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Oberheim Xpander alternatives?
Old 30th September 2012
  #121
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🎧 10 years
I'm really interested in Xpanders.They make good sounds.Do i love them?I honestly can't say.I do not own one so it's difficult to say what i like, dislike or hate about them.

What i do know is that i like getting to know how other people think about things.Each one of you has a unique perspective on how something is done or can be done & it's the most important reason i became a member of this forum in the first place.I don't remember the post about sampling a SEM & getting it into an Emulator but no matter how on or off topic that might be, It's still interesting an opinion to see.Not appealing to everyone perhaps but interesting enough for me.Some of you might feel bored with the subject for good reason, i won't blame anyone.As long as posts keep coming though, i'll be reading them happily.

An ITB solution with a sampler is not outrageous to me.
What interests me more on a synth is its way of doing things.Sure a sawtooth is different on an MS-20, to a Minitaur, to a CZ-101.All 3 have different low pass filters too(well, the CZ doesn't even have one but you know that already).A saw, low-filtered, with envelope amount halfway will give a distinctive sound, easily identifiable to everyone(imitated on the 101), no matter how different or not it sounds on each machine.This identity is what i'm looking for when i want to know a synth's ways.You can get that sound on the CZ but you need to understand its architecture before you attempt it.
Old 30th September 2012
  #122
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kevin nowhow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gruvsyco ➑️
I wish I had the article from Keyboard (I think sometime around Pretty Hate Machine era) still that basically said that album (Belief) was more or less all samples. That's not to say the originating sounds were or were not Xpander. It also mentioned NiN and 242 as being heavily sample based.
I think it was just that period of time. You could do a ****load with a sampler with multisamples/splits/layers and a sequencer. A relatively small investment and you were an entire band.
Oh yeah & it's one of the reasons i dig that era.The only way you could get things going & sound huge was with a sampler so you get that distinctive sound of the EBM bands of yesteryear.
Old 30th September 2012
  #123
BM0
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Xpander is cool because of its multimode filter and VCO's. plus it is completely multi-timbral and doesn't take up as much space as a full keyboard. Oh, and it has CV inputs if you have analog sequencers. So yeah, Xpanders are cool. Only problem is if something goes bad on it, it could be difficult and expensive to replace. Were those VCO's used in many other synths? I doubt there was a surplus of those CEM chips like the CEM3340.
Old 30th September 2012
  #124
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🎧 10 years
I've been told when having mine serviced that the only componant that cant be sourced is the Convertors
Old 30th September 2012
  #125
BM0
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A buddy got an Xpander cheap some years ago because the vacuum fluorescent displays were dead/damaged. He was able to locate replacements, but that was years ago now.
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #126
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The Elf's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The rotary encoders are tough to find.

I have one that is slightly iffy and needs to be turned slowly to work properly - not a major problem, but still...

I have some compatible replacement encoders already, but they are physically very different and will require some bodgery to make them fit securely in the hole. With this in mind I'm leaving it as long as possible before I commit to replacing mine - and when I do it will be all of them.
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #127
Deleted User
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 ➑️
A buddy got an Xpander cheap some years ago because the vacuum fluorescent displays were dead/damaged. He was able to locate replacements, but that was years ago now.
There is some company in the NYC area that, among other things, sell displays to Xpander. Don't remember the name but found it when I googled for Music Stores in NYC. It can have been http://www.roguemusic.com
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #128
ozy
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin nowhow ➑️
I'm really interested in Xpanders.They make good sounds.Do i love them?I honestly can't say.it's difficult to say what i like, dislike or hate about them.
I see. You are still in the self-denial fase.

You are "curious" about Xpanders, you feel at ease when listening to them in social occasions, and you know that something is "wrong" when you play a VST or a rompler,

you feel deeply annoyed when somebody says he "hates" Xpanders, and you defend them from slander and innuendo,

but at the same time you are somehow embarassed if you share a long elevator ride with a obvious, flaming Oberheim.

Understandable, considering social pressures and religious conditionining.

Take your time.


In the end you'll buy one. Or two.
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #129
BM0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet ➑️
There is some company in the NYC area that, among other things, sell displays to Xpander. Don't remember the name but found it when I googled for Music Stores in NYC
This very useful information for someone that owns an Xpander. Xpander would be nearly useless without the displays.

I would like an Xpander, but not at the current prices. In another thread, I offered to make a Lemur iPad template to program the Xpander if someone has a spare Xpander to give me at a great price, but I didn't get any bites. Go figure heh
Old 30th September 2012
  #130
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kevin nowhow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
I see. You are still in the self-denial fase.

You are "curious" about Xpanders, you feel at ease when listening to them in social occasions, and you know that something is "wrong" when you play a VST or a rompler,

you feel deeply annoyed when somebody says he "hates" Xpanders, and you defend them from slander and innuendo,

but at the same time you are somehow embarassed if you share a long elevator ride with a obvious, flaming Oberheim.

Understandable, considering social pressures and religious conditionining.

Take your time.


In the end you'll buy one. Or two.
I do not know where all this is coming from, honestly.I believe i am always polite to everyone & care to see what others think.Please stop getting personal with comments about religion or whatever else as you don't know me & i do not know you.It's obvious that this thread doesn't offer you anything & it is your right to feel so.All i am asking for is a civilized conversation.If that is not possible then i hope you'll find what you're looking for elsewhere.
Old 30th September 2012
  #131
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kevin nowhow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kragg ➑️
Hi
Sorry if it has been suggested already, i have only read the first page...
Maybe the SHruthi 4PM could be a good candidate ?

Shruthi-1 4-pole mission filter board | Mutable instruments

The filter is inspired by the X-pander architecture (afaik), it is duophonic but several modules can be chained for more polyphony. Also, it's cheap
Thank you Kragg for this.I just had a quick look but i need to investigate some more.A friend is good with soldering & always up for a challenge(already have 4 EGs on my modular, made by him) so this is definitely something to show him.Cheerz!
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #132
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dougt's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 ➑️
Were those VCO's used in many other synths? I doubt there was a surplus of those CEM chips like the CEM3340.
I have the Xpander VCO and VCF chips in stock...

They were also used in the Chroma Polaris...
Old 30th September 2012 | Show parent
  #133
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Elf ➑️
It also seems that you are not going to be satisfied by anything else and you really should now start saving up the pennies for the real thing. Otherwise you'll be the unhappy owner of a whole string of syths, none of which will truly scratch the itch and all of which will leave you wondering 'if...'.
I bought my Xpander when I was 19 years old, all my favorite bands used it, so it just seemed natural to get it if I liked those sounds.

On the other hand, it took me 15 years before I got a Prophet VS, I wanted it originally, but went through a DX7-II, ESQ-1, and a Microwave XT before I just said "screw it" and bought a VS just to stop the itch.
Old 1st October 2012 | Show parent
  #134
ozy
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin nowhow ➑️
I do not know where all this is coming from, honestly.
It just comes from me not having included this emoticon in the post:

After reading the thread I just recommend that you buy the synth you love, instead of looking for impossibile alternatives, which are obviously disappointing you even before you try them.

You are discarding one alternative after the other, and the most outlandish have been proposed.

An xpander is an xpander. cheaper sibling is the matrix6 or 1000. Everything else which has been discussed shares with the xpander just the vague "synthesizer" headline or ONE chip (not the architecture, not the rest of the circuitry, etc).

Buy a matrix6 for cheap for TRAINING, and when you are ready, upgrade to the real thing.

Again:

Cheers
Old 1st October 2012
  #135
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Seconding that; selling it if it doesn't turn out to be what you thought it would is not going to be a problem (saving up for the real thing is).

Substitutes also lock up your money. If the road is clear (and leading up to the Xpander), don't litter it up with almost-there replacements.

Last edited by Yoozer; 1st October 2012 at 12:23 PM.. Reason: "you" money? wtf was I thinking
Old 1st October 2012 | Show parent
  #136
ozy
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
selling it if it doesn't turn out to be what you thought is not going to be a problem.Substitutes also lock up you money.
sound economic reasoning:

BAD substitutes lock the money forever. Or half of it.

Among the "second best" features to consider, one is paramount:

"will I be able to resell it at par and quickly once I need the monet for the upgrade?".

Vintage OBies of ANY level is a cashier's cheque [if you don't pay 3000 bucks for an OB8, of course].

The Chroma Polaris is not a bad idea either [careful about the panel! Hidden maintenance costs alert. Test before buying, if you plan to resell at par]
Old 1st October 2012
  #137
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kevin nowhow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
It just comes from me not having included this emoticon in the post:

After reading the thread I just recommend that you buy the synth you love, instead of looking for impossibile alternatives, which are obviously disappointing you even before you try them.

You are discarding one alternative after the other, and the most outlandish have been proposed.

An xpander is an xpander. cheaper sibling is the matrix6 or 1000. Everything else which has been discussed shares with the xpander just the vague "synthesizer" headline or ONE chip (not the architecture, not the rest of the circuitry, etc).

Buy a matrix6 for cheap for TRAINING, and when you are ready, upgrade to the real thing.

Again:

Cheers
I just saw one 2 days earlier demanding 2600€.While you & Yoozer are probably right it's difficult to spend that money as i need to do other things first which will take a lot of time too.Plus my laptop crashed which means more money.Grr....
Searching for options that might perform similar seemed good thinking.Worst case scenario?I'll find out about synths i didn't know of.The Shuthri-1 is a good example of this.So it's a "win" situation no matter how you look at it.
Which brings me to an assumption of yours.Never did i disregard an alternative proposition.Never.A lot of fellow members have been posting their suggestions & my response is that i'll "investigate more" or similar.In fact i enjoy that i have so many things to look up, even if some or all of them do not deliver the results expected.Obviously i cannot start buying everything & again you are right here but knowledge is always welkome.Again, finding about the Shuthri is a good example of this.

So yes, i do get your point but i hope you got mine too.And please next time do not forget that all-important emoticon.It makes friends out of people!
Old 1st October 2012
  #138
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kevin nowhow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
sound economic reasoning:

BAD substitutes lock the money forever. Or half of it.

Among the "second best" features to consider, one is paramount:

"will I be able to resell it at par and quickly once I need the monet for the upgrade?".

Vintage OBies of ANY level is a cashier's cheque [if you don't pay 3000 bucks for an OB8, of course].

The Chroma Polaris is not a bad idea either [careful about the panel! Hidden maintenance costs alert. Test before buying, if you plan to resell at par]
This is the second time i see the Polaris mentioned.Again it's one of those synths i never bothered to look into.In fact I'll start right now.Thanx for the suggestion & the alert!
Old 2nd October 2012 | Show parent
  #139
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spertia's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
I see. You are still in the self-denial fase.

You are "curious" about Xpanders, you feel at ease when listening to them in social occasions, and you know that something is "wrong" when you play a VST or a rompler,

you feel deeply annoyed when somebody says he "hates" Xpanders, and you defend them from slander and innuendo,

but at the same time you are somehow embarassed if you share a long elevator ride with a obvious, flaming Oberheim.

Understandable, considering social pressures and religious conditionining.

Take your time.


In the end you'll buy one. Or two.
I LOL'ed.
Old 3rd October 2012
  #140
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kevin nowhow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by spertia ➑️
I LOL'ed.
I know...right?!
Old 3rd October 2012 | Show parent
  #141
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin nowhow ➑️
This is the second time i see the Polaris mentioned.Again it's one of those synths i never bothered to look into.In fact I'll start right now.Thanx for the suggestion & the alert!
I used to work with a guy who owned the Polaris with the big Chroma expader on top. It was a really nice sounding machine, he explained that it had many of the Xpander's modulations, and the tone was more like an ARP.

I would consider the Chroma a collector's item in today's environment.

I would consider an Xpander a workhorse.
Old 3rd October 2012
  #142
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kevin nowhow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosted ➑️
I used to work with a guy who owned the Polaris with the big Chroma expader on top. It was a really nice sounding machine, he explained that it had many of the Xpander's modulations, and the tone was more like an ARP.

I would consider the Chroma a collector's item in today's environment.
Yeah, after Ozy's post i did some research.Seems like they are rare to find.
The bad thing about second-hand market is that you cannot experience what you are after unless that thing shows up nearby.
Old 3rd October 2012 | Show parent
  #143
ozy
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin nowhow ➑️
The bad thing about second-hand market is that you cannot experience what you are after unless that thing shows up nearby.
I never owned a Polaris. I played one, and a friend had one. He cautioned me about the maintenance issues (panel).

So, it is definitely a machine worth TESTING in person before buying, and to be avoided if you can't test it OR buy it from a shop with some kind of "return within a month" option.

Shops often do that (I think they are even forced under EU laws): they won't give a warranty ("if it doesn't work, I'll spend money and time and repair it"), but a return option ("get it back here. here's your money and eff off") is definitely a normal option.
Old 3rd October 2012
  #144
Deleted 0fc8128
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
I never owned a Polaris. I played one, and a friend had one. He cautioned me about the maintenance issues (panel).
I have both and they do sound different. The Polaris is using the VCO-chip for sawtooth only and creates the other waveforms based on the Saw. Thus you can sweep between saw and triangle. Envelopes are faster on the Polaris too. Besides that, the Polaris is somehow more limited and creating warm and spacey pads is not working well as it does with the Xpander. In real life they do sound different and have both their strengths.

Regarding the panel, there is currently a fix for it. Someone on the Yahoo list is selling a replacement underlying panel.
Old 3rd October 2012 | Show parent
  #145
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🎧 10 years
Re: the debate as to whether the sounds of M1000 are the same as the Xpander

I had two M1000s and an Xpander and was quite excited to get my hands on a Matrix 12 ......first preset I played was the 000 patch from the M1000 'Totohorn' ... same bloody sound exactly.


M1000 can sound like a typical Xpander or Matrix bread and butter sound..... but it totally lacks the universe of diversity offered by the modulation options of the big brothers..... not to mention limited polyphony, mono-timbral and only a mono output ( plus can often have a transformer hum noise too )

Xpanders and Matrix 12 have bigger polyphony, multi timbral and amazing stereo options with the use of Zones and how zones work... not to mention the Xpander offers independent CV and Gate ins for 6 voices as well as six individual outs too.
Old 3rd October 2012 | Show parent
  #146
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster ➑️
Re: the debate as to whether the sounds of M1000 are the same as the Xpander

I had two M1000s and an Xpander and was quite excited to get my hands on a Matrix 12 ......first preset I played was the 000 patch from the M1000 'Totohorn' ... same bloody sound exactly.


M1000 can sound like a typical Xpander or Matrix bread and butter sound..... but it totally lacks the universe of diversity offered by the modulation options of the big brothers..... not to mention limited polyphony, mono-timbral and only a mono output ( plus can often have a transformer hum noise too )

Xpanders and Matrix 12 have bigger polyphony, multi timbral and amazing stereo options with the use of Zones and how zones work... not to mention the Xpander offers independent CV and Gate ins for 6 voices as well as six individual outs too.
The filter! I really don't care that much for the 4 pole low pass on the Xpander, it's the 2 pole and the phase shift filters that really stand out IMHO.
Old 3rd October 2012 | Show parent
  #147
ozy
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster ➑️
Re: the debate as to whether the sounds of M1000 are the same as the Xpander, six ins, six outs, etc
this has never been the debate.

debate is:

assuming you have NOT the 3000 euros currently asked for a xpander,

is the 300-euros matrix1000 a fair aproximation to the xpander sound while you save for the real thing?

Considering that the "buck ratio" is 10:1, is the "bang ratio" better than 1:10"?

Is the matrix1000 equal or BETTER than 1/10th of an xpander?

Answer is a resounding "yes".

Are they equal? No, of course.

Everybody here knows the difference between a matrox1000 and an xpander.

That's a moot point.
Old 4th October 2012 | Show parent
  #148
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Transistor's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster ➑️
Re: the debate as to whether the sounds of M1000 are the same as the Xpander

[snip]

Xpanders and Matrix 12 have bigger polyphony, [...]
The Xpander is 6-voice, just as the M1000.

r,
j,
Old 4th October 2012 | Show parent
  #149
Deleted 0fc8128
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozy ➑️
assuming you have NOT the 3000 euros currently asked for a xpander,

is the 300-euros matrix1000 a fair aproximation to the xpander sound while you save for the real thing?

Considering that the "buck ratio" is 10:1, is the "bang ratio" better than 1:10"?

Is the matrix1000 equal or BETTER than 1/10th of an xpander?

Answer is a resounding "yes".

Are they equal? No, of course.
It all depends. For 1/10 of the price you will get the matrix modulation and a DCO based 24db LP filter synth. If you are using one of the other 14 filter modes or cross modulation a lot, 1/10 would not cut it, wouldn't it? There are following costs with the M1000 that cannot be programmed at the unit itself. You can go on and on, but your equation doesn't make sense in the way I see it.

You want the Xpander, buy it. You cannot effort the X then buy whatever, the M1k or a P-08. It's still not a Xpander.
Old 4th October 2012 | Show parent
  #150
ozy
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 0fc8128 ➑️
You want the Xpander, buy it. You cannot effort the X then buy whatever, the M1k or a P-08. It's still not a Xpander.
Here we go again with the "buy a fazioli" effect ["I can't afford a Nord Piano: what's the alternative?" "Buy a Fazioli and have it midi-retrofitted" ]

issue n.1 = money, OR the OP wouldn't have asked for an "alternative"

xpander = 3000 eur: the full monty. THE OP HAS NO CHANCE OF BUYING IT NOW

matrix 1000 = 300 eur: lot of modulation, OB-built, good sound in the same vein [not "the same sound"], less features

matrix 1000 + editor = 310 eur. More features and control

matrix 6R = 400 eur: a step forward, panel control

prophet 08 = 2000 eur, good modulations, no way "the same sound" or even the same kind of sound

Korg radias = 800 euros: no relation whatsoever to the xpander, except maybe that both are synthesizers and have knobs

a matrix-oriented VST = free or cheap or 250 bucks, same modulations as the xpander or MORE, no way the same sound, no hardware

In this scheme, the choice looks OBVIOUS
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