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Synths and Similar - an electronic music gear thread


Rowan Morrison
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Man, I want a Synthstrom Audible Deluge. Looks amazing, particularly after the 2.0 update added a superb Arranger mode. Sold out at the moment, though! I'm still searching for that all-in-one box that does everything well. I love my Octatrack and want to develop a live set around it, but it's pretty complicated and fiddly and has no real synth capabilities. You can use samples of gear, or do stuff with single cycle waveforms, or connect synths to it to record, sequence or listen to via a 'thru' machine track , but the idea of an all-in-one is very tempting! I'm always after the next thing. The Teenage Engineering OP-Z looks like it could be fun, too. If only this was a cheap hobby.

 

I'm hoping to develop a solo live set over the next few months to take around Bristol. I'll be singing as well, so I'm hoping that this will give me a bit of an edge in terms of interest. Performing with my alt-rock band has given me the 'must do this all the time' bug.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I bit the bullet and bought a Strymon Big Sky. Apart from the slightly impenetrable operating system (which I assume might make sense to a guitarist) it has been pretty impressive so far. A couple of the reverb algos (Cloud in particular) make even terrible synths sound like Vangelis and The Midnight had a baby in your earhole. Whether it's worth £400 is another matter - it's certainly not talent in a box and requires good stuff in to get good stuff out, but it is excellent. I do appreciate my Yamaha EMP10 a little more though - a little rackmounted multiFX I've had for years which while isn't quite in the same league, still manages to hold its own. 

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On 23/08/2018 at 12:23, cavalcade said:

So I bit the bullet and bought a Strymon Big Sky. Apart from the slightly impenetrable operating system (which I assume might make sense to a guitarist) it has been pretty impressive so far. A couple of the reverb algos (Cloud in particular) make even terrible synths sound like Vangelis and The Midnight had a baby in your earhole. Whether it's worth £400 is another matter - it's certainly not talent in a box and requires good stuff in to get good stuff out, but it is excellent. I do appreciate my Yamaha EMP10 a little more though - a little rackmounted multiFX I've had for years which while isn't quite in the same league, still manages to hold its own. 

 

Jealous! Get something recorded and up in the Audio Club thread :)

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Yeah I love mine too, absolutely the heart of my setup. Got JJOS2XL on it.

 

I'm tempted to get one of the bigger screens from MPC stuff, but the reduced portability puts me off a bit. It's nice being able to stick it in a bag and not worry too much about it surviving.

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2 hours ago, Blunted said:

Yeah I love mine too, absolutely the heart of my setup. Got JJOS2XL on it.

 

I'm tempted to get one of the bigger screens from MPC stuff, but the reduced portability puts me off a bit. It's nice being able to stick it in a bag and not worry too much about it surviving.

 

The bigger screen is definitely nicer but then you have to relearn certain things again. However, agreed portability is greatly reduced and accidental damaged increased. Definitely invest in some mpcstuff fatpads, they make a huge difference.

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Anyone who hasn't seen this BBC documentary, If I Had A Hammer, from October 1985 is in for a treat - https://computer-literacy-project.pilots.bbcconnectedstudio.co.uk/f95e5c8e0290b798288a2084613d3435

 

It was part of the BBC's Micro Live magazine programme and looks at computers in music. Lots of mid-80s synth action including Synclavier, CMI Fairlight, DX7 and more. Bob Moog demos a Mini Moog, loads of studio footage of go-to producer at the time Martin Rushent with new hit band Then Jericho, the Musician's Union getting all paranoid, and more besides. A proper time capsule.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Never tried one, but it's definitely on my "to be purchased at some point" list, most probably the keyboard version which has a very nice Fatar board in it.

 

In I'm-a-fucking-moron news, managed to delete my entire MPC project folder by accident a couple of nights ago while tidying up some old shit. Months of stuff lost. Was absolutely gutted at the time, but I've got over it a bit now.

 

Note to self, take regular backups...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm not much of a musician, apart from some rather rusty bass playing skills, so Eurorack sounds right up my street.

 

In fact, I've bought a TipTop Audio Happy Ending Kit, MI's Plaits and Ears, a couple of Distings, a headphone output and a bunch of DIY modules (ADSR, VCF, LFO and some utilities). At the moment, I'm slowly working my way through the kits. Building a kit is quite therapeutic until you find it doesn't work...

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Would love to see some pictures of your stuff, both complete and incomplete.

 

I had to perform surgery on my MPC a few days ago, down cursor tact switch failed. First time I've touched a soldering iron in about ten years and previously the most complex thing I've done was connecting some speaker cables.

 

Managed to remove the (tiny) old switch and put the new one in fairly easily, but the ten minutes wait while it ran through a ram check after connecting it all back up was terrifying. Fortunately it works perfectly and now I'm considering replacing the rest too.

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A couple of pictures of my "rack" and SDIY builds so far. In the glass dish, to the top right of the rack, is a +/- 12V DC PSUs I assembled yesterday. 

 

IMG_2294.thumb.jpg.c520598ac656fbc8e6d6f70c6c495841.jpg

 

I built the Music Thing Modular Graphic EQ at a workshop hosted by the designer, Tom Whitwell, at Thonk Towers in Brighton. My first module. The passive multiple (the 4x4x4) was my next build, followed by the MIDI Expander for one of the Distings. The two empty panels are, left to right, AI Synthesis OTA VCF (Korg MS-20 like apparently) and a Looping ADSR.

 

IMG_2293.thumb.jpg.7f2573146a138c44457763a8e5c78360.jpg

 

The ADSR is the two partially assembled PCBs (and various baggies) next to the assembled module, which is an AI Synthesis Mixer. Next to the soldering station is a Thonk triple attenuator. I soldered the headers on the wrong side so I'm waiting for some header strips and many other components for a couple of partial kits; a Clock module and an LFO module.

 

I've also ordered the PCB for a modern clone of the Boss DR-55 Dr. Rhythm drum machine. Oh, and a Music Thing Spring Reverb as Thonk were having a sale... 

 

Plenty to keep me busy as the evenings draw in!

 

 

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The Neutron is a good choice to try out modular's patching flexibility without spending a fortune... :ph34r:

 

In other more money than sense news, my little PSU works though I got the polarity of the -12V and +12V indicator LEDs wrong. I've also finished my ADSR and that passes basic tests as does the Mixer module.

 

And Thonk have released the Brunswick £99+delivery DIY semi-modular synth!

https://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/fss-brunswick/

 

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I love it! Really easy to use and makes some very nice noises. Still learning the patch bay, but have a pretty good idea over what most of it does now. I'm particularly enjoying making self playing patches with the S&H.

 

I'm now looking into what my next semi-modular is going to be to attach it to :D Quite keen on the Pittsburgh Lifeforms SV-1, although that FSS one is a great deal! Might pick one up when they restock.

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