October 29, 2013

Taking A Step Into The Future


If you've been following this blog for any amount of time you'll probably know that taking any step into the future (even a very small one) is very hard for me to do. But after years of touring with a Roland ProMars, RS-09 and synthesizers.com modular system (for bass -- eventually switched to a Moog Minitaur), I've made the switch to current equipment! Still all analog: 2 Moog Slimphattys and a Moog Subphatty. My main reason for this is that the old Roland gear was constantly breaking down, I had it in the shop between almost every tour, what a pain! The other season is that all of these pieces have patch memory and midi - two things I avoid like the plague while working in the studio - but in a live setting they can be quite useful. So, rather than me having to constantly twiddle knobs on the Moog Minitaur every time the Decay of a bass sound needs to change (which is quite often!), I can program those changes and they can happen automatically. But, because the front panel of all these machines stay active (a step up from the ProMars!) I can still reach over and adjust any sound at any point. 

And speaking of programing, I'm doing all the sequencing from an MPC-1000 and it is a nightmare. If anyone knows any tips or shortcuts for that thing, please let me know in the comments of this post. But I suspect it's just as awful and difficult as it seems. 

Anyway, I suppose I'm somewhat excited about this new set up but also a little scared. Onward and upward!

15 comments:

  1. Exciting! You should get a Moog sponsorship for the band ;) Understandable though, to use newer analog for touring.

    I suppose it could be worse, you could have Polymoogs and deal with smoking circuits on stage. Now there's a band name... Smoking Circuits.

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  2. I actually have a Moog sponsorship. I guess that's part of the reason why I switched to all Moog.

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  3. I've been using an Akai MPC1000 for the past 5-6 years quite regularly and think they are brilliant! They are a bit difficult to use though, i'm still finding hidden features that i never knew exisisted.

    What are your main problems with sequencing?

    Sam

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  4. If only Roland still made analog gear. :\

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  5. Rogue: So true... we're all waiting for that blessed day!

    Sam: You are an angel! My main problem is just sequencing on it. I still don't really know how to do it. I go into step mode and adjust the decay of notes, but that's about it. I'm still sequencing everything on a Roland MC-500 and MIDI-ing it to the MPC and recording the sequences into it. I'm an old man who doesn't understand new technology! Also, where do you live? Maybe next time I'm there we could spend a day together and you could give me MPC lessons?

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    1. Sequencing is quite a knack to learn on the MPC, as there are many ways of doing it, you can literally tell the machine to order and time-correct all the notes for you, or manually input them, copy and paste them, accross bars and and merge them with other sequences etc. Once you get the hang of it you'll be sequencing for hours!

      I live in the UK, so next time you're here it would be my pleasure to give you an MPC lesson! In exchange i'd love for you to give me some synthesizing tips and tricks. We're friends on Facebook so you can hit me up on there when you know when your next trip to England is!

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    2. Sounds good! We''ll totally do that. Thanks Sam!

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  6. what what what?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Thought u weren't a fan of new analog OR moog???

    actually, I just made a similar change. I owned a roland system 100, linndrum, and various other vintage synths. I sold most of them for the dot com and a analog four, but also picked up a little phatty and a prophet 08. but right now, i'm looking to probably sell my little phatty and maybe the analog four to expand my dot com. To be honest, the dot com is the best mono synth I've ever heard and it takes care of absolutely EVERYTHING I want to do electronically - apart from polyphony.

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  7. also, y wouldn't you just get a voyager rme instead of 2 slims? the user interface is soo much better, presets, etc. the only thing you really lose is the overdrive, the arp and the polychain, unless polychain is really your thing.

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  8. Because I'm using them for touring and two slims are smaller than one voyager rme and then I can have two sounds at once.

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  9. hey jacob
    and how do you achieve the polyphonic sounds that you were doing with the rolands? because rolands synth and moog are quite different am I right ? What is the subphatty bringing to your set ? Are you using the moogs especially for the basslines ?
    sorry for my english;)

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    1. Hey Jorel, I'm still working on the polyphonic sounds a bit, but I'm achieving them by detuning oscillators to the different notes in a chord. The trick is that I've got to use different sound patches for different chords. It's a little messy, but it works.

      The ProMars wasn't polyphonic, just the RS-09. I'm using one of the Moogs as a dedicated bass synthesizer.

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  10. now that you've had these for a while, what do you like/dislike about them?

    Curious about the sub phatty....I think it's quite an ugly synth IMO, I got to see them being developed at the moog factory back in april and wasn't impressed with it from a physical standpoint, the knob layout, the size of the knobs (smaller faux moog modular knobs) and the limited keyboard. I ended up sticking with my Little Phatty because of the enhanced digital aspects...but I'm not too into its membrane buttons...

    Also curious to see what you think about the slims. Lastly, why don't you just sequence the slims with an elektron analog four or an octotrack? Never messed with the octotrack before, but the analog four's sequencer is great and a lot more intuitive than an MPC, which I find to be needlessly complex.

    Or you could get rid of the MPC and just get a machinedrum/w sampling enhancement. Just some suggestions!

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    1. Hey Jacob,

      That's unfortunate to hear about your Roland gear. We know how much you love it, especially the RS-09. I worry I'm in the same situation, though. My TR-808 is very finicky, and I just paid out huge money to service my RE-501. Apparently the motor seized. Still, it's all worth it for the beauty of vintage Rolands. Hope the modern gear works for you not only physically, but stylistically as well.

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    2. vb: I went with the MPC-1000 because it has four individual outputs. They can be very useful when you're doing a bunch of different samples and also sending a click track to your drummer. I am interested in the Octotrack, I could probably get by with that. It wasn't released when I started doing this and that's why I didn't use it from the start. Could be in the future though.

      I like the Sub Phatty and I really like it's design too. I'm pretty old school so I appreciate a dedicated knob for each parameter. It's much better for live playing, not having to take the one extra step to manipulate a sound.

      B: Thank you for your sentiments, and good luck with your gear problems too! I still love my vintage Roland equipment, but I'll just be loving it in the studio from now on, where the world can't harm it. And good point about stylistic concerns! I find that the new Moog stuff is working for me stylistically. Having the two slim phattys rack mounted on top of each other and with the sequencer changing the parameters on them, they look like a big computer form the 50's, all blinking and making strange patterns.

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