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One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth

Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #120 on: May 04, 2016, 09:20:41 AM »
Yes, I loathe those little emoticons, too.  It's unfortunate that we feel the need to use such things.  Surely the great literary figures managed without them.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 04:53:23 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #121 on: May 05, 2016, 01:22:16 PM »
Probably, the Oberheim SEM Pro would be the best choice. 

The Pro 2 definitely suits my preferences in voice architecture, and it actually sounds pretty good, but it couldn't quite fill the analog duties which are the priority in this quest.

Hi Sacred Synthesis.

I was running a MIDI/CV SEM through a Pro 2 and getting fabulous results--some of my favorite tones, actually. I recently sold the MIDI SEM in order to get the Patch Panel SEM (I wanted the CV connections for more control from the Pro 2). However, the latest SEM production run (900 serial number range) sounds WAY different than the model I had (700 serial number range). It also had different knobs (matte finish versus gloss finish on the earlier model). I took it back to the dealer and tried a SEM Pro from the same shipment, and it had the same problem, as did their Two Voice Pro. The filter had lost that big, thick, wet, open, clean resonance that Oberheim is known for (the new OB-6 has this beloved character from what I can hear in some of the demos).

So, I bought a Nyborg-12 instead (which I think you mentioned earlier in this thread). And while it doesn't quite do the SEM resonance, it sounds brilliant. In fact, I find it more sonically flexible than the SEM. And it pairs beautifully with the Pro 2. One negative on the Nyborg-12 is that it doesn't have that real clean, hollow square wave (which I think you were looking for). But I think the Pro 2 would cover that. Or one of the earlier SEM Pro synths (pre-900s); my SEM had a great square wave.

Anyway, just wanted to give a perspective on that combo, if it helps.

Cheers.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 01:46:52 PM by Bryan_D »
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #122 on: May 05, 2016, 02:41:31 PM »
Thanks for that information, Bryan; it's very useful to me.  I had looked quite carefully at the Nyborgs, and I was on the verge of ordering one, when I realized they lacked glide/portamento.  This shocked me, and so I dropped the idea.  Any thoughts on this giant omission on an otherwise excellent synthesizer?
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chysn

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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #123 on: May 05, 2016, 06:06:30 PM »
At the risk of my recent enthusiasm crossing into zealous evangelism, I'll just say that a rack of three Mothers-32 would be an incredible monosynth. Downsides: no keyboard, no memory. Upsides: pretty much everything else.
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #125 on: May 05, 2016, 09:19:27 PM »
At the risk of my recent enthusiasm crossing into zealous evangelism, I'll just say that a rack of three Mothers-32 would be an incredible monosynth. Downsides: no keyboard, no memory. Upsides: pretty much everything else.

I'd agree that the Mother-32 sounds superb, and that three of them would be gorgeous.  But the limited modulation and envelopes make it a disappointment.  It seems to excel as an independent sequencing device, the sort of machine you could sit at a desk with and have good time.  But the voice architecture is light years away from what I have in mind.
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #126 on: May 05, 2016, 09:24:43 PM »
http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/05/05/crowminius-synthesizer-700-minimoog-model-d-clone/

Interesting.  Meanwhile, what is Moog up to?  First the Matrixbrute, and now this?  Is the Minimoog model going to be ravaged by everyone and anyone?  And is that immense gap between the Sub 37 and the Voyager XL really going to continue indefinitely?  Surely they're cooking up something like another Voyager to fill it.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 08:45:00 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #127 on: May 06, 2016, 02:24:14 AM »
The next logical step would be a Sub 61. There would be plenty of room for voyager like features.

chysn

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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #128 on: May 06, 2016, 03:05:44 AM »
But the limited modulation and envelopes make it a disappointment.  It seems to excel as an independent sequencing device, the sort of machine you could sit at a desk with and have good time.  But the voice architecture is light years away from what I have in mind.

If you think of it in terms of its normalled state, the modulation seems limited. With the patchbay, its modulation flexibility is well beyond Evolver-level, especially in multiples. That might seem like a bold statement, but it's totally true.

The envelopes are a weak point, and almost why I passed. It's less of an issue than I thought it'd be. I've got the option to feed in envelope CV from the Little Phatty, but when I do that it's usually to have more envelopes rather than better envelopes.

If Moog were to make a 37- or 44-key MIDI controller that looks like the 953, I'd be really tempted to do what I suggested.
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #129 on: May 06, 2016, 08:53:50 AM »
The Moog products of greatest interest to me these days would be their modular keyboards.  But as far as I understand, they're CV, rather than MIDI controllers that you could use with a MIDI hardwired module.  Otherwise, one could assemble quite an impressive instrument with various modules and a five-octave keyboard having a nice wooden frame and a most useful flat top.  But I no longer consider Moog to be of any interest, but merely a curiosity.  Their instruments are either too small or too big for my needs.

Regarding the Mother-32's modulation, my issue is not with the flexibility of modulation, but with the ability to have several types simultaneously running.  Plus, isn't the panel a bit of a disorderly mess?  Visually, it's a put off.  I've always liked instruments with panels that were well ordered with clear lines and divisions between modules, as with the Sub 37.  But the M-32 is just the opposite, with not a single line or division and with one parameter and section running into the next.  It's not typical of Moog, which usually has excellent panels.  It's as if some one other than Moog designed the instrument.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 09:32:03 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #130 on: May 06, 2016, 10:46:43 AM »
Any thoughts on this giant omission on an otherwise excellent synthesizer?

Well, in my case I have a small, 104HP modular system with a MakeNoise Function (slew generator). I experimented with that before I made the Nyborg purchase and found I had way more control over glide/portamento with the Function. This is to be expected, of course, and I found the results much more interesting. I guess it just depends on how much you use glide. It's nice to have, but it's not something I would use all the time (or want to hear all the time).

Perhaps a "perfect" mono synth might be a Pro 2 with some choice modular kit or a small analog voice (like a Nyborg, SEM or Mother-32) to compliment the digital oscillators of the Pro 2. My modular sits right above my Pro 2 for easy connection and manipulation. Not trying to sell you on modular (or a Pro 2), but the Pro 2 lends itself to such things, and there are a lot of VCO modules to choose from in the Eurorack format.   
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #131 on: May 06, 2016, 11:09:20 AM »
Any thoughts on this giant omission on an otherwise excellent synthesizer?

Well, in my case I have a small, 104HP modular system with a MakeNoise Function (slew generator). I experimented with that before I made the Nyborg purchase and found I had way more control over glide/portamento with the Function. This is to be expected, of course, and I found the results much more interesting. I guess it just depends on how much you use glide. It's nice to have, but it's not something I would use all the time (or want to hear all the time).

Perhaps a "perfect" mono synth might be a Pro 2 with some choice modular kit or a small analog voice (like a Nyborg, SEM or Mother-32) to compliment the digital oscillators of the Pro 2. My modular sits right above my Pro 2 for easy connection and manipulation. Not trying to sell you on modular (or a Pro 2), but the Pro 2 lends itself to such things, and there are a lot of VCO modules to choose from in the Eurorack format.

I don't use a lot of portamento, but I certainly consider it vital for many sounds.  Some times, only a small amount is just right, but that small amount is so important.  So, I had been on the verge of putting together a Telemark Keyboard and a Nyborg 12 combination, until I made the unhappy discovery.  Then I considered a Leipzig Keyboard and Module combination, but the Leipzig square wave is anything but.  Plus, from Analog Solutions' own advertising, the instrument's oscillators seem to be rather unstable and the keyboard-oscillator tracking rather poor.  Correct me if I'm wrong in any of this, because I'd be happy to reconsider my judgments. 

I'd agree with you that the Pro 2 seems to be among the best options for building up a mono synth.  It's a strong instrument in the area of architecture, and the many possibilities for adding modules or modular pieces make it tempting.  I've many times thought about a Pro 2 controlling two SEM Pros.  But what do you think of its basic tone when using simple sounds that reveal its character?  I'm hesitant to buy a synthesizer, with the intention of adding other components to compensate for its weaknesses.  It seems like one way of getting off to a bad start.  I haven't had to do that with my current instruments.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 11:19:04 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #132 on: May 06, 2016, 01:55:59 PM »
Plus, from Analog Solutions' own advertising, the instrument's oscillators seem to be rather unstable and the keyboard-oscillator tracking rather poor.  Correct me if I'm wrong in any of this, because I'd be happy to reconsider my judgments. 

I'd agree with you that the Pro 2 seems to be among the best options for building up a mono synth.  It's a strong instrument in the area of architecture, and the many possibilities for adding modules or modular pieces make it tempting.  I've many times thought about a Pro 2 controlling two SEM Pros.  But what do you think of its basic tone when using simple sounds that reveal its character?

As for the Nyborg-12 tracking pitch from the Pro 2 CV, I haven't noticed anything unusual. Perhaps you've seen this, but for your reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHPNPC1jOm8

I think the Nyborg is definitely vintage-voiced. It's a little more opaque and minutely fuzzier than the SEM, which may account for the square wave "problem" you ran into on the Leipzig-s (assuming it's similarly voiced).

As for the tone of the Pro 2, I think Dave Smith rightly characterized it as a "bold" sounding synth. It's up front and in your face. The low end is punchy and precise (I love the snappy envelopes), but the high end is just slightly subdued; it doesn't quite sizzle like the P08 (I have a pair of Tetras). I'm splitting hairs here, of course. We're not talking night and day difference. I think the Pro 2 would give you a fuller, more rounded tone in the bass compared to the P08. Others might disagree, of course.

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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #133 on: May 06, 2016, 02:37:38 PM »
Yes, I went carefully through that channel, and it gave me a sufficient sense of the character of Ananlog Solutions' instruments.  Very nice, very refreshing.  But what struck me about the Nyborg's lack of portamento is that it would probably be popular as a sequencing synthesizer, and that's what one video after another proved.  There are precious few examples of it being used in conjunction with a keyboard.  The problem is, that's exclusively how I want to use it.  Hence, the need for portamento.  Regardless, I've been trying to imagine an instrument without it, and whether or not I could work with it.

I definitely wouldn't describe my ideal synthesizer quality as "in your face!"  I'm looking more for a sweet and dignified tone, but perhaps the Pro 2 can achieve both.  I don't know.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 03:31:47 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #134 on: May 06, 2016, 08:46:36 PM »
Chysn, I'll admit that the Mother-32 sounds really nice in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ebbd17Z2kx8
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chysn

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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #135 on: May 07, 2016, 04:16:24 AM »
Chysn, I'll admit that the Mother-32 sounds really nice in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ebbd17Z2kx8

Yeah, that's very good. But you never said it didn't sound nice, just that it lacks stuff you want, which there's nothing wrong with that.

Meanwhile, I found that synthesizers.com makes wood-side-and-top controllers (37- and 61-key versions) that are pricey but sharp, with some of the look of the 953, but with MIDI.
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #136 on: May 07, 2016, 04:47:25 PM »
Meanwhile, I found that synthesizers.com makes wood-side-and-top controllers (37- and 61-key versions) that are pricey but sharp, with some of the look of the 953, but with MIDI.

And Synthesizers.com makes double-manual controllers as well.  Now that's how you make an organist-turned-synthesist hyperventilate!

I may have had a Chysn moment.  I was running errands today, thinking, "How am I ever going to find the mono synth of my ideals?"  And then you came to mind, and I thought, "Maybe I should go modular."  I don't know, but the idea of an expandable three-oscillator, three-envelope, three-LFO analog mono synth with low pass and high pass filters, and no space or money wasted on other popular features that I don't need or want, sure seems to cry out, "Modular over here, please!"  But God save my little bank account from the modular infatuation!  It was an exciting thought, but I'd still rather stay with hardwired modules or semi-modular.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2016, 04:54:42 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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chysn

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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #137 on: May 07, 2016, 06:43:59 PM »
the idea of an expandable three-oscillator, three-envelope, three-LFO analog mono synth with low pass and high pass filters...

Right, and don't forget independent audio signal paths for stereo recording in whatever configuration you want. And also, that's a filter for each oscillator in your stereo path.

Quote
But God save my little bank account from the modular infatuation!  It was an exciting thought, but I'd still rather stay with hardwired modules or semi-modular.

I'm married and I have four kids, and I'll never make a dime from music, facts which externally impose a great degree of fiscal discipline when it comes to equipment. I'm spending only my own "allowance," so to speak, so I don't fear the "modular rabbit hole" that much.

The thing that drew me in was trying it. The ability to route and then visually track modulation sources and destinations through a path of mixers and processors suddenly made twisting the Desktop Evolver's knobs to select sources and destinations seem tedious. By the end of the year, I expect that my only link to Dave Smith Instruments will be through Dave Smith Modular; with the Curtis Filter and Feedback modules, plus some non-DSM support modules, I'm hearing a lot of potential to reproduce what I like about the Evolver sound, and for only three times the price of an Evolver!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2016, 07:01:46 PM by chysn »
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Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #138 on: May 09, 2016, 10:50:26 AM »
http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/05/05/crowminius-synthesizer-700-minimoog-model-d-clone/

Interesting.  Meanwhile, what is Moog up to?  First the Matrixbrute, and now this?  Is the Minimoog model going to be ravaged by everyone and anyone?  And is that immense gap between the Sub 37 and the Voyager XL really going to continue indefinitely?  Surely they're cooking up something like another Voyager to fill it.

Maybe in 2017, who knows? But the Sub 37 was also selling quite well, so maybe they don't feel the need to fill that gap very soon. As they seem to have a penchant for anniversaries, maybe we'll see a Model D reissue when it marks its 50th birthday, i.e. in 2020. But going by their rates of the modular reissues, it probably won't sell below 5 grand.  ;)

Re: One Man's Quest for the Perfect Mono Synth
« Reply #139 on: May 09, 2016, 10:58:00 AM »
Maybe in 2017, who knows? But the Sub 37 was also selling quite well, so maybe they don't feel the need to fill that gap very soon. As they seem to have a penchant for anniversaries, maybe we'll see a Model D reissue when it marks its 50th birthday, i.e. in 2020. But going by their rates of the modular reissues, it probably won't sell below 5 grand.  ;)

Oh, you're saying that just to torment me, Paul, aren't you?  Well, I'll start saving up for the Model D re-issue right...now!
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