Dreadbox Medusa

Yeah, important point, sorry! Thanks for clarification!

For my personal needs they were good enough to program some nice sequences, but you are right about velocity and aftertouch, now I remember. If that’s something people find important they should definitely consider this. I am using it with my KeyStep Pro, OXI and T-1, so I am pretty happy.

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I made a few ambient tracks (on my Bandcamp) using my Medusa, and have loved it for couch design. It’s a little too big to be “lappable”, which is how I do most of my work — a single instrument or two on my writing desk with a four-track.

Anyway, the pads were good for that because there’s a hold function. Very easy to get pad sounds out of it that way. Like others, I am not in love with their playability, though.

The sequencer is nuts. I don’t really know how to use it, but I did make some happy (unrecorded) accidents messing with it.

I paid more than they seem to be going for now. At the kind of prices I’ve seen on Reverb, I don’t think you can go wrong.

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The pads aren’t great. I also find using the grid quite unpredictable. I’ve never really gotten a great feel for the workflow out of it. I was toying with replacing the Medusa with an Analog Four.

However recently have started using the Medusa with the Syntakt. That’s given me some cool ideas: I do want to play with having the Medusa sequencer and the Syntakt sequencer run together and see what odd interactions I can get out of it. Perhaps having all or most of the note sequencing on the Syntakt and the parameters on the Medusa so they can flow in and out of sync independently.

The Medusa is a great synth, but almost does too much. It’s hard not to throw every idea into a patch and overdo it


Anyone else using the Medusa and the Syntakt together? In a way, both have a lot in common. In another way, they are completely unlike each other. I still don’t know whether I want to have both or make a choice.

I don’t own the Syntakt but I made one track or two with a Medusa and a Digitone. I know the Digitone it not the same thing that Syntakt but they have in common snappy enveloppes, multitimbrality with a lot of tracks. Meanwhile, the Medusa can’t do proper drum sounds but has way more possibility in term of sound design (especially with many many modulations) with a kind of gritty, raw sound (and it’s monophonic). I think the Medusa is pretty unique with its features, especially in p2 mode with different settings by oscillators and next voice priority, that can creates some weird but beautiful leads with a kind of beautiful chaotic sound.

So I think you can keep both Syntakt and Medusa. Syntakt because you have 12 tracks, very efficient in drums (but not only) and Medusa because you have an unique synth with a lot of weirdness that can’t be achieved on other machine (and a DFM mode, very lofi but good sounding for me :slight_smile: ).
This is just my opinion, I own Medusa for one year and half, and Elektron devices for 4 years now (OT, 2 DN, M:C)


Ive been in the market for a Dreadbox voice for my small music therapy setup for a while now.
Something thats easy to have fun with. So naturally im super into Typhon. As time went by i opened up to notion that grid controllers would work better for me than a keyboard. It just makes more sense to have a shapable grid than a rigid keyboard, for music that i like. Launchpad pro seems perfect for that, custom modes and all. And then it clicked - Medusa.

Ive been skimming around internet and manual, and i cant find much information about using it as a midi controller for other devices, so i have some questions for Medusa users:

  • Is there a midi mode of sorts, or do you have to mute internal synth if you want to use it as a controller while its audio is connected to a setup?
  • Would i find changing midi channel cumbersome if i do it often? Are there any shift combos to flip between channels instead of menu diving?

I understand that being a midi controller is not its first thing ofcourse, but its also hard to find specifics like that because of sheer amount of updates and development done :aw:

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Hi! A couple months ago I randomly experimented with the Medusa as MIDI controller just because I was curious. I didn’t have a plan, didn’t have goal, and I can’t remember exactly what I did or how far I went. I’m still interested in exploring. If nobody answers to you before, I’ll give a shot to your interesting questions this evening.

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One thing about using it as a controller to consider first of all: its pads suck. They really do.

The Launchpad X/Pro pads are infinitely better. Yes, they don’t have XY-expression, but they have velocity and aftertouch that actually work. I bought the Medusa expecting to use it as a controller, and I was shocked by how bad the pads were. Can’t call them usable at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this synth and will never part with it. It’s just that Polyend and Dreadbox cheaped out on the pads.


You can turn off local control, but the pads are hard and not comfortable for extended playing. In fact, I’d hack off the entire grid I could figure out how to replace it with a few knobs for parameters.

Changing the MIDI channel regularly is a bit of a pain since it’s hidden beneath menus.

I basically use my Medusa as a sound module with my LPMKK3 as my main controller.


my disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined :fried_shrimp:

thanks for the heads up about pad quality, i wasnt worried about it that much because i assumed that for that price you get something good. interface feel is quite important to me.

thats good to know :+1:

Shouldn’t this be a :fried_shrimp: emoji? :laughing:

While the grid feel could be way better, it’s what makes it what it is, being able to have every parameter of the synth different per grid pad is wonderful, set up a bunch of grid pads with different sounds, then send a midi sequence for the notes, then hold a pad on the grid to change the sounds as the external sequence runs, or sequence just the param changes on the medusa grid but still play in the pattern, its endless fun.
The random button is magic, it can randomize the current whole patch, or it can randomize every activated pad in the grid.

If it’s to be your only midi device, then the Launchpad pro mk3 is a better bet, and in-fact, is a perfect partner for the Medusa, the LPP can handle the note sequencing side of things, while the Medusa grid is just for sound changes (and this is mostly how I like to use the pair unless I’m just noodling with drones).


@comradecry what are you planning to do with the pads? “Pad quality” depends on what you want to do. MIDI wise, the Medusa’s pads strength come as an expressive MPE controller. It won’t compete for finger drumming with Maschine, MPC One, etc. It won’t compete as clip launcher with Circuit, Akai Force, etc.

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Im planning to replace my main key/drum input - KS37, which controls Blackbox and Digitone. OG Circuit sometimes appears in that setup too but i want to swap it for something more fun and immidiate sound design wise. (im not interested in using Circuit as a midi controller for various reasons. Pads barely respond to velocity, grid is small and rigid, need more than 2 midi channels, ect)

I tend to agree that Launchpad is the way to go if i want a pad controller thats going to be the most useful/smooth. I just loved the idea of getting an 8x8 grid + a killer synth in one unit. Since id like to have both at some point in the future anyway.

I think the key to the Medusa is appreciate it’s uniqueness but don’t expect it to tick many “bread and butter” boxes (i.e. it’s a complementary instrument but not a heart of the setup kind of thing). The pads are fine imo (much better than an elektron model for example) but finger drumming isn’t their strong suit and they are kind of small for expressiveness. The FM mode is very fun and all of the paraphonic options are pretty solid. No mod matrix and the being locked in to the same wavetable for the three digital oscillators are probably my biggest gripes with it.


yeah absolutely. to clarify, im not looking strictly for bread and butter sounds.
from what ive heard Medusa sounds great.
and its not so much about how good you play it, but how you play it, sort of vibe.
me asking it to also be my main controller is unrealistic expectations.

i got all answers i was looking for! thanks everyone :content: :blue_heart:
would love to try it out in the future, regardless


Ok, I’m glad you found answers to your questions. :slight_smile: Let me add:

You can send MIDI while still using the Medusa Synth simultaneously, or you can detach parts of the Medusa to be used as controller only. In fact, I haven’t tested this but it seems to be possible to fully use the hardware as a controller through MIDI out… while fully using the 6 voices etc from a DAW or whatever through MIDI in.

This is explained in the manual:

MIDI Local Off (Disabled, Pads + seq, Pads + seq + knobs): Use the Medusa Grid to play another instrument being able to play the internal synth engine with an external controller at the same time. Pads + seq – detach Grid pads and sequencer from the internal synth engine. Pads + seq + knobs – detach Grid pads, sequencer and all the potentiometers from the internal synth engine.

As @slicetwo mentions, it’s quite hidden:

Config > MIDI > Channel Out

However depending on what you want to do, maybe you can just split pads (notes) and knobs & sliders (CC)? The Medusa has so many and probably you don’t need all of them to control one device. Just an idea, no idea how practical.

Something worth mentioning about the pads are the configurable “Layout” and “Musical Scales” which open the door to many intuitive ways to play, totally parking the piano keyboard (as you seem to be doing) and making music theory a matter of geometry.

Pads feelings are very subjective, but in the likely case you don’t have a chance to actually touchthe Medusa beyond buying it… I have a Maschine MK3 (a device with arguably one of the best pads out there) and the Medusa pads are physically slightly softer (if this is what you meant). The velocity curves are hard (there are three to chose from), and if you want to kick some drums then the easiest is to just turn velocity off.

Just for the fun of it, I loaded a 4x4 drum kit on my DAW and played it on the Medusa pads. They are fine for basic two hand finger drumming, and of course if jungle is your thing there are way better pads out there. :slight_smile: The pad size is smaller than in the Maschines and MPCs but probably roughly the same as in the Circuit, Keylab keyboards etc.

In my setup I just had to set root note to C4, Layout to 4, and I could play the DAW’s drum machine with the 4x4 bottom left corner of the Medusa pads, just fine.

If you have more questions about MIDI setup, please ask. As said, I’m curious too and I just need a small excuse to keep digging. :sweat_smile:


Well excuse me Mr. Strong Hands, but my hands are weak and puny. Playing the pads is uncomfortable to the max!


I’m sorry if I came across as minimizing your complaints about the pads. This was not my intention. I agree with you that the velocity curves can be hard and this is why I mentioned them. It’s for this reason that I also mentioned that for percusive sounds a good approach is to turn velocity off (which means that a simple tap will hit full 127 force).

Still finding the pads comfortable or uncomfortable is subjective and relative to how someone uses the pad. The Medusa’s pads are first of all an interface for a sequencer, and then a keyboard for playing phrases and such. Probably nobody gets a Medusa primarily for drums and percusive sounds. And although some videos show skillful musicians playing entire songs with the pads, I bet most users don’t play on the pads for more than a minute.

I personally like the pads, what you get from that geometry of notes and the fact that it is easy to just move your fingers through pads. Also, and I’m not joking, for those of us starving for space, it works as a perfect mouse pad. :sweat_smile:

More on MIDI investigations. Yesterday I learned that…

  • the DADSR faders can send different CC values when used in combination with the 1, 2, 3, Filter, AMP, and Loop buttons. That means 25 faders without counting the 6 for oscillators and noise.
  • the same is true for the 4 LFO knobs multiplied by the 5 LFOs (that makes 20 knobs easy to reach in addition to some more physical knobs that can be used as well).

Buying the Medusa to use it primarily as a controller would be strange, but it clearly has potential to software instruments, and have easy access to hidden functions in other hardware synths (I also have a Nymphes, and this is giving me ideas…)

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Oh dude, I was just yankin’ your chain. It’s all good. I love the Medusa, I just feel like the pads, even without the velocity on, are too hard. Eventually, I’m going to try and see if I can remove them all together. I can send program changes externally via MIDI, and it seems like the grid isn’t needed for any other menu based stuff, and I don’t really use the sound-per-pad function.

But I do have tiny hands. It’s crazy.