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#2891604 - 11/21/17 06:16 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: GRollins]
dsetto Offline
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Registered: 01/28/15
Posts: 542
Loc: Los Angeles
I just hashed this out, & see you've addressed a lot of what I wrote. Oh well. ...

Ok, from everything you've written, Voyager-polychained seems to be a leading hypothetical. Go find out how well that works. I don't know.

[This rare Moog sale's got me thinking they're trying to make some room. The other end of that process may be something you're interested in. Now, that's an evil thing to bring up. Others talk of the Yeti.*]

Deeply moving raw tone in a sufficiently-polyphonic, 3-oscillator package, for the common man - in terms of pricing, configuration energy, and portability - is towards Yeti, in stores, in 2017. (You've mentioned no concern about portability - but that's a thing for some, too.)

--
I think MarkyBoard's advice has been spot on. Monophonic for it, polyphonic for it. The trouble is in satisfying the itches in fewest scratches. As MB said, one of each certainly covers the gamut.

Perhaps, spend live time with the boards in question. ... Perhaps, sit down with some DSI. P6, OB-6. … The Rev2 whose raw tone does not meet your #1, and is excess of your polyphony, when stacked, it can be 4 osc + 2 sub osc + 6 EG's (2 unassigned) + 8 LFO's + 2 modulation step sequencers, on a terrific 61 key. Stacked, that’s 4-voice for $1500. 8 for $2k. No, its raw saw, or filtered saw is not that of its VCO siblings or Moog’s. Each of those are the combinations they are.

Add a 3-osc Moog to one of those 2-osc or 4-osc DSI's. (That may be music & sound hunt satisfying.) D, as a portable, neutered 15. Or Voyager for chain dreams & greater programmability. If things continue like the past 5 years, the analog landscape’s gonna evolve in this next 6-12 months. Good luck.


* But, what if this Yeti is real. What if it’s “only” a 2-osc, ‘sub 37’-par poly? … What-ifs are evil. But I feel like I’m doing you a disservice to not share what I believe are possibilities, in light of making suggestions of things that exist today. … one of which is surprisingly, deeply, and momentarily discounted - and soon-to-be discontinued. And a recurring & sound thread suggestion.

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#2891606 - 11/21/17 06:25 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: Marzzz]
The Real MC Offline
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Posts: 4720
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Originally Posted By: Marzzz
Only other synth with that kind of power was the Yamaha CS-80, and that was parallel one OSC architecture.


And the Oberheim OBX/OBXa/SEM polysynths. Strangely enough, the Oberheims and Memorymoog seem to coexist peacefully.

Quote:
So as far as analog polysynths go, I am in the two OSCs are enough camp. When you are holding chords, there really is a lot going on sonically. I think save the 3 OSC for a mono synth, or a thinner-sounding VA. I thought the Andromeda sounded great with two OSCs, once you learned no to overload the signal path...


Two VCOs is enough for an analog polysynth, but 3rd VCO is very useful in the voice mod section of the Memorymoog as a modulator. There's another world of sound palettes there. Using the 3rd VCO as an LFO that can track the keyboard is a really cool feature, especially combined with filter EG modulating the modulation depth of the 3rd VCO. I exploit that a lot on my Voyager too.

Memorymoog is also a very good monophonic too.

They are also handyman's specials. Stock ones are a service nightmare. They can be overhauled into a more reliable machine but it is a lot of work.

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#2891607 - 11/21/17 06:28 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: dsetto]
dsetto Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/28/15
Posts: 542
Loc: Los Angeles
If this is cold, I know I can still make warmth with it.
"been here", prophet rev2

At once, I both agree & disagree with you on your assessment of DSI. As a piano player, I yearn for gobs of polyphony & possibilities of timbral complexity. I believe the different assessments arise from different perspectives and needs. I'm not trying to convince you, though it sounds as I am. I'm not. I am simply trying to be helpful. I believe I understand your pursuit.

edit 1: I also want best timing.
edit 2: If you can make a 3-4 voice poly-chained Voyager work for you, that could sound glorious. I'll stay tuned to your exploration on that.


Edited by dsetto (11/21/17 06:48 AM)
Edit Reason: timing & glory

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#2891701 - 11/21/17 12:05 PM Re: Modular synths [Re: Marzzz]
GovernorSilver Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 5508
Loc: Washington DC
Originally Posted By: Marzzz

btw- Studioelectronics Omega/Code does sound very powerful, but I have this thing about polyAT. One of the reasons I am watching the development of the Deckard's Dream.



Add me to the list of peeps keeping an eye on this beast. Sounds damned good to me even if it "only" has 16 VCOs.

Just noticed a rackmount expander is planned, to add a couple of analog FX and CV inputs.
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#2891858 - 11/22/17 06:44 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: GovernorSilver]
GRollins Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 522
This being sick thing has taken the wind out of my sails. I'm going to do a partial catch-up. A lot of people have suggested various keyboards and I spent some time yesterday listening to some--not all--of them. I knew from the git-go that I wouldn't be able to keep all of them straight in my head, so I took brief notes. The notes may or may not make sense to others, but I'm going to post them as-is, because if I do a full "review" of each keyboard, we'll be here forever.

***************************************************************

GRP A4--price not clear, but appears to be at least $3-4k, sound is pretty good, don’t need arpeggiator/sequencer

Studio Electronics Omega 8--son of a bitch--maybe I really can do this after all--had it pegged as 2 osc. just from the sound

Modal 008--ditto, uninvolving

Modal 002--worse, headed wrong direction, sounds like a toy piano

Bowen Solaris--E3200--fair sound (at least as configured, “osc inserts?” whuzzat?), close, but no cigar, ~$4k--won’t rule it out (maybe change “inserts”), but it’s not grabbing me--not seeing that four osc. are doing anything useful vs. three from current sounds

Access Virus--unfortunate name for someone who’s sick--not liking the sound--too tired to research

Waldorf Blofeld--might be worth another look later

***************************************************************

Notes about the notes:
--I don't remember whether I've said before, but I don't need an arpeggiator or sequencer to do what I want to do. Given that they add to the cost, I'd rather not have to pay for it. If it's part of The Ultimate Keyboard, then I guess it'll be part of the package, but it'll probably just collect dust.
--E3200 in the Solaris note means 3200 Euros--just checking on the general price range.
--Clearly, no one is going to hire me as a keyboard reviewer. I don't fit into the, "if you're shopping for a keyboard in this price range, you've got to try this one!" mold.

I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes, here. I know that you guys are trying to be helpful and that some of you own these boards or are gassing for them. Please don't take it personally if I'm not getting off on "your" keyboard. Also factor in that I may not be as tactful at the moment as I should be--blame the germs if I seem grumpier than usual.

This Moog sale is interesting. Given that Moog currently has no flagship keyboard based on current technology and that they're pushing the existing stock pretty hard (XLs going for 20% off at this writing--a pretty healthy discount), I have to wonder if they're trying to clear the decks for a new top-o'-the-line board.

Also factor in that they will be intensely aware of the Behringer Model D...and its pricing vis-a-vis their Model D. That's some serious pressure. There's no way that they can come anywhere close to matching that price and still manufacture the things here in the US. Yes, I know they've discontinued their Model D Reissue, but still...the mere existence of the Behringer at that price point is going to be a major factor in their decision making process.

So, whither Moog?

I was reading some stuff posted online after Moog announced that they were discontinuing the Voyager RME. People were "certain" that Moog was on the verge of releasing a polyphonic board, that it would be this and that and the other thing. Bear in mind that this was 2 1/2 years ago. Nothing of the sort has happened--at least not yet. However, they still had the keyboard version of the XL in their lineup at that time. That's no longer true.

How long can/will they continue with their current product structure? Their website has a lot of links, but the majority of them say some variation of, "Not in production at this time." Lots of sizzle. No steak. That will need to change, pronto, if they're going to stay in business.

Grey
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#2891879 - 11/22/17 07:56 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: GRollins]
mate stubb Offline
Grand Poobah of the Trebuchet
10k Club

Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 15591
Don't hold your breath for a polyphonic Moog. Look up "Arp Avatar."
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#2891914 - 11/22/17 09:08 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: mate stubb]
CEB Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 12551
Gear is overrated. Half the classic sound was amplification. People use pussy digital amps these days.
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So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

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#2891921 - 11/22/17 09:53 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: CEB]
GRollins Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 522
Moe,
I'm not expecting that they will go for a polyphonic board (and even if they were to do so, the price would be stratospheric)--that was other people talking pipe dreams. Moog's strategy of late has been to sell a monophonic board and a bunch of add-ons to keep you coming back. I imagine they'll probably hew closely to that same line.

CEB,
We're on the same page. Convenience (in this case meaning weight) has driven a lot of the "innovation" seen in music since, well, the seventies.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I've got a humble Hafler P-500 amp (250W/ch 8 Ohms) that simply blows the friggin' doors off of any and all of the current amps with switching power supplies. Very few people bother to A/B compare amps. They play it a few minutes and if music comes out, they decide that it sounds good.

Having lighter equipment is nice. My back isn't what it was and it got to the point where I took the Hafler out of my rack and put a QSC in. But I did so acknowledging that I was taking a dramatic hit in terms of sound quality, even if the supposed power of the QSC was almost twice as high with more-or-less equal specs (any "improvements" in the specs were in the QSC's favor).

I could go into the whichness of the whyfors, but that's a different thread for a different day.

In twenty, thirty years, I doubt we're going to see many people trying to get that "classic 2017 sound" in amplification. Keyboards? Maybe. But amps? Not on your life. Current stuff is lighter and smaller, but that doesn't mean it sounds good compared to "real" amps.

Grey
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#2891946 - 11/22/17 12:29 PM Re: Modular synths [Re: GRollins]
mate stubb Offline
Grand Poobah of the Trebuchet
10k Club

Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 15591
Originally Posted By: GRollins
Very few people bother to A/B compare amps. They play it a few minutes and if music comes out, they decide that it sounds good.


Ha ha!

Best amplification I ever had:



It was a 3 way ported cabinet of my own design, with JBL 2215 15" woofer, JBL 2208 8" midrange, JBL 2420 horn driver. Biamped with a Crown DC300 power amp. Thundrous!

Pontiac Firebird emblem optional.
_________________________
Moe
---
Kawai Novus: "Please feel surprised even more."

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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#2891961 - 11/22/17 02:12 PM Re: Modular synths [Re: mate stubb]
GRollins Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 522
Biamping is the way to go, man. I'm a big believer in multi-amp rigs.

The silver lining to my unable-to-find-people-to-play-with cloud is that I can load up on the absolute heaviest, most impractical, hi-fi gear there is, 'cause I'll never have to carry it anywhere!

Sounds friggin' wonderful. Just came up from the Dungeon--been playing music for the first time in days and although the germs still have me in their sway, I'm a (relatively) happy camper. Been missing my tunes, sumpin' awful.

Grey
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I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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#2892045 - 11/23/17 07:18 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: GRollins]
GRollins Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 522
I listened to some more Solaris demos and I'm to the point where I almost see it as living in some alternate, parallel universe. Not necessarily something I'd want as a Moog-replacer, but more as a separate item of interest. The kind of thing I might want to look into later on. Expensive though, and apparently very much a limited production item--not the sort of thing you order from MF, et. al. on a whim.

I've also got another scheme in mind--one I've been afraid to mention--but it seems feasible to me, at least as a thought experiment: To use the MIDI out on my Little Phatty to trigger one (or more) oscillators running in parallel with the two onboard oscillators.

1) This is predicated on the notion that the Little Phatty can be set to keep putting out its own audio signal when the MIDI is switched on, elseways I don't gain anything. Don't see that it wouldn't, and I know the MM8 can do it, because I'm running the internal voices of the MM8 in parallel with the voices from the XS rack unit through two separate channels on my mixer. Still, every time I count on something as a locked-down notion, reality smacks me across the face face and says, "Not so fast, Bub!" so I'd better check to make sure.
2) If I'm running the outboard oscillator(s) in parallel with the internal stuff, the tonality of the external stuff can be argued both pro and con. If it matches the "sound" of the Moog, then it would be an integral part of a greater whole. If it sounds different, then that might actually be interesting because it could broaden the tone somewhat.
3) Yes, I'm aware that the external hardware wouldn't auto-track when changing voices/parameters on the Little Phatty. It would need to be adjusted separately.
4) Just to be clear, this is not meant to be polyphonic in any sense. This is just a brute force method (assuming that #1 works out--it should, but...) to add another oscillator to the Phatty to phatten (ahem) the tone a bit. A poor man's Voyager, so to speak. The LP would continue to go into the mixer on one channel. The other oscillator would go in on another channel.

Little Phatty -> MIDI module -> VCO, ADSR, etc. -> mixer
|
direct to mixer

5) Hmmm...actually, I suppose that I could create a rough stereo image using the pan controls on the mixer. Not sure how believable it would be, but it might be worth a try.

Grey
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#2892079 - 11/23/17 09:39 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: GRollins]
JerryA Online   content
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 7000
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: GRollins
I've also got another scheme in mind--one I've been afraid to mention--but it seems feasible to me, at least as a thought experiment: To use the MIDI out on my Little Phatty to trigger one (or more) oscillators running in parallel with the two onboard oscillators.


Grey, I too have been afraid to mention this as a solution lest it seem too Phatty-centric, but it seem one of the things you want is an analog monosynth with a ton of oscillators. Here's how I use my Slim Phatty with an S90ES, which is roughly analogous to your using the Little Phatty with your XS rack.

1) All sounds go through the phatty filter which blends them in a way nothing else can.

2) Secondary outputs on the Yamaha send left to pitch cv on Moog, right to audio in on Moog. Effects off. Pan the tones as you like. You can have white noise (or any combination of oscillators) with your Phatty. Audio into the Moog gets slightly overdriven so the Yamaha waveforms are as warm as you would hope for. Try it and you'll see.

3) Pitch mod inputs in the Phatty can receive white noise, (to make them sound ancient) audio rate signals for FM effects, or just horn style burps, etc.

4) You save each setting in the Yamaha for different timbres, and separately, you do your patch programming on the Phatty. The Phatty is the core sound, the Yamaha patches are different types of spices on it. You mix and match freely. On this track, the velocity sensitive attack-burps, the FM and the noise modulation that you hear beginning at 4.20 on this track is courtesy of the Yamaha modulating the Phatty's two oscillators. The conservative, lousy improvisation is courtesy of me.

https://soundcloud.com/user-276611702/stratus

I had bigger sounds (Yamaha saw waves at different octaves) through the Phatty available on another slider which I didn't happen to tap into cause I wimped out in the middle of the solo, ha! But that's a different lesson. The sound-design lesson is: your Phatty can be the core of a big monophonic sound. Do it with your yamaha xs, or add a Behringer D if you want to be unnecessarily "analog-purist" about it. Here's the thread where the brilliant guys on this forum helped me think through the Pitch CV approach:

http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2560314/1

As you can see from this thread, they will work with you. A great community. thu

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#2892094 - 11/23/17 11:16 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: JerryA]
GRollins Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 522
Funny you should mention the Behringer Model D...

About half an hour after I posted the above, it occurred to me ("Lightbulllb!" as Gru would put it) that it would be a really interesting solution to my situation.

1) Best case scenario is that it will poly chain. I was trying to ask about that in the Behringer Model D thread, but the bottom line was that everyone was just guessing--no one really knew whether it would or not.
2) Second best scenario is that it will run in parallel with the Little Phatty, giving me five Moog-flavored oscillators. Monophonic, yes, but (hopefully) rich as hell. Thick & creamy. Yum.
3) Third scenario (still haven't been downstairs to experiment with the LP...) is that--for whatever reason--the LP will not play in parallel with the D. I've still got a Moog Model D for 8.5% of the price of a real one. Fun toy, right? I can try the LP as a keyboard (only 37 keys--pretty limited) or get another keyboard (no one responded about the M-Audio Hammer--maybe M-Audio is a cuss word around here, or maybe it's just so new that no one has seen one, don't know). Regardless, it'll be a nifty thing to have in my arsenal.

So, with the above rationalizations in mind, I called MF and asked for a discount. Got one. Ordered one. Cool.

No, that doesn't mean that I'm considering all this as moot. The Behringer is an experiment. Lots cheaper than a mess of modular doo-dads and easier to fiddle with.

Grey


Edited by GRollins (11/23/17 11:18 AM)
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#2892610 - 11/27/17 03:36 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: GRollins]
JerryA Online   content
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Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 7000
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: GRollins
Ordered one. Cool.


Well done. The only way to put together these rigs is to be willing to try them out and see what happens. thu

Originally Posted By: GRollins
2) Second best scenario is that it will run in parallel with the Little Phatty, giving me five Moog-flavored oscillators. Monophonic, yes, but (hopefully) rich as hell. Thick & creamy. Yum.


cool

In addition, try running one into the other. Moog=>Behringer should be brighter than Behringer=>Moog. The (rare) resonant high pass filter on the Behringer should yield some interesting timbral variations when coupled with the Moog filter in series. (shawms, duduks, etc) Please keep us apprised of your adventures.

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#2892636 - 11/27/17 06:22 AM Re: Modular synths [Re: JerryA]
GRollins Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/01/17
Posts: 522
It occurs to me that I wasn't as clear as I might have been regarding my Lightbulllb! The epiphany was actually #2, above.

I had reluctantly gone back to the idea of considering the modular route and trying to stack up a bunch of stuff behind the Little Phatty to be triggered via MIDI, so as to enrich the sound of the LP. Started thinking about the cost aspect. Started frowning. Then the realization hit that the Behringer D has not one, not two, but three oscillators, plus noise (which the LP doesn't have), LFO, VCF, etc. for $299. I don't think you could even buy that particular assortment of modular parts used for that price. My timing was fortuitous, in that I had this email ad staring at me, saying that it was Thanksgiving and to call for deals that weren't listed (the Behringer D wasn't; the Moog Model D was, but that's more money than I can justify putting into a keyboard at this time, even though it's on sale). So, what with the discount, Backstage Pass points, plus a smidgen more for the rebate that my credit card gives me, I get a pretty cheap synth to experiment with.

Now all I have to worry about is the fact that the ship date has been slipping. Here's hoping that it's simply due to the fact that they're so back ordered that they're having trouble keeping up with demand, rather than problems with the product. After all, Behringer doesn't have the best of reputations and the YouTube videos have all stressed that their evaluation units are prototypes, with various and sundry bugs being hinted at. I may end up being on the bleeding edge.

Another Evil Experiment I've got in mind is to use the D as a fancy guitar/bass effects pedal. It takes amplification to get the signal up enough to drive the LP, but I spent a couple of days not long after I got the Moog, playing bass through it. I eventually got tired of it, but it may be time for another round of fiddling. After all, it's right in the price realm of some of the boutique effects pedals out there.

I've almost come to the conclusion that there's little point in me buying a dedicated MIDI controller front end if I decide to run the D as a separate keyboard. Weirdly, there don't seem to be any 73/6 key units anywhere. Not one. The vast majority of the controllers are 61 keys and under; there are a mere handful of 88s. Given that I'd like 73/6 keys, minimum, that leaves me with a choice of, like, five or six 88s. Period. Two M-Audios, one Roland, and a couple of others that escape me at the moment. You've got the baseline M-Audio at ~$180 and it's got synth action, which I'd prefer to avoid, then the price jumps to ca. $400 for the M-Audio Hammer (which no one has weighed in on), then bouncing up to around $1k. Hmmm. At that point, I can buy a used "real" 73/6 or 88 keyboard, such as the Roland Fantom that's on my local CL. I'm not drawn to the Roland house sound, but hey, if I'm buying a MIDI controller and it just happens to come with 1000 voices built-in, who am I to complain? Not that I'm going to run right out and snag that particular keyboard--it's just an example. Hell, for that matter, I could nab a Yamaha MOXF8, which someone said has the same keybed that my MM8 has and go that route. Options abound. I'm afraid to start a "What's a good MIDI controller?" thread for fear of getting roasted, though the search engine doesn't turn up anything within the last year or whatever (although I fear that I and the local search function don't see eye to eye). I'm sure there are dozens of opinions scattered here and there as individual posts, but there's not an easy way to search for that. The search term "MIDI controller" inundates you with a bunch of pointless stuff. Oh, well. Maybe later.

By the way, I listened to Stratus. Pretty cool.

Grey
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