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Reviews Analog Synth

4,5/5

Review of the Baloran The River analog synthesizer

When the analog flows in the stream! 35 years after the release of The Moog Source, the young French company Baloran pushes the concept to the next level. The River, much more than a polyphonic multitimbral analog synth, is made with pragmatism, modesty, talent and innovation. An outstanding musical instrument! read more…

Arturia MicroBrute Review

Genetically gifted! Less than two years after the introduction of the MiniBrute, the MicroBrute has set out to conquer the electronic music world with even more aggressive price and dimensions. But how far will it go? read more…

Novation Bass Station II Review

Nice Little Fatty Introduced in Frankfurt last spring, the Bass Station II marks the return of Novation to the analog world. Let's find out if the brand was able to retain its know-how. read more…

User reviews on Analog Synth products

Great job! What a sound: pleasant, lively, fat or not, nice sound grain –but a small keyboard though (ARP - Odyssey Rev3 (2015))

By Studioliv, 18/05/2018
I’ve used it to play some stuff close to electronica, dunno :8O:
Well, in any case for that kind of music: https://soundcloud.com/studioliv/sets/my-own-tracks :-D
So, it’s used in a home studio alongside a Minilogue and a Slim Patty among other analog devices. I put a Strymon Bluesky right after.

It’s a well-finished product, faders are firm to taste, imo they are to be handled not too fast to keep this resistance on their course. I’ll see how it ages.
Couldn’t be better ergonomically, but that seems quite normal on such a synth that seems to come from another time period. Each fader has its own purpose. The keyboard seems sturdy, though quite kitschy. I think it’s normal to have that sort of feeling with a small keyboard – I have the exact same feeling with the Minilogue. By the way, their touches are quite comparable. If I can, I prefer to play the Odyssey with a separate master keyboard through MIDI.

I was after a sound close to this. I long hesitated before finally getting it. It has no memory bank, can be used as mono or duophonic – I’d even say triphonic depending on the sound – and, most important, its general tuning is not easy to get used to when you mostly work on digital keyboards (just like me until then...).

I first tried the Slim Phatty... A big, nice sound, but not enough vintage-sounding for me – not enough “instability” if I may say. I was after lead sounds comparing to the CS80’s or the Yamaha C1 or C2’s. I tried the Minilogue... Not bad, some sounds react differently when playing legato.
I’ve also tried – and sent back – the Deepmind 12, instead of which I took an Arp Odyssey. Now, the sound is getting close to what I wanted: a lively sound, full of motion that provides grinding bass sounds, no chorus needed and the detune effects really do the job. You really get yesterday’s sound with a certain kind of instability in the sound – which gives it all its charm. Sometimes, when you play, you feel like the “articulations” (a digital age comparison ;) ) start to work between two notes. So you got it, I really had a crush on that one. This video convinced me to get the Arp:


A very simple, “normal” version of this synth – that’s the philosophy behind this model. Making sounds… you just need to get used to the way the knobs and faders react. But it goes quickly, as you have everything under your eyes.

As usual with analog synths, it takes at least an additional reverb or delay, except for basses and some specific sounds. A real change compared with the digital models, really...:-D

Now let’s start with the cons...
I don’t really know, except for the keyboard’s size. Now, there’s a “Full Size FS” version which is twice as expensive than this 2/3 version and delivers the exact same sound. There’s so little in this synth I can find fault with, that I might end up telling you about the problems I found with its bigger brother.

I’ve been surprised by the absence of a MIDI Output. To me, it’s strange to have a synth without it... but in the end, I perfectly understand its lack of necessity on such a model - and, you can still get a MIDI Out when plugging in USB.

Now, its pros:

Everything – it finally matches the vintage sound that i was after.


Now, i’m starting to consider turning against my Minilogue, which I may swap for a Pioneer Toraiz AS-1 one of these days... On the vintage side, this one looks nice, too. But that’s a different story…

I’d sure make the same choice again, and i’m sure to keep it for a good while.
»

Superb! (Korg - MiniKorg 700s)

By Tony Steel, 15/06/2018
Hi all,

I won’t get much into the details as to the Mini 700’s specs, (if you need it have a look at the Mini 700 reviews: https://en.audiofanzine.com/analog-synth/korg/minikorg-700/user_reviews/ )
I’ll mostly develop the question of the Mini 700S’s second oscillator.
I really think this second oscillator makes all the difference – to say the truth i rarely if ever use the synth without it. It doesn’t look like much, but in spite of its limitations it brings so much to the sound.

6 control buttons in all – no more than that.
3 faders, 3 switches and a selector.
- Balance fader: allows to set the balance between both oscillators.
- Pitch faders (Coarse and Fine): two self-explanatory ways to set the second oscillator’s pitch.
- Effect switch : a badly chosen way to describe the activation (or lack thereof) of the second oscillator.
- Long Sustain switch (acts on both oscillators): allows to obtain a very long sustain
- Travel vibrato switch (acts on both oscillators): accentuates the vibrato’s depth
- Selector switch: allows to determine oscillation mode from Duet, Modulator 1,2,3 (which are different nuances of Ring Modulator. (800dv owners will understand) and two noise types (Pink and White)

Bass sounds can be fat or sweet, leads are lush and unctuous, sin waves are sweet and the pink noise is superb. Plus a modulation and detune between both oscillators which provides an incredible natural chorus.

I’ve been extremely lucky to get this for FREE(!) and its bigger brother the Korg 800dv for 200 bucks a few months later – needless to say I’m more than happy with these little wonders.
I got both in terrible states, with nothing working.
But, and that’s where the magic operates, such devices are very easy to take apart and service by yourself, and they’re sturdy both in the inside and outside. All I needed to do was clean them up and, a miracle, they ended up singing like on their first day!
Since that day, I’ve been in love with old Korgs.
They’re stable and accurate, unlike some old Moogs you need to retune.

The most surprising is that while you could expect them to sound the same, they don’t! They feature the same electronics but not the same schematics, and I don’t get the same sounds from one or the other.
They perfectly complement each other.

The 800dv is a dual 700 (or a dual 770), but the 700s is not. I can guarantee that, if it were to be compared with another model I’d go with the 770 or PS900, but clearly not the 800dv.

The only thing I could reproach them is their lack of expressiveness – joysticks and aftertouch only arrived with the Sigma model.
Neither the 800dv or the 700 or 700s featured these.

If you’re handy, there’s a way out using a pitch bend wheel though, and I added one to my Mini 700s – without the switch I added on my 800dv. It’s a bit tricky to do though, and the bend effect is limited to a single tone.

Another thing you could IMO reproach this mini 700 is that I hate function buttons to be right under the keyboard. It’s clearly unpractical, so I redesigned ot for that reason – the keyboard is lowered and the front controls put above (it’s not easy to do, you need to set the electronic cards up inside and replace some cables which are originally too short).
All this comes with beautiful woodwork, giving allure to this keyboard. Included pictures show my Mini 700s before and after I customized it.

As a whole, it’s easy to transport, quick to set up, does not feature any control buttons on the up side, which can be a good thing and allows to put another synth above it, but also a bad thing as it’s not very practical for realtime sound modulation – plus, it sets the keyboard a little high when you put it above another synth, and it will often be the case with a mono synth. I personally use it alongside my Korg PE2000, both work great together.
What about a mini 700s lead solo with the right hand and pad chords on the PE2000 with the left hand? You need to try it to believe it!

A faithful friend I take both on stage and in the studio – and possibly one of the most interesting synths alongside its 800dv sibling.

The Mini 700s is superb!
»

The grandaddy of them all gets young again !!! (Moog Music - Minimoog Model D (2016))

By tinhu, 19/08/2018
If you’re reading this review, you already know the Mini (well, if you don’t, please leave Audiofanzine instantly and go read something else – Garden Design Magazine, Your Horse or anything else non-music-gear-related), so I won’t detail further the various pros and cons that characterize this true legend of electronic sound...

This review will mostly focus on its difference compared with its ancester.

In the past, I’ve owned a 1973 Mini, so i know what i’m talking about!

Out of the box, the magic is already here – it’s a real Minimoog! The machine is heavy, the woodwork is beautiful and the knobs are huge – superb!

When you first plug it in, the Mini requires a few minutes to stabilize, then you start tweaking the settings. Here you are! THE Mini sound as you’d expect it to be! It sounds punchy, vibrates, provides a round, warm sound, so you get everything you like from a Minimoog!

Let’s now get to what this 2016 version does better:
- the keyboard is a Fatar, it may be a little harsher to play than the original one’s but it’s very pleasant to use
- the aftertouch (to be plugged in on the top panel – affected to the filter cut frequency for instance) and its intensity can be set using a small wheel on the top panel (like a lag processor). It’s a great feature which obviously adds a certain expressiveness!
- the same goes for the velocity – great!
- an LFO (triangle or sinus) was added, its switch is located next to the Decay switch and allows to change the waveshape and to change the LFO’s speed. Another knob allows to route the modulation wheel towards the LFO or something else…

What more could be said on the Minimoog? It’s a synth that goes beyond rationality, synth lovers won’t be left indifferent to it – after all others love cars, or stamps, or expensive vintage guitars… No matter if you love or hate it, this instrument has a place in electronic music history!

To me, this 2016 version is particularly advisable to those looking for a Mini! The sound is here (like with its ancestor), and the addition of new features gives it quite a boost! Granted, some will say “yeah, great, but the original’s components are instable, and in the end”: all I’ll tell them is that the said components are now 40 years old and may die out anytime, or at least they won’t work long before they have to be serviced, and the sound qualities of both models (the original and the 2016 version) are objectively almost the same! The rest is just pro-analog nonsense (I’ll mention that I also use VSTs such as DIVA or FALCON to get the best of both worlds).

The price is rather high (almost €4,000, but don’t expect to lay your hands on a 40 year old vintage model much under €5,000). Yes, it’s expensive, but passion has a price so if you can afford it go ahead and you’ll get a legend under your fingertips.
I could afford it and believe me, I don’t regret doing it! It’s beautiful, I love it and I can’t stop playing it! One of the best purchases I ever made!
»

News Analog Synth

Arturia MiniBrute Gets a 2019 Reboot!

Published on 07/08/19
Ultimate Patches Releases 80 New Stellar Patches for the MiniBrute

Feature Articles Analog Synth

The community's favorite analog synths

Published on 12/19/17
The community's favorite analog synths
Today we continue with the top lists of 2017 and the time has come to present the community's favorite analog synths!

Forums Analog Synth

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