Analog synth/sequencer

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
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calaverasgrande
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Analog synth/sequencer

Post by calaverasgrande » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:37 am

I have been trying to wean myself from AU and VST synths and DAW style sequencing lately. Part of this is that I like the sound of real synths better. But I also kind of like having to work within the limits this kind of environment creates. Instead of an infinite array of drum sounds I am sticking to the dry edgy sounds that the Korg KPR77 makes.
Instead of all the multitude of bass sounds I can get from my dozens of plug ins I stick to the xoxbox with the filter wide open, maybe some guitar pedals.
I am running into some real walls here though.
What other synth/sequencers are there out there? The TB303/X0xbox is kind of a one trick pony. It sounds good, but there is a limit to how long a song can be (16 measures) and at best you can chain several to get 32 or more measures. But the x0xbox doesnt save chains, only tracks. And I am trying to play out live like this.
Oh yeah, emphasis on Analog. I amnot interested in these VA grooveboxes. I tried the Korg ones and some others and it sounded very flat and a bit too...homogeneous.
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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by space6oy » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:13 am

try finding a future retro 777.

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by aredj » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:50 pm

Have a look at the Cirklon - badass sequencer. No sounds in the machine itself, but it could play your Moog, xoxbox, darkenergy, (all together) and whatever else you could hook up to it... Pretty future friendly too I'd say... (expensive... )

http://www.sequentix.com/cirklon.htm

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by wertpog » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:36 am

Yamaha's CS-30 come's to mind, the sequencer only has 8-steps but there's something magicial about the machine as whole.

For a lot less money, you might want to check out the Roland MC-202, or Sequential's Sixtrak or Max, all three have pretty decent built in sequencers, the MC-202 especially.
http://modularsamples.com - (public domain samples of classic synths)

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:14 am

I've almost bought an MC202 a few times. Those little suckers get snatched up fast!
One issue is that a lot of folks get them modded for midi. The usual mod takes up the battery compartment soooo...AFAIK they do not hold sequences if you dont have batteries. So that is kind of a buzzkill.
Of course I could just get a sequencer box but I am trying to stay away from anything midi or grooveboxish.
Though I do run a midi from my x0xbox to my mp201 so the LFos are all synced.
My other theory is to just get an MFB or Doepfer digital step sequencer and another dark energy.

I do think it is a little bit ironic that my 30 year old drum machine can construct longer sequences than my brand new x0xboox.
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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by wertpog » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:40 am

I think you're right, the 202 won't save patches without batteries (same with the tr-606).

There's always this though (I believe it works through the tape interface):

http://www.defectiverecords.com/mc202hack/index2.html

what is it:
a software application that works with your Roland mc-202 synthesizer

what are its features:
• complete application overhaul from v1.0
• go from mc-202 sequence on your synth to a MIDI file
• go from a MIDI file to an mc-202 sequence
• edit mc-202 sequences in the software, not on your mc-202's little screen
• easily copy patterns between internal and external mc-202 sequences
• preview sequences with built in mc-202-like softsynth, GM synth, or MIDI device
• save visual mc-202 "snapshots" of front panel synth settings
• exchange mc-202 patch "snapshots" using easily shareable text files
• calibrate the program to your specific MC-202 (old analog synths can be finicky!)
http://modularsamples.com - (public domain samples of classic synths)

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by space6oy » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:56 am

the 202 only stores one sequence at a time regardless. like the sequencer in the SH-101 etc. if you're looking to save multiple sequences the way TR's & x0xb0xes can that also are analog synths instead of separate units, you aren't going to find many others aside from the 777, revolution, acidlab bassline...

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:30 am

If you really want to be able to save whole songs then you'd be better off with an MPC and separate synth, there isn't really anything (apart from the 777, Specky etc) that does exactly what you want.
calaverasgrande wrote:But the x0xbox doesnt save chains, only tracks. And I am trying to play out live like this.
Interesting you say that, some would argue that if you're playing out 'live' then selecting the next pattern to play or chaining up patterns on the fly wouldn't be too much work. The x0xb0x is insanely easy to use, just hit the buttons for the chains you want, if you need anything easier than that why not just prerecord your backing to tape/mp3/whatever and then just play along to that? Saying because you want it to be played 'live' when all you want to do is hit the play button at the start of a track is not a valid answer.

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:34 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:If you really want to be able to save whole songs then you'd be better off with an MPC and separate synth, there isn't really anything (apart from the 777, Specky etc) that does exactly what you want.
calaverasgrande wrote:But the x0xbox doesnt save chains, only tracks. And I am trying to play out live like this.
Interesting you say that, some would argue that if you're playing out 'live' then selecting the next pattern to play or chaining up patterns on the fly wouldn't be too much work. The x0xb0x is insanely easy to use, just hit the buttons for the chains you want, if you need anything easier than that why not just prerecord your backing to tape/mp3/whatever and then just play along to that? Saying because you want it to be played 'live' when all you want to do is hit the play button at the start of a track is not a valid answer.
Well you shouldn't assume my criteria for artistic integrity are the same as yours.
That aside, I have made my peace with the limitations of the x0xbox/303. I simply "chain" two or more "tracks" to get a long enough sequence with undue repetativeness. I am not really able to have a free hand to fire off patterns as I will be playing a bass or guitar and a moog, and singing. I can only really be expected to do 3 or 4 things at once okay?

I am investigating the DSI products right now. I have heard negatives and positives about them. However a few vids I have seen on vimeo and youtube lead me to believe that there is some native sequencing going on. As well as some nice sounds. The x0xbox is nice, but I cant see picking up a second one seeing as it only does a couple good sounds before you are into total cliche-land.
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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:58 am

calaverasgrande wrote:Well you shouldn't assume my criteria for artistic integrity are the same as yours.
I wasn't, I'm not sure where you got that idea from.
calaverasgrande wrote:That aside, I have made my peace with the limitations of the x0xbox/303. I simply "chain" two or more "tracks" to get a long enough sequence with undue repetativeness. I am not really able to have a free hand to fire off patterns as I will be playing a bass or guitar and a moog, and singing. I can only really be expected to do 3 or 4 things at once okay?
That's why I suggested using a backing track or MPC sequencing a synth instead of struggling to find something that fits the criteria lad out in your original post. Either option would be much easier while you're doing other stuff.
calaverasgrande wrote:I am investigating the DSI products right now. I have heard negatives and positives about them. However a few vids I have seen on vimeo and youtube lead me to believe that there is some native sequencing going on. As well as some nice sounds. The x0xbox is nice, but I cant see picking up a second one seeing as it only does a couple good sounds before you are into total cliche-land.
The sequencers are much much more limited than the x0xb0x, it's more of a very flexible mod sequencer which happens to be able to do notes than a note sequencer. You can get a 32 note sequence out of them if the notes you want to use happen to be the right ones in the right places and you have careful use of the LFOs, but they aren't what you're looking for at all.

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by cartesia » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:59 am

one thing I've found with the DSI stuff is it isn't very live-friendly... I mean, perhaps for keyboard players it is, but in terms of the self-sequenced style live jam, it was pretty horrible to use a tetra.

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by foodeater » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:58 pm

DSI can only MIDI sequence external. The poly evolver in combo mode has enough oscs that you can can do quite a lot, but it's not fully analog. The upcoming DSI Tempest might suit your needs better especially for live use. I think the Doepfer dark time + dark energy and MFB (Schlagzwerg?) you were considering would be nice, but aren't necessarily the most practical for live use.

If I've interpreted your writing correctly you're against MIDI and software philosophically. If it's more practical this advice might be useless. I'm thinking along the lines of using a CV sequencer to control a synth that you like.

The MPC 1k & 2.5k(?) can do CV out. Other models might be able to as well. You can mod the x0xb0x for CV In.

The older Mochika synth had an 8 step sequencer with CV out. I was not a fan of the sound, but if you can find one cheap the sequencer could prove useful. You could also talk to the manufacturer about moding the new one to do CV out. That sequencer looks rather nice. http://atomolabs.blogspot.com/

This option is probably too far away in spirit from what you're seeking, but it's my favorite sequencer so I'll throw it out there. The software program Five12 Numerology can use Expert Sleepers Silent Way to do CV out to trigger a synth. You can use a Launchpad to sequence Five12 Numerology. It's an experience very much unlike a DAW. Eventually you could build a modular into a case for easy transportation for live use.

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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by calaverasgrande » Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:09 am

I am not against midi or software philosophically. However for the current project that I am playing out with I am trying to confine technologies to pre-midi. This is partly because I find it useful creatively to have limitations, and partly to make a futile retro-futurist statement about the futility of technology!
I also just like 70s and 80s stuff.

Due to the vintage market however I am having to make forays into the present for suitable equivalents. Such as the X0Xbox, MoogerFoogers and other present day boxes that use technology from the 60's-80's. I will admit I cheated and used a midi cable to sync my MP201 to my X0Xbox, which is getting din sync from my Korg KPR77. I am sure on the inside of the MP201 there is stuff going on that is very present day. However on the outside it is just midi and CV. Heck the Doepfer has USB which didnt show up until te 90's. I am not using that though.
The MFBs I was talking about is this
http://www.analoguehaven.com/mfb/step64/
http://www.analoguehaven.com/mfb/synthII/
but I am also looking sideways at the Europa from analogue solutions
http://www.analoguehaven.com/analoguesolutions/europa/
The Tempest is very....tempting? However at $2k I am wondering how much modular and knobby sequencers I could buy! To be fair it does a lot. But that is a big bite.
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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by danbroad » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:10 pm

For all in one synths with a built in sequencer, there's always the new Leipzig from Analogue Solutions. Alternately, the DSI stuff is very good indeed. Maybe a cheaper alternative is a used MPC with an Evolver desktop?

just some random thoughts for you.
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Re: Analog synth/sequencer

Post by calaverasgrande » Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:27 pm

danbroad wrote:For all in one synths with a built in sequencer, there's always the new Leipzig from Analogue Solutions.
I don't see where in the manual it says the Leipzig has a sequencer?
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