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This synth/sequencer doesn't exist

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Joined: 27 Sep 2016
Posts: 405

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:20 pm    Post subject: This synth/sequencer doesn't exist Reply with quote

I visited a GAS enablement installation (otherwise known as a synthesiser shop) yesterday, looking for something to fill my need for mobile composition.

I found, and played with, an electribe sampler. They also had an OP-1 and the discussion with the (friendly, knowledgeable) storekeeper ranged broadly over other devices such as the Novation Circuit and the old Yamaha QY** series.

I almost walked out with a new electribe, but I didn't. If I were into EDM, the electribe would have been great. But I'm not.

The OP-1 is a lot of fun, but should be called the OverPriced-1. I can get more of everything except size and FM tuning with a KORG Kross - and I can always plug a lead into the Kross to get samples or vocals. And the Kross is cheaper, even though it has a full sized, velocity sensitive keyboard.

The Novation Circuit is as much an EDM device as the Electribe, with different limitations.

The OP-1 does not trap one in the world of patterns, but it does set a 6 minute audio limitation - for ambient composers such as myself, this is not really ideal. The other devices are pretty much pattern-based.

I could get an ipad and fill it with KORG's software, centred around Gadget, but those devices are of dubious durability, and don't make it easy to pull things off with an SD card or similar, the way that the Electribe does.

KORG should consider the ambient world, either as an option in a development of a current product, or in a new product line. Here's a list of ideas:

* If it's sampling-capable, include tools such as trimming, vocoding and something like paulstretch. Possibly also granular synthesis features.
* Analogue filters are nice. Not necessary, but nice. Still, DSP can do a pretty good job.
* Valves are nice as well. Not at all necessary, but it's nice to have as a distortion layer. On the other hand, that can be done in DSP.
* Lots of digital sound creation, please. Doesn't have to be PCM, or circuit modeling or anything like that. Regular old digital synthesis will do fine. Maybe a few models; subtractive, FM, FFT, wavetables.
* Some interesting capabilities would be nice. Comb filter? Vocal filter?
* Good modulation options. A couple of routable envelopes, a couple of routable LFOs, AMS routing options.
* Programmable arps.
* Linear sequencer, rather than pattern-based. For the pattern-oriented, maybe allow for measure-based looping, but ambient often relies upon longer lasting moves than a pattern can accomodate.
* Live play, step entry and direct entry. It doesn't have to have a touch screen, but a piano roll would be very nice. If no touch screen, make sure that hardware controls make it easy to manipulate what's on the piano roll.
* Learn from the Nintendo 3DS. It's more survivable than it looks precisely because of the clamshell design. The few Yamaha QY** devices on the market are sadly worn, not just because of use but because they didn't have a lid that would protect them when tossed into a cable bag.
* Battery operation. Obviously.
* A mixing function - with automation. This is crucially important for delivering a polished composition.
* If the number of channels is limited by synthesis polyphony, please add a mixdown function.

I could go on, but this is a hole in the market. I know (we all know) that KORG has the chops, and the existing technologies to do these things. Even if you hit the central key features, leaving some others out (valve, clamshell design, sample-chopping) would be no very big deal as long as it accomodated a different musical style.

In fact, never mind the ambient ghetto (we know we don't matter). Just think of a music student trying to compose a sonata in a busy cafeteria. The electribe is a great tool, but not sonata-friendly.

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Joined: 10 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow nice list of items.

When I travel I take my Seaboard Rise25 and my laptop but it worksequaly as well with the iPad iPhone. I always have my laptop with me so the small Rise is a great portable item to carry and the few AU and everything else in Logic is a fun time. How small a rig are you looking for? Roli has a good sale on the Small Rise 25 currently. If I want something pocketable I just take a small PO with me. but it is very limited in terms of your list.
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Joined: 27 Sep 2016
Posts: 405

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currently I'm making do with an old android 7 inch tablet loaded with sunvox and caustic.

I actually love both sunvox and caustic - no complaints there. In their respective wheelhouses, they're awesome contenders.

I would prefer a dedicated device, with hardware controls for key functions. The tablet is obviously easily managed in a train, bus or plane seat (or propping myself up in bed, for that matter).

I guess I'd be OK with something the size of a netbook sort of computer, but I'd also like to be in the same size ballpark as the electribe 2. In terms of form factor and hardware controls, KORG hit a sweet spot with that tool.

Again, I'm not happy with tablet durability and longevity, so the tablet solution I currently have is very much a stopgap.

You mention the Rise25, and it's certainly a nice interface, but while adding one would be a great option I definitely want to be able to function without it.

Ultimately, I want a thing I can hold in one hand, operate with the other, and hear on headphones or monitoring buds in a busy environment, or directly where it's quiet.
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