A “Spielsachen” Performance Setup


A musical instrument is all about playing.

Which almost got forgotten in the wake of devices from MIDIfied expanders over Synclaviers and CMIs to pieces of code (called VSTi) controlled by other pieces of code (called DAW) in a desktop computer.

My modular setup also was designed with DAW integration in mind first and foremost, as you can see by the inclusion of the Expert Sleepers ES-3 (still waiting on this) and the Hermod.

But then, I decided to make a performance oriented setup.

What’s in it?

Next to the A-100, the next-most-complex thing is the Elektron Analog Rytm. Which does drums. And has a complex sequencer.

Synth-keyboard-wise, everybody’s MiniBrute darling got replaced by the Korg Minilogue (to get me a polysynth).

For small things, there’s still the 0-Coast and DFAM. The Korg Volca Kick had to go, or rather was replaced by a SQ1, also from Korg.

There’s still the Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro mixer. And for added effects fun, two VD400 delays, a TC Dark Matter distortion. And an old Ibanez BCL chorus (which has a slack joint, so it was later replaced by an Ibanez SCL, also a chorus).

Everything sits on a two-tier keyboard stand. And all the stuff besides for the A-100 can go into a midsized keyboard bag – portability!



A total of six sequencers makes this tricky. Especially considering that one only speaks MIDI and USB, one speaks MIDI and USB and Sync In/Out (but you can only turn clock sync and transport control together), one only takes MIDI in and CV/gate out, one has no input (but both MIDI and CV/gate out), one only connects to CV/gate, and one does everything (but also has that sync/transport issue).


There’s four outboard effects, but the A-100 has some processing power on its own: next to the obvious filters, there’s a spring reverb, two modulated BBDs, one academic and one raw distortion. The latter – Synthrotek 309 – was the last addition to the plan, filling the remaining 4TE, and does so just nicely.

I already said that the Moog DFAM is not a proper drum machine. Which means that in combination with a proper drum machine, it truly starts to shine.

The single most expensive component in the setup is the Elektron Analog Rytm. Which I already liked for its sound. Now I finally get a look at the sequencer and live workflow. Rulez! And it also got a recent software update which allows it to also work as a lead/bass synth. Nice what software can do to an analogue synth.

On the other side of the sequencer price range is Korg’s SQ1. Which doesn’t want to be controlled by the Hermod. But it works nicely synced both to the 0-Coast or the DFAM. Haven’t tried the Minilogue, but considering it’s Korg (and the SQ1 also worked with the Volca Kick) I assume this works. Strangely, all other things are happy with the Hermod.

Where am I going with this?

I might want to play this setup live. But for now, let’s wait for the missing modules (MFB CY/HH 522, Eowave Orage, LEP Piattino, Expert Sleepers ES-3). And learn to play this thing. And enjoy it.PICT_20180722_154133.JPG

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