KORG MS-10 vs. Oberheim XPander - CVs

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misterpete
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KORG MS-10 vs. Oberheim XPander - CVs

Post by misterpete » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:25 pm

Hello MOOGERS,

wondering about the Oberheim XPander - CVs and Compatibility with my Moog gear?
I was less than thrilled to find out with all those filters I couldn't put audio in - but what about the CV controls and all those AUDIO out and I think, correct me if I am wrong only CV inputs? (not out)
Is anybody using one? How do they compare to the new Tom Oberheim SEMs etc. I like that it is 1/4" at least. those little mini-jack cables bug me... like I'm playing a Milton Bradley game or something. No thanks.

Will picking up an Xpander give me significantly different sound than processing my other 80's synths DX 7 and M-1 through foogers and moogs? all the demos just make it sound like it just plays big fat pads... nothing remotely as far out as what I can already do with the moogs

i suppose i will have to go an audition the thing and check it out but figured it wouldn't hurt to ask here on your experience... also for 'analog' it looks suspiciously digital...
Last edited by misterpete on Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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thealien666
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Re: Oberheim XPander - CVs and Compatibility with my Moog ge

Post by thealien666 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:47 pm

misterpete wrote: I like that it is 1/4" at least. those little mini-jack cables bug me... like I'm playing a Milton Bradley game or something. No thanks.
The only issue about this is a personal tactile experience preference, not an electronic one. You don't need big cables capable of passing 5 amps for audio, and CV signals... :roll:

As for the Oberheim Xpander, it's an hybrid, much like many other machines of that era. Envelopes, LFOs, digital. Analog oscillators, VCAs, and filters (all Curtis).

Never had the chance to try one myself. But heard many demos, and read many reviews on it. It has it's strong points and quirks, too.
Can't be of much help on that. Sorry.
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misterpete
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KORG MS-10 vs. Oberheim XPander - CVs

Post by misterpete » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:28 pm

Thanks kindly ...
Interesting there's nobody here using one — have come across an OB MX, two Xpanders and plenty Matrix around. Would be nice to hear some recommendations about which ones are worth considering.

For the time being, I changed my mind though ~ not so crazy about the sound of polygamy :lol:
Decided on a cheap and cheerful KORG MS-10 instead
very sweet modular potential with regular adult size jacks (1/4") 8)
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nicholas d. kent
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Re: KORG MS-10 vs. Oberheim XPander - CVs

Post by nicholas d. kent » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 am

Quite a few big pros and cons on a pair of 2 not very similar instruments. And yes, the Xpander sounds significantly different than an M1 or DX7

When you are talking about compatibility with Moog gear you certainly have a bit difference between old Moog gear, S-triggers for instance and what's being built today.

That said, Korg is even further off the field given their Hz/V CV and different trigger. I guess since you clearly have your preference of 1/4 jacks, it's ironic that the new, very reasonably priced Korg MS-20 Mini switches to minijacks which also means that when third parties make CV standards conversion boxes they will probably be with minijacks too. Exactly what kind of interfacing can create larger or smaller issues, I mean you can modulate it and something else just fine, but say you want it to track a 1v/oct CV signal and you will need some kind of conversion. I have a 1970s MS-20 by the way.

On the Xpander (have one) you have some very good things and some very frustrating things going on. Firstly aside from the polygamy lol, one can realistically think of it as 6 monosynths. It's one of it's strongest points. It works as expected as a polysynth (which a collection of monosynths won't do- isn't that a big complaint on the elektron analog synth just out) and also can be addressed like separate monosynths. Individual outs is a big plus. You don't hear many people talking about the CV inputs. I think that's because they aren't super useful imho. That said I think I only played around with them once. I think the inputs are quantitized? Which would remind me of the Roland MS-202. Never really studied it. The innovation on the Xpander was the modulation matrix. It's using a second CPU to calculate modulation, simulating to a degree the options previously found on a modular synth. A couple other companies were working in that sort of direction, Octave's Voyetra and the Chroma come to mind, but the Xpander was certainly a landmark.

The pros are you get all sorts of modulation going on. The cons are it's not CV modulation other than the couple controller inputs meant for pedals and the like and the CV ins which I think are quantitized. Another big con which you've noted is no audio in. I've heard of people modding theirs. I think the popular technique (not for a beginner!) is to inject external audio in place of the noise source via a hardware mod. I've not had any mods done on mine. A big selling point about the instrument was the multimode filter with 15 I believe different filter options. Wonderfully cool to ponder but realistically, many of them would go so much further is used 2 filters in series. You can't do that because there is no external audio in. What I've found is with matrix modulation you really need a bit more of a game plan in your mind for patching. With physical jacks you can discover things a bit more easily and also have the option of unusual audio rate modulation. The Matrix being a CPU created source of complex modulation has some definite speed and response compromises given the CPUs of the era.

A quick rundown on related instruments. The Matrix 6 is a much more simplified architecture and filter. The main advantage is it's cheaper. The matrix 1000 is even cheaper and you need a software editor or if you are lucky, some sort of knob box solution. The OB-MX is sort of controversial. Some people love theirs some find it really compromised. I found the panel gives you the impression of being knobby but then I realized the knobs I wanted were multifunction so it wasn't as tweakable as my first impression. Other gear in this class are the Matrix 12- which is 2 Xpanders with Keys and no CV. I don't think individual outs per voice. Tom Oberheim did the Marion MSR2 and Prosynth which is 8 or 16 voices, most of the modulation of an Xpander, no individual outs or multimodefilters, lots more than a Matrix 6. The Akai VX600 is sort of Akai's seemingly Xpander influenced compact keyboard synth. I think the Andromeda A6 was a real big progression on this sort of technology. Lots of amazing and frustrating features. No longer cheap but it does have lots of knobs and voices and even multiple filters per voice!

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misterpete
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Re: KORG MS-10 vs. Oberheim XPander - CVs

Post by misterpete » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:19 pm

Thanks kindly for this reply Nicholas - I am loving listening to the tracks from your website like
like Live @ Placard Fest. NYC 2003 — totally brilliant wish there was more...
Are you on SoundCloud?! :D

Of course, eventually I will have to start giving those minijacks a chance.... was thinking maybe one of Tom Oberheims new SEM machines might take me there -- or if the mini MS-20 becomes as popular as the MICROKORG - I imagine craiglsist will be filled with plenty of them for even cheaper by this time next year. 8)
In fact, if people just keep dumping 'older' synths to have 'the latest thing' we may be that much more likely to pick up a real MS-20 for a reasonable prices when they come along — or even another Moog if people are fickle enough to part with them. Low and behold I see a few MiniBrutes are starting to show up on Craigslist and it has 1/8" jacks... and since starting to write my reply to you I actually just picked up an ARP AXXE :wink: whoa what a strange beast IT is!!! — the Axxe also has 1/8" CVs and even weirder the AUDIO in is a single RCA jack :lol:

I imagine if the right OB comes along I will grab it but at this rate, for the prices they are asking I can buy six or seven really amazing synths, and still have some money left over!* (in fact way more when the higher end OBs are like $3Gs while $50 to $100 can even get you a poly these days eg an Ensoniq or a DX-7 etc).... and btw, that was no slight about the DX-7 and M1... I'm always running all kinds of old keyboards -hammond, rhodes, hohner clavinet and even accordion,etc through the Moogs and now the MS-10 and Axxe as well... but even without relying on that the DX-7 and even the M-1 are both incredibly powerful machines when you can get in there under the hood with a software editor. Dissing the DX-7 based on tired presets is RIDICULOUS so much incredible potential in there, even Brian Eno hasn't exhausted them yet - though admittedly those waveform samples in the M1 need to be seriously modulated before they start to get interesting— unfortunately since I have yet to run 'BOOTCAMP' and i am working under OSX the only Editor that seems to work for me (even just a little) is MIDIQUEST :?
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Re: KORG MS-10 vs. Oberheim XPander - CVs

Post by kslight » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:31 pm

misterpete wrote:and since starting to write my reply to you I actually just picked up an ARP AXXE :wink: whoa what a strange beast IT is!!! — the Axxe also has 1/8" CVs and even weirder the AUDIO in is a single RCA jack :lol:

I imagine if the right OB comes along I will grab it but at this rate, for the prices they are asking I can buy six or seven really amazing synths, and still have some money left over!* (in fact way more when the higher end OBs are like $3Gs while $50 to $100 can even get you a poly these days eg an Ensoniq or a DX-7 etc).... and btw, that was no slight about the DX-7 and M1... I'm always running all kinds of old keyboards -hammond, rhodes, hohner clavinet and even accordion,etc through the Moogs and now the MS-10 and Axxe as well... but even without relying on that the DX-7 and even the M-1 are both incredibly powerful machines when you can get in there under the hood with a software editor. Dissing the DX-7 based on tired presets is RIDICULOUS so much incredible potential in there, even Brian Eno hasn't exhausted them yet - though admittedly those waveform samples in the M1 need to be seriously modulated before they start to get interesting— unfortunately since I have yet to run 'BOOTCAMP' and i am working under OSX the only Editor that seems to work for me (even just a little) is MIDIQUEST :?

Had an Arp Axxe for awhile...got it for $33... Definitely cool but just don't have much interest in a single oscillator mono synth, so I traded it off and made a killing on it. Looking at an Arp Odyssey now...unfortunately the owner wants more than $66 for it...

I've bought almost a dozen polys in the last couple years for peanuts as well. Not paying $3k for a single synth, when I can have my own little army... Need more space though..

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