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Andromeda Review


burningbusch

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Don't know if any of you read the Andromedia review in the Feb 2002 Electronic Musician but, in these days of polite don't-piss-off-the-manufacturer reviews, it almost got panned.

 

Features 4.0

Quality of Sounds 3.5

Documentation 3.5

Value 3.5

 

Quote: "The A6 is a bit chilly, and it's not the most organic-sounding instrument. During the review process, I compared it with a Memorymoog, a Prophet-5, and a Voyetra Eight, and the A6 definitely lacked the warmth of those older machines."

 

I'd like to be able to directly compare the A6 to a Studio Electronics Omega 8. I've only tried them separately. From what I remember, I liked the overall sound of the Omega quite a bit more. I'm curious as what others think.

 

If the Omega 8 and A6 were the same price, which one would you choose? I think I'd take the Omega for its sound and straightforward interface vs. the A6's greater polyphony and more features.

 

Busch.

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Andromeda can be a bit "static" but that's what all the excellent and comprehensive modulation is for. And I wonder if the reviewer, turned off the background tuning and temp tuning off to make the comparison? A world of difference in thickness, warmth and bass with these 2 turned off, then the Andromeda is on equal footing with the vinatge synths, which don't have background tuning :)

 

In any case I always modulate the VCOs a tiny bit , since they are a lot more stable than vintage gear which drift a bit more, most probably due to their crappy power supply and low tolerance parts.

 

Really analog synths can be mighty boring in tone without a good programming and modulation features. A6 scores well in that part. Omega is a lot fatter as you'd expect , having discrete VCOs and filters and all, but is it worth the price for such a basic and generic sounding synth?

 

I don't always like the way the A6 sounds, but you can't deny the bang for the bucks, its got an awful lot onboard

 

I won't deny the Omega is a good bass and lead synth - hence I'd get the Omega 2 just for that

 

Colin

 

[ 01-21-2002: Message edited by: CoolColJ ]

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The Andromeda can do smooth, but it also has a slight mettalic edge as well in the upper registers if you open the filter up. Its not Jupiter 8 smooth though.

 

 

If you want fatness without effort then Omega 8 is definitely the toy to get. Andromeda is also a bit of pig to use. You should play em in person, be sure to turn off the A6's background tuning. Otherwise it will sound like a VA :)

The A6 requires a lot of knowledge to optimise the gain internal structure - it is prone to clipping and will sound harsh when driven to do so.

 

Well the O8 is just about double the price of the A6, so one will have to think long and hard :)

I'm getting an Omega 2 sometime this year, just for bass duties, and the filter carts.

 

You said R&B - well I'm not much of a composer but here is a fake R&B demo I made a long time ago :)

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_808K itSong.mp3

 

something I composed for a 3d animation film

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_M ultiModeDemo.mp3

 

100% dry and 100% Andromeda - I programmed all the sounds myself, even the 808 imitation patches.

 

---------

 

some smooth sounds

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_F unkyDeepBass.mp3

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_Cream yPad.mp3

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_Roygbiv .mp3

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_JXPad.mp3

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_Phase yPad.mp3

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_PolySEQ .mp3

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_Shi ftingPad.mp3

 

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_Flute1.m p3

 

And here is bass sound that's unique to the A6

thanks to its comprehensive envelope features and SEM style 12db filter :)

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/CCJ_A6_Simple12dbBass7.mp3

 

 

there's way more in the link - 50+megs !!

 

 

http://www.members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/

 

[ 01-21-2002: Message edited by: CoolColJ ]

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I also wanted to add that none of the magazine reviews, fully address the issues present in the Andromeda - i tried my best in my own review I wrote up at sonic state. See if you can find it, but even then I left out a lot.

 

Ahh if only I was a magazine reviewer, I'd show em a thing or two about a detailed reviews :)

 

Most of the reviews, are nothing more than cursory overviews. Makes me wonder what these guys do in the month or 2 they have the keyboard...I had basicly dissected the Androemda in the first 3 weeks of my owndership!

 

[ 01-21-2002: Message edited by: CoolColJ ]

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Just so you know, I have a Roland Mks80 Super Jupiter Rev 5 and a Juno 106 which I prefer the sound of over the A6, mainly because I love the sound of Rolands. The have a certain smoothy glowy sound because of the "wet" VCF. A6 sounds quite a bit dryer. American sound I guess.

 

But they both sound very very simple compared the A6 which can

pass for Acoutsic sometimes, because it is so "neutral" sounding.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

I'd like to be able to directly compare the A6 to a Studio Electronics Omega 8. I've only tried them separately. From what I remember, I liked the overall sound of the Omega quite a bit more. I'm curious as what others think.

 

If the Omega 8 and A6 were the same price, which one would you choose? I think I'd take the Omega for its sound and straightforward interface vs. the A6's greater polyphony and more features.

 

They are very different beasts. I guess their only point of comparison is that they both are real analog.

 

However, Busch, if you like the sound of the OMEGA, nothing we can say about ANDROMEDA would convince you. If you're not gonna use all of the A6 features and high programmability, get the bucks and go for the OMEGA.

 

I tested both at NAMM and A6 has become no. 1 in my wish list. OMEGA 8 is wonderful but sounds very different. So, I'd go for Andy anytime. Its modulation soutes are awesome. Great for the music I'm into.

Músico, Productor, Ingeniero, Tecnólogo

Senior Product Manager, América Latina y Caribe - PreSonus

at Fender Musical Instruments Company

 

Instagram: guslozada

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I noticed the reviewer didn't compare the Andromeda to an Oberheim. The A6 may not sound Jupiter smooth but it really isn't supposed too, when the A6 is heard you can hear it's lineage in it's sound. That lineage is named Moog and Oberheim. It's the power synth heritage.( And I don't dislike Roland ).

Hear ye the Andromeda and tremble!

 

Michael

Q:What do you call a truck with nothing in the bed,nothing on the hitch, and room for more than three people in the cab? A:"A car"....
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A friend of mine owns both an Omega 8 and Andromeda, and for tone he prefers the Omega8, but wishes it had all the goodies of the A6. He found O8 a bit "simple"

 

He said the O8 is a discrete powerhouse, but he's not much of a hardcore synth programmer, so for a fat "turnkey" solution O8 is the better choice. A6 takes a bit more coaxing.

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I don't think it's fair to compare Andromeda with synthesizers from twenty years ago. No one compares a 2002 violin with a Stradivarius, so why are we always looking backwards?

 

Try to look at what a synth can do for your total setup, instead of searching for THE perfect instrument; it simply doesn't excist...

The Omega has a very good basic sound, but isn't very sophisticated with in-depth programming. Andromeda is in that field a one of a kind, unless you use a modular synth.

 

In my experience Andy gives me a lot of what I want: a good sound and great fun to program.

:keys: My Music:thx: I always wondered what happened after the fade out?
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"Don't know if any of you read the Andromedia review in the Feb 2002 Electronic Musician but, in these days of polite don't-piss-off-the-manufacturer reviews, it almost got panned."

 

They also gave it an Editor's Choice award in the January issue, over some hugely deserving competition.

Give me the ANALOG and no one gets HURT
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Thanks CoolColJ for all the links. I made it through most of them. :) I know they're MP3s, but I think I have a pretty good feel for the sound of the A6 based on my first hand listening plus the various MP3s I've heard.

 

With regards to the lineage of the A6 being Moog and Oberheim, Studio Electronics makes the same claim with regards to their synths. But in the end the Omega and A6 sound quite different.

 

I will be ordering the Omega8 this week. BTW, the pricing of the five voice is about the same as the Andromeda. The eight voice is $1,300 more than an A6 (if $2995 is still street).

 

Busch.

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I'm curious as to how you found the sound of the A6 based on my demos? :)

 

Omega 8 is just too expensive, even if it sounded like the best synth in the world, the 8 pack set of filter addons costs an arm and leg. Its a shame that you can't run the 2 basic filters it comes with in series or parallel...what kind of design oversight is that?!

 

[ 01-23-2002: Message edited by: CoolColJ ]

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Originally posted by CoolColJ:

I'm curious as to how you found the sound of the A6 based on my demos? :)

 

Well, I hate to put too much weight on MP3 files, but I think I DO hear the high end metallic quality that they mentioned in the article. The pads and bass sounds are great, but I think I'd be wary of opening the filter too far. On the other hand, MP3 conversion is particularly nasty in the high end, so I'd like to evaluate the machine in person before making a final judgement.

 

Nice demos, BTW! Thanks much for posting them.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Colin, your demos essentially reinforced my impression of the A6, i.e. that it sounds big, aggressive, full. But also that there is a certain harshness to the high end that I don't hear with the Omega. Now what I consider harsh, others might find appealing based on their ears and music style. I've been playing synths since the early '70s and have very specific things that I like and don't like. Thanks again for posting the demos, great stuff and very helpful.

 

Regarding the filters on the Omega. The built-in 24db/12db filters can only be run individually. The filter packs do not add the capability of running filters simultaneously, they just provide the added color of a 303 or ARP 2600 filter. I have no desire to add the 303 filter. I would consider the 2600 only if I could by one or two, giving me the capability of creating mono/duophonic ARP 2600 patches. I have no idea if that's possible but I am looking into it. So for me the base unit is just fine. I don't find the filter routing on the Omega to be an issue or a huge negative.

 

I guess when it comes to analog synths I'm pretty simple minded. I prefer a straighforward, traditional (minimoog-style) interface. Sometimes the beauty of an instrument is keeping the controls essential, like a B3 or a Clavinet. Just walk up to it and play. I'm not shy when it comes to synth programming. I am very comfortable programming the Yamaha VL1 for example, easily one of the most complex synths ever made. I would love it if the Omega had tons of depth under the hood (there is some, BTW), but I wouldn't want that complexity to make the interface more complex.

 

Price. A lot of people these days spend a ton of money on expensive mic pres and analog convertors. Most of the time these provide subtle improvements over the less expensive models. I don't find the sonic differences between the Omega and A6 to be all that subtle.

 

A ticket on a train that doesn't take you where you want to go isn't a good value, no matter how inexpensive it is. For my music, the Omega gets me to where I want to go and unfortunately the A6, apparently, does not.

 

Busch.

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Yeah the A6 does have a somewhat mettalic twang on certain settings. Which is compounded if you use hot VCO levels. Some days it doesn't bother me, other days it really irritates me.

Off course the mp3 encoding did exaggerate it a bit, especially the one I use from Wavelab.

 

Turning off the Background tuning helps in this area. Its mainly in the Sawtooth waveform I find. So I think its the VCOs and not the filters, which sound fine when filtering an external signal.

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  • 3 weeks later...

just some extra info

 

Some random quotes from a friend who owns one, who also know someone else who owns one :)

 

"i don't think omega is phattest synth i have. i love it but its overrated i think (the omega). here is what my friend wrote about his:

 

"I encountered some bugs w/ the omega. The arpeggiator is buggy. I called Greg at Studio E and he told me that they will fix it in the new OS. I asked him what will they do to top the omega and they thought of making a 3 vco polysynth (memorymoog-like) but said it would be too expensive. Damn its weird how small of a company they are..well he said they only sold a few hundred omegas. you can purchase les than 8 filters for the omega8. in the new multimode (os 2) you can have individual voices as seperate synths (with thier own filter). in the new multimode you can have channels 1-4 be 1 voice a piece and than channel 5 be 5 voices..distribute voices however you wish until you run out."

 

 

The omega 8 defaults to 4 stage envelopes, but it does have extra stages buried in menus.

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