reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

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tom Cadillac
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reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by tom Cadillac » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:47 pm

Its got such a huge reputation.
And on my last birthday I gave in and ordered one.
It never arrived and the guy I bought it from has been a real arsehole at refunding me. Its taken lawyers and threats to get anything back. And while I waited I had to pass up on 2 good second hand ones.

So I'v kind of accepted that the great Synthgod in the techo sky isn't going to let me have one. ugh!

But in a way I think its right. If I had such a beautiful monster what would my other babies do? Die from neglect?

Its like having a party and invited an incredibly loud person to it who totally dominates. Memories of a friend of holding court on my deck after she'd had her book published....

After the hassle I'v had I'm happy to let my synth friends mingle equally and all get a fair share of the conversation. My studio feels nice and balanced.

And maybe I'm missing out but I think I had a lucky escape in a way?

Or am I just rationalizing?
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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by Phollop Willing PA » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:53 pm

She be a harsh mistress anyway. :D
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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by rhino » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:59 pm

Agreed.
My great fear (as a synth lover) is that manufactures will continue the economicly prudent course of packing more and more of the electronics into ASICs...that once out of production would cost 10000x the price of the synth to reproduce. I know some guys smarter than I are using new microprocessors reprogrammed to emulate the custom CPUs that have vanished. But, the Andromeda is FULL of ASICs. Now that they are out of production, how long will it be until shelves are littered with dead Andys for which no parts can be found?
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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:06 pm

I've never herad of an ASIC in an andy dying, have there been any cases? they might be well designed and last as long as the rest of the synth.

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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by Solderman » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:17 pm

There's a thread on here somewhere where ASICs designer Mike Peake mentions how they sounded alot closer to their intended emulations when on the test boards, as opposed to with the power supply and interface boards on the Andromeda. He also has ranted on several forums about how much wasted potential the Andromeda project turned out to be, and how painful an experience it was.

I didn't like the sound of the one I played, although admittedly it wasn't a very deeply explored session, and the right channel of the main outs was defective on it. What impressions I got from that session and the wohmart demos, is as many have said, potentially a smooth sound, but pretty harsh by default, and the onboard effects sound mostly rather anemic. I'd buy a Studio Electronics polysynth before I'd ever consider the A6.
Last edited by Solderman on Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by paugui » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:26 pm

Solderman wrote:I'd buy a Studio Electronics polysynth before I'd ever consider the A6.
If the price rise to that level, I guess I'd do the same.

The Andromeda seems great, but not that great to spend so much on a machine that can die and be incredibly hard to repair...
And for now, I'm quite happy with my two main analogue polys, the Korg Trident MkI and the Roland MKS-80 (just need a controller to program it), so I can't really justify giving 2000 euros or more for a machine that has no warranty...

Maybe if I can pick one for around 1500 euros I'd jump on it.
For more, I doubt that... at least for now...

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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by Solderman » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:34 pm

Here is the A6 thread I was referring to.
I am no longer in pursuit of vintage synths. The generally absurd inflation from demand versus practical use and maintenance costs is no longer viable. The internet has suffocated and vanquished yet another wonderful hobby. Too bad.
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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by tom Cadillac » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:02 pm

Glad to hear bad things!

But also I wanted to make the more general point about owning a 'mega-synth' - ARP 2600, CS80 etc...

I really like having a lot of toys to play with. I like having a Korg Delta and a KS rack. Its fun to get them out and let them do their limited yet useful thing. Try and stretch to get their musical strengths. I like a nice democracy where no synth is ruling the roost and the two best analogue(ish) polys I have (polaris and SQ80) both have faults that I don't get around to fixing. I kind of feel more comfortable with them a bit crippled (!?)
Analogies with Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear come to mind. All the toys have their own strengths and work as a team till he turns up.

Oh and a quick aside about my published friend - she'd always been loud and self-centred. Though enjoyable for her wit and self confidence. But that day it was like someone had inserted an amphetamine drip into her ego. She was incredably entertaining. But at everyone else's expense. And a lot of what she was saying was hilarious putdowns of people we knew less gifted than her. I kind of think of the Andromeda like that. A centre of attention, but energy sucking and very ungiving ultimately. Like if I recorded with it it would take all the credit for it!
"On the following day , the sorcery undespairingly continued: I changed my series, chose other sequences, cut other lengths, spliced different progressions, and hoped afresh for a miracle in sound." (Stockhausen)

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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by nadafarms » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:36 pm

Ive owned 3 or 4 and kept going back to it only to be disappointed by it's sound every time.

If I were you I would move on and get a classic poly like an oberheim 4 voice, prophet 5, OBX, cs-80 for the price these assholes are asking for andromedas right now you might as well get a classic. Also I would way rather have a classic poly that needs work/maintenance rather than trying to replace motherboards on an andromeda etc.

I think the andromeda sounds a bit plasticky and canned and though it does make some really cool ambient sounds I dislike it for vintage synth emulation, it sounds more like a VA, plugin or digital synth. I just don't think the oscillators or filters sound all that great, kind of weak and predictable.

Anyhow a lot of people love it, but if I were you I wouldn't feel cheated (so long as you get your money back) and there are much better synths out there IMO

the andromeda is just easy to drool over because of it's specs and sooo many knobs
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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by krzeppa » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:58 pm

rhino wrote:Agreed.
My great fear (as a synth lover) is that manufactures will continue the economicly prudent course of packing more and more of the electronics into ASICs...that once out of production would cost 10000x the price of the synth to reproduce. I know some guys smarter than I are using new microprocessors reprogrammed to emulate the custom CPUs that have vanished. But, the Andromeda is FULL of ASICs. Now that they are out of production, how long will it be until shelves are littered with dead Andys for which no parts can be found?
This is what scared me out of buying one. Even if nothing ever goes wrong, it would be fear lingering in my mind at all times. I think the Prophet 5 or CS-80 is a place I would go instead of the Andy.

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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by pflosi » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:28 pm

I love my A6. I was sceptical before buying it too, it may also look shitty, but it sounds awesome. you really have to find the sweet spots, it's a rather steep learning curve, but that also means that there are endless options. I spend hours programming it just for fun sometimes. it can sound digital or analog, vintage or modern, fat or thin, whatever you want, you just need to know how to use it properly :)

never heard of a broken ASIC in an A6. I'm sure they'll last longer than the juno 106 chips. saying that these ASICs could break and giving the advice to rather buy vintage stuff is illogical and ridiculous IMO.

it's true that the fx are s**t though, both the analog and the digital ones. it's also true that there are loads of options that could be added just on a software basis if numark gave out the codes or still worked on it. also true that it would have been even better (in terms of sound) if the design team would have had a second attempt to optimize the ASICs. there are also some bugs and the midi implementation is lacking a few things. but still…

sorry to disrupt your rationalization and the nice mockery thread ;)

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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by nadafarms » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:06 pm

I just wonder now that alesis isn't making them anymore and after being acquired by numark whether it will be a pain in the a*s for support when an A6 dies or runs into serious trouble. Give it a couple years when A6s start to fail... I've seen people selling dead A6s over the last couple years who knows how it will last over time.

Anyways like I said some people really like them like pflosi but a lot of people don't as well, I think anyone paying 3-4k for one of these on ebay right now is smoking crack
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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by b3groover » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:51 pm

I was not that impressed with my Andromeda when I first got it. Sure, it was cool, but the sound wasn't blowing me away like my Moog did the very first time I sat down with it. Too many crummy presets with a sameness to them.

However, as I spent more time with it, especially digging into the MIX mode, which is where the real action and power is, imo, I've totally changed my tune. As some of you may know, I have mine listed here for sale only because my wife is irate that I bought it. I've had it about a month and the entire time she's been on my a*s about selling it. I've been dragging my feet as much as I can and unfortunately now I'm totally in love with it. pflosi is right; it can sound smooth, harsh, digital, or analog. I does pads like nobody's business. Huge basses. Huge leads. The effects section is actually really good for being onboard; the reverbs are nice and lush and the analog distortion is very useable. Chorus is great, delays are decent and very programmable. I've got no complaints in that area.

Again, the true power comes in MIX mode, where you can mix together up to 16 voices, spread them across the keyboard at will, control the amount of effects on each one, panning, what controllers affect them, etc. etc. Talk about enormous pads; try layering three or four of your favorites together in one monster pad. Same for leads. You can get an arppegiated or sequenced drum groove going with the first 6 slots, a bass arp on the 7th, lead on the 8th, and still have room for a pad. One touch groove box. I've been creating some pretty intense soundscapes using just my laptop running Alchemy and the Andromeda doing drum and bass arps and sequences.

It isn't perfect (then again, what synth is?). I'm not thrilled with how the aftertouch responds (the curve) and there doesn't seem to be a way to change it. In fact, the knobs themselves respond strangely to me; the way they react as you turn them. Almost like they are using a weird curve to buffer their response. Not sure if you can change that either. I'd rather they respond like the Voyager knobs do. The menu system takes awhile to come to terms with and the fonts are kinda ugly, but I'm used to Yamaha's menus, which most people hate but I'm intimately familiar with. But these are small niggles. Once you get used to them, it's really not an issue.

The ribbon is f**k awesome. The addition of HOLD buttons on either side is very welcome. This is a synth made for live use.

As for the ASICS chips going bad, I highly doubt that will happen. To use Yamaha again, they make their own custom chips for pretty much every synth they've made since the 80's (maybe before that, I'm not an expert on the CS line, but I thought those were discreet). The chips in my SY77 are 20+ years old and still work fine. s**t, I have a computer I built in 2000 with the original Athlon 1GHz Thunderbird in it, and it still runs like a top. I really don't understand why the ASICS would go bad. Has this actually happened? If chips are going to fail, they're going to fail within the first few months or fail from overheating.

Tom, get your money back. When you do, I may still be selling mine. It's flawless. I really hope to find a way to keep it short of getting a divorce. :)

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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by mao » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:34 am

If you feel better not having it... what's the problem? I feel bad thinking on not having one.

I bought the Andromeda in late 2005. 5 year passess and I think I have only scratched the surface of this synth. It's sound is not "in your face" like the Prophet 08 (well think about buying a P08 or a Polyevolver instead !) but it's a real chameleon. The Andromeda sounds like... the Andromeda... more Obherheim than Moog... If you like the OB sounds get an Xpander... if you like the Moog sound get the Voyager... If you like the Prophet sounds get a P600 or a P08... last but not least If you like the Andromeda sound... get the Andromeda.

I have several synth, but I never thought the Andromeda rules everything. The A6 has it's place nothing more nothing less. But I have to admit that I'm not using it so much... I use V-sytnh and Korg EX8000 for pads, MEK and Voyager for leads and basses, Microwave I and NordRack2 for strange pads..., Monomachine for crazy loops blip and blop and a Machinedrum does the beat... so as you can see so The A6 is not the king of the set at the moment.

Simply I want to keep it because It has the widest sound palette I have ever heard in a synth... but I'm to lazy to master it down to the bone.

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Re: reflections on NOT having an Andromeda

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:18 pm

Let's keep this thread going to get the prices down really low.

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