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Synths, synths, synths, let us talk about all the synthesizers

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:41 (seven years ago) link

They're great instruments.

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:41 (seven years ago) link

SYNTH FACT OF THE DAY: Despite performing what is called "photosynthesis", plants are in fact NOT synthesizers.

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:43 (seven years ago) link

do you a favorite synthesizer?

Are you an old school analog synth fetishist?

^ enlightening post (sarahell), Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:58 (seven years ago) link

Fave synth, that's a hard question. I like synths where every function has a knob you can twist, so let's go with that. The Yamaha CS-80 is my dream machine, though. The recent Dave Smith synths like Prophet 12 are good contenders for My Fave Synth as well.

Analog synths do sound great (I own a Microbrute) but some of the analog-fetishism (or rather digital hatred) can seem ridiculous for some. After all, it's the player that makes an instrument sound good, not the other way around.

Speaking of analog and fav synths, if I owned this synth I would be happy for the rest of my life:


DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:05 (seven years ago) link

I am interested in what envelopes and VCAs sound like, usually the first thing I do when I check out a synth is how "snappy" the envelopes can get, how nicely the VCAs and filters respond to it, the percussive qualities. Buchlas sound like "pk" then "pup" then "plup". ARP 2600s sounds like "clk" then "cluck". Rolands and new DSIs do not have any percussive qualities that are as useful as those synths.

Goblin Farrell (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:19 (seven years ago) link

I love the sound of FM synth + analog filters these days and have been tooling around with a couple of Mutable Instruments objects that are very interesting. Switchable tuning! turn a knob and it's real, it's Pythagorean, pretty cool stuff.

Goblin Farrell (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:22 (seven years ago) link

FM synthesis definitely needs a comeback

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:28 (seven years ago) link

My first encounter with FM synth (outside of pre-pubescent .cmf programming, and I didn't really get what was happening) (ditto a DX7 in high school) was with a Nord Wave, where it was suddenly like oh! I don't need to artificially create an overtone series? I really love the pairing of FM oscillators and analog filters, the Mutable stuff has been super fun. A friend of mine has a... Wave, PPG? what is it. Something like that. The big one. I played around with it but again the envelopes were mushy, it was all tone and no snap.

Goblin Farrell (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:38 (seven years ago) link

A studio I worked in had a CS-80 and it's not all that. When it came time for futuristic polysynth it was always the Jupiter 8-- which at this point has an equally ridiculous price tag

Goblin Farrell (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:40 (seven years ago) link

I know the CS-80 is mostly associated with Vangelis sounds although it is capable of more and may be not that great after all... but just look at that design! It seems like no other synth that came before and after the CS series has the same looks/design influences. As far as reliability goes.. at least it's not the PolyMoog.

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:47 (seven years ago) link

Actually, now that I think about it, the Polymoog DOES share some design similarities with the CS-80

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:51 (seven years ago) link

The CS-80 is surprisingly difficult to get into "dialling in" a sound, its interface isn't as intuitive later synths. Also tbrr I need MIDI or CV/gate connectivity, have the computer play the line while I work with the sound, and I don't know if that's a possibility for CS-80s (or if any owner would go for it if it was)

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:52 (seven years ago) link

I don't have much use for MIDI to be honest, sitting at a computer and programming notes, I am unable to work like that (and I tried). It just doesn't give me the same kind of joy that touching a keyboard while twisting knobs does. But it's helpful when I need to synchronize several synthesizers.

You can also buy a MIDI kit for your CS-80 at a bargain price of 470 £!

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:02 (seven years ago) link

Hmm, I get you. My process is this: typically I dial in a sound, record the take simultaneously as MIDI info and as audio, then save the patch (if applicable). When the song develops and suddenly I realize the synth is too glassy or too dark or whatever, or just wrong, I just feed the already-recorded MIDI info back into the synth and fix the patch in realtime. Not so fastidious, just an easy way to make changes.

A side note to this is that I've gotten so enamoured of my ARP 2600 that I rarely use any analog poly synths, I typically track each voice monophonically using MIDI-to-CV. The signal-to-noise on the ARP is so ridiculously low that you can track 10+ tracks of it and still have silence (provided you keep the spring muted). I love my ARP. I bought it with the money from a soul-destroying film gig several years ago, best decision ever-- though I'm told the Cwejman 2600alike is just as good/better (and cheaper and easier to service)

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:39 (seven years ago) link

I usually dial in a sound, play along to the track and slightly change the settings until it fits in well, record (often with a metronome) and hope for a good take or two. Sounds risky and not as professional as your method, but personally I don't like having all these "safety nets" while working on creative stuff. Having this slight tenseness helps me concentrate and evaluate certain synth sounds, mixes and parts more. Like, every part you record could be the last one of your life.

The ARP 2600 is awesome and I wish I could own one. In fact, I wish I could own every classic monosynth. I'm more of a poly guy anyway, although in our multi-tracking DAW age monophonic synthesizers work just as well for me.

Speaking of awesome monosynths, Soviet synthesizers are rarely talked about:




DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 13:12 (seven years ago) link

i was digital only for a few years but i'm getting into using analog synths more and more. it's baby steps, but i've been using a Microbrute (running straight audio) and i just got the Korg Volca Keys (controlled via MIDI).

i know a lot of dudes who are more into messing around with old gear and than they are into making records and i never want to be that, so i'm just getting hardware when i'm having a specific sound that i'm not satisfied with the digital version of.

speaking of, i really do think they both have their place...soft synths can sometimes cut through a mix much more easily.

haven't messed around with FM synthesis yet but i really want to, probably going to get NI FM8 to learn on.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 30 January 2014 14:01 (seven years ago) link

"Always appreciate all kinds of synths and syntheses." - Synthfucius

Speaking of digital synths and new purchases - I'm about to get a Yamaha AN1x for 250 €. Way underrated VA synth in my opinion. And even if I don't need its sounds I can use it as a MIDI controller with velocity and aftertouch and whatnot.

Jordan, I agree with you re: creating music vs. farting around, but making bloopy shit can be fun and even cathartic sometimes.

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 14:08 (seven years ago) link

Anyone get a Microbrute? Looks pretty sweet, especially for the price.

I use a Prodigy that someone in our practice space owns, and I love it, but the newer Moog stuff is $$.

I also just bought Korg Gadget for my iPad mini, which is pretty neat. I cannot find a software synth that comes close to sounding as good as the Prodigy, though.

schwantz, Thursday, 30 January 2014 17:41 (seven years ago) link

Whoops just saw your post Jordan. What do you think of the Microbrute? Can you get big, squelchy sounds out of it?

schwantz, Thursday, 30 January 2014 17:42 (seven years ago) link

i loooove it, and yes. mostly i've been using it for thick saw basslines and square-ish leads, and lfo chaos. it's very intuitive imo.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 30 January 2014 17:44 (seven years ago) link

Awesome. I think I'm gonna get one. I wish it had another octave, and full-size keys, but other than that it looks sweet.

schwantz, Thursday, 30 January 2014 17:45 (seven years ago) link

Unfortunately my main keyboard (Nord Electro) does not have pitch/mod wheels.

schwantz, Thursday, 30 January 2014 17:46 (seven years ago) link

Also, I got to play a Jupiter 8 on our latest record, and DAMN that is fun to play.

schwantz, Thursday, 30 January 2014 17:48 (seven years ago) link

Does anybody want to recommended sites or tutorials for gaining a practical understanding of synthesis? All I do is play with free VST synths at this point and I get the basics but I want to have a better handle on it.

L'Haim, to life (St3ve Go1db3rg), Thursday, 30 January 2014 18:11 (seven years ago) link

Also own a Microbrute - it's brilliant. The minikeys aren't as shitty as on the MicroKorg, allowing you play quite smoothly. And it can do anything from exquisite to big and squelchy.

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 18:13 (seven years ago) link

St3ve, check out the Synth Secrets series, should teach you a bit (start from the bottom): http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/allsynthsecrets.htm

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 18:13 (seven years ago) link

Oh yeah, I had started in on those Synth Secrets articles but gotten sidetracked, thanks for reminding me.

L'Haim, to life (St3ve Go1db3rg), Thursday, 30 January 2014 18:39 (seven years ago) link

i've had the most luck looking on youtube for either the VST i'm working with or general synthesis tutorials.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 30 January 2014 18:55 (seven years ago) link

what are your favorite synths for bass sounds? that's the #1 thing I'm lacking right now. I've got an Oberheim Matrix 6 (I finally got it fixed!) which makes some really lovely & mellow sounds, and I also recently bought an MS-20 Mini but haven't done anything too ambitious with it yet.

charitable remainder unitrust (crüt), Thursday, 30 January 2014 19:01 (seven years ago) link

the Matrix isn't very good for heavy tweaking on the fly though

charitable remainder unitrust (crüt), Thursday, 30 January 2014 19:02 (seven years ago) link

read that as heavy twerking on the fly

bilbo bobbins (how's life), Thursday, 30 January 2014 19:03 (seven years ago) link

uhm, I think your MS-20 mini should be able to produce some great bass sounds, although I personally don't like the KORG Sound, it's just too.. "crispy" and "defined" for my taste.

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 21:04 (seven years ago) link

The MS-20 is a fabulous bass synth, probably the best currently-available combo going, in that regard? I always forget about it! So great.

tony...ahar...ding (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 30 January 2014 21:40 (seven years ago) link

yay for fixed matrix!

my fave bass machines are juno 60 & pro one

i'm in a snit with vintage machines at the moment though since my really fucking expensive prophet 5 hasn't worked at all since i got midi installed

föllakzoidberg (electricsound), Thursday, 30 January 2014 21:41 (seven years ago) link

Vintage synths can be so uncompromising, that's why I like them

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 22:02 (seven years ago) link

Well, until they stop working of course.

DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 22:02 (seven years ago) link

ha. it wouldn't hurt so much if it didn't sound so incredible when it's working

föllakzoidberg (electricsound), Thursday, 30 January 2014 22:12 (seven years ago) link

Speaking of vintage synths, I just realized how much 70's and 80's library music has this sci-fi synth soundscape thing going on:


DDD, Thursday, 30 January 2014 22:41 (seven years ago) link

So many broken synthesizers. ;_;

emil.y, Thursday, 30 January 2014 22:45 (seven years ago) link

Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Synths

DDD, Friday, 31 January 2014 10:18 (seven years ago) link

Actually I'm wondering: Has anyone here played a Synclavier?

DDD, Friday, 31 January 2014 10:20 (seven years ago) link

no, but if i did i would make it say jammin on the one

föllakzoidberg (electricsound), Friday, 31 January 2014 10:55 (seven years ago) link

I am fascinated/curious about what makes people say this or that synth is good for particular applications, or how to to understand the different character of different synths besides the dry technical details about oscillators and such. e.g. electricsound says he likes the Juno 60 for bass sounds but for whatever reason I associate Juno 60s more with string pads and like mini Moogs or Korg SH101s with bass sounds? Maybe those are just more obvious cliches?

L'Haim, to life (St3ve Go1db3rg), Friday, 31 January 2014 15:27 (seven years ago) link

Yeah, it's interesting since I always thought synths to be sonic all-rounders, even with their various configurations and designs. But maybe some people like the sonic capabilites of, let's say, an ARP Odyssey more than the capabilites of a Minimoog in terms of bass/lead/pad?/... sounds.

DDD, Friday, 31 January 2014 15:37 (seven years ago) link

personally when i say the 60 is good for bass it is because it has nice snappy envelopes and very tight but not wooly low end. it can do string pads well too though, it it a p amazing machine tbh. i appreciate it even more now after five years than i did in my initial rushes of excitement when i first got it

föllakzoidberg (electricsound), Friday, 31 January 2014 22:22 (seven years ago) link

also i have never played a minimoog or sh101

föllakzoidberg (electricsound), Friday, 31 January 2014 22:25 (seven years ago) link

i need to step up my pad game

festival culture (Jordan), Friday, 31 January 2014 22:42 (seven years ago) link

One day I'll type out my synth adventures but not today. I own a lot of synths. Maybe I will type it. Here we go.

Juno-106 - great entry level synth. Start here and end here if you plan to own house or children. Only issue is that the oscillators like to burn out, and replacing them involves ordering chips and soldering.

Juno-Alpha - teeny tiny, the B is velocity sensitive, super light, super durable, mine got the shit kicked out of it and it still works. There is a cool fifth- and sixth-stage on the envelopes, it's like an ADADSR, so you can make stuttery sounds. It is a pain to program. I bought a PG-300 (the programmer) from a guy who was looking at me like I was a sucker and then I sold it to somebody and understood what a sucker looks like. This takes a little effort to program properly but it's easier than a DX-7. It's good if you're somebody who needs to travel light.

Juno-60 - I think it's this one that has the miracle arpeggiator. Any time I want to do something arpeggiated I borrow one of these guys. I have never owned one but I use them a tonne. It receives clock in so you can send it pulses from Logic using beat mapper to live drum takes and have the arpeggiation stay in time. It also has CV-out so you can double it up with an ARP or a Minimoog. The "ensemble" function is famous and it sounds good, I never felt comfortable using it because any time I turn it on it's like "oh, that sound". This is a great synth and I'd own one except that I own a Jupiter 8.

Jupiter-8 - a weird synth. It's hella expensive, I bought it with a film score budget for a sci-fi movie. It is heavy (a two-person lift, really) and runs hot. The envelopes are too mushy to be really useful for percussion but they are good for bass and pads. I was working on a film where the director hated synthesizers, and he came by the house and kept asking for any noodles to be removed, he just wanted lame-ass indie piano/ukelele plunky-plunks. The Jupiter was the one exception, he loved the Jupiter. It does sound otherworldly, like The Best Synth Ever! But its arpeggiator sucks, it can't be controlled without MIDIfying it (and the kits are poorly reviewed so I haven't done it), it's not particularly routable, and it's too heavy and expensive to really be useful in any home studio. Mine is out on semi-permanent loan to a friend's studio until I get my own space for it, which will probably never happen. I don't know what to do with it, it's kind of like having a convertible in the garage.

Nords - they sound bad. There is something in that frequency spectrum that drives me crazy. Their pianos and organs sound "realistic" without sounding good, and they never sound good in a band. Nord synths are slightly better but still bad-sounding. All that said, I travel with and play a Nord Wave because it's light, it samples, the FM synths sound good, it's got built-in delay and reverb. You have to wrestle hard with these synths to make them sound good but the lightness, durability and usability makes it work it.

Nord Modular - especially these ones. Capable of sounding unbearably good. This is a DSP-run synth where you built a virtual modular on your PC and upload it into the hardware. Like, you drag and drop your modules on to an environment and connect them with patch cords. Super steep learning curve and, like other Nords, sounds terrible 99% of the time, but it worth it for that 1%. I am a thief, not a programmer, I download other people's architectures and tweak them. I have a Memorymoog clone on mine that is so precise in its emulation that it's uncanny. My Nord Modular is my DX-7 and my drum machine, what a great synth. Any time I need to do a shitty film score real quick I turn it on and the score is done.

ARP 2600 - my favourite synth ever, and the only one I use on recordings that I want to be proud of. It never sounds bad. The envelopes are enormously flexible, the CV modulation is amazing, you can build anything and get absolutely lost in creating self-generating patches. Sometimes if I have a houseguest I make a seagull + seashore patch and put it in their room. The spring is noisy but is fun to route sound through it and then back into other things. I am sending mine in to a synth spa in Savannah to get the ring modulator repaired and the connections tricked out. There is no HPF so you have to figure that out if you want to make hi-hats. There is no MIDI, but I use a lightpipe-to-CV converter; the added control of the Silent Way plug-ins is miraculous. I wish I was at home playing with this synth right now. Todd Terje says that the Cwejman S1 is just as good, better in other ways, and less expensive and that he's been using that these days instead of his ARP.

Mutable Instruments - I have a Shruthi and an Ambika. They are both totally awesome but I haven't found a use for either of them just yet.

I have a modular, too. I've lost a week of my life into creating beautiful, useless music with it, but haven't cracked it yet, made it feel like an instrument. I'll type about it another time.

flamboyant goon tie included, Saturday, 1 February 2014 00:26 (seven years ago) link

the 106 is weird, i can't stand the results i get from playing one, but other people seem to be able to coax really nice things out of it

föllakzoidberg (electricsound), Saturday, 1 February 2014 00:33 (seven years ago) link

I went to Guitar Center today hoping to play around with the synths and see what's cool, but they literally had zero synths whatsoever, they had midi controller keyboards, and that's it. Guess this supply chain thing is really real after all.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Wednesday, 3 November 2021 00:31 (two months ago) link

Probably buying a minilogue xd tomorrow - my first ever hardware synth after eight years fucking around on iOS

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 3 November 2021 01:40 (two months ago) link

New production SP1200 for only, uh, $4000.

papal hotwife (milo z), Wednesday, 3 November 2021 22:04 (two months ago) link

I bought my first hw synth - a Monologue - after messin’ around with iOS for years. Now I use all the cool iOS midi toys I’ve learned to sequence it.

beard papa, Friday, 5 November 2021 01:44 (two months ago) link

Some discussion over here about whether to buy my daughter a MIDI keyboard or a synth for Xmas.

Sterl of the Quarter (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 19 November 2021 01:19 (two months ago) link

The name Arturia keeps coming up.

Sterl of the Quarter (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 19 November 2021 01:44 (two months ago) link

That's a tough one. There are a million good free or cheap VSTs she can play with the MIDI keyboard, but you really need an audio interface to get sound out of the computer, a DAW to host those VSTs, etc. - but she could play synths and piano and etc. for the price of one keyboard.

In polyphonic synths, your price of entry is going to be quite a bit higher than the Arturia MIDI controller (or equivalent) - the Deepmind 6 keyboard is still $600ish, I think? OTOH, almost all new ones have USB MIDI so they can also function as MIDI controllers for VSTs.

papal hotwife (milo z), Friday, 19 November 2021 03:44 (two months ago) link

Are you looking for something with polyphony or a mono?

Agnes, Agatha, Germaine and Jack (Willl), Friday, 19 November 2021 11:23 (two months ago) link


Do you know the story about Rick Wakeman and Jack Wild?

Sterl of the Quarter (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 19 November 2021 13:06 (two months ago) link

I wanted to spend about 700 and wanted at least a bit of polyphony and I’m definitely not regretting the Minilogue XD

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Friday, 19 November 2021 15:43 (two months ago) link

You can same more money and get the more limited, but still very charming, regular Minilogue.

Though both are limited in their poly, so if she is gonna be playing like Rick Wakemen, you might want to go for something with at least 6 voices.

dan selzer, Friday, 19 November 2021 16:05 (two months ago) link

I would spring for the XD if you have the bread. I have the normal Minilogue and it sounds kinda wimpy. I think they fixed the filter on the XD.

DJI, Friday, 19 November 2021 16:11 (two months ago) link

minilogue definitely benefits from fx pedals

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Friday, 19 November 2021 17:06 (two months ago) link

4 voices of poly is nice for me because it about matches my skill level (1-finger bassline in the left hand, three voice chord in my right hand)

I would take 1 more voice tbh but more than that would be overkill

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Friday, 19 November 2021 17:55 (two months ago) link

The problem with only 4 voices is that if there is any release to the notes, you can hear them getting stolen when you change chords. But whatever, 8-voice synths get expensive. One other option could be to get her a Circuit Tracks. If she's not a pianist, it might be more fun. You get a couple of synths and some drum tracks to play with....

DJI, Friday, 19 November 2021 18:28 (two months ago) link

I would get the Deepmind over the Minilogue - better keys (and more of them), 6 voices vs. 4, pretty much sounds like a Juno and everyone loves Junos.

If traditional keys are optional, a Microfreak would also be a solid option. Not polyphonic at all but endless sound possibilities.

papal hotwife (milo z), Friday, 19 November 2021 20:52 (two months ago) link

MonoPoly has no screen, just knobs, which is nice.

DJI, Friday, 19 November 2021 20:58 (two months ago) link

Just wanna rep the Yamaha Reface CS -- 8 voices, easy to program, and cheap ($300-ish). Only downside is that you can't save presets. Also, it's minikeys, but they're real nice ones. I had one for a while and it was great!

feed me with your chips (zchyrs), Saturday, 20 November 2021 13:10 (two months ago) link

I think you can save presets via usb to computer or app no?

Reface series is a sleeper hit, everybody who has one loves it. I have the Reface DX, I even bought a controller for it that cost as much as the synth. It's fantastic.

dan selzer, Saturday, 20 November 2021 13:33 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Went with the software solution on Tuesday, before the Black Friday sale ran out. Kid is currently using with her existing tiny midi controller and headphones until bigger keyboard and speaker arrive.

Raw Like Siouxsie (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 10 December 2021 01:52 (one month ago) link

I was kinda cracking jokes about modular earlier in this thread, lovingly. Since then I’ve bought and somehow already filled a 6U 176HP Arturia RackBrute Eurorack case. It’s a ton of fun, but yeah, predictably addictive and dangerous.

Nothing too exotic in there, standard Mutable, Make Noise, ALM starter kit stuff, with some weirder noisier odds and ends thrown in. I’ve played with it a lot and have learned a good deal, can kinda see where I wanna go next with it. The biggest challenge is just to chill out and explore all the things I can wring out of what I have instead of peaking at more modules.

circa1916, Friday, 10 December 2021 21:57 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

I think this will be the year I add one or two hardware instruments to my Ableton + Pigments set up.

My top priority is to add a drum machine, and the roland tr-8s is currently the one I'm leaning towards. I also have some curiosity about the arturia minibrute 2s for additional synth/sequencing.

My goal is to find boxes that are fun to jam on, with lots of hands on control and a good amount of flexibility without being overly complicated.

Are these good options or should I look elsewhere?

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Sunday, 16 January 2022 17:58 (six days ago) link

I can vouch for The Behringer Neutron - you can get to some pretty weird places with the patchbay and imo the oscillators and filter are way less waspy than my old Minibrute.

I was a bit concerned about it only having a single LFO, but you can feed another 2 CV signals to it from an iPhone using the CVMod app - all that is required is a headphone splitter.

Agnes, Agatha, Germaine and Jack (Willl), Sunday, 16 January 2022 19:03 (six days ago) link

I imagine ableton cv lfo could also do the trick, although I'd prefer for everything to be self-contained.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Sunday, 16 January 2022 19:13 (six days ago) link

I will vouch for the bass station 2 as loads of fun and with enough knobs and faders to make it fun. Plus, the afx mode (where every key can have a different preset, basically) is pretty nuts. But even without that, it sounds fat and analog.

DJI, Sunday, 16 January 2022 20:21 (six days ago) link

Minilogue or minilogue Xd are great if you want to play chords.

dan selzer, Sunday, 16 January 2022 23:29 (six days ago) link

I think they're about the same price now, I'd push the Digitakt over the TR-8S - not directly modeled drum machine sounds but throw a 909 sample pack in there and you have more control over the sounds really. Plus 8 MIDI channels for sequencing other gear if you got a hardware synth. The Digitakt is very hands on and pretty simple to use.

papal hotwife (milo z), Monday, 17 January 2022 03:43 (five days ago) link

A lot of people seem to like the digitakt. I've steered away from it because it seems to be more about digging through menus rather than turning lots of knobs. But then, no one on here has had anything good to say about the roland box so far.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 04:16 (five days ago) link

I will note that the sampling aspect of the tr-8s is the least interesting element for me. I'm mostly drawn to the primary beatbox controls.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 04:21 (five days ago) link

Seems like the tr8s actually requires a fair amount of menu diving for some of its features. While I haven’t used a digitakt I own an a4 and machine drum and the interfaces are quite brilliant. I wouldn’t worry about the digitakts it’s prob fun.

dan selzer, Monday, 17 January 2022 12:21 (five days ago) link

I had an Octatrack / Monomachine / Machinedrum setup at one point and barely ‘finished’ any music the whole time I had it - mainly because jamming was way more fun than the boring bit of bouncing and ‘finishing’ stuff.

I do kind of miss them but you can do everything they do in the box for approx £3k less and without having to constantly deal with arbitrary restrictions and the dreaded 2 finger ‘delete a nights work with no undo’ button combinations. Ymmv of course.

Agnes, Agatha, Germaine and Jack (Willl), Monday, 17 January 2022 12:28 (five days ago) link

Everyone I know who had a TR-8 has gotten rid of it for whatever that's worth. On the other hand, I use a clap that's sampled from it in basically every track I make.

change display name (Jordan), Monday, 17 January 2022 13:27 (five days ago) link

Any idea what they didn't like about it?

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 13:41 (five days ago) link

Good question, not sure but probably they just weren't using it enough to justify the cost/space? Here's a video of Ali Berger making good use of the TR-8S (which apparently adds the ability to load your own samples?):


If you find the workflow & sound palette inspiring, go for it.

change display name (Jordan), Monday, 17 January 2022 15:42 (five days ago) link

yes, the S in TR-8S is for samples. It's pretty much in the upper range for me both in terms of price and complexity. I could see going for something more basic like the drumbrute imapact, but that may be just a tad too limited. I really want something immediate that I can crank out chunky beats on quickly and that can integrate nicely with what I'm already using. The added functionality on the TR-8S seems nice. It's there if I want to take it a step further, but not critical to using it. That said, I would like to know more about its drawbacks.

The different Elektron boxes look really nice, but generally too expensive and just too much overall. It seems like you get massive amounts of control over every little element and can get some truly wild sound design and sequencing out of it, but that feels like overkill for me. Any really complex sound design I need, I'm probably going to do via Pigments. If I add in external boxes, I really want them to just be dedicated to doing one very specific part of a track really well(drums, lead sequence, etc).

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 15:57 (five days ago) link

I love stuff like this, although I doubt I could ever be this adept. Make sure to turn on closed captions. Apologies if I posted this before.


Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:03 (five days ago) link

I got the drumbrute impact and I love it. It does thump hard but you can dial things down to get subtler beats. Really easy to just crank stuff out on, and I love the arturia sequencer. Separate outs available for different drum voices so you can e.g. run the snares through a delay pedal or whatever.

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:12 (five days ago) link

there's a very high likelihood I'm going to want to process individual drum sounds in ableton, so separating them out is pretty important for me

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:23 (five days ago) link

am I correct in thinking the drumbrute impact has improved sound quality over the original drumbrute?

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:28 (five days ago) link

It sounds way more aggresive as I understand it. Just checked and there are output jacks for the kick, snares, hats and the FM drum as well as the master output. When you separate out the kick for instance, it will remove it from the main out.

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:32 (five days ago) link

I'm seeing regular drumbrutes on ebay for roughly the same price as the impact. Drumbrute seems to have more functionality, but that more aggressive sound on the impact is important too. Don't know which is better for ~$300.

As far as synths/sequencers go, I've been drawn to the minibrute 2s because I could imagine using just the sequencer as as a controller for ableton synths or pigments, plus I could see the synth being a good tool to add an extra melody to the mix. I like that there's some hands on analog synthesis, and then I could dabble a bit with patching on top of that, but without it being immediately essential to using the box.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:48 (five days ago) link

The one downside on the DBI for me is not being able afaict to feed pitch information into the FM drum voice via midi to create melodic patterns. That would be sick. Not sure what other boxes in that price range can do that though

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:50 (five days ago) link

that seems like a clear plus with the TR-8S, but it's twice as expensive

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 17 January 2022 16:52 (five days ago) link

All synths should look like props from a sci-fi movie IMO


papal hotwife (milo z), Monday, 17 January 2022 23:11 (five days ago) link

For the TR8S money, you could get an MPC One! But sounds like you don't really need a whole new DAW. I have the Drumbrute, and it sounds a little wimpy, but some compression/saturation can help with that. I ordered an SP404 Mk2 to give me more drum options (and of course so I can sample stuff), but it won't get here until March, at least.

DJI, Tuesday, 18 January 2022 17:07 (four days ago) link

right, I don't need a full music production box, and I don't want MPC style samplers.

I went ahead and purchased the two boxes I mentioned off ebay for somewhat reduced prices, guess we'll see if it works for me! I took a hard look at both drumbrute options, I like the way the impact sounds, but was worried it would lead me to use the same drums on everything.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Tuesday, 18 January 2022 17:26 (four days ago) link

oh cool, have fun moodles!

btw just noticed that bad gear just did a video on the DBI, so you can see whether to rue your decision or not! it's a pretty fair review imo, though i can't say i noticed any knob-wobble on mine:


o shit the sheriff (NickB), Wednesday, 19 January 2022 18:49 (three days ago) link

TR-8S would be my top contender for a HW drum machine, too. I tried the TR-8 and loved the intuitive design, but its sound pallet was obviously limited. The 8S seems like it should solve that. I hope you have a blast with it!

davey, Thursday, 20 January 2022 03:05 (two days ago) link

it looks like it has just the right amount of complexity to get creative with it without being completely mind boggling

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Thursday, 20 January 2022 05:53 (two days ago) link

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