My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Post your experiences, share sounds and send us links to your music...

Moderator: Jörg Schaaf

My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby spectac » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:54 am

Image

I am a new owner of an Accelerator, but not so new to using synths, both old and new.
This is a LONG READ so brace yourself.
I have owned or still own....

Access Snow
AKAI MPC 200XL
AKAI XR-20
Alesis Andromeda
Alesis Air-FX
Alesis SR18, SR16
DSI Mopho
DSI TETRA
Ensoniq ASR-10
KORG Triton
KORG M3
KORG every electribe to new EMX series
KORG Kaoss pad one of every generation
KORG MicroSAMPLER + XL
KORG Wavestation
Moog Voyager + MoogerFoogers
Roland Juno 6
Roland Juno G
Roland RS 505
Roland JD800
Roland JD 900
Roland SP -555
Roland D550
Yamaha AN 200
Yamaha Motif ES7
Yamaha rack...L- something, I don't remember (but LA synthesis sounds familiar)
* I'm sure there's a bunch of other stuff I can't recall right now......
----------------------------------
And so I think I've been through every phase of GAS.
A) The "I need a synth for every category of my music" you know the one, where you need a synth that's "THE BEST" for bass, one that's best for leads, pads...FX - the best for drums/patterns....

B) I'm a [insert manufacturer here] guy. Where you buy every synth from a particular company because you fall in love with their designs. I used to think only A-holes argued Mac verse PC, Star Wars verse Star Trek, Peanut Butter verse Jelly, until you think those old Rolands are THE DAMN BEST and gosh darnit no one call you different. Same for Moogs etc...

C) The interface guy where you need a knob for every function so you get all knobby synths...
D) The rare-breed guy, where you want something so obscure you can have sounds that...oh you get it.
E) The 'Can't pass up a good sale' guy where you've hawked used gear so much, you know a bargain instantly and must snatch it up.
F) The 'I need inspiration guy' where you get something new thinking it will pull something new out of you. A new toy always inspires. Right?
G) And I shouldn't even mention the 'Feng Shui Studio Guy' who has to fill every empty tier or spot with...something.

--------------------------------
And so that leads me to how this recent [rack] lust started. I stumbled across a program called SoundQuest MIDI quest ($250 USD -a little expensive, I know) that is a software editor for numerous synths. You get a virtual screen with knobs that control the hardware. That led me to buy every hard-to-program rack synth I could find and start programming. I still like that system, but I did want something like my Andromeda that I could just be a hardware-guy all through the creative process = very little mousing around and no more eyes burning from staring at monitors all session.

The Andy is awesome. Best synth purchase ever. Hell, just READING THE MANUAL taught me loads about synths, terminology and programming architecture. {insert angelic chorus of ahhhhhhs}

ENTER THE SPECTRALIS :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
I saw Jorg at NAMM and had taken audio samples of all the synths on offer. While writing my NAMM review, 3 synths stood out from the rest. A Studio Electronics piece, Moog Old School and the Spectralis. ONLY those three. Everything else just sounded good. There was something intangible. Maybe it was timbre....maybe tone....I don't know the word but it's like a raw heaviness- something organic - I don't know......sounds silly now that I read that last sentence back. The Access TI had some wicked sounds. So good, I almost used the samples in the recorder for a song that night. So I respect the TI range. Not the SNOW unit so much. I had that for a while and didn't like it. I have to admit (only here) that it sounded like Absynth without the clever programming. It sounded like a really good VST. Not for +$1,000 USD, sorry. Had to go.
-------------------------------------
Every video of the Spectralis on youtube sounded good. Hell, the demo songs sounded good. But I figured Jorg is a producer/musician so it's no wonder he put some great songs in the unit. BUT! Even when regular users made videos, even ones with songs I didn't like- the sounds sounded great. Youtube. We make excuses about the horrible audio quality, but watch any Spectralis video from NAMM recorded WITH THE ROOM noise, it still sounds good. So I knew the Spec was a winner. I bought one and it's been one of the best purchases ever. I am troubled with the "unfinished" OS and I wish some of the basics like DUB-RECORD worked. I still want FULL access to the internal hard drive's memory and a more stable (less corruptible) way of transferring files. I have saved TONS of patches, but how to sort through them by MY OWN BANK NAME is still a mystery. I've given up on the manual since it's a hard read and after spending a whole night struggling with a function, only to find out it isn't implemented (yet)- has left me empty as far as diving in super deep.

I grabbed it to be my live sequencer and sample holder (replacing the old AKAI 200XL) but it has shined so heavy as a sound module, that's what it has become to me. EVERY category is superb and even the randomizer creates interesting results.
I have never turned to it and NOT found a contribution to my record. I actually thought it was analogue when I bought it.
After, I discovered it was a digital subtractive with analogue filters. no matter. love it. I've sent emails to Radikal asking for a regular drum machine, a Spectralis keyboard and a small monophonic desktop synth (ala DSI Mopho) that would be REALLY AFFORDABLE). I suggested business wise, it's advantageous to build off pre- existing R&D (and parts) and extend that wonderful engine.
------------------------------------------------

Warned you it was a long read. :)
I was surprised when Radikal announced the Accelerator. NOTHING to do with the Spectralis??!??!?!?
The ultimate non-analogue synth engine??? Good-lawd-man, what are you thinking?

It was a similar experience where every video and sound clip (soundcloud demos) sounded awesome.
Instead of 'another Spectralis' maybe we'd get a mate. Now, when the Accelerator was announced, Access' TI was ruling the world for VA synths. Either you wanted some electronic sounding KORG stuff [and other VAs] or you had a ROMpler.
So I know the TI sold well, too many people I knew had one. The early buzz was that the Accelerator would cut into the Access market and offer 'their sound' in a full keyboard. Sounds like a great thing to buzz over......

But my experience so far, is that the Accelerator is closer to the Alesis Andromeda A6. The Access comparison, to me, would be the ...raspyness...or razor-like sounds. {I guess good for electro stuff} I think most people call that "The Access Sound" and it's hit or miss. Meaning: you either love it or hate it.
I hear that. I totally understand why that would be your first impression. Sizzle comes to mind as opposed to Moog's roundness and warmth.

But it feels like I'm using the Andromeda. And I would burn Jorg over coals to make him admit that the A6 was the true inspiration behind this. The sounds tap the A6 level for tone and the interface, minus the thousand knobs- it feels similar. I think it's the menu buttons, using those pill buttons (never been a big fan truthfully). I never liked the MATRIX approach, which uses Streets and Avenues to navigate the menu system, but the Accelerator is such a performance piece that all the most usable ones are right there and, for once, it's easy to read what you're doing- unlike the microKORG.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
I was counting on a repeat experience. Something like the Spectralis but different.
I got what I wanted.
Right now, I have high hopes for a proper soft editor so I can manage my libraries with ease.
Overall, I'm very happy to add another secret weapon to my arsenal and it feels good to buy something I know I will never outgrow. Years from now when I change the kind of sounds I want to use in my music and maybe even the genre I'm making, it will be good to know I won't have to change my keyboard and only change what I do with it.

Makes a great COMPANION for the Spectralis and can become your main synth for bread and butter sounds too.
I'm still digging in, but so far, all good.


HAPPY, happy Accelerator owner.
Radikal wins again.
Spead the word, share you experiences.
Music Product: Better Sounds for Beats http://www.StudioAVX.com
Music Production: Resources and Research http://www.ProducersEdgeMagazine.com
Music Produced: Abstract Hip Hop Sci-Fi: http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com
User avatar
spectac
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:36 pm
Location: Long Island New York

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby mcbeth303 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:04 am

Hello Spectac,

I really enjoyed reading your Post! Especially the differend phases of Gas, you hit the nail on his head. I own a Specktralis 1 and as it is not very easy to integrate it into an existing setup Im thinking of rebuilding my setup in a different way.

What i got:
Elektron monomachine, machinedrum and Octatrack. Waldorf MicroQ, Jomox Airbase99, DSI Tetr4, Akai XR10, Yamaha DX200.

I think im going to sell all of it but the DX200 and the Specki for reasons you mentioned aswell: Not the sound i wanted or KNOBS AND ENCODERS FOR THE WIN!

I mean the elektron stuff is very nice, but compare a machinedrum soundwise to an airbase, or a monomachine to a spectralis. Alone they are brilliant, you add one of the others and they sound thin and soapy. My opinion only.
After trying to use the octatrack i finnaly made the decision that sampling is just not my thing.

Airbase is great sounding, but id love to be able to tweak encoders instead.

The options so far:
Option 1
The tetr4 is a pain in the ass to use, the encoders are a pita, the software you have to !buy! is not working properly either, notes hang, sometimes it just looses connection, and you have to connect it via Midi AND USB to get it to run. So i Guess best would be to a: sell it! or b: cascading it with a mopho keyboard to get a somewhat useable 5 voice analog synth.

together with that i have 3 Drumcomputers / synthesizers in mind that id like to check out.
Jomox Xbase999 which i think would be a reasonable replacement for the Airbase99
Vermona DRM1 MK3 good sounding lots of knobs and realtime tweaking but it cant save pattern or presets.
Acidlab Miami .. well nice 808 clone, but i guess id prefer the vermona
The Tempest was an option aswell, but there is the price. i think it is like 500 quid more than a xbase....


Option2
Or maybe a xoxbox or acidlab bassline3 together with the dx200 and the vermona drm & some FX to rebuild a rebith 338 like setup at home? (is there actually a useable 909 clone out there?)

Option 3
Accelerator, DX200, Spectralis, one of the drumsynths
Id love to see a lot more videos of the Accelerator aswell, but its hard to get some good videos for it. I could not hardly find any information about the 61 drawbar organ emulation. It is there if you buy the voice upgrade, but i wasnt able to hear it anywhere on youtube so far, I have seen that Acemonvw posted a thread in the Accelerator Forum to encourage people to make some nice fiddling around videos of the Accelerator. I would like to see more videos of Joerg aswell, they dont have to be top notch, or a chart hit, just some fiddling around with comments to get future customers closer to the actual product.
A friend of mine wants to buy my Korg Kontrol49, so an accelerator as companion to the Spectralis would be great!

Can i have one in the Spectralis 1 Color scheme please??? *gg
User avatar
mcbeth303
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Land of the bland

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby spectac » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:45 pm

Wow, I had the same exact feelings with the elektron stuff. It's really like having a hardware synth mixed with the Effectrix VST. I like the look and the different types. I think the one with the removable keyboard was a great idea. BUT every video showed them noodling around and hitting a lot of buttons while not much was happening with the music. That discouraged me from looking that direction along with the sound that never really blew me away.

I had the Mopho originally and figured the TETRA would be X4 so how could I go wrong. I gave the Mopho to a producer friend, but I never gelled with the Tetra. Same issues as you and I was never able to get it going as a 4 four voice drum machine. After making many drum and percussive sounds with the Mopho I figured that would be a bonus usage.
And so I had to beg my friend for the Mopho back because it just had something I felt I was now missing.

You seem to be in quite a pickle.
If the studio is your main place, then have room to play with sound design options and not worry too much about getting an all-in-one box. Even so, that's a tall order.

A lot of the units you are looking at, I don't have any forst-hand experience with, but from what I remember when I was looking for that one-answer drum machine/groovebox, the Vermona had the right interface (like 8 separate synths) but didn't have the sound. It didn't do anything a big sample library couldn't replace.

I remember asking numerous people about all the 808/909 clones and it was kinda split. Someone did say the Acidlab stuff does those classic sounds plus a larger range of drum sounds, but yes, it seemed pretty expensive for a rack unit. I really wanted a step sequencer and a way to MAKE NEW SOUNDS. That's why I got the KORG EMX-1. I just found that it had a certain..."PCM sound" that (to me) wasn't (the same [or better]) than the old electribes I used to have. The EX-1 sampler was a contender, but KORG is STILL using that archaic sample storage system with no sub-folders, banks/kits or long filenames. Really KORG :? ?

The Tempest was a dream for a while too, but the cost and the sound of the demos didn't smack me in the face.
I guess I'm waiting to hear something that sounds different, new and flexible enough for multiple genres. Like,a wide range of sounds it can do.

THIS JUST IN: There's a comment about the jomox that seems to echo the opposite of what I remember being told about the Miami :
------------------------------------"

Yeah 909 does have a d/a convertor.

But i will go back on what i said, in that the jomox airbase (not xbase) knocks the 909 into a cocked hat.

Not only can it sound like a 909, its circuits are more elaborate, so you can also do 808 sounds too.. plus a load of other voice shaping parameters... TR909 sequencer still king though, and it looks great
"
-------------------------------------------

Hope I didn't get them reversed! That would be horrible!!!
I dunno. the Tempest seems to do and take samples for an absolute pinch, but the cost is a little off-putting.
Maybe the Tempest will be your champion.
I'd only sell what I was unhappy with and not TRADE or sell one to finance another until you are damn sure it works out fully. Don't know where you are and if you can get one with a return window to be sure.
Music Product: Better Sounds for Beats http://www.StudioAVX.com
Music Production: Resources and Research http://www.ProducersEdgeMagazine.com
Music Produced: Abstract Hip Hop Sci-Fi: http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com
User avatar
spectac
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:36 pm
Location: Long Island New York

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby acemonvw » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:32 pm

Excellent read spectac,

I'm sorry to mcbeth303 and you for your follow up conversation because I didn't read either... you're original post was interesting but I just couldn't find it in me to read the other posts!!!!

Okay, now I feel like a dick and will just read those posts. Hang on............

mcbeth303 wrote:I really enjoyed reading your Post! Especially the differend phases of Gas, you hit the nail on his head. I own a Specktralis 1 and as it is not very easy to integrate it into an existing setup Im thinking of rebuilding my setup in a different way.


Yes, THIS was hilarious because I have gone through MANY of those phases, perhaps not all... but I'm currently trying to get back my Korg Radias because I used it in a few songs and now I feel like I MUST have it again. Plus it looks cool.

Right now I'm in a strange, "Grooveboxes are really F*cking cool" phase. I bought an MC-808 and now a Korg EMX1, which has that similar Radias MTT synthesis... Of course, I CAN get close to those original Radias patches, but... not quite.

I am really really interested in your discussion about the comparison between the Virus TI and the Accelerator. It sounds to me like you felt the Snow was limited, but I didn't hear much of a comparison between the more powerful TI. When I listen to the raw waveforms of the TI compared to the Spectralis... I'd say they're pretty similar, but as a scientist, I couldn't claim that as a valid judgement (can't claim statistical significance, in any case). The korg radias's raw waveforms were shit compared to either. Absolute shit. Down at the lower octaves you just heard muddy water.

mcbeth303 wrote:or a monomachine to a spectralis.

Funny, after listening to a lot of PongFu's stuff... I think the monomachine sounds awesome!

As far as what I've owned:
Korg R3 (sold)
Korg Radias (sold)
Korg 01/wfd (sold, but an excellent keybed)
RT Spectralis II
Roland HS-60 (sold, basically a Juno 106)
Oberheim matrix 1000 (sold)
Yamaha TX81Z
Casio CZ-101 (Sold, part of my 'can't pass up a good sale' GAS phase)
Roland MC-909 (sold)
Roland MC-808
Korg EMX-1

Yes, overdub record would be really handy, knob movement record, better system for saving samples, software editor... etc. But I think we can still make great music with those limitations. It's just important understanding the limitations (because I don't see us getting an update any time soon, and our complaints don't really amount to much, other than causing RT to not visit the site). I honestly find the other grooveboxes I've used MORE limiting. But for the lesser price point, maybe that's more forgiving.

I haven't tried an Accelerator, but it does seem really awesome. Hopefully sales pick up (or have been picking up?). Honestly, I think a lot of us who have the Spectralis are writing good music and posting on youtube/soundcloud, but being such a niche piece of hardware, it seems like people bypass the videos entirely (unless your Vanderson, then people show interest, but even he got sick of the spectralis and sold it). I haven't seen many videos regarding the Accelerator and hoped this ACC community would start posting some! I even made a thread about it here asking for more! Maybe you can start making some really good ones.

I know it's not our job to make RT look good, but... if we can give people GAS over the Spectralis and the Accelerator, it will generate more interest and potentially get more customers to RT, which could eventually lead to better updates for our current gear.

It is, as a spectralis user, disheartening in a way to see the accelerator get more, and frequent, updates however. In a way, I'm afraid that when a new update for the spectralis comes out, it will be SUCH a major change that I won't like it or that it will screw up all of the songs/music that I created prior to the update... :?

Thanks for the awesome review. I'm glad you like the Accelerator!

(PS, check out my tutorials on the RT spectralis, might be more useful than the manual on some of the more complicated things)
User avatar
acemonvw
 
Posts: 1207
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby spectac » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:05 pm

I am really really interested in your discussion about the comparison between the Virus TI and the Accelerator. It sounds to me like you felt the Snow was limited, but I didn't hear much of a comparison between the more powerful TI. When I listen to the raw waveforms of the TI compared to the Spectralis... I'd say they're pretty similar, but as a scientist, I couldn't claim that as a valid judgement

I can't say too much about the Ti because I only played it in the store and I did think it was awesome. From my faint memory and since I've spent 24hrs with the Accelerator, I do see a closer sonic link between the two. I think I'm hearing it more and more, but I'm no expert either. I'd need to really know the TI better to be able to speak on it.

It's not as big as the A6, but that's the problem with some synths, you can only use one or two instances on a song before the entire frequency range is loaded. Once you reach for the EQ it's almost like what's the point then?

The SNOW was obvious. I spent the whole day rearranging the studio to put it right at my fingertips. I also spent the day struggling to configure their software and connect it to their site and get (8 million) patches of all the Access range. I had company that night and I was showing it off. Everyone was underwhelmed and they were like "That was that?" sounds a lot like Reason. So I started pulling up different VSTs and comparing engines. Unanimous.

SNOW didn't sound bad, but it was too close to something like Devine Machine's Krishna VST.
Which I had and was already using. At best it was redundancy so I let it go and snagged a KORG M3 for bread and butter sounds.
Music Product: Better Sounds for Beats http://www.StudioAVX.com
Music Production: Resources and Research http://www.ProducersEdgeMagazine.com
Music Produced: Abstract Hip Hop Sci-Fi: http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com
User avatar
spectac
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:36 pm
Location: Long Island New York

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby mkastrup » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:28 pm

I enjoyed the GAS part very much :) Seems like many of us share the same syndrome ;)

My take on the Access Virus is it got weak filters but makes up for that in super great FX section.
By weak filters i mean they are not as thick as i like, i prefer filters real thick so when i turn down the cut of freq all i'm left with is the fundemental sine on a Saw waveform. Roughly speaking a 24 db LP filter on Virus sounds like a 12 db LP filter on Accelerator. So in general Virus is great for open pads while Accelerator takes care of the warm section. And yes, Virus do sound like any quality plugin these days however plugins will have a hard time competing with Accelerator.

/Michael
mkastrup
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:54 pm

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby spectac » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:39 pm

Well you touched on a long-time slap at Access that once you remove the effects, you got nothing.
Although I have heard the same thing aimed at KORG. I've also seen the debate where people say FX ARE PART OF THE SYNTH so who knows.

Accelerator.
Pretty bold then for Jorg to put the FX BYPASS right on the front Panel.
Takes guts or extreme confidence in your engine.
Radikal Wins again.
Music Product: Better Sounds for Beats http://www.StudioAVX.com
Music Production: Resources and Research http://www.ProducersEdgeMagazine.com
Music Produced: Abstract Hip Hop Sci-Fi: http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com
User avatar
spectac
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:36 pm
Location: Long Island New York

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby acemonvw » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:04 pm

mkastrup wrote:By weak filters i mean they are not as thick as i like, i prefer filters real thick so when i turn down the cut of freq all i'm left with is the fundemental sine on a Saw waveform. Roughly speaking a 24 db LP filter on Virus sounds like a 12 db LP filter on Accelerator.


Glad to see what you mean.

Now I want to go back and check what my TI does... Considering it's usually using two filters in serial I can't say I've ever tested this with just one filter.

I've never compared the Virus to VSTs, but simply because the only VST I have is Massive and rarely use it (so my understanding is limited). The sheer 'wow' factor of how the virus looks, plus the VST nature (Virus Control in a DAW), the resource-saving nature for the CPU, it could recreate a lot of sounds I would lose when I sold other synths. I'm a big fan of it. Eh, to each his own. Can't argue that it's better than this or that (Also, I have no credentials on the matter!).

As for FX... I wish the Spectralis had some reverb. :( I've tried so many different ways to create it with the delay, but no matter what, it's not as good as reverb...
User avatar
acemonvw
 
Posts: 1207
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby spectac » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:13 pm

I don't know if you need credentials. If you like it- that's all that matters.
Another piece that everyone raves about is the Roland V-Synth.
I played with one and it didn't turn me on. Most say it doesn't come alive until you sample into it and after that it's bonkers.
So who knows someday that may land in me grips too.

'You never know with these things.
That G.A.S. is something else.
Music Product: Better Sounds for Beats http://www.StudioAVX.com
Music Production: Resources and Research http://www.ProducersEdgeMagazine.com
Music Produced: Abstract Hip Hop Sci-Fi: http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com
User avatar
spectac
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:36 pm
Location: Long Island New York

Re: My thoughts on the Accelerator, Spectralis and analogues

Postby Pschelfh » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:43 pm

Thanks for the great post!

This is what pulled me over the line to get an Accelerator (link to Audiokeys forum) : http://www.audiokeys.net/forum/showthre ... -mes-soins

+200Mb, but well worth the download. All sounds are in wav format and sound GREAT!! 8)

Peter.
Pschelfh
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:22 pm

Next

Return to Accelerator User Community

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest