hardware synth recommendation

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Tomsk
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Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:00 am

hardware synth recommendation

Post by Tomsk » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:45 am

I’m after a new analogue based toy, I would really like the option of being able to automate within Ableton, but tinker and tweak an actual piece of hardware. I have Ableton 9 and Push.

2 synths have caught my eye/ear:

Moog sub phatty
Sounds great, one knob per function - looks inspiring to use, has a vst so I can still automate it from within Ableton.
But has a keyboard which I wouldn’t use as I would play stuff from push (not really a keyboard player either) – there is no desktop version and I don’t have much free space.
Not many presets or space to store them.

Elektron analog four.
Also sounds great, but very different to my ears. Lots of presets.
Apparently has “Overbridge” in development which will have a vst and very cool audio streaming options.
Has 4 monosynths in one box, can be used polyphonically – actually seems like it very good value for what you pay.
I would probably do most sequencing and playing from Push so will probably not use the onboard sequencer much.
Not sure about all the menu diving involved, don’t want it to feel like a soft synth in a box – this is the last thing I want.

I can probably demo the Moog but can’t demo the Elektron as there is nowhere that sells them near me.
Usability is probably my top requirement – something that is fun, but being able to keep Ableton at the core is also very important.

Also other than an audio interface with audio ins available, what else do I need.
Does anyone have either of these? Do they play nicely with Ableton? Sync, control, playing, etc
Are there any other options or synths?

Thanks in advance :)

login
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by login » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:05 am

Elektron stuff is all about the sequencer, I like to use the along Live but not sequenced from.

If you only want to sequence from Live I would get first a mono, maybe a slim phatty, a minitaur, maybe even some modular to get more experimental.

But you should try Elektron stuff aling Live, it is a lot of fun jamming in both with push, similar workflow to an extent even if you still use elektron boxes sequencer.

beatz01
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by beatz01 » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:03 am

M-Audio Venom currently for 198 EUR at Thomann.

Tomsk
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by Tomsk » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:25 am

login wrote:Elektron stuff is all about the sequencer, I like to use the along Live but not sequenced from.

If you only want to sequence from Live I would get first a mono, maybe a slim phatty, a minitaur, maybe even some modular to get more experimental.

But you should try Elektron stuff aling Live, it is a lot of fun jamming in both with push, similar workflow to an extent even if you still use elektron boxes sequencer.
But is the Analog Four all about the sequencer? That’s what i thought at first but the more i read about it the more i realise that there is a lot going on top of the sequencer - 4 monos each made up of 2 oscs and 2 subs, some nice FX, plus future DAW integration – and that’s just the stuff I understand. On paper, it seems like it’s got a lot going for it without the sequencer. But the sequencer is a very cool thing too and I think I’d still use it, it’s just not something i have to have.

But yeah, I like the idea of something modular but then how would I automate from Ableton? Can this be done? My hardware knowledge/understanding is not that great.

login
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by login » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:47 pm

Tomsk wrote:
login wrote:Elektron stuff is all about the sequencer, I like to use the along Live but not sequenced from.

If you only want to sequence from Live I would get first a mono, maybe a slim phatty, a minitaur, maybe even some modular to get more experimental.

But you should try Elektron stuff aling Live, it is a lot of fun jamming in both with push, similar workflow to an extent even if you still use elektron boxes sequencer.
But is the Analog Four all about the sequencer? That’s what i thought at first but the more i read about it the more i realise that there is a lot going on top of the sequencer - 4 monos each made up of 2 oscs and 2 subs, some nice FX, plus future DAW integration – and that’s just the stuff I understand. On paper, it seems like it’s got a lot going for it without the sequencer. But the sequencer is a very cool thing too and I think I’d still use it, it’s just not something i have to have.

But yeah, I like the idea of something modular but then how would I automate from Ableton? Can this be done? My hardware knowledge/understanding is not that great.

IMHO the point of elektron stuff is the integration of the sequencer and the synth, since the sequencer via parameter locks becomes a sound design tool in itself.

For me the problem of sequencing An elektron box from Ableton/Push would be the sheer number of parameter midi control CC to be learned and mapped, it's not going to be (by a long way) as intuitive as in the elektron box itself wehre you have all the controls and shortcuts at your dispossal.

Jamming on both (synched) would be a lot of fun still.

About automation of Modular, it can be done but it isn't as easy as with normal midi hardware, it is also more limited. First you need a MIDI>CV converter, the one by Experts sleeper is said to be superb, and then the whole implementation depends on your modular.

Ableton has some videos on Push interaction with ahrdware and they expalin how to set up for automation.

continuous
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by continuous » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:19 am

Just had my A4 a few days now but I'm really into it so far. Once I get the proper cables I will also sequence my Dark Energy from the CV Outs... Never have used CV so it will be a new experience!

One thing I realized pretty quick is that to get a good flow going on the A4 I will need to get to know the 'shortcuts' or button combinations. Thankfully, someone has created a nice cheat sheet which has been very helpful!

Of course the sequencer is powerful but I think the A4 also sounds killer just playing it from an external midi keyboard.

Can't speak to the Moog as I've never spent time with one and am still learning the basics of synthesis. With the A4 and the Dark Energy I can get lost in sound without ever turning on the lappie, which I am a little burnt out on.

I'm also really attracted to the MonoMachine!!!

Tomsk
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by Tomsk » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:22 am

continuous wrote:Just had my A4 a few days now but I'm really into it so far. Once I get the proper cables I will also sequence my Dark Energy from the CV Outs... Never have used CV so it will be a new experience!

One thing I realized pretty quick is that to get a good flow going on the A4 I will need to get to know the 'shortcuts' or button combinations. Thankfully, someone has created a nice cheat sheet which has been very helpful!

Of course the sequencer is powerful but I think the A4 also sounds killer just playing it from an external midi keyboard.

Can't speak to the Moog as I've never spent time with one and am still learning the basics of synthesis. With the A4 and the Dark Energy I can get lost in sound without ever turning on the lappie, which I am a little burnt out on.

I'm also really attracted to the MonoMachine!!!
How does playing it with an external keyboard go? This would be how i intend use it for most of the time… maybe? Do you need a midi interface or can it all be done via usb?
I would say i'm still learning the basics too. I'm really hoping that having hardware will accelerate this process, and be a bit more inspiring than working with a soft synth. How do you find searching for parameters to change, having to click a button to access amp envelopes and then another to access filters for example seems like it could get frustrating, especially when learning. From what i can tell, it’s the very opposite of the Moog which has everything laid out in front of you.

@Login – I hear you on the parameter mapping thing, this is a concern. One reason why I was looking at these 2 as they have/will have a vst to control - so I’m assuming that this will then effectively be done for you, but I could be assuming too much?

continuous
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by continuous » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:54 am

I have a midi keyboard's midi out running into the midi in of the A4. It is set to the A4's auto channel so that it sends midi to the currently selected track, unless the sound browser is open, if the sound browser is open the keyboard plays whatever sounds you are browsing allowing you to preview them before loading them to the track.

A friend described the A4 as a programmer's synth? Not sure. Prolly best if you can put your hands on them both and see which turns you on?

eddiex
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by eddiex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:03 am

i just purchased a moog slim phatty....it's really awesome. really simple to use/tweak. comes with 100 presets. the filter is sick. i don't sequence (using LIVE) but i could if i wanted.
all of that being said..there is a place called CONTROL VOLTAGE, here in portland, that carries the elektron stuff.....the A4 seems really cool, although, it also seemed complicated. but it seems to have a lot to offer. it's also hella expensive. but hey, if you got the money.....do it.
so i don't know if that helped. don't sleep on the slim phatty (if the sub phatty was your first choice) but the A4 is probably super cool too.
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continuous
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by continuous » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:11 am

^

Ya, just to be clear, I'm in no way pretending to make a recommendation here - just taking the opportunity to gush about my new droid. :oops:

I've been wanting to be able to sequence AND tweak without using the computer for a couple years now and the A4 fits the bill.

3dot...
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Re: hardware synth recommendation

Post by 3dot... » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:34 am

you can also check dave smith instruments...
each of their products have at least 4 sequencers built-in which can be used for notes and modulation

http://youtu.be/DO1SCFX1sTg
http://youtu.be/G8z9hVHHnOs


The Elektron looks nice (as all of their products :) and will also become an USB audio interface when they release "overbridge"
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