Buying hardware (and wishing you hadn't)

I don’t post on here much - I’ve posted this here as it’s the one place (remebering what a nice bunch you all are) where I can get away with saying this - but I’ve got back into buying hardware and sort of wish I hadn’t. 20’s year back I had lots of old shitty second stuff (drum machines, synths, a yamaha sequencer) and when I got rid of it all to use the PC about 2001, to use samples and vst’s etc is was fantastic. Now I’ve bought into this analog/hardware renaissance and it’s reminded me why I was happy to ditch it all in the first place! don’t get me wrong, some of this stuff is great (got myself a microbute a couple of months ago, great fun) but what a pain in the arse. Running out of usb ports, not enough inputs, waiting for analag circuits to warm up, getting the right input gain - to be honest it was quicker and more creative when I had renoise, a couple of freebie synths and effect and samples. Now my Pc is knackered and I can’t get it fixed as I spent the money on more stuff I don’t need.

Anyone feel the same?

Dude, yes!

I have a somewhat unique use case, I guess. More like – I bought the wrong gear for the wrong reasons, and now I gotta use it. My audio routing got so complicated that I had to whiteboard it to see what I was doing. Right now, I have two sets of speakers, four mixes (studio & dj mixers), two computers, and a nice recording mic. The mic requires 48v, but only my old dj mixer supports it. I’m using an old 2 channel dj mixer w/ kaoss pad with my electribe into one of the channels of my dj mixer. And I still have an old rotary mixer collecting dust, even though its probably my favorite “mixing” mixer of all time.

I still don’t have everything where I want it. Total first world problem :\

Speaking of which … anyone looking for a Korg Zero4? I’ll hook you up … i just need a 48v mic preamp lol.

Yeah, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with hardware. I love fiddling about with it, but to be honest it’s a pain to write anything with - it’s slow, cumbersome and to be honest pretty limited a lot of the time. I think software is actually more exciting (especially with things like granular synthesis available), but I don’t care for the analogue sound or anything like that. I have a bunch of hardware synths and effects, but 9 times out of 10 I reach for software.

I agree somewhat as well. I went hardware crazy just because software never felt right, but then after really making the mental switch to Renoise I began treating sound sources differently and having way more fun again just capturing small bits to manipulate rather than ending up with tons and tons of long stems.

Its a delicate balance. I think some nice sound sources are valuable to have around, but definitely don’t feel I need nearly as much anymore. Happier with less and more creative.

Oh, yes. I bought an Analog RYTM a few weeks back, and while I love it to bits, I just jam with it. In order to use it for more, I feel I need to buy more hardware, which would end up costing thousands. That aside, I was never into audio hardware back in the eighties or so (computer geek even then), so while I love the tactile aspects of buttons, knobs, and sliders, everything seems overly tedious and slow (just the act of loading a sample is cumbersome). And cables, and covers, and power plugs, and tiny displays …

I think maybe I should buy a complex controller, like that Ohm RGB mentioned in the other thread, to get the best of both worlds. I don’t regret getting the RYTM, and could sell it for almost what I paid for it, but I’m thinking that I would regret it if I went down the hardware path further.

I kind of regret the Zoom H6, because my Sony PCM-10 was sufficient for what I do and I even prefer it, but at least I use it sometimes. Unlike that ribbon mic that I thought I needed for recording a kalimba … or the contact mic that was not better than the built-in pickup.

My Korg R3 never got used, since I got cheaply last year it’s been sitting on the drawer only as an occational midi keyboard. I found that when I need some fast synth sounds I’ll just fire up a blank instrument and draw a single-cycle, plus the modulation set can do nice subtractive trick, the result is often fun and unique. While Korg did provide a computer editor, in Renoise everything is just so instantly and fun-ny over the Korg, heck, I probably developed an allergy to seperate windows and turning virtual knobs with mouse.

This week I finally got around to jot down some ideas with R3 sound, but every time I hook the instrument midi port a thought would come up wondering if it’s really needed? With hardware you’re dealing with patch management, extra maintainence, loss of physical space etc, that reminds me my guitarist days with too much pedal and too little accomplishment… There’s an Brain Eno quote I always loved, about working fast and cheap to achive creativity, and extra effort just ended up being generic.

(but sometimes you WANT to be generic isn’t it? the whole genre thing?)

But another thing I’ve been thinking, computer stuffs kinda make everything plain and boring, and people ended up developing “emulated uniqueness” like filters in photo-app or every console plugins; hardwares, with their physical/logical limitations, force you to form a certain perspective toward them, and that may ended up being the uniqueness you want.

…wait, I think I just discribed Renoise, hmm…

Having hardware is :drummer:

i have some keyboards, mpc, and some toys really not using them much. hardware setup sits in the corner for fun jams, i use them as a toys i got sick of midi dropouts and reassambling wires because everyday i want to do something different but i cant have everything run smooth, so my table is cleaned, i have pc keyboard and renoise and maschine, it is everything i really need :slight_smile: i hate setups whitch song i created today not working tomorrow

I find that I don’t regret the hardware I get, at least the quality stuff. Even if I set it aside for a while, I may come back to it after a few years and find myself newly inspired.

This is definitely true of my OP-1 which I put down and rediscover periodically. Recently I’ve dug out my old DS evolver which I hadn’t touched in ages and found it pretty inspiring.Quality acoustic instruments are also evergreen - guitar, violin, ukulele. Every once in a while I take these out after not playing for a long time and I’m so glad I didn’t get rid of them.

I do find myself regretting the cheapo-budget stuff. My electribe ES1 doesn’t get much love because sample transfer is too much of a PITA. Kaoss Pad 3 poops up the sound too much (not in a nice way, in a where-did-my-bass-go way) to be worth the trouble. One exception was that I had a love affair with the kaossilator 1 up until the touchpad died. However, the kaossilator 2 has been a massive disappointment so far.

. One exception was that I had a love affair with the kaossilator 1 up until the touchpad died.

i love mine 1st kaossilator, lost back cover, and a little dude stabbed a pen into touchpad, but everything still works, also one of the most loved things is my casio sa-1, an awesome 100 presets in super micro keyboard are you kidding me? best thing ever!

Interesting to know I’m not the only one, some stuff I’d never get rid of but a recent purchase made me reconsider – yeah I bought an Akai Rhythm Wolf – when I saw it announced I thought it looked great. I didn’t read any reviews. What a pile of rubbish. I was going to use my ancient Casio CZ1000 the other day, one of my kids knocked it over and broke it so another disaster.

I’m going to sell some of my stuff (including above named abomination) – enough is enough. I’d rather concentrate on writing songs rather than waste time wiring it all up (and keeping the dust off it)

Mind you that Sequential Prophet 6 at NAMM looks cool……

I love my hardware :smiley: I’m trying to figure out how I can fit a rack in my studio for outboard goodies. And a giant modular synth when I get thousands of dollars I don’t really need.


So the Rhythm Wolf is garbage? I’ll have to read up and check out the demo they have set up at my local Guitar Center. That’s a bit disappointing considering how solid most Akai stuff is.

The Roland TR-8 is awesome, though. GC has one set up in their MIDI controller room and I got to twiddle knobs for a good 20 minutes or so. I don’t know if it’s $500 worth of awesome.

Yes, new AKAI synths are disaster.


So the Rhythm Wolf is garbage? I’ll have to read up and check out the demo they have set up at my local Guitar Center. That’s a bit disappointing considering how solid most Akai stuff is.

I kind of like it fine for what it is in terms of drums sounds (very old basic analog sounds) and I knew this when I bought it. The unit looks good and is well built. The problems I’ve got are:

  1. Despite the range of knobs per drum, you can’t really change the sounds much. For instance the high hat tuning knob doesn’t seem to do anything.
  2. Midi drop outs when playing from Renoise or an external sequencer (other people have reported the same on the Akai support forum so it’s not just mine)
  3. Bass synth – Akai released a software download to get this working as the tuning/scaling was out. This works but half an hour later it drifts out of tune. I’ve warmed it up for over an hour and it still does it. The bass is not that great sound wise; the filters no good and if you turn up the res it more or less cuts the sound out.
  4. It doesn’t copy patterns properly
  5. It has a ‘howl’ which is supposed to make the sound more aggressive – it turns it into a hideous hissing noise.

Enough people are moaning about it over on the Akai forum – maybe they can release a firmware update for some of the problems.

It’s fun for messing around with but try the demo and see what you think. If you still like then you might want to wait until the price drops (shouldn’t be long)

This guys stuff is amazing

no way you could ever regret a purchase from him.

Can you have this much fun making noises with your software??

hardware rocks, no doubt if you ask me.
just got myself a cyclone tt-303 replica and OH MY GOD. you just can’t get that “grit” with rebirth, BassLine vst, etc.

I had a few hardware synths, but didn’t really used them much for actual music production… just to much work to nicely fit them into my workflow with a DAW. I started making music with computer, so I guess I’m just spoiled with having nice controls layed out in a nice screen and all that, so I find fiddling with various menu systems on harsware synths prety clumsy. But they are great for improvising, tweaking them live and generally just having fun playing them live. And they generally also sounds really good (at least my (ex) AN1X and present R3 does).

I did use some sounds from my X50, but I didn’t sequence them - I played it live and sampled the result.

Lately I started using different kind of “hardware” - iPad :slight_smile: Some really nice sounding synths on it. And controls give sort of immediate “hardware” feeling when tweaking them, but still have a nice visual interface. I doubt I’ll ever buy a hardware synth again (also thinking of selling R3), except maybe some simple and phat true analog machine.

Hardware is best. I don’t think music made with software synths is real. You can’t replicate music made on one daw to another easily like you can do just using hardware synths imo.

Feed your hardware synths signals into each other and twiddle!

Hardware is best. I don’t think music made with software synths is real.

hardware is only a fashion thing IMO.

hardware makes you think different but is it more fexible or sounds better than software?

one thing, if it sounds bad it is not hardware or software fault, it just means you are not doing your best

Hardware is best. I don’t think music made with software synths is real.

I think it was Bob Moog who had pointed out that many traditional instruments were reflecting the state of technology at the time of their invention. A piano, once at a time, wasn’t much different from a complex software synthesizer running on a high end PC now.

Sounds are just sounds. Music is the combination and arrangement of those sounds, and what they_express_. I feel that the medium that produces the sounds is secondary: more like a pen than the story.