What do the Moogers think of the the Rhodes Chroma?

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mee3d
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Post by mee3d » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:05 pm

I never really had an issue with Quantise on the Chroma because in general the type of sounds it excels in are pad and comping sounds, which tend not to need manual tweaking as you are playing. For instance, the filter only has 7 steps! so you'll not be wanting to give it a tweak as you solo . . . but then again the touch sensitive keyboard really makes up for anything lost in the sensitivity of the parameters.

Playing a Chroma next to a memorymoog makes the memorymoog sound like a bontempi . . a great sounding bontempi sure, but no way as expresive and organic as the Chroma, and when you double up sounds in the Chroma it's just fantastic (although nothing matches the raw, rock sound of the memorymoog).

I totally agree with 'latigid on' in that polysynths should be used for the mid tonal range but also, it is possible to get some usable bass sounds out of the Chroma . . with some careful programming and tweaking of the front panel EQ you can get some great bass sounds . . just not specifically sub or moogish, more acoustic and possibly . . dare I say 'digital' (80's like).

Although some parameters have limited sensitivity they all have sufficient range to make genuinly unique sounds... it's not like on synths that have limited perameters, where there's no decay or sustian . . the chroma has more parameters then most . . other then the Xpander, which people say was modeled after the Chroma and I sold my Matrix12 in favor of the Chroma . . it really is like a semi-modular, well worth getting past the crap factoy patches.

Mal
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latigid on
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Post by latigid on » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:47 pm

Howdy, y'all.

I did buy the Chroma, and I love it!

Thanks for all your input.

mee3d
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Post by mee3d » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:51 pm

Excellent news . . I just got mine back from storage after a move from London to Ireland. She was in her flightcase for 12 months . . powered her up, she tuned all 16 voices and sounds great but she wouldn't hold her patches. A couple of new duracels and we are in business . . . my memorymoog on the otherhand . . after a 600 mile trip in the back of a van is a mess!

Mal
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analogbass
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Post by analogbass » Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:06 am

After all this feedback I think you owe us your detailed thoughts on the sound, on programming it, etc...!!! Most people will never have the chance to play it first-hand.

Although it's easy to criticize it, the reality is that any of these older synths have very distinct, different sound characters & strengths-with the best ones it's really apples & oranges, individual preferences. The Chroma reminds me of the Oberheim expanders in flexibility that is almost modular and in having sonic strengths related to finesse for more "musical" sounds like pads, leads, etc. - it has a sweet, nuanced analog sound. That said, I have no doubt that both a Chroma and Oberheims can render good bass, just not as powerful as some other polyphonics but still quite good.

For those with the patience to find and use it, there is obviously a cadre of devoted users who will always love it for a reason-because it sounds unique, has subtlety, expressiveness and functions other synths of that era don't have.

As far as technical issues, I think it's clear that most of the issues are no different than those faced by other synths of the era. These issues can be dealt with and cleared up by anyone with the patience and appreciation for it just as with any other older synth.
Last edited by analogbass on Sat Sep 02, 2006 12:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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latigid on
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Post by latigid on » Fri Aug 18, 2006 4:43 pm

Downsides: heavy programming required, not too tweakable, rare components so I don't really want to gig it... but I will :). But the bad is shadowed by the good:

For one thing, it has the most organic pad sounds I have ever heard! It puts out MONSTROUS bass; I can almost get it to sound Moog-ish. The modulation is phenomenal, kinda like a polyphonic ARP 2600, as others have said. And one of the best keyboards ever. Sweet.

analogbass
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Post by analogbass » Sat Aug 19, 2006 4:56 pm

I would really suggest that you don't gig it all and get something newer/cheaper/lighter and more durable if you want it to last. If you have to gig with it, needless to say be careful.

You're confirming then that along with a few downsides it's something special that most will never hear-fairly rare.

Chroma link:
http://www.rhodeschroma.com/?id=2005&month=04

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latigid on
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Post by latigid on » Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:32 am

analogbass wrote:I would really suggest that you don't gig it all and get something newer/cheaper/lighter and more durable if you want it to last. If you have to gig with it, needless to say be careful.
I'll be very careful, like with all my gears :). The trouble with only getting the fine china out for special occasions is isn't always easy to tell whether an occasion is special or not. If it breaks, then it will be. The trouble is that they don't make 'em like they used to, so "something newer/cheaper/lighter and more durable" doesn't quite cut it sadly. Peace.

eric coleridge
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Post by eric coleridge » Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:44 am

Sorry to but-in to this great Chroma discussion; But I was wondering if any of you Chroma players have ever played the Chroma Polaris?

I've been reading more about them lately and they seem like a great and undervalued synth. From what I understand, they use much of the same circuitry as the Chroma (minus alot of the modulation routing I expect), only they have sliders and pretty good Midi implemention! Plus they seem to still be very reasonably priced on the second hand market.

Is this all too good to be true?

Any opinions?

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till
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Post by till » Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:19 am

I never had the chance to play a Chroma next to a Polaris.
But my memory tells me, the Polaris was way better sounding. Where "better" means more special character. the Chroma got way more features, but got a overall sound that is to cold to me.

Maybe due to the very different Curtis analog chips used:
Chroma
8 CEM3350 Dual VCF
8 CEM3360 Dual VCA (some versions have 9)

Polaris
6 CEM3374 Dual VCO
6 CEM3372 uP Signal Processor - CEM3372 Filter/Mix/VCA
Source: http://www.sequencer.de/specials/synthesizer_chip.html
(one of the best german synth sites)

But anyway, isn't this a Moog Forum? ;)
keep on turning these Moog knobs

Sequence:
Prodigy * minimoog '79 * Voyager * MF102 * MF103 * MF104z * MP201 * Taurus 3 * Minitaur * Sub Phatty * MF105 * Minimoog 2017+ MUSE * One 16

analogbass
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Post by analogbass » Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:31 am

Very likely the Chroma sounds better, warmer and is clearly capable of more complex programming, aside from the better keyboard/expressivity. The Polaris sounded good not great; I never forgave them from excluding unison though.

For me, I'd never gig a vintage synth. I'd rather find something new that sounds different but still fairly good rather than taking the risk of moving and aging something old. Of course some will put playing the real deal ahead of those concerns it's just a matter of priority. Another option would be to gig with a second one; with many of the older synths having a second one that can one day be used for parts when necessary's not a bad idea.

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till
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Post by till » Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:47 am

analogbass wrote:... I never forgave them from excluding unison though. ...
These were the days before fat was written "phat" :wink:

Today way to much users are asking for stacking dozens of weak sawtooth waves. And the companies deliver the feature. In the old days and at Moog still today they prefered the full sound by doing the right rich sound per voice, not per numbers of voices stacked.
Why not use a monosynth wih the right sound if the poly synth is to weak without being used in unison mode?
keep on turning these Moog knobs

Sequence:
Prodigy * minimoog '79 * Voyager * MF102 * MF103 * MF104z * MP201 * Taurus 3 * Minitaur * Sub Phatty * MF105 * Minimoog 2017+ MUSE * One 16

analogbass
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Post by analogbass » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:11 am

Given that most 70s-80s analog polys had unison, it was unacceptable that the Polaris didn't-leave out some other lesser feature.

mee3d
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Post by mee3d » Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:42 pm

I have had a POLARIS and CHROMA together . . . personally I think the Chroma sounds much richer and far more organic with all the different modulation routes. The POLARIS has a hands-on feel which the Chroma can't compete with but the sounds of the POLARIS just don't match up . . it's too crass. I guess it's a little like a Jupiter 8 and a Juno 106 side by side, both by the same manufacturer but one severely limited in the sound engine.

Regarding Chroma upkeep... I think I would gig my Chromas, once you get to understand them they are actually quite reliable. Most likely to go is the PSU so the first thing you do is have that rebuilt and then it's just a matter of changing some 40XX chips every now and again. If the Curtis stuff goes pop then you might be in trouble but this is the same for any of the old analogs . . . and even some new ones! (Evolvers).

I just sold my Spandau Ballet Chroma... It was the one used to record "True" and used at the Live Aid gig... it is in great condition after several years of hard gigging.

A few years back I bought a couple of Alesis IONs to gig with, thinking they could replace the sound of my analog set-up but in the end I went back to the old stuff (not gigging anymore).

Mal
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analogbass
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Post by analogbass » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:32 pm

That's a good analogy-the Polaris was a solid but not great synth, just like the Junos.

eric coleridge
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Post by eric coleridge » Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:56 am

Here's a cool video of Herbie Hancock on "saturday night live" playing a Chroma"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EePqouIg1jY

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