August 14, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy (Open Thread)...

by Chris Randall

Sorry for the lack of posting, but I have 26 plates spinning right now. So this is a Tuesday Open Thread. What's on your mind? Anything new on the horizon you're slobbering over? (Obvious candidates include Tenori-On and this new thing from Dave Smith.)


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Aug.14.2007 @ 5:31 PM

If this samples, it will be a must-buy. But without sampling, or a sufficiently programmable synthesis engine, it is not that interesting. What use is a cool control pad if all you can sequence is some general midi sounding bells?


I have never been one of these analog fanatics. It is hard for me to get excited over an analog synth that isn't much better than a budget VA in terms of synthesis engine. The only thing that I think real analog synths beat VA synths, is that they tend to be built much more rugged. I am sure the Pro-8 will be built solid, I just wish I could get a Korg or Yamaha priced insides with Moog style construction on the outside, and split the difference.

I just purchased the Korg R3, which is the next generation MicroKorg, and in terms of synthesis and sounds it is fantastic... I can't imagine paying 4 times the price for a Pro-8 with less features, just to say it is "real analog". My only complaint is that the R3 is built kind of cheap (although slighly more solid than the MicroKorg).


Aug.14.2007 @ 6:04 PM
Mostly I guess I'm looking forward to BFD 2, if only to see what they do with it. I just hope my relatively powerful (read, not-dual core) rig can handle it.

So, yeah, just a few software updates. The next update for Zebra & EXT2. And, um... yeah I think that's it. Well and Sonar 7 whenever that's happening.

I've really gotten to the point where I'm pretty much trying to freeze my setup. I passed on the last Absynth, LL, VW, and Albino. They all work fine for what I need, and I just get burned out on the upgrade cycle. The idea of Kontakt 3 makes my head hurt.


Aug.14.2007 @ 7:05 PM
Yeah, the software upgrade cycle can be tedious, especially when there's a paid upgrade and you can't see any useful changes. But, I've been on a little bit of hardware buying spree lately, at least software upgrades still tend to be cheaper for what you get. One could easily drop $2000 and more just on distortion effect pedals.

It's too bad I find laptop live performances to be the most boring thing on the planet ever, else I could get a Macbook or Thinkpad and save myself some cash.


Aug.14.2007 @ 7:37 PM
Chris Randall

The difference is that in 10 years, the P8 (or whatever it's gonna be called) is still going to be worth $2K, and your Korg R3, if it still works, is going to be worth about $25.

Aside from that, something like this is going to have a distinctive sound to it, which will in turn give your recordings a distinctive sound. Keeping in mind that it's a competitive market, spending a lot on boutique equipment is one way of staying ahead of the Joneses, who will all own R3s.

So something like this is an investment, in both the fiscal sense and with your output. You are, of course, welcome to disagree with me, keeping in mind the fact that I'm right and you're wrong.

All that said, I agree with Adam. I have an MKS80; my analog polysynth needs are well taken care of. But one should always consider, when looking at stuff like this, that the P8, at $2K, is FAR, FAR cheaper than a Prophet 5 was new, inflation notwithstanding. The Prophet 5 was $4595 when it was released. In 1978 dollars. Today, the equivalent cost would be a couple bucks north of $14,000. The P8, the PEK, the Minimoog Voyager, the Andromeda, and the SE Omega 8 are all incredibly cheap when you consider what you would have received for comparable dollars. Even the Buchla 200e isn't terribly overpriced, really.



Aug.14.2007 @ 10:14 PM

I agree that the P8 will have a much higher resale value than an R3. But I beg to differ that it is the sound. It is the differences in construction between the P8 and R3 that will add to the P8 resale value. The Evolver is the cutting edge Dave Smith product and definitly has a distincitive sound, the P8 is a way for them to make a few bucks by producing a fairly standard 2 oscillator analog synth marketed to the same crowd that digs the Little Phatty... which is cool, but I hardly consider it botique gear. The Buchla 200e, yeah that is botique gear. The Monomachine, that is botique gear. The Evolver, that is botique gear. The P8 is the Little Phatty++.

Resale value notwithstanding, I think most modern analog synths don't sound particularly unique, or more 'analog' than even the first generation VA synths like the JP-8000. The benefit is the ruggedness of the construction of the 'botique' gear... and I am talking about the keys, knobs, switches, that kind of thing, the mass produced Japanese gear has extremly reliable electronics inside. I never knew anyone whose Yamaha DX7 or Roland R8 or Kawai K4 suffered an electronic failure... it was always a button falling off or something.


Aug.14.2007 @ 10:44 PM
Ill take 2 Tenori ons please..
The Andromeda should be racked...
Dave Smith is D-Shiznit
Audio Damage gonna make a creamy,beepy, Kontakt library?
Minor Fuckin Threat biotches...

Aug.14.2007 @ 10:45 PM
for me, the P8 is insurance. it's nice to know that i can buy a just-made-yesterday polysynth instead of another geriatric "vintage" unit on the day when my akai ax-80 finally gives up its CEMs. has roughly 309 audio demos of the P8 here: link []">link []


Aug.14.2007 @ 10:48 PM
Rex, every mass market synth suffers many casualties, and it's usually the power supply, irrespective of whether it's analog or digital. I don't understand your whole "botique" argument. I have seen all the synths you mention in great stacks at repair shops like Music Tech in LA.

The new prophet is a very smart move. $2000 is not far from the price of a P5 on the market and you get more voices, + who knows what else. And it's a thousand bucks less than a mono Voyager, very impressive.
Compare this to the new Rhodes pianos which cost four times the price of a good used original. And CR is right: $2000 is not a lot of money for a professional instrument.
I know it seems like a lot for guys accustomed to using cracked VI's, but anyone working a real job (ie: professional musician, haha) should be able to swing it if they really want it. People who don't want to put out real money for gear love to talk about how it's all the same as the shit they got at Musician's Friend for $400.


Aug.15.2007 @ 12:28 AM
The Tenori-on has MIDI out and wifi to some degree. That's all that matters to me. I hope they release a version WITHOUT sampling and on-board sounds, so it's cheaper. I'm sure evryone on this list has samples and sounds covered with plenty of other gear. It's been elsewhere before, but the key thing with the Tenori is going to be price. If yamaha prices it right, everyone will get one and they could relive their glory days of evrybody HAVING to hvae DX-7. If it's too expensive, it won't sell, they'll blame the concept and start working on software versions of all their past instruments.

What's really, really on my mind is the Zeit sequencer. I'm one of the beta testers and, after 4 years of waiting, mine should be coming in the next month or so.


Aug.15.2007 @ 1:23 AM
Chris Randall
Rex, I get the impression from what you wrote that you're misunderstanding the 2 osc thing. This is 2 oscs PER VOICE. In an eight voice synth, that's 16 oscillators. (Never mind the LFOs, which don't count in this case.)

So, the P8 is to a Lil' Phatty as the Jupiter 8 is to a Moog Rogue. Essentially.

Be all that as it may, if you can't tell the difference between a real Prophet 5 and, say, NI's VST rendition, well, I can't help you and you are de facto correct in all your arguments.

And BirdFLU, at some point you guys are all gonna have to let go of the whole "beta tester" concept. It's starting to ring a little hollow. ;-)



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