Hi all, it’s been a while, I just re-bought Pyramid, couldn’t be without it and would like to have a multi timbral synth, only one affordable I found is Blofeld.
Is anybody using Blofeld in multi timbral mode with Pyramid?
How does Blofeld handle it? Can you run let’s say 12-16 channels do program changes, assign CCs etc? Pushing it?
I believe it has decent sound (from what I hear) and second hand can be found around 300€.
Is it a good companion to Pyramid?
Thanks for any insight.
It’s been a while since I owned a Blofeld. But I can remember that the multi-timbral mode is a bit flawed. Worked very well for a drum kit (kick on one sound,snare on another etc) but with melodic parts it ran out of resources pretty quickly - voice stealing and so on if I remember correctly. Also not great fun to edit in this mode (but I have to say by nature I don’t like the level of complexity that multi-timbrality can bring si ymmv)
Ugh, sorry to speak up.
After reading Bambrose’s post on the Blofeld, thought I’d make a suggestion.
I havent checked out the polyphony on Blofeld yet. I dont use them, sorry.
I use 90s romplers tho.
If you want a single synth, check out some of the Emu romplers you can find on Reverb or the other used gear sites. An XL1, Planet Phatt, Planet Earth, etc might run you about 200€ and they offer 16 channels/voices, 64 note polyphony, and a chillingly stable OS (i have crashed the OS of every music device ive owned except Emu).
Although the “immediacy” of editing patches is nerf’d somewhat, these models offer some cool, built in methods of modulation.
I currently run 2xOrbit V2, Planet Earth, XL1, and i have a few more Emu devices in storage. Once you get the navigation, if you prefer to avoid pgming your own patches, or prefer making minor tweaks to sounds, it’s super simple to focus on the sequence.
Depends on what you’re after of course, but for an all-round multi-timbral budget synth, here’s another vote for 90’ies romplers. Based on personal experience, Roland JV/XV series deliver big bang for the buck: 16x multitimbral, 64-128 voice polyphony depending on the model (Blofeld is limited to 25 voices), up to six separate outputs, and are absolutely rock solid. Prices start around 150$/€, depending on the model and how many expansion cards are installed.
I didnt realise the Roland romplers had such polyphony. Nice! I might overcome my prejudice against roland to check one out.
Thx for sharing that info.
Sorry if this is a potential thread hijack, but has anyone used the Modal rackmount analog synths?
Even tho i haven’t gigged in a few years, i prefer rackmounts for portability and ease of setup.
Sorry for repeated posts. Coffee must have kicked in.
One thing to keep in mind with multi-timbrals is that if you like thick sounds or complex textures you can often run out of polyphony quickly.
My current project uses bass sounds on an Emu Orbit V2 with 32 notes of polyphony. I stack them them: 16 notes polyphony. I use their “chorus” (which uses extra audio channels): 8 notes polyphony. Then i link 3 presets onto my main one: 2 note polyphony, which is basically monophonic.
So…keep that in mind.
45 note polyphony can be maybe 10-12 notes happening simultaneously depending on your techniques and preferred texture
Just in case the initial question is still valid, I use Blofeld ( and a Yamaha MU-80 rompler) inulti-timbral mode with my Pyramid.
The Blofeld responds well to MIDI program changes and CC on individual channels, although I’ve never been able to get the Blofeld to change from one multi-timbral “set” to another using PG messages.
WOW thank you all for replying and ideas. What a great idea! EXPANDERS- ROMPLERS SAMPLERS…
I won’t quote you individually, but thanks a bunch for all the different brands and models.
I checked in Audiofanzine and there are way too many…The problem now is which one to choose, there are hundreds of them, from all the major companies.
Is there something to look for besides the multi timbral function? How do you know what sounds are on it?
I guess this is something I will have to research…
If you can tell us a bit about your goals, we can offer better advice and help narrow the choices a bit.
Just as an example: I run individual instruments to separate channels of a mixer for multitrack multitrack recording, so the number of outputs is a big deal. In many other uses, that’s largely irrelevant. My main synth use is for backing tracks of band-oriented music for which the romplers are ideal, but electronic music where you mainly want to create your own sounds, your mileage might vary. Etc.
My goals are not complicated.
I mostly jam, make noise, in glitch,IMD, DUB, cinematic, rock-experimental, minimalistic sound. I’m not into making songs, I don’t even think I can.
I make bass line, add drums, melody etc, and add sounds and tracks as I go.
I do music for my enjoyment and to keep my sanity and because I can’t NOT be without making sounds/music. I like Reaktor and modular sound type of tracks. I used to play acoustic drums.
Thank you all for your help. Have nice weekend
I use Blofeld keyboard in multi-mode and it works well. I actually just sold my XP80 that I owned for over 20 years to get the Blofeld. The polyphony of the XP was nice, but the sounds aren’t anywhere as good as the Blofeld IMO. The Blofeld is also really fun to use for playing samples, which the JV/XP series cannot do. Sample playback is one of the other reasons I went with Blofeld. The Blofeld is also REALLY deep, and it’s fun to pass the samples through the filters and other controllers to mangle the samples on the Blofeld. Using the Pyramid to trigger the samples is super fun black MIDI style.
Actually the flagship of XV-line (5080) is a sampler too, but it’s also much more expensive with Ebay prices starting around 500$/€.
Anyway, the point of bringing those old beasts up in this thread was not to make a comparison to Blofeld sound-wise. Just that if you only have one synth to make noise with, polyphony is way more important than it is in some other scenarios, and in the 300€ price range those old romplers will deliver a whole lot more in that department.
I use the Blofeld too, and have no problems changing multis over midi. Great synth. But the '90s synth/sampler modules are suggestions worth considering too. I just bought a Akai S5000 sampler and it’s a beast, both soundwise and physically, not the sort of thing you would want to go mobile with. Many of the modules of that era have 64 or 128 voices multitimbral which is cool. But not many have the extensive modulation matrixes of today’s hardware, and not always an extensive midi control over parameters which can become frustrating, so don’t take that for granted: check the manual before you buy one. (My S5000 has 1 (one!) assignable CC (plus the classic velocity, pb and modwheel).
Fair enough. Yeah, you can get a 5050 on the cheap if you don’t need samples. My advice though is to stay away from the XP series synths. Mostly because the XV engine sounds better, and since they’re around the same price you might be disappointed with how the XP sounds if you decide to save a few bucks. I know it’s highly subjective, but like I said, I owned one for over 20 years and it wasn’t hard to let go. It had no character IMO. Then there is the Red Goo of Death problem that plagued this line.
After some research I decided to buy a Roland JV 1080. I’ve been looking at videos (there’s one hour and a half covering all features) and reading manual etc and it seems a way to go for 150€…
They have amazing features like performance bank where you can use/save 16 patches per set and tweaking/saving of all sounds and FX, impressive IMO, it’s a good start for me
Thanks @pmatilai and @CreepyPants for the Roland JV/XV ideas
There are still extension cards available with various styles…
Cool. I’ve both a JV-1080 and an XV-3080, and here’s a random collection of thoughts on them:
- I actually prefer the slightly darker sound of the JV over the XV (maybe it reminds me of good ol’ analogue tape, or something)
- Most of the really good sounds are to be found on the expansion boards, which are on their way to becoming rare collectors items and can cost quite a bit of money. On the plus side, you can expand gradually as budget permits.
- Overall, what the sounds may lack in “flashiness”, they make up in being really well balanced and sit nicely in a mix
- JV-2080 and the later XV models have a “Patch Finder” function which the JV-1080 lacks. It’s quite a killer feature when you’re lost seeking for the ultimate sound from hundreds of presets, probably the XV feature I miss most on the JV.
- On JV-1080, expansion boards are addressed (PC BANK LSB/MSB) by their slot on your machine. On the XV (dunno about 2080 though), the expansion boards have unique LSB/MSB. The former is actually easier to use with Pyramid, until you fall in love with the JV and want another one. And shuffle those boards around a bit. And realize you just broke all your projects. Been there
- On JV-1080, assigning instruments to individual outputs can certainly be done, but it’s quite a chore and often requires making mono versions of the sounds to tame them for the purpose. On the XV, it’s so much simpler in comparison it makes you want to cry. Not a thing you’ll run into unless you want to separate multiple instruments on their own channels on a mixer/mtr.
Rationally, the XV is the better device in every aspect, but it’s the JV you’d only pry away from my dead hands. Despite its quirks, or maybe because of them
Shout out to the mighty Yamaha A3000 with a staggering 6 slot mod matrix…per sample!
Interesting what you say about the two models JV 1080 and XV 3080.
If I knew all the different features and whatnot I ”might have” gone for the XV.
Don’t know…the cost was a main factor.
I spent time on research between various JV models, but what do I know …about all the different models?
You’re right about the cost of the cards…steadily claiming, but still available on eBay and elsewhere. I’m going to see how I like the JV, the programming and mainly the multi timbral stuff. What’s a good overall card to start with in your opinion?
Thanks for your comparison of the XV/JV
With second-hand stuff, you can research till the cowboys come home and in the end you’ll buy the one that’s accessible and available now.
As for the cards, what’s useful for you depends on your music style. From the cards I have, Vintage synth is highly regarded everywhere, as is 60-70’ies keyboards which is my personal favorite simply because of the Hammond sounds. I also have Orchestral II (came with the JV) which has nice sounds but I rarely need that sort of thing.
For overall stuff you might want to look for the Session (I don’t have it but it’s on my shopping list) and Pop. Super SoundSet and the Experience cards are compilations from other cards AIUI.
https://www.synthmania.com/ has loads of info and audio samples on all these, you’ll want to check them out and form your own opinion