Category Archives: Hardware

Yamaha Reface DX

Well it didn’t go unnoticed. Yamaha’s Reface range of synths have stirred up quite some emotions on the web. I thought to add my impression on the Reface DX here since it’s been a long time for a new FM synth to hit the market.

Reface DX

The unit looks good, nice design touch on the DX Legacy. It’s small but the keys have velocity which is a nice surprise. Runs on batteries, Small speakers, USB, FX unit built in, AUX in, interesting…

But now… 4 operators. Ok, I see in the manual that you now have feedback on every operator so it should sound better than e.g. DX100… but it’s still a bit cheap for the price on which the DX is estimated. The Aux in is only for hearing music from your mobile device? no external FX signal processing? Although there are four configurable ribbon panels editing FM will still be a pain in the *. This all is a bit disappointing. I understand you can now share voices via the browser. That’s nice, but I wonder if you can edit your patches through the browser.

It looks like the hardware adds so little to the FM system that Yamaha would have been better off releasing it as a FM sound module with editing capabilities over the web or other midi  controller hardware. Having FM with some good FX built in is a nice asset to any producer but it’s just a shame to pay extra for the keyboard…

Here’s a video from Sonicstate which shows you the ins and outs:

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Roland TR-8 & Korg Volca beat?

As you might have read I do not only stick to the CX5M but also some other apparatus like the TX81Z hardware or PX7 on Reason. However these are FM type generators and my recent diversion was made by the Korg Volca series.

Although I was already drawn to the Volca Beat (I was looking for a real a step-sequencer) I initially tried the Roland TR-8, the sequencer had swing settings and ah well.. you never go wrong on the good old 808/909 sound.

But playing around with the TR-8 I discovered the machine was less surprising than I had hoped for. Also the effects were responding a bit ‘clunky’ and the driver for muliti recording audio was not to my liking also, the whole TR-8 started to stutter it’s playback. Now I knew the Volca was the way to go.

And it has not let me down. Switch it on and play away. That’s how it’s supposed to be! It has it’s own sound, it’s very portable (battery and speaker) and I also like the fact that the Volca’s are so accessible for tweaking. (Since I also have an Inverse Poly 800 waiting for the Hawk mod this Volca is right up my alley!)

I already implemented the snare fix and MIDI out as you can see on the picture above. Those of you who have tried know it’s normally not possible to put a MIDI connector at that place but filing off the connector’s rear and use small wire you can precisely pull it off.


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TX81Z : The advanced 4-OP FM Synth

Apart from the CX5M and CX5M-II I also own a TX81Z. Why? Do you ask – I just say: “LatelyBass”!

In more words, this TX81z is a 4-Operator FM synth like the CX5M but you have the ability to change the operator waveforms itself. This allows you to make more complex waveforms with just one operator.

Matt Gregory has a very informative webpage for the TX81Z which also explains a lot about FM-Synthesis and programming; also a good read for the CX5M users: Anyone who also owns the TX81Z by the way is more or less obliged to have this editor.

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