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Hardware and Gear Hardware, gear, equipment; Whatever you call it, talk about tangible, physical music-making stuff here. Synths, Modular, drum machines, controllers etc all goes here.

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Old 05-07-2012, 08:30 AM   #81
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

As usual my vote goes to the Dave Smith Evolver, albeit I bought something more tame to go with it.
I love it, but it can get very wild very easily, sometimes I feel I'm not man enough to tame it, I'm not kidding.

You can get an Access Virus Desktop A or B for very cheap off Ebay.

Novation Nova Desktop is a very good one, with plenty of knobs.

I never tried the Dark Energy in person, but I've tried some Doepfer modules and they were really good. Fuck I'm really really sorry I had to sell my 6U Eurorack modular, I regret it everyday...

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Old 05-07-2012, 10:12 AM   #82
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

novaton ultranova is badass.

its the bomb diggity, i got to play with one at best buy, made like 10 patches, in 5 mins,

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It sounds like two records playing at once .
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:04 PM   #83
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Originally Posted by benelli3000 View Post
another interesting synth in my opinion is the elektron mono machine - i don't have one, but i used one while working on the last apparat record and i fell in love with it. it does synths but also so much more, drums, random noises, etc. i loved it and i just remembered that i really want one but i just bought a '62 reissue american vintage jaguar so i'll have to fuck off a lil longer on the mono machine. but look this thing up if you haven't yet, it's nuts.
I'd like to second the Monomachine. I absolutely love mine. I've sold every other synth I have owned but would never sell my Elektron. It makes for really quick work, programing sequences is a breeze and the best part about it...

No presets. You select a synth, get a basic tone and shape the sound to your liking from there. It's kind of like a sound designers groove box.

Wonderful piece of gear right there.

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Old 11-07-2012, 10:36 PM   #84
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Picking up my Minibrute today.

Guitar Center just got them in stock.

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Old 11-07-2012, 10:43 PM   #85
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

You will post up a review yes?

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:55 AM   #86
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

After a few hours with the Minibrute, my take away impression is this: it is an amazing instrument to learn the basic ins and outs of analog synthesis. I haven't touched a purely-analog synth since about 2004, the year I sold my Arp Odyssey. I never really got the hang of that synth, and having two oscillators to keep in tune often proved to be more of a hassle than anything. The Minibrute's single oscillator set-up makes everything easier, and the lay out is as simple and as straight forward as can be. I've had an absolute blast creating patches. It is weird going back to not being able to save stuff, but I know that not having that option will make me use the Minibrute more like a synth, and less like a ROMpler that I'll tweak here and there.

The build quality seems pretty good. It's a lot heavier than I imagined. It's hefty, and feels substantial. The keys feel a little cheap, but they are responsive, and the aftertouch feels great - super responsive with a lot of room to move. All of the sliders are smooth, and the knobs feel pretty good. However, the knob for the envelope modulation for the square wave is very loose - like twice as loose as every other knob. That troubles me a bit. I'm going to ask Arturia about this.

And what about the sounds? So far, so good. It's an aggressive little beast; it can get very loud. However, it can also sound smooth and calm. It does lean towards the edgier and grittier side of things, probably due to the Steiner-Parker filter. It sounds more like an Arp than it does a Moog, and it appears that it will handle leads as well as bass without any problems.

I wish I had this instrument when I was first learning the synth. In this way, I'd kind of compare it to the new Roland Gaia. I can't believe that I was able to walk into Guitar Center today and purchase a mono synth with a 100% analog signal path for $500. One synth I'd love to compare it to is the original Novation Bass Station keyboard model. It's great that a person can get something like this for that price.

I will probably end up getting some kind of small modular system to run through the Minibrute. With its MIDI in and CV out, it can act as a MIDI/CV interface, and with its audio in it would be pretty easy to add a second oscillator.

Anyhow...

tl;dr - so far I'm pretty happy with the Minibrute.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:10 AM   #87
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Nice post there D-Davis. When I asked for the review I didn't expect for you to knock it out of the park like that. Glad to hear you seem to be enjoying your new purchase.

As most of my questions were answered in the post, like why would you sell the arp, I only have one left. Here goes...

I know they are different beasts, one digital the other analog, one mono the other poly etc. but how would you compare the brute to that Nord Rack 2x of yours? I'm not trying to drag you into a silly analog vs digi debate but I am curious to know your thoughts on the issue using these two synths as a reference point.

I hear Clavia comes pretty close.

I ask because I'm trying to decide if my next synth purchase is going to be the Rack 2 or a budget analog similar to the one you picked up today.

Thanks again for that review man.

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Old 12-07-2012, 11:54 AM   #88
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

The Arp was just completely impractical for me at the time. I never used it, and I've always believed that if you're not using it, get rid of it for something that will be more useful. A lot of people think it's crazy that I used some of the money I got from my Arp to buy an Alesis QS6.2, but for me it was more than worth it and I've never regretted it, simply because the Alesis is far more useful and practical.

I'd buy a Nord over the Minibrute simply because the Nord is more useful and practical. It can be mono synth, but it can also be a poly synth and a whole lot more than the Minibrute ever can, including a 4-voice, multitimbral sound module. The Minibrute will be something I turn to for a very specific thing, while the Nord will be used a whole lot more.

But actually, I'd buy a Blofeld desktop before a Nord. A combination of a Blofeld and a Minibrute would be amazing.

Last edited by D_Davis; 12-07-2012 at 11:58 AM..

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Old 12-07-2012, 10:10 PM   #89
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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But actually, I'd buy a Blofeld desktop before a Nord.
This surprises me as I have read mixed reviews on the Blofeld and mainly positive on the Nord. Final question:

Do you say this because the Blofeld fits your more ambient style of music better than the Nord or because you think it's just a better synth all around?

I wanted a Blofeld for quite sometime but decided I wanted more knobs so I haven't considered one for a while now. But, you know, they're priced really well for all they can do it seems.

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Old 12-07-2012, 10:17 PM   #90
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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This surprises me as I have read mixed reviews on the Blofeld and mainly positive on the Nord. Final question:

Do you say this because the Blofeld fits your more ambient style of music better than the Nord or because you think it's just a better synth all around?

I wanted a Blofeld for quite sometime but decided I wanted more knobs so I haven't considered one for a while now. But, you know, they're priced really well for all they can do it seems.
The Blofeld is a work horse. It does so much, so well. It can sound super harsh and digital, or very warm and soft. It has built in f/x that are pretty good, and the modulation possibilities are INSANE. The modulation matrix is practically a digital modular system in which every single parameter can be modified by every single parameter - and there are 16 modulation slots.

With a nice little MIDI controller (like the sl MK II) you can easily control most of the Blofeld's main parameters. Not quite a knob for every job, but close.

I've only scratched the surface since I re-purchased one a couple of months ago. But I think it could easily be a one-stop sound module for a home studio.

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Old 13-07-2012, 06:17 AM   #91
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Did you know they now made a knobby version of the blofeld? Its called sledge i beleive.
love the blofeld too. It teams up very nicely with my other analog gear.
If you have an iPad, I've heard you can control it with lemur perfectly.

Ive heard so many good things about the nords too but I just can't seem to like it...

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Old 13-07-2012, 06:22 AM   #92
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Damn steeboo you're right. It's not every day you hear of a new synth...thanks.


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Old 14-07-2012, 11:24 PM   #93
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Steebo, that thing is crazy looking. And thx to everyone for the info on the Blofeld. I now have no clear 1st in my hardware purchase coming up...The price brand new, seems crazy. And with RFJ's ebay referencing, I can get it for $150 less.

Ah yea, thx for the minibrute info too Davis, been looking at that one as well.

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Old 15-07-2012, 08:55 AM   #94
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

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Originally Posted by steeboo View Post
Did you know they now made a knobby version of the blofeld? Its called sledge i beleive.
love the blofeld too. It teams up very nicely with my other analog gear.
If you have an iPad, I've heard you can control it with lemur perfectly.

Ive heard so many good things about the nords too but I just can't seem to like it...
Lemur is on Ipad???

wtf.

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It sounds like two records playing at once .
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Old 15-07-2012, 10:01 PM   #95
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

I just bought a Microkorg for $200. What a fun little synth. Love that it's battery powered. It'll be perfect to just toss in a bag and take anywhere.

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Old 15-07-2012, 10:05 PM   #96
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

The Moog Voyager is still one of my favorites for basslines under my chord progressions. I love the warmth and clarity.
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Old 15-07-2012, 10:06 PM   #97
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

I'm really tempted by the microkorg too, it seems like great fun, but before buying more gear, I might invest something in my education.

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Old 15-07-2012, 10:09 PM   #98
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

I have a feeling that you'll be able to grab the MKs for next to nothing in the coming years. The dude I bought it from was most definitely not a musician. He didn't know a think about synthesis, music or keyboards at all. One of those things that kids will see their favorite bands using, and get one for Christmas, and then a year later they'll sell it after it's been collecting dust.

I mean, there's like 5 million of them out there - right?

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Old 15-07-2012, 10:18 PM   #99
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Microkorg sold like bread and here you can find a 2nd hand one for as little as 130/140 (around 200$), but I first I want to learn more about synthesis, I still consider myself too much of a knob twiddler...

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Old 16-07-2012, 05:08 AM   #100
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Re: What kind of hardware synth to buy

Spent some time with the MicroKORG tonight; man, that's a fun little synth. Love just being able to kick back on the couch with some batteries in it, and mess around. I know the MK gets a lot of shit - probably because of how insanely popular it got with people who don't really know about synths and stuff - but it is surprisingly deep and, best of all, fun to use. I like the programming matrix, I think it's easier to use than menu diving.

My only real complaint is the polyphony - 4 voices that get eaten up quickly with unison and layering. However, even with just using the two OSC you can make some really neat sounding things.

Oh yeah, I also really dig the vocoder. I've been trying to get the vocoder on my Micron to sound good, and I never could. The MK, on the other hand, has a bunch of killer vc presets right out of the box.

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