Micromac D, worth the price?
Old 27th June 2013
  #1
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Micromac D, worth the price?

As I was thinking how to cover 24db ladder department in my studio I've concluded i should once again go for the beautiful vermona's mono lancet.
However, Micromac D seems like a killer synth, it would pair nicely with my SEM via patch points and i can smell some wicked sweet spots right now,
although it's way out of my budget i could perhaps afford it if i sell my great pedals the MF-104M and the Eventide Space...

that of course applies if i could even appear on the waiting list for the Micromac

CRAZY gearlusted idea or what? Please reason me!
Old 27th June 2013
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_Che View Post
As I was thinking how to cover 24db ladder department in my studio I've concluded i should once again go for the beautiful vermona's mono lancet.
However, Micromac D seems like a killer synth, it would pair nicely with my SEM via patch points and i can smell some wicked sweet spots right now,
although it's way out of my budget i could perhaps afford it if i sell my great pedals the MF-104M and the Eventide Space...

that of course applies if i could even appear on the waiting list for the Micromac

CRAZY gearlusted idea or what? Please reason me!
Hi Daniel. Regarding availability - i got a notification from schnider's that the micromac D has arrived. Since i ordered one on october - and it's nearly July now - i gave it up, since my $$ went to other places.
So if it's a waiting list you're worried about - than email schnider's.
Anyway, there are cheaper alternatives for the moogish sound if budget is an issue. You could go for an SE Boomstar 5089 (899$) - or just get a Sub-phatty (999$).
Old 27th June 2013
  #3
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SWAN808's Avatar
the micromac is nice for sure but Im not convinced it is worth the high price compared to what other things you could get for that money...whether it be new stuff like boomstars which are half the price, analogue solution stuff again far cheaper, or vintage stuff...

I might add that I didnt think much of the new SEM...I guess the new component choices made it a bit sterile and harsh sounding IMO...
Old 27th June 2013
  #4
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Boomstar is definitely nice option, i will consider it for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zahush76 View Post
Hi Daniel. Regarding availability - i got a notification from schnider's that the micromac D has arrived. Since i ordered one on october - and it's nearly July now - i gave it up, since my $$ went to other places.
So if it's a waiting list you're worried about - than email schnider's.
Anyway, there are cheaper alternatives for the moogish sound if budget is an issue. You could go for an SE Boomstar 5089 (899$) - or just get a Sub-phatty (999$).
Old 27th June 2013
  #5
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Thread Starter
That is exactly what i had in mind. Regarding the new SEM, to me it sounds beautiful, my best purchase of 2012!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
the micromac is nice for sure but Im not convinced it is worth the high price compared to what other things you could get for that money...whether it be new stuff like boomstars which are half the price, analogue solution stuff again far cheaper, or vintage stuff...

I might add that I didnt think much of the new SEM...I guess the new component choices made it a bit sterile and harsh sounding IMO...
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Old 27th June 2013
  #6
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At the beginning I thought that Ken Macbeth wanted to make an affordable synth with his signature sound. The word "micro" had stuck in my brain like something small and relatively cheap...but, every month of the development he was making it even more flexible and powerful to the point where he had surpassed his initial goals. On every announcement, I was thinking "don't do it Ken...it's a great idea, but, it's going to send the final price to the stars". Now, after many months I finally understand that he mostly meant he had found a way to reduce the size of his huge modular systems by making something with a similar sound and an attractive price, compared to his other systems...it wasn't designed to be affordable but, smaller.

I would prefer it over a Voyager RME, but I don't see it as a possible purchase for me. Someone like me, can be way more happy and creative with every other cheaper analog, especially when you consider how many other useful analog synths you can buy nowadays with the same amount of money.
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Old 27th June 2013
  #7
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As I have remarked on several occasions, there's still nothing around that would convince me to replace my SE-1 for Moog-style sounds. Only thing would be a real model D or, probably, a MicroMac.
Even a Voyager doesn't sound different enough to justify it. Yes, it's a Moog, but with 4 envelopes and 3 LFO on the SE-1, plus stackable waveforms etc.. the SE-1 is more flexible (main drawback is, it has one single filter).

If I had 2000 Euros to spend, I would go for the MicroMac; it just sounds fabulous. As a serious alternative, I would look to an used SE-1 or SE-1x. I modded mine for faster envelopes and filter feedback, and it's like a new, more powerful instrument.
Old 27th June 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectral Climax View Post
At the beginning I thought that Ken Macbeth wanted to make an affordable synth with his signature sound. The word "micro" had stuck in my brain like something small and relatively cheap...but, every month of the development he was making it even more flexible and powerful to the point where he had surpassed his initial goals. On every announcement, I was thinking "don't do it Ken...it's a great idea, but, it's going to send the final price to the stars". Now, after many months I finally understand that he mostly meant he had found a way to reduce the size of his huge modular systems by making something with a similar sound and an attractive price, compared to his other systems...it wasn't designed to be affordable but, smaller.

I would prefer it over a Voyager RME, but I don't see it as a possible purchase for me. Someone like me, can be way more happy and creative with every other cheaper analog, especially when you consider how many other useful analog synths you can buy nowadays with the same amount of money.
agreed. Ill save money if I really think its worth it - like when I saved for a year or so for an OB8 - but a Micromac feels more like a boutique luxury item...I remember it started around £1000 which was fantastic...but £1700 for a mono...

Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
As I have remarked on several occasions, there's still nothing around that would convince me to replace my SE-1 for Moog-style sounds. Only thing would be a real model D or, probably, a MicroMac.
Even a Voyager doesn't sound different enough to justify it. Yes, it's a Moog, but with 4 envelopes and 3 LFO on the SE-1, plus stackable waveforms etc.. the SE-1 is more flexible (main drawback is, it has one single filter).

If I had 2000 Euros to spend, I would go for the MicroMac; it just sounds fabulous. As a serious alternative, I would look to an used SE-1 or SE-1x. I modded mine for faster envelopes and filter feedback, and it's like a new, more powerful instrument.
hi dude I remember your excellent Dominion review. I had an SE1x although the envelopes were not modded - and I found it a bit sluggish...it did have a good raw sound tho....did you change that resistor value for the envelope mod? Does it create any pop artefacts? Would be cool to hear a demo if you have one...

Voyager is cool but Id have to get a tube drive to patch before the filter to give it some dirt as its quite polite...I do prefer the layout of the Voyager and the response of the LFO and Env compared to the SE stuff....
Old 27th June 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
hi dude I remember your excellent Dominion review. I had an SE1x although the envelopes were not modded - and I found it a bit sluggish...it did have a good raw sound tho....did you change that resistor value for the envelope mod? Does it create any pop artefacts? Would be cool to hear a demo if you have one...

Voyager is cool but Id have to get a tube drive to patch before the filter to give it some dirt as its quite polite...I do prefer the layout of the Voyager and the response of the LFO and Env compared to the SE stuff....
Well, for the resistor value I followed the suggestion that was given on a tutorial on the web... the mod helps quite a bit. The same tutorial advised about the risk of getting clicks with higher values, so I did stick to that. Probably, I could have obtained even faster attacks with different values, but to access that one resistor you have to get quite deep into the boards IIRC, so I didn't bother to experiment.
In short, the envelopes are now faster, though not *very* fast - and no clicks whatsoever.

The filter feedback mod is the best mod I've done on any of my instruments. I wrote Studio Electronics, and they sent me a piece of schematics (scribbled by hand), a piece of cable and one three-position switch... for about $50 IIRC.
I followed their very concise instructions, and now I can do feeback Mini-style, *without external cables*. It sounds really good, and does wonder to make the SE-1 sound more like a model D. I have heard that on the Voyager, it's kind of difficult to obtain convincing filter feedback, so I consider this a big plus.
The only negative is that with that three-position switch, you have to choose among ext input, filter feedback, or the noise source; you can't have two of them at once. So a bit of the convenience of patch memory is lost.
But considering that several analog monosynths have no patch memory at all, I don't think this a serious issue at all.
Demos? Ulp, I'm impossibly busy these days. If I get some time, I'll do what I can.
Old 27th June 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
Demos? Ulp, I'm impossibly busy these days.
I just wanted to say that I love the use of "ulp" (which for the U S and A readers, it is an onomatopoeic expression used in italian books of comics, somewhat similar - but less strong - to "ugh", or "gosh"). As a fellow (and probably of similar generation as you) Italian, it reminds me of Paperino and Topolino comics of our youth

(top right quadrant)

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Old 27th June 2013
  #11
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IS the Micromac D an actual option if you are not on a waitist somewhere? ALL Analogue Haven in the US has is the R and there is no sign that they are even expecting a D?
Old 27th June 2013
  #12
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Thread Starter
well if i don't catch this batch, perhaps it's going to be another one, D model is about to land soon at Schneider's in Berlin


Quote:
Originally Posted by chromex View Post
IS the Micromac D an actual option if you are not on a waitist somewhere? ALL Analogue Haven in the US has is the R and there is no sign that they are even expecting a D?
Old 27th June 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_Che View Post
well if i don't catch this batch, perhaps it's going to be another one, D model is about to land soon at Schneider's in Berlin
As i wrote - it already has, and i gave up mine. So go ahead and grab it.
Old 27th June 2013
  #14
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Thread Starter
thanks for the tip! still need to obtain some cash though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zahush76 View Post
As i wrote - it already has, and i gave up mine. So go ahead and grab it.
Old 27th June 2013
  #15
Gear Head
 

Micromac sounds beautiful but, to my ears, it's got very little in common with the many varieties of the Moog sound. IMO, it's worth the price as it's seems to be a very solid instrument with a great tone.

I wouldn't buy it though. The reason is that for this kind of money I wouldn't accept "waiting lists", postponing shipping dates, etc. I'd buy a Moog rig instead and have it delivered the next day.
Old 27th June 2013
  #16
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perhaps I sould have said " is it going to be avialable in the US?"
Old 27th June 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
Well, for the resistor value I followed the suggestion that was given on a tutorial on the web... the mod helps quite a bit. The same tutorial advised about the risk of getting clicks with higher values, so I did stick to that. Probably, I could have obtained even faster attacks with different values, but to access that one resistor you have to get quite deep into the boards IIRC, so I didn't bother to experiment.
In short, the envelopes are now faster, though not *very* fast - and no clicks whatsoever.

The filter feedback mod is the best mod I've done on any of my instruments. I wrote Studio Electronics, and they sent me a piece of schematics (scribbled by hand), a piece of cable and one three-position switch... for about $50 IIRC.
I followed their very concise instructions, and now I can do feeback Mini-style, *without external cables*. It sounds really good, and does wonder to make the SE-1 sound more like a model D. I have heard that on the Voyager, it's kind of difficult to obtain convincing filter feedback, so I consider this a big plus.
The only negative is that with that three-position switch, you have to choose among ext input, filter feedback, or the noise source; you can't have two of them at once. So a bit of the convenience of patch memory is lost.
But considering that several analog monosynths have no patch memory at all, I don't think this a serious issue at all.
Demos? Ulp, I'm impossibly busy these days. If I get some time, I'll do what I can.
Can you post examples of the filter feedback mod? This sounds interesting!

I had an SE-1 and also did the filter input and envelope mod. The SE-1 is very good at doing the liquid 3-osc pitchbend Minimoog kind of bass. And it fits well in a mix for this kind of bass, doesn't get in the way of the kick. But I didn't use it for much else, the overall sound isn't nearly as big/alive/impressive as the Model Ds, and the envelopes didn't do it for me even with the mod. Patch memory is very nice, but the lack of hands-on control was a serious downside.

I'm still very happy with my small Mos-Lab Moog Modular clone, sounds huge, clear and alive. Doesn't sound like a Model D either though.
Old 27th June 2013
  #18
Gear maniac
 

I think the Micromac sounds pretty phenomenal. I like that Ken seems to me to be a very creative "mad scientist" style designer with his synths. Almost like they're works of art, as opposed to the what-is-the-cheapest-way-we-can-put-all-this-in-one-synth mentality. There is an appeal to the spare no expense approach he uses... but it sounds to me like you'll have to sell stuff off to get it, so be sure you won't miss anything you'll sell because that can "taint" your decision to have that regret. I'm sure the Micromac won't collect dust if you buy it that's for sure. I think it's a well crafted synthesizer based off the dozens of videos I've watched. If I had the money I'd probably get it, but I'd think twice if money was so tight that I had to sell stuff to get it. There is a puncy, snappy, warmth to the Micromac that I don't hear too often. That classic, elusive "analogue" sound, a term that is thrown around a lot, but when you listen to the Micromac I really hear it.
Old 27th June 2013
  #19
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Hmmm.. The Dual VCO and Backend filter combo sound a little more modern and tighter than my Midimoog (real moog boards) but they are definitely similiar. At the end of the day as i realize so many times, you usually get what you pay for. Meaning good stuff isnt cheap (sadly).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacefloe View Post
Micromac sounds beautiful but, to my ears, it's got very little in common with the many varieties of the Moog sound. IMO, it's worth the price as it's seems to be a very solid instrument with a great tone.

I wouldn't buy it though. The reason is that for this kind of money I wouldn't accept "waiting lists", postponing shipping dates, etc. I'd buy a Moog rig instead and have it delivered the next day.
Old 27th June 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJB06 View Post
At the end of the day as i realize so many times, you usually get what you pay for. Meaning good stuff isnt cheap (sadly).
Very true. I find that when it comes to analogue I want either really expensive or super cheap, not the midrange. I think that's because the cheap analogue stuff can have bizarre unstable qualities. Like I either want a Monotron or a Micromac.
Old 27th June 2013
  #21
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Thread Starter
Micromac seems as a keep and future classic, but you are right i would be forced to sell some stuff, and i got tired of selling

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ.MacReady View Post
I think the Micromac sounds pretty phenomenal. I like that Ken seems to me to be a very creative "mad scientist" style designer with his synths. Almost like they're works of art, as opposed to the what-is-the-cheapest-way-we-can-put-all-this-in-one-synth mentality. There is an appeal to the spare no expense approach he uses... but it sounds to me like you'll have to sell stuff off to get it, so be sure you won't miss anything you'll sell because that can "taint" your decision to have that regret. I'm sure the Micromac won't collect dust if you buy it that's for sure. I think it's a well crafted synthesizer based off the dozens of videos I've watched. If I had the money I'd probably get it, but I'd think twice if money was so tight that I had to sell stuff to get it. There is a puncy, snappy, warmth to the Micromac that I don't hear too often. That classic, elusive "analogue" sound, a term that is thrown around a lot, but when you listen to the Micromac I really hear it.
Old 27th June 2013
  #22
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The Micromac sounds amazing. I hummed and hawed for ages, even contacted Ken, but in the end I decided not to go for it. In my case the money is better spent elsewhere or even not spent at all. I make my best stuff with cheap synths anyway!
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Old 27th June 2013
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
As I have remarked on several occasions, there's still nothing around that would convince me to replace my SE-1 for Moog-style sounds. Only thing would be a real model D or, probably, a MicroMac.
I used to have the SE1x, I think it's different enough from a Model D (you get PWM and sync!) More rumble than a Voyager (but the Voy has snappier envelopes).

Lovely unit, would love a re-release in bigger Boomstar form (through hole, no memory, all knobs directly wired). SE also have the best names for presets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacefloe View Post
I wouldn't buy it though. The reason is that for this kind of money I wouldn't accept "waiting lists", postponing shipping dates, etc. I'd buy a Moog rig instead and have it delivered the next day.
Waiting lists for boutique/expensive/built to order items are commonplace though; boats, furniture, suits. Patience is a virtue
Old 27th June 2013
  #24
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I know its definitely not in vogue - but Ive actually become quite interested in the Mode Machines Synth Lab...decent basic features, cost effective and sounds pretty good in demos...
Old 27th June 2013
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer
Waiting lists for boutique/expensive/built to order items are commonplace though; boats, furniture, suits. Patience is a virtue
Come on, this is not boutique/expensive/built to order - it's a comparatively simple, reasonably priced synthesizer that happens to be one of the few synths built with love.

But maybe you're right, in the synthesizer world of today, a solid musical instrument is already boutique by definition. I hate synths because of that. And I love them at the same time because they are ideal to express myself musically.
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Old 27th June 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
I just wanted to say that I love the use of "ulp" (which for the U S and A readers, it is an onomatopoeic expression used in italian books of comics, somewhat similar - but less strong - to "ugh", or "gosh"). As a fellow (and probably of similar generation as you) Italian, it reminds me of Paperino and Topolino comics of our youth
Hi Varaldo - believe it or not, I've seen/heard "ulp" in the UK, both in written and spoken form.
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Old 27th June 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marino View Post
Hi Varaldo - believe it or not, I've seen/heard "ulp" in the UK, both in written and spoken form.
Ulp! Really?! Ha, never heard it in the US

Anyway, I'd love to have a Micromac desktop For portable Mooginess.
Old 27th June 2013
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
Can you post examples of the filter feedback mod? This sounds interesting!
Well, if you performed the ext input mod on your SE-1, it's quite easy to route its own output back to the filter input instead of an external signal. Frankly, I can't remember if any additional components (attenuators?) were involved in the routing - that was many years ago. But the SE people should be able to help you - it's a very simple mod.

I don't have time to record proper demos right now; I'll try to post something quickly next week.
Old 27th June 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
I'd love to have a Micromac desktop for portable Mooginess.
A chi lo dici....

To my ears, the Micromac is the overall best-sounding integrated monosynth around... including several vintage ones.
Ken explained to me that its filter circuit is based on a modified version of the Moog Source filter, which to me is one of the best filters of all time - not dark as a model D filter, but still meaty and creamy. And with three great-sounding oscs and all the other goodies (LFOs, sync, etc.) and its small footprint, it's *very* close to my ideal monosynth (although complete ADSRs would have been welcome).
Old 28th June 2013
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_Che View Post
i would be forced to sell some stuff, and i got tired of selling
That's a big truth for me too...
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