NKD x2

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Nick
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NKD x2

Post by Nick »

So I did a bit of a birthday splurge….but I’ve also been selling a lot of my other boards…recently sold my JU-06, Korg Poly61, RS-09, CZ-101, Triton LE.

I’ve never been truly happy with my rig in Haunted Cat. I’ve gone back and forth with a tiered setup, for the longest time I was using a Triton LE for everything, but it was hard to navigate and the sounds were all very early 00’s…

I lucked into a one family owned Ensoniq SQ-80 earlier this year and it completely spoiled me with the polyphonic aftertouch. I loved it so much I just sold the Triton, and have been using it as my only board in the band…but it does have a few quirks, I worry that transporting it all the time isn’t good for an older synth and it’s pretty hefty to the point that the bag I use for it is getting worn out. Also we have a lot of ballads in our set now, and acoustic pianos are just one thing it doesn’t do well. Also no onboard arpeggiator for the dancier songs.

So I just ordered an ASM Hydrasynth after wanting one since they came out, they were $200 off this month everywhere and sweetwater had 24 month interest free financing. Has the polyphonic aftertouch like the ensoniq, a cool ribbon controller I’m very curious about and generally way more versatility in a synth than anything else I’ve owned

Then I was thinking of what to pair it with…I was between something like a Roland Juno DS or the Yamaha MX/CK line….I remembered playing a CK61 at parkway and loving how intuitive the layout was…no aftertouch or arpeggiator, but the pianos and eps all sounded great, it has the same organ engine as the YC Mini that I owned briefly and sold - you can layer/split up to 3 sounds at a time with their own effects chains and global delay/reverb….the action felt great and it was easy to play, and lightweight.

Comparing demos, the pianos on the Roland just didn’t sound as good, and had more menu diving than I’d like. I hesitate to spend close to MAP price on any rompler, but I found an open box at Amazon Warehouse for about 25% off. But I will be kicking myself if they release a 73 or 76 key version in a few months.



TL;DR I just ordered an ASM Hydrasynth and a Yamaha CK61. At this point my only other boards are an Ensoniq SQ-80,Yamaha DX7-II and a Moog MG-1 which will now stay set up in my studio and not leave the house.

(I still have an Alpha Juno 1 but probably selling that once I get the Hydrasynth, we’ll see)

Will post pics when they arrive, maybe a demo if I’m brave :lol:
Last edited by Nick on Sat Nov 11, 2023 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by NickS »

I'd love to be a good enough player to justify buying the CK88... The Hydrasynth sounds epic from the demos.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

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The Hydrasynth arrived Friday morning on my birthday - I haven't been able to stop playing it, but as limitless as it feels, I find myself missing a lot of the classic typical synth sounds. Most of the patches I played are inspiring to where I'll just spontaneously play something that sounds cool (to me), usually in a kind of synth jam or movie soundtrack sort of way. A lot of the patches are slow attack/long delay with complex filters. In the end, I usually can't tell if I was doing anything productive and original or just dicking around. I'm probably going to end up buying some patch banks of classic sounds, I want to use it in the band and the expressiveness of the ribbon controller and polyphonic aftertouch is really cool. It feels like I'm at odds with it by trying to make it do past stuff when it's clearly tHe FuTuRe, but there's something like 1,000 voice banks so I should be able to get the best of both worlds in theory.


Today I picked up a Siel MK1000 from Facebook Marketplace for $25. I was curious since it seemed like an Italian version of an early Casiotone/Portasound. There's also 0 videos of this model online....as I feared, I think this is one of those instances where the higher number doesn't always mean better, but it is really fun in its own right, and is midi capable. It also does some fun stuff with rhythm and bass/arpeggiator accompaniment that hits a little different than the casios/yamahas I'm used to. On the way home, I stopped at Guitar Center to play the Jupiter 6 they have in stock...I'm not worthy and can't afford, but it's not every day I get to play one so I had to try it at least, and it was amazing....but then Lauren saw this little Bontempi on a stand in the corner with a much more attainable $60 price tag. It was an X401, came with a stand and expression pedal, plus the original catalog and manuals. It's such a basic analog preset synth, the strings sound like an NES and the harpsichord sounds like a Gameboy. Such a fun thing to have around.


The CK61 is coming tomorrow afternoon, I'm excited for that - it should in theory be the complete opposite of the Hydrasynth - performance oriented, high polyphony and easy to layer/split sounds with easy to access effects. It's also really light and for many shows will probably be all I need.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by Bacchus »

Nick wrote: Mon Aug 21, 2023 3:54 amI usually can't tell if I was doing anything productive and original or just dicking around.
30 years of studying music, 20 of them seriously, and this is still the dilemma I constantly face.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by ekwatts »

Bacchus wrote: Mon Aug 21, 2023 10:52 am
Nick wrote: Mon Aug 21, 2023 3:54 amI usually can't tell if I was doing anything productive and original or just dicking around.
30 years of studying music, 20 of them seriously, and this is still the dilemma I constantly face.
The truth hurts and I am in immense pain right now.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by Nick »

The CK61 arrived just in time to check it out on my 15 minute work break. It’s not as sexy as the Hydrasynth but I think this is the one I needed more. When I sold my Triton Le, this is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to replace it. So easy to program and use live. Not needing to dig through countless hip hop and trance beats to find the pianos, synth strings and brass, being able to layer and split on the fly and basically have a small pedalboard right on the face of the keyboard. One of the cons is the keys are slightly narrower than standard (normal for many Yamaha synth action keyboards including my Dx7), but that means it fits nicely in my 49 key gig bag.

The built in speakers actually sound pretty good for couch playing. Also lightweight at about 12lbs, and you know what, maybe it is kind of sexy with the monochromatic thin pinstripe look
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

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Re: Incoming NKD x2

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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by Nick »

:lol:

So the CK61 - one thing I love about it is there are 20 banks with 8 patches each, and only the first 10 are loaded. So last week I spent a few hours making new patches for all of the Haunted Cat songs in our current live set and named them after the titles, then dropped those in setlist order into two spare banks.

So now I don’t need a written setlist or to have my phone out as a reminder, after each song I just press the next button and know what I’m playing and have the right patch ready to go in the correct octave. I probably could have done something similar on other keyboards I’ve had in the past, but this has easily been the most intuitive - I don’t think I’ve had to reference the manual once.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by Doog »

Gavin wrote: Mon Aug 28, 2023 10:36 am Screenshot 2023-08-28 at 11.33.33.png
:lol: :lol:

Sounds like a winner, Nick!
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by aen »

A while back I was considering the Hydrasynth, but I ended up trading in a trunkload of gear for a Summit and a Digitone Keys. I'll probably always be curious about the Hyrda though.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by ekwatts »

aen wrote: Mon Nov 06, 2023 2:32 am A while back I was considering the Hydrasynth, but I ended up trading in a trunkload of gear for a Summit and a Digitone Keys. I'll probably always be curious about the Hyrda though.
Is the Digitone a good groovebox? I've been looking at the Syntakt instead but I haven't actually tried any Elektron gear before.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by aen »

EK- the digitone is powerful indeed, but fatally flawed IMO. There’s no continuity between patterns. Even if you copy and paste pattern one to pattern two, none of your parameter tweaks will carry over, resulting in ugly sound jumps, flow ruins, and general whackness. The Analog 4 or RYTM are much better, as they have a “kit” system- where your instruments are consistent across a project unless you change your kit.

I probably described this terribly.
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by dub »

Yeah when you are copying the pattern, it's just the sequencer, you also have to copy the track sound info separately.
You can also save the sound as a "sound" and recall it on a step by step basis if you like. You generally end up running into issues when you are onto your third pattern and start going back and tweaking your original tones, or if you're going to actively jam on a sequence, messing around with your tones, then flick to another pattern to switch it up and you're back to whatever you set up sound wise before.

Probably one of those rapid fire button combos where you gotta copy the current sound, queue up the pattern change then paste the sound before it starts.

All the elektrons do it a bit differently, the big boxes, the small ones and the octatrack all split the information in various ways.


Edit:
This isn't a problem using the elekton sequencer to control something else, or looping the midi back in to your own device (digitone has four other midi tracks right), but then you're limiting yourself to what you can control midi data, rather than the parameter locking of the track itself (and I'm pretty sure any midi tweaks would come in a fraction after the trig/pitch info, so probably useless beyond just bare sequencing).
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Re: Incoming NKD x2

Post by aen »

Well, yeah, they're all finnicky, I just really prefer the other kind. It's great for drones though ;)
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