What is so spectacular about this module? It tracks the best. I mean the best, even better than the cwejman vco-6 I have. This thing is rock solid and musical. The wave forms are pretty good as well. Not quite as good as the vco6 or model 15 plan b. The saw is pretty good and has control over the shape, either side of the of the shape changer yields a good saw. The pw is pretty good as well. Pwm is really good. But not as good as the vco6, which is the best of all, vco 6 even beats the AFG a little. The sine is kind of weak, very quiet. You can control the sine shape as well, all controllable waves can be done with cv in. Pretty cool, but what is not cool is the fact that there are no input attenuators on the shape inputs, so you will have to have an attenuator or you will get sound drop out from lfo too much like on the model 15. I really like the E model, because it allows you to tune with ease. But what kind of sucks is because of that, it is hard to do manual sweeps that sound natural. But please, let me stress this again. This is a very musical oscillator that sings in pitch, up and down the keyboard. This is not the case for the vast majority of the eurorack oscillators on the market with the exception to the cwejman stuff and livewire stuff. The lack of inputs and controls really just makes this a basic oscillator. Not wild like the plan b that has a ton of inputs but also lack attenuation, or the afg and cwejman stuff that has tons of attenuation and tons of inputs. Over all I give this a 4 out of 5, Especially because it tracks so well. The best tracking analog oscillator i have tested so far.
Pros: Sounds good, great basic functions, super stable and tracks better than any other oscillator in the eurorack format that I have tested so far.
Cons: Not enough inputs or controls. No attenuation on wave shapes.
Click Here! To check out the mp3 demo I made of the basic sounds of the rs95e. I ran this through the polivoks filter, open.
Warning: I know that a lot of people do not have sensitive ears like I do, and won’t be able to tell the differences that I complained about on here. I’m not promoting myself with these reviews, these are for my fans, thats all. If your not a fan of my music, I could care less what you think. I’m not a music magazine, I will not suck corporate cock to get free shit or promotions like all the other online bs companies do, and real magazines. Don’t like what I say, DON’T FUCKING READ IT. Everything on this site is for my fans. Thats all.
Let me just start by saying. Whoa, The Virus TI Snow is great. I never expected this. I was wowed by the virus A back in the day. The virus b and C never really wowed me like the A did. The virus A had this gritty cutting in your face sound that the B and C never had let alone the TI. The TI sounds faint, distant and lackluster on anything it does. I think its a converter issue and a power issue(my theory, let me stress its mearly my idea of why, is that when a synth tries to do to much, it has an internal bus and task switching processing it has to do, and some how this creates internal audio jitter that screws up the sound and makes it sound cold sterile and distant, I notice this with vst plug ins as well, sure there are buffers and things that are supposed to negate this, but I have pretty good fireface 800 converters, and when I convert any of my analog hardware synths to digital audio they still sound good and full, but when I use a vst or au no matter what synth, the sound is just lack luster, faint and distant sounding). The virus TI by far was the worst of the virus family. It sounded like a plug in. When I sold the Virus C I bought a virus TI and was really unimpressed. It sounded worse, it had a buggy os, and there were all kinds of clicks and pops. I have owned all Virus models except the B. The regular TI sounds the worst in my book.
Now, I bought the TI snow. I thought maybe the presets were just better, so I decided to go and buy a regular TI again to see for sure. I ended up swapping the snow for the regular TI cause I got a good deal, thinking, the ti has more power and more out puts so its better right? WRONG. Same issue, the regular TI was faint, and buggy, even with the newest os update. I found some of the same patches on the snow and regular TI and compared them. The Snow is 100 times better, its loud, punchy, present, in your face, big for a digital synth. It does have a lot of bass. The snow sits better in the mix. Wait wait wait. This is only true when I play it with its own DAC. If I plug in the usb and do a AU instrument or VST, BLAH it sounds just like the crappy plug in synths I hate. So the audio over the total integration usb sounds faint and unpunchy , just like most soft synths. So, if I want it to sound punchy, loud and aggressive, I run it out its main analog outputs. This is the key. Otherwise it sounds like the rest of the digital stuff I don’t like very much.
The original virus A sounded pretty good as well, but now the snow seriously sounds better than all of the viruses I have used before. It’s not just the better presets. Granted, it’s still digital so its doesn’t sound as good when you play it up high, compared to a real analog. It still has a plastic type sound to it. I love the filters, the osc, and the fx. This really is a step up from the others. The presets finally show of the power of the TI. I’m betting because the TI Snow was not stretched on processing power, it does less and has less in it, so the main output sounds better, no idea why for sure exactly, above, I’m just guessing. What can the TI snow do? Everything, pads, strings, bass, leads, arps, fx. It does them all very well. Sure I think real analog is a bit better in fatness and resonance and tone fullness, but this virus really holds its own, It is my favorite digital synth now.
Sure the snow interface is not as good as the regular virus, but honestly, if you put it in expert mode, and hit the buttons, its easy to find anything and edit it, or even make your own presets. It’s laid out very well in that regard. Sure only 4 timbers. Who cares when you can track stuff any way. That is why the regular ti is no big deal to me. The polyphony on the snow is about 32 voices on simple voices, 20 poly with a moderately complex voices, and 10 to 14 for very complex voices like if using strange filters or the grain or formant oscillators. This synth is cool, and now that it sounds a lot fuller and better tone wise on the snow, the virus really is worth owning along side real analogs. It adds all that digital stuff the analogs cannot do. This does not replace analog, just adds to it nicely.
This synth is great, it has a ton of filter types, 2 multi-mode filters (HP, LP, BP, BS) and the Analog Filter (modelled after the MiniMoog™ cascade filter with 6-24 dB Slope and self-oscillation). And awesome oscillators, WaveTable Oscillators for a completely new array of sounds. The basic idea behind the technology, is to take the existing wavetables, and apply similar techniques as those used in some granular sampling and pitch-shifting algorithms to open up a whole new world of possibilities. In each case, the Simple mode offers fewer parameters, and a higher polyphony. The characteristics of the Grain Table and Formant Table oscillators are quite different to those of traditional “granular” sampling/synthesis techniques, which tend to be associated with other-worldly “clouds” of sound. In the Virus TI Snow, they have instead employed the technology to achieve a very musical result which should prove every bit as useful as the other oscillator types in all manner of musical projects. It kicks ass. The Snow shows it off a lot more than the regular TI did. There are no buggy pops and randomly clicky envelopes like in the regular TI. The snow is a lot tighter over all. If you fidget with the presets while playing wildly, I notice notes can hang sometimes and it can take a second for the new sound to kick in with all its fx. Oh well, I don’t care about that really so it doesn’t bug me. There are still a few bugs with the SNOW, but they will be ironed out I think. The regular TI is still buggy and pops and acts stupid even after all the updates. The snow does not suffer from those anomalies.
The way you scroll through the presets is like an old roland juno or jupiter, you have a bank, then 8 sounds per bank. I like this. I can still search by sound type by holding a few buttons and getting into the options so all that is still there as well. you get 512 rom, and 512 ram sounds. That is more than enough. I hate when “ITS TOO MUCH”, when it comes to presets. The total control is cool for editing sounds and organizing stuff, but I do not like how it sounds over usb. I still love the way the virus stuff sounds being run through an old mackie mixer. Oh, and the presets are actually good on this virus. Its pretty small, easy to cary around, because it comes with its own carrying case. This is a great sound module. I give this a 5 out of 5. A must have. Its affordable. Click Here To hear the snow demo I made.
I’ve had it for over a week now. What can I say? I think it is a lot louder, bigger, and fatter than the mfb dco I have. It pairs up very nicely to it. What it does do better than all the others is tracking the keyboard and staying in tune(update: the rs95e is a tad better at tracking). So I find this a lot more musical. Hey, before I go any further, I have to say that the pwm on this is the best. Better than any of the other units I have used. There is a pwm saw as well that I really like. Kind of like the old alpha juno. This does those wicked animated leads when you use pwm. It can sound really buzzy and alive and thick. The sync sounds it can make are huge and my favorite so far of any of the oscillators I have used. The square waves on this are godly. I have never used the cwejman vco-2rm, so I have no idea how it stacks up against that oscillator. This is a very stable VCO. That can sound huge. I think the triangle and sine waves on the vco-6 are really good, but I must say that the plan b model 15 sine wave is a tad better. Why did I end up choosing this over the rest? Because stability is the thing I desire the most. I wanted something to cut in the mix and stay really musically IN TUNE with the other gear I have. I had a lot of trouble with oscillators before the vco-6 and mfb dco. My leads would sound like massive detuned trance leads because the tuning and stability of the model 15 was all over the place. I like to have control over the detuning, with the vco-6, I have complete control. It does what I say. It is well behaved. Some people hate this. I love it. The tone is kind of clinical. People say it sounds like roland vco. I compared it to my sh-2. The sh-2 was pillow warm and softer. The vco-6 is like a razor, clinical, and cutting, but still fat enough for most bass duties. I would say over all that the VCO-6 does remind me of roland a bit. But it’s so clean compared to roland stuff. I think it is in it’s own class. I can see the roland comparison, but honestly, it is it’s own thing. Unique in its precision and cleanness. I give this a 5 out of 5.
Pros= Many inputs and attenuators, a switch for dc and ac on fm input 1. Can double as a LFO(It cannot go as slow as some others, more like a moog lfo). 2 pwm inputs, 2 pwm attenuators, 3 fm inputs with 3 fm attenuators, octave switch + fine tune, sync input. The build quality knobs and jacks are so much better than anything else on the market.
Cons= In some cases too clinical. Lacks a bit of warmth and filth(this can be good or bad), not vintage sounding at all.
Here is a little demo of the VCO-6 that I put together, just going up the keybaord on each voice output. At the end I mess around with all the PWM modes. Right Click Here, to save as an mp3. HEY, all you VCO-2RM owners, you can use this to compare the sound to your oscillator if you are still on the fence. Hope this helps. PEACE. hexfix93.
The moog freqbox, a versatile fx pedal unit that can be used as an oscillator in a modular synth setup. When I first plugged them in, I noticed how huge they sounded. How alive. They reminded me of the older moog stuff, like tarus pedals and model d minimoog. With two, the oscillators would beat and sound pretty vintage. These things are FAT. The biggest. The sync sounds were so mean and huge, it would make my whole house shake. I ran these into my doepfer custom eurorack filled with rare boutique modules. I loves how the moog oscillators sounded through the polivoks filter the most. I prefered these oscillators for BASS duties. There is this warm beef that you get in the 60 to 200hz range on the low end of the frequency spectrum. No other synths and oscillators can pump this style of sound out. These pedals really did sound more vintage to me than the little phatty and the new minimoog voyagers. They had plenty of high end frequencies which I think are lacking a tad on the newer moog synths.
As far as the tracking goes? Well I ran into a little trouble. But once they warmed up I could get about 3 octaves of stable tracking no problem. Amos Gaynes, one of the techs who works at moog saw my initial comments on the tracking that I posted a while back, and offered to modify them so they would track better. After the mod, they did better. This is how great the customer support is over at moog music. A couple of things that I think would make these better would be a fine tuning knob for the osc, and if they could be put into doepfer format and make them track a tiny bit better they would put the competition in the modular synth world out of business when it comes to fat big bass oscillators. That would be so awesome. I kind of did not like having two wall warts. I also was not fond of having them on the floor with long cables to my modular, but that is something I could of fixed If i bought a rack mount for the pedals. For synth oscillators, these are the best for modular bass lines. Better than any other modular doepfer eurorack oscillator that I have used in the bass dept. for sure. I still like other things for leads more though.
We did run our guitar through this pedal, and we could get some really strange sounds with it. Something new and different for sure. The sound quality of this pedal is top notch and will enhance any guitar or modular synth rig with ease. You really cannot go wrong here. I give this a 4 out of 5.
Let me start by saying I love my polivoks filter and my malgorithm bit crusher. The Harvestman makes really unique analog and digital modules for the doepfer eurorack modular format. I could not live with out either of these, In fact when I was freaking out over the unstable tracking on my oscillators, I was going to sell my modular system, But I kept going, what would I do with out my custom faceplated Malgorithm and the brutal resonance of the Polivoks filter? Die I think. The Harvestman gave me the real reason to keep my modular, so I could make mean evil sounds, and skin peeling resonant acid sounds(Not to mention he is a totally cool guy to talk to, and yeah, I think he will get his guitar pedals out before Gun’s and Roses gets their new LP out). LOL. I really appreciate that Scott took the time to answer my silly questions.
BE: What is the modus operandi of your company?
Harvestman: Pretending like semiconductor technology advanced along the same timeline where Biff Tannen owns a casino. Recognizing the total disaster of raising a generation of programmers to worship high-level language instead of the silicon that makes it real. Designing electronic music devices with these awarenesses in mind.
BE: What got you interested in making modules?
Harvestman: I wanted a nice bitcrusher module for my modular system but there wasn’t one in active development when I first started playing with patchcords. Around this time I fortunately forgot most of what I knew about software development, starting over with a focus on embedded DSP. I’ve been writing exclusively in assembly for the last two years and my brain is ruined in the best way possible.
BE: Before you did harvestman, did you do anything else with electronics, and what age did you start tinkering?
Harvestman: I circuit bent (casio sk1s exclusively) starting in high school, and years later my work started incorporating patchable external control and explorations into a more fluent reverse-engineering of the instrument. Around this time I stopped the bending and started thinking about standalone devices to continue my work. At the time I was heavily studying music technology in an academic setting, but I wasn’t able to take engineering classes for credit. Now that I look back on it, those two years were sort of like buying time to teach myself enough discipline to produce working circuits, seasoned with some awesomely informative high-level signal processing lectures.
BE: What do you think separates you from the other boutique module manufacturers?
Harvestman: A focus on digital techniques and a healthy dose of iconoclasm? I think all of the designers have something resembling a common goal in that we work to bring new capabilities to a decades-old performance interface. And what awesome work it is. My modular setup that I use for composition and performance contains devices from a half-dozen designers and all those different design laws combine to form a really flexible instrument. There’s no better time to be a modular synthesist, I think.
BE: What void are you filling in with your products?
Harvestman: If there was ever a need for modular devices purpose-built for garbage audio manipulation, I guess I’ve got my slurry nozzle wedged in the void. I’m a discrete-time sleaze vendor.
BE: What is your favorite old school synth?
Harvestman: Probably the ARP 2600, everything you really needed in that decade except for the tape machine. The ultimate suitcase weapon for space jazz freakout. I’d love to try a black and orange one someday, I’ve only had the chance to play with a really beat up grey one. My favorite 80s synth (not counting the SK-1) is the MC-202… it’s like a calculator with a curtis chip inside… amazing industrial design with a good cv/gate interface that’s the perfect companion to a Eurorack system. I don’t have too much experience with vintage gear… too much awesome new boutique stuff out there these days keeps my attention. I’d say that the Buchla 200 series is among my favorites, but the new 200e is really where it’s at.
BE: What was your favorite video game console sound chip?
Harvestman: It’s a tough choice between the Atari POKEY and the Nintendo’s 2A03. I like the former for its unique shift register-based tone generation (the Harvestman Zorlon Cannon uses this technique as well), but the 2A03 has a ton of character packed into its five channels. The pitch glide, 4-bit triangle, “looped noise” mode, and delta-modulation sampling have a very unique sound compared to other game chips, and “real” synthesizers too. Check out the TIA (atari 2600 chip), it’s pretty fun. Like the POKEY’s hydrocephalic little brother. 5 bit frequency register (can’t even get an octave of pitches in tune), and the rest of the chip wrangles a single line of video at a time. Programming the thing to get post-Activision style results is kind of like trying to pull off the solo at the end of “Five Magics”.
BE: What do you think of the psp and nitendo DS music program things?
Harvestman: I have no experience with them, but I think they’re a great ideas (especially the korg thing). I’ve only ever played around with the old music sequencer on the game boy camera cartridge years ago. Klangstabil did a good 12″ using only that.
BE: Most of your modules are indeed digital, however, the polivoks is pure analog, and I must say it is my favorite thing from your company, don’t get me wrong, I love the Malgorithm bit crusher. But honestly what is your attraction to the lofi digital sound?
Harvestman: It’s a unique class of sounds that can’t really be reached through purely analog techniques. I’m a big fan of distortion and other means of severely corrupting a signal, and simple digital processing methods have produced some of the most savage noises I have ever heard. It’s also a really straightforward way to get aggressive and offensive sounds that are at home in outlaw electronic styles like power electronics, the second wave of rhythmic noise, and low-art identity enforcement, all traditionally achieving their ugliness though misapplications of analog amplification. Throwing some digital sacrilege into the mix just makes the ears hurt more and I’m happy to work to put these devices into such hands.
BE: What gave you the idea to turn digital strangeness into CV controllable Frankenstein monsters?
Harvestman: Two things: when I started incorporating gate inputs on some of my bent SK-1s, and also watching an engineer friend work on a project that turned a 2A03 chip into a MIDI sound module. While observing him I learned a bit about microprocessor programming, and how inexpensive ADCs can be used to give digital processors smooth, analog-like control behavior with the correct user interface. Once I acquired some engineering skills I was able to start designing modules that filled large functional holes in my personal system (bitcrusher, loop sampler, etc). Since going into business in fall 2007, my engineering chops have improved but my taste has not.
BE: What are you planning for the future?
Harvestman: Next month I’m moving to Seattle and hiring some help so I can deliver more modules on time. That gives me more time to design new devices, and get these guitar pedals out the door… the second half of the year will be very busy for me. At least 5 new modules coming out this year!
BE: Any new modules you can give us a heads up on?
Harvestman: First of all I’m doing a fully-featured bitcrusher pedal sort of like the Malgorithm. Then, a 4-channel guitar pedal adaptor module (to incorporate pedals into a modular system) with the ability to easily make feedback loops. I’ve also had a neat digital oscillator design near completion for a while, I need to spend a weekend writing some better code for it. I am working with more advanced DSPs for really weird effects you’ve never seen in a hardware modular before. The cooperation with Vladimir Kuzmin will also continue, with interesting Russian synth modules released that defy vintage Western circuit design conventions.
If you want products that mangle sound and get mean and have edge and get really filthy dirty check out just about anything by The Harvestman: http://www.theharvestman.org/. If you want to buy any of this stuff, head over to http://www.analoguehaven.com. In particular the the Harvestman section of AH. AND PLEASE, Tell Analog Haven that you found out about it from Velvet Acid Christ and make him feel guilty for not giving me better deals on stuff, JUST KIDDING. LOL.
Below is the video that got me to buy the malgorithm:
I took it upon myself to interview Cwejman because I need a little bit more information about his products. Well, that was one of the reasons. The other reasons were that I felt that there is not enough coverage about these products and their creators. There are a lot of synth companies out there now making new and interesting analog synthesizers that have their own sound and bring something new to the table. Cwejman makes a full synth and Modules for the Eurorack(doepfer) modular systems. I wanted to pick his brain on a few subjects regarding his products. I seriously am fed up with most magazines that cover this gear. I wanted an even more in depth form of covering and asking questions about this gear that true synth-nerds will understand. I cannot thank him enough for answering my questions.
BE: What sets your oscillators apart from the others? Wowa Cwejman: I don’t know. It’s actually up to users opinion. My constructions are not “copy and paste” from older products (more about it later).
BE:What are the main differences between the Vco-6 and the VCO-2RM. Wowa Cwejman: All my oscillators (S1 MK2, VCO-2RM and VCO-6, so far) have the same stable oscillator core. The VCO-2RM is more a standard oscillator (OK, two in one module + a ring modulator). The VCO-6 has a very different solution for the sine wave (much cleaner as result) and different set of PW modulated waveforms: PWM saw tooth gives a true dual saw detuned effect (for low speed modulation) and a ring modulated effect with modulation with another oscillator in audio range. Pulses are symmetrical in the whole range of pulse width and they are different from the “classic” variable pulse whichis asymmetrical when the pulse width is not equal to 50% (square waveform). The Pulse1 contain more even harmonics (as saw tooth waveform) and the Pulse2 contain more even harmonics (as square waveform) which results in different sounding signals.
PWM pulse 1 with even content of harmonics
PWM pulse 2 with odd content of harmonics (like square wave and even with very narrow pulse width, my favorite) ..and, of course a regular saw tooth and triangle.
BE:Do they sound similar or are they completely different? Wowa Cwejman: I already answered to this question…and yes, the VCO-6 sounds very different (sine wave + all PWM waveforms).
BE:How do the Cwejman Eurorock modules compare in sound and function to your S1 MK2? My ambition was (and still is) to make modules as a compliment to the S1 MK2 (no exact copy of different modules inside the S1). The cores of oscillators are the same (for tracking and stability reason). Filters have also the same “engine”. However, the complexity of my two (so far) filter modules offer much more functions and patching (modulation) possibilities. The transient generators are very different (solution for electronic circuits). Voltage controlled amps are also different; all my vca modules are build around “the-state-of-the-art” integrated circuits for very low noise (dynamics) , low distortion (THD) and almost non-existing DC offset. All vcas are also DC coupled for controlling of DC and audio signals. Below the list of modules where I used those circuits:
and soon VC-FCS (stereo version of VC-FC) and VCEQ-4.
BE:Did you make your systems and modules to cover all the analog ground from the strange sci-fi sound fx to bread and butter synth bass and leads?
Wowa Cwejman: I don’t know exactly how to answer. My ambition is to offer the best I can make and with no focus on a specific “sound”. I’ll here quote Gordon Read from Sound-On-Sound magazine and what he wrote and what also reflect my concept; “The difference is hard to quantify, but seems to me to be one of precision. This is a weird concept, and hard to put into words, but the S1 does exactly what you ask of it, neither coloring nor enhancing the sound beyond what you ask it to do. Curiously, this means that it is equally at home producing the sounds of a vintage American synth as it is the fizzy, squelchy sounds of many Japanese instruments.” BE:I have read that your oscillators track the best for true analog modules. What is your take on this? Wowa Cwejman: All my products/concepts are simulated in computer simulation software. Already om this early stage I can predict the performance of circuits, such as temperature stability, waveforms shapes, frequency, amplitudes..and all other qualities. I usually don’t make any breadboard but “jump” directly to production units. Exception are S1s oscillators; I tested/confirmed the stability in my climate oven from -10degC to +60 degC and which confirmed the result of my simulated temperature behavior of oscillators. The tracking (and especially in the high region of frequency) is a result of a careful calibration and nothing else. I’m a perfectionist and I strive to make perfect calibrated products.
BE:What is your favorite old school synthesizer? Wowa Cwejman: Moog modular, at least back in the 70-th. They are so musical.
BE:Who do you admire most in the synth industry past and present? Wowa Cwejman: Bob Moog (of course) and Wendy Carlos, as his musical adviser back in the 60-th. I’ve no prefered synth-maker right now…well, maybe Modcan guy.
BE:Where do you see the future of analog synthesizers heading? Wowa Cwejman: Integration between analogue and digital (DSP) techniques but still with “analogue” interface. We can already see this process..and MIDI should be replaced by other control interface.
BE:I have been struggling with oscillators in the eurorack format. My main gripe is tracking stability, and tuning stability. I still want growly animated oscillators, but I want them in key and musical as well. I use a kenton pro solo, will these work with the Cwejman oscillators well? Have you tried these, and what do you recommend for midi to CV? I sequence with computers. (I have done extensive midi timing test on PCs and macs and have found that Logic 8 with a AMT8 has the least amount of midi jitter, as you might tell, I am a bit OCD about calibration and tightness as well).
Wowa Cwejman: I’m not an expert in MIDI matters but Kenton products should make the perfect job, as long all gears match (1 Volt/octave). I don’t own any MIDI to CV converter. I use my own from S1 for calibration. I’ve no experience with computer based MIDI stuff, sorry.
BE:What old gear do you own, You spoke so highly of the old moog modulars, Do you have one? Wowa Cwejman: Nothing! I even don’t have my own gear because all I produce is ordered. I’m not a musician.
BE:So, for a Cwejman marketing slogan, would this be a good way to sum up what your company and your products are about? “Stability, Calibration, Perfection” ? Wowa Cwejman: I’ve already one; sound for demanding musicians.
with best regards
I suggest, if this is new to you and you are in the market for a new synth go check out http://www.cwejman.net. There are sound examples of the s1 mk2. I think it sounds pretty cool and unique. He also has many great modules in the doepfer a-100 modular format. Check it out. If you want to buy any of this stuff, head over to http://www.analoguehaven.com. In particular the Cwejman Section of AH. AND PLEASE, Tell Analog Haven that you found out about it from Velvet Acid Christ and make him feel guilty for not giving me better deals, JUST KIDDING. LOL. To listen to the sound of Cwejman Click Here.
I love this modular I have built. This demo shows me what I love about both filters, the bubbly resonance of the harvestman polivoks, into the aggressive cutting sound of the livewire frequensteiner. I recorded this into my mackie onyx, out into the rme fireface 800 into logic, I used a limiter on it, 6db only. The mfb osc is a pwm sound. I could never make this sound on a Future Retro XS. The more I mess with this thing, the more I realize how great the doepfer rack is, how many great custom boutique third party modules are available for this format. Thanks to Analog Haven and the advice of Shawn I have been able to slowly build up a system that really fits my needs and gives me a solid mono synth that is capable of making alien soundscapes and rhythms. No digital synth gave me the bite and juicy resonance on filters like these have. It almost sounds like real water bubbling. Turn this up loud!
I have talked about this filter before in the older reviews I did of this modular. But I found something else that I really like about the SSM a-105 filter. It self resonates very well, and can do a great kick drum that sounds different than a lot of the run of the mill kicks I hear out there.. Not only can this filter give me that glassy 80s poly synth kind of sound ala monopoly and polysix. It can also give me a wicked kick drum. I used a moog freq box saw as the audio source. Lfo on square triggering the gate in on the a-140 doepfer envelope. A-140 env into the SSM a-105 filter cv. If you have a sub woofer, all the better, this thing spits out a ton of bass when the filter self resonates and you close it down. Click Here to Listen to the Kick Drum from the SSM a-105.
Now, an updated review of the Livewire Frequensteiner. This thing kicks major booty! I mean, it can rip, and sound really mean. The best multimode filter in the eurorack format easily. I figured i would show it off a little more. It gets so crunchy and alive and mean. Rips some skin off.. Like a rusty razor. The doepfer A-140 envs are so tight and snappy, i love them in H or M mode to make this acid stuff. The future retro is an awesome CV and Gate Sequencer. I like it for that more than anything else. I pissed off my lizzard with the camera, he wasn’t happy, but it made great video. LOL… any how enjoy this clip! LONG LIVE ANALOG! LONG LIVE LSD(ACID).
Moog Freqbox: Okay, let me start first with the moog. When I first got it, it didn’t scale worth a damn, I had to open it up and calibrate it, even then i only could get about 2 and a half octaves of stable tuning. The plan b was better, but would lose its calibration all together after a few hours. Not the case here, the moog holds it’s calibration. 2 and half octaves is awful. But what makes me forgive it? This thing is huge, big bass, big sound. even if it gets sour, I still love it, its so fat. The plan b and mfb only wish it could sound as fat as this oscillator does. This is not stable enough or musical enough to really hold the fort. To me this is the perfect add on to something more stable to fatten up bass lines and kicks. I have not used it as an FX processor, but man this thing can crazy modulate other stuff great, and a nice big frequency knob to boot, something most of these modular modules do not have.. I like the moog a lot, but i sure wish it tracked a little better. A great addition to a stable modular system.
Okay now onto the Harvestman Polivoks filter. Wow. The resonance on this thing is great, it can rip your face off. I love it for aggressive acid sounds, a new flavor. Its not moog, its not roland, and its not korg. It’s something new, even though it’s old. I’ve never even heard a filter that sounds like this before. The sound still stays big, even with a lot of resonance. This is what the original minimoog did well too, but its smooth, this is mean, and rough, and aggressive, much different. The bandpass is ok, but i prefer the bandpass in the livewire frequenseiner. This is the perfect addition to my ssm and livewire filters. I highly recomend this!
I am set on filters. This gives me evil acid. SSM gives me the girthy glass 80s chip sound. And the frequensteiner gives me a great band and high pass, bland if you don’t saturate the inputs, but if you push the filter with a big sound and drive it hard, nothing beats that high pass. On the oscilator front, if and when the livewire AFG comes out, i will probably pick one of those up and an analog systems r95. This will get me by for now. Its big, and the demo I made shows that off.. Hope you enjoyed this video and review. Peace out.. A fellow gear whore.. hexfix93
Updated, high res hifi divx version of the sh2 futile demo..
Ok, i made a video of the sh-2 using the riffs from futile to show off the sh2., i love this synth! I don’t need a moog, when you have a sh-2, you will never need one. Rolands are the heart and soul of VAC. I HEART ROLAND! well, old roland..
The good: Click Here to listen to the mfb osc-01 in action, first sound is osc sync bass through the ssm filter, 2nd sound is pwm sync detuned lead through the frequensteiner high pass. This thing sounds great for a dco, I can get good bass and pwm and sync sounds out of it really easy. It’s pretty stable, I had to calibrate the tracking for intonation. Once I did, I was able to get 4 good octaves out of it, and it was stable. Better than any osc in this doepfer rack stuff I have tried so far (only plan b). It’s a great deal, 3 oscillators for about 220 US dollars. I got it used for 170. I would compare this to an alpha juno oscillator on steroids. Since the junos don’t do sync sounds it gets hard to compare there. The saw is ok, but it’s the pwm that really shines on this. When using all 3 oscillators, it always sounds like a polysynth in unison. This oscillator shines when played down low or in the mids.
The bad: The output volume is bad on the combined output, and a little bit better on the individual outs, but this thing is not nearly as loud as my plan b oscillators. But they get the job done. It is not quite as fat as the plan b, especially the SAWS. The saw is strange on it. If i have set on 16, osc 1 and 2 the signal gets really weak on the c0 octave when controlling it from my kenton pro solo via midi, but only in saw mode. Osc 3 does not have that problem at all. It sounds strange up high, and I think I can hear some aliasing, not sure, but something strange when I play way up on the keyboard. So I think this osc is sub par on high leads.
Final Word: If you want to add some alpha juno oscillators into your modular rack, this is the ticket. It doesnt do as many wave forms as the alpha juno, but the sound is similar. This does OSC SYNC, and its great. It does all those buzzy techno sounds similar to the alpha juno. It sounds very 80s roland, dco that is. And I am a huge fan of the junos. This is a great buy for me.
In my modular, the plan B model 15 oscillators failed me, is not stable enough for my tastes. I simply got tired of having to calibrate the keyboard scaling every time I turned the unit on. Oh well. I am very glad to say that Shawn of Analog Haven and I worked out a deal to work this out. I still want a plan b model 09 though. Plan b is good, I think I just got a couple of sour modules.
What am I replacing the model 15s with? MFB OSC-01 triple DCO oscillators that sound more like a juno 106 and sh-101 but super stable and scale almost perfectly. DCOs are great, but do lack a little warmth and lower frequencies. Not to worry, I will add a Moog Freq Box that will work just like any oscilator in my rig, controlled with cv. This is an oscillator from the minimoog voyager. This will fatten up my dcos nicely.. The voyager oscillators track great so i should have no problem. THIS DEMO of the Harvestman Polivoks Filter is mindblowing. I love my bitcrusher from Harvestman. In fact that is what kept me from selling off the modular. That polivoks sounds simply amazing. WOW. A while back I used to layer my juno 106 and micromoog together and would get huge sounds. Now I will have that with better filters. I cannot wait to get all this.. I will post reviews of it once I have it for a week.
What can i say. Click here! to go to the future retro web site where you can listen to mp3 clips of this amazing synth! Amazing. 303? well, sort of, but in my opinion a lot better at some things, i prefer this for bass, it has a meatier tone to it over all as to where the 303 is a tad more nasal sounding and rubber bandy sounding tone. The revolution has a thicker tone, i’ve used both a 303 and a revolution now, for the chicken squak type 303 stuff it can get close but not 100%. But who cares, because honestly i think comparing how the 303 is actually inferior to the revolution is more important, i would rather own the revolution over a 303 and that is really saying something to me. The modern midi and layout is way better on the revolution, so easy to use once you read the manual. I love the roland acid sound, and i think future retro has gone a little beyond the standard old school sound with this synth. For the money you cannot beat it. It’s awesome. I also use the sequencer via cv into my sh2 and modular, wow now that kicks major butt as well. I can use it as a synth or a sequencer to control things via cv gate or midi out. Really cool. I use this on my emiliy autumn remix for the fast arp lines. I had it sequencing my sh2 and my jupiter 8 in that remix. It syncs up well with midi clock, and i can track it right in through a distressor, and wow, its pure magick. I could not live with out this synth, i would rather sell my vintage gear than part with this, and i don’t say that lightly, that is how great i think the sequencer and the synth sounds are in this thing. Also, this thing sits in the mix well i laugh when i hear a VA or software synth try and pull this sound off, nothing beats real analog resonance, nothing does, and this has it, it cuts amazingly and really can help drive the song with tight sequences, i used this extensivly on my remixes with stellar results so far, and it is now the back bone of my studio. I used it to back bone my Mortiis remix, my brain leisure remix, my emily autumn remix, and the nine inch nails remix. Future Retro also has a new semi modular synth comming out called the XS. I will buy this as well, I cannot wait to get my hands on it… I will write up a review for it once i get it. Below is a video of me using the revolution in the nine inch nails remix i did. check it out!:
Oh, and i all most forgot, Right Click Here! And select save download, to download an mp3 of the NIN survival remix i did over this summer, It really shows off the revolution in high quality. Enojy.
Ok, after a week of messing around with it. Wow. it has a lot of pluses. It has that low end of the moogs. The filter sounds very moog like, but i do have some complaints that i will get to later. The oscillators are big and fat and sound kind of like the voyager.
It has one modulation matrix, only one modulation tho, which I think really sucks all things considered, way to limited, should allow to rout to multiple destinations, and it doesn’t. not from what I can figure out any how. The mod wheel setting is not remembered by patch storage(the mod wheel controls the amount of modulation for the modulation destination), which i think is sad. This is 2007 for crying out loud, why on earth did they choose do to it like this? So every time i pull up a patch that relied heavily on modulation, i have to guess where i had the mod wheel set to. This is annoying, and I cannot stress it enough how irritating I find it. I like to run synths live, and if I want to program change to a new patch that relies on the mod wheel setting I’m crap out of luck. talk about a bummer. My old juno 106 never gave me modulation bs like this and that synth came out in the early 80s.
Ok. the sound. For certain types of bass, it rocks, its really warm and fat. Envelopes snap good, and the over all sound in this area is really nice. Now, if I open up the filter, the sound is well, NOT VINTAGE. IT lacks this high end frequency information that my micro moog, and my sh 2 have. and I know the original minimoog had this high end presence as well. This synth and the voyager do not. It irritates me a little, I have to add a lot of high eq just to get it to sound ok on some sounds, and that is no real fix either. but honestly, its still really usable compared to anything digital. its so fat.
Lets get to the resonance on the filter. It lacks spit, wetness, and high end frequencies that my jupiter, micro moog had. It has this duller resonance compared to some of my other older vintage pieces, but I have managed to get some good resonance bass out of it actually. I am changing my mind more and more as I program this thing.. (UPDATED) I posted resobass mp3s below, new!
So despite those complaints, I do like this synth, It can cover some ground, but for leads, the lack of high end really makes it sound kind of dull compared to a real old moogs. for certain bass sounds, I really like it. I can get great sub bass, and those woody wormy aggressive non wet bass sounds of the mini and micro. And I can get good resonance bass with snappy envs like most moogs. The midi is nice, and I really like the action of the keyboard, it responds well to playing fast.. and for me thats great.
I’ll use this synth to thicken up the low end on my tracks when ever it needs it. and for that, this is a great synth. But do not expect it to replace anything vintage, it most certainly does not do that.
The interface is great, no stepping on the knob movements, cool lights to show you the ballpark of where the knob once was kind of like the nord 3. Very cool. It is so easy to edit sounds and get your head around this if you have used any old analog before. a button for anything you want to edit, and the knob above.. very good. I can honestly say that with the filter over drive, and the tight sound, I do prefer how simple it is to edit and get great sounds out of right away, vs the voyager which confused me with its new stereo filter that i didn’t care for at all. They added sample and hold and noise in the latest os update. there are a few hidden menus that you need to figure out. they added per patch pitch bend and filter pole controls per patch now, and this really helps. the filter poles can give you that 303 or arp sound pretty well. this gets me the moog sound I wanted without breaking my bank account. I like this ok, I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
Kenton pro solo: Amazing midi to cv converter, its tight, real tight with logic sending it midi. i like the portamento and other things i can get out of it.. very good, worth every peny, also can do extra cv modulations with the aux out jack.
doepfer a-105 ssm 24db low pass fitler: The resonance is kinda weird just like the monopoly, but great for scifi zaps and weirdness. And man, when i do osc to the filter for fitler fm, holy smokes, crank the resonance, mess with the freq of the model 15, mes with the frew of the fitler, oh boy, 60 sci fi galor, so far my favorite. Amazing. But for bass duties, its nice and fat, and i can get it pretty aggressive. Much fatter than the frequensteiner in lp. So for me this is a must have. Shawn at analog haven told i would love this on bass. he was dead on.. Very smooth and aggro, kinda moog, but not really. more like a monopoly but with snappier envs on the doepfer. very cool. i would buy this again if i lost it.
doepfer a-137 waveshaper: Kind of boring to me, just not drastic enough. Cool for drones and weird textures, but honestly its not to my liking at all. to vanilla. i expected much more. takes a lot of valuable space, i might keep it if i had two racks. but all i have is one, and it didn’t win me over enough.
doepfer a-118 Noise/random: wow, i love the colored noise on this module. and the random voltage thing is kinda neat as a modulator on my filter and other things. nice.
doepfer a-138 mixer: Wow this sounds decent. if you over drive this past 7, it gets pretty aggressive, great for the kind of music i do. nice..
doepfer a-131 VCA: Again decent sounding, and man if you go past 7, it gets real mean. i love it..
doepfer a-143 quad lfo: nice to have 4 lfos, i like the speed switch, this goes real slow and nice and fast. i love it. better than most synth lfos i’ve had. Can go real fast in the high mode, fm audio. nice…
doepfer a -125: this is the best phaser i’ve ever had, and i haven’t had many, makes the phaser in the virus ti sound like a toy..can sound real thick and heavy, very psychedelic. wow. this will make my psy trance tracks kick major butt..
doepfer a-188-1 1024 bbd: Very cool short delay that does chorus and flange ok, not the best i’ve heard, the modcan sounds the best so far. but for strange detuned rubber band delay modulation sci fi weird stuff, this thing really rocks, but it makes me wish i had room for the 188-2 instead.. hrmm… still really good for the money.
a-140 adsr: Very snappy. i mean this thing handled my 160 bpm bass duties at 16th notes very well. better than most stuff i have owned. i have not tried to make kick drums yet or other percussion, so i don’t know how well it does there. but for bass and leas, out standing fast poppy envs. i have not messed with the other speed settings other than the m. and that suits my needs so far. i got two of these. and man, i’m loving it…. so fast tho, they can pop, you have to mess with the attack and release a tad, but man. it snaps..
1-180 multiples: what can i say, they split the multiply a signal by 3. awesome. does its job well. i get 1 in and 3 out x2 per module, i got 2 of these..
Livewire Frequensteiner multimode filter: i saved the best for last. what can i say, this thing is aggressive, and man, it is simply the best multimode filter i have ever owned. The low pass is very aggressive, as is the bandpass, and the highpass, but man, the high pass is the best on this filter. it hisses and bites and cuts in a mix so well, i cannot explain how much i love it. But honestly i really like all the filter modes a lot. if i push the audio input past 7 or 8, it over drives and gets really mean, i mean super pissed. AMAZING. This thing is worth every penny, i love the knobs, and the nice big frequency knob is much loved here. What other multimode filters have i owned? nordlead, jp8080, virus up to the ti, the jupiter 6, the andromeda. This thing is sick, i mean so great, i cannot rave bout it enough. This is now my favorite synth filter ever. Even beating out my love for the minimoog and jupiter 8 filters.. i’m just into that aggressive exciting sound this thing gives me.
I sold my roland jupiter 8 for this: i am not looking back, i love the old vintage lush instruments. but i needed something with more balls and bite and aggression, i got it. What i am able to pull of with this is amazing seriously mean bass and leads, that cut on all frequencies of the spectrum. And all the strange ufo sci blips and beeps that modulars are know for as well. This doesn’t sound vintage, it has its own new sound, its stable and alive, but very precise and tight. zippy, and responsive. so much more so than i am used to. the modulations in the andromeda were sluggish and oogy, this is lightning fast and responsive, just how i like it. I am so glad that i took this big step. Sure i have some issues with the implementations on the the plan b model 15 with its pwm strangeness, but other than that, i love it all. I took back my virus ti and vsynths because they just didn’t cut into my analog drum machine and monosynth dominated mixes. This thing does. it can get in there with my sh2, and future retro revolution just fine. as to where my virus would sound all faint and wouldn’t cut, even with the high pass, it would kinda get lost and not stand out. that is not a problem here with this system. This is why i love analog so much more in the kind of music i make, i need stuff that has presence in the mix. digital doesnt. ANALOG DOES!
I bought it all from http://www.analoghaven.com .. please if you do buy stuff because of these sound demos, tell them that you heard the clips from velvet acid christ and read this review. I want a hook up for getting him business. I’m addicted to this modular stuff, and i need all the help i can get now.. :) Shawn really is the one who help me build this system. He and i go way back. I’m so glad his store exists now. really helped me out here. i’ve been lusting after a fat system with a multimode filter for years. I FINALLY HAVE FOUND IT.. i’m so happy..
I finally got my attenuator. Now i can use the PWM on the plan b model 15. So i made some basic growly pwm osc lead and bass pad patches and showed off the ssm filter i got as well and the frequenstiener.
this is the model 15 pwm into the ssm lowpass filter. basic sweeping of the filter. pretty big if you ask me. model15pwmssmlp.mp3
Same as above but with the frequenstiener in lp. but the lp on this is not as fat as the ssm, its more noisy and aggressive. notice my horrid bad live playing :) ouch. talk about slop. ehehehe model15frequensteinerpwmlp.mp3
Warning, this will blow your ears loud heehehehe. model15 pw out into filter in on ssm filter with resonance all the way up in self osc. then mess with freq on the model 15, and the freq knob on ssm to get outer space ufo 60s sci fi sounds. this filter does it the best, much better than the frequensteiner. Let’s hear a digital synth modular or not sound like this, not a chance in hell. never.. model15ssmfm.mp3
these are all recorded directly into my rme fireface 800… nothing else..
Best poly synth ever made. versatile. pretty metallic bells, searing leads, warm lush pads and strings, creamy soft sounds, hard phasing sounds, industrial ambient, techno, you name it, it can do it, but in a very pleasant way that no other synth can. I can even get damn good bass out of this thing.. its like a juno 106 on massive steroids.. i will never part with this synth, it is simply amazing.. i’m so happy to finally have one after all these years of lusting for one.. The filters, wow, the resonance, wow, the high pitched pretty sounds, wow. i am in love, and yes, this is now my favorite synth of all time.. And yeah i kinda think the limitation of 16 for the osc on the jup8 really is stupid, but not enough to make me not love the jupiter 8 as my all time fav poly. and if you need, you just put the sh2 and the jup8 together in a layer, and its simply amazing the end result, the syrup of the jup 8 filter with that raw fat sh2 tone under it.. WOW..
The jupiter smashes the mks 80 in the face when it comes to smooth sounds that are very musical. It is liquid, watery, acidic, and snappy as hell, or long and evolving.. what makes the jupiter 8 really kick butt, is layering 2 patches, then messing with the arp, it is the king in that regard.. I think the mks80 sounds really chippy, its good but not vintage. The jup 8 sounds discrete… jup 8 with an sh2 will rule the analog universe, well, and a jupiter 6 for multimode filter stuff. Open filter bread and butter stuff? where i notice the real big huge differences is in resonant sounds, sweeps, and things like this, the jupiter 8 clearly wins here, it smashes every synth in this category in my opinion. the warbly nature of the osc, and the watery filter that sounds like candy syrup, the jupiter 6, the mks80 don’t even come close. the juno 60 sort of does but it does sound different, not as aquatic.. + no unison. Heavy sync sounds for arp lines with the filter being acidic, this is where the mks80 only wishes it could stand up to the might of the jupiter 8. layer 2 of these types of patches and tweak em differently, whoa it’s like the world is crashing down. and also, i love tweaking the hell out of my synths when i am tracking, and man that sucks with the rack synths. the jupiter 8 tweaks real smooth, and this is another reason why i pick it and my sh2 over any mks80. cost a tad more, but sounds a million times better. i hate chip oscillators, unless its from the junos… If you are a unison freak and need the power to detune to your liking, and like open filter fat huge sounds, the jupiter 6 and mks80 are the way to go. If you want resonant sounds, sweeps, arp lines that get very wet and mean, and watery, pads that shimmer with that watery filter, really bright metallic sounds from sync and from the filter. the jupiter 8 is the pure winner. The osc on the jupiter 8 are just so much smoother and open and perfect sounding compared to the chips in the jupiter 6 and mks 80..Yeah, the jupiter 8 is fat, but not in bass sounds, it does fat poly sounds, and fat leads…The only reason it isn’t bass fat, is because of the 16 limitation on both osc, and no sub osc.. My junos are fatter for bass than the jupiter 8, but because they have sub oscillators that go down to 32.. or 44.. heheheh I use the jupiter more for poly sounds than for bass. like i said, the best bass comes from mono synths, minimoogs, white faced arp odys, roland sh2, sh09… best unison bass is prolly the mks80, because the envs are snappy enough and it has a bass boost on it… so for unison bass, the mk80 is the synth to get…
Another thing i think makes the jupiter 8 blow the mks80 away, is the 12db filter setting, throw it in 12db, and man it slices and dices, gets very aggressive and cutting. I prefer to make my bass patches in 12db, it sounds tighter, mean, and ripping.. Sure its not ultra fat, but man it sticks out in the mix just right, and is very usable.. I prefer it, because the jupiter 8 is an arp machine. big fat sounds don’t arpeggiate as well.. But present ripping, cutting, gritty sounds do arp well, and that is what the 12db filter gives you.
I owned a virus a back in the day. But now i have this virus c, has killer reverb, and the internal banks finally have great presets that are very varied. this thing does pads and string much better than the virus A ever did. more filter saturation settings, and with the new os i get moog filters that add an entirely different sound to this beast that even further sets it apart from the b and the a and the other virtual analogs. Vas are only as good as their built in fx, and the phasers and the verbs and delays prove this thing is the king of the hill. The osc is kind of weak, but the filters rule, simple great digital filters. I no longer have a need for a jupiter 6 because of this synth… i love the high pass and bands pass leads i can make with this thing, it does everything, great bass, agressive sounds, fx, pads, ambience, in your face, soft, mean, mellow, trippy weird. you name it. It is now my favorite digital synth ever made. I compared this to all the soft synths including the korg legacy, and this thing destroys all computer based VAs, it smashes them to little pieces. But still, it pales next to my Real Analogs for in your face sounds. The virus still aliases a bit, sounds great in the middle a tad iffy up high and down low. This thing is designated to filling in the cracks after my real analogs are in the mix. A jupiter 8, sh2, and moog through my ksp8 will eat this thing for lunch.. Virus C kicks the andromeda A6 in the ass hands down!
Great drum sounds for dance, this is a dance box, and it is very easy to start dance songs on this, i don’t use the internal seq, but for bips and bleeps, and 303 and 101 like acid distorted lines it works great, also has those de tuned lead sounds for trance. not bad, but i prefer my other synths for synth sounds.. I got this thing for instant gratification trance and dance drums. pretty good. decent fx too. warm sounding and punchy as hell. cool gear..
Well the pads must be broken in, make sure you get the newest os update so you can adjust the pad sensitivities to your liking. AWESOME. it has a flashable rom in it, so you can flash your own sounds into the rom, so you can make your own presets that load very fast automatically when you turn the unit on. saves so much time, with samplers its all about load, save.. takes so much time, set this one up once, and its instant gratification over and over again like a drum machine should be. I upgraded mine to 128mb of ram which is plenty, this is a one shot sample playback, drum machine sampler, its not meant to make keyboard maps, buy a emu for that. this is for drums. and drum loops. easy to get files off my pc. i re did all my drum kits from all my old drum machines and samplers in this thing and have them set up as presets. the pads are ultra responsive and very expressive. loads .wav files, usb connect to the pc for file management and import of any .wav drum sounds or fx. Ultra tight envs, and punchy like a drum machine should be! bitchen…. a permanent piece, i will never ever sell this thing. my ultimate industrial drum box. its a portable sampler to boot, not big, perfect size. sampler quality is pretty good too, i like the dacs better on this than the s5000 i had.