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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Micro Q vs. A-Station
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Micro Q vs. A-Station
bwandice
I really can't decide. I've been browsing polyphonic synths for a few months now intending to get one, and now I've come down to these two. Anyone have any input on either of these two synths, or on Waldorf and Novation themselves? I feel like the analogue architecture of both of them are very similar (?), and what else is very important to me is UI. The A-station has everything right there on the panel, not I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I'm a real fan of subtractive synthesis, I feel like these might have similar approaches to patch creation.

thoughts?[/i]
target_destroyed
I've owned both in the past and would take the Micro-Q over the A-Station any day of the week. Take my opinion with a grain of salt.

The Micro-Q just flat-out destroys the A-Station feature-wise. It has 3x the polyphony, 3x the audio outs, and is 16 part multitimbral. The Micro-Q is a workhorse. The matrix editing system might bother some people but I found it rather intuitive. Sound is sharp, and dare I say "cold". Not a bad thing unless you really want a "warm" synth, in which case you probably shouldn't be looking for a va. Mr. Green Not a big fan of the fx engine, but this is the case on every cheaper va I've owned.

The A-Station has 1 set of outs, is not multitimbral, and has only 8 voices. Also worth noting is the terrible 2-digit display, which frustrated the hell out of me since all the commands you have to enter are 3 digit, meaning you need the manual out constantly. It has a lot of knobs which is nice, but they're really freaking close together (which I'm willing to overlook now that I've been using a Euro system hihi ). The sound seemed a little more "bubbly" than the Micro-Q, but the fx were equally crap.

So it depends on what you want. Unless you really really like the sound of the A-Station and/or hate the the sound of Waldorf stuff, I'd go with the Waldorf. It's usually only like $50-$100 more expensive but a lot more synth.

IMO the Micro-Q is by far the best bang-for-the-buck va on the used market.
bwandice
Is it true that there is a software patch editor for the MicroQ?

And whats the big noticeable difference between analogue and VA synthesis? Is it just a straight up 'warm' vs. 'cold' feel? I was also looking at a Matrix 1000, and for the prices they're at, it looks like a pretty good dead, except there is no real way to edit parameters without spending more money on editing software. Do you prefer VA to analogue, in terms of sound, interface, and workflow?
Yoozer
bwandice wrote:
Is it true that there is a software patch editor for the MicroQ?

http://www.soundtower.com/programs/demoreq_q.htm
There's that, but I can't vouch for its quality.

Quote:

And whats the big noticeable difference between analogue and VA synthesis?

It's one of those things where if you have to ask, well...

VAs simulate a piece of circuitry. The advantage of that is that you have "perfect components"; imperfections have to be introduced deliberately. That's a disadvantage if you want those imperfections, because they add to the sound in a special way. Furthermore, the simulation may fall apart at certain points - usually a matter of cost (computational and financial) vs. features. These are edge conditions; subtle drift, audio rate modulation with no aliasing, filter overdrive (nonlinear behavior) - but plugins are doing their best to catch up to that. As for VA hardware - only the Solaris is getting there, because the rest of the people just buys analog, uses plugins, or doesn't care about this stuff.

Quote:
Do you prefer VA to analogue, in terms of sound, interface, and workflow?


This is a really polarizing question. If this were another forum you'd get folks jumping over you asking how you could possibly be such an ignorant buffoon to even ask Mr. Green Luckily for you, Muff is far more relaxed.

There are analogs with an absolutely horrible interface; Alpha Junos, JX8Ps, etc. There are VAs with great interfaces; Nord Lead, Alesis Ion.

This question has a thousand answers; each of 'm deeply personal, not always rational.

You buy what you can afford and what sounds good to you. If the interface is too much of a hassle for the sound it gives you, then you have to ask yourself whether you're prepared to fight it every day.

"Analog" does not mean automatically that it sounds awesome and that it has a great interface.

You cannot compare a Matrix 1000 with a Micro Q like that; they're different in character and application. Neither would easily emulate the other. Of course, they've got overlap - but you can only find this out if you have them both and pit them against eachother.
target_destroyed
bwandice wrote:
Is it true that there is a software patch editor for the MicroQ?

The only one I'm aware of is the one Yoozer mentioned, also unsure of its quality. This does beg the question though, if you're just going to use a software editor anyway, why bother with hardware? You can get the Waldorf Largo which is pretty much the same thing as the Micro-Q/Blofeld but in software form.

Quote:
And whats the big noticeable difference between analogue and VA synthesis? Is it just a straight up 'warm' vs. 'cold' feel? Do you prefer VA to analogue, in terms of sound, interface, and workflow?

It really boils down to personal preference and what you think sounds good. I've owned a whole slew of VAs in the past and sold every single one of them except my Virus (needed to keep something with some polyphony) once I got a couple good no-patch memory mono-analogs. I just prefer that sound and that style of working. If you want/need a zillion presets, analog generally isn't the way to go outside of a few synths (such as the Matrix 1000). It's also easier/cheaper to go VA for polyphonic duties for the most part.

Bottom line, use what works best for you!
chamomileshark
target_destroyed wrote:
This does beg the question though, if you're just going to use a software editor anyway, why bother with hardware? You can get the Waldorf Largo which is pretty much the same thing as the Micro-Q/Blofeld but in software form.


There is also the Novation K station which I think is an emulation of the A-Station.


Quote:

It's also easier/cheaper to go VA for polyphonic duties for the most part.


Interestingly I've ended up in the same place due to budget constraints and general reluctance to spend large amounts of money on vintage kit that just breaks down. Still might try and buy a Matrix6 or Matrix 1000 (last one had to go back because it was faulty) - but even so I don't think of them as proper analogue with those DCOs...
wiresandstraps
Micro-Q all the way... I've owned both.

The Waldorf is more versatile. It can do big bass, really cutting sounds, percussion, trance leads, 303ish stuff, big pads, etc...

Multi-part, polyphony is better, interface isn't as simple (but way more powerful)

.... or you could look @ the Blofeld which is has better interface/spec than the microQ (which is in the same $$$ ballpark and probably a better deal over-all)

If you want analog, buy the DSI evolver hybrid or the mopho... great for the price.

But yeah...

as far as digital vs analog... there are pros n cons to both. My advise is to start on a VA because of the versatility, price, and ease of use. Some VAs sound amazing, like the ion, virus, an1x, and blofeld... they will do more for you in the beginning... imho analog is better for after you have the meat and potatoes stuff covered.
bwandice
target_destroyed wrote:
This does beg the question though, if you're just going to use a software editor anyway, why bother with hardware? You can get the Waldorf Largo which is pretty much the same thing as the Micro-Q/Blofeld but in software form.


right, I think I just have some sort of personal stigma against software synths, I seem to just not have quest as much fun tone tweaking and experimenting as I do with hardware, especially in a live circumstance.

target_destroyed wrote:
I got a couple good no-patch memory mono-analogs. I just prefer that sound and that style of working. If you want/need a zillion presets, analog generally isn't the way to go outside of a few synths (such as the Matrix 1000). It's also easier/cheaper to go VA for polyphonic duties for the most part.


no-patch memory mono-synths is all I know! All I own, and have ever owned is my Sh-101, and I absolutely love it's interface (and of course sound). I am here now because I'm looking to throw a poly into the mix, not necessarily because I want vast experimental freedoms (which personally I think limits creativity). A zillion presets is nothing I need, but it certainly does not turn me away from VA's or the like. Hell, 30 presets would do. What does interest me is my price range (of which the MQ, Matrix, and novation do fit), a quality sound, and an intuitive interface. And by intuitive I mean something that does not necessarily have to be quick and easy to learn, but something that has a workflow that is somewhat parallel to how the actual synthesis is conducted ( at least...I think this is what I mean).

And of course the Dave Smith stuff looks super attractive, but I certainly don't need to spend a stack on anything... ever, for now. even the blofeld is too pricy for my situation.

Yoozer wrote:
This is a really polarizing question. If this were another forum you'd get folks jumping over you asking how you could possibly be such an ignorant buffoon to even ask Mr. Green Luckily for you, Muff is far more relaxed.


Yes, the very reason that keeps my interest in this community. I'm certainly not trying to claim ignorance on the matter; I've heard peoples unsolicited opinions and I think sometimes those opinions come from a biased attitude (myself occasionally included, in various matters). However, I just felt like there is a general difference, in the architecture of the interface, between analogue and otherwise -due to many different and (somewhat) obvious factors. I really don't know much about the technology they have in the modules today, I've always been too enamored by vintage synthesis and architecture (REALLY what I want is a Roland RS-505 grin)
bwandice
oh... and I forgot all about the six-trak...mmmmmm
jbuonacc
you have the Six-Trak, or you're thinking about buying one?

chamomileshark wrote:

There is also the Novation K station which I think is an emulation of the A-Station.


emulation? the K-Station is the keyboard version of the A-Station. the V-Station is the software version.

i had both the Micro-Q and K-Station. for general 'analog' sounds i preferred the Novation, but (as said) the Waldorf kills it in most other areas. the modulation options on the uQ are just fantastic, it can do some really far out stuff. a lot of the time though the sound of it really irked me. can't recall exactly why, it's been years since i've had it (sold them both towards my Nord G2 when it came out). it certainly was 'cold' and digital sounding most of the time though. then again, when i listen now to songs that i recorded with it i'm pretty happy with what i was able to get out of it.
bwandice
target_destroyed wrote:
I've owned a whole slew of VAs in the past and sold every single one of them except my Virus (needed to keep something with some polyphony) once I got a couple good no-patch memory mono-analogs.


which virus do you have and what do you thinkof it?

and no I don't have a SixTrak, otherwise I think I would be satisfied smile
noobyscooby
I've never decided to sell a synth faster than the a-station and I've sold a lot of synths. I thought it would be a cheap way to satiate some VA GAS and instead of buying a Supernova or something and it was awful. I have numerous softsynths that sound better, the 3 digit code two digit display was the dumbest thing ever too.

I've toyed with buying a Micro Q but how many synths does one need? I did own a Q in the very early days of my synth collecting and liked it but can't be arsed to pay more than 1k for a Q now when I paid 500 for my first one.
wiresandstraps
for a cheap VA, you might really like the Roland SH-32... they are cheap as cheap can be, sound great, and have an awesome interface... plus they look like vintage lab gear.... plenty powerful too.
target_destroyed
bwandice wrote:

right, I think I just have some sort of personal stigma against software synths, I seem to just not have quest as much fun tone tweaking and experimenting as I do with hardware, especially in a live circumstance.

I understand completely, and I feel the same way. Since you asked about a software editor I just assumed that's the way you like to work. Software purists will throw a tantrum and say that digital hardware is just software in a box with a dedicated DAC, and it basically is, but the dedicated interface makes all the difference in the world to me.


Quote:
What does interest me is my price range (of which the MQ, Matrix, and novation do fit), a quality sound, and an intuitive interface. And by intuitive I mean something that does not necessarily have to be quick and easy to learn, but something that has a workflow that is somewhat parallel to how the actual synthesis is conducted ( at least...I think this is what I mean).

Only you can say for certain what type of interface appeals to you. If you are more comfortable with lots of knobs go for the A-Station. If the matrix interface doesn't bother you and you want features grab the Micro-Q. If the actual sound is the most important, I would say just pick one of them up and try it out. Ebay prices for both the A-Station and Micro-Q have remained fairly stable. Grab one, try it out for a couple months, and if you don't like it pass it on. It's unlikely you'll lose any money. Worst case is you have to cover shipping, but that's a fair price to pay to demo a synth for awhile.

Quote:
which virus do you have and what do you think of it?

I currently have a TI desktop, but I've owned a C and B in the past as well. I used to use it as my main synth when I had an all VA setup, there just wasn't much in the VA world that could touch it IMO. The only thing that bugs me about it is the lack of a 3rd envelope (you can use the 3rd lfo, but that's not really the same) and aliasing in the higher octaves.

Once I started getting into analog I slowly sold off all my VA stuff except the TI and my trusty MS2000 (nostalgia, was my first real synth oops ) because the TI was the most versatile (although I miss my Microwave XT waah ). I can honestly say it's among my lesser used pieces of gear at this point however. The Virus mainly just gets used for pads and arpeggios these days, both of which it excels at. I also use it as an fx processor from time to time, the fx really are quite good. Sometimes I look at the Virus as an fx processor with a built in synth rather than the other way around, heh.

The TI is expensive, sure, but you can pick one up an Ebay for half the price of a new TI2 and it uses the exact same OS. If I could only have one VA polysynth (and I do, I don't really count the MS2k Mr. Green ), it would be the Virus.
bwandice
Ok one last comparison (heh)

any akai AX 80 or JX-3P users out there I could pick brains with?
RustyO
target_destroyed wrote:
I've owned both in the past and would take the Micro-Q over the A-Station any day of the week. Take my opinion with a grain of salt.


I've likewise owned both the µQ and the A-Station in the past.

The A-Station didn't last long, I found it more frustrating to use then it was worth it in the long run... basically all the comments that target_destroyed made, I'll echo. It didn't help the A-Station that I also got a Virus C on the same day, and had fiddled with the V-Station as well.

I got mine brand new at Turnkey... the salesman offered me a package deal... Virus C and a free A-Station, or Virus C and a µQ for a few hundred pound more. I should have splurged...

Ended up grabbing the µQ later on down the track... which is now gone as well.

IMHO, the µQ is a lot more compotent, sounds better, a lot more powerful, and a lot quicker / easier to use. That style of matrix editing is a good solution for limited space, and makes more sense after you spend more time with it.

Luckily I'm all grown up now and have a Q and a SuperNova II applause

target_destroyed wrote:
The A-Station has 1 set of outs, is not multitimbral, and has only 8 voices. Also worth noting is the terrible 2-digit display, which frustrated the hell out of me since all the commands you have to enter are 3 digit, meaning you need the manual out constantly. It has a lot of knobs which is nice, but they're really freaking close together


And this as well... that fucking display and those knobs. very frustrating
Funky40
I'm verymuch interested in the Micro Q myself.
some questions:

hard,metallic, cold are terms used for the microQ sound.
Is there any other synth better on this ? ( i expect to use i mostly on the percussive synthyside )

how is the microQ to use in multitimbral mode, good to set up ? ( i need only 4-8x multitimbrality)

sounds the same in multimode, or is allways multimode on ?
My yamaha workstations soundet not the same in multimode cause of loss of FX, even the motif with 8xFX sounds not the same in multimode as the 2 global FX programs are changed
Fidgit
Funky40 wrote:
hard,metallic, cold are terms used for the microQ sound.
Is there any other synth better on this ? ( i expect to use i mostly on the percussive synthyside )


FS1R
TX802
VZ8M
VZ10M
K5000(R)
K2x00(R/S)

from the top of my head... Ghost
Funky40
forgot to mention, must be cheap and preferably small/19" as the micro Q is wink
And it would have to be editable by me wink i'm lazy. i think microQ should be easy, not as complex as FM and additiv


FS1R i have, but its only one voice for me, not four.
K5000 is the Kawai additiv synth ? Adi came here with one
The FS1R is cool, but not what i would expect the microQ to be. I guess K5000 is the same. We just plaed by hand, and only the sounds that were there


TX802 ......i would get one if having spare money, the question is if i ever would use it.

VZ10M sounds interesting, for how much do they go ?
http://www.synthmania.com/vz-10m.htm
you have one ?
Ankh
I ditched the uQ ages ago, they never fixed the buggy OS + the menu system is horrible to use.

Every time you would send a MIDI note it made a clicking sound which you couldn't dial out, even if all osc levels etc were set to 0. hmmm.....

The headphone out sounds like the ocean. I once mailed them about it and they said they used a crappy DAC, and something to the effect of "who uses the headphone out anyway". seriously, i just don't get it
Funky40
really, on every note sent by midi a click appears ?
headphone outs i don't need wink
what bugs with OS ?
wiresandstraps
if you are worried about the OS bugs, pick up a used blofeld. Mine works fine.
Funky40
I know nothing about the Blofeld.
has it same sound characteristics ?
Ankh
Damn, after listening to the Jexus demos, I really would like a Blofeld now. Someone buy my QMMG already. eek!

http://www.youtube.com/user/Jexus#p/u/11/PXvQs4Nq06c

I don't think they invested much time in developing the uQ, it's just a scaled down Q with bugs. I consider the click-issue pretty unforgivable.
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