I fell in love again with my Linnstrument I’ve owned for years. Never really practised regularly enough to be good at, but I thought now might be a good idea to try that. I’d just need a sound source to go with it - something with actual MPE support (no endless mapping of patches in multitimbral synths or “just” poly AT) and either a good selection of patches that are made with expressive playing in mind, or super easy to roll your own.
The problem is, I’d prefer not to use a computer, which rules out a lot of interesting sound sources I was familiar with back when I bought the Linnstrument… nor buy any very flashy and large 1000 EUR+ new things right now, which rules out eg. the Sequential synths, Hydrasynth, and so on.
So what’s left? I’d like to hear your suggestions here. Some options I’ve considered:
- Axoloti. I have some familiarity of the patcher (owned one years ago, made some self-playing things, sold it to someone who needed and loved it more) and was enamoured of TheSlowGrowth’s MPE patch demo. The availability of both the original and Akso are nonexistent though. Might be able to score one from an old friend, but not counting on it yet, plus would need to improvise a travel enclosure for the PCB. This would be a cheap and easy option to start with otherwise.
- Organelle M. I love the form factor and idea and could see this as a perfect travel device. I’m familiar with PD already, and can eg. tinker with voice assignments if needed for MPE support. I’m just not entirely sure if I’ve heard any spectacular examples from the Organelle (or PD in general) on the poly synth front yet - no matter which synthesis method - and both unsure if there are any, or whether I’d have the skills or patience to make anything better from scratch. Otherwise I’d jump at it, I’m just not sure if I could get it to sound like I want to even though it seems it could be very interesting for FX, sample manipulation, et cetera.
- Norns. I have one of the DIY ones which I use with Linnstrument right now & could imagine learning a bit more SuperCollider to build a tailor-made synth engine for myself. But I’d also like to be able to tie the one I built for use with the modular + Crow, and I’m not sure if I want two of the same, or something else to complement while the Norns is in other use instead. Plus if I did buy another, I’m lusting for the official version that has a built-in battery and other niceties for both travel and studio use, so I’m afraid I’d just end up waiting a couple of months until they’re available again and spending more money than I’d want to…
- iPad - possibly used, previous generation, for the second time. It seems there are a lot of iOS synths that support MPE these days, and having a couple of those installed could be potentially be the best possible way to have instant access to a lot of playable patches. Plus I could see some other uses for one (unfortunately some of them involving being online and getting distracted). I saw an older thread discussing iOS MPE apps here, and it seemed there weren’t many that people both had tried and could share good experiences about, though. I wonder how the situation is now - are there enough interesting MPE synths on iOS that it makes sense to buy a device for that?
- Continuumini. The engine looks more and more fantastic every year - I have a soft spot for FM, physical modeling, additive, etc. that the Eaganmatrix seems to implement really nicely, with a lot of presets too. Plus it’d be another interesting expressive controller as well. However, it’s a bit on the expensive side for what I thought I’d be able to spend right now, needs some “glue hardware” to be able to hook up directly to Linnstrument, and I’d have to get a Mac / Windows computer just for the editor (no Linux support), which makes it more expensive and a bit inconvenient.
Does anyone have any personal thoughts on any of these, or alternatives to suggest? I suppose key things are that I’m able to tinker, configure and learn things but would still prefer minimum hassle and instant fun instead of having to do a lot of programming and MIDI mapping before being able to do anything (no Bela or Pisound this time). Portability and battery powering option are a huge plus but not mandatory. And cost should preferably be in hundreds of euros rather than a thousand or more (I’m willing to save up more and stretch my budget if I end up figuring out something more expensive could be just perfect for this).
Sorry for the wordy first post, and grateful for any opinions and suggestions