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Blue Lantern Dwarf Star or Kilpatrick Phenol?
Old 18th October 2015
  #31
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🎧 5 years
yeah in the end I didn't go for the Dwarf Star because I wanted to be able to grow my system so I found a case that they had built a started system in and that now gives me something to grow. I'm probably in the minority here as I spent all day at Muffs yesterday looking at peoples systems and noticed very few Blue Lanterns in anyone's systems, 95% of them had similar modules to everyone else just in varying sized cases, but I really love the Blue Lantern stuff, I like that it's odd ball and made differently, feels and looks totally different to all the other stuff, the sound is crazy ass weird and off the wall just how I wanted it. I'm actually considering not getting the Moog 32 now and just filling the case with all Blue lantern stuff and the odd Pittsburgh module and using my Analog 4 as a master controller sequencer, just seeing so many people with those Moogs is really starting to put me off, bit hard to make original noise if your using the same gear as everyone else...

If you ever want to sell your Dwarf Stars to me down the line to me I'll be happy to consider..
Old 18th October 2015
  #32
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every bit of synth you hear in this track is me playing my single Blue lantern oscillator and filter by hand, it's on a very slow arp setting and super slow lfo square wave modulation setting and I'm tweaking FM modulation and filter and resetting the arp by hand every bar..

I love the way it sounds nasty..
Old 18th October 2015
  #33
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🎧 5 years
I don't expect to get rid of the Dwarf Star. Every time I've gotten rid of some hardware, I hated myself for it later.

Pete
Old 18th October 2015
  #34
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🎧 5 years
thanks for your thoughts peat, have any other dwarf star owners experienced the ossolator locking up issue? if this is some thing present on all dwarf stars then its out of the running for me as being able to detune osc's is a deal breaker for me however on some dwarf star youtube demos the dwarf star osc's sounded like they were detuning with no problems.
Old 18th October 2015 | Show parent
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sound warrior ➑️
thanks for your thoughts peat, have any other dwarf star owners experienced the ossolator locking up issue? if this is some thing present on all dwarf stars then its out of the running for me as being able to detune osc's is a deal breaker for me however on some dwarf star youtube demos the dwarf star osc's sounded like they were detuning with no problems.
In my experience so far, you can detune it a lot, you just can't detune it a little. It also varies across the keyboard in a strange non-linear way.

Pete
Old 18th October 2015
  #36
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I kinda wish they made the Dwarf Star 'euro' sized so you do what you can do with the Moog 32 and take it apart and rack it up with other euro gear, would have been nice to simply insert that one huge block of an analog synth into a case and then build around it, as it is it's oversized and chunky and needs wooden end cheeks or something to get it facing up towards the user..I'd still love one though...one day maybe..
Old 18th October 2015
  #37
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I do wish I had a recording device of some sort (or a mic adapter for my phone) handy. But let me describe it a bit.

I have a Voyager select. Bottom note is F. Playing the Dwarf Star via CV, the bottom F note is nice and detuned. It gets progressively less detuned until the oscillators lock at G in the next octave. No appreciable detuning until the next C. Then the oscillators lock around G or A in that octave. Then it detunes a bit more until the highest C has an obnoxious beating that is unpleasant. The actual notes where this happens vary, but it's very audible. The effect is the same as turning off a single oscillator, but only for certain notes.

You can also hear it when fine tuning the oscillators. You'll be just about to get into the slight detuning you want, and then it'll lock until you back it out again.

I'm used to scaling limitations on analog synthesizers (every analog has some range over which it'll track reasonably well), but this osc wave locking thing is something I've heard of, but never experienced until the Dwarf Star. It means you have to patch for a small range of notes, less than an octave, and know if you stray outside that, it'll sound kind of crappy.

There may be some adjustments somewhere else on the synth which impact this. I haven't gone through even knob and switch just yet. :P But stuff like this is why I previously said I think the Dwarf Star may be better for effects than really musical stuff. Sure, you can use a single oscillator, and you have the subs you can turn on, but it's not behaving like any other multi-oscillator synth I own.

That all said, I've been manually playing the filter now, envelopes completely off, and it sounds much better (detuning limitations aside). I think this can be made into a much better synthesizer with the addition of a couple eurorack ADSR filters.

It's also fun to explore, but I think there are synths in this price range with more bang for the buck.

Pete
Old 18th October 2015 | Show parent
  #38
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz ➑️
I kinda wish they made the Dwarf Star 'euro' sized so you do what you can do with the Moog 32 and take it apart and rack it up with other euro gear, would have been nice to simply insert that one huge block of an analog synth into a case and then build around it, as it is it's oversized and chunky and needs wooden end cheeks or something to get it facing up towards the user..I'd still love one though...one day maybe..
Yeah. When it showed up, I was surprised at how big it is. For some reason, I thought it would be smaller. It's 8" front to back, 17" side to side (would fit into a rack if they have ears), and a surprising 3" deep. Even with that, it requires an external power supply brick.

Pete
Old 18th October 2015
  #39
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🎧 5 years
It's a cracking looking synth...in all it's carnations..










this next one is mine...



it will look something like this when finished...



just love the look of their gear, so 60's sci fi looking imo..
Old 18th October 2015 | Show parent
  #40
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 ➑️
I do wish I had a recording device of some sort (or a mic adapter for my phone) handy. But let me describe it a bit.

I have a Voyager select. Bottom note is F. Playing the Dwarf Star via CV, the bottom F note is nice and detuned. It gets progressively less detuned until the oscillators lock at G in the next octave. No appreciable detuning until the next C. Then the oscillators lock around G or A in that octave. Then it detunes a bit more until the highest C has an obnoxious beating that is unpleasant. The actual notes where this happens vary, but it's very audible. The effect is the same as turning off a single oscillator, but only for certain notes.

You can also hear it when fine tuning the oscillators. You'll be just about to get into the slight detuning you want, and then it'll lock until you back it out again.

I'm used to scaling limitations on analog synthesizers (every analog has some range over which it'll track reasonably well), but this osc wave locking thing is something I've heard of, but never experienced until the Dwarf Star. It means you have to patch for a small range of notes, less than an octave, and know if you stray outside that, it'll sound kind of crappy.

There may be some adjustments somewhere else on the synth which impact this. I haven't gone through even knob and switch just yet. :P But stuff like this is why I previously said I think the Dwarf Star may be better for effects than really musical stuff. Sure, you can use a single oscillator, and you have the subs you can turn on, but it's not behaving like any other multi-oscillator synth I own.

That all said, I've been manually playing the filter now, envelopes completely off, and it sounds much better (detuning limitations aside). I think this can be made into a much better synthesizer with the addition of a couple eurorack ADSR filters.

It's also fun to explore, but I think there are synths in this price range with more bang for the buck.

Pete
on my VCO there are tiny tiny small screws on the surface of the module that look like they serve a purpose for tuning or scaling one says hi the other says lo...does yours have these.?? and are they for tuning..??
Old 18th October 2015
  #41
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🎧 5 years
Ok. Just cracked it open to check it out.

Yes, it's a PT2399-based delay, so if you wanted modules instead of this, the Synthrotek DLY should be a good substitute.

The thing that takes up case depth is the power/output board. Most of the rest of module appears to be repurposing of the Eurorack boards from existing modules. Note that the delay even has a Eurorack power connector pad, so maybe there will be a module like that in the future. Or maybe BL was thinking of doing one and then didn't bother.

The side screws holding down the panel are self-tappers. The top and bottom are machine screws. The case is just an aluminum box, sized for rack-mount stuff. Might even be a standard offering from some company. The aluminum is reasonably thick.

Pictures here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/psychl...57659568029900



Pete
Old 18th October 2015 | Show parent
  #42
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz ➑️
on my VCO there are tiny tiny small screws on the surface of the module that look like they serve a purpose for tuning or scaling one says hi the other says lo...does yours have these.?? and are they for tuning..??
Those are usually for scaling. They shouldn't impact the beating/locking in a deliberate way, though.

All the adjustments in the Dwarf Star are in the inside due to how the modules are attached to the back of a big control PCB, but I'm sure the same adjustments are available.

Pete

Last edited by Psychlist1972; 18th October 2015 at 08:04 AM..
Old 18th October 2015
  #43
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🎧 5 years
Hmm. Tuned to fifths, the oscillators sound quite good. Maybe that's the real sweet spot here.

The investigation continues. But considering it's 3:30 am, maybe it's time for bed.

Pete
Old 18th October 2015
  #44
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🎧 5 years
lol...that's my bed time most days...I work nights till 3am most days.
Old 18th October 2015
  #45
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awesome job on the tear down and pics, even though I know very little on what I'm seeing it looks well enough put together..??
Old 18th October 2015
  #46
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🎧 10 years
I look at these two modules as very different animals at different price points.

Phenol is designed more for the budding synthesist who wants to get into modular but sees the initial investment hit as too big a plunge. Many people don't question *WHY* they wanted to go modular until they've started down the path -- not necessarily regrets, more "If I was doing this again, I wouldn't do it this way". I suspect more often than not they are seduced by how impressive, busy, and scientific modular looks -- and then they hear someone's great modular demo and think "I can do that too". They then build up their modular using the (good) advice of people on forums like GS and Muffs but come to realize that getting the best out of modular isn't building up the same types of patches you did on conventional synths, it actually requires thinking about what you want to do and understanding grounding, current flow and a host of other things you never had to worry about before. Sure, you can replicate those coveted monos on your modular but what a crazy expensive and roundabout way to do an Polyvox or Synthacon.

The Phenol gives you a taste of what modular is capable of in one box and keeps the price well under a grand. You can then decide if you want to go futher or if you were just falling in love with having a wall of impressive blinking lights with cables hanging out of it.

Dwarf Star looks and sounds to me like something a more established modular guy would buy in addition to their arsenal. Something you can easily separate from the big modular at home and take with you if necessary.
Old 18th October 2015 | Show parent
  #47
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot ➑️
I look at these two modules as very different animals at different price points.

Phenol is designed more for the budding synthesist who wants to get into modular but sees the initial investment hit as too big a plunge. Many people don't question *WHY* they wanted to go modular until they've started down the path -- not necessarily regrets, more "If I was doing this again, I wouldn't do it this way". I suspect more often than not they are seduced by how impressive, busy, and scientific modular looks -- and then they hear someone's great modular demo and think "I can do that too". They then build up their modular using the (good) advice of people on forums like GS and Muffs but come to realize that getting the best out of modular isn't building up the same types of patches you did on conventional synths, it actually requires thinking about what you want to do and understanding grounding, current flow and a host of other things you never had to worry about before. Sure, you can replicate those coveted monos on your modular but what a crazy expensive and roundabout way to do an Polyvox or Synthacon.
This is one place I tend to disagree with folks when it comes to modular.

There's serious value to doing the standard signal path on a modular, especially when you're going for a specific sound. I have a three oscillator Moog 921 clone system (MOS-LAB), with LP filter. Using that alone, without even getting into patching, gets me places no boxed synth bothers to go these days. The sound is unmatched by anything else out there. This is how east-coast style modulars were used for a decade by the performers we consider the greats of the early synth movement.

But then, yes, it's fun to play with modulation and see what else you can do. It's also fun to get into ring modulation, or having a chain of LFOs modulating each other and then doing something interesting.

But I don't get into west-coast style bleep-bloop stuff. That's just not interesting to me. And sometimes, the classic patch really is the "best" from that modular. Anything else is just more fun on top.

In the end, recreating a classic synth in modular form can be less expensive than other synths that come close, and both better supported and more easily modified. My full synth voice in dotcom format, with the MOS-LAB oscillators and filter, cost less than a Voyager, and goes places the Voyager doesn't. The closest out there is a Minimoog D, and those are quite a bit more expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot ➑️
The Phenol gives you a taste of what modular is capable of in one box and keeps the price well under a grand. You can then decide if you want to go futher or if you were just falling in love with having a wall of impressive blinking lights with cables hanging out of it.
I do agree that the Phenol, and other all-in-one devices help take the sting out of starting out. They're fun to have on the desk and to get you going. They're also fun to bring with you. I've seen live performers using devices like these because they're easier to haul around vs. a modular case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot ➑️
Dwarf Star looks and sounds to me like something a more established modular guy would buy in addition to their arsenal. Something you can easily separate from the big modular at home and take with you if necessary.
Agreed here. It doesn't strike me as something you'd start with.

Pete
Old 19th October 2015
  #48
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🎧 5 years
to me the phenol sounds more sweet and liquidly where as the dwarf star is more hard and aggressive.

Which one has more syntheses options? also the dwarf star seams like it would be a bit more simple to use than the phenol.
Old 20th October 2015 | Show parent
  #49
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sound warrior ➑️
to me the phenol sounds more sweet and liquidly where as the dwarf star is more hard and aggressive.

Which one has more syntheses options? also the dwarf star seams like it would be a bit more simple to use than the phenol.
I think the Dwarf Star requires less patching to make sounds but I could be wrong, the Phenol does has that cute dinky sequencer though..

if they were both condensed down to each be a 20hp euro module I'd want both all day long, you'd be feeding one through the other for all sorts of interesting sonic adventures..

I'm about to go collect a nice Pittsburgh module I bought last week from the mail, can't wait to install it and have a play...it's a digital and analog oscillator combined..
Old 20th October 2015 | Show parent
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz ➑️
I think the Dwarf Star requires less patching to make sounds but I could be wrong, the Phenol does has that cute dinky sequencer though..

if they were both condensed down to each be a 20hp euro module I'd want both all day long, you'd be feeding one through the other for all sorts of interesting sonic adventures..

I'm about to go collect a nice Pittsburgh module I bought last week from the mail, can't wait to install it and have a play...it's a digital and analog oscillator combined..
Dang condense it down to a 20HP module....Impossible, but a thought lol
Old 27th November 2015
  #51
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I've gone a bit crazy the last few weeks, supplementing my modulars with some semi-modulars...

my phenol should be arriving today. The list includes the dwarfstar (sold pretty quickly), the erebus, a micromac-d, and something very different, but analog in feel and workflow - the Modor nf-1. I'll try to remember to come back here and post some comments later (fedex says that the phenol should be here by 8 pm, so it might be much later....).

My starting point is very much 'bleep/bloop', though I generally resent that dismissal of non-melodic music. I like to play with sound. I'm not interested at all in finding cool bass/strings, etc - so all comments are filtered through that lens.

I did decide pretty quickly that I did not like the dwarfstar. It definitely has its good points - the raw sound is very good, I think, but ultimately (even though my music borders on noise music on a lot of occasions) I like to start with a sound that is more precise. I found it to be a bit blunt for my tastes. I didn't like the way the delay worked - I find the one on the Erebus to be a lot more fun and useful. The Erebus is such a FUN instrument - perhaps the best value in a synth I've ever found....well, that's all for now.
Old 30th November 2015 | Show parent
  #52
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 ➑️
I've gone a bit crazy the last few weeks, supplementing my modulars with some semi-modulars...

my phenol should be arriving today. The list includes the dwarfstar (sold pretty quickly), the erebus, a micromac-d, and something very different, but analog in feel and workflow - the Modor nf-1. I'll try to remember to come back here and post some comments later (fedex says that the phenol should be here by 8 pm, so it might be much later....).

My starting point is very much 'bleep/bloop', though I generally resent that dismissal of non-melodic music. I like to play with sound. I'm not interested at all in finding cool bass/strings, etc - so all comments are filtered through that lens.

I did decide pretty quickly that I did not like the dwarfstar. It definitely has its good points - the raw sound is very good, I think, but ultimately (even though my music borders on noise music on a lot of occasions) I like to start with a sound that is more precise. I found it to be a bit blunt for my tastes. I didn't like the way the delay worked - I find the one on the Erebus to be a lot more fun and useful. The Erebus is such a FUN instrument - perhaps the best value in a synth I've ever found....well, that's all for now.
Not everyone likes west coast "bleep bloop" non-melodic music just like not everyone likes experimental jazz. It's a preference, not a dismissal to resent.

Pete
Old 30th November 2015 | Show parent
  #53
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot ➑️
Sure, you can replicate those coveted monos on your modular but what a crazy expensive and roundabout way to do an Polyvox or Synthacon.
I have a Synthacon.
They hardly ever come up for sale, and are very expensive when they do.
On the other hand, I haven't found anything in modular that replicates my Synthacon.
Old 30th November 2015 | Show parent
  #54
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 ➑️
Not everyone likes west coast "bleep bloop" non-melodic music just like not everyone likes experimental jazz. It's a preference, not a dismissal to resent.

Pete
didn't say it was always that, but if you weren't anxious to dismiss it, why use a term like "bleep bloop"?
Old 30th November 2015 | Show parent
  #55
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 ➑️
didn't say it was always that, but if you weren't anxious to dismiss it, why use a term like "bleep bloop"?
Fair enough. I will moderate my use of that in the future.

I said "bleep bloop" because many people don't understand what "west coast" means, and I had a long conversation with someone who told me *that* term was offensive. I was just using a little onomatopoeia with a common term used here on GS. I didn't intend it to be something to offend you or anyone else.

I like to play with sound as well.

Pete
Old 30th November 2015 | Show parent
  #56
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
I have a Synthacon.
They hardly ever come up for sale, and are very expensive when they do.
On the other hand, I haven't found anything in modular that replicates my Synthacon.
I think Elby Designs do a few bits of modular gear in euro format..
Old 2nd December 2015 | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 5 years
I've been wanting a Phenol since I first saw the Kickstarter (but didn't have the money then.) Since then, I haven't been able to find them... until today! One of my stores got them in stock and I ordered immediately. Shipping tomorrow and should be here in a couple of days.

I'm more of an East Coast synthesis guy, but have been wanting to add a more experimental West Coast sound to my setup, but as I've mentioned in the Mother-32 thread, every time I priced out a simple two row Eurorack system, it always came out to $4000. Just too much for me right now...

The Phenol will be perfect for what I want to do, especially since I have another live performance coming up; this time with a group of experimental Ambient synthesists. So the Phenol with my three Moog Mother-32s might make for some interesting soundscapes! I will, of course, post videos next week of my first experiments with this Mother-32/Phenol combination...

The dwarf star just seems too busy for my tastes (the panel/graphics itself.) Also seems it would be a bit much to tame... but it does sound pretty cool, but I'm liking the precision and, as someone else mentioned, sweet liquidly sound of the Phenol much more.
Old 6th December 2015 | Show parent
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 ➑️
Fair enough. I will moderate my use of that in the future.

I said "bleep bloop" because many people don't understand what "west coast" means, and I had a long conversation with someone who told me *that* term was offensive. I was just using a little onomatopoeia with a common term used here on GS. I didn't intend it to be something to offend you or anyone else.

I like to play with sound as well.

Pete
I say **** all that bleep bloop bull**** political correctness and droolmaster's feelings. He's never been reserved about walking all over someone else's opinions.
Attached Thumbnails
Blue Lantern Dwarf Star or Kilpatrick Phenol?-cmotlncusaar8le.jpg  
Old 6th December 2015 | Show parent
  #59
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychlist1972 ➑️
Fair enough. I will moderate my use of that in the future.

I said "bleep bloop" because many people don't understand what "west coast" means, and I had a long conversation with someone who told me *that* term was offensive. I was just using a little onomatopoeia with a common term used here on GS. I didn't intend it to be something to offend you or anyone else.

I like to play with sound as well.

Pete
The PC term for west-coast sounds is bip ptang twoo. #nowyouknow
Old 7th December 2015
  #60
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🎧 5 years
thanks to all who have replied to me in this thread i completely forgot about this thread the phenol is the one! but rite now i'm drawn to getting a small euro rack system dedicated to wave table synthesis, yes I know it would be mono and yes i know there are cheeper options but i reckon it would be a dam site easier than going for a all in one hardware option like a waldwarf.
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