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Patch Memory or No Patch Memory #3003093 08/13/19 07:50 PM
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DaveMcM Offline OP
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On another thread (Behringer Odyssey Officially Shipping...) a number of folks mentioned that the instrument should have had patch memory. I'm curious how many around here like me grew up with no patch memory at all. Granted, today where a single board can potentially cover everything needed for a gig, patch memory is a must. But for the younger players, I kind of feel sorry that they didn't have the opportunity to experience what it was like to be surrounded by stack of keyboards, not to mention owning/driving the stretch van required to transport the stuff to a gig.

Back in the late 70's, my rig consisted of a Hammond M3 with two Leslie 145's behind me with a Honner Pianet N on top, two Mellotron M400's (one on my left, one on my right), Crumar T3 Dual Manual organ above the right Mellotron, and a Korg 800DV above that. A Wurlitzer 200a above the left Mellotron and a Korg Poly Ensemble S above that. In front was a Rhodes (later replaced with a Yamaha CP30 "I know, what was I thinking") and an ARP Odyssey on top to the left and a MiniMoog to the right. To be fair, a couple of these instruments only made one sound, and a couple of others were basically presets with buttons or knobs. But the Odyssey, MiniMoog, 800DV and of course the organs required live editing throughout the gig. Most of the time I was programming whatever I wasn't using in the current song to be ready for the next song on the set list. Really, as nice as it is nowadays to just need one or two keyboards, there was a whole other level of fun and dare I say, skill, in the pre-patch memory days.


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003097 08/13/19 08:23 PM
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I also grew up without patch memory. Easy with shallow feature sets like Hammonds and simple monosynths.

Where it gets difficult is polysynths (or anything with deep feature set) and ARP monosynths. The slidepots on ARPs make it harder to recreate a sound. There is truth to the adage you can make any sound on an ARP but good luck recreating it. At least the ProSoloist didn't have that problem. So the argument about the B******** has merit.

Try recreating a polysynth patch on an Oberheim FVS (or EVS... yikes!). The programmer helped but it didn't program everything on the SEMs.

My 1st monosynth was a PAiA modular and I gigged that thing... had to remember patching from module to module!

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003099 08/13/19 08:34 PM
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Very similar keyboard life in my early days, though not as expansive as your rig.
B3/Leslie...Wurly 200...Elka string machine...and ARP Odyssey. Later replaced the Wurly with a CP 30 - guess I was thinking the same as you, whatever that was?!? Later on, a Yammy CS60.
B3,Wurly,Elka,CP30 - all one-trick ponies.
ARP & CS - no programmable patch memory. Though - the CS had a little hidden compartment with most of the parameters duplicated, so it had one programmable patch. It also had presets, but those were useless until you got the master filter/rest set exactly right. Even then, the presets were nothing to write home about.
For live playing, I would definitely want patch memory. Prolly even 24 slots would be enough. I'm not doing EDM or anything that would require a lot of manipulation live. Also, normal size keys.
Home, studio, or home-studio - patch memory not required, nor any keys at all. Modules welcome. Headphones/controller of choice/neat-o synth with lots of knobs and/sliders and I'm blissfully whiling away the hours.
Very first synths were Moog Sonic Six, then the ARP Odyssey, the the CS60 - first one with patch memory, Korg PolySix.


"Don't get drunk on the job, and don't play cards afterwards." - Walter Goerg
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003100 08/13/19 08:43 PM
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Well, I didn't grew up with any synths or other instruments with highly adaptable sounds in my life, as I started out in classical orchestra's and jazz ensembles as a trumpet player. Later in life, I fell in love with piano's and just bought one a few years ago, and added a poly synth and clonewheel later. Although the synth and clonewheel (to an extent) have patch memory, I do like the spontaneous ideas that arise when programming sound from scratch every time. For a long time, I loved the idea of owning a Minimoog as that synth has such character and forces you to create something new when you want another sound. I do realise that this only really works for playing outside gigs and am really surprised you guys managed to program at that on the fly during gigs, while playing nonetheless 😯 Respect!


Trumpet player by trade, but fell in love with keys too.
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003101 08/13/19 08:50 PM
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It's a non issue. Any synth without patch memory in my rig is a lead synth. Subtlety is overrated. Saw waves, oscillators detuned, filters wide open, volume cranked, let the beastie frigging rip.

Last edited by CEB; 08/13/19 08:51 PM.

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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003102 08/13/19 08:55 PM
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I'll be honest...I don't save as many as I should on my omega 8. I've got several that I like and from there I tweak what I might need for a tune and print it and don't save for some reason. Slacker.

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003103 08/13/19 09:07 PM
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My wife says I have no memory, or selective memory. Might well be right....


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: ChiefDanG] #3003104 08/13/19 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiefDanG

B3,Wurly,Elka,CP30 - all one-trick ponies.

Unfair to the B3, Elka and CP30. I had all three in my 1970s rig too, and they all had (limited) "patch memory" in the form of presets - plus the ability to layer... The Wurly was pretty much a one trick pony. I never saw the lack of patch memory as a limitation in those days because I didn't know what it was.


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003107 08/13/19 10:02 PM
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I have no desire to go back to 1980.

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003114 08/13/19 10:33 PM
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My first synth was an ARP Odyssey in the early 70's. My stage setup also included a Hammond M-3 with two Leslie 147's and Hohner Combo Pianet on top. I had to memorize all my settings on the Odyssey. I got to where I could change pretty quickly and rarely did the band have to wait for me. Then I got an ARP Omni 2 which was much simpler as far as the synth section. Next came the Sequential Pro-One. My first programmable synth was the Roland Jupiter 6 in 1983. I could get by with no patch memory but it is so convenient especially for complex patches and prevents down time so I prefer to have it.


C3/122, M102A, Vox V301H, Farfisa Compact, Gibson G101, GEM P, RMI 300A, Piano Bass, Pianet , Prophet 5 rev. 2, Pro-One, Matrix 12, OB8, Korg MS20, Jupiter 6, Juno 60, PX-5S, Nord Stage 3 Compact
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: ChiefDanG] #3003120 08/13/19 11:00 PM
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DaveMcM Offline OP
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
My 1st monosynth was a PAiA modular and I gigged that thing... had to remember patching from module to module!

Cool! I built a PAiA 4700 Series with a couple extra banks of modules in high school. Gotta love those patch cables.

Originally Posted by ChiefDanG
Very similar keyboard life in my early days, though not as expansive as your rig.
B3/Leslie...Wurly 200...Elka string machine...and ARP Odyssey. Later replaced the Wurly with a CP 30 - guess I was thinking the same as you, whatever that was?!? Later on, a Yammy CS60.
B3,Wurly,Elka,CP30 - all one-trick ponies.
ARP & CS - no programmable patch memory. Though - the CS had a little hidden compartment with most of the parameters duplicated, so it had one programmable patch. It also had presets, but those were useless until you got the master filter/rest set exactly right. Even then, the presets were nothing to write home about.
For live playing, I would definitely want patch memory. Prolly even 24 slots would be enough. I'm not doing EDM or anything that would require a lot of manipulation live. Also, normal size keys.
Home, studio, or home-studio - patch memory not required, nor any keys at all. Modules welcome. Headphones/controller of choice/neat-o synth with lots of knobs and/sliders and I'm blissfully whiling away the hours.
Very first synths were Moog Sonic Six, then the ARP Odyssey, the the CS60 - first one with patch memory, Korg PolySix.

Just reminded me that I had a CS-60 at one point as well. Had a local tech do a modification that would assign 2 (4 voice polyphony), 4 (2 voice polyphony) or all 8 voices (mono) to a single key. Loved the ribbon controller.


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003144 08/14/19 03:56 AM
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I like the trend toward monosynths with a direct, simple sound to complement a workstation. While the workstation has precise, multi-timbral setups to support the setlist .... the monosynth can do crazy stuff that no other instrument in the band can do. Patch recall not needed.

But everyone has their own taste.

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003146 08/14/19 04:31 AM
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Since I was building my own back in the day, not only did I not have patch memory, I did not have panel labels either. freak facepalm

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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003157 08/14/19 09:43 AM
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I grew up with no patch memory too, and yes, it gave me a deep and immediate understanding of synthesis. But frankly, as soon as patch memory was available, I considered it a blessing. The crossing point was the Korg Trident, which had memories for just one of its three sections.

Of course, patch memory gives you the opportunity to switch quickly between two *complex* sounds which are very different to one another. You wouldn't have a chance to reprogram all the changes in real time... so I don't get someone who expresses a preference for synths without memory. Why make our lives more complicated than necessary?

Also, I think that encoders (endless knobs) are always better that potentiometers on an instrument with patch memory. Pehaps, with a visual indication of the present value, as in the Nord Modular.

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: marino] #3003161 08/14/19 10:58 AM
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I grew up playing an upright acoustic piano, my first electronic keyboard was a Farfisa Fast 4. I now exclusively use soft synths with virtually unlimited patch memory. Life is sooo much easier now. I now spend endless hours tweaking to my liking, save it and instantly recall it. Whats wrong with this ?

Once upon a time I lived in a shoe box and eat gravel for dinner. Now its a brick house eating Wagyu with an aged shiraz. I hope the younger generations never have to regress to the primordial slime from which I emerged.


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: ChiefDanG] #3003168 08/14/19 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiefDanG

Very first synths were Moog Sonic Six, then the ARP Odyssey, the the CS60 - first one with patch memory, Korg PolySix.

The Polysix was my first programmable as well (and I still have her). I remember fiddling with my MiniKorg between and even during songs back in the 70s to change sounds. Then it was my only synth through a delay box along with a Roland MP600 piano through a MXR chorus and Farfisa Matador through a Mutron phaser. Low budget to be sure compared to the other massive rigs noted in this thread. But I was only in my late teens on limited funds. I also had a Yamaha D3 organ at home along with my Baldwin piano.

I was so grateful to have the Polysix as it could nicely emulate a Hammond (for the time) and a bunch of other stuff so I could take fewer keyboards. Programmable was the key word back in the late 70s and early 80s.


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003169 08/14/19 12:38 PM
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As long as you still have knobs, why NOT have patch memory? You don't have to use it.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003173 08/14/19 01:00 PM
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I'm ok with no patch memory on the Behringer Odyssey. I have no use for an Odyssey onstage, and at $499 it's a probable buy. At $699 or $799... probably not.

But I definitely don't feel sorry for younger players who didn't get to experience only non-programmable synths while playing live. Playing with one hand while programming with the other, stopping the band before the next song because you're not ready yet, sitting out portions of songs because you need to program for the next section... we only did it that way because there was no other choice.

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003179 08/14/19 01:49 PM
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My stage rigs tend to be hybrid digital/analog setups, and I'm most comfortable when I'm changing sounds by moving to a different keyboard, rather than navigating through banks and patches. The long, proggy tunes that my funk band plays are a lot more fun when I can pad organ, comp on the clav, and then move my left hand over to the Wurli for the next section, rather than rapidly stab at my preset buttons on my Nord as we move from section to section.

But my synth work is all done in software these days, and while I like to have a knobby controller in front of me so I can tweak parameters as I go, that's where I'm grateful for organized patch changes for every tune. I used to spend way too much time twiddling knobs (even with patch memory!) to get to the sound I needed. Now whether I'm controlling a sawtooth pad, or a Moog bass, or a lead through the talkbox, or a glockenspiel sample, I just tap my Bluetooth pedal and I'm where I need to be on the next song or section. I think if I were bringing a dedicated Minimoog around, I'd be okay programming it on the fly and letting it rip the way CEB mentioned above, but since the synths are the most digital part of my rig, I'm grateful for the ability to have more complex sounds at my fingertips at the touch of a button for more elaborate songs.

That said, I'm getting a second small MIDI keyboard so that I can do less patch advancing in the middle of tunes...


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: Bill H.] #3003183 08/14/19 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill H.
Playing with one hand while programming with the other, stopping the band before the next song because you're not ready yet, sitting out portions of songs because you need to program for the next section... we only did it that way because there was no other choice.


Or......getting ready for that beautiful ELO song, positive you have the settings correct, coming in and...."OUCH"-40 cents flat!!
Or......not getting the pitch bend dial back into the correct position, because there is no center detent to help you.
Or......getting ready for that siren sound, but playing a stepped-on cat thru a wah-wah.


"Don't get drunk on the job, and don't play cards afterwards." - Walter Goerg
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003195 08/14/19 03:52 PM
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Well, at some point in human history people went barefoot because they hadn't invented shoes yet smile

I reckon if you'd asked anyone back then if they wanted patch memory, they'd have jumped at it.

As I mentioned in that other thread I think, the best of both worlds is a keyboard where you can save patches if you want, but have the tweaking available too. With my Virus I had maybe 15 patches that were pretty different and I just picked one during the show for a song and tweaked it as I saw fit that night. There were a few songs though that required splits, and the only way to pull that off quickly would be to have a larger number of keyboards than I'm willing to shlep to small clubs smile

I will say that with my VR700 and now my Nord electro I basically have one organ patch, since everything I'd want to change is right there. (Which is ironic considering hammonds did have "patches")

Last edited by Stokely; 08/14/19 03:53 PM.
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003196 08/14/19 03:57 PM
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The trade off used to be price and the presence of all controls on the panel. I mean, a wonderful synthesizer, great sounds, good knobs, with a logical front panel can be fine to control directly, no indirect connection between the knobs and the sound, a one on one mapping from all sliders, turn knobs and switches to sound, so that also you know immediately what settings are producing the sound you can play.

Digitals gave the options of hidden knobs, so more choice, but less overseeable, with as extreme implemention the DX7: one slider, one parameter at the time..

The main problem with patch memory, if direct control is still working perfectly (no delays or inaccuracies because of the added electronics and digital controls, is the price in terms of engineering and in terms of the needed extra parts. Maybe the pots can remain more or less the same on the front panel, but in the analogue synth's electronics will need an electronic replacement of the pot or slider or switch. Seems easy, but pots are perfect resistors, bilateral, supply voltage independent, no distortion, and only give a certain amount of noise to the connected electronic circuitry. Any electronically or digitally controlled pot replacement will have disadvantages compared to regular physical dials, which may or may not be that important for a certain synth pot function. In general though, adding electronic pots to an existing analog synth will change the sound. On top of that, it isn't cheap to do usually, when done right. And it takes a fair amount of electronics engineering, to do right, or an patch memory Minimoog that sounds identical would have been around a long long time ago.

T.

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003199 08/14/19 04:00 PM
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Even with knob per function operation, patch storage necessitates that there is still a digital layer between the knobs and the analog circuits. I remember on my Polysix if I turned the filter sweep knob really fast over a wide range, I could hear stairstepping.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003229 08/14/19 06:42 PM
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I learned on modular synths back when modular synths were practically the only synths there were. Thanks to the discipline required in learning to use them effectively, I did in fact get really good at synthesis and begin the long process of developing a musical/timbral toolbox that I could always reach into, regardless (or nearly regardless) of what synth I had in front of me. I believe that big patchable synthesizers are incredibly useful teaching tools. However, the only advantage to such a beast deliberately NOT being programmable is to force the student to not fall back on what's already in the machine. Beyond that... meh. Skeptical Dr. is skeptical.

The Denver area has a very healthy electronic music community. The vast majority of the folks I know are either folks my age or older -- who are taking advantage of the fact that the modulars of today are far more powerful and far less costly than the ones they couldn't afford back in the day -- or young kids who like messing with the cables and making funny noises. Both approaches are valid, but when they ask me why a many-moons-ago veteran of modular synthesis has no interest in getting back into it, I tell them the truth: I did it that way when that was all there was, and as soon as that wasn't all there was, I stopped doing it that way and never looked back.

The Oberheim Xpander was effectively a well-chosen rack of synth modules with software patching and preset memories, that could play multitimbrally or give me up to 6-note polyphony. I bought one as soon as I could, and I was DONE with synths that couldn't remember all my hard work for me.


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003254 08/14/19 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveMcM
But for the younger players, I kind of feel sorry that they didn't have the opportunity to experience what it was like to be surrounded by stack of keyboards, not to mention owning/driving the stretch van required to transport the stuff to a gig.


Nah, we're good. wink

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003259 08/14/19 08:39 PM
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Modulars and connections have a bigger problem when / is you want to automate their patch formation. The number of possible connections you have to take into account if you want to make something of a connection matrix goes up as a simple approximation with the faculty of the number of connectors. That's that number where for all the virtual chord possibilities 69! (the faculty of 69) your old fashioned calculator would show you a number with close to a hundred zeros of possibilities. It's not the exact number of patch chord possibilities, but depending on what ypes of routing you do and how you can reserve cables for certain roles, even taking a matrix with all output jacks of a modular feeding al possible input jacks would be the size of in_jacks * out_jacks as size, where potentially every matrix element would have a point where a possible electronics connection at perfect audio quality would take place. Say you have a few hundred jacks in your modular, that's in order of 10,000 connection switches with wiring.

T

Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003297 08/15/19 01:13 AM
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Just to be clear, I’m very happy that patch memory exist. I use it on every gig. After re-reading my OP, I’m not sure what I said that could have been taken as being derogatory as a put down to anyone. But if anyone took it that way, sorry.


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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003751 08/18/19 12:16 AM
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After retiring Combo organs and those big WOODEN BOXES. I switched to piano, as the music I was playing was more piano oriented, not to mention I hated being in the furniture moving business on weekends! I bought a Yamaha Electric Grand, and started building a RIG from there. I added a few different Roland drum machines, bought an Arp Omni II and an Odyssey, Moog Taurus bass pedals, then added an Oberheim Drum Machine. Next I bought a Rhodes suitcase piano, put a CX3 on top, and finally bought a Prophet 5 and retired the CX-3. I found the biggest headache of being a 1 man band was not having enough feet and hands to go around to CONTROL the volume pedals and work the damper pedal on the electric grand. Oh, I forget to mention I bought a Couple of Oberheim's, an OBX and later the OBXa. I bought all that equipment over a period of several years, got bank loans, had a day job, and played weekend gigs in the Pocono Mountains. I made a lot of money but used it to BUY EQUIPMENT. I didn't even mention my PA equipment either?

No wonder I'm over 70 and don't have any money!

I prefer PATCH MEMORY and LESS KB's to haul around!


Mike T.

Last edited by MikeT156; 08/18/19 12:20 AM.

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Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3003908 08/18/19 11:37 PM
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I'm glad I got into things with a MiniMoog and helping a friend wrestle with an MS-20, a PAIA modular and numerous pedals. Those basics and early missteps paid off. Now, its a lot simpler. A non-memory-equipped hardware monosynth is akin to a cello, wherein you completely embrace the solo voice mode. Polys with patch storage are for essentially everything else. I can't imagine taking up a pure monosynth now, because all I need is a little time in Mono mode and I can have 98% of that first MiniMoog back. Okay, 93%.


Howard Stern has seven hundred billion dollars that he keeps in cat carriers full of cash in a storage shed. I know. He made me count it. ~ Doug Stanhope

https://soundcloud.com/david-emm-1
Re: Patch Memory or No Patch Memory [Re: DaveMcM] #3004301 08/21/19 04:31 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
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Joined: Oct 2012
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I grew up without patch memory myself.
A few years back I dug out my Korg Mono/poly. I didn't gig with it though as I don't have a proper case, and it is nearly 40 years old. It is also imho a bit too much synth for live situations. having full access to all four VCO's is great for sound making, but makes it more impractical live. (back in the day I had two of them to allow for faster changes. Sadly I let my wife sell one on ebay a few years back....a decision I will always regret!!!)
When I bought the reface CS I got it because of the streamlined control panel so I could gig with it.
I remember the first night I used it at a Jam I was in the host band for. It was like a time machine took me back to the 70's! I loved it! I loved tweaking as I played, and the rest of the band was kind of blown away, because you rarely hear that sort of thing these days.
Of course you can have patch memory on the CS via iOS device, and I have used it, but probably 8 out of 10 gigs I did with it, I did not use patch memory.
I actually kind of like that it will sound a bit different each night, and I love that if I get an idea, instead of remembering a patch number, I just patch it up on the control panel. I find I'm also far more likely to mess with it during solos and such, then I do with a preset (mine or a factories) and make it more expressive by making the panel part of the playing.

I'm not anti patch memory by any means, but I do think it is great to not use it sometimes.


Stage: Korg Krome 88.
Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5
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