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DSI Tetra, Slim Phatty, or....... Desktop Synthesizers
Old 2nd January 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

DSI Tetra, Slim Phatty, or.......

Hey guys,
I'm new to the forum, but I've been doing research for a while and have a modest background in music production. I have a very simple studio set up, that is ITB save for a few amps (with and without effects), guitars, midi controller (Axiom 61), a daw, some vsts, and cassette recorder. I'm not one of those people who wants the most expensive gear out there (nor do I have the budget for that). I have a budget of $800, and I want to get some hardware, particularly a synthesizer. I want something versitile and flexible, but who doesn't. I want to create some unique and different sounds, but I also have an ongoing love affair with classic New-Wave/Synth pop sounds (as well as people like Neon Indian who are presenting a different take on these sounds).

I really love the sound of analog synths, and have wanted one for a while now. I'm looking at the DSI Tetra, Moog Slim Phatty, or a used synth (Juno 6, 60). I'm having a tough time choosing as they all have their pluses and minuses. I would love a Juno 60 as it has solid polyphony, great chorus, and lots of possibilities (as well as a simple but usable interface imo). The tetra sounds great, seems flexible but the lack of knobs makes me think twice as i've heard good and bad things about the software (and do i really want hardware that i would have to control via software?). The Slim Phatty seems like it is very well layed out interface wise, but it is mono which makes me think i would want a poly synth soon after I buy it. However it may help me access some of the vintage feel i love from new wave, synth pop, etc from the demos ive heard.

I am leaning tetra as it is new (with the juno 60 i dont know another option besides ebay which is kinda sketchy and ive heard the horror stories) and has a unique sound and a lot of possibilities (although they seem hard to access.....), and has the possibility of playing chords over the Slim Phatty (plus those fat sub oscs). Am I missing something? Any other reccomendations? Any other options on finding a working Juno 60 or Juno 6 (live in the Chicago land area)? Would you trade the Phatty interface for the Tetra Polyphony or vice versa?

-Thanks
Old 2nd January 2011
  #2
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DSI Tetra, Slim Phatty, or.......

Get the tetra for it's versatility...it's poly, stackable, has sequencers. You only need the software to program, and it works fine IMO. You get get a cheap controller with knobs - like the novation zero or the behringer - and assign parameters for real time tweaking.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #3
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bcgood's Avatar
 

Yea, the Tetra rocks pretty hard. Sounds better than a LOT of stuff that's much more expensive and you can play more than one note at a time, that's always nice.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #4
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ctrlshft's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artnoc View Post
Hey guys,
I'm new to the forum, but I've been doing research for a while and have a modest background in music production. I have a very simple studio set up, that is ITB save for a few amps (with and without effects), guitars, midi controller (Axiom 61), a daw, some vsts, and cassette recorder. I'm not one of those people who wants the most expensive gear out there (nor do I have the budget for that). I have a budget of $800, and I want to get some hardware, particularly a synthesizer. I want something versitile and flexible, but who doesn't. I want to create some unique and different sounds, but I also have an ongoing love affair with classic New-Wave/Synth pop sounds (as well as people like Neon Indian who are presenting a different take on these sounds).

I really love the sound of analog synths, and have wanted one for a while now. I'm looking at the DSI Tetra, Moog Slim Phatty, or a used synth (Juno 6, 60). I'm having a tough time choosing as they all have their pluses and minuses. I would love a Juno 60 as it has solid polyphony, great chorus, and lots of possibilities (as well as a simple but usable interface imo). The tetra sounds great, seems flexible but the lack of knobs makes me think twice as i've heard good and bad things about the software (and do i really want hardware that i would have to control via software?). The Slim Phatty seems like it is very well layed out interface wise, but it is mono which makes me think i would want a poly synth soon after I buy it. However it may help me access some of the vintage feel i love from new wave, synth pop, etc from the demos ive heard.

I am leaning tetra as it is new (with the juno 60 i dont know another option besides ebay which is kinda sketchy and ive heard the horror stories) and has a unique sound and a lot of possibilities (although they seem hard to access.....), and has the possibility of playing chords over the Slim Phatty (plus those fat sub oscs). Am I missing something? Any other reccomendations? Any other options on finding a working Juno 60 or Juno 6 (live in the Chicago land area)? Would you trade the Phatty interface for the Tetra Polyphony or vice versa?

-Thanks
If you work ITB for the most part I don't think you'd have a problem with the Tetra's interface. You can actually program it from the outside, it's just very tedious. The editor is actually quite robust despite it's quirks, gets to be pretty fun to use IMO. Sounds fantastic. BTW with your Axiom you could easily setup a patch to control common parameters like filters and envelopes; That might sate your desire for some hands on control.

The SP on the other hand is a totally different beast. It delivers huge bass and leads, and is flexible for sfx too. The RAC knobs are IMO pretty brilliant, and you don't even really notice the limitation after getting comfortable w/ the layout. I've been using the Little Phatty series since the Tribute came out and have seen how dedicated Moog is to this line. The newest OS is phenominal, and straight up the SP one of the best analog synths you can get under $1k.

My first analog synth was a Juno-106. Later swapped it for a Juno-60. As you mentioned, it has some wonderful qualities, and you can definitely get quite a bit of milage out of one. That said, Junos are very same-y sounding after a while. It's a good sound, but diversity isn't Juno's middle name at all. It's just a nice sounding analog poly. If you're really yearning for modulation city in a poly-analog capacity, the Tetra is going to be a better bet.

Just another mono I'll throw out there in your price-range(ish): Tom Oberheim SEM. Multi-mode filters, huge freakin' sound. There's a gamut of others out there that are at or below 800 bucks too of course. I think it'd be good for you to assess what you need a analog for (ie what your plugins aren't doing for you) and then start considering your best options.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #5
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djanthonyw's Avatar
 

Another vote for the Tetra.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #6
Here for the gear
 

The Tetra seems like the best bet. I am trying to move OTB, but I guess that will have to be a gradual process at my budget. Still, I wish the tetra had a slim phatty like interface. I guess I can implement midi controllers to do the knob tweaking I'd like to do with the tetra.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #7
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Simonator's Avatar
 

I vote Tetra too. I love mine.

If you are considering monosynths, you could also look at the Vermona Mono-Lancet, and the MFB Kraftzwerg which are both well within your budget.

Slim Phatty (I'm assuming it's is same as LP in this respect) has the advantage of full software integration though, so you can control it fully from a plug-in, which might be especially advantageous to you, coming from a softsynth background.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
DonPuzo's Avatar
 

I only want to add that the Tetra editor (on mac) is absolutely horrible; soundtower doesn't update it, and DSI only answers that this editor is not from the company and is not his responsability (not the best company strategy, in my opinion).

Editing the Tetra himself... it's not the most enjoyable experience...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
DSI Tetra, Slim Phatty, or.......

I picked up a Tetra a while back as my first analog synth and I love it! I would have liked to try the slim phatty but the thought of not being able to play chords is more than I can bare. The editor is okay... Could be better but it's not bad.

And so, a few months ago I bought and polychained a Mopho Keyboard to it and Wow. Now that I can control the 5 voices with just the Mopho Keyboard I am mc'lovin it. But even if you don't eventually get the Mopho Keyboard I'd still get the Tetra out of those choices since you can still control it's parameters with any midi cotroller. Great bang for the buck.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
Gear Head
 
DerWanderer's Avatar
 

I would vote for the Phätty, you ask why, it was my first Analog not the slim but nevertheless i would'nt get rid of it anytime, love its sound the nice interface, again the sound and its not too complicated to learn from it.
My Tetra i get rid of really soon because the software was not working well for me and it has strange bugs in the Synth OS, so if you don't mind the abstinence of polyphony get a Moog heh
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Ericdestler's Avatar
 

Tetra

Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
Another vote for the Tetra.
+1 for Tetra, great sounds in that little box
Old 3rd January 2011
  #12
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I love the Juno. Has a great sound and is a pleasure to edit and play but like the previous poster mentioned it has "a sound".

I've never owned the Moog but I bought the Mopho and loved it so much I debated a tetr4 (I actually think the Mopho can make some Juno type sounds easily). After much research I double my budget to 1400$ and picked up a used Poly Evolver. I'm glad I did. If you want versatile the evolver can do it, I would recommend checking out the mono variety if you are remotely interested in something that can create great analog sounds and complex hybrid sounds.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for all your input guys! I do run off of a Mac, so do you guys with experience with the Tetra/Mac think I'll run into the bugs or problems DonPuzo alluded to? The flakiness of the editor is very worrisome
Old 3rd January 2011
  #14
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My advice: first get the Tetra. I guarantee you won't regret! I've never had any *serious* problems with the editor. Some bugs, yes...but new Tetra OS 1.3.6 is already out and opens a lot of possibilities!

Later in life, when you have some more money to spend, get the Slim Phatty and the Tom Oberheim SEM...they all have different flavors and my opinion is they're all essential in a small analog setup. Plus they are all new and unlikely to develop problems anytime soon.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #15
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Simonator's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artnoc View Post
Thanks for all your input guys! I do run off of a Mac, so do you guys with experience with the Tetra/Mac think I'll run into the bugs or problems DonPuzo alluded to? The flakiness of the editor is very worrisome
Mac/Tetra here. I agree with this:


Quote:
Originally Posted by projectwoofer View Post
My advice: first get the Tetra. I guarantee you won't regret! I've never had any *serious* problems with the editor. Some bugs, yes...but new Tetra OS 1.3.6 is already out and opens a lot of possibilities!

The capability that you get with a Tetra is astonishing for what it costs.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simonator View Post
The capability that you get with a Tetra is astonishing for what it costs.
yeah I think thats the real reason why its so much more popular than the P08...its outstanding to get a 4 voice well featured analogue synth for less than £500...it puts it in the reach of people less worried vintage analogue sound...
Old 3rd January 2011
  #17
Might be nice to get a Tetra, then a Slim Phatty when you get more cash, then wire the two together (MIDI the Tetra to the Slim Phatty, run the Tetra's outputs through the Slim Phatty's external audio inputs) for some crazy fun.

EDIT: random thought -- I wonder what sort of midi messages are sent via the Tetra's "Poly Chain Out" port.
Old 4th January 2011
  #18
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halfguard's Avatar
 

can someone post some pads/strings from the tetra. i want to see what is capable with just 4 voices. i would appreciate it.
Old 4th January 2011
  #19
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Simonator's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by halfguard View Post
can someone post some pads/strings from the tetra. i want to see what is capable with just 4 voices. i would appreciate it.
Here are some from Projectwoofer:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5469828-post1.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5469924-post6.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5480343-post28.html
Old 4th January 2011
  #20
these are great...in the first example, second patch - is it possible to have the LFOs -> pitch mod free cycling? it sounds a bit funny retriggering...but it makes a big difference...

Also - does the Tetra have Oscillator slop?

Im increasingly impressed with the Tetra...anyone wanna do a simple patch blind test vs my OB8?
Old 4th January 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
DSI Tetra, Slim Phatty, or.......

Yes it has slop from 0-5.
Old 4th January 2011
  #22
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DSI Tetra, Slim Phatty, or.......

And you don't have to retrig the lfos of you don't want to.
Old 4th January 2011
  #23
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masaski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artnoc View Post
Thanks for all your input guys! I do run off of a Mac, so do you guys with experience with the Tetra/Mac think I'll run into the bugs or problems DonPuzo alluded to? The flakiness of the editor is very worrisome
I hook my Tetra up to my main DAW over midi and then use my macbook for the editor permanently hooked up over usb connex and find that works really well.

The editor takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get there, I find there are some really cool features and it's very creative.

The Tetra really does sound great too
Old 4th January 2011
  #24
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enossified's Avatar
Since this would be your first hardware synth, another vote for Tetra because not only is it polyphonic it's also multitimbral, meaning you can use it as four independent monosynths if you like...very important when you are on a budget.

Mac/editor: I own an Evolver with the SoundTower editor running on a MacBook Pro. SoundTower is one of those companies you'll love to hate. Their editors work but they are quirky with pretty amateurish GUIs. I wouldn't let the editor (which is free) keep me from buying a Tetra, just don't expect as slick an editing interface as your VSTs
Old 2nd February 2011
  #25
Gear Head
 

Not really trying to hijack the thread just have a lot of similar questions...

I'm in a similar position. I just sold my MPC 1000 and am looking to get into analog synthesis. I thoroughly enjoyed the Tetra when I heard it at NAMM last year. However, I have a Virus TI Snow right now and I have trudged through with the lack of knobs but do feel its limitations. I was looking to snag an analog synth or save up to start a modular but have been having trouble deciding. Everywhere I've looked, I've seen raves about the Tetra and I loved its sound. But, I've also really loved the Slim Phatty and Evolver (though they're mono), while debating getting a Poly Evolver (after saving a little more money) to get more than just a mono sound. I have a budget of $600-800 right now and am a little torn. I'm trying to prevent myself from getting caught in the same scenario as the 3 knobbed Virus Snow. I'm looking at vintage synths too, but there are possible issues tuning/repair and I get the impression many don't sync to a midi clock.

I've also heard a lot of people say, instead of the tetra go for the Mopho Keyboard (as it's basically a tetra with a keyboard). Though, I'm not entirely certain yet. I've considered getting a Doepfer Dark Energy and Dark Time, to get a more analog/modular feel.

I work on a macbook pro as well and the dodgy Tetra editor software (and to a lesser extent using another USB ports) is a concern. I know how the Virus works with timing and getting it working with your DAW (among other things) and I'd, frankly just love to twiddle knobs on the box and record the sound.

That said, I'm looking at possibly being able to pick up a (used) tetra for $300 or a (used) mopho keyboard for $500. So, those seem like decent deals. But too good to pass up?

What do you gurus think?

-Wh

Last edited by Wavehaus; 2nd February 2011 at 10:35 PM.. Reason: tetra and mopho KB are prev. used.
Old 2nd February 2011
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
DonPuzo's Avatar
 

A tetra for 300$? It's a very good price

I only have tetra but all I can say it's that I like the sound (I have zero experience with synths but I have ears) but I hate the interface, and yes, the editor is horrible.
Old 2nd February 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavehaus View Post
I've also heard a lot of people say, instead of the tetra go for the Mopho Keyboard (as it's basically a tetra with a keyboard).

That said, I'm looking at possibly being able to pick up a (used) tetra for $300 or a (used) mopho keyboard for $500. So, those seem like decent deals. But too good to pass up?

What do you gurus think?

-Wh
well of course a Mopho keyboard is not a Tetra with keys (1 voice vs. 4 voice).
And if you can get a used Tetra for $300, snag it.. i've never seen one that cheap..
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