Analog Fever

May 18th, 2006

Some of you might remember a previous post regarding the release of a new analog synthesizer from Moog Music called the Little Fatty. While this recently released Moog is far too expensive for my hobbyist tastes, it got me wondering if there are other mono synths out there in a more affordable price range – like less than $500.00. As it turns out, there are some low cost options for new synths along with a few options for overlooked vintage analog synths. I’m not really looking to dump a bunch of money into an analog synth, since I really just want one to screw around with and process with my computer…similar to what I currently do with my all digital Korg Wavestation. Of course I should be saving money for a new pair of hiking boots this summer, but that’s so boring.

PAiA FatMan

This is a rack-mounted or desktop mono synth. One of the best features one the FatMan is MIDI inputs. The big downside? The FatMan is sold as a kit, meaning you have to solder it all together. I guess you can buy it pre-made, but that seems kind of lame. The price for the kit is around $150.00, which is very inexpensive. I also think you need a preamp to use with the audio outputs, so I guess I would need something like a SansAmp to run the audio into the computer.

MFB Synthlite II

I have no idea if MFB makes decent sounding stuff, but I’m intrigued by this little mono synth in their product line. It has three digital oscillators (bummer), external audio input, lowpass filtering, and a voltage controlled amplifier. Unfortunately, it’s not fully analog, but it’s programmable, meaning sound settings can be saved (unlike the FatMan or the original MiniMoog). This synth sells for a very reasonable $250.00. MFB also makes a drum machine with samples from the Rhythm Ace, Casio PT-68, Casio VL-1, and the Drumulator.

Technosaurus Microcon2

I don’t think this sexy little Swiss analog mono synth is in production anymore. I can’t find anyone selling it new in the States. The Micron II is MIDI compatible and did retail for around $350.00 a couple of years ago. Seems a little expensive for what you get, but it is Swiss made.

Analogue Solutions MiniModular

A little on the expensive side at over $500.00, this mono synth is unique because if offers modular patching. Kind of like the old Korg MS20. I don’t think it has MIDI though.

Korg Polysix

Well, this isn’t a mono synth, not fully analog, and it’s not new (released in the early ’80s), but I’ve heard they go for pretty cheap these days. Sells for around $150.00 used.

Yamaha CS-01 II

Small analog mono synth made in the ’80s, but with the dreaded mini keys like those found on children’s toy keyboards. Not programmable. But it looks really cool and I like the small size.

Entry Filed under: Electronic Music

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ned  |  May 19th, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Update: Mike here at work has offered to loan me his Realistic MG-1 Concertmate mono synth and another Roland mono synth whose name I can’t remember. I agreed to clean and care for them in return for their use. The MG-1 was basically a Moog Rogue made for Radio Shack back in the ’70s and rebranded with the Realistic logo. They also changed some the labels on the controls to be more consumer friendly…but the MG-1 has 100 percent Moog guts.

    I’m going to look into options for adding MIDI inputs for Mike as well. There are a couple of kits floating around on the web that are pretty low cost. It would involve drilling into the case to mount the jack, so I should probably be looking into the purchase of a Dremell. It might be easier just to find a used MINI to CV converter though.

  • 2. Brain  |  May 20th, 2006 at 8:59 am

    Holy crap, dude. How do you know all this stuff about synths? I bought that Elka Panther, btw. It needs a power cord.

    I’m gonna start searching the Net for some cheap tickets to Portland for your trucker party. That’s such a cool theme. A lot of truckers have really flat butts.

    Those links are great, btw.

  • 3. Ned  |  May 22nd, 2006 at 9:19 am

    So you bought the Elka Panther…you lucky, lucky dog. Take a picture of where the power cord connects to the organ and I’ll see if I have a spare one that would work. Also, you’ll probably need some way to amplify the output. The best option would be a period amp designed for combo organs, but I would look into something small and cheap for now. I’m not sure what the impedance is on the output, but you might be able to use one of those micro guitar practice amps. The one I

  • 4. Ned  |  May 22nd, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Hey, doesn’t the Panther have an internal speaker? Disregard the amp stuff mentioned above if yes.

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