Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

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nathanscribe
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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:46 am

Ashe37 wrote:
vox345 wrote:only thing i can see mono good for is as a limitation so you can focus on and create better melodies. But you can just put a poly synth in mono mode. what else is mono good for?
Bass.
Leads.
... and everything else that you might want to do without needing more than one simultaneous note. Nobody seems to complain that singers can't do chords. Or most wind instruments, brass, and - most of the time - strings (and yes, I know they can double-stop, but mostly it's one note at a time).

Monophony is not a lesser form of synth. Can you imagine buying a polyphonic Voyager? So you can play mono leads? For f*ck's sake, give yourself a facepalm and go for a walk.
korg shows with two analog oscs in a $49 monotron duo, they aren't so expensive to say more poly would make it not affordable. granted they might not be the best oscs and sonic states youtube review shows them not to be exact traingles/squares in a wave viewer, but still... 49$ plus the other features like the MS-10/20 modeled filter.
Two oscs, no keyboard, no external control, no patch storage, no 1/4" jacks, only output if from a headphone jack with a very noisy amp circuit....
... and almost no controls. There are a number of very good reasons why the Monotron is so damn cheap, and one of those is that there's very little to it. Put one side by side with an MS-10, never mind an MS-20, and ask yourself if it's a valid comparison. Circuits are not very expensive. Resistors, caps, op-amps... they're fractions of a penny when bought in the kind of quantity these companies are dealing with. PCBs will cost a bit to set up, but really you're looking at hardware being the major cost for any traditional analogue. All those pots, slider, jacks, metalwork and keyboard add up, and paying someone to put it together, and testing it, and that's after paying other people to design and prototype and refine it. The more complex it all is, the longer and more expensive it all gets, that cost generally being passed on to the customer.

Life's too short.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by Dr Amazing » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:22 pm

So I tried a Little Phatty at a synth shop in my fine city...

The control/lack of knobs was much better than I expected...still wish I had the control of the Prodigy though...it is so much nicer to be able to just turn something and see results.

Also I was a little annoyed that when a knob was switched to a different function sometimes where the parameter was set was not where the knob was set...this caused some unsmooth transitions...any word on similar problems with this or prospective fixes?

I noticed the pitch wheel does not lock like the Prodigy...rather it is spring loaded...this was a bummer to me...as I like to shift the pitch up and down on my Prodigy and get some awesome sounds (I am wondering if this can be down with the mod wheel?)

The factory presets were lame...I filtered through them trying to get a feel for what it was capable of...with a few nob twists I figured out it is soooooooooo much better than what the presets would have you believe!

On the filter section of the Prodigy there is: Filter, Res, Emphasis... I couldn't find the Emphasis equivalent on the Phatty...any word where that would be?

Overall it was nice...much nicer than I expected.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:00 pm

Dr Amazing wrote:I know I do simultaneous tweaks on my prodigy and it doesn't even have CV much less MIDI
Do you use your third hand to play the keyboard? :shock:
Ashe37 wrote:Two oscs, no keyboard, no external control, no patch storage, no 1/4" jacks, only output if from a headphone jack with a very noisy amp circuit....
No envelope generators :oops:
Dr Amazing wrote:Also I was a little annoyed that when a knob was switched to a different function sometimes where the parameter was set was not where the knob was set...this caused some unsmooth transitions...any word on similar problems with this or prospective fixes?
You might be confused. The whole idea of the Phatty control interface is that what you described is not possible.
Dr Amazing wrote:On the filter section of the Prodigy there is: Filter, Res, Emphasis... I couldn't find the Emphasis equivalent on the Phatty...any word where that would be?
Emphasis is resonance on older Moogs like the Prodigy. Did you mean Contour? That's EG depth.
Dr Amazing wrote:I noticed the pitch wheel does not lock like the Prodigy...rather it is spring loaded
Is that normal on a Prodigy? Never owned a Moog but every synth with wheels I ever owned had a spring loaded pitch wheel...and the Moog invented the wheel concept.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:32 pm

meatballfulton wrote:
Dr Amazing wrote:Also I was a little annoyed that when a knob was switched to a different function sometimes where the parameter was set was not where the knob was set...this caused some unsmooth transitions...any word on similar problems with this or prospective fixes?
You might be confused. The whole idea of the Phatty control interface is that what you described is not possible.
Actually it depends what option you have set for how the value catches up to the knob turn. You can select either instant value change (move a knob and the value jumps to where it is - which can cause sudden surprises), or a smooth catch-up that gradually approaches the current value from where it was, or finally a 'walk past' mode where you have to sweep the knob beyond the preset value to get the parameter to shift. Options are set in the menu, but once it's set to your preference, it can be left alone.
Dr Amazing wrote:I noticed the pitch wheel does not lock like the Prodigy...rather it is spring loaded
Is that normal on a Prodigy? Never owned a Moog but every synth with wheels I ever owned had a spring loaded pitch wheel...and the Moog invented the wheel concept.
Well, it's normal on the Rogue - I can't recall from the one Prodigy I've tinkered with, but on the Rogue you get a pitch wheel that does not spring, and can be left wherever you like. It's pretty solid and won't drift.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:40 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Actually it depends what option you have set for how the value catches up to the knob turn.
Yes, you are correct and I was wrong. The factory default setting is Track mode which causes no value jumps, the parameter moves in the direction of the knob motion in an accelerated fashion.

Someone must have dug into the menus of that unit and set it to Snap mode which does make the value jump immediately...not a mode I would ever use!
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by ryryoftokyo » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:27 pm

while 1 knob per function is nice, i've begun to think of it this way: If you're playing the thing, you can only do so much tweaking. In this case, before the song, get your parameters ready. On the LP it's a matter of pushing a button and then turning a knob. If it's sequenced, then you have two hands free and it shouldn't matter. Not making a synth one knob per function is a bit of a pain, but from a manufacturer's standpoint, it makes the synth cheaper and therefore much more likely to make the consumer happy and sell more units. Although the LP only had 4 knobs, I never found an issue with this. Accessing the parameter I wanted was one click away. I am more of a fan of the AN1x style of doing things. 8 knobs, all assignable, but also have their "hard wired" functions that are a click away.
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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by Dr Amazing » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:02 am

Do you use your third hand to play the keyboard? :shock:
Hahaha! No sometimes I would turn up the sustain and release get some crazy things going...and sometimes I have taped down a single key and let things go crazy (my crude way of having a hold feature!)
Emphasis is resonance on older Moogs like the Prodigy. Did you mean Contour? That's EG depth.
Yeah my bad so on the Prodigy there was:
Cutoff Frequence
Contour Amount
Emphasis (which you could crank up for self-oscillation)

Phatty has:
Cutoff
Resonance
KB Amount
ERG Amount
Overload

How do these relate? Looks like the Phatty has more controls and I would be surprised if it doesn't self-oscillate!!!
Actually it depends what option you have set for how the value catches up to the knob turn. You can select either instant value change (move a knob and the value jumps to where it is - which can cause sudden surprises), or a smooth catch-up that gradually approaches the current value from where it was, or finally a 'walk past' mode where you have to sweep the knob beyond the preset value to get the parameter to shift. Options are set in the menu, but once it's set to your preference, it can be left alone.
Yeah the one I was playing was in walk past mode...and I was not a fan.

Thank you all for your thoughts on this so far!!!

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by orlando56 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:39 am

A little OT, but re the monosynth complaint: Recently a sax player friend of mine who doubles in his band on a MicroKorg remarked to me that he couldn't understand why anyone would use a monophonic synth. I responded, "Yeah, monophonic saxophones suck."

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by phesago » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:06 am

ryryoftokyo wrote:while 1 knob per function is nice, i've begun to think of it this way: If you're playing the thing, you can only do so much tweaking. In this case, before the song, get your parameters ready. On the LP it's a matter of pushing a button and then turning a knob. If it's sequenced, then you have two hands free and it shouldn't matter. Not making a synth one knob per function is a bit of a pain, but from a manufacturer's standpoint, it makes the synth cheaper and therefore much more likely to make the consumer happy and sell more units. Although the LP only had 4 knobs, I never found an issue with this. Accessing the parameter I wanted was one click away. I am more of a fan of the AN1x style of doing things. 8 knobs, all assignable, but also have their "hard wired" functions that are a click away.
Probably the best explination in this thread regarding the topic.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:12 am

orlando56 wrote:A little OT, but re the monosynth complaint: Recently a sax player friend of mine who doubles in his band on a MicroKorg remarked to me that he couldn't understand why anyone would use a monophonic synth. I responded, "Yeah, monophonic saxophones suck."
There.

Image

I fixed it.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by nathanscribe » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:22 am

Dr Amazing wrote:Phatty has:
Cutoff
Resonance
KB Amount
ERG Amount
Overload

How do these relate? Looks like the Phatty has more controls and I would be surprised if it doesn't self-oscillate!!!
KB amount sends the CV from the keyboard to the filter cutoff - so the higher you play, the more the filter opens. EG amount is the filter envelope amount - same as Contour on the Prodigy. It can be applie in positive or negative amounts, and will sweep the cutoff accordingly. Overload is an overdrive on the filter input. I don't know the exact implementation, but it does have a different flavour to running the synth's audio output through a separate distortion unit as the overload is not dependant on the overall output volume.

The Phatty's filter does indeed self-oscillate. You can do all the regular blips and bloops with it, don't worry. :)

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by nathanscribe » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:24 am

ryryoftokyo wrote:while 1 knob per function is nice, i've begun to think of it this way: If you're playing the thing, you can only do so much tweaking. In this case, before the song, get your parameters ready. On the LP it's a matter of pushing a button and then turning a knob. If it's sequenced, then you have two hands free and it shouldn't matter.
Another good thing about the way this is implemented on the LP is that each patch remembers which parameters were activated when you saved it into memory. This allows the user to select, say, cutoff and osc 2 frequency (by simply pushing the button, no value alteration needed) and save the patch - on recalling it, those parameters are automatically assigned to the knobs and are ready to go.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by pflosi » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:27 pm

nathanscribe wrote:
meatballfulton wrote:
Dr Amazing wrote:I noticed the pitch wheel does not lock like the Prodigy...rather it is spring loaded
Is that normal on a Prodigy? Never owned a Moog but every synth with wheels I ever owned had a spring loaded pitch wheel...and the Moog invented the wheel concept.
Well, it's normal on the Rogue - I can't recall from the one Prodigy I've tinkered with, but on the Rogue you get a pitch wheel that does not spring, and can be left wherever you like. It's pretty solid and won't drift.
While Moog invented the pitch wheel, SCI invented the spring loaded pitch wheel. AFAIK the P5 (or maybe P10, someone more knowledgable join in please) was the first to have it. Minimoogs (i.e. the first synth with pitch wheel) don't have a spring loaded wheel. I guess not only integrated circuits to get polyphony (and memory) easily was invented with the Prophet 8-)

Two more of my synths that don't have a spring: Polysix, Korg VC 10 (ok it's a vocoder). The MS10/20 wheel also doesn't have a spring, but it's not necessarily pitching what it does :mrgreen:

(On a side note, I wonder how often on those two I thought 'Damn this thing went out of tune badly' only to realize the wheel is cranked :lol:)

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by orlando56 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:26 pm

While Moog invented the pitch wheel, SCI invented the spring loaded pitch wheel. AFAIK the P5 (or maybe P10, someone more knowledgable join in please) was the first to have it. Minimoogs (i.e. the first synth with pitch wheel) don't have a spring loaded wheel. I guess not only integrated circuits to get polyphony (and memory) easily was invented with the Prophet 8-)

Two more of my synths that don't have a spring: Polysix, Korg VC 10 (ok it's a vocoder). The MS10/20 wheel also doesn't have a spring, but it's not necessarily pitching what it does :mrgreen:
)
The Prophet 600 doesn't have a spring-loaded pitch wheel either -- ironically, given that SCI invented it. A cost cut, perhaps? I find that to be a bit of a pain.

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Re: Little Phatty Lack of Knobs

Post by N8-R » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:20 pm

I've tried using the Little Phatty a bunch of times and just couldn't get into it. The 4-knob interface wasn't the problem. The overall build just felt... cheap. The feel of the keyboard, knobs, etc. is very "microkorg" like.

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