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Volca FM vs Reface DX (operator feedback difference) ????
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Author Volca FM vs Reface DX (operator feedback difference) ????
Rex Coil 7
I did a bunch of searches here in Miffwugglers, nothing specific (I could swear I saw this exact topic a few months back).

Mostly concerned about their engines (I have sequencers and arpeggiators on hand). I have MIDI CC controllers as well. So I guess each synth's MIDI implementation chart is important then.

Korg Volca FM:
** 6 operators (only 1 operator has feedback).
** 32 Algorithms.
** 3 voice polyphonic (I believe I've read more than one of these Volca FMS may be "chained" together to increase their polyphony .. right?).
** ?? Does the Volca FM respond to pitch wheel messages?

Yamaha Reface DX:
** 4 operators (all 4 operators have feedback, this function seems important, perhaps moreso than having more operators???).
** 12 Algorithms
** 8 voice polyphonic.


I suppose the main question would be "which one can more be done with?". "More" meaning flexible programming and real time sound tweeking weirdness based on the capabilities of their engines. It seems like the largest different between their engines is...

** Reface has only 4 operators but each one has feedback ... compared to Volca having 6 operators but only 1 has feedback. Which is better ... 4ops with feedback or 6 ops but only 1 has feedback?

** Reface has 12 algorithms vs Volca having 32 ... again, going back to the 4ops w/feedback thing, does that outweigh having more algorithms?

** Reface has 8 voice polyphony vs Volca 3 voice polyphony (meh, I'd be using either one for mono lead sounds or bass sounds, not piano/chord stuff).


Ok, that's all I know, I need folk's input on these two. Any help?

cookie?!?
Rex Coil 7
Reface looking good. Cuz .. y'know ... Dtronics ($299.00 Euro) ....







adam
smaller than the dx programmer at least
Technologear?
Hi Rex. I've learnt a lot from your posts elsewhere so will take the time to contribute.

I'm used to a 4 op FM synth (dx27). I chose it because I read that it's not as fiddly to program than some other models, and found that to be true for me.

I found my mind adopting a fairly easy conceptualization of the synth structure: each operator is like a seperate channel on a mixing desk; each channel has its level plus synth parameters like Envelope, LFO, etc; the channels can be routed and cascaded through one another like a patchbay could do, which is what Algorithms are (patchbay routing templates).

That's what I was thinking of when I looked at the video for the Dtronics controller for the reface (similarly a 4op). And thought "omg so easy!". The structure of hitting the operator button on the right is like hitting the Mute Solo buttons on a desk, which you do alot when programming FM.

Personally, this ease of programming is what's more important to me than synth scope/range/capacity. I like creating my own patches I never use others. Sounds like that might be important to you too. I like creating clanging alien insect invasion sounds with FM. If you want to program yourself, go the reface and controller. I'm about to see if that controller will work with my dx27. If you want to use pre-made patches, go the volca, as there are heaps of patches for dx7 6op types.
BUT
The Digitone would have to be on your 'try before I decide' list. From user reports they nailed the programming aspect in that, and you get a great sequencer in-built. Digitone is on my GAS list
TheRosskonian
I doubt my experiences will be very relevant, but I will share what I have:

I tried to teach myself FM synthesis with the Volca FM first. Having not understood it, I did not get very far given the interface. I could flick through the presets and they sounded great, but not knowing FM coupled with learning the interface stopped me from getting very far. I ended up selling it and later picking up a Reface DX; teaching myself FM on that. The interface on the Reface DX being much better, in my opinion, made this easier. I could probably go back to the Volca FM now and figure something out now. Here are some quick pros and cons from my experience with both. Please keep in mind that my time with the Volca FM was limited with my understanding of FM synthesis:

Volca FM:
Pros: Comes with the Volca style sequencer and memory
Cons: The interface has a learning curve. I constantly had to have the reference card with me to program the thing. This may not be as big of an issue, depending on how quickly you memorize it, but I found the reference card necessary to program it.

Reface DX:
Pros: The keys, despite being mini-keys, are the nicest mini-keys I've used. I realize that sounds like a oxymoron, but they are nice when you are using the unit all by itself. Has built-in FX: You have a few choices of FX and two slots to assign them to on each patch.
Cons: 4 operators. This doesn't restrict you that much depending on your needs, but there are times I wish I had 6.
Panason
Yamaha > Korg.
anselmi
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Reface looking good. Cuz .. y'know ... Dtronics ($299.00 Euro) ....









wow! this is a really good looking product! love it!

in terms of simplicity and (less) money you can get the same results with a MIDI controller that can send real time sysex messages, like the novation remote zero or behringer bcr-2000...but, anyway, this controller looks so good that it´s asking to be added to any reface DX!

I´m a sucker for this format of a control panel over a synth, similar to the old roland system 100/101...or the filter for the akai MPC-2000....or the arturia minibrute 2 with the euro expander over it...
GovernorSilver
Rex Coil 7 wrote:

Korg Volca FM:
** 3 voice polyphonic (I believe I've read more than one of these Volca FMS may be "chained" together to increase their polyphony .. right?).



No built-in polychaining. You need an add-on device like the Retrokits Smart Cable or a MIDIGal to poly chain:

https://www.retrokits.com/shop/rk002

https://midisizer.com/midigal/mididisp/
Pugilistas
Neither of these has the original DX7 midi implementation, so any FM sounds downloaded may or may not resemble the original. The Yamaha has a few common CCs, but not enough to fit in my playing setup. It suffers from the very common 'We know what you want to do' midi design philosophy. Korg's midi is craptastic. Most of their recent releases seem to have very DAW focused (and sometimes just random) midi sets.

Looked at them both, but decided to just stick with my TX7 and TX81z.
anselmi
Pugilistas wrote:
Looked at them both, but decided to just stick with my TX7 and TX81z.


for me the 81z is the badass of the family in tone character...I like it the most

about the reface´s feedback and general layout, I think that it´s a more modern implementation of FM synthesis, that goes not quite as far as the Digitone but in a more "keyboard" way...the Digitone is more a sequencer synth

I like the Reface sound and parameter access more than the Volca one...and as some people said before, the mini keys are very good for the size
RickKleffel
Wow! That D-Tronic panel is super. I have a potential spot for this sort of setup. How well does the control panel fit into a sequencer setup with regards to MIDI, etc?
DMR
The Volca FM architecture is copied from the DX7 - It can load DX7 patches over Sysex, of which there are tons out there.

Without a mod the Volca has no MIDI out, so you can't poly chain them per se.

I feel that Volca FM is not as convenient to create patches on, but has some unique ways of playing the patches once on there (envelope macro knobs, the sequencer, the velocity slider). The Reface is probably better for learning FM synthesis, though I personally feel software like Ableton operator is easiest for learning since you can see more of the interface at once.
ranix
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Reface looking good. Cuz .. y'know ... Dtronics ($299.00 Euro) ....


why have you done this to me, I don't have space for this thing!! Dead Banana

It's as good as in the mail already, there's no way to resist

I don't think the difference between the reface DX and the Volca will bother you. Feedback in an FM system has different implications than feedback through a mixer or a filter. It's using the waveform to modulate its own frequency, which is pretty weird. It does strange things to the wave shape. Like I think a sine fed back into a sine's FM linear FM input causes the wave to approach the shape of a saw.

I don't totally understand it yet and it doesn't bother me. In my opinion, +2 operators per voice is more valuable than feedback. But ymmv.

The reface DX is a good controller though, the keybed is nice. If you need a small keyboard do it. If it takes up too much space do something else.

If you haven't got one yet and you're dead set on it, I could prevent myself from purchasing this programmer by selling or trading you my reface dx
ranix
oh they have the massive DX7 programmer allegedly in stock

I'm going for it, this Reface DX is definitely up for grabs Rex
Rex Coil 7
GAH!! Ain't this a bitch!! Many options available.

I already have a Yamaha TX81Z, in fact I had been fairly resigned to selling it ... that is until some of the responses in this thread were posted, now you sumbitches have me all tangled up in a state of cornfusion!

lol

FOR CONSIDERATION:

hmmm..... More operators (6) but only one has feedback and only sine waves, 32 algorithms? (DX7 variants).

hmmm..... Fewer operators (4) that have feedback on all of them and only sine waves, 12 algorithms? (Reface DX).

hmmm..... Or fewer operators (4) that have 8 wave forms per operator to select from, only one has feedback, 8 algorithms? (TX81Z).

DX7 variants .... Reface DX .... TX81Z. seriously, i just don't get it

IMPORTANT INFO REGARDING CONTROLLER: While I don't have that tricked out knobby controller that I presented in this thread ( Dtronics DT-RDX ), I do have a Doepfer Pocket Electronics kit (sixteen controllers, such as pots/switches/joysticks/expression pedals ... whatever can provide a B10K variable resistance) that can save up to 128 preset configurations. Each of the 16 controllers may be assigned to pretty much any MIDI CC destination on any MIDI channel (each knob can be set to any MIDI channel and any CC). Then each 16 knob configuration may be saved to any of 128 presets. Any MIDI program controller may be used to change the Doepfer's preset number, I have two Behringer FCB1010 MIDI foot controllers that can tackle the program change task for the Doepfer. I've yet to construct it yet.

TX81Z INFORMATION SOME FOLKS MAY BE UNAWARE OF ... PER THE MANUAL:

cool While it only offers 8 note polyphony, it also offers 8 voice multi-timbre performances. In other words it can haz a "multi" constructed out of eight separate presets ... but using that many presets would limit it to monophonic capability only (which is fine for leads and basses). Up to 24 user "multis" may be created.

cool The TX81Z offers 13 micro scales (11 uneditable factory scales and 2 user scales).

cool There is a "single note chord" function.

cool Through the use of a "new LSI Tone Generator Chip" (haaha ... ~new~) any one of 8 different wave forms may be used in each operator (rather than just a sine wave).

cool Sound quality is ~like~ the DX21/DX27/DX27s/DX100 however the sound quality was improved and the envelope generators of the TX81Z have increased resolution over those other ones.

cool There is a dedicated pitch envelope that is identical to the other Env Gens (no reduced functionality).

cool Each of the 4 operators can use fixed or ratio frequencies.

cool Two independent LFOs are available plus a dedicated vibrato LFO.

I have the TX81Z, I have a (potential) controller set up (which also includes a Squarp Pyramid btw), and I also have no idea how the details of the TX81Z stack up against the DX variants and the Reface DX .... but there they are, submitted for your approval.

Ugh ... these decisions!! d'oh! This time of night my brain may as well be a charcoal briquette up there in between mine ears for all the use it's providing!

cookie?!?
ranix
I say keep the tx81z and the volca
Rex Coil 7
ranix wrote:
I say keep the tx81z and the volca
Sold the Volcas months ago. But that TX81Z has been on "maybe" status for a bit now.
anselmi
go with the tx81z and a controller...it´s one of the best FM synths ever in terms of balance between features and sound

can´t go wrong with it
Rex Coil 7
anselmi wrote:
go with the tx81z and a controller...it´s one of the best FM synths ever in terms of balance between features and sound

can´t go wrong with it
I'm leaning so far in that direction I'm about to fall over! It was on the "for sale" list of stuff we have, but it's been moved to the "keep for now" list.

SlayerBadger! lol
calaveras
what no Digitone?
8 Voices, midi in out and thru.
Not sure about how many algorithms. But it has FM synthesis followed by subtractive synthesis.
It's in my shortlist of tabletop boxes to get at some point in the future (along with Digitakt TBH)
Mind Flayer
I have the reface dx, and I love it. I think it's the best of the reface line. I wouldn't have paid $500 new for it (I think that was the price when they first came out), but they're much cheaper now, and a fantastic deal.

A key with fm synthesis is velocity sensitivity, and you get that and a really nice set of keys, albeit mini keys. They really are the best mini keys I have played on any synth.

It's also just so easy to use, it's really inviting. It's a perfect combination of ease of use, portability, feel, layout, sound quality, built-in effects, built in sequencer (which is really nice for sound design - just program a loop and play around with the sounds), good polyphony. I use it all the time, great for sitting on the couch and designing a few patches. I much prefer it over the volca.

I also have a DX11, which is also great, but that's a full size keyboard so stays put in my main synth area.
Rex Coil 7
I spent some time working with the Nord Micro Modular last night and this morning. That said, it seems the Yamahas are out of a job. Polyphonic sounds (DX7 type pianos and clavs) are very well done by any number of romplers, of which I have several. Monophonic sounds (specifically basses) are easily done with VA and modeling engines.

So it looks like I won't be buying a Reface any time soon, and the TX81Z will be on eBay by the end of the weekend.

I did look at the Elektron Digitone, but with already having to learn a Squarp Pyramid taking on something as deep as the Digitone would be unwise and unproductive. And to be quite honest, I didn't hear anything that was demonstrated on the Digitone that really flicked my thrillswitch.

So Digitone, Reface DX, and TX81Z are out.

It's very easy to dismiss discipline and just start spending money on things one really doesn't need for the sake of buying new shit. If I have learned nothing else since I began goofing with this ~synth stuff~ in 1977, it's this;

Generally, you can actually be most creative with less gear. It is better to master a simple production rig than it is to have piles of crap that you'll never really learn to get the most out of. A simpler system will force you to really put yourself to task and create.

I've even decided to really back off many of the plans I had for my project 5U and keep it far (far!) simpler than I was going with it.

Down to my 1962 Hammond rig, project 5U, and the "Digi rig" (E-MU rack synths, Nord Micros, and Alesis drums). The hub is the Pyramid sequencer.

seriously, i just don't get it
soundinett
Rex Coil 7 wrote:


It's very easy to dismiss discipline and just start spending money on things one really doesn't need for the sake of buying new shit. If I have learned nothing else since I began goofing with this ~synth stuff~ in 1977, it's this;

Generally, you can actually be most creative with less gear. It is better to master a simple production rig than it is to have piles of crap that you'll never really learn to get the most out of. A simpler system will force you to really put yourself to task and create.


Wise words.
stimresp
There's a really nice Lemur template for the Reface DX.

https://liine.net/en/community/user-library/view/616/
Technologear?
I'd hold on to your TX81Z for a year. If you haven't been tempted back to FM land, flip it then. FM is good for a particular sound. I'm not familiar with the Nord MM but I found that only FM can nail 'clear alien clanging invasion'. You might not want that sound right now, but maybe later if you get more 'weird prog' rather than traditional prog!
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