5 Best Synths for Trance Music
In the first of a series of exclusive videos from Creating Trance, we look at 5 of the best synths for making trance music.
So what’s the best synth for Trance Music ? This is one question we get asked. A lot. So really it depends on how much you get out of an instrument and how you utilise it. You really need to get to grips with its features and spend a lot of time getting to know what it can really do. Since Trance music became popular, we’ve seen some real innovation and progress with VSTs or Virtual Instruments using your host computer. You could say the tendancy these days is to go for a purely controller only keyboard and a great VST. But here at CreatingTrance we have a love for synthesizers so , we’ve pulled together some synthesizers we think are worthy to be on this list. The following are great synthesizers for trance music. Let us know what your favourite synth for trance music is ?
5. Yamaha CS6X
Using Yamaha’s AWM2 Sample and Synthesis technology, the CS6X appeared on the scene around 2000. A highly programmable affair, its real time physical controls lend itself in particular to trance music. It has some basic sampling ability but also has expansion capabilities for Yamaha’s plugin boards such as FM or Analogue Physical Modelling, if you’re lucky enough to find one these days.
4. Roland JP 8080
we’ve gone with a classic here which saw the light of day around 1998 rather than focus on some of the more recent Roland products. Why ? Well this is the synth that spawned the SuperSaw ! Originally seen as a distant relative of the awesome Jupiter 8 from the 80s, this synth can be picked up relatively cheaply second hand via eBay still to this day. Though not as fat and thick sounding as say the Virus or Novation, it still had that Supersaw Oscillator sound and is highly capable of cranking out blistering leads, soaring pads and thunderous bass sounds.
Its 40 dials, buttons and sliders are well laid out and it’s great to use. You can even input external audio as a source for futher sonic modelling.
3. Korg Radias R
Hunt around and you’ll be able to land one of these bad boys from Korg. Utilising the Multiple Modelling technology from the behemoth that is Korg’s OASYS, this Virtual Analog synth looks and feels very much like a classic ‘log synth of old.
Like the Virus, the Radias R lets you feed audio in from an external source but also has the ability to capture external audio too. Couple up the Arpeggiator and the Step Sequencer you’ve got a great synth on your hands. And a drum machine. Did we mention that ? 4 audio outs and 2 ins, this 2 Oscillator synthesizer also packs in 30 effects types and a 16 band vocoder and with 24 voice polyphony you can start to stack up some serious noise with this !
2. Novation Ultra Nova
This analog modelling synth really does try and put up a good fight against the Virus TI2 and at a considerable lower price too. first landing in 2010 this analogue modelling synth utilises the Supernova II engine and also employs wavetable synthesis. Offering up touch sensitive controls letting you trigger all sorts of sound changing parameters you can see that this is also a performance synth. Throw in a 12 band vocoder and afertouch, this 18 voice gem is a serious contender.
Another great feature of this resourceful synth is that its USB Bus powered. It also serves as 2 in 4 out audio interface so it really starts to make sense if it’s used as your central synth and keyboard. Add in the fact it has 37 keys and weighs in around 3.7 Kg, this synth is also pitched at DJs or Producers who need to take their studio with them, packing the Ultranova into its kit bag along with their laptop and some headphones.
1. Access Virus TI2
Counting Sasha, Paul Oakenfold and Hans Zimmer amongst its users, the Access Virus has evolved considerably since its arrival around 1997. The latest incarnation is the Virus TI 2 and available in a number of formats either rack, full keyboard or 3 octave polar variant. Very occasionally Access release a mean looking DarkStar version.
So what can the Virus do and what makes it so great for Trance music ?
Versitility first and foremost – this virtual analogue synth can do so much, with an available library of a whopping 7000 preset sounds available free (yes that’s right – free), its feature set is always evolving with free (again that’s right – free) software updates. Not only content in generating some monstrous trance sounds such as super saws, killer basses and just downright synthesized madness, it can also be used as a multi effects processor taking audio input from either an analogue or digital feed and absolutely blitzing it into some fantastical sounding new form.
This beast is just stacked with performance controls but also integrates into your DAW meaning the days of loading up a track and losing your killer sounds’ settings are long gone. The TI2 has also seen increased polyphony and horsepower under the hood making it one killer workhorse.
So that’s our favourite Trance Synths – what’s yours ?