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SMALLEST synths with the BIGGEST sound
Old 11th September 2012
  #1
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Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
SMALLEST synths with the BIGGEST sound

I love small synths that take very little room on your desk (or live rig) but sound enormous. Help me put together a list of the best sounding synths with the smallest footprints, both analog and digital.

Some of my favourites:


Shruthi-1




Nord Micromodular (not huge sounding but incredibly flexible):



The Moog minitaur sounds great from demos but I haven't had the chance to hear it in person.

Old 11th September 2012
  #2
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🎧 15 years
technosaurus microcon (II).
Old 11th September 2012
  #3
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boreg's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Old 11th September 2012
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
rein's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
tb 303!

Old 11th September 2012
  #5
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🎧 10 years
mc 202
Old 11th September 2012
  #6
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danielb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
MFB Microzwerg.

Old 11th September 2012
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Monotron Best footprint to sound ratio!
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
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atma's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
eowave domino
Old 11th September 2012
  #9
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clusterchord's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years


original SEM - blows away almost everything else analog i tried, and its incredibly small for its sound. ingenous, timeless design.



TB303 - a different character from 70s idiom, but again a classic in a different era, and for a reason - phenomenally punchy sound and acid filter. just recently i have refurbished mine with new caps, and cleaned some contacts - and am blown away. again.





out of today's offerings, even tho its not available yet, i am pretty sure Macbeth Micromac definitely qualifies most than anything else for small-but-huge-sound. Tom Oberheim's SEM RI is also great, even tho i largely prefer the original. of the others, i think Vermona Lancet sounds pretty good, and i do like Shrutti with SSM2044 or IR3109. DE is also nice in its own CEMish way, tho not a terribly big sound, it definitely could find its place in almost any analog system.

one can argue that picking some bigger sounding modules in eurorack, and stuffing it in a tiptop happy ending kit, you could put together a very big sounding monophonic, if you still consider 3U acceptably small. posibilities here are endless...
Old 11th September 2012
  #10
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SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I have a Microzwerg but for even smaller size the Nano is where its at. Full fat sound in a tiny size.

Old 11th September 2012
  #11
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Demokid's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I would say the following synths sounds pretty huge for their size.

Vintage: Hook up the CS01 to a PA...


New:


\\Demokid
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Vermona Mono Lancet sounds absolutely lovely! unfortunately, i had to sell it this summer to Ivan Komlinovic, but now I am ready for SEM
Although for the price of SEM, i can get 2 x Moog Minitaurs, is it so worth it? Honestly, i am more attracted by the sound of SEM

Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord ➑️
original SEM - blows away almost everything else analog i tried, and its incredibly small for its sound. ingenous, timeless design.

TB303 - a different character from 70s idiom, but again a classic in a different era, and for a reason - phenomenally punchy sound and acid filter.



out of today's offerings, even tho its not available yet, i am pretty sure Macbeth Micromac definitely qualifies most than anything else for small-but-huge-sound. Tom Oberheim's SEM RI is also great, even tho i largely prefer the original. of the others, i think Vermona Lancet sounds pretty good, and i do like Shrutti with SSM2044 or IR3109. DE is also nice in its own CEMish way, tho not a terribly big sound, it definitely could find its place in almost any analog system.

one can argue that picking some bigger sounding modules in eurorack, and stuffing it in a tiptop happy ending kit, you could put together a very big sounding monophonic, if you still consider 3U acceptably small. posibilities here are endless...
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
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Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds ➑️
technosaurus microcon (II).
Cool, never heard of this synth before. Do you own one? Any good demos to hear?

I own a new SEM Pro and I love it, but even though it doesn't take up much room it's too large and thick to fit on a pedal board or similar sized case with other small synths which makes it less portable for a live rig.

Mono Lancet, I got to try one out and loved it, very creamy sound though the octave scaling was off on the unit I checked out which made me a little wary.

Mopho Keys, not in love with the sound and programming the desktop version is a nightmare I hear. The keyboard version is pretty cool though.

MFB stuff sounds great but I always hear complaints about the build quality, doesn't sound like something I'd want to take live.
The Macbeth Micromac on the other hand seems like a dream come true and I hope to pick one up when I have the cash.

I guess a problem with most small desktop synths is that they either lack knobs for intuitive programming, or don't have patch memory. The Shruthi-1 so far seems like the best package in that regard.
Old 11th September 2012
  #14
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joonebug's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Virus Snow



Waldorf Blofeld

Old 11th September 2012
  #15
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joonebug's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Analogue Solutions Semblance

May not be the smallest, but big sounds it does.

Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #16
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Eric J's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag ➑️
I love small synths that take very little room on your desk (or live rig) but sound enormous. Help me put together a list of the best sounding synths with the smallest footprints, both analog and digital.
I, too, share the love for small synths. I love compact units that sound huge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag ➑️
The Moog minitaur sounds great from demos but I haven't had the chance to hear it in person.

I can confirm that it indeed has a very big sound for such a little synth. It's currently my favorite. I freakin love everything about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_Che ➑️
Vermona Mono Lancet sounds absolutely lovely! unfortunately, i had to sell it this summer to Ivan Komlinovic, but now I am ready for SEM
I've had the Mono Lancet on my radar, but I'm pacing myself. Demos sounds nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_Che ➑️
Although for the price of SEM, i can get 2 x Moog Minitaurs, is it so worth it? Honestly, i am more attracted by the sound of SEM
Take this with a grain of salt, but I absolutely love my Minitaur and I absolutely hated the SEM for the very short time I had it. I returned it pretty quick. Now, that's not to say it sounded bad, but its just wasn't for me. I hated the tone, which surprised me a lot. Looking back on it, I suspect a large part of my problem with the SEM was with the 12db filters and I have a (documented) thing for 24db filters. I think that explains why I hated the SEM and loved the Minitaur.

However, that being said, please, please do not take my word as an indictment of the SEM itself. My dislike for the unit was very, very personal. I strongly encourage you to listen to it for yourself.

Also, I'd like to add the Doepfer Dark Energy. It can sound big especially when you turn that PW knob.

Old 11th September 2012
  #17
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🎧 10 years
If the online demos are anything to go by, the Micromac is going to CRUSH in terms of the small package:big sound ratio...
Old 11th September 2012
  #18
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🎧 10 years
i got so much gas for minitaur!
Old 11th September 2012
  #19
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Mefistophelees's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
CS01 - I find it very limited, but a chorus can turn it into something altogether different.

MFB Kraftzwerg - Not quite as small as the other MFB synths but it's still not exactly big. OTOH it is a 3 oscillator semi-modular. Sounds very good and a good way into modulars.

But, if you want a big sound from a small synth try this:



The real thing can actually sound much nastier (or mellow) than this and has a complicated feedback loop that can rip sounds apart.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag ➑️
Cool, never heard of this synth before. Do you own one? Any good demos to hear?
I had owned it for several years. It's a very cool little synth. You can find some sound examples here:

Blue Box: Technosaurus Microcon II - Vintage Synths - AMAZONA.de
Old 11th September 2012
  #21
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schmuck's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I am faster than Feinstrom for once heh

The rozzbox is small & dirty. Actually, it is VERY deep and I haven't spent nearly enough time with it to even scratch it. Lots of stuff and fun in that little box...

Old 11th September 2012
  #22
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BTByrd's Avatar
 
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Phenomenal cosmic power; itty bitty living space.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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clusterchord's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_Che ➑️
Vermona Mono Lancet sounds absolutely lovely! unfortunately, i had to sell it this summer to Ivan Komlinovic, but now I am ready for SEM
Although for the price of SEM, i can get 2 x Moog Minitaurs, is it so worth it? Honestly, i am more attracted by the sound of SEM
they have different applications obviously so it depends what you want. multimode/notch on SEM is just beautiful. PW/PWM as well. rest of Macbeth, probably one of the bigger, organic sounding VCOs of the current small analog market.

minitaur is a specialty item with things it excells at, and also with limitations: the pitch range, smallish flexibility. not as complete synthesizer as SEM.

as for sound, it can be agressive and punchy, and i dig its modern/cleaner version of Taurus type sound (blaaaast), i dont find it peticularly warm/liquid machine, which was always trademark of old moogs - so for classic 24dB bass/lead with warmth as well as punch, id rather recommend you get yourself one of the "small" moogs of early 80s era - i.e. Prodigy (which is often avail in DE and NL for decent prices 700 - 800 euro), or moog Source (1100 +/-), or Multimoog (1200). recently got a Source that is now next to my mini, and it definitely holds its own. it has that sound. these are still affordable now. but they wont be for long..


PS i talked with Ivan K over phone few weeks ago, he'll bring Vermona to my studio one day..
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 10 years
Last night I've ordered SEM Pro! Ups! can't wait to put hands on it!
Vermona is bubbly and very organic, you gonna like it

Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord ➑️
they have different applications obviously so it depends what you want. multimode/notch on SEM is just beautiful. PW/PWM as well. rest of Macbeth, probably one of the bigger, organic sounding VCOs of the current small analog market.

minitaur is a specialty item with things it excells at, and also with limitations: the pitch range, smallish flexibility. not as complete synthesizer as SEM.

as for sound, it can be agressive and punchy, and i dig its modern/cleaner version of Taurus type sound (blaaaast), i dont find it peticularly warm/liquid machine, which was always trademark of old moogs - so for classic 24dB bass/lead with warmth as well as punch, id rather recommend you get yourself one of the "small" moogs of early 80s era - i.e. Prodigy (which is often avail in DE and NL for decent prices 700 - 800 euro), or moog Source (1100 +/-), or Multimoog (1200). recently got a Source that is now next to my mini, and it definitely holds its own. it has that sound. these are still affordable now. but they wont be for long..


PS i talked with Ivan K over phone few weeks ago, he'll bring Vermona to my studio one day..
Old 14th September 2012
  #25
Deleted fa52e55
Guest
Quote:
original SEM - blows away almost everything else analog i tried, and its incredibly small for its sound.
+1
Had also the new one before an think it's also a fabulous synth (holds to his own) Wouldn't mind having both actually

found this one to be very cool the times I listened to it. Alas only two in existence (as far as I know) - too bad it never hit the market..
Old 14th September 2012
  #26
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Lots of MFB stuff listed which is cool. Really like my MFB Synth II as well though it's quite a bit bigger than the Nanozwerg. With 3x VCO's, 24db filter, two ring modulators, filter FM etc. it can sound quite scary.

Don't know whether it's fair to count digital synths. The actual "synth" is just a small DSP chip and a bit of RAM+ROM...e.g. the Blofeld which could be made to fit in the palm of your hand..
Inside the Waldorf - Blofeld (plus: q+ & Andro' patch comparison) - MIDIbox Forum
Old 14th September 2012
  #27
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Old 14th September 2012
  #28
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acealive's Avatar
 
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Eowave Domino
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #29
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Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by telcom ➑️
+1
found this one to be very cool the times I listened to it. Alas only two in existence (as far as I know) - too bad it never hit the market..
Looks interesting, is it analog/digital? Any audio demos?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmiG ➑️
Lots of MFB stuff listed which is cool. Really like my MFB Synth II as well though it's quite a bit bigger than the Nanozwerg. With 3x VCO's, 24db filter, two ring modulators, filter FM etc. it can sound quite scary.
How's the build quality? Is it still in production?
Old 14th September 2012
  #30
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Polarelch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
oh hell yeah, that Mochika has a damn big sound. Blew my ears away nearly when I made some blind tweaks in the shop :D
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