Roland MC101 vs MC707

In this video, I compare the Roland MC-101 to the MC-707, as well as give context to other instruments in the category: standalone hardware grooveboxes – meaning machines that let you create multitrack musical performances with drums, synth sounds and even looped clips. Both the MC-101 and the MC-707 have the same core sound engine with around 3600 synth presets and over 600 drum samples and dozens of kits, but the 101 gives you more limited access to changing that sound engine’s parameters and creating your own presets. Other than that, a surprising number of features are equally accessible on both instruments Here’s a detailed walkthroughRead More →

Polyend Preset Anywhere Poly 2 review

Here’s my review of all three of Polyend’s new modules – Anywhere lets you power a modular setup with a regular phone charger – I explore how far this goes; Poly 2 is an updated version of their polyphonic MIDI to CV module with additional functionality, fewer outputs and a smaller footprint; and Preset – a module designed to give you preset-like functionality for eurorack, but also has custom LFOs, a sequencer, and can function as a mini keyboard: TIMELINE: 1:00 ANYWHERE 1:30 mA vs mAh 4:15 Power needs 5:10 Pros & cons 5:40 POLY 2 6:20 MIDI in 7:10 CV outs 10:20 Pros &Read More →

Matriarch vs Grandmother

This video covers two things – first, updates to Matriarch since my original review, and then second, to answer a question I got quite a lot after my review, which is what are the differences between the two? Is Matriarch an upgrade and should you “upgrade” Grandmother? Or are they two different things. Here’s the full video, and there’s a timeline for your reference below. TIMELINE: 0:50 What’s new? 3:20 CV to CC 5:00 Param ctrl 6:15 Bird’s eye vs. 7:00 Grandma pros 8:45 Detailed vs. 9:45 Mod & utils 11:30 Osc & VCFs 14:30 Env & delay 17:10 MiscRead More →

MC-707 Review by Loopop

The MC-707 is a new groovebox from Roland, and it’s coming back in to the game quite strong, with a clip-launcher style workflow, powerful synth engine and time stretching looper. Here’s my detailed review, and there’s a timeline below. TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 0:25 Overview 2:00 Connectivity 2:45 Grid layout 4:20 Scenes 4:45 Track types 5:30 Preset sounds 7:40 Sound design 8:00 Tone engine 14:00 Drum engine 15:00 Sequencing 16:15 Step params 18:05 Clip params 19:40 Step sequencing 20:20 Live looping 22:10 Stretch & pitch 23:55 Sample trim 24:20 Automation 25:50 Pad modes 26:50 Scatter 27:30 Master effects 28:30 Send & return 29:50 MIDI sequencing 30:40Read More →

Korg Nutekt NTS-1 review and tutorial

NTS-1 is a new standalone mini synth from Korg’s Nutekt DIY brand. It’s a small but powerful digital synth that’s based on the same programmable digital oscillator and effects engines that are in Korg’s bigger Minilogue XD and Prologue synths, only this has an additional arpeggiator and digital filter. It’s a mono synth, meaning it can only play one note at a time, but you can still use its effects to process external audio, as it has a line input. NTS-1 arrives as a kit that you need to build yourself. It doesn’t require any soldering and everything comes included and takes less than halfRead More →

Hydrasynth loopop review

Here’s my full review of both the keyboard and desktop versions of ASM’s new Hydrasynth. They have the same synth virtual analog / fm / wavetable / wave shaping synth engine, and the keyboard version has both polyphonic aftertouch and a ribbon controller, while the desktop has pads that are both velocity sensitive and have polyphonic aftertouch. There’s a timeline below as well. TIMELINE:0:00 Intro 1:00 Overview 5:05 Keys vs desktop 7:30 Poly aftertouch 9:20 Ribbon 10:55 Chords 11:35 RGB pads 13:20 Synth engine 13:40 Oscillators 16:35 Mutant modules 22:00 Ring/noise 22:50 Mixer 24:00 Filters 28:50 Amp 29:15 Envelopes 31:30 LFOs 34:25 Effects 38:50 VoiceRead More →

Mimeophon Loopop Review

A brief look at the controls of Mimeophon by Make Noise may make it seem like a simple stereo delay with a filter and reverb, but under the hood are a few features that make it a uniquely sounding and highly-playable feedback-based mini synth. On top of that, its zones feature makes it multi-layer looper, texture builder and “time machine” that lets you progressively zoom out backward in time to previously played audio. Here’s the full video review – see the timeline below: TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 0:50 Overview 3:00 Halo & Color 5:10 Other features 6:50 Skew 7:35 Clock sync 9:05 Ping pong 9:45 FlipRead More →

Loopop ZOIA Review

What drew me to ZOIA initially actually wasn’t its programmabiltiy, but rather the rapidly growing number of interesting community made patches. As I was exploring it, it seemed more appropriate to compare ZOIA to three different product types, or in other words, to explore its pros and cons for three different potential buyer types: People interested in boutique effects pedals, people interested in multi effects, and people looking for a portable environment to develop and use modular patches.   Here’s my full three-part review, along with brief tutorials that show what it’s like to create mutli-effects chains and program “modular” patches on ZOIA: TIMELINE: 0:00Read More →

Critter and Guitari just released the Organelle M – an updated, more portable and powerful version of the original Organelle. This comes shortly after the release of Orac 2 by Mark Harris, an open source platform designed to let you easily create “mega-patches” of sequencers, sound engines and effects, on the Organelle and other open platforms.  Here’s my review of both, showing both their power and limitations:  TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro  1:00 Organelle M vs 1  3:30 Menu overview  4:30 Using patches  6:20 Multipage patch  6:50 Adding patches  7:50 Editing patches  8:05 ORAC 2  10:40 Patch chains  13:00 Other features  14:15 Pros & cons  16:40 A fewRead More →

Matriarch is Moog’s flagship semi-modular synth – with stereo filters, stereo delays and stereo VCAs, four oscillators and a few paraphonic modes, and 90 patch points, there’s a lot of territory to explore and cover. Here’s my full review, detailed tutorial and quite a few patch tips (see full list below as well as in the video’s description):   TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 0:55 Overview 2:15 The different Paraphonic modes 6:00 Round robin mode7:05 Oscillators overview9:50 Mixer 10:45 Filters 14:40 Envelopes 15:50 Split mode 17:20 Stereo delays 20:25 Main LFO 22:55 Utilities 24:55 Arpeggiator 26:00 Sequencer 28:00 Settings 30:00 Patch ideas:30:00 Using velocity and aftertouch 31:00Read More →