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Are music toys like Volca endangered?


RABid
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I love my little music toys, especially the beat box type. I have every Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator and 3 Korg Volcas. I know that I would never perform with them, never record with them, and never use them for anything but my own enjoyment. But, I do enjoy them. Today I thought about getting a 4th Volca. I have the Bass, Sampler and FM. Need a drum based unit to fill out the mix. (I don't consider the sampler a drum machine.) I watched a few YouTube videos comparing the digital and analog Volca drum machines and made a decision. Looked online and compared prices. Checked Ebay just in case I found a great deal. Started to order one and looked down at my MC101. Then it hit me. WHY? Why order a $150 toy when I have a really nice do everything unit that is about the same size? The three Volcas that I own almost cost as much as the MC101 and only does a fraction of what it does. Buying a fourth would put me way over that cost and seems totally unreasonable. The Novation Circuit is even cheaper than the MC101 though I hate the workflow. On top of that, I can spend $10-20 for an iPad app that does a lot more and sounds better.

 

Has decent music gear gotten so cheap, and iPad apps gotten so good that the budget, almost toy line of electronic music devices have lost their appeal?

This post edited for speling.
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Yes. We are more seasoned now and with familiarity often comes at least some boredom. I'm jaded from decades of dazzle until even Synth-Oz sometimes just seems too bright a shade of green. I'm spoiled by the good stuff. Volcas are superior stocking stuffers, but in our world, you need a much bigger stocking... for the Wavestate, if not a NORD WAVE.

 

The toys haven't lost their appeal, to kids or intrigued newbies, but you answered your own quandry. You have an MC101 and working iPad savvy. That outweighs the Volcas. The answer, as always: buy a new Thing. Make it a proper piece so your guilt is justified. :rimshot:

The smells that make me feel nostalgic become more disturbing every year.

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I doubt they're going anywhere. A lot of people like the tactile feel of actual knobs and buttons, and the way the devices and their limitations influence the music. Euro rack modulars are more popular than ever, and people are spending massive amounts of money putting together systems that include many digital modules, so it's hard to argue that those devices are more capable than software (since MANY of the modules are available in software form); but people (not me! I learned my lesson) like assembling a system and plugging things together and twisting knobs.
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I love my little music toys, especially the beat box type. I have every Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator and 3 Korg Volcas. I know that I would never perform with them, never record with them, and never use them for anything but my own enjoyment. But, I do enjoy them.

 

It's insidious how this works. I swore I wouldn't buy any of them and now I have three... :-)

 

iPad apps don't excite me like hands-on keys and boxes. BTW, my latest "toy" is a Modal Skulpt SE. My review: http://sandsoftwaresound.net/modal-skulpt-se-review/

 

The "toys" are cute, fun and feature-packed for the bucks, but collectively, man, it adds up to real money! Like the old saying, 'A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

 

All the best -- pj

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There has been a trend towards packing more into smaller boxes. It has become possible and competition is fierce.

 

Electronic toys will adapt and become more powerful. Sometimes the paradigm will change profoundly.

I've had guitar amps with some effects built in for a long time. Recently I bought a Boss Katana 50 Mk II and you can download the free software suite for access to 60 Boss effects that can be loaded into the amp with up to 5 effects running in one channel simultaneously.

 

Eventually, that will feature Bluetooth and you'll be able to put an iPad on your mic stand instead of a pedal board on the floor. Many guitarists will cling to their pedals, I still have 3 or 4 but I don't use them live if I have other options.

 

I would purchase an older electronic toy if I found it cheap on craigslist or at the thrift store. I would not buy it new, I'd poke around and/or wait for new developments. I have a buttload of soft synths on my computer that do all sorts of crazy stuff and I'm scratching the surface. You could have knobs if you assign them, my Akai MPK 24 has assignable knobs to control soft synths and it was made in around 2013 or so.

Things are moving quickly!!!!!

 

Not everything will survive but I'm not putting money on which items will live and which will die. Lots of us play variants of a guitar that was introduced to the public in 1949 and still does the job.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Eurorack is another antidote to Volca GAS. For the price of a Volca I can buy something interesting for my Eurorack and get a lot more use out of it.

 

Coincidentally....

 

This guy walked in on my conversation with other friends about my Octatrack. He chimes in with "I can't afford that". I told him "that's because you spent more than $1000 total on all those little $30-$200 noise making devices".

 

Years later, dude is sporting a Eurorack. Go figure.

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Talking of toys, now might be the right time to 'fess up to my latest purchase, eh? :)

 

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Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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Talking of toys, now might be the right time to 'fess up to my latest purchase, eh? :)

Aidan, how are you using this? Always curious about real time application for these newer controllers. Are you using for backing tracks?

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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Talking of toys, now might be the right time to 'fess up to my latest purchase, eh? :)

Aidan, how are you using this? Always curious about real time application for these newer controllers. Are you using for backing tracks?

 

Sort of. I'm experimenting with ambient-style piano improvs and the Tracks is helping me explore. There may eventually be videos. I bought a Launchpad X with much the same idea about six months ago. But the real appeal of the Circuit Tracks is something self-contained to stick in my bag (with a pair of headphones) and play with while on holiday or out and about. It's a lot of fun and can go quite deep, though whether the results are generally worth anyone other than myself to listen to is more debatable!

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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I've owned a Novation Circuit (the original) for a few years. It's a great little sketchpad for ideas. It's also really fun for experimenting with polyrhythms. Once I have something going in it that I like, I improvise along with it on my Nord... It sits pretty perfectly on the right side of its aluminum front panel.

Nord: Piano 5 73, Electro 6D

Casio: PX-5S

Yamaha: P-121

Novation: MiniNova, BSII, Circuit

DSI Mopho x4

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I think there's a few things going on. The iPad was released in 2010, the same year as the Korg Monotron, the first affordable analogue synth in years. Both with a 'Go Anywhere' design concept. Since then we've come to realise "analogue" isn't the panacea everyone said it was and 'Go Anywhere' design drives serious compromises. The products since, monotrons, volcas, Reface series, Akai's Timbrewolf, Behringers budget stuff, New Casiotone, DAWless grooveboxes, even the iPad, and all that are evolution from those concepts sometimes drawing on what worked, sometimes trying out something new.
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Sort of. I'm experimenting with ambient-style piano improvs and the Tracks is helping me explore. There may eventually be videos. I bought a Launchpad X with much the same idea about six months ago. But the real appeal of the Circuit Tracks is something self-contained to stick in my bag (with a pair of headphones) and play with while on holiday or out and about. It's a lot of fun and can go quite deep, though whether the results are generally worth anyone other than myself to listen to is more debatable!

 

Thanks Aidan. I currently do that through a PC, but having something like this makes me wonder about possibilities. The time to setup it up on the computer and adjusting ends up a bit of buzz kill.

 

Saw a video with George Whitty which I found intriguing and exciting (not that I have his skill level...) with NI Maschine.

 

[video:youtube]

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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Talking of toys, now might be the right time to 'fess up to my latest purchase, eh? :)

 

I picked one up and so far I am quite frustrated. I think it is the absence of a screen that bothers me. It is making the learning curve much steeper. I'm not ready to give up on it, but have have not turned it on for a few weeks.

This post edited for speling.
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