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Buying a Synthesizer - recommendations?

Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
It's my brother's birthday tomorrow, and I want to buy him a synthesizer keyboard for various reasons. I have no doubt he'll love it.

The only question is, I have no idea what to look for in a synthesizer. If possible I'd like a wide range of effects as well as a full keyboard, hopefully for a cost of less than $500. Some good integration with the PC as well as a way to play it standalone would be awesome also.

I'm going to go to some music stores tomorrow to have a look, but in the mean time, does anybody have any guidance towards good brands or if this type of thing is within my price range? I know things about guitars and pianos and such, but know nothing of the keyboard/synthesizer market.

Smug Duckling on
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Posts

  • Typhoid MannyTyphoid Manny Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    the Alesis Ion is pretty great if you can find one, although it'll probably run you about $600

    the microKorg is also awesome. it doesn't have a full-size keyboard, but you can get one used for around $300 and then spend the rest of your budget on a midi controller

    alternately you could go the softsynth route and spend all your budget on a midi controller, and play with the thousands of fantastic VSTs people make and then release for free on the internet

    Don't mess with me, lady. I've been drinking with skeletons.
    torches and hammers and metal, oh my
  • Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    So the microKorg would have a plug to plug in a midi controller?

    smugduckling,pc,days.png
  • MC MysteryMC Mystery Registered User
    edited May 2009
    No, it has it's own keyboard, but it's not full size. If I remember correctly it's 32 keys, but either way, Microkorg is definitely the way to go with your budget. It's the best for the money imo.

    Spoiler:
  • GrennGrenn Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Alesis Micron
    Spoiler:

    It's got plenty of big sound all wrapped up in a small package (although with the benefit of full-size keys). I have one of these along with my analog synth and the sound quality is impressive for an analog-modeling synth.

    It's portable and the manual is very comprehensive.

  • MC MysteryMC Mystery Registered User
    edited May 2009
    In my experience the Alesis Micron is a lot harder to use. However, that might just be because I'm used to to the setup of the Microkorg. They're very similar in price range, capabilities and size, though.

    Spoiler:
  • Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Grabbed a microKorg. Has a 30 days any reason return policy, so I'm safe.

    Opened it to discover I need a mini stereo to stereo adapter though, lol. :P

    smugduckling,pc,days.png
  • Typhoid MannyTyphoid Manny Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    that's a four-dollar thing at radioshack. you will enjoy your microkorg.

    Don't mess with me, lady. I've been drinking with skeletons.
    torches and hammers and metal, oh my
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