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the watmm GAS thread

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On 4/1/2020 at 3:54 PM, Nil said:

I built mine. I believe I've posted pictures in that very same topic ? Cost me something like 100€ and it's tailored to my need. Still planning to make a v2 though.

Yeah I built some of my previous one, but when I moved to Germany I had to get rid of it.  It's definitely tempting to maybe design something myself tailored to what I need, but I think this.....

On 4/1/2020 at 1:49 PM, rhmilo said:

I bought a normal computer desk. No one makes them anymore but you should be able to find them second hand for peanuts.

...might be the best option.

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Posted (edited)

I have been sitting with two tabs open for what seems like weeks - one for ordering a vinyl turntable and another for pulling the trigger on a 400 euro Live 10 Suite upgrade.

During mornings I feel enthusiastic and tell myself "today I will order something" but by the time evening comes that feeling is gone and I no longer see the point in dropping 400 eurobucks for basically only M4L.

Besides the situation being what it is I have absolutely 0 confidence in any delivery reaching my apartment properly - the postal service just can not deliver fuck all (or they deliver it to the next building because if you squint the address looks the same). I have been ordering to my office, at least there I have a 50% chance of actually getting it unless the sender fucks up by not mentioning the company name along with my name.

I would really like to order some vinyls off bandcamp now to support artists but I don't want to lose them in transit. 😞

Edited by thawkins

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9 hours ago, chim said:

Beautiful studio man! Do you ever spin the chair and play whatever you stop on? 😄

Cheers! Yeah, like thawkins said. I stopped doing this after ruining a bunch of modules and end up browsing WATMM every time anyway because it always stops in front of the computer.  

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almbusycircuits_mum-m8_01.jpg

 

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It seems there's a sale on Ableton.com, so I finally caved and got my suite 10.

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Posted (edited)

Rockman in action. Awesome grungy BBD sound, the chorus is great. And you can wrestle some Space echo style feedback in the delay which was totally unexpected! 

447C2A28-C47D-41CB-AC93-FA89192D9826.jpeg

Edited by chim
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There aren't a lot of demos out there of the Rockman so I figured I'd do a quick showcase of the more interesting settings. My Apogee Jam only has mono in so the chorus loses a lot of its charm, but the delay tone is fairly obvious. The audio is direct in from guitar > Rockman > interface without any embellishment. The passive guitar pickup and interface setup is super sensitive to where I put my hands so a lot of the hum and interference isn't actually from the device itself.

My favorite sound is the longest delay setting with the feedback just enough to go into a loop when you're not careful, it works best for palm muting. There's evident static buildup but a lot of sweet roundness in the oscillations that go off. Towards the end I start playing with the delay time which causes that classic UFO fly-by sound effect.

https://clyp.it/gegi0ord

On medium length settings you get a kind of warbly, springy pseudo-reverb:

https://clyp.it/vnqocsof

Short settings with a lot of feedback gets you the most synthetic sound:

https://clyp.it/ebfw3nmz

Short delay also gets you a kind of springy, drippy reverb with a nice tone. The sweet spot is really close to distortion unfortunately, you can sorta work around it by losing the low end (and being a better player I guess).

https://clyp.it/dzwq0xm0

You can't use chorus and delay at the same time but have to switch, presumably because the same chips do both effects at different configurations. The chorus setting on max is modest but dreamy:

https://clyp.it/yd4wsmn0

 

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Dude on dutch ebay has a buchla 200e system, jupiter 8, fenix 2 and a fenix 3 for sale. I can't or ever will be able to afford those but it sure as hell is making me gassy.

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On 4/16/2020 at 1:55 AM, user said:

Dude on dutch ebay has a buchla 200e system, jupiter 8, fenix 2 and a fenix 3 for sale. I can't or ever will be able to afford those but it sure as hell is making me gassy.

The impossible GAS isn't the one that ruins you... 

I'm getting dangerously close to springing for a matrix 1000. The analog speculation bubble is collapsing under its own mass and even these dumb little things have ballooned over the recent years. A €650 listing is still tempting. It's not really a good workhorse, programming (and installing the third party firmware upgrade chip) is a bitch, but it has a TON of character for what it does well. Some people seem to wring amazing tones out of it, more exciting than anything in the price range. Price wise it's not enormously far off from the usual suspects like Juno 106, Polysix and JX3P (programmer included), but my S/O will disown me if I bring more keyboards into the apartment and I'm not thrilled about unwieldy unreliable beasts myself. The m1000 actually has an easier maintenance process with socketed and replacable voice chips. 

Another module that's drawing my attention is the MKS-50 (Alpha Juno). They've been flying under my radar but it's dirt cheap and I love the wooly sound and versatility. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, chim said:

The impossible GAS isn't the one that ruins you... 

I'm getting dangerously close to springing for a matrix 1000. The analog speculation bubble is collapsing under its own mass and even these dumb little things have ballooned over the recent years. A €650 listing is still tempting. It's not really a good workhorse, programming (and installing the third party firmware upgrade chip) is a bitch, but it has a TON of character for what it does well. Some people seem to wring amazing tones out of it, more exciting than anything in the price range. Price wise it's not enormously far off from the usual suspects like Juno 106, Polysix and JX3P (programmer included), but my S/O will disown me if I bring more keyboards into the apartment and I'm not thrilled about unwieldy unreliable beasts myself. The m1000 actually has an easier maintenance process with socketed and replacable voice chips. 

Another module that's drawing my attention is the MKS-50 (Alpha Juno). They've been flying under my radar but it's dirt cheap and I love the wooly sound and versatility. 

True words. Also thanks for reigniting my gas for a matrix, just when I was trying to make up my mind about what analog poly should be my final acquisition (in the analog poly category, not final gear acquisition of course : D)

Almost pulled the trigger on one for like 4 times over the last 2 years... one showed up a couple of weeks ago for 600,-with the last os chip installed already but I let it slide because of some ridiculous notion that I should try and build a small financial buffer. Now I regret it, my buffer hasn’t substantially grown but there are no buttery space pads gliding down my ear canals. :catnope:

Edited by user
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I had a dream about owning a reissue of an EMS Synthi AKS.. turns out I miss the one my friend used to have (and I borrowed for a few months). I doubt I'll ever have one unless b*hringer gets that clone going and I lower my standards.. or I sell alp my other gear haha

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17 hours ago, user said:

True words. Also thanks for reigniting my gas for a matrix, just when I was trying to make up my mind about what analog poly should be my final acquisition (in the analog poly category, not final gear acquisition of course : D)

Almost pulled the trigger on one for like 4 times over the last 2 years... one showed up a couple of weeks ago for 600,-with the last os chip installed already but I let it slide because of some ridiculous notion that I should try and build a small financial buffer. Now I regret it, my buffer hasn’t substantially grown but there are no buttery space pads gliding down my ear canals. :catnope:

Cheer up - no matter how warm the sounds are, they aren't going to heat up your frozen pizza from the supermarket! 🙂

At least you can burn toilet paper and heat your house and cook the pizza.

I don't know where I was going with this idea...

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On 4/18/2020 at 1:25 PM, chim said:

The impossible GAS isn't the one that ruins you... 

I'm getting dangerously close to springing for a matrix 1000. The analog speculation bubble is collapsing under its own mass and even these dumb little things have ballooned over the recent years. A €650 listing is still tempting. It's not really a good workhorse, programming (and installing the third party firmware upgrade chip) is a bitch, but it has a TON of character for what it does well. Some people seem to wring amazing tones out of it, more exciting than anything in the price range. Price wise it's not enormously far off from the usual suspects like Juno 106, Polysix and JX3P (programmer included), but my S/O will disown me if I bring more keyboards into the apartment and I'm not thrilled about unwieldy unreliable beasts myself. The m1000 actually has an easier maintenance process with socketed and replacable voice chips.

I had a 6R (bigger brother of the 1000) about 14 years ago. It sounded too much like the SQ80 I had at the time, and, yeah, the interface is gross. Wasn't worth it for me and I sold it in just a few months.

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2 hours ago, sweepstakes said:

I had a 6R (bigger brother of the 1000) about 14 years ago. It sounded too much like the SQ80 I had at the time, and, yeah, the interface is gross. Wasn't worth it for me and I sold it in just a few months.

The ensoniq synths are prime examples of how 80's (mostly) digital engines sound amazing and miles different from a lot of stuff today. As for the Matrix, the sound signature appears kinda weird and deceptive to me. The envelopes are too sloppy for a lot of quick stabby stuff so you hear these full track demos have a kind of thin C64 SID vibe, same as in some factory presets. I think a lot of people get fooled by this side. At the same time, it will not sound out of place next to a Jupiter 8 and you can detune and doubletrack phrases for some real fatness. Just an init patch with open filters has a unique vibe which is a telltale sign of a great synth. The pizzicato and poly patches are really what drew me in with their drifty mellow sound, and it's even less than the 6 which has individual voice control rather than just one clock. With all of these new capable monosynths you can easily complement it's drawbacks. I can see it not being everyone's cup though, same ball-park as the cheetah and similar weird modules...

As for midi control options, modern software editors seem to interface with most midi devices to send the necessary SYSEX data. Not the most exciting way to work with a synth I guess but it's worth  a shot with just a midi cable which is a lot less painful than expected. A full dedicated controller doesn't make a lot of sense when it's the price of a lot of cool units out there.

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Thonkiconn jacks (and the Tayada clones) are out of stock almost everywhere in the world right now because they've been heavily restricting shipping them during the quarantine.  Only place I could find them was in Scandanavia and shipping was so expensive it was cheaper to just buy a cheap mult kit, use the jacks it shipped with, and then replace them and build it in a few months when things smooth out a bit.

 

All I want are some jacks and some 6mm m2.5 brass spacers (those have been sitting in customs for weeks and that specific size is surprisingly hard to source from anywhere but China) so I can finish building all of the gear I'm in the middle of on before they send us back to work.

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3 hours ago, chim said:

The ensoniq synths are prime examples of how 80's (mostly) digital engines sound amazing and miles different from a lot of stuff today.

Yes, and in the case of the SQ-80 and the ESQ-1, the interface as well. It's really unassuming because there's only the one data slider, but once you get a feel for the button layout you can really fly around when editing and you barely have to move your hands. It was really refreshing to see a new synth (Hydrasynth) that finally reused this brilliant concept.

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WRT the Matrix 1000, mentioned above, I was going to say I've had one for years and they have a lot of charm (with a good programmer, software or hardware) but for the price they fetch now you could get TWO ESQ-M or SQ80-M rack modules, or one of either of those AND a Wavestation A/D (or Roland D-550), and cover a lot more ground.  Throw in the cost of a hardware controller (even DIY) and you're getting to the point where you could buy and polychain at least four Bass Station Racks and get a different but similar sound (plus external audio inputs per-voice, MIDI to CV/gate per voice...).

 

I really like the Matrix 1000 but I would NOT buy one at today's prices.

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4 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

WRT the Matrix 1000, mentioned above, I was going to say I've had one for years and they have a lot of charm (with a good programmer, software or hardware) but for the price they fetch now you could get TWO ESQ-M or SQ80-M rack modules, or one of either of those AND a Wavestation A/D (or Roland D-550), and cover a lot more ground.  Throw in the cost of a hardware controller (even DIY) and you're getting to the point where you could buy and polychain at least four Bass Station Racks and get a different but similar sound (plus external audio inputs per-voice, MIDI to CV/gate per voice...).

 

I really like the Matrix 1000 but I would NOT buy one at today's prices.

Wavestations seem to be cheap but I personally don’t have enough space left for a huge keyboard. Reverb prices for ensoniq modules seem to be around 500,- for the m and 600,- for the 80. Over here ensoniq stuff is also a lot rarer to find than a matrix. Over the last 4 years or so I’ve seen maybe 3 bass station racks listed, almost bought one at some point but someone had already snatched it. I think it was about 250,-. 
600,- for a matrix1000 in good condition really doesn’t seem like such a bad deal to me, though I have to add that I’ve never operated one, only heard demos. 

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The prices for all of these are very close to the matrix units these days. You might get an Ensoniq, MKS50 OR a D550 with some cheese module on top like the cheaper JVs or Korg M1 if you're lucky, and that's purely dependant on availability. The only one I see floating about regularly is the MKS 50 (everyone has a hard-on for keybeds). You can get one of the reissued monos and a minilogue plus change, but we're talking very different sonic palettes. I really want the Bro-1 but mono bass isn't that integral to my setup over a decent poly option, plus it's not really about exclusivity, just priority. I talked with the seller and it's both the firmware hack and a new battery so the only real concern is limited tonality, but it ought to be easy to flip in case it gets boring.

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13 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

Thonkiconn jacks (and the Tayada clones) are out of stock almost everywhere in the world right now because they've been heavily restricting shipping them during the quarantine. 

All I want are some jacks 

How many do you need?  I might have some spare, or happy to act as proxy if you want to get some from Thonk.

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Posted (edited)

I figured out a way to get some (bought a cheap kit for a 12 point passive mult so I can scavange the 11 jacks I need from it for now and then build it to replace my shoddy 6 point hand wired one in a couple months when I can get more jacks easily) but I really appreciate the offer.

 

EDIT: also half of the 7mm spacers (I mistyped 6mm earlier, that wouldn't have been as big a hassle) showed up, and that's enough to get the front panel on temporarily so I can get encoders and switches mounted.

Edited by TubularCorporation

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5 hours ago, chim said:

The prices for all of these are very close to the matrix units these days. You might get an Ensoniq, MKS50 OR a D550 with some cheese module on top like the cheaper JVs or Korg M1 if you're lucky, and that's purely dependant on availability. The only one I see floating about regularly is the MKS 50 (everyone has a hard-on for keybeds). You can get one of the reissued monos and a minilogue plus change, but we're talking very different sonic palettes. I really want the Bro-1 but mono bass isn't that integral to my setup over a decent poly option, plus it's not really about exclusivity, just priority. I talked with the seller and it's both the firmware hack and a new battery so the only real concern is limited tonality, but it ought to be easy to flip in case it gets boring.

Must be regional, because I checked eBay USA before I posted and all of the things I listed had multiple examples currently available or recently sold in the $300-$450 range (except the Junos, those seem like they're going back up again) whereas all the Matrix 1000s were $900-$1200. A Wavestation A/D sold for less than $225 a couple weeks ago.

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9 hours ago, user said:

Wavestations seem to be cheap but I personally don’t have enough space left for a huge keyboard. Reverb prices for ensoniq modules seem to be around 500,- for the m and 600,- for the 80. Over here ensoniq stuff is also a lot rarer to find than a matrix. Over the last 4 years or so I’ve seen maybe 3 bass station racks listed, almost bought one at some point but someone had already snatched it. I think it was about 250,-. 
600,- for a matrix1000 in good condition really doesn’t seem like such a bad deal to me, though I have to add that I’ve never operated one, only heard demos. 

Yeah, $600 seems like a good price these days for sure (I jumped into the conversation late and missed the price you could get), but the voice chips are really hard to source if you can at all (last I saw them it was around $80 for one used one from a reputable seller) so make absolutely sure you can return it if there's a problem (it has a diagnostic mode so you can easily test all the voices when you get it).

 

But yeah, I was going by the current US prices I was seeing, which were way too much IMO. $600 is what they were going for here 5 or 6 years ago (and people were complaining that it was too expensive back then, too).

Wavestation A/D is a 2u rack unit and it's the one to get because it has audio inputs, so you can use external audio in your wave sequences, use its effects indepenently of its synth engine, and get real access to the vocoder (all of the versions have a vocoder but it's sort of useless in the varieties that don't have external inputs). I wish I had one.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, TubularCorporation said:

Yeah, $600 seems like a good price these days for sure (I jumped into the conversation late and missed the price you could get), but the voice chips are really hard to source if you can at all (last I saw them it was around $80 for one used one from a reputable seller) so make absolutely sure you can return it if there's a problem (it has a diagnostic mode so you can easily test all the voices when you get it).

 

Keep in mind we were talking euros which would correspond to $650. The fully updated one I found is just shy of $800. There's a Cheetah MS6 wizard on maad.net who sells narrow-body 3396's for 24usd/16eur a pop, plus group discounts and whatnot. I haven't been checking eBay but worldwide Reverb price histories seem to mostly correlate with local listings. Aside from some audacious profit maximization, good conditions fetch higher prices and the matrix does indeed go for around €1000 sometimes which is pretty insane. Then again, it's definitely worth a premium to know a device is fully tested beforehand and half the keybed isn't smashed to bits... The gold-rush can't go on forever and I expect lots of synths will start to lose their appeal over the next 10-20 years as the pool of working-order units shrinks.

Thanks for the Wavestation tip by the way, it does indeed seem to go for cheap. People really underestimate these modules! 

Edited by chim

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$650USD is still a good price right now from what I was seeing. It definitely has its own sound, and if you like it I can't think of anything that sounds very similar (I mentioned polychaining Bass Station Racks half as a joke and half because there's a little bit of similarity in the sound, although the filters are very different), and the voice-per-channel mode for using it with a MIDI guitar is interesting although I haven't used it (the programmer I built isn't compatible with that mode, and all of the MIDI to/from the Matrix is routed through it, so I can't use guitar mode without completely repatching the MIDI cables).

In theory, a Matrix 6/1000 should be MPE compatible with a little bit of MIDI processing (it's basically the same except MPE uses a dedicated main channel for all of the global controls, but the M1k uses the same channel for voice 1 and the global controls, so you'd need to merge the main channel with the lowest voice channel to get an MPE controller to work right with the Matrix).  I have a feeling you'd need to limit your per-channel CCs to bend and velocity because the Matrix CPU is pretty slow and I get the feeling it would be easy to crash it if you sent too much CC data on 6 channels at once, but since I haven't tried it I can't really say for sure. At any rate, I can't think of another vintage analog synth that's even theoretically MPE compatible (the other analog guitar synth modules I'm aware of were more proprietary).  I assume a Wavestation A/D would be good for this too, since it was designed for MIDI guitars - you were supposed to plug your MIDI guitar's main pckups into the audio inputs so you could use it as a multi-effect unit for the guitar AND a guitar-controlled Wavestation AND integrate your guitar sounds into your Wavestation patches.

Thanks for the tip on the 3396's!  That's a good price, I might grab a couple as insurance.  It's too bad they aren't popular with the boutique world, because they're pretty cool chips with a lot of potential for complex modulation and I'd love to see them reissued like some of the more famous synth-on-a-chip type ICs have been over the last few years. If nothing else, the vintage synth boom has led to a real golden age of replacement parts - even the old Juno faders are in limited production again for the first time in ages, and the whole IC reissue thing is amazing.

 

Working vintage synths are definitely going to start going away (like what's happened with tape - heads and other parts for really high end machines are very expensive but still in production, but the prosumer machines like portastudios and 1/4" 8 track machines are doomed - heads for 8 track 1/4" haven't been available at any price for over a decade, and it's unlikely they'll ever come back because they'd cost as much as the entire machine, so the usable life of the working machines still out there is probably in the hundreds of hours at this point) but what I'm hoping is that FPAA technology will get to the point that replacing any proprietary analog IC that has specs available will be comparable to flashing custom firmware to an EEPROM - not something every user would want to do, but something any experienced DIYer would have no problem with and that could be easily done to order at a reasonable price for everyone else.

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