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MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART => Music Gearheads Tech Talk => Topic started by: saulstokes on March 12, 2011, 11:34:46 AM

Title: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: saulstokes on March 12, 2011, 11:34:46 AM
Hi Everyone. For a few years now I've been using my Dave Smith Evolver as a way to compose or sketch music outside my studio. I usually take it with me everywhere and find composing via the matrix and sequencer to work perfectly to my style of writing.  When you pull the evolver out at the airport and put on some big headphones you get a lot of stares. People can not figure out what it is.  :)  Problem is that I've had it since it came out and I'm tiring of it a bit and looking for something new.  I can't find a single synth out there that works in relatively the same way. meaning, the ability to disconnect, make music and reconnect. Everything else either is too big, or is either a synth but no sequencer or visa versa or is uninteresting to me sound wise.  I'm sort of interested in the IPAD thinking I could buy one nice synth and use it just for that. However, things like the ipad lack focus for me because they're full of so many "other" things.  Also connecting an ipad to the computer is a pain with itunes. My ipod touch takes 3 hours to update. I am starting to hate it. 

I want a portable synth with a sequencer.  Here's a few things I've been looking at:

OP1 synth seams really nice but they're continuously sold out. Anyone know anyone at Teenage Engineering?

Tetra from Dave Smith. I like this one but it doesn't have the programming ability that the evolver has.

Blofeld - If this had 8 sequencer knobs on it I would buy it today. But, alas, it looks terrible to program outside the studio.

German synths - I can't remember the name but their are these little german synths that look like the evolver but they seem to be more tb303 clone kind of things.

Korg MS20 on a Nintendo.  A few years ago someone gave me an ms20 cartridge for the nintendo. However, I don't have a Nintendo! Plus, no midi means I can't move it over to Ableton.


I know there must be something out there. I was hoping you guys might know of a little dedicated synth that I can fit in my backpack!

Thanks,
Saul
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: darkenedsoul on March 12, 2011, 03:09:19 PM
Lol, I have the MS20 that came as a bonus when I Bought one of my Korg synths some time ago. It is sitting in my closet at the moment doing nothing. I would have to dig for the cables (patch) to it. Are you thinking along that line? if so, pm me and we can talk about it. I have the LPD8, padKontrol, both of which have seen little use in the past year+ due to being not motivated due to being out of work so damn much the past 2 years (and it is driving me insane/nuts...but I was already halfway there lol).

Mike
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: Julio Di Benedetto on March 12, 2011, 06:50:47 PM
Hi Saul.....perhaps your referring to this little German synth company

(http://www.mfberlin.de/Produkte/Musikelektronik/MFB-SYNTH_II/syn2a.jpg)


http://www.mfberlin.de/index.html (http://www.mfberlin.de/index.html)

No experience myself with them but they are analog
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: saulstokes on March 13, 2011, 10:31:21 AM
Hi Mike, no I was talking about the gameboy cartridge for the Nintendo DS. I have the cartridge but no DS.  Yes, Julio, that's getting very close to what I'm looking for and yes that was the company I was thinking about. This might work actually!

Thanks!
s
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: APK on March 13, 2011, 02:14:17 PM
Hi Saul -- about time we heard a new album from you !

You could pick up an Electribe cheaply from eBay.
Lots of sequencing power. Could be an S version for using samples.
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: Scott M2 on March 13, 2011, 02:32:42 PM
Hi Saul,

I've been using an iPad for less than 3 months and (despite hating iTunes and iTunes hating me) the pad has been a great musical asset for me. I explore the music software and work on music on the bus & subway and it will absolutely be a tool in new dreamSTATE albums. Only a few days ago I sat in with Jamie's URM set at the Ping using only the pad and it was great using so little gear for once. (Jamie had most of the sound covered and I just added to the procedings.) The iMS20 software is very good and it has a recorder built in to capture your performance (usually with the 16-step sequence and pattern modes and kaoss pads.) The recordings can then be copied out of the pad using iTunes. I'm using some sequences recorded on the bus on a current dreamSTATE project. Like any computer, you don't have to load it with games - just music software, and the app prices are crazy-low priced. It's far from perfect but is a very good portable option.

Scott
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: MarkM on March 15, 2011, 07:49:36 PM
I find the Korg Electribes wonderful to work with. I have the ESX1 but you might want to check out the EMX1. Their not analogue, but they make great sounds and are fun to program.
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: saulstokes on March 19, 2011, 06:21:13 PM
Hi Tony. Sleek Nucleus is coming in May or June at the latest. I'm pretty much done with it but I'm keeping quite for now.....  :)

The electribes aren't bad ideas but I guess I wanted something that didn't have drums and was just focused on a nice synth with sequencer. Man, I'm difficult.

Scott, have you sync'd your ipad to your studio? Also, have you played with Sunvox? This one looks pretty cool. Your right, the idea would be to strip everything out of it except music apps.  I could be that dedicated.

When I listened to the MFB samples it seams to me like they are trying to mimic the tb303.
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: saulstokes on March 19, 2011, 10:56:44 PM
http://www.nazzilla.com/lep-loop/#/?a=introduction (http://www.nazzilla.com/lep-loop/#/?a=introduction)

This one's kind of interesting
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: Julio Di Benedetto on March 20, 2011, 07:21:28 AM
http://www.nazzilla.com/lep-loop/#/?a=introduction (http://www.nazzilla.com/lep-loop/#/?a=introduction)

This one's kind of interesting

The Leploop is quite something.......thanks for the link Saul.  I just listen to the soundcloud compositions via the website and they are very different.  They remind me of the sounds from my Serge modular.  I wonder if it will be distributed here in the usa?
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: saulstokes on March 20, 2011, 12:30:09 PM
Ya the Leploop is really wild. Maybe I should get a Tempest. It looks pretty small and able to do more synthesque things

http://www.rogerlinndesign.com/products/tempest/index.html (http://www.rogerlinndesign.com/products/tempest/index.html)

Nevermind..that thing's seriously expensive..
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: APK on March 21, 2011, 06:14:10 AM
This is a freaky, and curiously flexible, little device

www.teenageengineering.com

worth checking out some videos.
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: saulstokes on March 24, 2011, 01:25:10 PM
Hey Tony, I have my name in for the TE OP1 but they're vague about everything. The soundclips I hear for it aren't actually that interesting and I think it may be more of an industrial design experiment.

Has anyone spent time with this?

http://www.elektron.se/products/monomachine

? More expensive but looks like you could lay on the couch and play it for hours.
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: bongo on August 18, 2011, 03:33:21 PM
Some activity over at the Muffwiggler forum on the OP-1.........

Here's a nice example 

http://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37870&highlight=
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: El culto on August 23, 2011, 01:02:15 PM
Got 2 of them (synced via Midi Clock) an they are great for more "harsh" or "Industrial" sounds. But very difficult to find...

http://www.vintagesynth.com/yamaha/dx200.php
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: terraamb01 on September 06, 2011, 01:33:12 PM
Im really enjoying the Blofeld, and it's not too terribly complicated to program with knobs, but it doesnt seem liek the sort of thing that you'd want to bust out at an airport. I think your idea of the Ipad had merit. I use mine to sketch all the time. Not that any of the audio tools for it are AMAZING, but for the purposes of notation and getting some slightly tweakable stuff, its fine. Also obviously it doesn't do output terribly well either. What about the new M-audio venom? too big?http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Venom.html (http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Venom.html)
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: JeromeDisney on September 28, 2012, 02:27:38 AM
Lol, I have the MS20 that came as a bonus when I Bought one of my Korg synths some time ago. It is sitting in my closet at the moment doing nothing. I would have to dig for the cables (patch) to it. Are you thinking along that line? if so, pm me and we can talk about it. I have the LPD8, padKontrol, both of which have seen little use in the past year+ due to being not motivated due to being out of work so damn much the past 2 years (and it is driving me insane/nuts...but I was already halfway there lol).

Mike

Is that an original MS20 or the scaled down version?
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: modulator_esp on September 28, 2012, 05:35:08 AM
I would recommend the iPad too, there are some very nice synths (addictive synth, animoog, alchemy, nlog, dxi, magellan, sunrizer, wavegenerator etc) available for it now and also some very interesting experimental/noise/weird stuff (abcdefg, cp1919, impaktor, curtis, photonoise, modaxis, monnix, riscy, toplapapp etc), plus you can get i versions of the MS20, electribe and kaossilator, and that's just a small selection. I've even been sampling my old synths using samplewiz so I can use them anywhere  8)
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: Scott M2 on September 28, 2012, 10:02:11 AM
Speaking of good iPad software (and I second all of mod_esp's recommendations) - Magellan (virtual analog) is on sale today for a dollar. (App pricing is crazy.)
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: APK on September 28, 2012, 10:26:39 AM
The ipad apps are a great value.
They are generally under-priced.
But it does serve to point out just how overpriced many regular VST synths and effects are (and equivalent mac stuff)..

Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: Julio Di Benedetto on September 28, 2012, 03:37:01 PM
How do iPad users find the audio quality....minijack?  How about voice count and general soft synth behavior on this platform.
 
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: modulator_esp on October 01, 2012, 03:10:44 AM
The minijack has been fine for me, it's pretty good, but there are proper audio interfaces availble though if you need better quality

Voice count depends on the app, and it varies quite a lot

The iPad probably doesn't make much sense for someone who just wants to play a synth via MIDI, but it's great for someone who wants a self-contained sound maker with lots of cool synths many of which have interesting performance interfaces

Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: Scott M2 on October 02, 2012, 10:32:32 AM
The iPad mini-jack has a headphone amp and although the quality is very usable - using the the digital out with a separate AD/DA converter improves the quality. You can go from an inexpensive Behringer USB audio interface to an RME Fireface UCX for quite a range of sound quality options. (For many options the "camera kit" is required to to get a USB jack for the iPad.)

The new iPhone5 jack will probably replace the current jack on the next iPad, which will throw a curve at the interfaces, but could lead to some good deals on the older ones next year.
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: Julio Di Benedetto on October 03, 2012, 04:06:32 AM
Thanks for the info Modulator & Scott.  I have seen a few of the cool synths for iPad and without being able to demo them was concerned they were more toys then serious instruments.  Not so!
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: modulator_esp on October 03, 2012, 05:10:33 PM
Thanks for the info Modulator & Scott.  I have seen a few of the cool synths for iPad and without being able to demo them was concerned they were more toys then serious instruments.  Not so!

I think the iPad is a seriously fun toy, but then I think my Matrix 12 is too :)
Title: Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
Post by: modulator_esp on October 10, 2012, 08:16:47 AM
I just bought a used OP-1  ;D

It's really fun and I'm really enjoying the sounds I can get out of it. On the surface it seems very minimal, but it can actually get quite deep  :)