Recommend me a travel synth (lots of suggestions!)

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flx
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Recommend me a travel synth (lots of suggestions!)

Post by flx » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:33 pm

I’m currently on a business trip again, which means I’m staying in some hotel somewhere and I’m exhausted after a long day of work. I would like to just flop down on the bed now and play some synth-thing which ideally ...

- can make a variety of expressive, ambient and experimental sounds
- does not require elaborate setup
- does not require much thinking to operate
- does not have a screen
- can be touched or played expressively (very simple keyboard or some some tactile, pressure, proximity or gesture input)
- is small and lightweight
- runs on USB or 9V power

Oh boy :mrgreen:

Now, I have something like a Ciat Lonbarde Plumbutter in mind, which I have owned already once and which almost combines all these things. It does require elaborate patching though and my ideal instrument here could also be a bit smaller and would also be more affordable. It can be weird and “boutique” and doesn’t need to be a typical “synth”. In fact if it isn’t a Microfreak or something like that, it would even be a plus :razz:

The ultimate goal would be then to record these half-asleep, hotel room noodlings (I have a small, portable audio recorder) and make something out of them when I’m back home.


P.S. I do have an iPad with tons of apps and I even made three vacation albums on it. It’s cool, but sometimes I’d just like to get away from the screen, the tons of apps and the “complexity”.


EDIT: Thanks for the replies so far! :yay:

Here’s a list of your suggestions and other devices I found, that seem to fit my requirements mostly and/or have piqued my interest:

- Monome Norns (800$) + Grid Controller (700$)
- Monome Norns Shield (DIY, ca. 250$)
- Teenage Engineering OP-Z (550€)
- Plinky (no price yet, probably DIY only)
- Eowave Quadrantid Swarm (559€)
- Manecolabs Grone Drone Synth (465$)
- Korg NTS-1 (110€)
- Modal Craft Synth 2.0 (134€)
- Bastl Softpop (300€)
- Ellitone Multi Synth (85€)
- Ellitone E64 (250€)
- Bastl Kastle (100€)
- THC Recursive Machine (DIY, ca. 300€?)
- Dreadbox Typhoon (350€)
- Haken ContinuuMini (935€)
- Error Instruments Radio Sputnik (300€)
- Error Instruments Cloud Busting (230€)
- Moffenzeef Stargazer (560€)
- The Peeps Music Box (800€)
- Elmyra Drone Synth (280€ built, 160€ DIY Kit)
- Gotharman Tiny LD (920€)
- Axoloti (DIY, 100€+)
- Synthrotek Nandamonium (180€)
- Rebel Tech Magus (500€)
- Ouroboros Alea (650€)
- Nozoid MMO-3 (500€)
- Grendel Drone Commander (440€)
- Critter & Guitari Organelle M (600$)
- Tilde Elektriske Kretser Fjaerlett (250$)
- Bug Brand Board Chirper (190£)

Super simple stereo WAV audio recorder:
- Reloop Tape 2 (140€)


EDIT 2:
later in this thread, I started to build my own DIY travel synth with the Axoloti DSP board:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=237221&p=3347080#p3347080
Last edited by flx on Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:27 pm, edited 26 times in total.

kvmet
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by kvmet » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:38 pm

I assume an iPad mini is off the table? That's what holds me over while I'm on business trips. Also really comfy to play with on planes. I do a bit of noodling on the iPad using AUv3 instruments and then swap them out for my hardware synths when I get home if I come up with something I like.

Edit: oh... "Does not have a screen". Sorry.
Last edited by kvmet on Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CliffordMilk
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by CliffordMilk » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:39 pm

Monome Norns + Grid? Yes it has a screen but it isn’t really necessary once you have something loaded up. You can DIY the Norns.

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th0mas
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by th0mas » Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:17 pm

OP1. Put some tape over the screen, after a week it's unnecessary

Or the OPZ

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by sleestack808 » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:04 pm

Ipad
with apps

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by Dave Peck » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:16 pm

sleestack808 wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:04 pm
Ipad
with apps
... and a Sensel morph.

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by 22tape » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:17 pm

this might not be released in time, but worth a look anyway—

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=236086&p=3343468#p3343468

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by Harko » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:32 pm

Have you checked out Quadrantid Swarm from Eowave?
It doesn't run on 9v nor USB, but it might fulfil your other needings.

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Northward
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by Northward » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:43 pm

Maybe a tad dark after a long day away from home, but if you stay in nice hotels and you’re into vintage sci-fi horror film drones this sounds excellent. No batteries it seems. I sure want one.

From Gearnews:
MS20 style lowpass filter. An eight-mode LFO. Mutable Instruments Clouds loaded with all the usual controls for freeze, texture, density and so on.

https://manecolabs.com/detalle/pedal-grone-drone-synth/

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by sleestack808 » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:13 pm

Dave Peck wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:16 pm
sleestack808 wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:04 pm
Ipad
with apps
... and a Sensel morph.
I own a synthi. A REAL one and the vcs3 app for the iPad is really close . I mean not really. You don't get the non linearity or the soft lovely saturation but the character is there. It's a fun app. Really fun. Also the Wilsononic app is great. And I love Suggester for playing with chords. Really intuitive app.Those are my recommendations. Id buy more but I have actual synths. ID Love to get the fairlight one

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Red Electric Rainbow
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:25 pm

elektron digitone
hydrasynth desktop
ipad + apps
novation mininova

not sure if these meet or exceed your requirements but they’re options
TOO FAR GONE

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by Koekepan » Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:25 pm

Roland Boutique D-05 with the attached keyboard.

Wide range of sounds.

Runs on battery.

Can be as expressive as you want it to be.

Folds up nice and small - but you can always use a larger keyboard if you have one over MIDI.

I think it might have a tiny screen, but ... probably close enough.

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by ATW » Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:39 pm

The Korg Nts-1 might fit the bill, albeit with the addition of an Sq-1 or some kind of ipad/control surface. Sq-1 and Nts1 are usb powered.

Oh yeah, check out the Massive Midi Modulator as a usb-powered way to control a TON of midi parameters on a device like the nord drum 2, NTs-1, or anything else that’ll take a bunch of cc values simultaneously. No screen, tiny, blinky pads, can

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by tim gueguen » Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:27 am

Modal Craftsynth V2.0? Runs on batteries, has a built in touch keyboard, no screen, and is cheap.

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by depth20 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:35 am

OP-Z as stated earlier. It's a really nice synth and sequencer.

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by Muzone » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:11 am

Bastl Softpop is what I use for long journeys/overnight stays.
The wires aren't the best after a long day but if you get a set of the more flexible patch wires that Tangible Waves it's a lot easier to use

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by Power Mic 3K » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:24 am

The Ellitone Multi ticks those blocks and costs less than $100.

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by jdkJake » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:37 am

Might be a bit big, but a Lyra 8 might fit the bill (save for the +12V power wall wart). You can get a nice carrying case for it as well.

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by mor4sso » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:47 am

OPZ ticks all your boxes. amazing little machines.

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by meska » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:06 am

I mouve withe the ld3 on baterie, + amplified mic (work in the in of the ld3 ;) ) + joué midi controleur and it very fuuuuun +
tremblap wrote: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.
www.meska.fr
https://statikwave.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by ludotex » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:10 am

OPZ is great

Model:Cycles also

(but not sure these 2 tick that box: "- does not require much thinking to operate")
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flx
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by flx » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:47 am

kvmet wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:38 pm
I assume an iPad mini is off the table?
sleestack808 wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:04 pm
Ipad
Dave Peck wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:16 pm
... and a Sensel morph.
sleestack808 wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:13 pm
I own a synthi. A REAL one and the vcs3 app for the iPad is really close .
Thank you! I do have an iPad loaded with music apps, but sometimes I use that thing all day and want to get away from it in the evening.

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flx
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by flx » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:49 am

th0mas wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:17 pm
OP1. Or the OPZ
depth20 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:35 am
OP-Z as stated earlier. It's a really nice synth and sequencer.
mor4sso wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:47 am
OPZ ticks all your boxes. amazing little machines.
ludotex wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:10 am
OPZ is great
I've owned an OP-1 a few years ago and it was my travel synth back then. Good times :) I somehow did not like the OP-Z though. Had it too, but didn't like the interface and the icons that one had to learn by heart.

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flx
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by flx » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:52 am

CliffordMilk wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:39 pm
Monome Norns + Grid? Yes it has a screen but it isn’t really necessary once you have something loaded up. You can DIY the Norns.
I've been checking out Norns and the controllers every once in a while for the past few years(?). They seems really cool, but at that price I don't think I'd get everything out of it I would hope for, since I'm not a good programmer and would not really want to spend time to learn more coding.

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flx
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Re: Recommend me a travel synth that fits my very special needs :D

Post by flx » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:54 am

Power Mic 3K wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:24 am
The Ellitone Multi ticks those blocks and costs less than $100.
Thanks! That does indeed look like what I'm after. Wishlisted! Also, that Ellitone E64 seems cool: https://www.etsy.com/listing/813442285/ ... -sequencer

I'm also kind of waiting for the Nanoloop handheld, but the E64 might be even better for me.
Last edited by flx on Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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