Synthesizers with awesome arpeggiators

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Re: Synthesizers with awesome arpeggiators

Post by desmond » Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:37 pm

It seems there's no shortage of complexity with these kinds of tools, but what we really lack is some kind of sensible control mechanism to make sense of them.

Do to madtheory's interest in the Cyclone I took a look at it's various features to see what it does and to consider implementing some software tool or plugin to replicate it, and it's quite deep. When I discussed this with him, even he, (of such a confirmed nerdery type), said he'd probably only use a couple of presets and tweak the parameters, not even set up new ones directly.

Complexity seems great at generating a bunch of chaos from realtime playing, but making sense of it, or controlling it, seems challenging, and I suspect most people just end up not bothering, or using a few simple presets that sound nice, and leaving it there - or perhaps playing and capturing a bunch of stuff in the search for some kind of musical nugget of gold which they can then work and refine...

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Re: Synthesizers with awesome arpeggiators

Post by madtheory » Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:41 pm

desmond wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:37 pm
or perhaps playing and capturing a bunch of stuff in the search for some kind of musical nugget of gold which they can then work and refine...
Ya, I think anything will do as inspiration really. For me, if I dial down the critic it works a lot better. Totally random things can spark ideas. Actually, more often it's a mood and then you try to develop that with tension and release. I haven't mastered that really, but it's really fun to strive. Boards Of Canada and Orbital are two artists I really admire for mood, with seemingly simple ideas that are incredibly well crafted and developed. Jon Hopkins also, although his more recent stuff didn't really gel with me like the other two. Bjork can do it too, and she seems to get a really good team around her too. I love what she did with Mark Bell, he was another great one for developing simple ideas.

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Re: Synthesizers with awesome arpeggiators

Post by knolan » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:50 pm

madtheory wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:36 pm
knolan wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:06 pm
I think I cut and pasted that entire SOS thread into a word document somewhere - must look for it. I did that because (Bill Marshall?) the creator of the Zyklus got chatting to Stephen Kay over that thread where they were considering how what you'd get if you passed Zyklus realtime sequences into the Karma engine!
Oh wow! Please share that if it turns up :)

Can't find the bloody thing! I cut and pasted the entire thread into a Word document - there were details in there with Bill Marshall's engagement with Vangelis from 1988 onwards - and for love nor money I can't find the bloody thing! I'll keep looking.

Have to say I'm intrigued by that Oberheim Cyclone. It definitely wasn't me you talked to about it - I've never heard of it before now, but I'd love to get one.

While I totally agree with you and Desmond on the complexity thing - actually - Nick Batt at Sonicstate never ceases to amaze me how quickly he gets on top of all the features of the devices he reviews. Similarly -a lot of successful EDM and other successful contemporary artists always seem to me to have completely mastered whatever equipment they use.

And even going back to the "great" four - Vangelis, Jarre, Tangerine Dream and Tomita - they ALL mastered sequencers to an extraordinary degree. Whether albums like Spiral, Equinoxe or Ricochet - they all are characterised by very intention, very 'decided' sequenced arrangements - and in my view are a substantial reason why those albums were so successful - because the sequenced arrangements were so good, so varied, ever changing and simply lead to - great music.

By contrast - a lot of artists today - especially on the European "Berlin school" circuit or in the ambient field are fantastic at setting up mood as you say it - and even at developing these huge 20 minute pieces - say like Richard Devine - but - in my opinion that's always going to be 'niche' and never penetrate the mass public consciousness because it's too slow - and a large part of that is because in such pieces there is no bar by bar or phrase by phrase movement as there is in say Equinoxe. I mean Equinoxe is relentless in its 'change' - for nearly 40 minutes - virtually no two bars are the same. Don't misuncerstand me - I think Richar Devine is absolutely extraordinary, as are the current "Berlin School" artists from Ian Boddy to Loom, SAW, Tangerine Dream now (and Ulrich Schnauss Solo), ... - I'm just saying that by and large their approach to sequencing is not the same as Jarre, Vangelis, Tomita and TD in their hey day.

So a significant part of what I have been chasing - and still am - is the capacity to create, manipulate and 'perform' sequences in real time. And I mean all of those! I'm not there yet (a divided life) but I want to get there - I know what I'm after and a lot of it is guided by the excellent arrangements of those past electronic masters. It's why I have a ZYKLUS, and Karma / OASYS - and the Casio - and BeatStepPro and a Push2 (which I don't know yet but want my 'clips' to be sequences and not drum patterns) - and I'm near on obsesses by Jarre's matrix-sequencer and wonder why a commercial version of that hasn't been released. I've a lot of learning still to do - but - I only see it as possible when I know those devices inside out - and get enough practice under my belt in using them; ultimately then guided by the intent to create good music and good, every changing arrangements. Whether I succeed or not I do not know, but that's where I'm headed - and why the Cyclone actually does interest me now.

Another amazing "sequence device" is the AN!x. You can split the keyboard and say the lower split is 2 octaves - you can then line 24 different sequences there - one per key - and use the keys to select the desired sequence - and then perform with it on the upper 3 octaves, with loads of performance options from mono to chords. But it has loads of Arpeggiator and Sequencer options - it really is a "Sequencer" masquerading as a synthesizer! Again - very tricky to master but I read the manual from cover to cover over the past few years and am really getting to know it inside out by now.

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Re: Synthesizers with awesome arpeggiators

Post by V301H » Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:25 am

The Jupiter 6 with Europa has extensive Arpeggiator capabilities. Beginning on page 30 there are twelve pages of the Europa manual dedicated to Arpeggiator operation. ... deV1.0.pdf
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