October 17, 2007

Desktop-format Analog Mono-synths...

by Chris Randall

I need an analog mono-synth in a desktop form-factor. There are several current models and not-a-few oldies to choose from, and I guess I just need to pick one, man up, and buy the bitch.

For new, I'm considering a FutureRetro Revolution or an Analog Solutions SEMblance. The Technosaurus Microcon II would be PERFECT for my needs, but they seem to have gone out of business (or in to hibernation) and Big City, the only American distributor, has no Technosaurus products at all listed in their store. I think I prefer the SEMblance to the Revolution, but with the dollar in the shit-can, it's a little more pricy than it is really worth here in the states, I think. If I could find someone to sell me one for five bills, I'd be happy, but for $800? I'm thinking "no." I suppose an x0xb0x would be suitable, except I have to build the little cocksucker, and that doesn't sound like much fun at all.

For vintage, there's the Taurus II. Easy to fit a Synhouse MIDIjack in one of those (it is, after all, just a Rogue with no keyboard). This would actually be absolutely perfect for my needs, I think. Or a real SEM, although I might as well just save the money and get the AS one, since a real one goes for a grand. Maybe an ARP Lil' Brother? Not sure.

Thoughts appreciated. I'm not opposed to just a small analog mono (CS10/15, Prodigy, Rogue, Pro One, etc.), as I've been pining for for quite a while now. The DS Evolver is obviously out of the question. I couldn't sell that thing fast enough. I'm sure there's a bunch I forgot, though. Anyone that even brings up one of the current "groove" boxes will be unceremoniously banned. There's a fine line between "funny" and "stupid waste of everybody's time." Don't cross it.



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Oct.17.2007 @ 8:53 PM
Novation BSK, sure it got keys, but its still small enough to tweak while your on the shitter.

Oct.17.2007 @ 8:54 PM
Chris Randall
I had actually thought about that. Not the easiest little guy to find, but it'd work.



Oct.17.2007 @ 9:49 PM
You could check out the MFB stuff... they certainly are cheap, and they have kind of a cool lofi sound from the samples online.

There is the Elektron Monomachine as well.

I remember when you were selling your DS Evolver, but I don't think you went into much detail why you so disliked it. Have you sold the thing so that you can now go into detail about what so turned you off without discouraging a potential buyer? :)

You don't think the FutureRetro Revolution seems a bit gimmicky?


Oct.17.2007 @ 9:57 PM
Chris Randall
The MFB stuff isn't analog. The Synth II maybe, but not really.

The MonoMachine is waaaaaay too expensive for what you get. I'll take a pass on that until our economy gets out of the 70s.

The DSE, well, the mod routing is ludicrous, and it kind of sounds like ass. No offense to Dave. For the money, it's a lot of synth. Just not a lot of synth I like. Lots of people like it a lot. I ain't one of 'em.

You know what would make the Revolution seem less gimmicky? If it wasn't round. Otherwise, it is what it is: a digitally controlled analog 1-osc synth with digital effects.



Oct.17.2007 @ 10:21 PM
The MFB stuff is a DCO with a VCF... I would actually *PREFER* the DCO to a VCO myself, if they would have included more waveforms than just a sawtooth and squarewave. They could have included a bunch of weird waveforms, like a PPG Wave or Kawai K3 inspired thing... and it would actually be kind of innovative.

I don't know why more synth makers don't include more waveforms than just the standard sawtooth, squarewave/pulse, triangle, and sine... I can't possibly be the only one who likes to use a bunch of different waves... and nowadays it should be dirt cheap to add that kind of thing. For people working in a 'creative' field, hardware synth designers are pretty damn conservative.


Oct.17.2007 @ 10:52 PM
The MFB synth Lite is NOT a DCO. The "oscillator" is DSP. A little embedded soft synth, followed by an analog filter and vca. Very different (and inferior) to an 80's DCO.

And that's the last I'll say on that subject, as it's been beaten to death in various online forums. Despite its oscillators, I think it sounds pretty decent for the coin, and it's really small.


Oct.17.2007 @ 11:13 PM
Roland MC-202 with the CV/Gate input mod.

Oct.17.2007 @ 11:15 PM
Regardless, if the MFB DSP or DCO or whatever it is included say 256 Prophet VS or Roland D-50 waveforms instead of just square wave and sawtooth, the MFB synth would totally rock.

They are using the DSP to do poor (presumably) emulation of an analog waveform, when it could be doing something really cool... the fact that they wasted that potential is more annoying to me than the fact that it isn't 100% analog. If you are going to use digital, why not actually exploit the potential of it?


Oct.17.2007 @ 11:19 PM
2 pricey analogs that are rackmount but can be set on a desk to point at your face: voyager rack and vermona perfourmer. love my voyager but have never met a perfourmer in person. and i'd second the bass station recommendation too.

Oct.17.2007 @ 11:24 PM
Porco Rosso
Not a complex synth, but I kinda like my SH-2. It gives good bass.

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