I'm so underwhelmed.

I just got an email from Perfect Circuit, saying that one of the RAR KARP 2600 FS UBERKOOL "limited" synths (plus stamped-out-of-dried-jello "road" "case") CAN BE MINE!

Nice. Uhhh...OK, so I needed to allocate space and budget for this about...ah...10 months ago. As in, when it actually came out, it should've been available THEN if Korg wanted my money. Not now. Not after I've completed the purchases for the studio with the sole exception of an ARP 2600...from Behringer. For a lot less. With no worries about availability. Or having to fight for one vs the people who Korg "decided" that should get one. Or a roadcase that makes it "special" while being utterly useless otherwise.

I reiterate: someone (or several someones) over in Hamamatsu needs to be chucked into a padded room and shot full of thorazine. Screw those bastards. I don't like giving Uli my money, but if they're going to step up where Korg massively stumbled, well...

Hi Lugia,

Ha, ha, well... after 10 years or so, perhaps you can then smile about it, for now... take a very deep breath...

And let's wait for the 2600 from Behringer to come out and have it tested at our local dealers. My local dealer updated the availability of the B2600 from March 2021 to early January 2021, so it's a not too long wait any more, I hope...

Kind regards, Garfield.

A fellow banana plug junky I chat with is picking up one of the Korgs. Way too rich for my blood, so I'm very interested in the Behringer too.

Inscrumental music for prickly pears.

I wanted an Arp 2600 until the shortage and high prices drove me instead to just build my own modular setup. I tried an MS20 and cheaper ARP 2600 and was not impressed. Much prefer my own modular build now.

I still like the MS-20, frankly. Over the years, I've had four...two were the original version 1, with one of those being bought new back in 1980, and the other two are sitting on the other side of my studio right now, with those being Minis. You hear a lot of hot poop about how the Mini doesn't sound right, etc etc etc...

BUNK! What they sound like is a NEW MS-20, and NOT one that's been sitting around for 40-ish years. You have a lot of "VITNAGE RAR W0W"-types who claim that the Mini doesn't sound like it should. But lemme tell ya, if you went back in a time machine and unboxed a virgin, straight-from-Hamamatsu '20, it would sound EXACTLY like an MS-20 Mini. No lie.

Granted, yes, a proper modular is always better. But there ARE things that the MS-20 can do that modulars CANNOT. For example, that screwy input section that most people ignore. The idea was to offer a pitch-tracked input channel...but like Korg's other contemporary pitch-tracking device (the X-911 "guitar" "synthesizer"), it was utterly useless for that. BUT...that input section is made of pure, uncut ABUSE POTENTIAL, and a certain Mr. Richard James found that if you feed it UNpitched material, such as a TR-606, you make the MS-20 GO BERSERK with just a little bit of patching. If the TB-303 is the "lead" for ACIEED, then the mangly MS-20-processed drums is its complimentary backbeat.

Unfortunately, Korg continues to screw up...I just saw some demos of their new sequencer, and frankly, I thought it was a trainwreck. It might have ample connectivity, but it was obvious to me that certain parts of the sequencer implementation are not as intuitive as they need to be. It was like Korg was trying to either build a Beatstep Pro or a Polyend Seq, and wound up creating both...and yet, neither! Pft.

Agree with you Lugia and the MS-20 mini that I played around with in a shop a few years ago was fun and I actually liked it better than the KARP Odyssey and 2600 there. Now what are your thoughts on the Korg SQ-64 sequencer? That one looks interesting but I prefer in rack modular sequencers. Anyways, as I have fallen down the modular rabbit hole now, I've been more focused on developing skills and music there. My Richter Anti-Oscillator and Dual Borg Filter get me the best of both worlds with cross between MS-20 and Buchla sounds so all good. Still, at some point after I have a larger studio space, would not mind adding a Korg MS-20 to my setup.

The SQ-64 doesn't get me all that excited, tbh. It feels more like Korg's playing catch-up to everyone else with it, where there's already a big installed base of Arturia, Polyend, DSI, etc etc sequencers like it out there. And while some reviewers have pointed out that it has more tracks than the Beatstep Pro, that "more" actually amounts to "one", since track 4 on it is a trigger sequencer that only puts out 8 (16 over MIDI) pulse channels. Also, the BSP doesn't involve massive menu diving...and that Korg has one of those ominous, Roland-esque alpha displays on there, implying that it does.

The vibe I get from this is that it likely has something to do with the 2600 mess (three CV tracks, three VCOs...?), as it was intended for release in May of this year, and it would've filled the gap that not having the 1601 Sequencer reissued caused. But whether this indicates that Korg's preparing to drop the "2600 for the 'unconnected' peons" at whatever Winter NAMM 2021's going to look like, or it's just leftovers from that screw-up from 2020, it's hard to say.

Might make a good match for a Behringer 2600, tho!

I agree with you @Lugia,

Was not really that impressed either with the Korg SQ-64 sequencer and I ordered a new Harvestman Stillson Hammer Sequencer and WMD Metron as I like in rack sequencers better anyways now that I have plunged down the rabbit hole of modular.

Yep...plus, I've been using the BSPs I've got for five years now. And Korg's just NOW coming out with an answer to it? Again, something's rotten in the Prefecture of Shizuoka...I would've thought they'd have been first with this, frankly, given their experience with the excellent Nano series open-ended controllers. And why do another be-all-end-all workstation like the Nautilus when you've got the Kronos out there already...except to sell "new stuff" to the gullible music public?

Winter NAMM (or whatever's going to serve as it) promises to be interesting this year in the Korg booth...I know that quite a few retailers aren't happy with them right now, and if they continue to make mis-steps, they'll start to find their dealers starting to jump ship, sort of like what happened with them c. 1990 and that period where they kept coming out with the SAME synth over and over and over again!

Hopefully Korg can get their act together and quit releasing hot garbage. At least with modular, the companies are smaller scale and cater more toward hardcore synth nerds and enthusiasts.

We'll see, I suppose. Honestly, if they were to reissue something of theirs from the past, I would hope it would be the Prophecy. No one really "got" this synth when it came out in the mid-1990s except for just a few people. One that I know of found that it was nearly perfect as a controller for their Oberheim Xpander...and given the complexity of the Xpander, that's sayin' something! Its MPE capabilities are off the chain, even for TODAY! But Korg felt it was something of a cross between an experiment and a failure (it was supposed to be a monophonic OASYS, actually...even used the MOSS synthesis implementation), so they retreated to "safe" things after that for a while. The Japanese synth companies are funny like that...when they come out with something that really needs exploration beyond what the company thought it was, they tend to think that these products "failed". The most egregious case of this was Roland's TB-303...failed mainly because Roland kept insisting that it was ONLY a bass synth, and people didn't get what it could REALLY do until 1987 and the release of Mr. Fingers' "Washing Machine". Then, even as the prices of the 303 continued on up toward the ionosphere, they kept proclaiming that "We'll NEVER reissue the TB-303"...

...until they did, in several clunky forms that weren't what people really wanted. And I'm NOT counting the MC-303 here; that device is an abortion of its OWN hideous sort! I don't think it's an issue of just "synth nerds", either; if that were the case, we wouldn't see all those people drooling over the Prophet-5/10 reissues. Players want and need things that work, that make sense, and that have loads of possibilities that require exploration, even 40 years on.

You are correct, Lugia. If a synth companies releases a good product, folks pay attention and buy it. Moog makes good stuff and they sell a lot of things. I still have and love my Moog Sub 37 that was my first hardware synth.

I agree generally with the sentiments expressed here!!

Slightly off topic, but did someone mention MPE?

I have an ASM HydraSynth... if you haven't already, check it out. Past the rather too modest presentation is one of the finest synthesisers ever made... imho! not least because it takes all the classic stuff we think we know and puts a new and musically relevant and interesting spin on it all, dismissing it as 'yet another whatever' is a huge mistake.

Oh yeah... the MPE capabilities are crazy, I would be very interested to hear how these compare with the Prophecy as I have to admit the MPE stuff there passed me by completely (not that I was ever lucky enough to own one, but you know).

I am taking commissions for module builds again - finally!! DM for details :)

Tapographic FS or TRADE - whatcha got?

You can find my modular synth album here https://kel-audio.bandcamp.com - enjoy!

Problem is, though, that absolutely NO ONE has come out with a poly-aftertouch keyboard that matches the feel and responsiveness of the CS-80's. I've used the Prophecy, and while it's got a lot going on, the keyboard is more like a typical synth. About the only thing that ever matched the CS-80 feel was the similarly-fussy Prophet T8, and that was only if you'd managed to get a "good" one. And there were plenty that came out of Sequential's factory that weren't "good". But as for the Prophecy, its real magic was in all of those extra expression controls; in retrospect, it's a good thing that it WAS only a monosynth, because even if you were playing the keyboard with the right hand, your left hand tended to stay camped out on those controls.

Oh, you're the first person to think that the new keyboard on the HydraSynth is anything less than absolutely out of this world... what's wrong with it?

I mean I am no expert on keybeds by any stretch of the imagination, but to me, and everyone I have seen play it so far, it's a sheer joy... I mean I am absolutely blown away! In combination with the very well designed and implemented ribbon controller, it's the most expressive keyboard I have ever played, being able to play a chord then push tenderly down with just one finger and hear whatever you set it up to do via the mod matrix is a total revelation! I am sold... 100%!! I totally rate it!! I think it's awesome and I never like keyboards!! It even beats the Linnstrument and the Roli for me - I don't like that rubbery feel!

I am taking commissions for module builds again - finally!! DM for details :)

Tapographic FS or TRADE - whatcha got?

You can find my modular synth album here https://kel-audio.bandcamp.com - enjoy!

There's nothing wrong with the Hydrasynth's keyboard that I know of. But then, "that I know of"...which is important because the reason I don't have one is because I had a particularly nasty encounter with one of ASM's US reps when I dared to ask when I could expect to get the one I'd paid for at Sweetwater three months previous. I immediately changed my order there to an Argon8 after that; I'm NOT going to deal with companies that have Type-A asshats as their user base contacts! I did get to futz with one some time back and I thought the keyboard feel was nice, but I still missed the CS-80's weighting and tab controls to mess with the keyboard response on the fly. Even so, I'd pulled the trigger on one...only to have to go and catch that bullet myself after dealing with ASM and re-aim it toward Modal (who, I should note, DO know how to behave themselves, answer user questions, and the like).

The only thing worse than having a bad implementation of some feature is having to deal with a company that offers you the "experience" of getting verbally punched in the face. I don't give a flying about how amazing the Hydrasynth is, therefore...I'd rather deal with a company that doesn't match their customers up with dysfunctional, screechy people after having dealt with people who have no idea what you're talking about due to the language barriers.

Oh yes, sorry I forgot, you mentioned this before I think. Sorry didn't mean to stir up bad feeling, I just forgot because I am a bit rubbish like that sometimes. Please forgive me.

The reality re. customer support is probably that every company that ever existed has both delighted and disgruntled customers.

It's just where you happen to land on the day I guess? I had a totally different experience, and tbh I expect very little in the way of support, nice when it is there, but I am paying a tiny sum of cash for an awful lot of gear, I really don't expect much beyond a slow warranty repair via the retailer i the event something goes wrong. It shocks me sometimes how responsive some of the tiny Eurorack companies are, and have to kick myself to remember that this is not normal and really quite exceptional!!

Anyway... in that case definitely claiming it as the modern day, new tech, true poly AT keyboard with 8 or 16 full independent voice MPE that hits all the right spots!

It is absolutely outstanding!

Your'e right, the keys are not weighted, but this is not something that bothers me, I prefer to focus on the insane range of very playable aftertouch it offers, (manually controlled slow steady, 20+ second build ups just by pressing a bit and gradually increasing the pressure, per key/voice - errrr- yes please!!!) which can be mapped through the extensive Mod Matrix, CV IO (monophonic AT of course) and polyAT MIDI out into something like Shuttle Control... still got to try this one, but sheesh!!! It's a proper mind bending bit of gear, and so damn inexpensive!!!

Zero complaints here!

I am taking commissions for module builds again - finally!! DM for details :)

Tapographic FS or TRADE - whatcha got?

You can find my modular synth album here https://kel-audio.bandcamp.com - enjoy!