new HORNET synth

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

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Man-In-A-Suitcase

Post by Man-In-A-Suitcase » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:42 pm

papz wrote:
Man-In-A-Suitcase wrote:anyway i am sure Uli Behringer will deliver a VCS3/Synthi-A repro at somepoint
We haven't had the pleasure of reading The ultimate commonplace pointless reference so far in this thread. Thanks for fixing that. :tu:
every thread in MW is pointless!

but you are too kind granpapz. :hihi:

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Lauflicht
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Post by Lauflicht » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:30 pm

Well, I at least, could never find an original, good working condition AKS in this price range. Do they exist? I’d be interested. Note that the Portabella includes the RVG for further sculpting options.
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Post by papz » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:59 pm

It's a matter of being at the right place at the right time.
When you're ready, the Synthi comes to you. :zen:

Many original Synthis have a cool RVG too : http://www.portabellabz.be/synthimods/rvg.html ;)
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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warnton
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Post by warnton » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:52 pm

... meanwhile another little nightmusic:-)


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woVERTICES
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Post by woVERTICES » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:41 am

Great NOISE!...and the RVG is an absolute gas!!!
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John
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warnton
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Post by warnton » Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:32 am

thank you! yes, the RVG has many hidden marvelous traps and catches...just pleasure. i have to learn to very carefully turn the knobs

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Post by Lauflicht » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:16 am

papz wrote:It's a matter of being at the right place at the right time.
When you're ready, the Synthi comes to you. :zen:

Many original Synthis have a cool RVG too : http://www.portabellabz.be/synthimods/rvg.html ;)
Yes, I know your webpage very well. :-) I’ll keep my eyes open for an original because that would make a really nice duo. I’m understanding more and more what the magic of this design is. Probably not the best choice for tonal music, but for nearly everything else I really dig my Portabella as it adds a completely different way of working (I’m not into modular) and sound.
Love is the message.

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woVERTICES
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Post by woVERTICES » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:03 pm

Ditto Lauflicht!...the Hornet, Portabella or Synthi...a compelling paradigm that insists on experimental evolution, deep listening and more!

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John
www.johnjpotter.com


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Re: new HORNET or Portabella

Post by Y-3 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:28 pm

hi i want to buy a Portabella from Pin Electronics.
Any comments about dealing and build quality would be helpful.
thanks.yanis

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by woVERTICES » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:59 pm

My opinion is that it is built like a tank...and the case is quite beautiful. Furthermore, sonically it more than meets my expectations(my brother has a Synthi AKS; I prefer the sound of the Portabella somehow). The Random Voltage Generator is a welcome addition; along with the joystick controlling a number of parameters the potential for "sound painting" & experimentation is endless (endless FUN too!)

The Potabella is simply a gas!
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John
www.johnjpotter.com

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by papz » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:00 pm

Maybe your brother's AKS is getting old and needs a good servicing. ;)
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by momo » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:16 pm

I have a Hornet and externally it looks fine and good but internally it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of mechanical construction, fixings, even from a safety perspective. And the gooseneck lamp voltages on mine are wired wrong lol. But then again vintage EMS stuff is also built like shit (e.g. some units have a piece of old carpet inside to provide friction to hold pins in place in the pin park).

In the Buchla world, the engineering on 200e modules is so amazing and third party 200/e offerings from e.g. Eardrill and Studio H are just engineering marvels. So I guess the bar is set pretty high for me, but at these boutique, premium price points, there are no excuses.

It’s worth mentioning that I believe my Hornet was assembled in Canada. I believe production has now switched to Germany - is that right? So maybe things are different now. Pin (the guy behind Pin Electronics) seems pretty cool, so I would encourage you to drop him a line and ask about this stuff.

In terms of sound, the Hornet sounds much less wild than the AKS I used to own - really regret letting it go :waah: But it’s a bit like comparing vintage 259 sounds to 259 clones. I sense a lot of that vintage character is down to old (and shitty/failing) electrolytic caps. So I try to be pragmatic rather than wanting these modern recreations to be something they aren’t.

Final comment which is a factual statement - the hardware in Pin Electronics stuff - the polypropylene Explorer (Peli style) case and the Ghielmetti pins and matrix are vastly superior to the equivalent (respectively) Spartanite and Seaelectro equivalents in original EMS A/KS’. The panels are also beautiful - the legending is precise and the panel thickness is something like 2mm, so feels really solid. Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by Portabella » Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:41 am

momo wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:16 pm
I have a Hornet and externally it looks fine and good but internally it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of mechanical construction, fixings, even from a safety perspective. And the gooseneck lamp voltages on mine are wired wrong lol. But then again vintage EMS stuff is also built like shit (e.g. some units have a piece of old carpet inside to provide friction to hold pins in place in the pin park).
Thanks for your elaborate review.. really helpful.
Would you mind uploading some gut shots of your Hornet/Portabella?
Can't really find inside pictures anywhere.
Would greatly appreciate.

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by woVERTICES » Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:57 am

I would contact Sandro at Pin for some internal shots. I examined it once with a tech friend of mine who was impressed w/build quality and sound...
Best,
John

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by momo » Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:17 am

@ portabella, see page 12 of this thread :tu:

The black and white image pin posted is the machine I have (Hornet serial #75). Compare it with the other pic (serial #77) posted and note they changed the placement of the PSU capacitors. It’s very tight in there and on serial #75, the capacitor leads are away from the chassis by a hair’s distance.

There are signs of very premium manufacture - the use of Hellerman sleeving for example - heat shrink is way cheaper and less of a faff. And there are signs of attention to detail - the ‘right’ capacitors (disc) for the filter which technicians would say is critical to the sound. But there are some poor choices in the construction. This is all respective of the Hornet and at that, the ones that were put together in Canada. It’s fine, just not up to the standards I see in other boutique high end hand made gear. But certainly the lamp incorrect wiring on my unit is a faux pas and the reason I decided to open it up in the first place...

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by Y-3 » Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:14 pm

Many thanks for all comments and reviews. I did send an email to pin. He offers to send me more pictures and informations. btw. the hornet is not available anymore since mid 2016.

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by SmartBits » Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:12 pm

I ordered mine in last March, received it August. Communication went very smooth, Sandro is very quick to respond to any questions. I went for the discount action he had back then; €1000,- cheaper (ex VAT) and with CV/Gate instead of the MIDI interface. I think he might have switched to the CV/Gate as default now (which would be the best option as far as I'm concerned).

The unit is extremely well built, it oozes quality in every aspect. The suitcase is not as stylish as a Spartanite, but I think you can safely drive your car over it without damaging the synth. Soundwise it met my expectations. I have very little experience with real Synthis. The closest I've come is spending some time with a heavily used a probably not well serviced VCS3. Tracking on the Portabella is excellent, I use it for melodic stuff most of the time (at the moment at least).

The price is steep, but as a enthousiastic hobbyist that I am I cannot afford a real Synthi or VCS3. Prices of those are skyrocketing; since I was on the fence about the Portabella I haven't seen anything below the 10K mark. The Pin Portabella, I guess, is what comes closest to owning the real thing. Give it 30/40 years without servicing and it might sound exactly like the VCS3 I played with. :hihi:

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by Lauflicht » Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:09 pm

A Happy New Year!

I am very happy with my Portabella. Build and sound are top notch. Panel and suitcase are really heavy duty.
Communication with PIN (Sandro Kaiser) is also very good as well is his service: He recalibrated the synth after a while for a better tracking 1V/Oct input... for free (incl. posting)!!

The Portabella is possibly my most favorite synth. It certainly is the MOST DANGEROUS synth concerning how wild the various modules interact. So I believe all the spirit of an original Synthi A is included. :-) (this is what several people that can compare to the original also confirm)

The additional random voltage generator is a big plus.

My Portabella is a few years old and also includes a MIDI and CV/Gate interface. The newer batches have no MIDI anymore I believe.

Go for it!
Last edited by Lauflicht on Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by warnton » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:57 am

I only can conferm the poster before me. Mister Kaiser topnotch support. the instrument a wild beast, but if you start taming it with the needles, its big fun! and endless combinations and ideas. totally different from stacking cables. love the matrix.

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by warnton » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:00 am

... with a little twist with one of the shape knobs can catapult you in complete new behaviour of the whole soundstructure! amazing... a maze!

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by woVERTICES » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:12 am

The Portabella is quite an instrument, but I have never tried the RVG Trig out...has anyone had any experience triggering say, a Roland drum machine?
Best,
John

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Re: new HORNET synth

Post by SmartBits » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:14 am

woVERTICES wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:12 am
The Portabella is quite an instrument, but I have never tried the RVG Trig out...has anyone had any experience triggering say, a Roland drum machine?
Best,
John
I just tried it out of curiosity after your post. I hooked it up to the trigger inputs of a Nord Drum. I found it needed a bit of amplification, so I think the trigger signal might be a bit on the low side. Other than that it works as you’d expect. The Pin website states that the RVG trigger output is +11V, so that’s a bit weird. Triggering the Nord from my Eurorack is no problem, without amplification.

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