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The polychaining of monos thread
Old 29th October 2018
  #1
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The polychaining of monos thread

I wanted to start a thread dedicated to those who are polychaining multiple monos to create a polyphonic analog setup. I have personally done this with 4 sem pros, 4 Erebus V2, 4 Lil Erebus, and 4 Boog. I no longer have the sem pro or Erebus v2 setup due to cost. But I really do miss both of those setups.

Programming each unit is a pain some days and fun other days. Often times I try to predict what sound might sound good in a poly and it ends up being a dud, either too overbearing or just doesn’t sound good. Other times I hit some amazing perfect sound and then don’t want to touch the setup for days.

Anyways I know some here like Studio460 are setting up slim phatty setups. I am curious how well those poly chain together. I’m anxiously waiting to hear about what is easy and hard about this setup. What voice allocation method does the sim phatty use? Pure round robin? Same note same unit until stolen? Etc.

Anyways if you ever considered a poly setup from monos, discuss here!

Here is a quick demo of my 4 boogs


4 voice boog by Vertflyer | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Yes there is some delay and reverb.
Old 29th October 2018
  #2
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

I've never polychained together more than 2 of the same thing before, but I do a few things like:

Use Guitarism App which is a guitar like controller on iOS that can send Bass, individual strings and chord info to different MIDI channels. So I do that with Minitaur on Bass, Odyssey for Duophonic chords and usually The O-Coast for the strings since it does really nice plucky sounds.

Or I use the Rock Band Mustang controller that has a separate Midi channel for each string to play 6 mono synths at once.



I had originally planned to do 6 Boogs using that.

But have gone for 2 slim phattys and 2 Minitaurs in a poly chain config. I'm not exactly sure how the voice allocation will work yet. I've used Polymer quite a bit to play all my mono synths at once but it gets messy quick.
Old 29th October 2018
  #3
Deleted User
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I polychained a DSI Mopho SE with a DSI Mopho module.
Rather than use the built-in polychain mode, I opted to have the
KB to be low note and the module to be high note.
Old 29th October 2018
  #4
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very nice.
Old 30th October 2018
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertflyer View Post
I wanted to start a thread dedicated to those who are polychaining multiple monos to create a polyphonic analog setup. I have personally done this with 4 sem pros . . Anyways I know some here like Studio460 are setting up slim phatty setups. I am curious how well those poly chain together . . . Anyways if you ever considered a poly setup from monos, discuss here!
Cool! Great idea for a thread! I guess I'll post results in two threads now, here and in the Slim Phatty thread. I think your Boog polychain sounds awesome. Thank God, the SPs have built-in polychained patch-follow. I'm curious to know: Did the SEM polychain sound ridiculous awesome?

Well, I missed my UPS delivery today so I won't get my Little Phatty until tomorrow, but I happen to be off tomorrow (probably won't be here until 8:59:59 PM!). My fourth SP won't be here for a couple more days. More importantly, I have ZERO short MIDI cables and almost ZERO 1/4" TR cables (you wouldn't believe how many synths I don't have hooked up because I only have like three 1/4" TS cables!). I promised myself to make a HUGE Monoprice order tonight.

I hope to punch a truck-sized hole in the theory that monos are "too thick" to use to make a poly. The available Moog/Boog polychain demos (which are very few and far between) seem to disprove that; though, their demo'd patches and playing is very selective. What's your experience with the Boogs in this regard? (Aside from having no patch-memory.)
Old 30th October 2018
  #6
Oh, another thing I've been doing (which is somewhat related) is simply MIDI-slaving my Prophet 6 from my OB-6 (not polychaining). So the OB-6's MIDI-out is going into the MIDI-in of the P6. The cool thing is that I have Geosynth's patch library on both synths, so when the "same" patch is pulled up on both synths, you get a really wild P6/OB-6 patch. Sick!

This is kind of a unique situation since Geosynth originally just ported the OB-6 patches to the Prophet 6 (or the other way around), and he found the envelopes and whatnot between the two synths were actually quite different and he had to make (slight) changes to the second patch set. This similar-but-different patch library deal makes for a pretty interesting MIDI-pairing of the P6/OB-6.
Old 30th October 2018
  #7
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Cirklon has a poly spread feature that sends each note in a chord to a different synth for you.
Old 30th October 2018
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertflyer View Post
I wanted to start a thread dedicated to those who are polychaining multiple monos to create a polyphonic analog setup. I have personally done this with 4 sem pros, 4 Erebus V2, 4 Lil Erebus, and 4 Boog. I no longer have the sem pro or Erebus v2 setup due to cost. But I really do miss both of those setups.

Programming each unit is a pain some days and fun other days. Often times I try to predict what sound might sound good in a poly and it ends up being a dud, either too overbearing or just doesn’t sound good. Other times I hit some amazing perfect sound and then don’t want to touch the setup for days.

Anyways I know some here like Studio460 are setting up slim phatty setups. I am curious how well those poly chain together. I’m anxiously waiting to hear about what is easy and hard about this setup. What voice allocation method does the sim phatty use? Pure round robin? Same note same unit until stolen? Etc.

Anyways if you ever considered a poly setup from monos, discuss here!

Here is a quick demo of my 4 boogs


4 voice boog by Vertflyer | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Yes there is some delay and reverb.
Do you have some sound examples of the 4 lil-erebus? I've got 2 sitting at home that I barely havent touched after building hehe...
Old 30th October 2018
  #9
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post

I hope to punch a truck-sized hole in the theory that monos are "too thick" to use to make a poly. The available Moog/Boog polychain demos (which are very few and far between) seem to disprove that; though, their demo'd patches and playing is very selective. What's your experience with the Boogs in this regard? (Aside from having no patch-memory.)
FWIW when the Boogs first came out my plan was to have 6 of them polychained together.

I was only able to get one at first and then a month or so later I got 2 more.

The way Behringer has Polychaining implemented is a tedious and frustrating experience. You have to hook them all together via MIDI and then using the first unit turn Polychaining on and off on all the others. That sounds easy but it's extremely frustrating in reality. One of my units came from the factory with Polychaining turned on. Which means since the on/off function is the same sequence it was always opposite of the others. It took an hour of frustration to figure that out.

Once that is sorted out you get to play the fun game of having them all in tune with each other again another frustrating experience

Once that is sorted out you get to play the fun game of trying to create the exact same patch on each one. Again another frustrating experience.

Those three strikes for me killed any thought of creativity however I pushed through all that

Once you do all that and have Polychaining working, have them all in tune, and have them all dialed up to the same patch you start to actually play.

Then you realize that unless you want to only play chords where every note is pressed at the same time it doesn't work.

If you for example have a patch with a long release and press a note that note will play on unit one. If you then release that note and press another one it will still only play on unit one and you will lose the sustain on the first note.

In reality you could have 16 polychained together and if you only press one key at a time the extra 15 will never get played

I promptly returned my extra 2 Boogs after a few days
Old 30th October 2018
  #10
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
FWIW when the Boogs first came out my plan was to have 6 of them polychained together.

I was only able to get one at first and then a month or so later I got 2 more.

The way Behringer has Polychaining implemented is a tedious and frustrating experience. You have to hook them all together via MIDI and then using the first unit turn Polychaining on and off on all the others. That sounds easy but it's extremely frustrating in reality. One of my units came from the factory with Polychaining turned on. Which means since the on/off function is the same sequence it was always opposite of the others. It took an hour of frustration to figure that out.

Once that is sorted out you get to play the fun game of having them all in tune with each other again another frustrating experience

Once that is sorted out you get to play the fun game of trying to create the exact same patch on each one. Again another frustrating experience.

Those three strikes for me killed any thought of creativity however I pushed through all that

Once you do all that and have Polychaining working, have them all in tune, and have them all dialed up to the same patch you start to actually play.

Then you realize that unless you want to only play chords where every note is pressed at the same time it doesn't work.

If you for example have a patch with a long release and press a note that note will play on unit one. If you then release that note and press another one it will still only play on unit one and you will lose the sustain on the first note.

In reality you could have 16 polychained together and if you only press one key at a time the extra 15 will never get played

I promptly returned my extra 2 Boogs after a few days
I remember that. It's kind of a shame they didn't do polychain properly.

Not sure if you know, but Stream Byter on iOS has a script for polychain. I remember you got like 100 ipads so... it might be of some use for you.
Old 30th October 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
Then you realize that unless you want to only play chords where every note is pressed at the same time it doesn't work.

If you for example have a patch with a long release and press a note that note will play on unit one. If you then release that note and press another one it will still only play on unit one and you will lose the sustain on the first note.
Well, that sucks! Is that just a poor implementation of polychaining, or does it work that way with most polychainable synths? Would "smart" polychaining "know" the last note played and give the first note priority? I'm new at this so forgive me if I have my terms mixed-up. Thanks for your views on this!
Old 30th October 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpro600k View Post


very nice.
I think this is an underrated, under-used technique—playing multiple MIDI-slaved synths, not polychained (though, I suppose people achieve the same effect via multitracking). I often played my V-Synth GT with my Studio Electronics SE-1, MIDI-slaved from it. The V-Synth's high-frequency character was nicely balanced with the SE-1's beefy bottom, lending a combined sound that was incredibly rich.

As I said, I'm doing that a lot with my P6/OB-6 with very nice results, slaving the P6 from the OB-6. I think this is how String6Theory mostly uses his 6+6 set-ups (i.e., not polychained, just MIDI-slaved).

On another note, I've been A/B/C'ing my own P6/OB-6 bass-sweeps with the most recent Moog One demo, and Pete Brown's Slim Phatty polychain videos. First, the P6/OB-6 combo is no slouch. Plenty of throaty, guttural, cow-udder flapping chudder in the low-register/cutoff. Perhaps the Moog One detractors are correct. The P6/OB-6 seem to have a higher quality "character" for lack of a better descriptor.

Alternately, Pete's SP polychain sounds nothing like the Moog One. It's smooth as butter, whereas (from what little I've heard), the Moog One is . . . actually I don't know how to describe it accurately, but it's NOT the sound of the chained SPs. I thought the last Moog One demo sounded amazingly CS80-ish and was initially very impressed, but when I later auditioned some of my own P6/OB-6 MIDI-slaved tracks, in comparison, the Moog One sounded "scratchy" and "noisy."

The way I've been comparing is less than scientific, but I have three windows open: Apple Logic with my P6/OB-6 MIDI-slave track, the most recent Moog One demo video, and Pete Brown's "Moog Poly Phatty Four Voice" video. I play each for a few seconds, then switch windows and play the alternate clips. Comparing them this way revealed marked contrasts in sonic character and to be honest was rather stunning in their differences. Granted, the Moog One recording was rather poor, with a TON of noise-floor for some reason, and possibly an open-mic included in the recording.
Old 30th October 2018
  #13
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
Well, that sucks! Is that just a poor implementation of polychaining, or does it work that way with most polychainable synths?
It’s just poor implimentation.
Old 30th October 2018
  #14
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonwhistle View Post
I remember that. It's kind of a shame they didn't do polychain properly.

Not sure if you know, but Stream Byter on iOS has a script for polychain. I remember you got like 100 ipads so... it might be of some use for you.
Thanks for the tip. I have however, come to the reality that for me Polychaining monosynths is not ever going to be a worthwhile proposition.

My 6 Voice Boog setup would have cost $1500 while, a Rev 2 is now $1500, a Deepmind 12 is now $699, a Minilogue is now $500

Ultimately any of those will give a better user experience than Polychaining monosynths.

I can only guess 2019 will bring even more affordable Analog Polysynths to market.

For now, for me the best solution for a Poly Boog is creating a patch I like on my Boog and sampling that into Izotope Iris 2, you can do some beautiful sound design that way or just play it polyphonicly. Iris has some amazing features for this.
Old 30th October 2018
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
Thanks for the tip. I have however, come to the reality that for me Polychaining monosynths is not ever going to be a worthwhile proposition.

My 6 Voice Boog setup would have cost $1500 while, a Rev 2 is now $1500, a Deepmind 12 is now $699, a Minilogue is now $500

Ultimately any of those will give a better user experience than Polychaining monosynths.

I can only guess 2019 will bring even more affordable Analog Polysynths to market.

For now, for me the best solution for a Poly Boog is creating a patch I like on my Boog and sampling that into Izotope Iris 2, you can do some beautiful sound design that way or just play it polyphonicly. Iris has some amazing features for this.
^ this!

If you feel the need to polychain a bunch of moogish monos, get The Legend, run it in poly4 mode or invoke a bunch of instances. Go crazy, get it out of your system, move on. Much cheaper than buying half a dozen boogs, slims etc. and it ends the same.
Old 30th October 2018
  #16
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by odourboy View Post
^ this!

If you feel the need to polychain a bunch of moogish monos, get The Legend, run it in poly4 mode or invoke a bunch of instances. Go crazy, get it out of your system, move on. Much cheaper than buying half a dozen boogs, slims etc. and it ends the same.
I just chain 4 instances of the Model D app.

But my proper 4 voice (2 min, 2 slim) only cost me about $1500. Not much more than the Grandmother I recently sold. With patch recall it's pretty convenient.
Old 30th October 2018
  #17
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Jpro600k's Avatar
 



The Polyphonic MicroBrute

wow!
Old 30th October 2018
  #18
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Jpro600k's Avatar
 

YouTube

It is a movie of Mr. peter Brown.

Great!

The Phatt Bastard Project: For the want of a Prophet – Lower West Side Studio


and

YouTube

Jordan Rudess Meets the Slim Phatty Poly Chain

Great!
Old 30th October 2018
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
My 6 Voice Boog setup would have cost $1500 while, a Rev 2 is now $1500, a Deepmind 12 is now $699, a Minilogue is now $500 . . .
After listening to the Minilogue's Blade Runner cover, I was quite impressed. It's the best Blade Runner cover I've ever heard, musically—it even includes the harpsichord-like arp (even though Geosynth's Prophet 6 Blade Runner patch is technically closer on the lead). However, I think you'll be hugely disappointed with either a Rev2 or DM if comparing it to the PolyBoog's sound.
Old 30th October 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by odourboy View Post
If you feel the need to polychain a bunch of moogish monos, get The Legend, run it in poly4 mode or invoke a bunch of instances. Go crazy, get it out of your system, move on. Much cheaper than buying half a dozen boogs, slims etc. . . .
I hear Legend is pretty good—never tried it. Kind of happy to be proven wrong, but also, it's too late for me. The Little Phatty is coming this afternoon, and the fourth Slim is coming tomorrow!

Pete Brown's Slim Phatty demos sound really good and really sunk the hook in me. I know he drenched it reverb to hide some note-stealing, but with five voices, I think (hope) I'll be plenty covered. Plus, four Slims in a 12U rack just looks awesome! Again, I spent $2,700 for four Slims and a Little Phatty keyboard—all in mint to excellent condition. I think that's a decent price for a five-voice poly with authentic Moog-voicing and ladder-filters (costs less than a Prophet 6!).
Old 30th October 2018
  #21
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpro600k View Post


The Polyphonic MicroBrute

wow!
That sounds really good. Arturia needs to make a polybrute!!
Old 31st October 2018
  #22
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post
I hear Legend is pretty good—never tried it. Kind of happy to be proven wrong, but also, it's too late for me. The Little Phatty is coming this afternoon, and the fourth Slim is coming tomorrow!

Pete Brown's Slim Phatty demos sound really good and really sunk the hook in me. I know he drenched it reverb to hide some note-stealing, but with five voices, I think (hope) I'll be plenty covered. Plus, four Slims in a 12U rack just looks awesome! Again, I spent $2,700 for four Slims and a Little Phatty keyboard—all in mint to excellent condition. I think that's a decent price for a five-voice poly with authentic Moog-voicing and ladder-filters (costs less than a Prophet 6!).
Legend is very good. Spookily so. I often run 2 versions in Poly-4 mode, but I’ve run 5 as 4 voice unison as well. I wish the developer would just make a 16 voice version. It’s not too bad, CPU wise.

Syntronik is another good and cheap way to get a poly Model D, though with minimal editing, as it’s a ROMpler.

For hardware I poly chain 2 Tetras for a super Prophet 08. Works great. I may add another and run it though one of those Behringer Air mixers for effects.
Old 31st October 2018
  #23
Moog Little Phatty:

Here it is! UPS guy just came and brought my black-on-black, SP polychain master-keyboard. I even found a home for it, right above my Montage. Looks lovely, and, as promised, it's in excellent condition. Now, I'm frantically trying to locate another 1/4" TS cable to plug it in . . .


Moog Little Phatty Stage II, black-on-black.
Old 31st October 2018
  #24
Right-angled, short MIDI, 1/4" TS, 1/8" patch cables:

Well, Monoprice had a scant selection of MIDI cables so I ordered them all from Sweetwater. I bought mainly 90° angle-cables, both 1/4" TS and MIDI (amazing how much of a difference a couple inches of clearance makes!). I got three 1' MIDI cables (below) to chain the SPs, plus two sets of colored 1/8" patch cables so I that can finally play with my semi-modular gear (e.g., System 1m, Sherman, etc.). But, wouldn't you know, while cleaning up to make room for the LP, I found a whole storage box full of 1/4" TR/TRS cables!

I don't know how, but somehow I spent over $300 in cables (plus one more rack-ear set for the fourth SP), and most were the just $5.99 Hosa kind (I guess I bought a lot). Here's the $16 One Control-brand, 30cm (one-foot) right-angled "MIDI cable for pedalboards," the priciest cable I bought, which I assume is fine for synths also:


One Control MIDI hammer cable—right-angled MIDI cable for pedalboards: 30cm ($16).
Old 31st October 2018
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Despite my poopy post, I'm hoping your little/slim poly works out and keen to hear about your progress. I have a slim myself and its a fine little machine. I've considered getting a second to run them as a stereo mono (rather than polychained duo).
Old 31st October 2018
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

I've polychained 2 SE-02s (I believe rsaintjohn might have done more?), with the K-25 as controller. It was ok to play one dyad after another, but I found if I played a scale moderately quickly some notes would get dropped entirely (seemingly not assigned to either synth). I would imagine this issue goes away if you have more synths in the chain. Adjusting parameters on the master adjusts for all others, which is convenient. If you adjust a parameter on a secondary synth and then adjust the same parameter on the master, the master overrides the secondary synth again, which some will find annoying. I think for people who were hoping to polychain Boogs this could get you a somewhat acceptable implementation, but of course it's more expensive.
Old 31st October 2018
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quuz View Post
Do you have some sound examples of the 4 lil-erebus? I've got 2 sitting at home that I barely havent touched after building hehe...


My playing is so horrible in this, but try to imagine someone playing nicely. I was rushing to just show this to a friend I didn’t care what I was playing.

4 voice lil Erebus by Vertflyer | Free Listening on SoundCloud

And here is an example of 4 lil Erebus not poly chained but used in 4 different parts of a song.

4 Lil Erebus by Vertflyer | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Old 31st October 2018
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_synth View Post
I've polychained 2 SE-02s (I believe rsaintjohn might have done more?), with the K-25 as controller. It was ok to play one dyad after another, but I found if I played a scale moderately quickly some notes would get dropped entirely (seemingly not assigned to either synth). I would imagine this issue goes away if you have more synths in the chain. Adjusting parameters on the master adjusts for all others, which is convenient. If you adjust a parameter on a secondary synth and then adjust the same parameter on the master, the master overrides the secondary synth again, which some will find annoying. I think for people who were hoping to polychain Boogs this could get you a somewhat acceptable implementation, but of course it's more expensive.
No, two is as far as I went (which is why I didn't really chime in here!). I wasn't so much interested in a poly setup like they showed at NAMM, as much as duophonic play to possibly replace my Sub 37. My findings were the same as yours, and I didn't really find the voice assignment to be suitable for reliable duophonic play. I'm sure they would sound great with 3+ and chords, but it would require a play style more precise than I have patience for.
Old 31st October 2018
  #29
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I was polychaining Waldorf Pulses (the first model, no "+: or "2" or whatever the kids are using these days) back when some of you were still pooping your diapers.

It was cool for about all of ten minutes, until the hassles of setting the same patches on each unit and having it take up multiple channels on your mixer take their toll.

/oldmanrant
Old 31st October 2018
  #30
Deleted User
Guest
And they were probably not even cloth diapers!
But who gives a sh$%^!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
I was polychaining Waldorf Pulses (the first model, no "+: or "2" or whatever the kids are using these days) back when some of you were still pooping your diapers.

It was cool for about all of ten minutes, until the hassles of setting the same patches on each unit and having it take up multiple channels on your mixer take their toll.

/oldmanrant
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