Digital poly synth with good sound design physical UI

It’s a very flexible synth and sounds pretty great, but it is quite old and the user interface does feel it a bit. Particularly thinking about the 2 line LCD display, even though there are plenty of knobs, you do end up using the display quite a lot and it’s not the best… so while it doesn’t require “menu diving” for everything, when you do need to, it’s not that great. But if you see a great price on one, it is a lot of synth for the money and I’m still happy I tracked one down!

I’d definitely consider the Peak if you can stretch to it. Great interface and sound and very flexible.

1 Like

Would be interested to hear more of your thoughts - I am always tempted by the HS for the power of it but am also not 100% sure if the UI is right for me, it’s hard to find negative opinions about it though!

1 Like

Thanks - I was wondering about that since the interface is quite minimal, I assume all the effects and other setting has to be done on the screen too? I’ll keep that in my search as a good alternative if I find it cheap enough.

I,m in the 500$ / 2000$ type of budget, but on the long run I might just make it happen at any price. My setup has been evolving slowly and I’m starting to really know how I want to play music, so in the last 10 years I realized that:

  • I need to be able to sound design right on the machine, can’t do the lets plug a computer to sound design
  • Menu diving really kills the mood
  • I don’t care that much about analog / digital sound after all (I though I could only deal with analog, but I guess that was just a fantasy!)
  • I love external effect box, so my synth doesn’t need baked in effects
  • 1 good sampler, 1 good synth for leads, 1 good synth for bass and 1 polysynth for other stuff like pads and atmospherics is pretty much all I need.

Exactly, this is the stuff that feels a little fiddly as it involves lots of button pressing. It’s fine, just a bit… dated… feeling :slight_smile:

Nope, I’ve got the keys and I’m not it’s biggest fan either. Like you say, there was a honeymoon period for me too. It’s just small things that annoy me like that big data wheel shaped knob under the edit screen that you don’t want to turn under any circumstances whilst editing. Infuriating. I don’t find the synth that immediate either. Yeah, most stuff Is just a button push away but they could have provided a few more dedicated knobs and changed some of the functions of the ones they provided. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerhouse of a synth and it can sound fantastic but I do find it can push my buttons too at times!

You can try the Nord Lead 2X. About 500€ in used market, no FX, pure virtual analog with a very warm sound. 1 button = 1 function, no menu.

I had it and I regret I sold it. Was my best synth just behind the PERfourMER MKII.

1 Like

Yeah that would be nice in a module format. The Argon 8 module seems to fit that category… it’s getting close to top of my list atm :wink:


I actually had the Nord lead or rack? x4 I can’t remember, one of my first synth, and my setup wasn’t dialed down yet and it didn’t “fit” my workflow or maybe I was just digital ‘snob’ at that time. Now I’d love to test that gear again for sure -

These red synth are a reference. They will never been outdated and you still see them in lot of studio. More NL4 and A1 but the 2X still rocks with his special character. Even behri didn’t succeed to clone it yet :slight_smile:

They fixed this in the latest firmware. There is now a “Safe Edit” option.

1 Like

It sounds like the interface of the synth is very important here. Two synths that come to mind are the Novation Summit, or the UDO Super 6. And they both have digital oscillators with analog filters.

1 Like

Thanks everyone for this listing - it really helps me see pretty every possibilities there is out there!

I think there are different things that I don´t like about the user-interface. For me it´s confusing to have 2 sets of buttons to switch filter you edit. And it´s my only synth that has filter knobs on the left side. All my other synths following the structure of a synth voice from left to right.

Or maybe I just don´t really need another (digital) synth. I bought it mainly for making nice wavetable pad sounds. But then I listen to my Braids or the Shapeshifter module and my heart is melting :wink:

Or I just miss an internal sequencer like on the A4. On the HSD you have the pads that you can Setup to a scale etc and play live if you want … but then?

I think the hydra is a great synth in many hands for sure. Maybe just not perfect for me.

Notice to myself: whatching less videos by loopop and mylarmelodies :wink:

1 Like

Cool, cheers for the heads up! :+1:

Argon 8 is quickly becoming my favorite synth ever, if not already there. All the knobs are dual and sometimes triple function, so you do need to learn those, but it’s not a steep learning curve. And mod matrix is just pressing a mod source and turning the destination knob, which is way easier than menu diving. All in all it’s a super powerful synth and pretty immediate once you learn the combo button functions.


Virus Ti :pray:

Got a bargain on a HS Keys so I guess I’ll find out for myself :smile:

1 Like

Yeah these sounds are crazy!

1 Like