Dreadbox Nymphes with MPE and polyphonic aftertouch


Hello, all!

Yannis Diakoumakos of Dreadbox mentioned in an email that MPE and polyphonic aftertouch is ready (coming out of beta testing) for the Nymphes synthesizer.

I just happened to ask, I was writing in another matter. :slight_smile: The Firmware v2 will hopefully be releases next week.

So this may be something to look out for, just thought I’d mention it! :slight_smile:


Here we go! :slight_smile:

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This looks really nice!
Unfortunately another instance of the pattern “synth without USB host port”. This makes setups unnecessarily complicated, as most USB-based MIDI controllers are also USB clients.
But at least it has DIN MIDI. Might be fun, e.g. for a minimalistic Linnstrument setup!


I will always have a laptop at the center of my setup, but mine’s a ten year old laptop at this point, so it’s still nice to offload my synths to hardware when possible…

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What are the reasons behind this pattern do you think?

Is it a question of component cost or relative trickyness to design and develop? Or is it about expected use cases, where e.g. most musicians are expected to naturally have hub or laptop/tablet/phone in their way of creating and working? Something else, maybe, or a combination of factors.

Do you mean that it is nice to have hardware synths generate the sound while the laptop handles other things while still at the center?

(Edit: I see now that this a reply to NothanUmber and not a general comment. So I just assume then that it is a criticism of lack of usb host features. Sorry, my misunderstanding!)

Personally, I tend to appreciate the computer for environments where you can create more or less anything with one very small thing. Open tools with no particular (preset) limits.

In a similar (or maybe opposite) sense I really like, for instance, hardware synthesizers as self contained objects. To consider their limits, put them together with other ones and learn specificities to find new ways through. This, I find, often spurs unexpected conclusions about what to actually use them for! Especially if they at face value are simple and focused.

It occurs to me while writing I don’t appear to really have a center. Maybe I really should. :slight_smile:

Perhaps there should be a topic about process somewhere around here. :slight_smile:

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Hm, probably it’s convenient that USB clients can rely on the host for power, so no further power supply is needed. And afaik it is simpler to implement a client than a host. And when connecting it to a computer a client is more convenient.
But (beside @greaterthanzero case with the aging notebook) if there is a computer in the setup already anyways, imho a lot of the appeal of an extra hardware synth goes away. Many really great softsynths, one box less.
But perhaps the people who want to play a synth live with a controller instrument are the minority by now and most make beats with Ableton&Co? No idea, not my world :slight_smile:

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hmm interesting…

the USB device port for power ,
I think is to simplify things… basically you need to supply a PSU, and the regional implications that has !

I’m a little surprised it support midi over it… must have a small MCU in there.
but yeah, its kind of an odd choice, perhaps more ‘oh, we can do it’… rather than a deliberate design choice :wink:

USB host, is kind of separate from USB device - so may be they’d have need a different MCU to have supported it? and then of course the actual port itself…

there are various USB host devices around now, that could be used to bridge this to other hardware (without a computer) and you can also build one cheaply with something like an Arduino.

in that vain,
actually, looking at my setup USB device is actually more useful than USB Host.
I could plug the Nymphes directly into my iConnectivity mioXM…
and then its ‘available’ to the keyboards/controllers/sequencers that are also plugged into it.
(without a computer)

thats a bit more useful , than needing to plug a keyboard directly into the synth …

so perhaps thats the kind of use-case they have in mind?


I think it may be deliberate.

It seems that this synthesizer was designed to keep many things to a minimum but preserve/provide as much functionality as possible still. Both in order to handle component shortages but mostly - I think - to keep the instrument small and to a fairly cheap price.

In this case the USB would be to have a way for MIDi OUT. There is only one 3.5 mm jack for MIDI IN.

This keeps in line with other choices in the instrument, much functionality but through back doors:

  • quite a few editable parameters but through shift functions and a compact set of controls (or a separate MIDI controller).

  • mono audio, but stereo would be kind of possible with an external effect, f.i. stereo reverb. I think their other popular synth, the Typhon, works like that but has effects built in.

  • only midi in through TRS but midi out possible through USB.

  • no screen but there has apparently been a third party software editor developed.

All in all, I think that is a fair approach. Regarding a hub, I think that this may be an expected workflow. It feels like a synthesizer you use in context with other things, not the least a keyboard or something like it. I think I also remember Yannis saying something like ‘just use a USB hub and you’ll be fine’ at some point. :slight_smile:

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