Open Mic: What Synth Would You Buy, New Or Vintage, If Money Was No Object?

the synth motherlode

Open Mic: The last year has been a great one for synths – with great new synths released by big and small synth manufacturers alike. There are new analog monosynths and polyphonic synths. There are more modular synth options than ever in history. And the latest keyboard workstations are monstrously powerful.

We’ve asked previously what your ‘desert island synth’ would be – the synth you’d be content to live with if you could only have one. But what if you could get any synth to take your existing setup to the next level?

What’s the synth you would buy, new or vintage, if money was no object?

Image of the synth motherlode via Three Wave Music

142 thoughts on “Open Mic: What Synth Would You Buy, New Or Vintage, If Money Was No Object?

    1. I was thinking an ARP 2500.

      I had the chance to play one while I was in school, and I spent many an evening tweaking patches until late, late at night.

      I don’t know how it would hold up against today’s modulars, but the matrix patching and many other features were amazing.

    1. In a hardware thread at least try to mention hardware.

      Honestly; I’d voted in favor of something like “APC40 to power my Ableton Live”. Sure; also because I’m a Live user myself, but mostly because its mentioning hardware in a hardware thread.

  1. Can I get the Voyager XL and a ton of modules to interface it with to create a megasuperuber synth? I choose that option….or a ukulele.

  2. Roland jp8080, korg z1,xoxbox,novation kstation rack .
    Would not change these machines at all. Quite seriously these are my faveorite synths!!!
    I will get some Dave smith gear when spare cash allows.

  3. I don’t have time for a modular when I’m trying to wail on my prophet ten with MIDI upgrade and custom tape delay plus pitch cv converter for my guitar which is gonna control it with my sweet Taurus style pedals running the bass through 2 leslies and a subwoofer. Since money is no object.

  4. Waldorf Q

    But seriously if I had the cash to throw around: Buchla 200e or a banana plug based modular.

    But I’d settle for any simple synth that gets the job done.

  5. If money were no object…

    I would without any doubt get me Novation’s Ultra Nova hardware synth (don’t let this description fool you; its “hardware” but heavily software powered), I’d get the Novation Launchpad (not a synth, I know; but it would greatly enhance my soft-synths) and finally I’d get Komplete 5. I know; the line between “sampler” and “synth” is kinda vague there.

    Honestly; this is what I”d get.

    My main workflow involves around Live 8, Max / Max for Live & Reason 6.5. “soft synths”. In addition I have other stuff (Komplete Elements 7, Guitar Rig 5 Pro, etc) but as much as I respect these in the end these are icing on the cake (no disrespect intended what so ever. Don’t you get me started on GR5 pro!).

    But if I had the chance I’d pursue that which has so far really worked out quite well for me (its not my intention to generate an income with this stuff).

  6. Wishlist : (though not all really needed)
    Roland TR-909
    E-Mu SP1200
    DSI Tempest
    DSI Prophet
    Ensoniq ESQ-1
    Casio VL-Tone / VL-1
    Roland Jupiter-8
    Access Virus Ti Polar
    Yamaha Dx7 mkII
    Roland JP-8000 / 8080
    Moog Taurus
    Roland SH-101
    &
    Keyboard skillz!!!

  7. Besides what has already been mentioned? Well….. anything with polyphonic aftertouch: CS80, Prophet T8, Synclavier II, Ensoniq VFX or SQ-80, GEM S3, etc..

    For modules I think I definitely need a (fully expanded) TX816 for FM, an Oberheim Xpander (hmm, and maybe an expanded MSR-2) for analog, and maybe a K5000 for additive/rompling. 😀

  8. I have a Vst Synth I have been building and if money was not a problem I would bring it into the real world and make it a hardware synth. Its like a circuit bent ASR10 on steroids. You all would of course would like one ….. right.

  9. I will go with the Omega 8 by Si that synth is just amazing here is one example of that synth also a Roland Jupiter 8 but with now integrity with DAW it would just be a bit tedious
    this synth omega 8 is a brilliant synth but it goes well over the 3000 grand price tag
    http://youtu.be/4uXq9jProtw

  10. New.

    I fear breaking components, and new is cheaper any way. I have had enough faulty synths for my life time. I only get old stuff anymore, if its really cheap.

  11. If money was no object I’d buy two CS-80s, one to play and one for spares. And I’d put the spare one in a glass case just to tease visitors by playing the “It cannot be played, don’t even look at it” routine from “Spinal Tap.” Just kidding. 😉

  12. EMS Synthi 100. Then I’d spend a lifetime trying to make up for the ‘pip pop pip pip pop’ trivia that the BBC Radiophonic Workshop composed on the Delaware.

  13. a CS-80, definitely. It’s just so damn ballsy! Either that or a Polymoog. I’d enjoy the process of repairing them.

  14. well, there are a bunch of synths I would like to have along with my virus TI, Omnisphere and Korg M3, but certainly what I really miss is a convenient way to effectively control them all from a single or several controllers. Obviously best way to do this would be with appropriate iPad application. I have a concept for it, but unfortunately I can’t do coding work so at his point everything stops :/ …. if there was an iPad developer who shares my vision…..

    1. yep if money was no issue I would order to a developer company to code application, which allowed complete single GUI control for hardware and software synths 🙂

      1. Your response was a bit condescending, and I really didn’t appreciate it.
        My response was Ensiniq Fizmo, so yes, obviously I do know what it is,
        otherwise I would have never mentioned it.

        Lastly, yes, money IS an issue with me at this point in my life.
        I had a full blown studio with many synths ranging from the Korg Wavestation
        EX, to an Akai AX-80, Korg X50, Roland SH201. Sold it all when my wife fell
        ill to pay for the expenses.

        Why do you ask ? you got $1,000.00 dollars just laying about that you could do without ?

        You obviously do as your comment comes off like $1,000.00 is a drop in the bucket.

        1. “Your response was a bit condescending, and I really didn’t appreciate it.”
          I’m really sorry if it sounded offensive.

  15. My first thoughts are a Buchla 200e and the Hartman Neuron. The Buchla Music Easel would be great. Also a new KYMA system.
    In the age of softsynths though, a great controller is neccessary. For that I would say an Eigenharp Alpha or a Continuum keyboard.

  16. High up on my wish though is to simply resurrect my EWI1000s. Their breath sensors are shot. Evidently these breath sensors are no longer available. If anyone knows of a way to replace these breath sensors, please let me know!

    EML Electrocomp 101

  17. Right now, it would probably be Dave Smith and Roger Linn’s Tempest. I need analog drums with full MIDI capability, and there are not many of these out there, so this would have to be it.

    If it has to be a synth, it would probably be the new Waldorf Pulse 2… the first pulse is still one of my favorites, so I’m pretty keen on this new beast…

    1. I think I’m of the same opinion. Although a monster modular synth of some kind would be difficult to turn down, I think I’d end up strangling myself on the patching…!

  18. i’d get the Schmidt 🙂 , an Oberheim 8-Voice or Matrix 12 or Yamaha CS80 . And since money is no option (in my dreams) i’ll probably add an Elka Synthex.

    1. Indeed !
      In the analog range, a Schmidt, to replace/upgrade the Andromeda, and in the VA range, a Bowen Solaris to replace/upgrade the Virus 🙂

  19. Definitely an Access Virus TI2 Polar.

    Currently I’ve got a Virus TI Snow that I bought used for about 700€ some time ago. I love the sound but it’s a shame that the Snow depends so much on a computer running Virus Control. Yeah, you can access all parameters via the buttons on the device itself, but it’s just so much menu diving.

    At least for me, a TI2 Polar seems to be the perfect fusion of good sound, haptic controls and sufficient transportability. But I’m not willing to pay so much for a synthesizer…1000€ is my absolute upper limit.

    1. I just got my Polar and I love it! It was my first hardware synth, coming from softsynth world, programming has never been easier. Also, I know Access is running a deal with trading in your older Access synth for a discount on a new Virus… Check that out.

  20. Because I already own a Kronos 73 I would only like to get a Mopho x4, a Novation Ultranova and a Tempest. And a Roland Jupiter 80!

    1. I really want one of these, but I’m not sure if I can give it as an answer to the question. There’s just so many options that would likely be better than the A6. But then again, maybe not :-/

  21. It may sound like a strange dream synth but I would very much like to have a JX3P. If I owned the room in that photo I would be thrilled to pieces to the point of cardiac arrest, but if there was no JX3P in the room then I would still be longing for one of those sleek and sexy Rolands..

  22. If I had lot of money:
    Korg Kronos for every sound! (PCM, FM, vector, VA, piano, EP, organ)

    If I also had lots of space:
    Grand piano
    Hammond organ
    Rhodes piano
    Hohner Clavinet
    Jupiter-8 or Prophet T8 – for real analog sounds

  23. If money was no object, I’d buy a 73 key Korg Kronos, I need a good workstation keyboard….badly…
    My absolute music gear dream is a Roland TD-30KV, a Ibanez Ashula Bass, and a Carvin NS1 midi guitar..

  24. Small list:
    Pittsburgh modular foundation
    Doepfer A-100 mini system
    Moog Minitaur
    Arturia Minibrute
    Access Virus TI desktop

    If I had extra space:
    Buchla 200e with around 10-16 modules
    Moog Minimoog Voyager XL
    ARP 2600
    Roland System 100m
    Korg MS-20
    Korg PS-3100

  25. YAMAHA – CS-80
    ELKA – Synthex
    ALESIS – Andromeda A6
    ACCESS – Virus TI2
    KORG – MS20
    and ARTURIA – Minibrute 😉

    1. 16 Karmas MIDI’d together would turn into “Colossus: The Forbin Project.” ONE Karma is smarter than about 50 of US. With 16, we’d become its pets.

      1. Amazing. That’s what I’m working on in my studio right now. I call it das Vorlagengehirn. Only, not sixteen KARMAs. The closest I have to that is a Triton rack. Think sixty-five of the most esoteric synthesizers tied together with computer control, complete MIDI and audio interchange, and AI up the wazoo. With a Neuron as the flagship, of course. It’s the hippocampus. dV needs an Acxel 2, though, and an original Acxel if I can find one. Then, maybe, I’ll start building a starship class Buchla for brute force. “I’m on de Brute Squad.” “You ARE the Brute Squad.”

    1. Reaktor is great, but I’d highly suggest to rather buy a Komplete package. Reaktor alone costs 380€, Komplete 8 about 480€ – and you get Absynth, Massive, FM8, Kontakt, Guitar Rig and a huge sample library alongside Reaktor.

      I’m no fan of Native Instruments’ update pricing policy, but I think their Komplete packages per se are extremely good value for money. Should not be missing in any studio 🙂

  26. Any synth that could even touch the hem of the Baldwin baby grand I cut my teeth on. Only the CS-80 and Prophet T-8 I got to play even came close.

  27. You actually make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually one thing that I believe I would by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely extensive for me. I am taking a look ahead on your subsequent submit, I will attempt to get the dangle of it!

  28. If money would not be a problem, I would get the synths I want right now:

    GRP Synthesizers A8
    Anywayre Instruments Tinysizer
    DSI Tempest

  29. Hans Zimmer probably wouldn’t sell his beautiful walls of Moog and Roland modulars at any price – but I’d give it a serious try. Since money is no object I mean. If this fails, I would need to hunt down the collectors and enthusiasts owning the rare few of these machines and make them offers they couldn’t refuse. I wouldn’t stop until I’d be surrounded by these things just like Hans is fortunate enough to be. I’d probably try to buy Benny Anderssons GX-1 while I’m at it as well:-) It sits in a studio just a few kilometers from where I live, but it might as well be on the moon.

  30. Yamaha FSR-1, Nord Modular G2, Teenage Engineering OP-1, Elektron Octatrack, Akai MPC-1000, DSI Tempest, Moog Voyager, Access Virus TI Polar, PPG Wave

  31. Technos Acxel. I just read the inventor has a new version, the Idarca Acxel 2. I’ll take both. I already have a Neuron, an OASYS-PCI in a G4, a Kurzweil K150 with an Apple IIgs, a FIZMO, a JD-800, a Technics SX-WSA1, a Kawai K5000W (two, actually), a Korg DSS-1, a Kawai K5R, a Casio FZ-1, and a host of others, all the way down to a $25 Emenee child’s reed organ. whatever is not mundane. I need sounds that can’t come from anywhere else.

  32. Dear Santa
    Elka Synthex + Yamaha CS-80 + Arp Odyssey + 2600 + Alesis Andromeda A6 + Korg PS-3300 + ppg wave2 + Waldof XT with keyboard + Virus + Blofeld (but a special version with one knob for every parameter) + Roland System 700 + + + + + + + + ……

  33. Roland System 100m. No wait, four of them, and the Polyphonic 4 CV keyboard. I never liked modular because it meant monophonic.

    Pictured is Three Wave Music, right? I could probably set aside a weekend for a road trip there.

  34. Roland Jupiter-8, Sequential circuits Prophet 10 (the double-keyboarded one), Haken Continuum, Zen Riffer, Roland Juno-Stage (yes, that may sound strange but it is great just for fun and very fast editing – good for recording something really quickly) Yamaha GX-1, Juno 106, Yamaha SK50D, Yamaha CS80.

  35. Just one? No fair! Dream synths that I don’t own would include the ARP 2600, Yamaha CS-80, Roland Jupiter-8, OSC OSCar, EMS Synthi AKS, and Alesis Andromeda. Of those (and assuming it could always be in perfect working order), I’d choose the ARP 2600.

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