ASM Hydrasynth Keyboard
$1,185
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The perfect synth for me!
Evgeni 07.06.2020
I'm relatively new to sound synthesis. I've had a Roland SE-02 and a Behringer Poly D before, both copies of Moog Minimoog and I sold them. I also own a Yamaha MODX6 which is a FM and sample-based synth that sounds fantastic but is really hard to program. I also use a lot of software synths and am kind of familiar with synth basics and how to program a synth. All that being said, I found that with the two Minimoog copies I couldn't achieve a huge variety of sounds. The MODX is much better but is pretty unintuitive and I'm still struggling remembering where is what and how to achieve this and that. I haven't managed to create new sounds with it that I like, although the factory ones are very good and cover almost anything, so it's not such a problem.

With that background in mind, Hydrasynth comes as a huge surprise to me! I was able to start programming it right away, all is laid out in front of you, you have direct buttons for every module and function. It can sound very warm and analog due to analog emulation parameters. I could recreate Moog type of patches easily and they sound equally warm and analog, despite the synth being entirely digital. But then, it also offers multiple filter emulations that change the sound drastically, there are 5 LFO-s and 5 envelopes, the mod matrix can connect almost anything, the mutators are an intuitive, yet powerful way to change the sound. The possibilities are endless and just going through the factory patches one can see how vast is the sonic palette of the synth: from harsh, metallic, industrial style of patches to classic analog warm sounds. The effects are also very good.

But the best thing about it is the polyphonic aftertouch. It's the first synth with poly AT I have and I am in absolute awe! As a pianist I realize poly AT was the missing ingredient I've had with other synths. It really makes it sound like a real thing, like an instrument, not like a machine. And then the ribbon which is also a wonderful way to add expression!

I would be very hard-pressed to find any faults with the Hydra. It's almost perfect. One thing though, that I'd like to see improved is to be able to see more easily the effective values of parameters when using macros. The macros are a way to introduce offsets to multiple values of certain parameters, however when editing the corresponding destination parameters, it's not obvious that the currently audible sound is a result of an offset applied to the parameter and not the value you see on the screen and that can be confusing. I guess that can be easily improved with a future firmware update.

Another feature I miss is having audio transmitted through USB. On the MODX I can record straight into the DAW using only USB cable for both MIDI and audio, without a need for redundant external audio interface introducing noise and distortions.

Ultimately, for the price it's one of the best synths on the market.
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Quality instrument
Robert7183 08.06.2020
This is a high quality machine. Solid construction and well packaged from the factory, It even has a paper manual which is highly unusual these days. Its too early to say how good it is but the early impressions are favourable. It is much easier to construct new sounds on this than on any other machine i have owned. It is like a DSI Prophet 12 on steroids in spite of the fact that it has far fewer physical knobs than that machine - this is because the interface is brilliantly designed. Both are digital, both use wavetables and both sound great but the hydrasynth is much easier to program. It sort of does everything that the prophet 12 does but much better.

The best things about it are the keybed which is probably the best ive ever used on a synth, the modular interface which is brilliant, the arpeggiator which is inspirational and the presets which are better than other people say and encourage experimentation.

Again its too early to say but this seems to excel at evolving soundscape type sounds thanks to the many lfos and envelopes available and the extra expresssivity offered by the poly aftertouch.

If you are hesitating to buy because its made in China then dont - this is way better in terms of quality of construction and design than anything roland or korg have done in recent years. Is getting close to moog quality.

Sure its a digital synth but who cares - its the range of sounds it can make that really counts for me and this makes a wider range of sounds than any analog ive ever owned. it may not be as warm or "sound very analog" but its warm enough and analog sounding enough for me. You could argue that pure analog is too limited.

The only thing it misses for me is a sequencer. Its probably worth every penny.
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Myguel 28.12.2021
This is an incredibly interesting synthesizer!
Everything is simple, clear and amazing synthesis capabilities!
This is for those who love creativity and despise everyday life!
Thanks Thomann!
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Blown away by the Hydrasynth.
Graysynther 04.04.2021
As a Synthesist of 30 years or slightly more, it’s not often i make a big purchase, but this was different, a very capable synth with a
great user design & fantastic poly AT key bed... ground braking playability.
Possibly the best advance in synthesis in years, so had to have one.
Learning curve for sure, but intuitive & very satisfying.
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Versatile and fun synth
brantz 29.09.2022
I love this synth. First of all, it's built like a tank, and really feels solid. Secondly, it's really fun to work with. ASM put a lot of thought into the layout of the interface - it's super intuitive, nicely grouped by functions and generally just easy to follow the signal flow. Not all manufacturers manage that.
Sound wise, well, it's a digital synth, that's for sure, and it can definitely sound digital, but with so many tools at hand it's also easy to make warm and fat sounding patches. And man, it can sound huge!
With 5 LFOs & 5 envelopes and one of the best modulation matrices i have come across so far it's basically modulation heaven.
It has quickly become one of my most favorite synths, and at that price it's good value too!
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There's even a Theremin!
Pincho Paxton 02.06.2020
There's even a Theremin mode which allows for melodies to be played on the ribbon controller to whatever you're playing on the keyboard!
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Amazing!!!!!!
Achilleas K. 27.11.2021
This little monster is Amazing!!!!
I will probably buy the Deluxe when it is available. I don't even think that I can sell this one to do the swap. It is THAT GOOD!!! And I had my fair share of synths over the years.
Would buy again... I mean, I probably will!
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ASM Hydrasynth Keyboard