C&G Organelle M is brilliant!

I just got one of these a few days back, I was quite interested in the original one, but never actually took the plunge - my reasoning for not getting the original was that it was probably too similar to just using pd on the rpi, which I had briefly dabbled with a few years back, and lost interest in due to it feeling a bit underpowered at the time.

Anyway, recently I was looking to get a Kaliedoloop and went to the C&G page, only to see that it was discontinued. I had seen the Organelle M around the time of its launch last year but didn’t really take much notice (aside from really enjoying the C&G promo vid)
Whilst on the page I watched a couple of videos on the latest patches, and I also watched loopop’s video, then I watched @thetechnobear Orac video and his Organelle M video. This ended with me buying one.

I thought it would be good to do a review from the point of view of someone who doesn’t know that much about computer programming and coming at it purely from an instrument point of view, so here goes.

As most people know I am not too much of a fan of using computers for music, I don’t have the patience and they kill my buzz, so I did have some reservations about buying something C&G market as a music computer, also my prior rpi experiences often ended in me getting fed up. However I have always very much enjoyed making instruments my own, by way of customisation, mods, and of course sound programming.

Right, so it arrives and I start playing around with it - and play as in playful, as in fun, as in enjoyable like when you was a kid losing yourself in a toy. The preset patches give a lot of insight into the capabilities and range from samplers, fx, synths, utilities etc, a very few of them are a bit gimmicky but easily removed. But for the most part they are very nice and vary in what they do, how they sound, and how they work, although nothing too complicated to use.

I was quite happy to learn that it doesn’t really feel like a computer, but more like a little box of creative possibilities. Loading new patches is simple enough, over wifi using my ipad or any computer, quick and foolproof, overall operation is very simple with very minimal menu diving most of the time, and when you do it could not be simpler, a very nice minimal and efficient UI, lovely.

Due to the more powerful pi board inside boot up time is very quick, about 12-14 seconds, and because it doesn’t have all the other crap that a pi install has, bonus.

I think C&G have done a great job of removing all the hassle of computers, the fixed hardware platform appeals to me and it has a fairly decent minimal set of controls and midi in and out, just enough and nothing more, excellent. Bit of a quirky design but I’m fine with that, the little maple keys are alright by me and the battery power and speaker (which sounds surprisingly decent) are also very handy. I can arse about on the sofa and when I get something cool happening, I can take it into my setup and develop ideas further.

I love samplers, and it has a bunch of them, and most of them offer something fun or unique, but also of course down the line I can make my own.

Portable sound collecting is another big draw, although in this particular function I think there are a couple of minor niggles. The built in mic has a switch, but it is a little inaccessible to get to, being almost recessed on the back panel, and the mic unfortunately picks up the click of the record button on most of the patches, obviously not an issue when using line in, and it would be fairly simple to overcome this by modifying a patch to wait a little after the button is pressed before recording. Also a footswitch can be used to start recording.

The included fx patches were also quite a pleasant surprise, and again give a good insight into the capabilities.

The synth patches are pretty ok too, some quite unusual stuff and some more bread and butter stuff to, like FM and analog emulation.

The community patches cover a huge range of stuff, pretty much most things you can reasonably think of are there, plus quite a few more unusual things and some utilities like a midi monitor and of course Orac the modular patch chaining creation by @thetechnobear

Anyway, I’ll wrap it up for now, I’ll probably add more later, but I’ll close by saying if you enjoy tinkering but are not overly technical then it is definitely worth checking out the Organelle M, it is a great platform for inspiration and I have found it to be a great seed of creative fun, it will make great sample fodder for OT users, and thanks to the programable nature should allow me to do things that no other product offers, bespoke solutions for specific needs.

Already ideas are swimming in my mind for midi utilities and custom samplers, but all that aside the existing patches are a lot of fun and take me down different paths, I love it.

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Thanks for the write up, been going back and forth on one of these for ages.

I agree they are brilliant too…I think this also has a lot to do with the community. The designers and folks on the forum are super kind and helpful. Many of the user created patches are really good and there are a lot. If you’re really stuck on creating your own patch you don’t get RTFM replies - you get genuine assistance. Though I do understand this is a different kettle of fish compared to buying other gear you cannot program in such a way.
I can get very lost patching things and not making music but that’s also a massive part of it for me when I do get into it. Building something from scratch and tweaking it to see how things react in ways I would have never imagined (basically because of a lack of proficiency in PD patching on my part)
The last patch I built was a fairly basic ADSR controlled synth that played a pre defined octave shifted note in succession to the one you played. Other pages controlled a (huge) reverb with freeze and random tremolo speeds and depths that could be held on or off. The result wasn’t necessarily amazing but led to a shimmery spaced out craziness that is very pretty sounding. It’s highly unlikely you could create anything like this on any other synth unless you build / code it yourself and this is the kind of thing that makes it unique and extremely powerful as well as a heck of a lot of fun.
You could of course build anything in PD on any computer and run it there but that misses the point because the limitations in terms of hardware (encoders, screen, buttons, in, out, etc) push you to be creative and you really feel as is you’re building your own unique synth / sampler / fx pedal / wacky whatever.

Talking of wacky whatevers… folks actually spend time making things like this which I personally think is wonderful > https://patchstorage.com/pokehex/

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Yes I’m not very pd fluent either (to say the least) and before I have used other things like patchblocks which was quite similar, but very keen to learn, I’ll probably start by just simply editing existing patches.

But putting all that aside for a moment I think even just the included samplers are worth the price I paid for the Organelle, they are really great fun and yield some very interesting results which in themselves make great sample fodder.

I can definitely relate to your comments about getting lost in patching and not making music though, for me I’ll probably mostly experiment with patching at night time when I would not be doing music, in order that I don’t end up just endlessly tweaking. :laughing:

Edit: One thing that I have done is got another SD card and put the image on it, so that if I bork it I can simply swap out cards, for the sake of £4 quite worthwhile.

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Nice to see you here !

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Hahaha i thought I was on the C&G forums !

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really pleased to see you enjoying the Organelle :slight_smile:

I agree, as you stated in your first post … I think the included patches are very playful, fun, yet playable, and rather different from what one might expect.

This does make the organelle a little difficult to describe, whilst it can be ‘different’ and can be experimental … I do also pick it up to play more ‘standard’ patches ( like Rhodey, Analog Style),
but if that was your only requirement… there are lots of synths that could do that.

for those that know Simon the magpie’s channel… have you noticed how he often is picking up the pocket piano, whenever he wants to try things out.
thats similar to how I use my organelle… its the thing I pickup whenever i have an idea, or i want to test an FX.
whats cool about the M, is that the speaker and batteries make this even more the case now :slight_smile:
(I used to run the Organelle-1 off a USB battery bank, but it was an ‘extra thing’)

this is a good idea… though, it’s unlikely you’ll ‘bork it’ by installing patches.

what I try to do, is to keep on my computer a ‘backup’ of any special patches, or samples, as these are the things that could potentially be lost.
that said, Ive never been in the position where ive not been able to boot my organelle, or be able to get to the my files … and I go ‘off-piste’ quite regularly with my organelles :wink:

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Curious how the Organnelle is compared to the Empress Zoia, Axoloti and Nord modulars?

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I’ve used all of those and still have the Zoia, Organelle is not quite as easy to program being based around pd, so it isn’t quite “drag and drop” it is sort of halfway between a virtual modular and a programming language, however there are tons of pd tutorials and examples so in that sense it is probably more widely supported than any of the aforementioned.

Capability wise it is probably more powerful than Zoia, and certainly has a better UI for keyboard based instruments with its keys and knobs, not knocking the Zoia though as it is pretty capable itself.

Obviously I’m definitely not an expert on the Organelle having only had it a few days, but I think it is safe to say if you enjoy the devices mentioned then you will almost certainly enjoy the Organelle too.

Worth also remembering that if you don’t have any interest in creating your own custom patches the built in ones have their own internal editing right from the Organelle controls, in varying degrees.

For example there is a drum synth where you have 4 parameters which can be set differently for each key allowing you to quickly knock up a synthesised drum kit. Or the samplers which have various parameters depending on which one, and of course you can save your own versions, including the samples, settings and parameters. Then there are fx and synths with their own presets etc etc.
Funny because this kind of information isn’t mentioned anywhere, because I was under the impression that stuff like this wasn’t possible without launching the pd editor.

It’s brilliant IMHO, and I have not even scratched the surface.

A cynic could say you don’t need to spend £550 to do what the Organelle does, which is only really partly true, C&G have packaged it all up into a tidy little instrument and built a nice little community around it, you could make your own version but if you don’t have the desire or patience or time to get into DIY then it offers a ready to go, pick up and play experience, that is where the value is IMHO.

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How long does it take to switch patches. This means computer use?

Nope, it can be done right from the Organelle, takes about a second or two.

Existing topics on these subjects:

Also, more general discussions:



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Automatonism makes Pure Data feel a lot closer to a Nord Modular. Not quite 1-to-1, but close enough that it becomes way more user friendly. I’ve been trying to get into Pd and Max on and off for years, and with it Pd finally clicked and I feel comfortable making pretty complex patches.

I’m still trying to figure out how to get synth sounds I really like because to my ears a basic osc-env-filter based synth doesn’t sound as good here as it does on the Nord, but you have access to a ton more features in terms of sequencing, audio manipulation, and sampling/mangling. Maybe they sound better on the Organelle, or maybe it uses better patches?

Still, being able to easily drag and drop modules with Automatonism has gotten me to start using Pd and from there I’ve been able to learn more. It also has some Organelle specific modules which seem pretty useful as well. Can’t recommend it enough.

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Fair, the Organelle analog synth style patches are not going to worry Nord or really any dedicated VA, but they are certainly usable if not in a starring role perhaps, depending on context. For minimal techno type stuff, synth pop, chip tune style things though, no problem. There are also some other synthesis types like PM, FM, additive and whatnot.

Thanks indeed, I will check that out.

Thanks for the input! All interesting in their own ways.

I’m a happy/heavy G2 user. I’ve also played a bit with an axolito. Main downsides of those (and the Organnelle) is the need too hook up a computer for patching. Althoug the UI of the G2 (keys) is perfect for daily use.

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orac allows a certain amount of ‘re-patching’ in a modular sense, directly on the organelle.

strictly speaking the organelle does not need a computer for patching, since you can just plug a tv/monitor and keyboard/mouse directly into it for PD patching.
(you even could theoretically edit the PD patch on an iPad, via wifi and vnc, though I doubt its practical :wink: )

I think once you get to more serious patching, you need a reasonable size UI to actually see whats going on, and to make it comfortable … and often when your developing such patches, its unlikely you’re doing in ‘on the move’.

so whilst I do get the appeal of doing in all on the box, I think in practice is not as useful as it might at first seem.

Zoia is really interesting, I think its gone about as far as you can stretch this…
but even there, for many its not that easy, and esp. to adapt an existing patch since you cannot get an overview of whats going on, hence why many have asked for some kind of ‘editor’
( note: Im planning on buying the Zoia Euroburo, so can me as a Zoia fan :slight_smile: )

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Yes you’re right about this. And indeed the reason people asking about an editor for the zoia (although i’m alse very interested in the euroburo…)

I have a few generative patches for Organelle + some FX!
https://patchstorage.com/author/werle-kyle/

Here is a video of LIGHT-CYCLES!

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I love your patches! Gel Prism in particular :+1: great stuff!

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Gotta love it!