The ARP 2600 has fascinated the electronic music world for 45 years. Only a few synthesizers exude this sense of exclusivity and magic, only a few instruments generate such a desire for doing spontaneous musical performance and sound design. However, one ARP 2600 is by no means like another ARP 2600 …
Besides taking a closer look at the different ARP 2600 versions, we will also discuss their individual musical strengths. Finally we’ll debate about whether an ARP 2600 is worth its currently astronomically high price or not, leading to the question of whether other instruments might serve as adequate substitutes. What about the original ARP Odyssey? What about the TTSH (Two Thousand Six Hundred) 2600-clone or a small Eurorack’s modular system with the possibilities of an ARP 2600? Wouldn’t these instruments be great-sounding, cost-effective substitutes for the “Holy Grail of Analog”?
These considerations are all the more important since KORG has just released the “new” ARP Odyssey. And since the booming Eurorack modular market has reached a remarkable peak.
The Studio Electronics BOOMSTAR series impresses us with its fine analog sound. Although the various instruments (BOOMSTAR SEM, CE80, 3003, 4075 and 5089) don’t look spectacular, their sonic power is superb! But they are not cheap: each instrument costs approx. 1000 Euros.
SE is going a step further, and is now presenting Eurorack Modules / Eurorack Modular Systems based on the BOOMSTAR technology. This new modular series is called MODSTAR …
Just one glance and you’re itching to get in there yourself … to do magic and create complex things. That elaborate sequencer (well, really, those 4 sequencers tied up in a neat elaborate package) from Koma Elektronik is a breath-taking baby. Tons of features packed into a 19” rack (7 units high).
A closer look reveals a very special detail: a small cv-recorder with 7 channels (in addition to those 4 sequencers), which can serve as the master of the whole unit.
Moog SUB 37: This synthesizer looks amazing! It’s a mixture of Sub Phatty, Little Phatty and Voyager. And it’s the first compact Moog synthesizer with on-board step sequencer. The control panel is full of control elements, providing 40 knobs and 74 buttons. The Tribute Edition even comes with fine wooden side panels.
Some snapshots of the SUB 37 Tribute Edition. Pictures by Sven Rahmoun!
Admittedly, there aren’t many encyclopedias around that are dedicated to synthesizers. One of those few is Julian Colbeck’s KEYFAX. To be exact, we’re talking about a series of books that started in 1986 with “Keyfax 1″. The “Omnibus Edition” introduced here is a compilation of synthesizer history between its beginnings at the end of the 60s and publication in 1997.
We guarantee that you’re in for some surprises with the Novation Bass Station II. Not that we’re trying to play down its already superb reputation as a tried-and-true TECHNO synthesizer. But its vast sound potential “above and beyond” caught even us by surprise.
Existing biases against small instruments (table toys) – I’m talking from experience – may begin with their names. In our case, we’re talking about a BASS station! Now, we all know about those … Roland TB-303 Bassline … Deep Bass Nine … TB3 … Propellerhead ReBirth 338 … Acidlab Bassline … and and and. Bass here, bass there. For decades, the hype of the deepest sounds has been ringing in our ears.
A few months ago we announced the SFC-60 hardware controller for the TAL-U-NO-LX Juno-60 Software. As the SFC-60 is a class-compliant MIDI device, it can be used not only with the TAL U-NO-LX, but any other MIDI-mappable software instrument. And ah, yes … the SFC-60 is not industrially manufactured but hand-made.
Some might consider the Korg PS-3100 synthesizer as an oversized MS-20. But this polyphonic instrument is – like its monophonic colleague – in a class of its own.
Korg’s PS-series might include the best and most creative polyphonic analog instruments ever made (along with Yamaha’s big CS-synthesizers, of course). No other machines offer such characteristic and distinctive sounds …
Of course, it’s always a question of personal taste and what sort of music you yourself tend to produce. But by comparing analog instruments you might come to recognize the difference between the mass of “nice” but rather ordinary synths, and the few absolutely “top” machines that set themselves apart.
Year for year a few dozen modular users (and those striving to get there) pay a visit to an unusual workshop conducted by Dieter Dopefer in Munich. And year for year that technician from Graefelfing (a small village outside of Munich) uses the opportunity to speak not only about musical basics and specifc modules but also about the latest developments pertaining to the A-100 system. So also on the November 15th 2014 in the Hieber Lindberg Music Store.
But first lets submerge into the atmosphere of that workshop …
James Gardner traces a personal path through the evolving world of electronic music – and meets some of the people who made it happen. In six content-rich episodes of These Hopeful Machines he looks at over 100 years of recording techniques, electronic instruments and gizmos, and their use in popular music, art music and their position in Western culture.