First Synth for **kids**?

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guitargeek62guitargeek62 Frets: 4289
edited July 3 in Other Instruments
So my 5yo is pretty music-focussed, which I love (obv), and is asking for a synthesiser. He locks in on them when listening to tracks, and has a great ear already for melodies and beats. He hasn't had any music lessons at all, and I don't plan on starting any anytime soon, but would like to get him a simple-ish synth of sorts to play around with - ideally one with a sequencer and arpeggiator still.  I don't know a lot about them myself, but a quick google suggests something like:

  • Korg Volca Keys
  • Korg Volca FM 2 (seems more complex, but...?)
  • Behringer TD-3 (no speaker)
  • Behringer Crave (not convinced that it's accessible enough...?)
  • Stylophone Gen-X1 - probably too simple?

Battery-power would be ideal, but not essential - whereas inbuilt speaker(s) and a headphone jack are essential!  Ideally up to £150, I don't mind spending more if it's still accessible and something that I might then dabble with in the longer term (e.g. the Behringer Poly D looks fun!) - secondhand is fine too
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Comments

  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 19719
    Soft synths running on a tablet/iPad?
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  • guitargeek62guitargeek62 Frets: 4289
    Ah I forgot to say - he's already using soft synths on my iPad, but I think he'd appreciate the physical access to the knobs & sliders etc too  -  we both love the Moog Model D one! :)
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 34059
    So my 5yo is pretty music-focussed, which I love (obv), and is asking for a synthesiser. He locks in on them when listening to tracks, and has a great ear already for melodies and beats. He hasn't had any music lessons at all, and I don't plan on starting any anytime soon, but would like to get him a simple-ish synth of sorts to play around with - ideally one with a sequencer and arpeggiator still.  I don't know a lot about them myself, but a quick google suggests something like:

    • Korg Volca Keys
    • Korg Volca FM 2 (seems more complex, but...?)
    • Behringer TD-3 
    • Behringer Crave (not convinced that it's accessible enough...?)
    • Stylophone Gen-X1 - probably too simple?

    Battery-power would be ideal, but not essential - whereas inbuilt speaker(s) and a headphone jack are essential!  Ideally up to £150, I don't mind spending more if it's still accessible and something that I might then dabble with in the longer term (e.g. the Behringer Poly D looks fun!) - secondhand is fine too :)
    Start with the TD3.
    It is based on a classic, has a nice sound, good filter, classic sequencer.

    Or a used MS1.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 34059
    Another option is the Moog Mavis.
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  • DesVegasDesVegas Frets: 4665
    that's rad your 5yo is wanting to make music, as long as your synth has a filter sweep he'll be happy i'm sure
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 18048
    tFB Trader
    Reface CS is brilliant and very hands on, my kids really love it.


    I'm considering selling mine if you are interested?
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 18048
    tFB Trader

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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 18048
    edited July 3 tFB Trader
    BTW if you don't go the Reface route my kids really enjoyed the Circuit Tracks. (Circuit MK1 has a speaker)

    You could also try something like a Pocket Operator although get a case as it will get broken otherwise. 

    The Volcas are very long in the tooth now and the Roland Minis are much better (no speaker though) The T-8 and S-1 are both great.
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  • StratavariousStratavarious Frets: 3763
    edited July 3
    Yamaha CS would be my choice… sliders changes the noises.  Tactile.

    But the Korg Volcas are nice size. Not tried the mini Rolands.
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  • guitargeek62guitargeek62 Frets: 4289
    DesVegas said:
    that's rad your 5yo is wanting to make music, as long as your synth has a filter sweep he'll be happy i'm sure
    Yup, I’m genuinely thrilled - even if it just ends up being about making noise at this point! He does love to come and ‘help’ me play guitar too, which means playing with all the dials on my pedals and having fun hearing what they all do really :mrgreen:


    Thanks for the suggestions all, I’ll get googling - it’s his bday next month so I’ll sort something out by then :)
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  • stonevibestonevibe Frets: 7232
    The Novation Circuit works well, my kids loved that when they were little
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  • YorkieYorkie Frets: 1578
    Don't get a Volca for a kid, they're fiddly and probably very limited compared to what they can do on a tablet/iPad app. 
    I love mine, but every time I stop using them for longer than a week, it's practically back to Volca 101. My daughter hates them, uses Garageband instead. 
    Adopted northerner with Asperger syndrome. I sometimes struggle with empathy and sarcasm – please bear with me.   
    My trading feedback: https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/210335/yorkie

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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 28043
    That Yamaha CS1 looks ace. So does the Behringer MS1. 

    It's also my birthday in a few weeks - am I by any chance your kid..? :) 
    The Assumptions - UAE party band for all your rock & soul desires
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 19719
    That Yamaha CS1 looks ace. So does the Behringer MS1. 

    It's also my birthday in a few weeks - am I by any chance your kid..? :) 
    Never too late to get adopted. Happy birthday soon (I'd invent a few extra 'official' one's too)  ;)
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  • LionAquaLooperLionAquaLooper Frets: 1398
    I'm not here to offer advice because I know eff all about synths, but wanted to say WOW to your son. 5 yrs old and already asking about synths. That's amazing. Hope it goes well! 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 14893
    octatonic said:
    Start with the TD3 … Or a used MS1.
    MS1 for keys and arpeggiator. TD-3-MO if you must go -303.

    I suspect that the SH-101/MC-202/TB-303 style Step Time sequence data entry might prove frustrating for a youngster - even a keen one.

    Of the Roland Boutique boxes, I reckon that the JU-06A is the most useful. Simple to understand. Sounds that will always sit in a mix. 

    You say, atom bomb. I say, tin of corned beef.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 5019
    Ah I forgot to say - he's already using soft synths on my iPad, but I think he'd appreciate the physical access to the knobs & sliders etc too  -  we both love the Moog Model D one! :)

    The Behringer Model D is a great synth unit.
    The left to right layout of the controls describes the signal flow and is great for learning how things work.
    You can draw charts of where to put the controls to get great sounds as a starting point or somewhere to go back to if lost.
    They do a model with integral keyboard or a separate MIDI module if you want to go down the separates route.
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  • DecorativeedDecorativeed Frets: 51
    Another vote for the Yamaha Reface CS. It's lots of fun, very user friendly, has great sounds, some usable FX and built in speakers. It looks a bit like a toy, and has small keys, so perfect for younger players. 
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