Keyboards! Synthesizers! Bleepy bloopy noisemaking things! Alright, what’ve you got? What’s your favourite? What do you want?
Moog Subsequent 25
Slightly regret not splashing out for the 37 now, especially now prices have gone through the roof (nearly doubled, a 25 goes for more than a 37 does now), and I can never be bothered getting out the manual to remember all the button presses to unlock the second functions on things, which means I’m under-using the sound engine massively. That said: it’s still a Moog, it sounds immense and fantastic even with my limited playing and programming ability and, with any luck, it will outlive me and be worth more than my house some day.
Novation Peak + Novation SL Mk III
OK so it’s a module and a controller but they count as a keyboard if I use them together, right? Seen a lot of people banging on about the Peak sounding sterile and clinical and yeah it can if you don’t add a bit of modulation/noise/randomisation, but the engine on it is so flexible and it’s got a super-great front-end UI with a clear and easy to understand signal flow, and then has a really flexible routing and modulation engine underneath. The oscillators are nicely flexible (standard VA, wavetable - albeit a fairly uninspiring factory set but you can load your own, noise, plus cross-mod including FM). The effects - especially the reverb - sound great, and it’s just a great workhorse synth that’ll basically do everything.
Korg Minilogue XD
Don’t like it, if I’m honest, and I don’t know if that’s just me or what - it always sounds a bit flat and lifeless to my ear, like it’s been EQd really badly and I can’t get it to come to life. I know other people love it and maybe I’m just trying to do the wrong thing with it (people tell me it’s great for pads, but compared to the Peak it just sounds disappointing to me). It’s got super flexible oscillators and effects, but the filter just feels… bleh. Should probably sell it but also keep feeling like I’m missing something…
Lots of silly Roland Boutique toys
Honestly these are so much fun and they sound way better than I expected, especially the JU-06 (Dat Juno Chorus, yesss) and S-1 (a polyphonic SH-101!) and they’re super-immediate in terms of making fun sounds but then when you try and do anything serious with them the tiny form factor and other compromises (four voices? for a Juno? Booo) just get in the way.
Also have a Minibrute kicking around, which has character but it’s not necessarily one that’s useful in many contexts, and some ancient 90s ROMpler things.
Hankering after a Minifreak, but not really sure where it would fit with what I’ve got - it looks fun, but is it useful?