2020 gear purchase: Hits & Misses

ok troopers, you know the drill.
its that time of the year again.
(and what a crazy one it is)

and for the new enlistees heres a quick rundown.

-list both/either or your 2020 (only) purchase(s) that were hits* with you or misses*.
(brief explanation would be great)

p.s.-yes its still october but lets leave some months to discuss if you know you’re not buying anything else.



All the 500 series preamps/compressor/rack I purchased: So good!
Workhorse Cube
Neve 511
DBX 580
DBX 560A

Nux Atlantic delay and reverb pedal: $149 new, free with Amazon points. Nice pedal for cheap.

Izotope RX elements. Picked up thanks to the deals thread for $29. Really good for recording phone system prompts and on hold music for my clients.

Zoom H1n: Easy to use, never realized how simple it was to use a field recorder for the acoustic just using the stereo mics and line out. Quick way to catch ideas instead of grabbing mics and what not.


Volca Modular: I need presets, not to mention cats enjoyed a few patch cables. My father though sparked interest so maybe he’ll have a hit when I gift it to him.

Zoom H6: Another deals thread purchase. UI was awful and it was more than I wanted. Sounded great though.

Hit and miss:

OP-Z: really liked it and had a ton of fun at my bar with it, but, it was only time before I parted ways with it.


I have bought surprisingly little gear this year, but most has been good.

Adam A8X monitors - excellent replacement for my 20-year-old Event 2020bas. Enough low end that I don’t need a sub.

Neumann KLM-184 (pair) - I hesitated on these for a long time, as they seemed too obvious a choice. However, they are very good indeed.

Moog Model 10 - this one was a biggie, and we got off to a rough start, as there were some issues and Moog’s support was… frustrating. However, in the end, it is just what I expected it to be and a joy to use.

Synthesizers.com keyboard - a good modular synth controller that can be customised as needed. Pricey, but high quality. Good MIDI-to-CV features.

Moog 953 keyboard - a buggy mess that cast a pall over what should have been one of the most exiting acquisitions of my life (the above-mentioned Model 10). I sent it back and replaced it with the above keyboard from Synthesizer.com.


Both Hits and Misses, simultaneously:

  • Pro 3: My dream synth. Sadly, I am a beta tester for an incomplete and buggy product.

  • Volca FM: Awesome tiny DX7… with envelopes that reset to zero. Seems to be a typical Korg issue that has found its way into many of their synths. Was sad to return it because it sounds so good and I enjoyed the archaic programming.

Synth makers need to really step it up when it comes to the software in their products. It’s probably smarter to wait 5 years before buying a synth, so that way you get the final product, not the prototype.


Hit: minilogue xd

Despite the modular and the digitone, I felt I was lacking a “bread and butter” poly synth with classic analog sounds. The digitone is fantastic, but sometimes I want some PWM. I had messed around with the og minilogue at my friends house and felt like it would be a good choice.

I decided to opt for the minilogue xd as it was available in a desktop unit and I found a deal. So far I am loving it! The little joystick is very expressive and designing sounds is very immediate and familiar.

It plays very nicely with elektron gear as it has its own onboard sequencer that can run simultaneously with incoming midi from the OT sequencer. The effect is I don’t have to mess with midi CC parameter locks as I was thinking I would. I just send the notes from the OT and use the minilogue sequencer for parameter locking, and because they are independent of each other there are all sorts of interesting interactions that I am still exploring.

Downsides? It powers off automatically and sometimes I forget to save before it does so. Honestly that’s more my fault than anything else, but it is an annoyance.

But yeah, if you find a deal on an a minilogue xd I would advice picking it up :+1:


Prophet Rev2 was my first analog polysynth. I had a revelation that I sort of wanted an “instrument” and that I am indeed a keyboardist. Sold my arturia keyboard and my monomachine and now use Rev2 as midi controller.

Just sold my neutron. I like it and got really great sounds but I guess I’m just more into synths with patch memory that can be deep. It also made me crave modular.

Alesis quadraverb I got and absolutely hated. Adjusting settings on that thing is way too much of a pain in the ass. I instantly sold it.

I’ve had the ASM hydrasynth desktop for a week or two. I’m quite pleased so far and I’m really just keeping it simple. Its deep, man. I like deep. It picks up where the Rev2 leaves off. Its interesting hearing it side by side though. You have to either succumb to the digital wavetable wonder, or coax “warmth” out of it. Even then, to my ear, a “warm pad” is not like a prophet warm pad. I mean duh–that’s not why I bought it…I was excited when this thing was announced and following all the news and reviews leading up to it. I would say I like it but I’m obviously in the honeymoon period. I will say every night I sit down and every night I’m totally flabbergasted.


Pro 2. It’s everything I hoped for. Inspiring, deep, capable, experimental, straight forward, big sounding, flexible. And 44 keys has me brushing back up on my scales and modes. :slight_smile:
Has me making stuff I love and never would have imagined making before.

Eventide BlackHole Pedal
Arm version of their Space’s (sharc DSP) Blackhole algorithm. This thing is now in so many formats. I like the compactness, affordability. And all important knob feel.

NI M32 Komplete Kontrol Keyboard.
Great for song writing and making sense of the 50,000 NKS patches I have. Always close by. Nice to look at.

Arturia OB-Xa V
Got it free with V Collection 7 and I use it the most. Graphic modulator and FX suit the synth so well. Highly usable, instantly gratifying, works great with NI KK M32.

MOTU M4. Only for the reason that the two shops I ordered it from never got it in stock. Had an M2 for a minute during the return period while I waited on an M4. Sounded and worked lovely but my mobile plans called for more inputs. Subsequently, I returned it and have lost desire for the M4. Using my 16” MBP for design work now mostly instead, now that I have a Pro 2 hooked up to the iMac.

Zoom U24 handy USB interface.
Wanted to use it to turn my iPhone XS into an iOS synth host, sequenced by OT, but the latency was too high.

Honorable mentions aka remains to be seen:
Dreadbox Typhon
Sound is great features are great. But a three month wait on firmware that didn’t deliver the stability we needed has been frustrating. If I didn’t have the Pro 2 to dive into, I’d be more frustrated. New FX are fun and it has so much potential.
Getting in on the first batch has just made it a long wait for usable functionality.

Roland TR-06
Still on preorder but whoa does it have a lot under the hood. The most of any Roland Boutique yet, drum machine or not. Hopefully not a long wait. Wasn’t in the market for it, but I can see it’s utility for live work. And I like how it can control the Roland TR-606 plugin, which has a few unique tricks up its own sleeve (and it better for $150 lifetime license or $20/mo rental within a bundle)



SSL 2 Interface
It’s portable, easy to pack up, and sounds killer! really great sounding transparent interface with very minimal latency, and it’s bus powered. i’m using it as my main interface now, as i am running everything through a patchbay and my CAPI VP28 preamps.

Radial Workhorse 500 Series Lunchbox
it just works!

CAPI VP28 preamps
These preamps sound absolutely amazing, and anything and everything i run through them sounds killer. it has made mixing much easier as well.

it replaced my machinedrum, and it’s certainly been a fun time! i love the sampling capabilities, and i enjoy sitting on the sofa with headphones and just seeing what i can get out of it


Maschine +
Yamaha MG10XU
Shure Beta 58a
Shure SM57

ELZ-1(I absolutely couldn’t stand this one)
Shure SM58


but why tho

1 Like

Poly Digit + Poly Beebo: Best little effects/synths/processors/modular/mixer/splitter pedals for my taste. Only yesterday a new update brought sequencers and midi learn. Endless possibilities already but so easy to conceive, build and manipulate. Sounds great. Waiting for the USB midi update so can plug in a Korg Nano Control. Echoes of Nord Modular.

Cyclone TT303: Like the darker sound, creatively jammable, lots of little tricks. Turned another hit purchase this year into a miss.

Behringer Pro1: Bought quite a few of their knockoffs. This is the only one not boxed up now. The recent envelope update made it ‘made’. Sounds excellent. Really nice feel when using.

Blackstar TVP:30: Needed a decent little combo amp for guitar. This thing sounds great. 90% hit with poor fx loop implementation the only minor fail.

Korg Radias + Nord Rack 3: Both of the same vintage, many similarities, with enough differences to justify trying both. Rack 3 just wins out due to that lovely interface. Endless future sound design potential. Yes I am nostalgic of the music in early-late 2000’s


Toraiz Squid: Really great sequencer interface, quick for ideas and flexible for jamming. With 3 or four firmware features added it could be a full hit, but still better than not as is. 2 units together would fix its weaknesses.


Zoom Arq 48: Got the 96 already. 48 has a few little tricks up its sleeve but the ring is crap and the build quality just isn’t like the 96. Redundant.

Zoom Q2n: Little video camera with audio inputs and decent mic: Works ok but battery life atrocious and the video quality lacks a lot. Still just useful for audio capture.

Syntecno TT303: bought on a whim broken. Dealing with the original maker in Europe, we ascertained the unit needed a couple of chips replaced. Actioned that and still just pops and crackles. Collecting dust atm.

Behringer TD3: Cyclone TT walks all over this as far as firmware and jammability. Disliked the hollow box feel and the copycat vibes with no attempt to improve besides a distortion circuit. Boxed and currently forgotten.


Pioneer Toraiz AS-1: What a great Synth! Sounds beautifull! UI better than expected. A Keeper.

Strymon El Capistan: Wonderful lush old school Tape Delay, that adds Dimension to anything you feed through it.

Chase Bliss Blooper: what a Pedal…constant giving.

Polyend Medusa: surprisingly harsh cold sound, that triggered certain frequencies in my brain, that made me immediately dislike it. UI also worse than it looks for me.

Synthstrom Deluge: My eyesight really got bad, i couldnt read the printings anymore.

Behringer Neutron: Great sounding Synth, Bit quirky UI, couldnt make it work for my music.

Elektron Analog Heat: Tried to utilize it mainly as a saturation and mastering Tool, and noticed that i really prefer for those tasks, to stay ITB within my workflow.

Roland JU06A: Very nice Synth, but i noticed that i mainly used it as a mono synth and that the SH01A delivers me same results. No need for redundancy.

Roland KM25m: The SH01a looks and feels not that good with it.

Hit & Miss:
Sequential OB-6: Triggered by the awesome Toraiz AS-1 i wanted to try the OB-6. And it turned into a love & hate relationship. Love the Sound, the filter, the lushness, sweetness, everything. Hated the build quality. Right out of the box a button was broken and needed to get replacement, also that unit was not able to keep the tuning. 3 of 6 voices got constantly out of tune.
Also the fatness of the sound makes it difficult to fit in multitrack projects.


Waldorf Kyra
Dune 3
Prophet 10
Merging Anubis
Meris Mercury7

Time to play with it all.

I don’t have the 10 yet but I got to play with the 5 rev 4 in store and loved it.

TR-8S does a good job emulating the TR boxes.

The Anubis is a box where you can hit the convertors hard for mastering purposes. You can also use the mic preamp to record loud and clean with it.

The Kyra is a newer virus. I like it. Yes there’s menu diving but I like the sound of it. I hope Waldorf continues to support it.

Mercury 7 can be used to sound like Vangelis or anyone from outerspace.


Greatest Hits:

  • Zoom LiveTrak L-8
  • Zoom MS-70CDR

with these two, i finally got a no-compromise live rig that completely fits a single DJ backpack. with L-8 i can record each and every gig (that’s critical demand for me), and with MS-70 i can process the sound of analog synths and keep all 8 channels of L-8 busy.
(note: MS-70 hack rocks!)

of course, now Bluebox is available, which is significantly smaller than L-8, but 1) who knows when i’ll manage to buy it, 2) having a backup machine for critical task is the proper practice anyway.


  • two Circuit Mono Stations. great machine for jamming. single envelope and single LFO is not a lot, but sufficient for my style.
  • IK Uno Synth. absolutely great machine for its size. i’m thinking about 2nd unit.
  • weird machine one: EHX Ravish Sitar
  • weird machine two: Ferrofish B4000+
    the last two are not for everyone, but i know what i want from them.


did not order more Axoloti yet.


MC101 - wasn’t expecting much, ended up as my best purchase for quite a while.
Totally speaks to me. Great all in one package in a tiny form

OP1 - still I sold it. I decided that it’s too expensive for what it is. But it is a lot of fun, I really liked it. Unique piece of gear.

AS-1: Great sound. No doubt. Was pretty blown away when I turned it on. But the user interface - while totally usable and sufficient for live tweaking - is still not the most fun considering the powerful synth engine that hides in the menues.

TR8s - great sound. Nice live tweaking features. Awesome faders. Many nice tricks like the variations, step loop, fills, random pattern generation. But, quite huge for my liking. Prefer smaller boxes. I don’t like the sequencer buttons. They feel strange somehow. And I‘m not sure if drum machines are for me. I seem to prefer grooveboxes and the TR8s really is a drum machine. Melodic sequencing is not its strength, which is ok. It is what it is.

I think I never really bought real misses. I sold a lot of gear already but just because I want to keep my setup straight. Can‘t remember I disliked any gear, it‘s all fun in a way


Wot no Model:Cycles, anyone?


Model:Cycles - very unique and accessible flavour of FM groovebox. Monster kicks. Been having a lot of fun pairing it with other things.

Rytm mk2 - think I bought this on 1st Jan… I think it’s a wonderful machine. Deep and rich vibe to it. Samples sound great through the filters.

UA Apollo Twin X - this paired with an 8-input ADAT rack pre has been a game changer for me. The various EQs, preamps and compressor plugins sound very nice and are the bridge between working in hardware and recording to DAW that I’d been looking for.

Intellijel Palette case / various euro - my first modular system, broadly love it, but see below

Boss DM-2w - what a great sounding pedal.


Hardly any, but the high cost of eurorack for the functionality you get would be one, plus the tuning (in)stability of the System80 810’s VCO has been a frustration. It sounds bloody amazing, though.


Hit! Alesis Quadraverb. Found on gumtree for absolute bargain. Love it.

Miss! Model:Cycles. Eurgh I just did not like the plasticy plastic. And thats just the sound. No thanks.

Thats it. I didnt buy anything else. And I dont intend to for quite some time. Very happy with my gear collection.


no big investments sonicwise this year…
got too much stuff…so invested in dji osmo stuff to finally spent all my earworx some eyecandee content…

…and freed my workflow by getting rid off…don’t hit me, guys…both of my digis…
but kept all swedish essentials…of course…a live rig with ot mk2 and cycles…
a rack with my beloved dark twins…ot mk1 and a4 mk1…
kept a heat…also, of course…but that’s about it for now with swedish gear…
apart from my good old nord rack…

so one and only big hit this year was and will be for years to come…



The hits and misses of this year have been shaped by both lockdown and moving to a smaller studio space. Made me think a lot harder about what I actually need (rather than just want).

SSL SiX - Streamlining the studio space meant I needed fewer inputs than before. Sold some non-music stuff and softened the blow of having less with having better. Absolutely love the flexibility of the SiX and that G-Series compressor just makes everything sound amazing.

RYTM Mk1 - Sold both a DT and my much-loved MDUW. Still learning the nuances of the RYTM but I’m enjoying it more than I had with even the MDUW in a long while. Conditional trigs and track scaling make all the difference to me.

Intellijel Quadrax - The pick of the few modules I acquired this year. Pleasingly hands-on for quite a complex modulator.

Reason 11 - What initially tempted me back to Reason was the addition of the Reason Rack plugin. However, lockdown inspired my friend, Andy, and I to make some music remotely - passing song files back and forth. Simply, we couldn’t have done it without the relatively closed environment of Reason… and I ended up really enjoying the Reason workflow for the first time since 4.0.

A little bit Hit and a little bit Miss…
Make Noise Mimeophon - It’s a great delay and I love delays but I feel I’m barely using a fraction of its potential. I think the problem is more me than the module.

Mutable Instruments Peaks - Picked up second-hand thinking I needed another simple envelope/LFO for the modular. Just didn’t like anything about it. Bought the Quadrax instead. :slight_smile:



MISS: Digitakt