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Roland System-1

A second synth went recently through my studio: the Roland System-1 was thought as a lightweight alternative to the Matrix Brute for smaller live gigs. The synth sounds very versatile, has cool crossmodulation features, unusual waveforms and a very nice arpeggiator. Compared to my other synths I missed character, warmth and voices. Actually it’s a monophonic synth, but it has a polyphonic mode in which it’s able to play 4 voices at the same time, but the sound becomes much thinner – somehow strange in a digital synthesizer. Maybe I would have kept it but as we say in Switzerland the better one is the enemy of the good: I sold it to get the money for a really nice, fat and even in polymode nice sounding synth: the DSI Pro 2.

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Roland JX-03

I bought this synth basically to have some tweakable lightweight live padsounds for Tanga Zoo to support my Matrix Brute, which is monophonic. The Roland JX-03 is a very cool digital reincarnation of the JX-3P from the 80ies. While the original had almost no controls (without the optional – still rather expensive – controller), this small and cheap box has a knob for nearly each function, a very cool sequencer, a built-in speaker and battery compartment for tweaking on the road. The sound is cool but too conventional for my purpose and the four voices polyphony too less for a useful pad. A comparison with it’s bigger brother, the original Juno-60 in my studio, made clear how a big analog pad could sound – so the JX-03 had to go…

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Matrix Brute arrived

Since joining Tanga Zoo I was looking for a versatile, modern synth with many live features. My friend Mehdi used to work with the Arturia Microbrute, which sounds terrific for it’s size and price and I immediately loved the concept of the Matrix Brute when it was presented in July 2016. But it didn’t come out yet. I hoped to get it for the première of our new program with Tanga Zoo in september – no chance. I was looking for it at christmas – nothing under the tree. Finally I got it in mid january 2017 and I knew – this beast would stay in my studio for a long time. When I took it to the first live gig, I had to admit, that maybe it would really only stay in the studio because of its weight. The Matrix looks gorgeous, it sounds superb, it’s made to play live, everything is at your fingertip, no hidden functions – but it’s simply too heavy for a musician like me who can’t afford a keyboard rowdy.

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