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Any love here for MOOG DFAM? Or other rhythmical synths?

pmountford

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The MOOG DFAM looks an interesting rhythmical synth. Any users and their experiences of it on here? Any other devices similar to this? First glance and it seems to be possible to generate interesting sounds/rhythms. Thoughts of any other devices with similar capabilities?
 

method1

Senior Member
I absolutely love the DFAM, very inspiring and it sounds huge.

In a DAW setting, you need a way to sync with your sequencer and also remember to write down your patches in case you need to recall something!
 
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pmountford

pmountford

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I really like the tone of the DFAM videos I've heard so far. Just collected a few synths so I presume I'd have to connect using cv from one of the synths? Presuming the DFAM would give something the Matrixbrute doesn't?
 
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Solarsentinel

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Hi,
the DFAM sounds absolutely huge! and it is unique. It has the tone lol.
But you have to know that it has zero midi implementation. It work well in a modular setup or with a semi modular moog setup (with a mother 32 or a grandmother).
Hopefully, there is some tricks to pair it with a DAW => You'll have to use a midi/CV converter such as an arturia keystep or korg SQ1. With it you can almost control it like any midi synth with your DAW.
But you'll can't do any automation and we can say that 8 steps for a beat machine is pretty restrictive. So it is primarly aimed for techno or really basic rythms. futhermore as metho1 said, you can't save patches...
I think it real power is in sound design, or in a live setup with other hardware units.

Sure it will give something to a Matrixbrute, but a semi or fully modular synth to pair with it will be much better. Depends on what your goal is?
:2thumbs:
To show you an idea:

There is some other alternative such the make noise 0 coast

And also Arturia have some good one to consider with the Drumbrute serie.
 
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pmountford

pmountford

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Thanks @Solarsentinel for these.

I've got a DFAM hopefully coming tomorrow but I don't intend on moving into modular territory (maybe dip toes into semi-modular - famous last words). So to integrate with a DAW I'm going to need some sort of MIDI to CV conversion and these can be found either in analogue sequencers (like the Korg SQ1), controller keyboard (eg Keystep), EuroRack module or standalone adapter (@FGBR suggested the MAFD https://sonoclast.com/products/mafd/).

Can synths like the Pro 3 or MatrixBrute be used as an interface? Will MIDI data sent from the DAW to the either of these synths be sent out of their CV outs? Presumably I want something that outputs pitch as CV and I'm not sure these synths can send do this?

Apologies for my noob questions, but this is new territory.
 

Solarsentinel

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No problem there is no noob questions, just questions, and these are interesting :)

You are perfectly right for the midi to CV interface, and in fact, you can use a synth to do that only if the synth by itself has a midi to CV converter. For example the Moog Grandmother and the mother 32 have one, so you can send some midi informations to the DFAM through them.

I'll try to explain:
When you use a synth as a midi to CV converter, the synth itself become a carrier. So, if you send for example some midi notes, these notes will be converted to CV for the destinated via the carrier device of the signal. So if you send your midi notes to the DFAM through your synth with midi/CV converter, both units will received the message and you'll hear the two synth in sync. So it may not suit all situations.
If you want just to hear the DFAM, you'll have to shut down the volume of the other synth...
It's probably usefull in a DAWless situation.

For DAW studio setup, I think the best is to have a midi/CV converter for the DFAM only, in order to send via the DAW directly all the notes without 'perturbating" anything else. With this you can use your other synths independently.
The other benefit of this method is that you can use the CV of your matrixbrute for modulate the DFAM via the device itself with CV cables.

The main problem of CV is that you can send one information at a time via one cable. It's not like midi, that you can send multiple informations with multiple midi channels. If you want to do the same with CV you'll have to have several CV output and some cables. (A multi cable can do this also but it duplicate the same signal in multiple outputs.)

Concerning the PRO3 and the Matrixbrute, i'm not sure, but i checked the spec and i don't think they have a midi to CV converter. They have both CV inputs & outputs so you can modulate the DFAM via eurorack cables, but i don't think you can send midi through them.

For Resume, with a Midi to CV converter you'll be able to SYNC your DFAM via midi messages with your DAW, but not modulate it. You can modulate it with your other CV synths. And indeed it's pretty limited...

DFAM is a very good and well sounding synth, but the fact that moog don't implementated midi in it, can cause a lot of headache in order to sync it with a DAW!

Here is the best video i found in order to sync it with a DAW. In this video the person use a keystep, but i prefer using a SQ1 because it has more Gate outputs and it is cheaper and take less space on the desk.

If you have difficulties to sync it with the SQ1 , don't hesitate to send me a message and i will help you :2thumbs:

Another video showing how to convert the DFAM to an instruments with a beatstep pro:


Another good way to sync the DFAM, but only with ableton live and a compatible audio interface:


 

khollister

Senior Member
So I recently got a Matriarch and that led to eurorack and that led to sorting out the whole DAW/MIDI/CV thing.

For MIDI to CV, I highly recommend the Kenton Pro Solo mk3. It is a standalone box that takes MIDI and created pitch, gate and 3 additional CV's (e.g. MIDI CC's, aftertouch, velocity, etc that you configure). It also merges pitch bend into the pitch CV (the Doepfer fails here).

If you are trying to sync your DAW MIDI to an external sequencer/ARP you are going to discover the jitter inherent in any USB-MIDI interface. There are a few ways to skin that cat, but the cadillac solution (which I went for) is one of the Expert Sleeper eurorack audio-> MIDI/CV solutions. I have a ES-40 (SPDIF I/O0 which connectes to an ESX-8MD (8 MIDI DIN out). They have unique SW plugins that you instantiate as a software instrument that takes in MIDI and sends out coded audio that the eurorack modules convert to MIDI or CV. It is sample accurate since it is audio, not USB MIDI. Will also generate DIN Sync to slave up eurorack modules that accept DIN Sync. It is a complex system, but everything is rock solid.

Welcome to world of modular. BTW, the Moog Subharmonicon is another gizmo that can generate complex polyrhythms (all analog, no MIDI).
 
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pmountford

pmountford

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Thanks again @Solarsentinel for such a comprehensive reply - much appreciated.

Whilst nowhere near complete, I have a little better understanding now. Hopefully when I actually get the device I'll have a better idea of what I want from it. I've watched the videos above and, while I'm on Cubase rather than Ableton, I have a spare I/F Out to send a pulse into the DFAM to sync, although it does all seem rather primitive in this day and age! I guess we've been spoilt by MIDI (even though that's 40 years old...)

I was looking at either the Keystep 37 (promising), Beatstep (although I read in SoundOnSound that it can't take an external clock input, if I understood that correctly, so that may not work for me with the DAW), MAFD MIDI to CV, or Korg SQ1. I can't justify buying another synth atm, eg. Mother32, just to sync. Ideally I don't really want another keyboard for space reasons either.

You mentioned that you preferred the SQ1 to the Keystep because it had more gate outputs (noob question alert!) but how many gate outputs does a MIDI to CV ideally have? What would a MIDI-CV interface need to do the job?

I'm sure you're correct re Pro3 & MatrixBrute as well - will have a play over the coming weeks.
 

vitocorleone123

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Does a Digitone count? I haven’t yet connected with it like the Ob-6 (and likely never will at the same emotional level), but it’s flexibility and power are undeniable. It’s meant to accompany other sounds - triggering them or not.
 
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pmountford

pmountford

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Does a Digitone count?
Interesting. I didn't know the Elektron kit had MIDI-CV out? It's not obvious for me from looking at the images - I obviously don't know what I'm looking for, I thought there should be 3+ mini jack outs? Can it be used as a sequencer to connect up to Eurorack kit?
 

vitocorleone123

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Interesting. I didn't know the Elektron kit had MIDI-CV out? It's not obvious for me from looking at the images - I obviously don't know what I'm looking for, I thought there should be 3+ mini jack outs? Can it be used as a sequencer to connect up to Eurorack kit?
Ah. You’re speaking specifically about CV. Apologies. I saw the initial question about rhythm synths and missed the CV requirement.

A Roland SE-02 or Erica DB01 may be interesting then, to you, with onboard sequencers AND great analog monosynth sound.
 
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pmountford

pmountford

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For MIDI to CV, I highly recommend the Kenton Pro Solo mk3. It is a standalone box that takes MIDI and created pitch, gate and 3 additional CV's (e.g. MIDI CC's, aftertouch, velocity, etc that you configure). It also merges pitch bend into the pitch CV (the Doepfer fails here).
The Kenton looks interesting. Another noob question - Not sure how many CV's I would need?
Welcome to world of modular.
Thanks. Although I'm not sure I want to be here yet!
 
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pmountford

pmountford

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Ah. You’re speaking specifically about CV. Apologies. I saw the initial question about rhythm synths and missed the CV requirement.

A Roland SE-02 or Erica DB01 may be interesting then, to you, with onboard sequencers AND great analog monosynth sound.
No worries. Any contribution is good as it opens up more questions leading to a better understanding.
I should say though that I've decided on the DFAM (coming tomorrow) as timbral wise I think it is what I am looking for.
 

vitocorleone123

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No worries. Any contribution is good as it opens up more questions leading to a better understanding.
I should say though that I've decided on the DFAM (coming tomorrow) as timbral wise I think it is what I am looking for.
Yep! And there other synths that can connect with it via CV :)
Some day.
 

khollister

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The Kenton looks interesting. Another noob question - Not sure how many CV's I would need?

Thanks. Although I'm not sure I want to be here yet!
Typically, you will want pitch (1V/oct), note on/off gate, note on trigger, velocity, CC1 (mod wheel) and maybe aftertouch. The reason for the note trigger is to retrigger envelope generators when playing legato. However the Kenton has another cool cheat - you can configure the gate to drop for a configurable time (0-5ms as I recall) at note on to accomplish this without needing a separate trigger. The default is 1ms (which works fine on my Moog and eurorack). I suspect I could go shorter.

I also have a Expert Sleepers ES-3 & ES-5 on order. THe ES-3 provides 8 CV outs via ADAT with expansion headers to add the ES-5 (8 gate/triggers that mux a single audio channel). Using the ES SW plugins, you can directly generate CV from a recorded MIDI track in the DAW without sending MIDI out first. And I have a Befaco CVThing in my modular rack that converts CV to MIDI (either USB or DIN).

It gets complicated fast with modular
 

Solarsentinel

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Thanks again @Solarsentinel for such a comprehensive reply - much appreciated.

Whilst nowhere near complete, I have a little better understanding now. Hopefully when I actually get the device I'll have a better idea of what I want from it. I've watched the videos above and, while I'm on Cubase rather than Ableton, I have a spare I/F Out to send a pulse into the DFAM to sync, although it does all seem rather primitive in this day and age! I guess we've been spoilt by MIDI (even though that's 40 years old...)

I was looking at either the Keystep 37 (promising), Beatstep (although I read in SoundOnSound that it can't take an external clock input, if I understood that correctly, so that may not work for me with the DAW), MAFD MIDI to CV, or Korg SQ1. I can't justify buying another synth atm, eg. Mother32, just to sync. Ideally I don't really want another keyboard for space reasons either.

You mentioned that you preferred the SQ1 to the Keystep because it had more gate outputs (noob question alert!) but how many gate outputs does a MIDI to CV ideally have? What would a MIDI-CV interface need to do the job?

I'm sure you're correct re Pro3 & MatrixBrute as well - will have a play over the coming weeks.
Hi!
Yes i agree that these device are kind of primitive nowadays! MIDI must be everywhere! lol We need it for flexibility :grin:
About the devices you aim at, i'm not sure for the Beatstep, but i think it can still take the external clock of the DAW with the usb cable (via midi). (Furthermore it has two CV clock in/out, so it will be strange that it not work).
Anyway, concerning the MAFD midi to CV i think it is not suitable for you unless you'll have some eurorack modules. it's not a standalone device, it's an eurorack device.
It rest the keystep, the SQ1 and the kenton pro solo mk3.
The absolute needs for syncing the DFAM is to have at least one CV, and one Gate outputs. The more you'll have the more things you'll be able to do. The keystep has one of each, the SQ1 two of each, and the kenton one of each+3 CV.
In the other hand the SQ1 is a step sequencer that you can use to "bypass" the 8 steps sequencer of the DFAM and transform it in "16 steps". The keystep is also a sequencer that you could use in that way too.
so if you don't want to have another keyboard, the choice goes to SQ1 or kenton. SQ1 is cheaper.


Khollister suggest you the expert sleepers devices, which is very good, but again only if you go to fully modular, or have already some modular gear. :thumbsup:
 

Solarsentinel

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There is some explanations on this video about the use of the SQ1 as a sequencer. Of course it is not with the DFAM but you've got the idea.


This one no explanations but with the DFAM. In there the SQ1 is the sequencer.


At least, the SQ1 with the O coast which has a MIDI input (!!) that you can connect with the SQ1 (WHY DFAM doesn't have this!!!! lol) (ALL MIDI Here)


the second part of the video show the use of CV/gate of the SQ1

 
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pmountford

pmountford

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Sorry to throw this back into the mix but I'm looking back at the Beatstep Pro - might be useful as a controller for other duties as well in the studio (assuming it can control multiple devices smultaneasouly with the USB/MIDI/CV outs) and maybe of some use playing live/jamming. Any reason not to pair this up with the DFAM?
 
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