Keyboard/synth for 80's stuff?!

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Morning all!
Due to the onset of my midlife crisis I'm thinking strongly about getting a synth and messing about with programming and playing some of my old 80's memories! (Howard jones/Nick Kershaw etc). 
I am NOT a keyboard player but I'll soldier on. 
Can anybody suggest a modern cheap kinda synth that would allow me to cop so,e of those old sounds or are they now the 59 Les Paul's for keyboard players?!
Just to recap, I know nothing about playing them but am looking for a nice hobby to tackle over the coming year... A pal of mine used to do a great 80's thing years and years ago with cubase iirc but I've lost contact with him....

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
:)
Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life
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  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 550
    The sound of '80s music is analogue poly synths (OBs, JP8, etc) or Yamaha FM (DX series).

    The original (affordable) Juno series (6, 60, 106) is the sound of an awful LOT of '80s pop. It was a surprisingly simple synth, and had no business sounding as good as it did. Used only, of course, but if you buy one at £750, you can sell it at the same price if you tire of it.

    The Behringer DM12 is a modern take on the Juno architecture but with a whole lot more complexity at your disposal, plus excellent FX. And warranty! There's a DM6 coming along soon at a lower price.

    You can get FM synths for very cheap these days.

    Other than that, you can get ROMplers and modellers that can cop some of the sounds of the '80s.

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1488
    The Sequential Circuits Prophet V was another staple. (Modern reimaginings of this design exist but they certainly are not cheap.)

    For late Eighties sounds, the KORG M1 and the T series cover a lot of bases - especially with the optional extra sound cards.

    The E-Mu Vintage Keys rack module has a good stab at some of the classic sounds. Their Orbit 3 and Xtreme Lead modules do some nice squelchy sounds. The latter was also available in keyboard format. http://www.vintagesynth.com/emu/xk6.php

    If you already have a computer-based recording set-up, consider a "plug-in" software synthesizer. You will need a MIDI Controller keyboard to trigger the software but that one keyboard will serve for all virtual instruments.

    I suggest Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2. Here's Uncle Eric with the science bit. 

    https://www.spectrasonics.net/products/omnisphere/omnisphere-video.php#video
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • dogloaddogload Frets: 1268
    There's the little Yamaha Reface series - they do a DX one
    https://www.gak.co.uk/en/yamaha-reface-dx-fm-synthesizer/119777

    as well as a CS synth one.
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 845
    For a cheap option grab the korg M1 app from the Apple or Adroid store and use a cheap midi controller, sounds fab!
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  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 550
    C'mon - the OP mentioned HJ/NK and an M1 is not going to get anywhere close to those sounds. :)

    OP, if you don't mind the tiny size, the Roland JP-08 module will get much closer.

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1488
    edited July 3
    goldtop said:
    C'mon - the OP mentioned HJ/NK and an M1 is not going to get anywhere close to those sounds.
    True but he also mentioned "modern/cheap".

    An original Jupe is going to be expensive. A Juno 106 may require a chip service. Any Eighties Sequential synth needs about a week for the tuning voltage to stabilise. (Okay. Slight exaggeration.)

    Let's split the digital/analogue difference. Roland JX-10 - Kershaw certainly used it.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 417
    edited July 3
    I've got a few vintage Korg and Roland synths, but the softsynths do a decent enough job nowadays. Things like Diva, Oddity2, OP-X Pro-II, TAL-U-NO-LX, The Legend, etc.
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  • gusman2xgusman2x Frets: 491
    If it's just for mucking about, or if you're happy to use a keyboard controller, the Volca FM does superb 80s sounds. It's basically like having an 80s horror movie soundtrack in your hands.
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  • hasslehamhassleham Frets: 97
    I had the same crisis as you about a year ago and picked up a Roland JD-XI. I'm not a keyboard player either so the mini keys didn't matter to me, and it's absolutely rammed full of functions which have kept me entertained.
    You can look up the specs but briefly, you get:
    37 mini keys
    Digital synth with plenty of voices,
    Drum synth,
    Analog synth with basic options,
    Vocoder/autotune,
    Sequencer
    Mod wheel + pitch bend wheel

    Sound wise i'm not sure how it compares to the other synths mentioned but I know I am extremely happy with it. You also get downloads of new instruments online.

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  • DodgeDodge Frets: 256
    edited July 4
    gusman2x said:
    If it's just for mucking about, or if you're happy to use a keyboard controller, the Volca FM does superb 80s sounds.
    +1.
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 684
    Roland XP80 here if your interested, nice sounds and built in workstation, 


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
    Presonus Studio One Pro.
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  • DodgeDodge Frets: 256
    Actually, if you've got a DAW and a midi controller, try Dexed.  It's free and pretty decent sounding for FM sounds.
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  • dogloaddogload Frets: 1268
    Another option could be the Roland System-1 (or System-8 if you feel flush). As well as being really cool synths they have the bonus feature of being able to be loaded with a 'plug-out' of a classic Roland analogue synth. Unfortunately you have to buy these separately... 

    The System-1 though is an excellent stand-alone. People slag off the keyboard but to be honest it's quite nice to play - as a non-keyboardist - and it sounds fantastic. it can be momophonic or limited poly and has a built-in arpeggiator. Furthermore, it's fun. I got one a couple of months ago, and I can't keep my hands off it! 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 26282
    You guys aren't trying hard enough… a keyboard, for 80s sounds for a non-keyboardist?

    You want one of these!

    http://www.richtonemusic.co.uk/products/korg_rk100s-rd_keytar_red.asp?gclid=CK6Z9JeghNUCFde6GwodqIcO-w
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • AidanspaghettiAidanspaghetti Frets: 445
    Lol - would you believe I was looking at a Peavey powerslide last night. Both of those are all kinds of awesome =)
    Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 627
    edited September 21
    I was in the same sort of boat but wanted to start with the big string sounds and just got a 6mth old Kurzweil PC3k6 for £1000.  It's an older design that must be due a replacement but the new and used values have really softened.  Good build quality (something Roland seem to have moved away from at their recent price points).  The simple LCD screen alot of people bag is a bonus in my book as I don't want to be looking at a color touchscreen while playing.

    Was tempted to go all out and a Korg Kronos but that's basically a PC, touchpad with keyboard attached and I'd prefer to go DAW router (they also take up to 2mins to boot up - the Kurzweil is 15s).

    I'll probably add a analogue keyboard module (or imitator like Nord Lead 2) or one of the recent analogue mini synths from the likes of Korg/Roland for those simpler synth lead lines.  It seems like a great time to get back in the game and you get alot for your money, especially second hand.  I too was a Howard Jones, Thomas Dolby etc fanboy but my Casio CZ1000 in the mid 80's didn't really cut it!
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  • tampaxbootampaxboo Frets: 315
    the yamaha dx7 was like a musically-transmitted disease in the 80s. i would imagine anything cheapish you can find to fake that will cover all but the grittiest early 80s monosynth electro.
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 4311
    this puts things into perspective about what you actually heard back then... bedrock of nearly all songs!




    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
    __________________________________
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 2003
    If its the DX7 stuff you are after, there were cheaper versions like the DX21 or DX27.  Much cheaper to do this in emulation though, tons of stuff for the ipad. iSEM, iMini, iProphet, all by arturia, and all very good.
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