MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by atticus » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:41 pm

redchapterjubilee wrote:it is strange how little information there is out there about MFB stuff. I've owned a Synth II and the original Synth Lite and somehow fell into a stellar deal on a Synth Lite II this week that I couldn't pass up (waiting for it in the post now). I've enjoyed the MFB stuff I've owned but they all had a major drawback that kept them out of my studio. The Synth Lite was the first knobby monosynth I ever owned way back in 2003 when I first got started. It was definitely a cool tool to learn on but I "upgraded" to an MG-1 in 2005 and never really looked back. The Synth II was not a giggable instrument. It wouldn't stay in tune outside of my home studio, even with an hour to warm up and settle down. I can't do that. Even the vintage analog monos I've owned did better than that! I hope the Nanozwerg is more reliable.
The lack of info is strange, mainly because it's obvious MFB does very good business, the constant flow of new products shows that.

I love my MFB stuff, very nice "soft" analogue sound, not very weighty but still very nice. There must have been something wrong with your Synth II, I've had mine at least five years now (oh god, time flies) and it is as solid as a rock in all ways including tuning. MFB have also been good to me with regard to customer service, replacing one machine and fixing two broken ones for free, neither of which were their fault!

That sequencer is going to sell lots and lots...
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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by space6oy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:32 pm

atticus wrote:That sequencer is going to sell lots and lots...
yup. next mobius.

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by SWAN » Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:35 pm

do lots of people really like analogue sequencers? Its like sample and hold for me...Im not sure what the use is apart from acid lines...

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by matia » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:29 am

that sequencer looks wonderful. uses for sequencers: clock with an audio rate oscillator for waveforms, rhythm patterns, rhythmic synthesizer lines beyond acid, programmable modulation ... i mean there's so much you can do with a sequencer. as for sample and hold ... how about quantized keyboard playing to a clock of your choice ... so many tricks you can do with a sample and hold module. why don't you download the nord modular g2 manual and read the synthesis basics section and some of the sections pertaining to pretty universal modules (sample and hold ... sequencers). there are a lot of wonderful ideas in that manual.


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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by Syn303 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:41 am

The Urzwerg looks very nice, i've been waiting for a cheap Moog 960 type sequencer and here MFB delivers one at a cheap price!!

The specs are good too - From MFB site:

* CV/Gate step-sequencer
* 32 step-controls for direct access
* two modes with 2 x 16 or 4 x 8 steps
* 4 x CV/Gate-outputs (5V or 10V)
* adjustable gate-length
* continuously variable range between 1-10V
* MSRP: 380, - Euro

The MFB family is steadily growing. The new step-sequencer URZWERG is a universal control-central for KRAFTZWERG, SCHLAGZWERG as well as for future ZWERG models.

URZWERG offers 32 steps that can either be used in two sequences with 16 steps each or as four sequences with 8 steps each. Accordingly, up to four synthesizers or CV-parameters of a modular system can be addressed simultaneously. When in 4 x 8 mode, URZWERG could control four NANOZWERG units polyphonically. Another example would be independent control over pitch, pulse width, filter-cutoff and LFO-speed on a single KRAFTZWERG. In combination with a modular system, possibilities are finally vast. URZWERG’s Gate- and CV-inputs are compatible to all common modules for the Eurorack-system.

URZWERG was designed for intuitive operation. All functions have designated controls that can be edited while the sequencer is running. Steps can be set and edited live, as well as the sequence direction and the sequence length for each individual row.

URZWERG allows setting of independent gate-lengths, ranges and glides for rows 1/2 and 3/4. Range defines the CV-range for the step-knobs between 1-10V. For pitch control, the range can be quantized to 5V. All four rows feature skip-buttons per step to activate/deactivate gate-triggers for these positions. Alternatively, the skip-buttons can also deactivate the CV-step-control. To add more liveliness, URZWERG also offers two optimized shuffle-modes.

URZWERG provides four Gate- and CV-outputs to control compatible analogue synthesizers and modular systems. Start-I/O and Clock-I/O allow URZWERG to be synchronized to and sync other analogue sequencers. The additional CV-Clock-input allows for dynamic tempo-control, e.g. using an external LFO or a CV-controller.

To be synchronized to MIDI-sequencers, URZWERG can send and receive MIDI-start/stop commands as well as MIDI-clock. Furthermore, URZWERG’s sequences can be transposed, advanced stepwise as well as its steps being directly addressed using a MIDI-keyboard or DAW.

MFB’s URZWERG has the following dimensions: 310 x 165 x 38/72 mm.

External power supply included.
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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by StepLogik » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:23 am

atticus wrote: I love my MFB stuff, very nice "soft" analogue sound, not very weighty but still very nice. There must have been something wrong with your Synth II, I've had mine at least five years now (oh god, time flies) and it is as solid as a rock in all ways including tuning. MFB have also been good to me with regard to customer service, replacing one machine and fixing two broken ones for free, neither of which were their fault!
I also had a Synth II with tuning problems. BAD tuning problems. I wonder if maybe they had a bad batch. Yeah the build quality might be on the cheap side, but the price is pretty amazing considering what you get.

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by projectwoofer » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:08 pm

StepLogik wrote:
atticus wrote: I love my MFB stuff, very nice "soft" analogue sound, not very weighty but still very nice. There must have been something wrong with your Synth II, I've had mine at least five years now (oh god, time flies) and it is as solid as a rock in all ways including tuning. MFB have also been good to me with regard to customer service, replacing one machine and fixing two broken ones for free, neither of which were their fault!
I also had a Synth II with tuning problems. BAD tuning problems. I wonder if maybe they had a bad batch. Yeah the build quality might be on the cheap side, but the price is pretty amazing considering what you get.
I wonder if anyone here can comment on Kraftzwerg's tuning stability...I know it shares the same architecture and modules with the Synth II but this review (http://www.musicradar.com/gear/all/keys ... 226/review) mentions: "When the unit powers up, the oscillators are tuned up and stabilise automatically. It seems to hold its tuning quite well, and we didn't notice any drift in pitch".
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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by redchapterjubilee » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:55 pm

I never really noticed the tuning issues until I took it out of the studio. At home I left it on all the time and overnight it would go out slightly but not too bad. Live...man, that thing had a mind of its own. The Moog MG-1 and Source I've owned were solid live, with needing maybe an adjustment after 15 minutes of being turned on and then it was solid. That's pretty much the way my Little Phatty is too. The Synth II would never settle down enough that i could depend on it. It gave me a new appreciation for what it must've been like to wrestle a Moog modular or Minimoog back in the day on the road. But if I didn't play out at all that Synth II would've been the perfect synth for me. I was bummed out.

i don't know the lineage of the Zwerg oscillators but I am guessing they will have the same oscillators as the Synth II and Kraftzwerg. The Synth II was released in 2004; Kraftzwerg last year. Perhaps Manfred Fricke has gotten better at designing a stable VCO by now and those of us with issues had earlier models? Or just a bad batch? I dunno. The Synth Lite I had was stable, but it has digital oscillators.
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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by soundxplorer » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:38 pm

griffin avid wrote:Except the MoPho will be in stores and reviewed by all the usual hounds and the MFB products will only be referenced, here, Matrixsynth and AnalogueHaven. And any Google search will feature complaints about the build quality. I didn't see any real push behind the Dark Energy either.
KeyboardMag reviewed the Dark Energy here.
We're talking about a relatively small market for things like this, and I think these manufacturers realize they get quite a bit of publicity from blogs and newsgroups.

The DSI Mopho is sold at Guitar Center, but I'm guessing that 90% of the people who walk into that store really don't know what it is or what it does. And they people who DO know likely already heard about it from internet sources.

It doesn't bother me that these things aren't "popular". As long as the companies are able to stay in business. And by releasing so many new products at once, I'd guess that MFB is doing well. They probably do a lot more business in Germany. As for build quality, I only have experience with their Eurorack modules. They do use plastic where other manufacturers tend to use metal, but that is the only bad thing I can say. My modules have functioned perfectly and I've never had a problem. It's not at all like Behringer stuff, where you're just waiting for a knob to fall off. I'm really excited about the Urzwerg. If it can also be used as a traditional MIDI -> CV converter I will absolutely sell my Doepfer converter to fund the purchase of an Urzwerg.

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by griffin avid » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:42 pm

We're talking about a relatively small market for things like this, and I think these manufacturers realize they get quite a bit of publicity from blogs and newsgroups.

All companies do. People also don't buy their gear off of blogs and newsgroups. But a recommendation from the guy behind the counter goes pretty far. On these same forums you'll see people ask "Hey I'm looking for a synth under $500, any ideas?" Dark Energy IS AN ANSWER, but probably won't be an answer since, as you said, they cater to a niche market. BUT if there's a feeling that their products are now in direct competition (by design, function and price point) with the "Popular" brands, then out of sight out of mind applies.

The DSI Mopho is sold at Guitar Center, but I'm guessing that 90% of the people who walk into that store really don't know what it is or what it does. And they people who DO know likely already heard about it from internet sources.

Um...the people interested in synths will. And that's the target market. The difference even with equal internet presence considered (which is still not the case since I can point to a dozen or more blogs with MoPho reviews) the extra oomph of "I've seen it, I used it, I played with it today down at...or even What's that right there?" can be a major factor in sales.

For a lot of products, there's no way to demo it. You either buy it/order it or you don't.
My own hands on experience has echoed popular opinion and gone contrary to it.
Without your own experience, we tend to parrot the popular vote. "Well, I heard people say". I don't think there's anything wrong with that to a degree, but the less exposure a product has, the more it has to rely on Harmony Central reviews for marketing and promotion.

I look at Guitar Center/Sam Ash and STILL see little Boss drum machines, old little units for cheap- plugged in too.
I think mfb would sell nicely if it was an option there too.
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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by soundxplorer » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:08 pm

All of this because I pointed out that it is yellow? :lol:

Hey, I'd love to be able to drive 5 minutes to my local Guitar Center and play around with a Buchla modular. But that is me being selfish, not realistic. Small "boutique" companies have to walk a fine line between production and demand, because it would destroy them if they had thousands of units sitting on shelves around the country and no one was buying them.

My local GC doesn't even carry DSI or Moog. I'm in a small town.

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by space6oy » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:33 pm

Image

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by Sir Ruff » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:55 pm

Those all look great! Love the size of the nanozwerg... :lol: I would probably by one for that footprint alone... the megazwerg also looks like a very fun barrel of monkeys... really, as a stand alone effects unit, it looks like you could make some righteous noise just patching it to itself. Add any other modular gear and you're so'ted. Despite the general lack of promotion and build quality, MFB are certainly carving a nice little niche for themselves.
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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by kayvon » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:28 pm

Thinking about it, the Nanozwerg could actually be a nice accompaniment for a Dark energy. I've got a DE and it's a solid synth, after you accept it's limitations (which are really just functions of it being a mini-synth) you can't really knock the CEM sound it produces. I'm quite interested to hear what the filter would sound like with two oscillators going into it and the Nanozwerg also has a sub-osc which is a nice add to the equation. I might have to purchase!

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Re: MFB Nanozwerg, Urzwerg, Microzwerg & Megazwerg

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:31 pm

Nanozwerg looks cool (actually all of them do, but that's the only one cheap and small enough that I might be able to justify picking one up ;) ). For the price of an analog filter you get that (multi-mode to boot) plus a decent-looking mono-synth with some CV options.

Synth II tuning issues aside (I don't doubt people when they say they've had problems, it's just hard to judge how widespread the issue really is), I think the enclosures are the only place where MFB skimps (if you can call it that; they do seem to pass the savings along to the consumer).

The pots, buttons, et cetera seem to be no flimsier than any other gear in the same general price range. So while an MFB piece may be less likely to survive a fall down the stairs, I don't think the components are any more likely to fail in normal use than those on say a Moog LP or something from DSI (or anything else that comes in a nice metal chassis but still has cheap plastic pots ;) ).
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