Simplicity! Remember that word! The main reason why I decided to buy a Minimoog synthesizer, was not becuse it's a Moog, and is the most saught after synth. No, it's becsue of it's simplicity. Just a few knobs and switches to move around and change sounds. No LCD with gobs of menues to sort through, not having to push one button to do six different tasks. No data wheel to turn to find out where that one particular sound is. No accustic instruments or any instruments for that matter. And No complicated manual. This plus the fact that I have played with one and found a mini for under $2,000.00 That's why I bought a Minimoog.
The problem I have with a lot of todays technology is there is so much stuff crammed into a single package that the musical creativeity, and comeing up with your own sounds is lost. I should know because I have made the mistake three times in buying the wrong synthesizer. Any keybaord, be it a Synthesizer, or Music Workstation that has an LCD display and umpteen buttons to push to do one simple task and gobs of sounds that I will never use. I refuse to buy. I have owned at one time or another a Yamaha DX-7IIFD, a Kawai K5000's and a Roland JX-305. Each one had a large and complicated manual. Espically the JX-305 ugh! I did not undersatnd any of it. My VCR and DVD players those manuals aren't that thick, or are comlex to figure out how what feature works. I want to make some noise and or music, with out a lot of hassel. I mean the synths that I own or really enjoy are simple and do not have a lot of other stuff. Sure a Triton LE looks great and sounds fantastic, but why would I spend $2,000.00 on something that is more complex then my DVD player I'm not.
The less features a syntheszier has the more it forces you to create your own unique sounds. Plus you have more of a tendency to create and play music. I've seen the Ads in Keyboard and ProView magazines about keybaord players haveing the geratest synth in the world. But how many of them actually know the inner workings of their keyboards. Most keybaord players usually toss out the manual or hire someone to figure out how there synth works. And I know most of you here can't hire someone to do that for you. So why buy a high priced keybaord with a zillon sounds and features when you can just buy a simple synth and just make music.
When in doubt chek the specs out. The next time you see a new techno marvel synth read the spefications and features it has. If it takes more then 10 lines to explain everthing the keybaord dose it's not worth it. Becuse chances are the manual will be a lot worse. Also look for a synth that dose not have a LCD dsiplay and a data wheel. Unless of course you like spinning a wheel and going through gobs of menues. Then don't listen to me, my advice won't help. If on the other hand you just want to play music then listen up! Here are some of my favorite simple to use keyboards. Though not everyone will agree with me. But I'm not concerned.
AKAI AX-60 (dealer recomended this one)
ARP AXXE I own this
ARP OMNI " "
Minimoog: Provided it's a latter model and can find one under $1,200.00
Krog Polysix: Good sounds, but check the battery for leaks.
Poly-61: no knobs but pretty straight forawrd as some other instrumnets eh you can always edit them. Has an arpegiator
Poly-800: just like the 61 only smaller
Korg DW-8000: Good deal and better than the DW-6000.
Roland Juno 6 & 60: Both very good sounds, both the same, except the 60 had program memories. And an arppgeiator.
Juno-106: No arppgeiator, but has MIDI. Still popular.
These are just a few that I know about or have been recomended to buy. Most of the Moog and ARP synths are pretty straight foward but are well over 30 years old. Even some of the Sequential stuff as well.
If you want to make music by the synths made after 1980. If you just want to collect then go ahead and buy the earlier stuff. Just remeber some of the early stuff is old. The Minimoog is one year older then me (I'm 32 in case anyone is interested).
I know I did not mention any of the current gear basically becuse I know very little. One I would recomend would be the MicroKorg at least everything is printed on the front panel. Now why, can't more manufactures do this?