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Analog adventures - part VI


marino

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The final frontier... :D

 

OK, I've a story to tell. No listening tests this time - just a true story. It's all very personal, so I apologize in advance. At the same time, I think only other keyboard players can understand this. So here it is...

 

Someone who has read my previous 'adventures' might remember that I was in the process of designing a custom mono analog synth. It had changed shape quite a few times in the meantime; at first, I wanted to include everything, from Sherman Filterbanks to Metasonix vacuum tube stuff, but soon I realized what an interfacing nightmare that would be. So I settled for a more integrated design, with lots of knobs and much fewer patch cords, and started talking with the tech guy about what type of circuitry to use, etc.

Then this morning, a beautiful Friday, I started (for the ninth time or so) to draw sketches for the panel layout. It was a real beauty, with six oscillators, three of which could be switched to LFO use. I then thought hard about the rest of the layout (with two VCFs, five envelopes, and several other modules, all real-analog).

At lunchtime, after a few hours of brainstorm, I thought I had really something worthwile. The physical and electronic layout made good sense to me. I was quite satisfied... But it looked somewhat - familiar. Then it hit me with full force. In my painful efforts to include everything that was necessary, and to balance ergonomics and flexibility, I had designed... the Andromeda panel!! :eek:

 

Well, not the *exact* Andromeda panel, but the resemblance was striking. Oscillator section aside, the pre-mixer section, filter section with the balance and feedback controls, the post-filter mixer and output section were virtually the same thing. Scary!

 

So I started thinking: If I buy an Andromeda instead of building this thing, for about the same price, I have a poly, programmable... No, hold on. What about the six oscillators, or the all-analog channel? Umm... Well, I could filter the output from the SE-1 with the Andromeda filter, and have a mono channel with five oscs and lots of LFOs. It's not the same as having six interacting oscs, but still...

 

Now, please understand that my own synth wasn't to be realized tomorrow. I'm rather broke at the moment, so it was a long-term thing.

But all the same, I went out and drove to the music store! GAS had struck hard - I had realized that I could more or less join two of my major dreams - the mono thing and the Andy - in one.

 

When I'm going to make an impulse buy, interesting conversations take place between my left brain (logic) and my right (instinct). :) The right brain has, usually, the last word... :D But this time, the fight was colossal:

 

"You can't do that - you don't have the money."

"Sure I have it."

"I mean, you can't *spend* all that money now. Work is slow, and future is uncertain."

"I am good - work will come."

"You need a new computer and soundcard much more badly than a new synth. You don't need a new synth at all!"

"Yeah, I know - who cares."

"Probably, this will mean no real vacation this summer - you need to rest."

"Well, this means more time for programming the Andy."

"It's heavy, it's fragile, it's... analog."

"That's what I like about it!"

"You have promised to yourself and the girlfriend to install air conditioning in the apartment - remember last summer?"

Folks, *this* last thought almost made me stop. I felt guilty big time.

 

But I went ahead. :D I burst into the music store, and to my big shock, there was no Andy in sight anymore! I asked, and they said, "we've just received a new shipment of just one unit. We don't know about future shipments."

With a sigh of relief, I asked, "Is the price still 2800 euros?" (That's about 3300 dollars, guys!). "Yes, it is." I said, "That's too much. A discount, please." You know, this is not the kind of store where you usually argue on prices... :) Somewhat in shock, the guy said, "Uh, what about 2600?" "That's better - still a bit high, but I know there's no lower price in Italy. Here's a check." He said, "Great. When you need it?" I said, "What you mean, I need it *NOW*!"

So I went with the salesman to the storage place, and drove back home with an Andromeda.

 

To be sure, during my trip to the music store, I had phoned a couple of friends in the industry, and they both advised me against buying the Andy, because Alesis have recently changed their Italian distributor, so the future for service on Alesis stuff is not very clear.

This didn't stop me. That's how badly I wanted it!

 

OK, so now I have an Andromeda in my studio, and a few months ahead to get to know it. :D Yes, I know I'm crazy. What can I say - I have the programming bug. When I see an electronic instrument which I feel has been designed with the player/programmer in mind, I just want to put my hands on it. Look, I'm still a bit in a state of shock about it... But I'll post my first impressions in the next few days, along with some comparisons with the analog things I already use.

 

For now - thanks for listening!! :D

 

Carlo

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Carlo, you totally rule!!!!

 

But be sure to get air conditioning next...there nothing like a cool, happy girl. If she's hot and sweaty for the wrong reasons, 6 oscillators aren't going to save you.

 

Congratulations again. Looks like the Andromeda design boys (and girls?) did their homework.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Carlo,

For some that would be just an expensive toy, but for you,well I believe you will do great things with it.

I am sure you deserve it!

Congratulations,

 

Day

 

Good to know that for some the voice of reason can still be shouted down. :D

"It is a danger to create something and risk rejection. It is a greater danger to create nothing and allow mediocrity to rule."

"You owe it to us all to get on with what you're good at." W.H. Auden

 

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But be sure to get air conditioning next...there nothing like a cool, happy girl. If she's hot and sweaty for the wrong reasons, 6 oscillators aren't going to save you.

A good woman is only temporary. Music is forever.
"shit" happens. Success Takes Focus.
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Welcome to Andy-land, my brother!

 

Enjoy my personal gift to you - Unison X mode. I stole the idea from the unison mode in my JP8 - play one note, get 16 (!) oscillators. Play two, get eight per note. Play four, get four per note. Used in conjunction with the detune function and a bit of porta, it will rock your world.

 

Other than the name, it is absolutely my favorite of my small contributions to the unit.

 

Another small hint - the analog distortion circuit is your friend... ;)

 

I look forward to hearing your impressions as you dig deeper. You are gonna HAVE to send me your bank of programs. You already have a bunch of mine. :thu:

 

dB

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Welcome to Andy-land, my brother!

Thanks. Looks like a nice place... :D

Enjoy my personal gift to you - Unison X mode. I stole the idea from the unison mode in my JP8 - play one note, get 16 (!) oscillators. Play two, get eight per note. Play four, get four per note. Used in conjunction with the detune function and a bit of porta, it will rock your world.

I love this function - I used to use it on the Chroma all the time. Including it on the Andy was a great idea, and making it switchable from the front panel an even greater idea. :) Thanks!

Other than the name, it is absolutely my favorite of my small contributions to the unit.

Well, I love the name too... :D

Another small hint - the analog distortion circuit is your friend... ;)

Again, thanks for the tip. In the little time I had spent with the instrument, it didn't sound great to my ears - but I'll take your advice and experiment with various types of inputs to hear what happens.

I look forward to hearing your impressions as you dig deeper. You are gonna HAVE to send me your bank of programs. You already have a bunch of mine. :thu:

Of course! Unfortunately, it looks like I'll only have a couple of afternoons to spend with Andy around April 5th or so... not joking... but I'll be playing it every time I can - at late night, presumably... :)

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Great! What's so funny, to me, about the story is this: you had done your homework, you had stewed and meditated and designed. You had considered all options. And yet, when the moment came, the decisive moment, it was still this impulsive, propelled-by-body-chemistry, id vs. super ego psychotic episode. In general, you must lose your mind to spend thousands on anything non-essential. And so we induce madness to get to that heightened state where such raving irresponsibility is possible. You're probably still reationalizing it, aren't you?

 

well, to me it just seems like the natural culmination of your excellent analog adventures series. Congratulations.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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From Carlo's girlfriend:

 

Carlo....ma tu sei propio Matto!!!!!

Io voglio l'aria condizionata......ADESSO!!!!!! :mad:

 

Sorry Carlo.....I couldn't resist. But still in all, good luck with the Andy. With your ability and talents, I'm sure you'll have it talking in no time :thu:

_____________

Erlic

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Thanks all for the sympathy. Yes, the air conditioning thing still makes me feel *really* bad - I'll try to get it all the same, before the hot season comes... :rolleyes:

 

Erlic - Lol... your Italian is absolutely perfect, your message scared me for a second... :D

 

Magpel - "Reationalizing"? Well, it's a great word... I think it describes my present state perfectly! ;)

 

Keep your words of wisdom, kindness, appreciation, insult, rage, solidariety or whatever coming, guys & girls... I'm still rather in a state of confusion. Thanks!

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marino,

 

I've had my A6 since 2002, and it's still the primary instrument I turn to every day. With all of the modulation possibilities and routings (learn the Croutes... master the Croutes), it really will satisfy your modular cravings.

 

Air conditioning, pah -- spend the money, you'll barely notice the additional cost, and you of course MUST create a comfortable environment for your Andy, too, you wouldn't want her to overheat, either, eh? ;)

 

rt

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Carlo:

 

If it's any help. Andromeda was designed with you in mind. Why fight the inevitable? ;)

 

On the other hand. Andy could mess up your home life in more ways than one. Now you have to tell us how your relationships are progressing with both girls. :D

 

Best,

 

Jerry

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Thanks Realtrance and Jerry... the really surreal situation now is that I will only be able to play my new Andy in 10 or 15 days, for various reasons... But maybe that's good , because I'll have some time to read the manual... :D
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Originally posted by Markyboard:

Although I've read some people don't care for the manual, I think its probably one of the best I've seen since the Memorymoog manual.

Interestingly enough, the guy who wrote the Andromeda manual was David Bertovic, who also wrote the manual for the Matrix-12.

 

dB

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Carlo,

 

One little thing to remember -- since it's analogue, it really makes sense to let it warm up for 15 minutes or so before initiating auto-tune -- gives time for everything to stabilize. Once you auto-tune it after it's warmed up, it'll generally keep that way (if you want it to -- you may want to turn background tuning off, that'll provide more analogue drift, and frees up the processing a little as well).

 

There's a great FAQ out for the A6 -- I think you can find it going through www.code404.com; if you can't find it that way, I'm sure someone here will send it to you. I'm not sure I agree with all of it after some experience, but it provides some useful reference points to think about.

 

Don't be worried if, during your initial auto-tune, some voices take a few seconds longer than others -- that can really be variable, especially if the instrument is in a room that's seen wide variation in temperature, say from night to day.

 

Mainly: enjoy! :wave:

 

Yes, great manual, btw, except on the included effects. The analogue distortion is great, the digital reverb and delay is better than it usually sounds, but you really have to work with it to get familiar with how to make it sound good -- you might just prefer going with more familiar outboard reverb gear. Playing with delays is lots of fun, though. It just goes on and on and on...

 

rt

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I only leafed through the manual, but it seems very complete, maybe just the order of things is not organized in the best of ways, but that's just my opinion. BTW, I find the Matrix-12 manual really exceptional - a course in analog synthesis *and* a very clear presentation of the instrument at the same time.

 

Realtrance - thanks for the tips. I'm very used to the quirkness of analog - the instabilty of the Chroma was a good school for that... :D

 

No time to spend with Andy yet - but just to *see* it sitting side by side with the Matrix-12 makes me feel good! :D:D

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