does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by enomis » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:16 pm

otto wrote: A lot of people like to mix in a preamp and/or distortion sources.
?

Otto - thanks for the info on the Voyager. With respect to the preamp or distortion source, are those types of effects typically used through the insert point prior to the filter

Anyway, Otto, it was not my intention to single you or anyone else out with regards to my MEK/Evolver bashing comment. It was just a friendly reminder for the whole thread :D . I appreciate everyone's comments and perspectives on the issue.

I think my quest for a semi-modular synth might be narrowing to the decision between the FR XS and the Voyager. Are there options out there that I'm overlooking?
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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by boreg » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:50 am

I got a MED, swayed by its compact form factor (toss in a bag and go jam!) and Stefan Trippler's demos:) I think it's a unique synth - the only one of its kind (in terms of signal flow and modulation options). It's a mean little box, full of character. Also, greyhound_flyer is right - a programmed controller makes it much more fun to play. My keyboard is a Novation Remote SL, and I made a template for it so that all essential filter and envelope stuff is controlled by knobs, while sliders control the level of 4 oscillators and 2 ringmods, like on a mixer. What I would really like is a bank of sliders to control the sequencer, but the Novation doesn't send the right kind of sysex.

Evolver is great for coming up with weird stuff that you won't get from any other synth. I find it is at its best in jamming "into the unknown", starting with one sequence and mutating it into something else entirely. It really is an evolver :)

But playing the Evolver, I began to want a real analog synth - something with no menus, no buttons, nothing digital. I wanted to grab a knob and feel its interaction with the sound. So I got the FR XS, and it's exactly that - pure analog joy!

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by synth3tik » Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:54 am

Well just by the sheer nature of both machines the MEK should win hands down. It is twice the synth literally. Plus you have patch memory.

I restored a Pro One a few years back and totally love it. The only reason I have not bought an Evolver (poly or Mono) is because I have a P08, and really can't justify spending more.

I can't comment on the MEK, however my P08 is rather good at emulating sounds I have created on the Pro One.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:50 am

enomis wrote:I was wondering when the MEK supporters would chime in :)

Thanks for your replies. Do any you (Stab Frenzy, greyhound_flyer, de raaf) or anyone else out there use the MEK in live performance situations? Just curious to hear peoples thoughts on how it integrates in the live format for you.
I've been gigging with my MEK since I got it about 2 years ago, first in addition to the V-Synth I was gigging before that and then just with the MEK as our set changed/I programmed replacement patches to the V-Synth ones I was using.

It's great for playing live, it sounds fantastic (especially in stereo on a big PA), you can have a huge range of sounds saved so only have to bring one synth and it's small and light. Also the fact that you've got velocity, aftertouch, two pedal inputs and a mod wheel means it's really expressive to play. I have had one encoder go funny and I'll give it a clean when I have some time, when I turn it too fast it jumps to 0. I still prefer encoders to pot for playing live cause I hate parameter jumps when you go to tweak something and the pot isn't lined up to the current value, and if that screws up live you don't get another chance at doing it right. One little annoyance about using the MEK live is that the encoder you use to change patches would be much better if it was a stepped one like on the Desktop. I don't use the encoder to change patches on stage, it's too easy to overrun the one you want. I use the increment and decrement buttons, more accurate. I'd love it if it had something like the patch recall buttons the V-Synth has, they're really great for playing live. The MEK is still great to gig with though.

Also looks cool on stage!

Image
enomis wrote:Again, the intent of my post was not to start a MEK/Evolver bashing thread. Just interested in hearing people's thoughts. For sure the MEK has a tremendous ability at creating sound. But, just as in all relationships in life there are personalities that you jive with quirks and all and others that you don't.

kuroichi - thanks for the info on the FR XS. I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm primarily a keyboard player so the XS's lack of keyboard makes it a little less appealing. I have been looking at the Moog Voyager OS as another different option, though the price tag certainly makes me think twice... thrice... if not more.

Speaking of the Voyager... I have had a few occasions to try it but all have been within the context of a store environment where it is difficult to sit at length with it. My question: is it possible to coax some edgier/raw sounds from it?
I've heard some really gnarly sounds from the voyager in some demos Amos from Moog posted a while ago, I think with a semi-modular the world is your oyster.

Personally I think the XS would be a really good match for the Evolver, I'm considering getting one for my studio. I recently got a CS-15 which is great, but I always find myself wanting to modulate one thing with another which can't be done on the CS, I think the Evolver has me spoilt for routing choice and only a semi-modular is going to satisfy me from now on.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by de raaf » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:57 am

about the mfb, it can sound pretty good, my major complaint is that the output stage lacks power, punch, its really hard to make it come through in a mix with other synths, like you need an extra long fader on your mixer (or really taming the other ones) or something
always a bit disappointed when using it live, on its own it can sound nice, but with other synth power, it tends to get lost . don't know if its only my synth 2. been a while i played it with keys.


tend to use my mek more live soon.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by mome rath » Sun Nov 22, 2009 7:56 am

:geek:

if you're pissed about what's coming out of it, you're not being playful enough with it. let mistakes happen, and use your ears when you're programming, not your eyes.

the MEK is one of the most exciting, full-featured, bombass creative tools you can get for under 1000USD
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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by mute » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:50 am

imo.. what does a serious disservice to the MEK and Desktop Evolver is the lack of a decent free editor. it's like a shift kick in the nuts because the editing can be a bit tedious from the interface at times. Not difficult.. just tedious. I feel I'd have the exact same opinion (or worse since theres no panel descriptions) with the Mopho.. but it has a decent free editor... so it's a toss up. I personally prefer the matrix panel layout than the assignable knobs and display/scroll approach.

That said, I love my Evolver and will likely never get rid of it. But the lack of a good free editor still pisses me off. The commerical editors arent very good either. Regardless, I've integrated it into my host really easily so I'm ok. Just venting this annoyance. Among other random sounds (leads, drones, synth fx, etc.) the Evolver's bass rocks your damn fro.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by enomis » Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:45 pm

In the last few days I have realized that my MEK is exhibiting some jumpy encoder behavior... This may be contributing to my frustration as I can't get parameters to change smoothly and predictably. I'm in the process of cleaning the encoders so this may help a bit.

If DSI came out with PE mod for the MEK it would a winner IMO. In an earlier post someone wrote about using an external midi controller. I can see doing that with the MED but if I went that route with the MEK I would feel like I had wasted the extra money spent buying the MEK in the first place.

Stab Frenzy - Nice photo... it's interesting to hear your take on performing live with the MEK especially since you say it's the only synth you use live. Do you have any recordings or video of your live shows... regardless of this discussion I'd be interested to check it out.

Also, the Amos Demos you mentioned.... can I find those through this forum or should I go over to the Moog forum?
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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by PolarAC » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:18 pm

otto wrote: This is one of the reasons I haven't entered the world of true modular. I think I would spend more time doing crazy unusable stuff. Judging from videos and MP3s of many peoples modulars, people spend an awful lot of money to create really shitty sounds.
That cracks me up otto. You see these folks with these modulars that are simply gorgeous, but they cant get any thing out of them that I really care for. I dream about having one too, but I have the same concern as you do.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by aredj » Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:42 pm

'twas not a page ago, where people talk about the Evolver going into this ugly/awful domain.

Seems to me with so many parameters at your disposal, semi or fully modular - You get a pretty wide range of sonic possibilities ya?
The fact that an Evolver can sound bad is a good sign to me. Just goes to show the programming depth of the machine. You follow?
Its up to the programmer to make nice (or whatever the f**k) sounds. The flexibility is quite powerful. Once again, Dave Smith is a f**k smart dude.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:23 am

enomis wrote:Stab Frenzy - Nice photo... it's interesting to hear your take on performing live with the MEK especially since you say it's the only synth you use live. Do you have any recordings or video of your live shows... regardless of this discussion I'd be interested to check it out.
No, none up anywhere on the net that I know of.

Amos posted those demos here I think a couple of years ago, they're probably down now.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by Angstwulf » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:39 pm

I wanted to comment on some of the posts that feel the MEK requires a lot of menu diving.

Of any of the current non-VA synths out there, my feeling is the only more direct programmer out there is the Voyager. The whole "push a button to get to ocs 1/2/3/4" bit isn't any different than, for example, a Lil' Phatty. It just has a whole lot more of them to deal with.

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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by CapnMarvel » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:59 pm

Angstwulf wrote:I wanted to comment on some of the posts that feel the MEK requires a lot of menu diving.

Of any of the current non-VA synths out there, my feeling is the only more direct programmer out there is the Voyager. The whole "push a button to get to ocs 1/2/3/4" bit isn't any different than, for example, a Lil' Phatty. It just has a whole lot more of them to deal with.
Agreed.

The sheer fact that I have a lot more opportunities to 'mess up' when making a patch on the MEK makes it a winner for me. I tend to gravitate towards synths with tons and tons of routing options (Andromeda, JD-800, Fusion, etc.) and the MEK was the first that did that for me. Then again, in my music, 'ugly' is definitely given a place at the table. Interestingly ugly, let's say. Y'all can keep your smooth-butt LPs. :)
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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by enomis » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:25 pm

enomis wrote:If DSI came out with PE mod for the MEK it would a winner IMO.
so it seems this is actually with in the realm of possibility/reality

text from an email response I got from DSI when I posed the question directly to them:

"Thanks for your interest. You'll be happy to know we are working on a PE conversion for the MEK. Please expect it around next summer. You can check back periodically for updates.
Many Thanks,"

This is definitely a bit of a game changer for me. I guess I will have to reevaluate things now.
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Re: does anyone else feel this way about the DSI MEK

Post by otto » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:34 pm

Two other important positive points to the MEK vs a modular:
a) Patch memory, invaluable really on something with this much versatility
b) You couldn’t put a modular together with as much capability as the MEK for 3 times the price (or more)

As far as the comments about “this synth can get ugly because it is so capable…” really missed my point. All synths have character, idiosyncrasies, etc. I hate to sound like a DSI hater, which I’m not, but I’ve owned a lot of DSI products (DEVOx2, MEK, P’08, Mopho) and in the end none of them were bad but none of them particularly did it for me. They have awesome capabilities, the sequencer and the things it can do are absolutely great but they just never end up sounding that great to me. By contrast, I think the Virus TI is equally complex but I like what I get out of it, it goes where I want it to easily and sounds great most of the time(my subjective opinion of course).

I think most of the charm of DSI is that they put out affordable analog. Unfortunately they use the least desired analog technology from a sound perspective. There is a reason Matrix 6s, Alpha Junos and a plethora of other analog synths can be had for less than $200-$300 yet synths like the Prophet 5, OBX,Xa,8, Jupiters, etc. cost thousands. And if you look at it from that perspective, aside from the evolver of course which is its own unique creature, the DSI’s start to not seem as great a deal unless you really need their sequencer.
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