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Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...

chysn

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Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« on: February 28, 2016, 07:37:44 PM »
The idea for this thread is shamelessly stolen from Razmo, who uses it to talk about gear issues that specifically interest Razmo. This thread will be like that, except I'll talk about gear that interests me. Call it a vanity thread, but I think it's a pretty good idea for everyone, since it doesn't need to be tied down to a specific product.

My gear rant thread won't be as interesting as Razmo's, because I don't buy gear very often.

In fact, I'm actively ruling out buying gear this very moment. Sort of.

When Winter NAMM 2016 came and went without DSI releasing a new monosynth, I was a little disappointed. Sure, the OB6 is a great achievement and, as they say, "What do you want, an egg in your beer?"* I was hoping for a single-voice synth based on the Prophet 6. But so maybe DSI wants to be the polyphonic company. Can't blame them. Maybe the Pro 2 is going to be DSI's only monosynth for a while. Can't blame them. So I started to take a serious look at the Pro 2.

Part of this process is, I've been watching Paul Dither's excellent YouTube series of Pro 2 demos. Mr Dither's love for the Pro 2 is apparent, as is his musical and technical talent. The Pro 2 sounds deep and capable in his hands. It's probably fair to say that he makes the Pro 2 sound as good as it possibly can sound. I've also spent much time with the Automatic Gainsay videos, and pretty much everything else I could track down. But pd's videos are, in my opinion, pretty definitive on this instrument. If you're going to love the Pro 2--or not--you'll probably know from pd's demos.

Sadly, the Pro 2 does not step my personal mast. It doesn't move my soul. I'm okay saying this without pointing out any particular shortcomings of the instrument. I recognize it as a great instrument in the same way I recognize Seven Samurai as a great film; it just doesn't seem to do it for me, and there's no use analyzing it.

This isn't a very good rant. I don't need a new synth right away. Even if I had loved everything about the Pro 2, it would have been several months down the road. Right now, I have a couple of instruments that do continue to move me, in the Little Phatty and the Evolver, so I don't mind staying put and seeing what comes along.

There's a slight possibility of me winding up with a Sub 37, but I need to spend as much time looking at that as I've spent looking at the Pro 2. I also wouldn't be horribly surprised if I buy a MEK. But most likely, I'll just wait in a zen state until a monophonic Prophet does or does not materialize. I do love the sound of the Prophet 6, much more than the Pro 2, and I know that a three-octave monosynth version would be lovely.

So there it is. /rant

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* Ew...? I'm not sure why they say that.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 08:47:42 PM »
Thank you for the kind words, chysn. I really appreciate that. - With regard to the Pro 2: Is there anything specific you'd like to know? A type of sound or whatever you can think of?

I also did a couple of recordings with the Sub 37. You'll find them here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWyFTiF8L22xJ7BdkMqLwmisoI0r8bSO8

and here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42O1WKvA4HQ

And there are also a couple of presets I made on my SoundCloud site:
https://soundcloud.com/pauldither/sets/moog-sub-37-demos

Dunno if those are of any help. Both machines, the Pro 2 and the Sub 37, are of course as different as it can be. In both cases I would suggest to try them out in person if that's an option in your area.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 08:49:49 PM by Paul Dither »

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2016, 08:54:33 PM »
Well, Chysn, that was a fairly mild rant, and I enjoyed reading it.  It was more like a short position paper.

Somewhat like yourself, I'm on a quest - and have been for several years now - for the "perfect" monophonic synthesizer.  At least, I'd like to come as close as possible to it, and then compensate for the rest with a module or two.  Anyway, the Sub 37 and Pro 2 are presently the most popular candidates.  For my needs, the Moog is too small; plus, I've read it has quality-control issues, with many units being returned.  I'm only repeating what I've read.  So, that leaves the Pro 2.  This mono synth is praised to the skies on the forums and it seems to have a very respectable build quality.  I've listened to all the videos, including Paul's - which, I agree, are excellent - but I'm still undecided.  There's no doubt it has the right voice architecture, and the size will suffice, but I'm still debating the tone.  Rather than complex patches with lots of modulation, I'm interested in simple pure sounds with a sweet musical warmth. 

So, Chysn, what are your pros and cons on the Pro 2?  You're obviously not satisfied with it.  Why?  And have you thought about the forthcoming Vermona 14?  Also, I presume you're interested only in a keyboard synthesizer, but, if not, what about a couple of Mother-32s?
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 05:46:30 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

Razmo

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Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2016, 02:14:32 AM »
I think I follow you on this one... I think I have the same problem at the moment... I really have a lot of idears for new synths I's like to add to my rig, but even though there are a few things I find interresting, then something is holding me back... either it's basicaly very close to something I allready have, or it has keys or something else comes "in the way"

My thoughts have also been on the Pro2 several times... but some things make me hesitate... to me it's basicaly a scimmed down Prophet 12 that I allready have, with a few bells & whilstles that make it interresting.. and a keybed with too few keys, that I do not need anyway.

I've also been thinking about the P6 module, but I allways seem to be reluctant getting one... the price is too high compared to it's engine depth, the form factor does not allow rack mounting, and frankly it does not sound too far from a Prophet 08 with much better modulation options... and it sounds less interresting than the OB6... which is also too expensive... and again: keys I don't need.

The only machine that seems to pull me in, are the Hypersynth Xenophone... it has the engine, and also has some synthesis options I do not have in my rig... but I'm uncertain about it's SysEx specs... I've written them a copule of times, and they are always "just about to release them"... but it has special checksums that I cannot use with SoundDiver... they sort of said they could change the OS to allow to skip checksums, but I get this feeling, they're just talking... nothing is happening... also, considering it's price, it's a bit steep considering a like specced synth like the Pulse2 is only half the price.

So I'm not buying any synths at the moment... and the GAS itches like crazy! ... but I just will not buy more stuff, that I'll sell 24 days later... I'm also waiting to see what DSI will bring forth next time... I'm still hoping for some sort of sample oscillsator synth... though I want it polyphonic.

Point is... I've also decided not to buy at the moment... nothing is really compelling out there... I've gotten a small 1U rack mixer with eight stereo channels lately though, to prepare for a smaller studio, which is also why I'm reluctant to buy anything that remotely poke at my GAS... I've got two more stereo channels left for synths, and I want those two spaces to be for something that I really cannot live without.

So I feel what your trying to say Chysn... just in my own personal way of course... Some day, that synth you're longing for will eventualy be made by some company... the question is though; will it be from DSI? ...
If you need me, follow the shadows...

chysn

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Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2016, 07:15:51 AM »
With regard to the Pro 2: Is there anything specific you'd like to know? A type of sound or whatever you can think of?

There's enough diversity throughout your videos, and others, that I don't need a bespoke demo. I do appreciate the offer, though, thank you. Thank you, also, for pointing out your Sub37 pieces. I'll check those out after work today.

So, Chysn, what are your pros and cons on the Pro 2?  You're obviously not satisfied with it.  Why?

I don't really have a single bad word to say about it. It sounds incredible "in motion," when the sequencer has the wheel, and I'd say that's the strength. My feeling is that the Little Phatty is better at traditional melodic-type sounds, and the Evolver, while not better at sequenced sounds, does a good job, and lends itself to similar exploration.

It's not that I don't like the Pro 2. It's that it doesn't move me to give up what I already love.

Quote
And have you thought about the forthcoming Vermona 14?  Also, I presume you're interested only in a keyboard synthesizer, but, if not, what about a couple of Mother-32s?

They're both very interesting. With the Mother-32, I'd either get weary of patch cables immediately, or I'd become obsessed with modular synthesis. Could go either way. If I were to get a Pro 2, a Mother-32 would probably be the next target.

I like Vermona, but their stuff is really hard to get in Michigan, USA. If Detroit Modular doesn't carry them, I have no idea how I'd get my hands on one, even if I wanted to.

So I feel what your trying to say Chysn... just in my own personal way of course... Some day, that synth you're longing for will eventualy be made by some company... the question is though; will it be from DSI? ...

It will either be made, or it won't be made. Right now it doesn't matter that much to me. There are folks who would love to have my humble and antiquated setup, and I'm lucky to have it.

I might spring for a CP-251 to add a second LFO to the Little Phatty. Then, if a Prophet One (or whatever) is someday built, the CP-251 will probably enhance that synth's capabilities as well.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2016, 07:45:26 AM »

I like Vermona, but their stuff is really hard to get in Michigan, USA. If Detroit Modular doesn't carry them, I have no idea how I'd get my hands on one, even if I wanted to.

Big City Music
https://www.bigcitymusic.com/collections/vermona
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2016, 08:27:40 AM »
Had a Pro 2 for a few months and, whilst I far preferred it to the Prophet 12 I had before, there was still something about it that didn't quite work for me.  The problem sure wasn't the filters, which were by far the best part for me, so I think I must still have a problem with the oscillators.

As a mono synth I never got it to have the presence of my MEK, for example.  I think part of that is down to the signal path of the Pro 2 being decidedly mono. Two VCAs panned left/right and the ability to mix the filters' outputs to those VCAs would have been something really special and a missed trick, in my opinion.  I recall it gave you the ability to route pairs of oscillators to different filters but the filter output was always mixed back to mono.

I kept hoping that the step sequencer would bring me back to it but, again, I struggled to click with it.  This surprised me as I usually love using step sequencers.  I was left feeling that the Pro 2 was a hugely powerful synth that, filters aside, didn't do anything for me.  Still love my MEK though. :)

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2016, 08:45:34 AM »
Alas, the permanent damage that the Evolvers have done to some of us.  We can hardly find satisfaction in any other synthesizer.  I suffer from the same condition.  Woe, woe....

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 09:26:27 AM »
I can see a tendency here amongst most long-term forum members…  ;)
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 09:31:48 AM by Paul Dither »

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2016, 10:10:32 AM »
I think it's time we start an Evolver support group to help us lead normal lives again.  Evolvers Anonymous.  Whenever I see anything blue, I start shouting, "Evolver, Evolver!"  Or else, I choke up and weep softly.  I never know how I'm going to react.  My wife is so embarrassed when it happens in public.  She carries that little 4-inch Poly Evolver Keyboard magnet in her pocket book, and let's me rock it in my arms whenever I feel an attack coming on.  I'm just a mess.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 11:44:36 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

chysn

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Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2016, 12:36:45 PM »
I think it's time we start an Evolver support group to help us lead normal lives again.  Evolvers Anonymous.  Whenever I see anything blue, I start shouting, "Evolver, Evolver!"  Or else, I choke up and weep softly.  I never know how I'm going to react.  My wife is so embarrassed when it happens in public.  She carries that little 4-inch Poly Evolver Keyboard magnet in her pocket book, and let's me rock it in my arms whenever I feel an attack coming on.  I'm just a mess.

Ha! That's hilarious.

Except any 12-step program is going to ask us to admit that we're powerless in the face of our Evolver addiction, and we'll need to help each other avoid playing Evolvers, and stay away from acquaintances who use Evolvers.

So screw that.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2016, 01:28:53 PM »
It rather reminds me of "the older albums are still their best."

chysn

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Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2016, 02:41:10 PM »
It rather reminds me of "the older albums are still their best."

Right, and they always are.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2016, 02:43:42 PM »
It rather reminds me of "the older albums are still their best."

Right, and they always are.

"Dave sold out with the Prophet-5. Model 600 is where it's at!"

chysn

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Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 05:24:25 PM »
I've been thinking about sticking it out with the Little Phatty, and increasing its flexibility through CV. The Little Phatty is a really solid synth, but when I grow restless, it will be because of its simplicity, not because of its interface nor its sound.

First order of business is the single LFO. I've been considering getting a CP-251. The price is pretty steep at near $400USD, but it seems to offer lots of tools. Then I realized that I've already got an analog LFO sitting on my desk in the form of the MicroBrute. Bless the MicroBrute; it's a Swiss Army knife of gear, more flexible in some ways than the CP-251, in that it (the MicroBrute) has an LFO, an EG, and a sequencer, all with their own CV outs.

I'll see how far this takes me. I may still get the CP-251, but it's not going to be the first thing. No, the first thing is going to be the CV Out mod for the Little Phatty. Moog still has it, cheap, and it looks pretty easy to install. And when it finally comes time to sell the LP, the CV Out mod will increase the sales value of the LP by more than the mod will cost.

Thus ends today's Gear Rant.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2016, 09:02:51 PM »
I had a CP-251 for my Voyager Old School.  I bought it just to add vibrato.  It's an attractive little module, solidly built, and it does invite experimentation.

My view of new equipment is to ask myself if I'm truly discontent with a current instrument, if I'm regularly coming to a point when working with it in which I say, "No, the instrument cannot do what I want it to".  Then there's some justification for replacing it.  On the other hand, if it's just a matter of wanting something new, of drooling over the marketing of the latest greatest synthesizer, then I try to restrain myself.  So, if the Little Phatty does the job you need and has the sound you want - so what if it's discontinued and slowly getting old; it's a great synthesizer anyway.  It's difficult to be content for long with all the new gear and the yearly NAMMs, but it's smart to learn how to be happy with what you have, so as not to make imprudent changes in your set up.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 09:20:49 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2016, 09:17:18 PM »
My view of new equipment is to ask myself if I'm truly discontent with a current instrument, if I'm regularly coming to a point when working with it in which I say, "No, the instrument cannot do what I want it to".  Then there's some justification for replacing it.  On the other hand, if it's just a matter of wanting something new, of drooling over the marketing of the latest greatest synthesizer, then I try to retrain myself.  So, if the Little Phatty does the job you need and has the sound you want - so what if it's discontinued and slowly getting old; it's a great synthesizer anyway.  It's difficult to be content for long with all the new gear and the yearly NAMMs, but it's smart to learn how to be happy with what you have, so as not to make imprudent changes in your set up.

That's probably a healthy attitude. Things have also gotten a bit more extreme over the past couple of years. There have been times - at least in my POV - where not that many exciting things have been announced in the hardware world. The fact that NAMM became more and more centered around synths - or electronic music - over the past couple of years is testament to that. So there clearly has been a shift that makes things more tempting these days.

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2016, 09:27:54 PM »
Plus, as DSI has grown, they've naturally put more effort into their advertising.  The older instruments got some nice little one-page ads, but the newer ones now get professionally-made video demonstrations.  The latest DSI website is also slicker.  These are causes of serious salivation, and I'm as guilty of it as anyone.  But it's a good thing these instruments are announced well before they're available, because it gives you a chance to calm down and think more rationally and less impetuously.  If some folks want to pre-order, that's their choice.  But I do read of incidents where people come to their senses only after that pre-order has been placed, and they then regret it.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 09:33:53 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co

Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2016, 09:32:04 PM »
Definitely. Although pre-ordering doesn't harm anyone. One can still always cancel.

Razmo

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Re: Chysn's Gear Rant Thread...
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2016, 12:25:52 AM »
All MOOG's "budget" synths are limited in some way... that's just MOOG... they have a name, and that is what you pay for... but the stuff you DO get, is absolutely high end stuff in my opinion.

I have not had the LittlePhatty... but I did have the SlimPhatty, and I get the same feel with it... it sounds really good, and the interface rocks, but there is only so much you can do with these small synths... I find they do bass and leads well, but if you want wild modulation it¨s just not doable.

I have to add though, after having almost finished my editor for the Sub37, I can certainly say that if you want MOOG sound, with much much better modulation, and do not want to shed out the horrible price for a Voyager, then the Sub37 is simply the device to get... there are a lot of modulation options that is not vissible to the eye at first glimpse... Amos REALLY put in a very flexible sort of modulation matrix, and you can integrate it really well with the onboard sequencer which also rocks with 64 steps and motion recording that can also be used in the mod matrix... and the destinations for the matrix are staggering, with even some destinations that you would have a hard time finding a use for (like modulating a modulation source parameter for instance).

Yes... the price is a bit higher than the other MOOG budget synths but not much in comparrison to what a Phatty with keys cost when they were released... and as I'm beta testing for Amos, I have seen the editor that will be out soon for this machine... really nice looking and intuitive to use... something DSI really should start taking notes about... it's a disgrace that they are not doing their own editors still...
If you need me, follow the shadows...