I have had the Behringer Poly D analog synthesizer for a couple of months now and have done a major project, so I want to do a quick review of it. First, as always, I need to give a quick history lesson. Why? The Poly D is a Minimoog clone (sort of, in a way…).
(Skip to the review if you don’t want to read all of this. Demos and videos are at the bottom.)
The Minimoog was released in 1970 and was the first synthesizer that you could pick up in a normal retail music store. It was one of the earliest synthesizers aimed at stage musicians and was extremely popular. Even though Moog soon had a lot of competition in the portable synth market, such as the EMS Synthi (used by Pink Floyd*) and the different Arps (used by many, including Genesis), the Mini was so huge that most people used the terms “Moog” and “Synthesizer” synonymous. And it did find its way into pop, rock, r&b, dance, jazz and beyond through the 70s. Even in the 80s, it was the main synth on the Thriller album and was used by most of the early Technopop bands. In the 90s it helped create the emerging electronica and electronic dance music.
In other words, the Minimoog is one of the most iconic synthesizers of all times.
One of my recent projects has been recording JS Bach’s Little Fugue in G Minor with a synthesizer. I will post the video here in case you you want to hear it but don’t want to read about it. Be aware that I did a few fumbles, but I think overall it worked well.
Last week I received a Behringer VC340 that I ordered a few months back. This is a recreation of a classic synthesizer, the Roland VP-330 Vocoder Plus, which was made in 1979 and 1980. Although the production of this synthesizer was short, it, along with the rackmount version, the SVC-350, is found all over music of the early 80s, including artists as far apart as Vangelis and Laurie Anderson.
The VC330, like the original VP-330, instead of being a general synthesizer is divided into three main parts: a string synthesizer, a “human voice” synthesizer and a vocoder.
The string synthesizer is just what it sounds like, a synthesized string ensemble sound that uses simple analog technology of the day. String synths were very popular in the late 70s and the Roland version can be heard on a lot of music by a wide variety of artists. It offers a simple tone (brightness) control, attack (how quickly the sound starts) and release (how quickly the sound fades after you take your hands from the keys). Continue reading →