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14 hours ago, Bluetech said:

Man Im tempted by the that VS-1.  I have an avalon and love it, although mine has the scratchy pot issue and reading all the other issues people have theirs makes me super nervous about investing $2k in a DIY synth that may not have proper support.  I'm not a total noob, and have built about 20 euro modules successfully, but not sure if that project might be more than I can handle.

But Damn....  the VS-1 sounds good.

I've only looked at it in detail a couple of times, but it looks a relatively straightforward build, certainly easier than one of the black corporation ones.  I would imagine it would be a case of doing the voice cards one by one and testing as you go.  The most complex thing I've done is a syncussion clone and it didn't look too intimidating.  Also, analog envelopes which seems fairly unique amongst this poly analogue renaissance.

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I’ve been offered that gorgeous, glorious piece of recording history : a Nagra 4.2. It belonged to my father in law (very cool dude, former filmaker who’s always been fascinated by sound), he gave it

Won a Polyend Tracker in a contest today.  Very excited!

Finally snatched one of these bad boys!   

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34 minutes ago, kakapo said:

I've only looked at it in detail a couple of times, but it looks a relatively straightforward build, certainly easier than one of the black corporation ones.  I would imagine it would be a case of doing the voice cards one by one and testing as you go.  The most complex thing I've done is a syncussion clone and it didn't look too intimidating.  Also, analog envelopes which seems fairly unique amongst this poly analogue renaissance.

If anything goes wrong though, the troubleshooting is going to be a nightmare.  Luckily the smt is all pre-soldered.  Im sure calibration will be time consuming, but each through hole board doesnt seem so bad.

 

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Yeah, one of the really nice things about the Black Corporation stuff is the self-calibration routines work very well.  So far the only issue I've had is the MPE implementation is a bit bare-bones and I'm not optimistic about them improving some things, but it's nothing that makes it work badly just makes it a bit less flexible in terms of channel assignment or anything.

 

If I'd started my build right away before that suboscillator tracking issue was figured out I'd probably be pretty upset, though.

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On 8/13/2020 at 9:07 PM, d-a-m-o said:

How do you like the super 6 so far ?

Take this with a pinch of salt as obv still in honeymoon period.  I haven't had time other than to go through presets and I have only hooked it up to headphones and not fully integrated into studio set up just yet. 

It's good.  Solidly built, feels premium.  I went for a blue one and having recently scored a Midas Venice I'm tempted to repaint everything blue.

There's a spectrum of good vibes from musical instruments that goes from, this is a complex instrument, there are lots of possibilities e.g. some of the Elektron boxes, to this feels like an instrument and I want to play it, it's intuitive e.g. the first time you play a really nice guitar.

I'm hoping this meets the sweet spot between the two, at the moment it's edging towards the latter but like I said I haven't dug deep.  It's a bit more flexible than some of the demos have painted it.

The sound is all there.  I was thinking the other night after playing it, what would it replace in current set up and theoretically if money was no factor, what would I swap it for.  The only things I could think of were CS80, Rhodes Chroma with all the extras, Polykobol, Elka Synthex maybe.  I certainly wouldn't swap it for one of the modern sequentials or a juno 60 or a novation summit, as good as all those are.

Minor cons:

I'm not sure how the binaural thing will fit in a mix, but to be honest the usp for me is more the rest of the architecture and the layout and feel.  I do have stereo processing in modular rig and outboard, including mid/side and crossover filters, so I will be messing about with it, and may end up using it in quite a subtle way.  The two effects sound good, but I've got options which may be a better fit.  

The mod amount is a push encoder and is a bit wobbly.  As I've never known a push encoder to be anything other than a bit wobbly, it's fine.  But because the rest of it is so solid, it sticks out.

Firmware is a work in progress.  Good and bad, they do seem responsive to user feedback.  But midi over usb is not working yet and I want to use it as a controller as well.  I have faith that they'll get things right, and knew as an early adopter there'd be stuff like this.  I'm not a professional gigging musician, so it doesn't bother me.  

     

 

 

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The chorus effect is a bit better than good and is in fact really nice.  I have a Boss Waza Dimension C and was expecting that I would end up with it permanently attached to the outputs as it had been with my ms6, but the on board chorus is comparable so I can save the boss for other things.  Also started to hear some of the problems that people have had with earlier firmwares (a few clicks and pops, stereo image a bit unblanaced on some patches), new firmware is coming hopefully by end of week.

Presets are a mixed bag, there's a handful that have got me thinking that I'll be hearing this on a record at some point soon.  The system of 128 patches in banks of 8 I thought I would have no issue with, but actually I do want more memory slots, and though I very much like that it has no screen, naming patches, even if its just 'bass1' etc, is one thing they're useful for.  No deal breaker and I'll wait until the editing software is ready before passing judgement.  

Trying to get my head around modulation matrix with having limited visual feedback.  Again, no bad thing.  I'm lazy and rely as much on serendipity as anything else when making music, but this is something that makes me want to know it inside out.   

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11 minutes ago, kakapo said:

The chorus effect is a bit better than good and is in fact really nice.  I have a Boss Waza Dimension C and was expecting that I would end up with it permanently attached to the outputs as it had been with my ms6, but the on board chorus is comparable so I can save the boss for other things.  Also started to hear some of the problems that people have had with earlier firmwares (a few clicks and pops, stereo image a bit unblanaced on some patches), new firmware is coming hopefully by end of week.

Presets are a mixed bag, there's a handful that have got me thinking that I'll be hearing this on a record at some point soon.  The system of 128 patches in banks of 8 I thought I would have no issue with, but actually I do want more memory slots, and though I very much like that it has no screen, naming patches, even if its just 'bass1' etc, is one thing they're useful for.  No deal breaker and I'll wait until the editing software is ready before passing judgement.  

Trying to get my head around modulation matrix with having limited visual feedback.  Again, no bad thing.  I'm lazy and rely as much on serendipity as anything else when making music, but this is something that makes me want to know it inside out.   

Post some vids or audio if possible pls !

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7 hours ago, d-a-m-o said:

Post some vids or audio if possible pls !

No thank you.

I may post some audio once I have a better feel for it and its set up for recording, but it would be for watmm ears only.  The idea of posting a youtube synth demo fills me with existential nausea

  

 

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I was just looking at the Future Sound System MTX-8 and it sounded really tempting until I saw the £409.00 price.

 

Even taking out the VAT that's still a big nope.

 

mtx8.jpg

 

But it has definitely revived my interest in building a pin matrix from scratch some day.

 

 

Edited by TubularCorporation
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1 hour ago, TubularCorporation said:

I was just looking at the Future Sound System MTX-8 and it sounded really tempting until I saw the £409.00 price.

 

Even taking out the VAT that's still a big nope.

 

mtx8.jpg

 

But it has definitely revived my interest in building a pin matrix from scratch some day.

Whoah ... that’s a *really* expensive matrix mixer.

 

If you can do without the pins you could design and build this yourself for much less money, I’d imagine.

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11 minutes ago, rhmilo said:

Whoah ... that’s a *really* expensive matrix mixer.

 

If you can do without the pins you could design and build this yourself for much less money, I’d imagine.

 

There are matrix mixers, and Matrix Mixers of course. Some are passive, (noisy as hell) and some are active which gives you a clean blend of signals and phase correction. 

 

Check this bad boy:

 

matrise_white.png

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9 minutes ago, Soloman Tump said:

 

There are matrix mixers, and Matrix Mixers of course. Some are passive, (noisy as hell) and some are active which gives you a clean blend of signals and phase correction. 

 

Check this bad boy:

 

matrise_white.png

Yeah, I've got one of those discontinued Xiwi passive matrix mixers (basically 8 jacks and an array of pots and resistors) and I have to say that the uses are limited without external, noise-introducing (and setup-complicating) amplification. This thing looks tasty, and the phase inversion would be brilliant for feedback loops. 285 USD is maybe a touch steep, but it's in the ballpark of reason.

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Yeah, a pin matrix isn't quite the same but it's pretty close.  If I was going to build one from scratch I'd put a simple active buffer on every buss bar, you can make one with about a quarter worth of parts.  The matrix itself would be a bit of a hassle to make but a lot cheaper (and more compact) than buying 64 pots.

I just really like the ergonomics of a pin matrix, but not for that kind of money.  I get that fabricating all of the copper bus bars for it brings the manufacturing cost up, but still.

 

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I've got a pretty decent plan in my head for a basic pin matrix (just the actual matrix itself, for building an arbitrary patch matrix design around) that should be doable with $10-$15 of Keystone Electronics #43 hollow rivets, some nylon spacers and a couple pieces of stripboard (or custom PCBs if you have more money than free time to trill a couple hundred holes).

 

Wont be as sturdy as using a bunch of little copper bus bars with 2mm holes drilled in them mounted on a custom designed frame or something like that, and won't have the load resistors you'd find in real EMS pins (but with buffers I don't think you'd need those anyhow, and it's probably closer to the FSS design than the FSS is to an EMS), but it'll be a lot cheaper and easier than doing it the right way and should be sturdier and nicer to use than the DIY designs that use 1/8" jacks.

 

EDIT:

 

Will I make one?  Maybe some day.

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My dad made me a matrix "mixer" a few years back using reed switches laid out in a grid that you place small magnets on to make the connections. It's just passive, but I think reed switches are a pretty fun idea for a matrix, because you can basically use any magnet you like to activate it, as long as it's strong enough, and the circuitry can be hidden underneath a panel for maximum aesthetic.

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7 hours ago, modey said:

My dad made me a matrix "mixer" a few years back using reed switches laid out in a grid that you place small magnets on to make the connections. It's just passive, but I think reed switches are a pretty fun idea for a matrix, because you can basically use any magnet you like to activate it, as long as it's strong enough, and the circuitry can be hidden underneath a panel for maximum aesthetic.

The first year I worked at the record store we got a Transcriptors Skeleton turntable and all of the controls worked like that, you'd turn a knob that would mechanically move a magnet over a reed switch . It was a cool design.

 

Now I'm regretting passing up the chance to buy a Transcriptors Skeleton for $75.

 

14654464165_685f9f27c5_b.jpg

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https://www.hhv.de/shop/en/item/teac-tn-4d-black-662029?p=HzrHAB

I need to figure out what the hell is going on with all my audio routing and room correction though. And figure out a good place to put it too.

Not sure if I am ready to become vinyl guy either though.

Edited by thawkins
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Why do you want a direct drive? I was always taught that direct drive is for DJs as they start and stop quicker while for listening belt drive is better because there9s a belt between the motor and the needle. Is that no longer true?

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Belt drive's are perfect for home listening.

Direct drive's are perfect for DJing (allows you back cue a record and it starts playing at the right speed when you let go)

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6 hours ago, rhmilo said:

Why do you want a direct drive? I was always taught that direct drive is for DJs as they start and stop quicker while for listening belt drive is better because there9s a belt between the motor and the needle. Is that no longer true?

Good direct drive is more stable.  The reason rich audiophile types have turntables with platters a foot thick is because the momentum helps smooth out the speed inconsistencies that any belt driven system is going to have.

 

i can't speak for other DD turntables but the one I use doesn't have a separate motor, the platter itself is the fixed magnet half of a brushless motor and the only thing it touches is the bearing it sits on. There's a big ring of electromagnets in the frame where the platter sits and they're activated in sequence and push the platter, a little bit like how a railgun works I guess. I don't know which DD Technics models work that way and which don't, but it's really effective.  The only issue I've had is that Grado cartridges pick up a fair bit of noise because they're not shielded like most cartridges are. Switched over ot OM series Ortofons a few years ago and they're dead silent, a bit less expensive, and pair better with the arm.

 

I think it's more that a good belt drive turntable is more cost effective to manufacture than a good direct drive, so at a given price point you're going to probably get more for your money with belt drive unless you luck out and find something that was thrown out by a college radio station or something.

 

If motor noise was absolutely inherent to direct drive it would be cut into the lacquers that all the records everyone listens to were made from, because lathes are all direct drive.

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10 hours ago, rhmilo said:

Why do you want a direct drive? I was always taught that direct drive is for DJs as they start and stop quicker while for listening belt drive is better because there9s a belt between the motor and the needle. Is that no longer true?

I don't care either way actually. I chose this model because it's TEAC (which means Tascam?), it has the phono preamps and even USB out. Also maybe I am being stupid about this but I never believed in turntables that cost 200EUR or less because they seem kind of flimsy?

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31 minutes ago, thawkins said:

I never believed in turntables that cost 200EUR or less because they seem kind of flimsy?

Yeah, I remember reading somewhere that all turntables that cost less than that are essentially the same device, just with different branding. €150 or €50 (yes, they exist): no difference. And they all plough through your precious vinyl.

@TubularCorporation makes an interesting point above, about direct drive vs belt drive, too.

Oh, and finally: the greatest benefit of vinyl isn’t the vinyl itself, the turntable or the needle or anything, it’s that vinyl is harder to master for so it requires more care and attention than simply slamming everything through a limiter. And you don’t even need a super good sound system to hear that.

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1405584036_65.jpg

I have a pair of these which are essentially Technics 1210 clones (I mean, they even look the same)

Main benefits over the Technics are +/- 50% pitch control, better torque for start/stop and cheaper (but still £600 each.  I paid for them monthly over 2 years which didn't feel as bad....)

 

 

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I think I am not going to get a DJing setup, just looking for a turntable for listening purposes. I recall someone mentioning in this thread that turntables geared towards DJing (like the Technics) might actually not sound as good as something much less iconic and cheaper, so I figure that aiming for something that both sounds good and is sturdy and reliable for DJing is going to set me back much more in terms of $$$ than something that is aimed for listening but not so much for DJing.

Yeah and now this brings me to a huge GAS related purchase that I have been thinking about for a year already - getting a subwoofer to match my pair of Neumann KH120A.

Which brings me to thinking about how to set up my room correction plugin EQ in a way that does not require all audio to pass through a DAW in a laptop.

Which brings me to indecision and depression. 🙂

Anyway thanks for the tips.

Edited by thawkins
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I always heard that the main issue with a good DJ turntable is that the stock arms are designed more to optimize tracking than sound quality, and if you upgrade the arm on a used SP1200 you can end up with something pretty comparable to one of those audiophile turntables that cost as much as a car but only pay the equivalent of a couple months rent for it.

 

I guess if you're in the financial position to do that kind of thing it's a really good option to consider.  Here's a good example:

 

https://www.tonepublications.com/analogaholic/sl-1200-upgrades-sound-hifi/

 

I got my SP-15 for $80 and I'm going to run that thing until it stops working or I do, but if I ever have to replace it I'd probably go this route, if only because I could get a good used 1200, arm mount and most of the cost of a good arm for what a broken SP-15 with arm would sell for these days (pretty sure the arm on it is too long for a 1200).

 

Or you could read this typical audiophile forum thread with people arguing about SL-1200 upgrades where an anti-vaxxer (who is also the site owner) argues about the virtues of SL-1200 modification, and then reevaluate whether it's actually worth caring about.

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