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I'm getting into production and song writing, and want a proper synth to learn on. I've played around with VSTs, but I don't feel very engaged with them - I don't feel like I can play them like an instrument. I have a Korg Volca Keys, which is excellent, but I feel I've reached the limits of what it can do sound-wise.

I've been looking at stuff like the Bass Station II, Minilogue/Monologue and the Roland Boutique series. Do you guys have any recommendations for a synth with loads of knobs that I can really get to grips with synthesis on?

Edit: my budget would be around £500

  • You should say how much you are planning to spend, because you can't expect the same thing from a $300 and a $1900 synth... Also what kind of sound do you like? – Gabriel Hautclocq Aug 30 '17 at 14:14
  • @GabrielHautclocq I'm thinking around £500, but I'm somewhat flexible on that – Lex Sandeford Aug 30 '17 at 14:35
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    This might be a controversial opinion but I think anything without presets will force you to learn because you will not be able to save a sound you like. You will have to remember how to make it each time you need it. – Schizomorph Aug 30 '17 at 22:54
  • I bought a Moog Minitaur to do exactly the same thing as you. I was absolutely blown away by the sound of it! I actually wanted something that didn't have 'loads of knobs' though, as I thought it might complicate the learning process. You can get really overwhelmed by complicated synths quickly. – Simon Bosley Sep 1 '17 at 7:35
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I don't know about your tastes or your budget, but I think you could only be satisfied with something like the Arturia MatrixBrute. Lots of knobs and countless possibilities. But it comes at a price: about 2000€. It's a very good investment though because you could keep it forever.

I also remember having fun with Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 but I have no idea of the price today.

It all depends on your taste and budget. If you're about to spend £500 then I think the Bass Station II is a very good choice. The question is quite subjective though.

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There's a number of decent options for your budget.

Here's some in no particular order:

  • Moog Minitaur
  • Doepfer Dark Energy
  • Waldorf blofeld
  • Dreadbox Erebus
  • Roland System 1

I assume you already have a midi keyboard so the 1st 4 are expanders (don't have keys).

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