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My synth past, present....future?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:39 am
by Pankh
So, my first synth was a Super JX-10, followed closely by an M1, Wavestation, DX-7. In college, I got a Kurz K2K and a JP-8000, followed by a Novation K-Station. Several years later, a Moog Little Phatty and an E-MU MP-7.

I still have the Moog, but over the years, have gotten rid of the rest in favor of plugins. I've amassed quite a collection of plugins and have a decent workflow with my MIDI controllers and have embraced MPE. Even though I know there are a massive amount of things that can be done in a plugin that (a) aren't realistic or affordable to pull off with hardware, or (b) just can't be done, I've found myself getting a semi-modular/modular GAS bug. I think it's because I'd really like to get back to basic sound design and enjoy the thought of "one knob, one function" and the eventual expandability through patching.

Re: My synth past, present....future?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:25 pm
by meatballfulton
I understand your feelings. I sold my last hardware off in the fall of 2017 and went "in the box" 100% using Live and Logic. I'm only using this at home for fun, if I was gigging I would have stuck with hardware.

Since I no longer had a keyboard, I needed a controller and started with a Novation Impulse. It's very well integrated with Live, not so well with Logic. In Live, it can do full device control but you never know what you're controlling until you move a control! Then it shows the parameter and the value. In Logic, it can do device control using the Automap software which has one benefit, it's possible to open Automap's editor and see the current state of the knobs. Not ideal but workable.

Since I was using Logic more than Live, I sold the Impulse and bought a Nektar Panorama. This has full integration with Logic but is poor with Live, such is life (I do have a Launchpad which fills many of the gaps with Live). With Logic, the color screen displays the mappings of all the controls and the current parameter values. Of course it also has DAW related controls...transport, mixer, etc....but it was really the control of the plugins that sold me on the unit.

It's not the same as having real hardware with real knobs but it comes very close. It's similar to the workstations I used for years where you used the display together with a handful of knobs and switches to control everything. Your gear list suggests you know what I mean. It's similar to the Little Phatty and the MP7, a decent number of knobs, but only a frcation of parameters available at any one time.

Nektar is the only company really trying to be a deep controller with all DAWs, but for many DAWs there are dedicated controllers like Launchpad, Push, APC, Atom, Fire, Maschine, etc. The NI Komplete Kontrol keyboards are very interesting, because they are focused on the plugins, not the DAW. If I was using Komplete, I'd own one already. The more of these that come on the market, the better it will feel working with plugins instead of hardware.

As far as the modular bug, I had it for years but sold all of it off. If your budget is tight, I'd look in particular at Behringer's Neutron ($330) and the Make Noise 0-Coast ($500, I owned one of these). Once the Behringer Crave ($200) hits the streets, that plus a Neutron should make a very nice system for low dough. What currently satisfies my remaining modular jones is Aalto and VCV Rack.

Re: My synth past, present....future?

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:03 pm
by madtheory
I think "one knob- one function" is actually over-rated. Unintentionally I've ended up using a Novation KS Rack as a controller for the Arturia V Collection (and I still like the sound of the KSR). Very simple to assign the controls, and once it's done it is loadsa fun. With the analogue synths, the layout of the KSR is pretty much perfect. There are always a few tricky things that cannot be assigned to one knob- the modulation in V collection is more extensive than the original machines, and it's fun digging in to that occasionally. With the digital stuff, it does enough.

I find the Prophet 5 very fun, there's loads of possibilities in the polymod without ever going in to the Arturia menus, or cross-patching with the Vector Synth.