Thanks for the thorough reply – good advice.
I work extensively with a DAW, and it’s actually my preferred working method. For that reason, I’ve probably started to move away from the idea of the Octatrack, although I’m still curious about what it could offer in terms of chopping and screwing samples, particularly creative drum programming.
I’ve continued my searches today, taking second looks at the options. The A4 is still in the contest, as is the Novation Peak and although I’m not entirely in love with its sort of “hollow” sound, it has some pretty impressive sweet spots. I’ve also started considering the DSI Prophet Rev2 16 Voice Desktop version. I was planning on getting the Prophet 6 Desktop sometime in the intermediate/distant future and therefore crossed of the DSI Rev2 as I assumed it would compete for the same space as the OB-6 and the P6. I’ve more now started to view the Rev 2 as a potential alternative to the Novation Peak due to its many voices, although it does sound kind of retro.
I did in fact look a couple of hours at the Virus, even finding a Virus TI2 Desktop on the bargained market. It sounds good to me, but it’s a little scary with unsupported software. I could not find a definitive answer to whether the TI2 is alright to use without the TI software. Some forum posts say that it’s not really that different from some modern VST synths like Serum, Massive, etc. But I did definitely like the sound of the Virus when compared to Sylenth in a few videos. I would need to investigate the Virus some more, perhaps something like a Virus B or C is better than the TI2.
I’ve also looked at the Digitone, and while it does sound good, I’ve decided to probably hold off for the moment until Overbridge arrives and some time has passed. I read that it may have a somewhat weaker tone than some other FM options out there, but I have enjoyed listening to it. Not sure what contemporary options would be better (the Korg Volca FM or Yamaha Reface DX?) – I’m likely not in the business of getting something vintage.
Back to the A4 – the mk2 is selling new at an all-time low price at the moment, and I have eyed it more than once, but honestly it doesn’t feel right to make decisions based on price as a largely motivating factor. Given that I use a DAW rather than hardware sequencing, and other options offer sometimes overlapping but also equally interesting features, I’m not always finding a clear rationale for the A4. However, I still get the sense that it has some sort of attraction that I’m intrigued by. Finally, I did for a moment entertain the idea of dabbing into modular sometime in the future, perhaps something like the Moog Mother 32. In that regard, the A4’s CV outputs make sense.
As usual, I guess the answer really is that there is no one synth. I sometimes get the feeling that I’m trying to square the circle. Complementary synths are needed, but there’s always that devil on the shoulder saying that the money isn’t well spent if the common venn diagram area is too big. But I digress…