Most underated analogue synth?

In your opinion whats the most underated synth?

The Crumar/LEM/Unique DBE BIT-series. It has DCOs based on high-speed squares and adding divided bits of the signal into approximate waveforms just like Korg Poly-800, but come with SSM or CEM-filters. Also, these sound like smaller versions of the Synthex.

The Chroma Polaris sounds fantastic, but being fully analog they aren’t cheap. Still good value for money, and a fantastic sound IMHO. Also, the Cheetah MS-6, far better than the Oberheim Matrix1000 which is almost the same hardware.

SCI Six-Trak for analogue, Creamware Noah for VA, MicroWave 2 for Digital (YES, theres so much to discover…) and MI Shruhti/Ambika for Hybrid.

I second the Crumar and SixTrak recommendations. I have a SixTrak which I love, quirks and all.

Hmm… I think that the most underrated ones are cheaper, so we should keep that under-wraps, haha. Of course, with this new interest in the analogues of yesteryear, even the ones no one liked are going up in price. One day they will all be overrated if the trend keeps up, haha. :slight_smile:
However, if I had to pick an old, underrated synth, I would go with the Ensoniq Mirage. It inspired several innovations in how a synthesizer ought to be produced, some of them - the press two buttons to tweak a value from one slider - often loathed. However, it was the first “affordable” synthesizer that let the user CHOOSE the oscillator that they wanted to use. They were no longer stuck with the standard waves, and could even import waves from Moogs or Prophets and have them be 8 voice polyphonic. Even the CEM filters used were similar to the ones in later revisions of the Prophet 5. This was astounding for the time, but it had a few drawbacks. Perhaps the biggest drawbacks were the lack of sync and unison modes.
While these drawbacks and “primitive” specs color it with “lo-fi” nostalgia to the modern sound sculptor, it is a synthesizer with a rich legacy. Several other “hybrid samplers” would be made including the Korg DSS-1 and Ensoniq ESQ-1 which ditched the floppy drive entirely. Fast-forwarding thirty odd years into the future, we now have synthesizers with loads of oscillator options like the King Korg, Alesis Ion, Nord Wave, and of course the Shruthi-1 - which is true to form with an analogue filter.
It is a synthesizer that changed the way developers approached new, modern synthesizer design. I feel it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves merely because of its initial price-point and current value. Perhaps the lack of knobs and sliders is a little at fault as well.

My favorite underrated synth is Moog Opus 3.

My Yamaha Sk50…analog with an fm organ section.

I keep eyeballing Ensoniq stuff but Ive got an Ambika on the way and I think this and the SQ80/ESQ1 have a similar sound.
Cant beileve I passed up on a Crumar Bit One for 50 quid now! :confused: Didnt know what it was, and the panel made me think it wasnt very good.

Nord Micromodular if that counts, its VA though . Roland HS60

@Pish: Yeah, the big difference is the polyphonic aftertouch keyboard. It is nifty to have the SQ80 because most Ensoniq keyboard actually respond to poly AT but didn’t have it built in. It also has 2 extra voices, and a third oscillator that can be used as a ring modulator.

The Crumar Bit is definitely back in vogue. I too would kick myself for passing one up at that price. I have my JX8P to cover that kind of territory, but it would be nice to have a triangle wave.


+1 on Six-Trak. I’m waiting for a cheap one to fall into my lap. Just need a decent controller and it’s a monster.

the jx-8p, mainly because it has a nice sysex/midi implementation from the jx series

SixTrak controller… :wink:

I used to own a BIT99 … great synth except for the problems it had with the cem3328’s
One really underrated synth is the SIEL DK-80 … partly because it just is a bad synth :slight_smile: It’s quite similar to a Korg Poly800. Just one filter for 8 voices. Or 4 voices if you go for 2 osc sounds. But with some mods and the little build in sequencer i used to get some nice sounds out of it… All gone now.

My fave has to be the Korg 770 - everybody throughout history has totally hated it so there are very few recordings… (human league excepted) but it has been solid for me for 30 years…
I have plenty of nominations for most over-rated … a few of which I have owned! :)) … SH101, CS80, DX7, Juno’s … ah the list goes on…

Edit… take DX7 out of that… just noticed “analogue”… it is over-rated anyway! :-))

I wouldn’t think there is an under-rated synth. There would be plenty that weren’t rated at the time, but they have all been re-rated and re-evaluated since.

There are probably some that would be rated badly due to poor build and reliability. But many will put up with that since these days people are less likely to take their fragile rare analogue kit out on the road with them.

DX7 over-rated? it was one of the first if not the first fully FM synth. I like FM, but as discussions have proven here in the past, it just doesn’t have a good user interface or mind->sound process.

I agree the Cheetah MS-6 is a really good candidate. I’ve owned one of these up to a decade ago and it’s an amazingly versatile synth considering its price.

Only shame is that this review seems to have pushed up the second-hand price point a bit…

Before I got the Ambika I was searching for an MS-6 but they seemed hard to come by

Personally I think the analog trend is so strong that its hard to find any underrated analog synths these days (overrated seems more common). As said in the budget sampler thread I think 90s samplers is the underrated equipment of today, both in terms of versatility and creative fun factor.