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Moog Slim Phatty: how much detuning is normal?
Old 24th September 2012
  #1
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dswo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Moog Slim Phatty: how much detuning is normal?

I bought a used Slim Phatty three weeks ago. I've still got a few weeks to return it if something's not right.

What is right: the sound. What's bedeviling me: the tuning. I've read lots of forum posts, here and at Moog. I've also received a couple of detailed and helpful emails from Moog technical support; they took my questions very seriously, and I have nothing but praise for them.

But even after warming up for several hours, I'm not getting the "rock solid" tuning that some users report. Should I be concerned?

I tried it for the first two weeks with AutoTune on. Then I tried it this weekend with AutoTune off. I notice one difference: patches that modulate pitch drive AutoTune crazy! But turning it off has not made the tuning "rock solid" either.

Because I'm paranoid/trying to evaluate a used unit, I switch to Fine Tuning at the end of every song and see how far it's drifted. Sometimes it reads 60.01 or 59.99, which is great, and sometimes it's drifted as much as 5 or 6 cents out (59.94...60.06). This isn't on the road or anything, just in our guest bedroom. The AC comes on when the temp gets over 78F, but the Phatty is not under a vent.

I know that switching to something with digital oscillators would fix this right quick. But it wouldn't have THAT sound. I also remember, from my guitar days, that real instruments go out of tune. At this point, I'm just trying to figure out whether my particular box is going out of tune faster than it should.

Thanks for sharing your experience with me.

Last edited by dswo; 24th September 2012 at 02:14 PM.. Reason: added environment
Old 24th September 2012
  #2
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lysander's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have never measured the tuning accuracy on mine when I had it, but I don't remember having any tuning issues after a warm up of around 1/2h ( and I have quite a low tolerance to tuning issues ).

If the tuning doesn't bother you when you are not actively measuring it then keep it, otherwise send it back.
It is a synth with a reputation for tuning issues though. Apparently the Little Phatty has better tuning.
Old 24th September 2012
  #3
WDM
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dswo ➡️
I know that switching to something with digital oscillators would fix this right quick. But it wouldn't have THAT sound. I also remember, from my guitar days, that real instruments go out of tune. At this point, I'm just trying to figure out whether my particular box is going out of tune faster than it should.

Thanks for sharing your experience with me.
What I would recommend you to do is to record some basic track with few parts on it for testing purposes.
The first part should be the chord progression played on digital synth (Piano, EP, etc) where the tuning is not an issue. Record it in your DAW as audio. You could just use blues chord progression in Cmaj, doesn’t matter.
Then, using the first part as a reference, record your bass, lead, and arpeggio part as audio track using slim phatty, one by one, with different patches. Pay attention to the tuning while tracking.

If, at the end, your track will sound in tune, you gonna live with your slim phatty a happy life. If not, I would return it.

The numbers are just numbers but if you couldn’t record your track in tune, that’s would be the problem.
Old 24th September 2012
  #4
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Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I was one of the users who had a unit that drifted wayyy too much. Moog support were very nice and quickly replaced it with a new one that is much more stable, I've had it for 8-9 months with no real issues. However, even the new one drifts a bit after a half hour warmup - a few cents here and there. This is pretty normal.
My first unit, on the other hand would keep getting sharper even after 2 hours in a stable temperature.

You're right that pitch changes make the autotune go berserk, but only if you scroll to the tuning screen in the menu and play while it's autotuning (normally it stops tuning as soon as you start playing). If it does this I've discovered you can play the default C (should be 60.00) and if it doesn't manage to tune properly you can adjust the tuning knob to get it back to 60. But only when you're on the tuning screen.
Old 24th September 2012
  #5
ozy
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dswo ➡️
Because I'm paranoid/trying to evaluate a used unit, I switch to Fine Tuning at the end of every song and see how far it's drifted. Sometimes it reads 60.01 or 59.99, which is great, and sometimes it's drifted as much as 5 or 6 cents out (59.94...60.06).
don't do this to yourself. I mean, watching at the display and using autotune on a VCO.

In these terms, within these limits (5/6 cents when things go really bad), your phatty is working fine. Check "moog forums" for real horror stories. Yours is not.

I have been using the slim phatty for three months now, and I gave up expecting it to be in "instrumental" tune.

I treat it like I would treat a classic guitar.

If it plays in "human" tune [i.e., if my ear judges it to be in tune], it's fine for me.

I sometimes grab the "fine tune" and "osc2" knobs, when a patch's harmonics artistically require some flattening or sharpening with reference to the tune I am playing.

NO WAY it will stay in "instrumental" tune.

It takes it 30 minutes to get in tune,

I calibrate both the general tune AND the OSC2 once a week (after a dolis 2/(3 hours warmup)

and still I don't expect it to be in tune like the prophet08 [which btw needs filter calibration routine once in 2/3 months].

I bought the phatty to replace a modular-based minimoog emulation:

well, even with all its instability, the phatty is way better than tuning the "keyboard stretch" of a modular...

Welcome to the wondeful world of real analogue.
Old 24th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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mike vee's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by WDM ➡️
What I would recommend you to do is to record some basic track with few parts on it for testing purposes.
The first part should be the chord progression played on digital synth (Piano, EP, etc) where the tuning is not an issue. Record it in your DAW as audio. You could just use blues chord progression in Cmaj, doesn’t matter.
Then, using the first part as a reference, record your bass, lead, and arpeggio part as audio track using slim phatty, one by one, with different patches. Pay attention to the tuning while tracking.

If, at the end, your track will sound in tune, you gonna live with your slim phatty a happy life. If not, I would return it.

The numbers are just numbers but if you couldn’t record your track in tune, that’s would be the problem.

this is exactly what i did this weekend after finally getting it MIDId up. it was FAR out of tune with my other synths. autotune setting seemed to work.
Old 24th September 2012
  #7
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🎧 5 years
I agree with ozy, just use your ears. I've had guitars that you can tune with a digital tuner to perfect tune, but then you play a chord at a certain spot on the fretboard and it just does not sound in harmony. No matter what the digital tuner said, I knew it had an intonation issue.

I don't think intonation is an issue you deal with on synths, but point is don't go by the meters. If you're playing it and suddenly something sounds out of tune and it bothers you, and it consistently happens, thats when you know you have a problem.

If you have yet to experience that and only think its out of tune because of the meter, then I'd say the synth is OK. If you are still concerned though, maybe take it in to a local music shop and have someone there play around with it and see what they think.

At the end of the day though, all that matters is how it sounds to you for your music, and if something doesn't seem right to you about its tuning, then send it back.
Old 24th September 2012
  #8
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lysander's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A bit off topic but I find it a bit embarrassing that Moog still has that many issues with tuning ( not to knock off the SP it's a great instrument ).
There's plenty of modular manufacturers that make much more stable VCOs out there, and without the silly autotune.
Old 24th September 2012
  #9
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🎧 10 years
A bit off topic but I find it a bit embarrassing that Moog still has that many issues with tuning ( not to knock off the SP it's a great instrument ).
There's plenty of modular manufacturers that make much more stable VCOs out there, and without the silly autotune.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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atma's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
5 or 6 cents doesn't sound like an abnormal amount of detuning for an analog.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atma ➡️
5 or 6 cents doesn't sound like an abnormal amount of detuning for an analog.
Yeah, compared to my older Sequential that's no too bad...

Is it a swaying 5 or 6 cents or is it constant. It's definitely less stable than all my DCO's

In reality my Moog is the most stable VCO I own.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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dswo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I really appreciate the comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmNMusicman ➡️
Is it a swaying 5 or 6 cents or is it constant?
If constant means it's always sharp or always flat, I guess it sways.
Old 25th September 2012
  #13
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3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Mine drifts a little, maybe up to 10 cents here and there, but honestly I'm just to the point now where I just warm it up ahead of time, and tune it quick before I start recording with it. It's pretty stable overall, nothing is ever gratuitously out of tune.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctrlshft ➡️
I'm just to the point now where I just warm it up ahead of time, and tune it quick before I start recording with it.
This. With pretty much any analogue. Spending too much time on this is just another form of procrastination. The only time you should care is if it won't hold tune for more time than it takes to play your gig / record your song.
Old 26th January 2014
  #15
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Total noob question for y'all. I just got a Slim Phatty yesterday, plugged it in and fired it up right away, everything sounded great during a 3 or 4 hour session. This morning I turned it on and immediately noticed a tuning issue. Did some searching, now I realize it needs a longer warm up time than most analogs do, but how exactly do I go about tuning it? Whats exactly is the process using the CA preset?
Old 26th January 2014
  #16
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Adding to my previous post, I noticed in a thread on the Moog forum somebody recommending doing "ALL 3 calibration routines" but in the pdf manual I have all I can find is a basic description of the CA preset, nothing on how to actually do the tuning, much less 3 detailed step by step routines. Is there another manual? I need some help with this guys!
Old 26th January 2014
  #17
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🎧 10 years
The Slim Phatty needs to be warmed up 60 minutes then it should be stable if your room temperature is stable... :D

However I had to use the calibration routine on mine and now it is stable and with accurate tuning , BUT the sounds you programmed prior the calibration routine is now not sounding as expected but don´t think the slim phatty is still is out of tune !
For example sounds that were programmed prior calibration had their OSC detuning based on an uncalibrated Slim Phatty , therefore they will probably sound worse or different after the calibration.

Anyway , I bought 3 more Slim Phatties for a poly setup and none of them needed any calibration so maybe the earlier units/serials have been shipped too fast from the factory? Now the earlier unit seems as stable as my later ones.
Old 27th January 2014 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firechild ➡️
The Slim Phatty needs to be warmed up 60 minutes then it should be stable if your room temperature is stable... :D

However I had to use the calibration routine on mine and now it is stable and with accurate tuning , BUT the sounds you programmed prior the calibration routine is now not sounding as expected but don´t think the slim phatty is still is out of tune !
For example sounds that were programmed prior calibration had their OSC detuning based on an uncalibrated Slim Phatty , therefore they will probably sound worse or different after the calibration.

Anyway , I bought 3 more Slim Phatties for a poly setup and none of them needed any calibration so maybe the earlier units/serials have been shipped too fast from the factory? Now the earlier unit seems as stable as my later ones.

I realize it needs a good warm up time. Also, if it matters, where I am located is pretty warm year round. Thanks for the tip on user presets, something to keep in mind when I can actually do the tuning - I still cannot find any "calibration routine".. apparently there are 3 of them? If it is in fact inside the manual, can somebody reference a section/page number? I cant find anything other than what I previously mentioned. This is driving me crazy!
Old 28th January 2014
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
bump I also just got a slim phatty and have noticed the same thing. while I'm waiting for a reply from moog support, whats the quick tuning method (if there is one) you guys are using?
Old 28th January 2014
  #20
ozy
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🎧 5 years
if you got good ears, try the familiar guitar tuning method based on beats

otherwise get a guitar tuner (be it hardware or software, depending on your setup)

phatty's inherent instability makes anything else, no matter how expensive, useless.

My current method is: using a SE1-x instead of the phatty (serious: I got bored of tuning routines)... but of course that's a bit extreme
Old 28th January 2014
  #21
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dswo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I started this thread last fall. I ended up solving the problem by returning the Slim Phatty (I owned it for under three weeks) and buying a Sub Phatty, which I love, about six months later.

Many people have great experiences with the Slim Phatty: it's a nice sound with an elegant interface. But the tuning problems are real and widely reported. If you run into them, don't blame yourself.
Old 28th January 2014
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Slim Phatty for sale: $555. PM me.
Old 30th January 2014
  #23
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🎧 10 years
As I said I´ve got 4 x Slim Phatty and as soon they are warmed up , 30-45 minutes they are really stable. The filter is way smoother and more musical sounding than the sub phatty filter. I would pick the slim phatty over the sub but then if you prefer the more aggressive and distorted sound the sub is for you.
Old 9th March 2014
  #24
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Just purchased a used SP a couple of weeks ago. If I leave it alone for a few minutes (not even 30, really. More like 5) it sounds really great. The trouble for me comes when I use the mod wheel (on my MIDI controller, of course). It seems every time I engage the modulation the tuning goes crazy and never seems to get back to where it was before. Has anyone else had this particular brand of tuning issue? I haven't seen it in any forum of troubleshooting site.
Old 9th March 2014
  #25
SRT
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🎧 10 years
I experienced the same issue with the Slim Phatty. Eventually I got tired of dealing with the tuning and menu diving and replaced it with a Sub Phatty. I miss the SP though. Despite the you tube comparisons if you compare in person they aren't quite the same.
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