Showcase your own beats and get constructive feedback from fellow MPC producers

Who rocked the Synth-Pop Challenge!

5
45%
2
18%
1
9%
3
27%
0
N/A
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By Danoc Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:34 am
Yo l will hand mines in about 11 am today.
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By Danoc Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:41 pm
:shock: Dammmmm all you guys did well. I think yall some Synth 80 babies LOL I did a mixer of old with modern, Dammmm Peter and Bees80 WENT IN!
I suck On this one! :-(

Peter thanks for the glitter sign LOL :lol: :smoker:
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By Danoc Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:55 pm
TAO, oh man that is crazy how you are working on that little machine. What is that? That is really cool. Much respect.

For some reason I can't see some peoples names, or Avatar pics. That is weird.
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By Danoc Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:15 pm
bees80 wrote:i have the same, also soundcloud not loading, only sometimes after refreshing 10 times. Weirddddddd!

Oh ok, I thought it was Google. So maintenance must be going on. My soundcloud went through, but here at the forum it's acting weird. Just waiting on Lamp to post up and we should be good to go.
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By NearTao Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:36 pm
Danoc wrote:TAO, oh man that is crazy how you are working on that little machine. What is that? That is really cool. Much respect.


It’s the Teenage Engineering OP-1. It has taken on the status of being an overpriced (released in 2011’ish at about $799 USD, today sells new for $1299 USD which was the latest price hike in 2019) piece of hipster music production hardware. It’s an interesting piece of gear, but isn’t exactly user friendly... if you want to push yourself to think outside of the box, it has that in spades, but for me it is not a serious piece of music gear in today’s space.

Under the hood, it’s got about 12-15 (I forget) Synths, 2 Drums, I want to say about 10’ish FX, and about 10’ish different sequencers. The mentality for all of these is to (mostly) focus on four parameters (sometimes up to 8 through the shift key) to control. So it’s got a design aesthetic of keeping things mostly simple, and obfuscating what the controls are really doing. While you’ve got subtractive, fm, resonator, etc... synthesis... you don’t always have a direct correlation for one knob doing a straight LP/BP/HP filter or whatever it is... this forces you to use your ears more to actually hear what is happening.

It’s also got a synth sampler which can record up to six seconds of audio that you can pitch up and down, and a drum sampler which can record up to twelve seconds of audio. I suspect a lot of the folks looking to produce “LoFi” tracks gravitate towards this limitation right here, because it absolutely forces you to do more with less as it were. You can definitely use the drum sampler for chopping up beats, but you’re kind of fighting with the auto chopping algorithm...

Personally, I find the magic of it in the four track tape emulator, and how it handles looping. For me this is the biggest strength, because it definitely forces you to think about laying down audio in real time, versus sequencing content at your own leisure. Unfortunately this also becomes a huge weakness because if you want to make a full track on this thing, you’re stuck trying to work within the intricacies of the tape simulation to chop, lift, and drop tape segments. I tell people that this is fun until it is not. Sure you get happy accidents, but it’s still fairly easy to get clicks (you can hear a few in the track I posted).

This leads most people to a workflow of using the OP-1 to it’s advantage, and then moving to a DAW. Especially since... and I laugh at this... you can effectively only work on one project at a time. You can definitely use each of the four six minute tracks independently, or dump different songs at different time segments, but this is where (like four track tape decks) you can quickly feel like the device is actively working against you if you’re not working with it.

All that said though, it is great for getting ideas down, and it functions super well as a small device you can toss in your backpack. It has a built in microphone and radio... so you can quickly sample sounds into it from those sources, it’s got a 1/8” input and output jack... so with the right cables you can also hook just about any audio you want into it.

Where I am on the fence is actually mostly in the Midi implementation. It’s got a USB jack, and it can work as a class compliant midi device. There are templates to use it to control Ableton and Reason as well, so you can use the transport controls pretty well, and even map CC around. However, if you’re looking to clock lock to another device, you’re really going to need to either have a USB host device that will support it, or... have a USB host device that can then perform your midi out/sync duties.

What else? Well the keys are not velocity sensitive, so it becomes a bit awkward to program in high hat rolls for example with various velocity. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but what I usually end up doing is setting the record volume on the loud hats higher, and record that to tape... then set the record volume lower on the quieter hats and record that to tape. If it sounds fiddly, it absolutely is... and if you mess it up and have forgotten to save off an A/B copy of your tape can quickly lead to “well I have to do that again” moments. However this is mostly just an issue of layering. You *can* get one layer of undo by lifting a section of tape and then dropping it back down before you record... but you have to remember to do this.

Any way... I personally like the device for what it is... but the price tag for what it is... well it is crazy. Sure it is a boutique synth... but TE is a design company first. You’re paying more for it because of how it was designed and all the weird intricacies, and not really because it is a technical powerhouse. Heck the CPU and screen are straight up from old cellphone technology from the 2000’s.
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By Lampdog Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:51 pm
Vote is up.

1 vote per person
4 days to vote, get it done!
No changing votes, it’s permanent, choose wisely!

Bees80 got my vote.
peterpiper is a close close second.

Bees80 and peterpiper brought back those 1980’s memories of reluctantly dj’ing SoCal house parties in the Valley/The Hills when I was a teenager. Started those ditch parties with that music cause that’s the crowd who hired me, ended with drunk/coked up teens who wanted electric funk and freestyle.
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By NearTao Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:21 pm
Bees80 - First track I listened to, and absolutely a solid synth pop track. Well mixed, great pacing, all the good stuff here. Hit me in the feels for that time period and remembering my parents pulling out some of these records and just dancing around the house and having a blast.

Shaptonmalletpig - Dude... first glad to see more folks joining and entering. I dig the track, but it swings pretty far of the mark of a period synth pop track. The name on the tin though is spot on, and I kept thinking this sounds like a holiday track that would’ve been shipped over from Africa. Interested to hear how you approach whatever the next challenge is!

Myself - I leaned a bit too far into the Arps here... and compared to the Bees80/Peterpiper... you guys kept the funk. I probably went a bit more Kraftwerk heavy in style here which is fine... but I think it’s a track more of the ‘time’ than of the actual style of Synth Pop.

Peterpiper - man... you at least made me think that Bees80 had some competition... another solid Synth Pop track here... and this is where I put my vote. I’m not sure I can explain what caught me more... but it just felt like you dug your heels in a bit more and nailed it.

Danoc - I dig this track... but it just sounds too modern to me. It also feels like laid back Danoc here... and it makes me wonder if you phoned it in... or were just too cool for school. Still, I can hear this track going places and knowing you it’ll be the foundation for something you’re in the process of working on.

Bees80/Peterpiper... you guys both brought it this time and I’m stoked to see which one of you wins :D
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By bees80 Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:56 pm
Cool!

Shapton: Cool that you joined. It's a weird joint, i kind of like it. But i have to be honest; it doesn't hit the synth pop genre really.
Danoc: Nice sounds, though the drums (soundwise and programming) are a bit too hiphop for me. I am really curious how it would sound with a 707 and some rolling hats. It doesn't fully nail the genre to me, sorry..
Neartao: This was so fun to watch. Cool that you did this all live on the OP-1. I hate that machine by the way, borrowed it for a few days from a friend but i could not just get along with the sequencer. The synths are a lot of fun though. Just wish there was a nicer sequencer. The track is cool and i hear you mixed synth pop with your own style. To me it sounds like synth pop meets early techno, that's cool.
Peter: You nailed the genre there! Exactly the right sounds. Hi-hat is a bit too loud in the mix, snare could be a bit more up front maybe. That's just mixing work. The vibe's there.

I am doubting between Peter and Tao, But thinking of the genre, I do feel peter nailed that the best. My vote's for him!
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By Lampdog Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:00 pm
Danoc wrote: Just waiting on Lamp ......

Nope
By Smackdee Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:55 pm
Lampdog wrote:Vote is up.

1 vote per person
4 days to vote, get it done!
No changing votes, it’s permanent, choose wisely!

Bees80 got my vote.
peterpiper is a close close second.

Bees80 and peterpiper brought back those 1980’s memories of reluctantly dj’ing SoCal house parties in the Valley/The Hills when I was a teenager. Started those ditch parties with that music cause that’s the crowd who hired me, ended with drunk/coked up teens who wanted electric funk and freestyle.



As in San Fernando valley?
Didn't know you was from SoCal bro!!!!
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By Lampdog Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:42 pm
Reseda, Tarzana, Beverly Hills, West Covina, Rancho (yes, Next Friday ****) areas when I dj’d “rich” parties.

My normal was hood house parties in South Central LA back then. Echo Park all the way to Centinella.
By Smackdee Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:13 pm
Good to know, from LA(Inglewood)myself and spent a lot of time in those same valley's (family)..



Back to the battle at hand I rolled with bees80