteries are soldered and might need replacing, which I've done - so anyone could!

I would say programming is not easy, but you can get computer based editors.

I think the TG55 and sy55 are sample only no FM.

I have an SY99 and a TG77 and wouldn't part with them - the pianos are good as are the organ sounds... i'm even tempted to buy the SY77!
The main problem is they are very heavy so buying on ebay might be a problem. The SY99 especially.

Edit: I think the TG85 is sample only, not sure how good the DX series - earlier are, in terms of programmability or piano sounds.
The SY99/77 has more FM operators, 8, each gas a programmable envelope, each can be used as source or modulate another. And you can use up to 4 such in a sound. HP / LP filter, sub osc etc.. If you are at all interested check out the manual - you can browse online..

check out also the youtube vids - shows the depth... @ about 4 minutes you see some noise...

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GROSS
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by GROSS » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:21 am

melkobukva wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:16 am
First of all PSR-E363 is not, strictly speaking, a synthesizer. It's a rompler. Which means it has very limited sound manipulation capabilities, you'll be stuck with factory presets. So yeah, it can be a very limited sound source, and a very limited midi controller (keys only, no knobs), and maybe a very limited FX processor, since it accepts external audio and has built in FX. Although you need to check whether you can apply those effects to external audio or they are for internal sounds only.

All in all, I wouldn't buy such a thing. It won't be much good for conventional piano music, because it has cheap sounds and cheap keyboard. And it won't be much good for exprimental stuff due to lack of flexibility. However, external audo input is a big plus, at least you can put it in a feedback loop :twisted:

Some suggestions.

1) As I understand, you're Russian. In that case, whatever you choose, buy used from Avito, you'll get stuff much, much cheaper. Like, 50% cheaper.
2) If a good full-sized keyboard is your top priority, get a good midi-controller and use software for sounds. A keyboard + sound module combo will always be more pricey than either keyboard or sound module of the same class purchased separately. At the same time, there are all sorts of free sample libraries and VST instruments. And midi-keyboard will have all sorts of assignable knobs and sliders to mess with. I assume you already have a decent audio interface, if you don't that's the first thing to buy.
3) If you really want a keyboard with a sound module, monitor Avito for Kurzweil K2000 (or K2500) for a while. This bad boy will do everything you want, it has a nice keyboard, good conventional sounds and expansive sound design capabilities. And sometimes they sell dirt cheap. The only downside is that Kurzweils weigh a ton.
4) Another option is Ensoniq ESQ-1, or SQ80, or VFX. However, they got kinda expensive and hard to find due to high demand. As for piano, Ensoniqs will get you only nasty early 90s digital sounds, but they are perfect for industrial music. Right now there's a broken VFX on sale, but I saw cheaper offers in perfect working condition earlier. If you wait, you might score one.
5) If you need sound design capabilities more than conventional timbres, look into Yamaha DX and Casio CZ synths. You can get those for the price of a new PSR [DX11, DX21, CZ1].
6) Some other options to consider are Yamaha SY85, Korg M1, Roland D-50. Read the reviews, skim the manuals, listen to some demos on YT, see if they suit you.
7) Alesis Micron has a keyboard with only 3 octaves, which is too small for "piano music", but it can make some pretty badass noise.

I am basing the suggestions on $300 budget, but if you're willing to pay more, there are more options. If I were you, I'd get three separate things: a nice midi controller ($100), an old but high quality pro grade sampler/rompler for "normal" sounds ($200-250), an inexpensive knobby monophonic analog or analog-modelling synth for noise/industrial type of sounds ($250-300): MS-20 Mini, Bass Station II, Micro- or Minibrute, Roland Aira or System-1m, even Virus A, those sometimes turn up rather cheap, some -zwerg from MFB would do if I could find one, maybe also Akai Timbre Wolf which might not be perfect sound-wise but has polyphony and sells for pocket change compared to other true analog devices. And Nord Micro Modular, those tiny things are freaking beasts. But if you want to go entirely outside the box, you'll also need FX units, and pedals, and a mixer, and some sort of recorder, and cables... and all that will pile up to at least another $200-300.
Thanks for your research. If I ever gonna buy synth, I will go for Yamaha DX11/V2 (if there will be any offer in Avito)

Спасибо!

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melkobukva
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by melkobukva » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:25 pm

You are welcome! Although now I think jliat actually gave you a better advice :)
Yamaha SY77 is a very nice instrument. I've been salivating over a rackmount version, TG77, for quite a while. Sadly, no spare physical space to place it atm.

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Bipolar Fucking Joe
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by Bipolar Fucking Joe » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:05 pm

I personally recommend finding something with cross-synthesis. Someone here turned me on to it, and it quickly became a favourite. Good for when you want REALLY-NOISY.

For what it's worth, the DX200 (Which is basically a DX7) is my favourite poly synth and gets used a lot.

vnmb
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by vnmb » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:21 pm

if you really want to be cheap, buy a rock band keyboard and a midi to usb cable. Then just use a free synth vst in your DAW of choice.

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¼ dead
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Re: Keyboard synthesizers for noise

Post by ¼ dead » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:44 pm

This thread has reminded me that I want to buy a cheap, cheesy old Yamaha walkstation to circuit bend.

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