The Hardware Megathread


Over at Dreadbox right now their doing a limited run of DYSPHONIA DIY Synth Kit, once they’ve gone they’ve gone hence i’ve just ordered one.


It just so happens I’m making a track right now and I’m working on the intro which my virus c is playing a huge role


I"m still gushing over the SP-16–working with it tonight again and I’m really not over how much I love it. I know, new relationship energy, will it fade? Even if I wimp out and never really use it in my DJ sets, worth every penny creatively for starting tracks. I’ve had a lot of groovebox samplers from the ES-1 to the Digitakt and none of them compare to the speed at which I can get an idea and arrangement down and ready for the DAW work.

I think the key to using it live will be to just live with the sonic differences between what I finish in the DAW and getting the patterns sounding as good as I can inside the SP-16. With a DJ mixer it’ll be easy to mix back and forth between the DAW version on a CDJ and whatever is on the SP-16.

Instead of doing a lot of work to reduce the sonic difference between the two versions, I’ll just embrace it and see how that sounds. That’s working smarter not harder, I hope.


How you are feeling about the SP-16 is what I felt and still feel about the Polyend tracker.

One of the coolest tracks I’ve ever made started life in that polyend.


Ive not owned very many pieces of gear I can say I absolutely hated… not any really…But when you find that love connection <3


Been a while, but I’m forcing myself to learn more of the audio and midi functionality in FL Studio, so I recorded a demo of some patches I’ve been working on the Super6. Only workflow mistake I made was cutting the audio up first. The original audio was one take, so I should have just denoised the whole thing first, then edit the audio. Ah well, live and learn.


So it came up elsewhere and the questions didn’t get answered–what is up with line level instruments, DI boxes and guitar pedals?

The original context was that a 303 clone might need a DI box before it hits a Rat 2 pedal to sound its best. Do I need some DI boxes to use my guitar pedals with synths? Or should I just turn down the synths so they don’t hit the pedals so hard and make up the gain if I need it elsewhere?


Some nice sounding patches there for sure : )


I know its a guitar demo, but I’m super impressed by the Nux vs. a Strymon (DiG) pedal…for half the money…I have the Nux mono analog delay (pink, $60 job) and I love its tone…edit: apparently the Nux Analog is supposed to be an Ibanez AD-80 clone, I’m not a pedal head or anything but FYI.


Nice, the patch at 2:47 stands out, very dreamy and animated. 6:05 is another nice moment.
The noise patch didn’t work for me at all, but the ‘hoover’ after that was really cool.
How does it fare outside of pads?


Just ram the 303 into the rat and call it good. That sort of sound is the punk rock of techno, fuck impedance.


It’s about balanced/unbalanced signal and impedance matching, and it really depends on what you’re hooking up.

The balanced thing mostly has to do with having the right connections, ie XLR to 1/4". There’s some electrical hoohaw that can cause quality issues converting unbalanced to balanced (noise, distortion, signal loss, ground issues) that converting at a DI gets around, but it depends on a lot of factors and isn’t an every time, ‘must use’ thing.

Impedance matching is a black hole of technical crap that you really only need to get into if you’re designing equipment or like math. The quick and dirty is that the output (the synth) and the input (the pedal) each have an impedance (read: resistance) – to use the wrong-but-handy water analogy, your cable is a garden hose, and the impedance is how big either end is (more impedance, smaller the end). At some point choking either end with too much resistance results water spraying everywhere. In audio terms, the signal is going haywire, which mostly means signal loss, or in extreme cases distortion or turning into a lowpass filter that eats your bottom end. It has to be a pretty big mismatch for that to happen. Matched impedance basically means you’ve got a garden hose big enough for the spigot and sprinkler.

Passive DI boxes act as a converter (has XLR and 1/4") and a ‘reservoir’ for your signal, smoothing out the ‘water flow’ so everything’s happy. Active DI boxes also have a preamp that allows you to mess with the signal to get the best results.

Technical crap: The standard for guitar pedals is 1M input impedance. Most passive guitar pickups are in the 5k-15k range. You’re shooting for 1/10th the input impedance or less (which results in a 1/10th signal loss). Very generally, plugging a low impedance thing into a high impedance thing is fine, the reverse is where you get problems. Most synths are going to be fairly low impedance unless they’ve got a serious output preamp. I don’t think I’ve ever run into a problem.

My experience is that 99% of DI boxes in the world get used on stage to convert 1/4" > XLR into the snake/mixer, and have nothing to do with signal quality.

Suggestion 1: use your ears. You know what the 303 sounds like direct. Plug it into the pedal and see what happens. If you’re like "wtf happened to my low end?’, play with the gain and see if you can fix it. If you can’t, get a DI box. My gut (and Chase) says you’ll be fine.

Suggestion 2: if you have an extra $50, buy a used/cheap DI box. They’re handy and it doesn’t hurt to have one - stick it on things to see if it improves the signal and use it to convert inputs.


Never have I ever owned a DI box. I have however owned many synths and many guitar pedals.


@chasedobson that is generally my vibe, but I occasionally get worried about the technical things when I start to pretend anyone will ever hear my music lol

@Artificer as always, thank you for the well-detailed lesson. I kinda sorta in my no math-y mind knew that’s probably what was going on. I also I had kind of guessed since it rarely gets talked about it shouldn’t be an issue, really, unless I was just going for being a super audiophile knob kinda vibe.

@RFJ Yea, I’ve never heard a damn thing from your music where I was like “oh that pedal is catching too much signal from that synth.”


Good question. I mostly stick to pads because I’m just not that great at playing. I have made/heard some bass sounds I like on this, I like the way it stretches out the sampled waveforms in lower octaves, and in super mode it’s even better. BUT due to the way the architecture plays every note as two voices coming out L/R if you are in binaural mode (and in all the solo/unison modes you HAVE to have binaural on) I would worry about mono compatibility. And in the modes where you can turn binaural off, the voices hard pan and alternate left and right. The only way to get true mono out of this thing is to unplug an output.

There’s pan spread for non-binaural modes in an upcoming update, but even that will not fold down to pure mono, it just isn’t every voice 100% left or right anymore. That’s a huge improvement, but I think it also shows a fundamental limitation of the synth’s architecture.

For leads, I think it’s more that I don’t program really good sounds and play them well that this thing can’t do them, but again that’s the kind of sound where I think the lack of true mono output could bite you.

All that said, the sounds speak for themselves IMO. Even a basic saw being lightly driven into a filter and a delay (which is all about half these sounds are) sounds fantastic. It IS an absolute pad machine for all the reasons that make it a problem for bass and leads. So it’s a tool with it’s place in the mix I suppose, but I think if you tried to do a whole song with nothing but this you would have to cut a lot out of a lot of sounds to make it all fit, if that makes any sense.


Fun fact, I’ve had several people recommend DI boxes for the Super6. One of the other owners is a pro mastering engineer and he swears they (one for each channel) make it so much better. I just normalize my recordings.


That arrived quick, although I’ll probably not build it until the Christmas break


I have the NUX tapecore, it is a great pedal. I would definitely buy more from them.


Got a friend coming around next Friday, the plan is to make a track that night, we already have the name of the track “XR2” as we both had Ford Fiesta XR2 cars when we were teenagers lol (the memories) The only rule is the track has to be %100 hardware.
I’m thinking this combo will be a good starting point, get some experimental beats down first. I don’t want to be pulling out complex machines such as elektrons, where as little machines like these below you simply turn knobs and get great results, I’ll probably turn on the matrixbrute after that and blow him away lol


That’s actually a great idea for a collab with someone–start with simple things. I have a friend who lives about 4 hours away and whenever I visit he always wants to try to make a track, which is fine, but always insists I bring a bunch of gear to add to his setup.

By the time we get shit working together I’ve had about enough for the weekend and just want a cocktail lol