Studio Electronics SE1 vs ATC1

Usually people look at the ATC-1 as a stripped down SE-1 , in fact looking at the specs the SE1 seems a top featured synth with 3 VCO, 2 filters , 4 envelopes, 3 lfo, ringmod, noise etc… while ATC-1 with its 2 VCO, 3 ENV , 2 LFO and a coloured push-membrane panel with one only knob does not look handy and full featured as its brother.

Comparing the two Studio Electronics side by side let’s get a totally different opinion.

Studio Electronics SE-1

The first thing to notice is the different “sound”, while the SE1 has a kind of boomin’ majesty the ATC1 sounds really snappy and more aggressive with a more “vintage” feel.

The VCOs have different carachters, in the SE1 are regular and full of harmonics on the bass range, the ATC1 VCOs are more angular and grittier on the high frequencies.

Talking about the filters, testing both the SE1 and ATC1 with the MOOG FILTER, the SE-1 has a boomin’rounder sound, very powerful in the sub range, the ATC-1 has a more punchy percussive behaviour and a slightly bigger response in the frequency cut off min-max gap, like if the filter could reach higher frequencies/ get more open.

studio_electronics_atc1_a

The ENVELOPE section is the part that more influences the sound together with the VCA.

The SE-1 has booming env , not really fast but really effective to get the presence and power on the bass frequencies range for basses and percussions and to get the smooth leads that are a part of the carachter of this synth.

The VCA on the SE1 is really warm and smooth, resulting in a really dinamic but always warm and clean sound.

On the ATC-1 the ENVELOPEs are really snappy and fast, and make the synth really percussive sounding, with an awesome power on punchy basses, not as deep as the SE1, but really kicking.

The ATC1 VCA is more raw and vintage sounding, it’s less smooth than the SE-1 but it results in some way more organic and alive.

studio_electronics_se1_filter

The big difference in the synthetizing capabilities is the CROSS-MOD present on the ATC-1 and absent on the SE-1.

This particular function that let the vco2 modulate the vco1 and/or the filter cutoff frequency let shine the ATC-1 in modular-type sounds, and is the main reason that make us understand that the ATC-1 is not the little brother of the SE1 but a totally weird machine with a target towards classic analog sounds but also for experimental stuff, while the SE1 is more on the classic and “safe” side of monophonic type of sounds.

studio_electronics_atc1_c

I don’t mean that the SE1 is a machine good only for simple sounds like basses or leads, it can get on experimental sounds too, but the cross mod on the ATC1 is far more effective and open to experimental sound creation.

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Yamaha CS 01

Yamaha CS01

The CS-01 is a funky little synth!
It may seem a toy but is a real analog synth in a small case.
The structure is quite simple, justa simple LFO, a “VCO”, VCF and ADSR.
I wrote “VCO” because even if the yamaha labeled it VCO but it is in fact a DCO.
The sound of the oscillator is however real analog, and “phat sounding” in a typical japanese way, and it reminds the classic analog sounds of the early 80’s.
The oscillator offers a good selection of waves (TRI, SAW, SQUARE, PULSE, PWM) and feets(4′ 8′ 16′ 32′ and noise).
The most powerful is the sound of PWM, which is really fat and “wide” sounding.
PWM has its own speed control too (indipendent from lfo).
The LFO is only a tri wave useful for vibratos and wah effects, its not extremely fast, but works well for all the classic sounds.
VCO also have a “glissando” instead of portamento/glide, which means that it can jump from a note to another passing through the notes in the middle.
The VCF is a 12dB lowpass with resonance and EG depth.
The resonance is controlled by a switch that turns it on or off, but it’s possible to modify the control to have a real resonance control adding a knob.
On the MK2 model the filter use a different structure (it has a 24 dB slope instead of 12) and has the resonance controlled by a slider.
The filter is, as other old yamaha monosynth, very smooth and “bubbling”, even with resonance tutned on the filter never eat the low frequency range, offering a wide variety of colour even as a bass machine.
The CS01 is mainly a bass and lead machine, the bass is always rounded, and punchy, for the classic 80’s arpeggio or for techno bass sounds.
On the lead side it can sound quite minimal and smooth or rich using the pwm, it can also reproduce easily the classic retrocomputer sounds !
Despite the toys look with the built in speaker this a lightweight classic 80s monosynth that can do most of the analog mono-sound without any problem of space in the studio and being very reliable.

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Roland TR909 close up shots

Here is a gallery of close up shots at HI-RES.
hope you enjoy!

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Micromodular plays Aphex twin..

From the torxTV youtube channel:

Windowlicker…

Come to daddy…

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Clavia Nord Micromodular

clavia micromodular

The little red metal box is really the pandora’s box…
Basically the micromodular is a dsp programmable virtual modular synth with 24bit 96KHz audio conversion.
The box is little but solidly well built, there are a stereo output, stereo input, a couple of midi ports for midi control , a couple of midi ports to “pc control”, dedicated to the editor.
On the front we have four knobs (volume+3 assignable controllers) and 3 buttons.
The interface is quite minimalistic because the instrument is thought as a small/lighter version of the Nordmodular and the aim is to control it by sw and midi controllers.

It’s quite difficult to start a description of a so open-ended and complex instrument, I’ll try to keep things simple…
When you open your editor on the pc/mac it will show the current patch (the micromodular is a monotimbral instrument).
The modules are grouped in categories and it offers from the classic oscillators, envs, lfos, and all the classic “analog-modular modules” to the newest digital effects like bit reducing, warp, digitizer…
This thing is like a little reaktor in a box with an awesome sound.
It can do classic synth sounds with a little of modular twist as well as complex rhythmic morphing and glithching.
The original editor from clavia is compatible till windows XP, but now a free java editor is available , NOMAD .
Nomad let you edit the nordmodular serie with every system that supports java.
The nordmodular serie is not dead, clavia will not add new modules, but the instrument is alive with nomad!

clavia_micromodular

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Hartmann Neuron & Elektron Machinedrum

An idm style music track made with the Hartmann Neuron and the Elektron Machinedrum from testheld youtube channel.

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Hartmann Neuron – demo

A video from the taylor12k youtube channel.
I’ve used the little vst version Neuron Nuke and I can say it’s an amazing synth…

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