The Hardware Megathread


that’s what I was trying to say earlier. Most of my synths are in the 1-2A range, a few are in hundreds of mA, and I’ve seen a few in the 3A range. Even a MicroBrute or Pulse 2 are 1A, and my RackBrute is 3A, the K2 is 1A

Granted this is all DC and likely some of that is “extra” to keep the power supply reliable, ie not running maxed out all the time and getting warm. I don’t know the actual current draw on any of them. maths edit I know my Maschine+ uses 10W at 60% CPU and at 15V DC that’s 1.5A; it ships with a 2.6A power supply. That said, it that does give it reserve power for two USB devices up to 500mA each…

And then I look at something like an Electribe EMX that uses a step down transformer to 24V AC on a funky DIN-style connector. RNLA is barrel, but 9V AC. That said these could be outliers, but still, I think the biggest thing holding it back is the power requirements. I think visualizing a box that would hold all the transformers is a decent way to get an idea of just how large such a box would need to be.


Not hardware, but Bram Bos Hammerhead app came out yesterday and if you are my age you should get it. It’s like the original software, but modern and better. Plus there is some magic that add variations to even the simplest beat.


I have no idea what this is :eyes: But to be fair, in the 90s I didn’t even know what a TR-909 was. It looks like a fun app and especially for only $8.

Holy sweet lord I found it:

the demo tracks use Real Player lol.


Thats Digitakt updated to 1.30, I thought it was only logical to put it at the back as Digitone will probably get the next upgrade out of the two :joy:


If Elektron adds poly MIDI out to tracks with Chord Machine on it in a Cycles update I’ll buy a second one… not sure if they can or not, though. It was definitely a great purchase and might be my favorite drum machine atm. I cannot wait to sample it with a S2400. The Chord Machine is great sounding, and just gives instant House music vibes. Its “character sheet” has a 5 for the Magic stat lol… iirc it’s wavetable and not FM (but I can’t remember or find where I read that so ignore… maybe…)

Propped up on one of these atm on my project table:

The mini version of the laptop stand, meant for tablets and half the price.

I’d love to see another in the Models line, though, and more digital. Please, please please, Elektron, do not do a Model:Analogs. Do a Model:Digitals and get a little crazy with it. Until I find out if I can use single cycle waveforms on a Samples, then I’ll get probably get one of those (edit F my wallet it can… )

Maschine’s sampler feels like weaksauce coming from an Akai, and trying to get sample presets to load on the Plus in standalone is a nightmare of sample pathing that I know has a solution because Samples From Mars drum Groups load right up for me and they were made before the Plus was a thing… I tried to mimic what they did and no dice :angry:

Sometimes the Plus is such a pita and it’s usually things that are not a big deal on a computer because you can just search the missing files with a click or three. I love how Akai lets you install third party expansions and access them alongside their own…


Re: Synth power sizes

Complicated stuff, further complicated by the fact that it’s often an afterthought. Engineering as the science of compromise is on full display.

Basically, it’s about trying to pack features into a small package. Pedals are almost always limited scope, don’t have a ton of powered parts and just do a thing. Synths have lots of chips that require power (as opposed to the 1-2 in a lot of pedals), and it varies the requirements quite a lot. Also, you almost always design for constant voltage and then adjust the amps to fit resulting in a wide range of supplies depending on what you’re using.

To keep size down, everyone uses switch-mode supplies which are inherently noisy, which is terrible for the analog oscillators that everyone packs in. Not an issue with big synths (older analog or newer workstations) because they have the room to pack linear transformers and lots of filter caps in there and just use AC power. The small ones just size a bit over whatever the features demand to keep the power cleaner while not bloating the unit.

And a lot of it revolves around parts availability - it’s easier to find a Chinese plant that’ll churn out a wall wart to your specs than it is to work around getting lower draw components or limiting features or just engineering things more efficiently (often to the tune of more expensive parts which cuts into the bottom line).

Eurorack is interesting because, like pedals, there’s a power standard to design around. And if you can’t fit it in the unit you’re designing, you just make another unit to add on.

tl;dr - synth folks will never standardize power because it’s cheaper and thus more profitable not to.


I should have bought a Cycles sooner. Had my hands on it every break from work today (finally). Time to pair it again with something, or maybe two somethings…

It would just be like TRS MIDI A and B (and ‘C’ or TS) anyway, with a 5.5mm x 2.5mm barrel instead XD


Or I can waste over an hour faffing with two MIDI controllers and the Cycles to get anything to work at all lol. MIDI channels, software on the computer for the Korg Nanokey Studio failing, Launchpad X not working at all despite following the Cycles guide…

Still, got in some nice time with the K-2 and Cycles. K-2 makes a nice “analog clap” (among other things…). Thicc f’ing sound for ‘just’ two oscillators. Zoom H6 is fine for small jamming, really not feeling GAS for a Bluebox anymore for now.

edit I poked around with my Soma Ether and picked up some crazy noises off both synths, even when powered off. Didn’t go away until I completely shut off power at the strip, and picked up some other sounds in the area. One pulsed between two pitches which I’d never heard before from radio interference/spectrum/radiation stuff. Too tired to record any and run it through samplers and stretchers and pitch shifting, but Soon :tm:


Don’t sweat it, yesterday I burned 2 hours tearing my hair out while not correctly importing samples into a Sequential ProphetX, on the bands dime.

I figured it out, you will too if you haven’t yet.


The Nanokey Studio works sort of. The XY pad sends CCs the Cycles responded to, but I only could play track one of the Cycles. I tried changing the Cycles auto from channel 10 to 1 but it still didn’t want to act right. The Launchpad I set up to have 4 pads to channels 1-4 but they wouldn’t play the Cycles’ pads, and the scale players I had set up for Channel 10, the Cycles’ default auto channel, didn’t trigger notes, either. I suspect it’s more of a setting on my Oplab than the Launchpad (edit though I did just read what I did wrong on triggering the pads)

This morning, though, an unexpected champion arrived to save the day :open_mouth: my OP-1 came back to life! TL;DR - it refused to power on after sitting for a long period, wouldn’;t charge, either. TE wanted $125 plus shipping there and back to replace a $20 battery. I thought I lost parts after taking it apart, didn’t, and finally got the courage to swap the battery’s connecter to a battery I bought. It took days on the charger, but suddenly… it was on. Given the prices used I am tempted to sell it and pay the difference on a newer one. I paid under $800 due to discount codes back in the day, and I can get an open box for not much more than selling this one. It feels like a no brainer, and like the stars have aligned for me lol.

But I digress. My little champion’s MIDI mode is quick to switch MIDI channels. No velocity sensitivity, but I’m not even sure the Cycles responds to velocity other than its own pads. I had been looking at a Keystep or Keystep 37, which ave aftertouch even, but the main reason was quickly switching MIDI channels, and the DIN out. Sometimes programming sequences for a bassline or the Chord Machine is just quicker to play them.

I’m excited. I missed the little guy but just wasn’t willing to pay the prices for them. Now I don’t have to :smiley:

Oplab… TE doesn’t make these anymore I don’t think, and they are really nice for syncing everything. Two USB Host ports, its own USB connection to connect to say, a computer (I need to try it on the Maschine+ :eyes: ), MIDI DIN In and Out, three analog In and Out with switches for V/Oct or Hz/V and Gate or S-Trig, and the DIN Sync which is occupied by something I bought for it a long time ago called a Synclab that outputs various amounts of pulses from 4 different ports so syncing various pieces of gear becomes possible from one unit.

My tabletop jam area just got a heck of a lot more interesting and the possibilities are running through my head XD

Oh no lol. I don’t want to speculate what that would have done for my anxiety.


I could do with a multi input soundcard, I’ thinking Scarlet 8i6. Opinions?


MOTU IMO. although i never had and focusrite stuff so i cant comment on that


Only negative thing I can say is that on my Focusrite, it does that weird/wonky way of using the SPIDF that I mentioned, but it’s pretty quick/easy to change it. May not even be an issue for you if you don’t plan to use the SPIDF.

MOTU may have “better” sounding converters and/or pres, depending on the product. I have no complaints comparing to my 18i20, but then again I don’t have a more modern MOTU experience to compare it to. But I just run at 24-bit/44.1kHz anyway.

And with Focusrite you’ll get tons of software to give away because you hate ease of use DAWs.

edit actually as it comes/default setup if you use Focusrite’s guide, you can use it as a mixer essentially, and just play hardware through your speakers without any software but the computer running. The specific setting I turned off to stop that escapes me, though. It’s “Custom mix” on the Outputs 1 and 2 (Monitor outputs).


I’ve read lots of good things about Motu cards, BUT they will not be compatible with a feature that’s coming to one of my hardware bits.

I won’t need them to begin with, I doubt my setup will grow that much.

This is great to know!

And just so you know, I might use the software, I just finished a remix using only my DAW, not hardware!


I swear by my Clarett 8 pre, it cost more but you get what you pay for.

For half an hour i could hear the vast superior sound difference from the Apogee duet i had been using, like each individual sound had more surface mass, yet after half hour that sound different doesn’t mean anything as that becomes your norm :joy::rofl:

PS the SPIDF works flawless between clarett, ableton and expert sleepers ES-3.


I also use a focusrite 18i20. Not sure if the lower models have it, but the 18i20 has memory, so the input/output routings stay the same if you power it off/on even if you don’t connect it to a PC. For my usual playing, combined with a patchbay, the only time I have to hook it up to the computer is if I want to actually record something.


I had a reply typed up then brain-farted and updated Vivaldi and lost it all…

I did figure out what to do with the Commodore, finally. My jam table has a permanent part of the tabletop that I can put it on, and the shelf behind it, with a little organizing/moving of things, stick a computer monitor on it flanked by some small powered speakers along the lines of the Eris 3.5s. And finally buy the damned MSSIAH thing already…

Or a temporary riser on my main desk and hook it into the front of the 18i20 and my big monitor’s second input for PIP.

I thought hooking various bits up and tearing them down would annoy me, but it’s become the exact opposite. It’s sort of soothing unhooking it all, carefully coiling the cables and putting things away, and leaving me with a space to use for something else when I want/need to.

Well yeah, the Clarret is their high end and it’s likely how I’d expand my 18i20 G3. My thing with the SPIDF is likely specific to my use case, tbh. Yours is probably much more “normal” ie I don’t want to leave something on all the time, while that ES-3 is just going to be there for sync purposes and it all works fine. In my case I just have to turn SPIDF sync on if I want to use the Proteus 2000; either way it will solve itself if I do add the Clarett, as the 18i20 is either/or for SPDIF RCA or ADAT lightpipe, it seems. Impressive it kicked the Duet’s butt, Apogee has a good rep on converters.


What’s this secret feature you speak of?


I can’t help but think the name Focusrite sounds like some dodgy homeopathic stress-reduction pill cross-contaminated with AIDS for sale on the internet with some cheesy BS line like “feel content now, with Focusrite – calm your mind and focus on what matters, the natural way. Available for just £49.99… per treatment.”

Though, from what I hear, unlike the above, the real Focusrite isn’t a bitter disappointment, but a pleasant surprise.


Yeah with the Apogee Duet (firewire) / clarrett sound difference, i only updated to get more ins and outs as i was perfectly happy with the Apogees sound but the sound difference was genuinely night and day it really did take me by surprise as it was something i was looking for or expecting, same room same monitors same audio chain same projects, im just not very good at explaining sound but each individual sound in the mix had more detail it was very striking.