Analogue synths: Trident vs Juno 106 vs Prophet '08?

Hi Guys,

This is off-topic, but I know a lot of experienced Cubase users are also very into hardware synths, so I would love some advice!

I am looking to buy an analogue synth, and have done some testing and research. I’ve narrowed down my choices…

I currently have a few digital synths - Kurzweil PC3x, a Nord Stage and a Nord Wave. I’ve been borrowing a DSI Prophet 08 and have discovered that for analogue sounds, there’s nothing like real analogue!

I’ve sort of narrowed down to a Korg Trident, a Roland Juno 106, or a Dave Smith Prophet 08 when it comes to buying my own analogue synth.

I am looking for a synth that will easily do the zapping synth that is heard at the beginning of Phoenix’s “1901”, but which will also do beautiful warm synths like the opening section of another Phoenix track, “Girlfriend” (also from the same album).

Phoenix used a Korg Trident for the record, but I’m a bit concerned that Tridents are:

  • Apparently quite unreliable
  • The most expensive of the three options I’ve listed
  • Not available with MIDI, even as a retrofit

Based on that, I’ve started to consider a Roland Juno 106. There are some great restored versions of these on eBay for about $1000AU. From the demos I’ve heard (which don’t really compare to playing them!), it sounds like a very warm synth! I still haven’t heard it do anything as sharp and cutting as the “1901” sound I mentioned above, though. And I’ve also heard that even a restored one can have real reliablity issues…

My third option - the known quantity as I am borrowing one and using it at the moment - is the Dave Smith Prophet 08. The variety of sounds it can produce is great. I’ve had no problems getting it to make some really tight, buzzing bass and lead sounds, as well as reasonably warm pads. I’m concerned that people have mentioned reliability issues with the Prophet 08 though. And I’m also worried that I’ll be missing out on some of the old-school vintage “magic” if I buy one of these rather than a real vintage synth? Is that really just a myth though…?

I would love some advice! Based on the need for something that will last and won’t need constant (and in Australia, expensive) repairs, but which will also sound beautifully warm and really fat and cutting when needed, which synth should I go for?

I would love to hear from some owners to hear their thoughts on this one!

Thanks in advance!

Don’t know about the others but the 106 we always use for warm pad style sounds but $1000!!! wow wish I’d kept mine.

Modern analog synths are far more reliable than vintage synths because the oscillators are digitally clocked instead of voltage controlled. (VCO vs DCO) Note that the oscillator is still analog in both cases!
Some people swear by unreliability of the components, because it does create a more lively sound.

Personally I know very little about polyphonic analog synths, so I can’t really comment on your choices. I’m getting my GAS attacks from the recently announced Waldorf Pulse2 and the Analog Solutions Leipzig-s :wink:

The Juno-106 actually has DCOs, not VCOs. So it is considerably more stable. Mine is still kickin’ :sunglasses: The chorus effect also turns garbage into gold most of the time. Not sure what it is about that effect!

Roland know how to make a good chorus :stuck_out_tongue:

Of these Juno is the only one I’ve played, but can definitely recommend it. My experience with Juno was back in '86-'87 when my old music teacher contacted me after the scool had given her funds to buy a synth. I examined everything on the market and chose Juno. Why? Sounds great, user interface is the best I’ve seen on any analog synth.

According to discussions on the net, there’s some reliability problems with Junos also, but instructions to fix them are available.