2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Discuss other brands keyboards, synthesizers, modules, software, controllers including how they compare or work with the Nords.
Post Reply
MrWriter
Posts: 18
Joined: 14 Oct 2021, 00:31
2
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Lead A1
Been thanked: 2 times
Great Britain

2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by MrWriter »

I currently own a Nord Lead A1, but it is only 49 key and I need another octave, or more as I find with 49 keys I run out at both ends.

I don’t want to buy the Nord Wave 2, although it looks perfect, as I’ll just be getting more ‘Nord’ sounds and I already have the Lead A1. So I'm looking to buy another synth by another company.

I like the idea of adding a second synth, but a different brand to Nord so I’ll have a new set of sounds and pre-sets to enjoy.

I want something modern, not used or vintage, but that can re-create 80s sounds as well as new modern sounds. I need a synth that will work well in my small home recording studio as well as for live gigs.

I have a budget of around 2,200 euros (£2,500).

Somebody mentioned the ASM Hydrasynth Deluxe? How does this sound, any other options you can recommend?
Last edited by MrWriter on 17 Jun 2024, 13:09, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
cookie
Patch Creator
Posts: 768
Joined: 08 Dec 2011, 17:38
12
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Stage 3
Your Nord Gear #2: Nord Stage 2 EX
Location: France
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 321 times
France

Re: 2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by cookie »

Yes the HydraSynth is to be considered.
I would suggest taking a look at the AstroLab from Arturia.

Fred
MrWriter
Posts: 18
Joined: 14 Oct 2021, 00:31
2
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Lead A1
Been thanked: 2 times
Great Britain

Re: 2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by MrWriter »

Thanks, Fred, I forgot to mention that I don't want a weighted piano key action, I want synth action and don't need 88 keys, that's too much space for small home studio, 61 is fine. Also, Astrolab doesn't really seem like a full on synth, more like a stage piano?
Last edited by MrWriter on 17 Jun 2024, 13:11, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
FZiegler
Donator
Posts: 2518
Joined: 15 Dec 2019, 02:41
4
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Stage 3
Location: Germany south-west
Has thanked: 675 times
Been thanked: 855 times
Contact:
Germany

Re: 2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by FZiegler »

Well, if I'm not misled, 2500 GBP are around 2950 EUR or 3150 USD. Or are you talking about some other pounds?

Besides, the AstroLab I find has 61 keys and wouldn't be considered a piano by me as a piano player. It's a synth of some kind.
Stage 3 Compact (Rev.B 2.1 - OS 2.60) - Kawai VPC1 / Yamaha CP33 - Hall of Fame & NeoVent2 - Behringer Flow-8 - K&M stands 18820+18811 / 18953+18952 - Samsung tablet with MobileSheetsPro & AirTurn Duo200 - QSC K8.2s / Fischer InEars
MrWriter
Posts: 18
Joined: 14 Oct 2021, 00:31
2
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Lead A1
Been thanked: 2 times
Great Britain

Re: 2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by MrWriter »

I'm talking about £2,500 UK.

The Arturia seems to be missing a lot of controls for a dedicated synth, no ADSR for starter. Let's move on from the Arturia stage piano. And, I"m an ex concert pianist so I know what a piano is ;)

Any other recommendations, if I up the price and go used perhaps?

Anything from Roland or Yamaha? Fantom and Montage get mentioned a lot, but there seem to be various models of both.
User avatar
maxpiano
Patch Creator
Posts: 6466
Joined: 27 Jun 2011, 13:29
13
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Stage 3
Location: Italy
Has thanked: 467 times
Been thanked: 2267 times
Italy

Re: 2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by maxpiano »

MrWriter wrote: 17 Jun 2024, 10:44 I'm talking about £2,500 UK.

The Arturia seems to be missing a lot of controls for a dedicated synth, no ADSR for starter. Let's move on from the Arturia stage piano. And, I"m an ex concert pianist so I know what a piano is ;)

Any other recommendations, if I up the price and go used perhaps?

Anything from Roland or Yamaha? Fantom and Montage get mentioned a lot, but there seem to be various models of both.
Arturia Astrolab is NOT a stage piano, it has 61 semiweighted keys and it is conceived to be a HW player for the Arturia Analog Collection plugins basically, so anyway not probably what you are looking for, based on your need description:
MrWriter wrote:I want something modern, not used or vintage, but that can re-create 80s sounds as well as new modern sounds. I need a synth that will work well in my small home recording studio as well as for live gigs.
About the rest, it really depends on your taste more than your money; in the workstation area, which for me is what would tick your boxes, anything between Montage (or MoDX+), Nautilus (with or without AT) or Fantom (standard or 0x scaled down series) would be a good complement to a Nord.

A lot of options are also available in the "pure synths" area, both Digital and Analog and all in between, like the Hydrasynth you mentioned

But the question "How does this sound" means nothing: what sounds nice to you may not to someone else and viceversa, that's what Youtube demo videos are good for, so you can listen and make your own opinion about each synth and how it sounds (unless you have a nearby shop to go and try them personally, which is always the best of course) . I suggest you start from the above mentioned workstations.
User avatar
Rusty Mike
Posts: 932
Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:57
12
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Piano 5
Your Nord Gear #2: Nord Electro 6
Location: United States
Has thanked: 97 times
Been thanked: 537 times
Contact:
United States of America

Re: 2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by Rusty Mike »

Modal Colbalt 8X might be worth a look. Pretty capable 61-key synth at a good price right now. Modal had some business issues, but were recently bought out, so there should be some stability.

The Novation Summit also squeaks under your price cap. Great bi-timbral synth with a great sound and lots of knobs.

I'm looking at adding the Novation Peak to my studio. Been watching a lot of videos on the sound and UI and am really impressed. The Summit is essentially two Peaks with a keyboard. Two separate engines that can layer/split or a full 16-voice single synth.
Mike from Central NJ, USA
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Current Nords: Piano 5 73, Electro 6D 73
Ownership History: Electro 2, Electro 3-73 SW, Electro 3HP, Electro 4D, Stage 2EX 76HP
User avatar
MartinJ2EX
Patch Creator
Posts: 429
Joined: 01 May 2015, 20:59
9
Your Nord Gear #1: Nord Stage 4
Your Nord Gear #2: Nord Stage 2 EX
Location: Austria
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 163 times
Contact:
Austria

Roland System-8 or Korg opsix

Post by MartinJ2EX »

I recently got a Roland System-8 second hand, but it’s still available new.
If you like the Roland sound, this synth is perfect!
Spot-on of Jupiter-8, Juno-106, Juno-60, JX-3P, Jupiter-4, SH101 - you can load 3 at the same time. All the hands-on control you expect for an “analog” poly.
8 voices polyphony, multitimbral, 49 keys

If you like the fat, raw and wide sound of Oberheim and Sequential, consider Sequential Take-5 or Oberheim TEO-5.
5 voices polyphony, monotimbral, 44 keys
(Don’t have one, don’t need one right now..)

Had the Behringer UB-Xa but had many issues starting with it having no proper patch librarian of sorts, got a refund after 2x6 weeks of service when the keybed was malfunctioning …
16 voices polyphony, 61 keys, poly aftertouch, no FX, no reverb

Also got a Korg opsix, perfect with 32 (64 for mk2/SE) voice polyphony and can import DX7 (and mkII) patches vis sysex.
It’s got those classic DX FM sounds and you can do Analog sounds with up to 6 oscillators.. perfect hands-on and intuitive menus for FM editing, but can be too complex for quick editing of subtractive analog sounds. It sounds phenomenal and fat, though!
64 voice polyphony, 37 keys (mk1/mk2) or 61 keys (SE)
monotimbral but patches are so complex it can sound multitimbral.
nord stage 4 88 | nord stage 2 EX 88
DX7 IIFD | JX-08 | System-8 | opsix
Numa Organ 2 | d3m custom


Live Musician since 2010
My Website
| Hertha Band
tsss27
Patch Creator
Posts: 348
Joined: 14 Nov 2019, 07:38
4
Has thanked: 63 times
Been thanked: 110 times

Re: 2nd synth recommendation – not Nord

Post by tsss27 »

I understand why the Wave 2 is out, but it really would check all your boxes! Plus it does provide functionality that the A1 does not. Were I in your situation I'd get the Wave 2, sell the Lead and find another smaller second synth to pair with it. That may seem like a pain, but you'd get a lot more flexibility in the long run.

Astrolab is honestly a joke unless you only play presets and don't want to design your own sounds. In order to design a sound you need to buy VCollection. Also, while I understand the control set has to be smaller than the software, they could have incorporated a similar system to how their KeyLab controllers work. You get way more knobs and sliders on those to control their own software! The concept is great in theory, I love the idea of taking software with me and not needing a laptop, but I'll wait for the next variation of this device...preferably with a better panel layout as well...

The Yamaha devices only use samples for their synth sounds (except the new Montage M, and the FMX engines.) So they aren't going to do analog-style sounds as well. Certainly fine for a gig though.

If you can find one used then the Sequential Prophet X is awesome. I have that paired with the Wave 2. But you really need to be into sound design to get the best from that one.

Hydrasynth is cool especially with the performance controllers but in order to get the best from it, again, you will need to be a good sound designer. I say this because some people do just like playing presets out of the box. Also not a fan of the wheels on the Hydra, personally but maybe you won't mind...they just feel awkward to me.
Post Reply