DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

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DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by Hair » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:47 pm

Two sub-$400 DCO-based (edit: MFB has digital oscs, see below) desktop monos with patch memory, Synth Lite II is knobby and seems a bit "raw", MoPho has sub-oscs and feedback, but only with a few encoders.

Feel free to do an overall shootout, but I'm personally looking for something to be a bass workhorse, as well as for some leads and acid-style filter-tweaking sequences (obviously neither sound like a 303, which is fine). Music is funky electro stuff that can get aggressive (a la MSTRKRFT or Soulwax or whatever), and in the studio I make a lot of big wet Moog-y sounding noises.

Seems like the MoPho might be stronger sonically, but I'm wary about the encoders as cutoff and release tweaking are pretty important to me, and I know encoders can get jumpy with abuse sometimes.

One other consideration is that this would eventually compliment a small desktop poly (leaning towards Nord Micro Mod or Blofeld) - so maybe the raw character of the MFB would contrast those nicely? Just not sure how strong it is in the bass.

I did see some stuff in this thread, but not about the Lite II specifically: http://www.vintagesynth.com/forum/viewt ... 18&t=51805
Last edited by Hair on Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by th0mas » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:57 pm

If I got a mopho desktop I'd definitely get a midi controller to control it so I didn't have to use those terrible encoders.

I have a mopho keys which solves the problems since it's mostly pots

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:20 pm

Having owned the original Synth Lite and a DSI Evolver, I would choose the Mopho with no question. Many more features, better construction.

You do know that the MFB uses digital oscillators (not DCO, 100% digital)?
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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by Carey M » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:29 pm

I thought Synth Lite II is DCO, not digita?. As the MFB OSC-01 description would let you believe:

http://www.mfberlin.de/Produkte/Module/ ... c-01e.html

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by redchapterjubilee » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:23 pm

I've owned them both. The Synth Lite II is not DCO, but has digital oscillators with analog filter. It's weird. The sawtooths are kinda strange and the filter isn't really big and sweaty like a Moog but I thought it did a pretty good job of sounding like the early '80s Roland DCO analogs. Kinda like a 2-oscillator SH101. That said, the Mopho definitely has far more capabilities and you can assign those other four pots to control whatever you want. They click (they are not 100% smooth like the Evolver encoders) so you will never get truly smooth physical control over it unless you control from another knobby interface. As cool as the Synth Lite is, and it truly is a fun little box, it is pretty limited. I don't own it anymore, replaced with a Vermona Lancet (and that little box is a total Moog slayer) but I still have the DSI engine in the rig (upgraded Mopho to Tetra). The sequencer and all the extras it can do is worth the less immediate interface. But if I could only have one? Mopho, or shop around and get both used. Both go for around $250 used.
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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by Hair » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:20 pm

Awesome, thanks guys - original post edited for future generations regarding DCO vs Digital ..though the description Carey M linked does say DCO?

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:04 pm

MFB calls them digital oscillators:

"The SYNTH LITE II is the programable successor of MFB´s popular SYNTH LITE. This monophonic synthesizer offers three digital oscillators, external audio input, analogue lowpass filtering with 24dB/oct and an analogue voltage controlled amplifier."

Read some more here.
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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by natrixgli » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:28 pm

I would not get either personally.

I would get the Mopho keyboard. The Mopho sounds great but the encoders are a pain for live use. That, and when controlling via external gear you either need to find a controller that sends NPRN control change messages (good luck) OR you get limited range and control with regular MIDI CC#'s. Not all parameters can be controlled using standard MIDI CC#s, and some (such as filter cutoff) can only be adjusted about 3/4th of the way because NPRN has a 0-146 value resolution vs CC which is only 1-127. I understand why DSI went with NPRN but it does make MIDI control a bit more complicated.

If I had to pick between the two, I'd go with the Synth Lite II. There are definitely some quirks, but overall it's a neat little box that sounds pretty good for the price. And it is going to be much easier to edit live for sure!

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by pflosi » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:18 am

natrixgli wrote:Not all parameters can be controlled using standard MIDI CC#s, and some (such as filter cutoff) can only be adjusted about 3/4th of the way because NPRN has a 0-146 value resolution vs CC which is only 1-127.
1. I can only speak for my tetra, but virtually all knobs have a 1-127 resolution, standard midi cc. Cutoff has 1-164.

2. NRPN (sic, not nprn) is open, the implementation of the resolution is up to the manufacturer. It can go up to like 16000 steps. A6 has a high resolution for example.

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by natrixgli » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:22 pm

pflosi wrote:virtually all knobs have a 1-127 resolution, standard midi cc. Cutoff has 1-164.
Yeah, that combined with the notchy encoder on the Mopho module makes sweeping the filter smoothly very difficult across it's entire range. For this reason I prefer the Mopho Keyboard which has pots. Also its keyboard is outstanding, probably the best synth keyboard I've ever used. But you certainly could do worse than the module. It's a tad tedious to program some stuff but it will give you great sound.

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by Rick N Boogie » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:39 am

Another nod to the MoPho keyboard. Not only is it a blast to play, and fully featured, but as mentioned above, that keyboard feels awesome. Very solid construction, as well.
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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by th0mas » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:44 am

Rick N Boogie wrote:Another nod to the MoPho keyboard. Not only is it a blast to play, and fully featured, but as mentioned above, that keyboard feels awesome. Very solid construction, as well.
Especially as the resale price continues to drop!

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by pflosi » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:48 pm

natrixgli wrote:
pflosi wrote:virtually all knobs have a 1-127 resolution, standard midi cc. Cutoff has 1-164.
Yeah, that combined with the notchy encoder on the Mopho module makes sweeping the filter smoothly very difficult across it's entire range. For this reason I prefer the Mopho Keyboard which has pots. Also its keyboard is outstanding, probably the best synth keyboard I've ever used. But you certainly could do worse than the module. It's a tad tedious to program some stuff but it will give you great sound.
again I can only speak for the tetra, but cutoff and resonance are knobs not encoders... good solution IMO.

(will get a mopho kbd anyway for a nice 5 voice portable poly)

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by natrixgli » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:13 pm

pflosi wrote:again I can only speak for the tetra, but cutoff and resonance are knobs not encoders... good solution IMO. (will get a mopho kbd anyway for a nice 5 voice portable poly)
On the Mopho module, all of the knobs are detented rotary encoders. On the keyboard version, the knobs are almost all potentiometers.

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Re: DSI MoPho vs MFB Synth Lite II (for live use)

Post by pflosi » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:27 am

ok that sucks :)

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