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Alan Tubbs

Least expensive alll around synth

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There have been a lot of questions about which  synthesizer works best in cakewalk or is the first to get.  Synthmaster 2.9 plays like the big boys that contain various favorite synth engines.  Wavetable, VA, sampler, FM are all available.  And unlike Falcon etc., it costs less than a $100.

it isn’t as pretty and slick looking as Falcon (which I also own) and some of the other ubersynths with similar capabilities, but works just as well.  Or start with the even cheaper synthplayer and upgrade if you like it.

https://www.kv331audio.com/synthmaster.aspx

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Computer Music once described it as the only synth you'd ever need. They hadn't reckoned with those of us on the deals forum 😉

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Synthmaster 2.9 is a monster of a synth.

If I was to pick only two of my synths as my "desert island" choice, it would be Synthmaster & Omnisphere ( although Les Sandford's Cobalt would be a close contender)

It's got a bit of a learning curve attached to it, but there is a HUGE range of presets available covering all genres.

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Posted (edited)

Surge. Does subtractive, FM, Wavetable, well documented....And it costs nothing. If you're talking about paid ones...ZynFusion. Once you learn it, it becomes this extremely powerful synth that you can do almost anything with...On top of costing 45 bucks.

Edited by Bruno de Souza Lino
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Posted (edited)
On 1/7/2021 at 10:08 AM, Alan Tubbs said:

There have been a lot of questions about which  synthesizer works best in cakewalk or is the first to get.  Synthmaster 2.9 plays like the big boys that contain various favorite synth engines.  Wavetable, VA, sampler, FM are all available.  And unlike Falcon etc., it costs less than a $100.

it isn’t as pretty and slick looking as Falcon (which I also own) and some of the other ubersynths with similar capabilities, but works just as well.  Or start with the even cheaper synthplayer and upgrade if you like it.

https://www.kv331audio.com/synthmaster.aspx

While I have SynthMaster 2.9.9 and agree with everything you said, I would go one level lower, for ease of use. Provided you can get by with one layer, SynthMaster One is the bang for the buck. Regular prices here, but crossgrade from v2.9 for $29. https://www.synthmaster.com/synthmasterone.aspx

It's perfect for those just starting out with synthesizers, and more straightforward to program. Did I mention ease of use?

Plus you will be able to load your SM One presets as a layer in the upcoming SynthMaster 3. 😁

Simple architecture with 2 oscillators (VA, wavetable, and single-cycle waveform samples) and 2 sub-oscillators (VA, noise, and single-cycle waveform samples) mixed and routed to two filters in split, parallel, or series modes. ADSR envelope configs vary with filter mode.

Import your own wavetables and single-cycle waveforms to a library folder, or by drag and drop.

Oscillator drift.

Modern zero delay feedback filters:

  • Ladder Filter- Modeled on the famous Moog ladder filter, with a choice of two slopes (12dB/octave and 24dB/octave)and four filter types (Lowpass, Highpass, Bandpass and Bandstop).
  • Diode Ladder Filter - Modeled on the well-known analogue filter circuit of the Roland TB-303. Includes only one filter type. Lowpass with 24dB/octave slope.
  • State Variable Filter - Modeled on the analogue state variable filter found in the Oberheim SEM. This one's available in four types: 12dB/octave Lowpass, 12dB/octave Highpass, Bandpass and Bandstop.
  • Bite Filter - Modeled on the 12dB/octave Lowpass and 6dB/octave Highpass filters of the legendary Korg MS20 synth.

Over 1200 factory presets. Mostly usable, and some very inspiring!

Great preset browser with search and filtering by type, attribute, style, and author tags.

Modulation sources via drag and drop, right-click, or mod matrix.

MIDI learn any continuous parameter to  MIDI controller.

Arpeggiator/Sequencer - 16 steps for rhythmic arpeggios or polyphonic sequences. Allows drag and drop of a quantized MIDI file into the display.

But bottom line, lots of fun!  Sure there are some great freebies out there, and I have most of them, but this is more advanced than most of them.

 

 

Edited by abacab

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SynthMaster 3 has been a rumor since 2016 or 2017.  It's basically the new Windows Longhorn.  Pray it doesn't show up like Windows Vista...

Personally, I find SM2 to be quite a chore to work with.  The UI is terrible and given how long this thing has been out it's a miracle they have done so little (outside of some themes) to improve that.  SM1 is much better, though.

I think a better choice is starting off with Vital and Surge, and then going from there when you know exactly what you want out of a Synth.

That being said, the recent U-he Hive 2 sale (for $75 or so) was amazing.  That's one of the better workhorse synths on the market.  Should have snagged that!

SM isn't remotely comparable to something like Falcon 2 or HALion 6.  Those are massive hybrid samplers/synths.  They're like Kontakt with several Native Instruments Synth Engines built into them.  They are just... better... in almost every way.  But the price is quite high compared to a budget synth like SM 1/2.

Synth market is getting disrupted (by the likes of Vital and Surge) the same way the DAW market is being disrupted by DAWs like REAPER and Cakewalk.  Even the cheap stuff now has to do better to distinguish itself, otherwise it isn't worth even its cheap price considering what can be had for free.

  • Meh 1

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When I wrote this post I was talking about a good deal on an ubersynth, one that you could learn the various synth methodologies.  You can get into NI, or falcon etc. but Synthmaster is a lot cheaper than those options.  There are plenty of good free or cheap synths but none cheaper that lets one in on so many kinds of synthesis that I know of.

but I haven’t heard or used of some of these others.

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