Dreadbox Medusa




Loopop: " … advantages to this type of layout, particularly if you come from a guitar background." (3:50)
He goes on how the grid is like strings on a guitar, and you can play shapes to get chords – it does sound like he’s somehow in synch with this forum.

Good review/analysis by Loopop. Really pulls together all its innovative features in one place.

One little thing: I like the visual display of preset knob positions, didn’t know about this feature on Medusa before.


Also interesting from the Loopop video is that Dreadbox/Polyend will be on a pretty steep curve of adding features post release, as if what is in this box is not enough already.


Precisely my point. Though my sarcasm may have been lost on some (wink).

“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” - Paul Simon



Surprised that the Loopop video hasn’t generated more discussion. I’m hopefully moving house soon and if I survive (plus not too skint) I’ve been promising myself something new, deep and inspiring. Had been considering the DSI Pro 2 and whilst they’re not really that comparable this may just prove to be an excellent alternative.


dont buy it based on any promised future updates… i’m sure they’ll add/fix/do more stuff but check if something is missing you are particularly interested in … if its not there right now , maybe leave it for a while.

unless you are happy with any known issues , functions missing (missing is a matter of perspective , they may have been discussed and chosen to not be implemented ).
it looks good , i hope theres a mini medusa (no sequencer/pad) , if its all digitally controlled then i’d hope its also possible via midi cc / program change etc . i’d love one but i wont be buying one , ive got too much gear already.

and talking of guitars , I’ve never intentionally listened to bob dylan , cant stand anything he sings on , really very annoying nasal sound … but many people think he’s talented and he’s made massive amounts of cash from music , i havent.


The no buying based on future updates policy is one I can and do get behind. Hence my genuinely sanguine nature about OB2…


Somebody mentioned Bob Dylan, or posted a picture of him on this thread? I sure didn’t.


After watching the loopop overview I think I kind of get it as a unit a bit more… the grid honestly seems like the star of the show, while the dreadbox side feels a bit weaker, maybe I am comparing it to there gear that seems to gain a lot of character from there built in FX, that is oddly absent here. Having to go down to 1osc per voice for the 6 voice mode seems a bit too watered down to really be used too much for me. Part of me thinks this thing is genius and part thinks it probably will sell very few units. Hope we see a grid this size as a midi controller because it seems like it would have some highly customizable fun in a nice neat sized package I could get behind.


Wonderful solution to the problem of knob position not matching the preset position for a parameter.

Excellent review by Loopop. I agree that the grid is what it’s really about, and without it, well, there’s not much else to really set it apart from other synths in that $1200-ish price range. If you don’t want the grid but want something para/polyphonic by Dreadbox, just get the Abyss - otherwise if you just want a monosynth, there are the other Dreadbox products.

By now I’ve seen and heard enough about the Medusa - with the bugs squashed I feel like I could make music with it right now. The hint about future updates is not a factor for me at all. I can imagine user loading of wavetables - one of those teased future updates - would be an interesting to some, but again don’t buy if if you love loading samples into everything.


If you just need the grid and not the x/y/z function of the pads, you could get a Launchpad Mini (should be the same size, more or less). If you speak about a grid/pad controller with the x/y/z function (MPE) and a DIN-5 midi connector…yeah, that would be awesome. I would like to buy the Medusa (it can also be used as midi controller) but it’s to expensive at the moment.


The X Y and Z sensing in the pads, along with (i assume) the ability to output this in midi, really gives this box an extra value beyond being a “six” voice synth. MPE output when/if it occurs would be that much more gravy.

Seems to me Polyend is in some ways competing with themselves, in that their own Seq grid controller, while much larger doesn’t have (correct me if i’m wrong) the X and Y control.

(I looked at the Polyend manual for the Seq to find out for sure – Polyend manuals are really worthless!)


For 999 Euro it’s hard to beat the integration of grid and synth that’s in the Medusa…

For that expense or less, youu might sort of get there with a combo of Artiphon or Roli Seaboard Block as your MPE controller and maybe a Micromonsta as your synth, but your controller wouldn’t be a grid, and Micromonsta, while it sounds good to my ears, is just a different sounding synth.


Yea I guess the thing I want to directly compare it to is the analog four as they are both kind of analog groove synths with plenty of oscillators, considering the prices you can get an A4 mk1 at… people have some problems with the A4 that maybe the medusa solves I suppose. There is something to be said about the integration aspect of the grid and the power of the medusa as a mono synth or 3 voice para, I think the 6 voice is mostly there because they can probably useful for some fun simple stuff but really kind of shrug worthy. I guess it would be pretty neat if they let you turn the A4 into an 8 voice parasynth played by keys but I probably would barely use it.


It’s a comparison that would work for you if your priority is sequencing.

I would actually want to play notes and chords by hand on the grid, not just use it as s sequencer display, so Analog Keys would be a better comparison - for me.,

If I already had a sequencer and controller that I liked, I’d go for the Abyss over Medusa. Abyss’ sound won me over immediately, though admittedly the built-in FX helped a lot. Medusa’s sound engine sounds good, but hasn’t quite blown my mind, with the wavetable section sounding kind of non-descript.


Yep they both do have pads on the left and as an advanced finger drummer and owner of the MPC live and previously the RYTM its the worst thing about both machines. (Though the pads on the RYTM are too small and pretty lame sensitivity wise too).


Well, as a professional guitarist, keyboardist, and percussionist, I can’t say that I’ve ever had an issue adapting to…well…just about any format really. Every instrument, electronic or otherwise, is unique in its design and comes with different challenges, and I approach each accordingly.

But again, my point was simply that there are a lot of professional-level boxes out there that have a similar layout to the Medusa, and presumably that’s not an accident or an oversight. Subjective though it may be, I personally prefer the pads on the left, yet I’m right-handed. As such, you have to concede that the smart people at Polyend and Dreadbox must have put some thought into it and ultimately came to the same conclusion, for what I can only assume are good reasons.

Besides which, the way I look at it, either you fancy yourself a “musician” of sorts, and plan to take the pads to task as you would a real instrument; in which case it’s the expressivity of the pads themselves that matters. Or you’re more interested in the sequencer and sound design aspect of the box, which typically involves poking around, one pad at a time, and turning knobs… If you can’t muster the dexterity for that, left or right-handed, blame your parents (smirk).



Automatic Gainsay has begun his video review series on the Medusa. Part one:


The reason I like pads on the right is because right is most peoples dominant hand, you need subtlety with each finger for live playing and that is easier to achieve in the dominant hand, the other hand can then be used for ghost notes, 32nds and twisting knobs on say an MPC2000xl, MPC1000 or 2500, but because they changed the layout on the MPC LIVE its far more of a pain. I’m not saying it CANT be adapted to, I’m saying its better for finger drummers and controllerists the other way round (Maschine 3 took the hint and put the live FX strip on the left and pads on the right).


And that’s fair. I only spoke up in the first place because I personally think that the Medusa is one of the better-designed boxes I’ve seen in recent history. I just wanted to interject with a little perspective before we ended up with a feeding-frenzy on our hands. I mean, this left vs. right business, especially within the context of the “groovebox” format, is such a subjective thing.

And to be honest, I like to call people out on their opinions every now and then; because the truth is that most people who complain about perceived “limitations” rarely push themselves or their instruments hard enough to ever come up against said limitations. That’s not to say that we’re not all entitled to our preferences; it’s just that certain aspects of music making in general, especially in this day and age of tech, get obsessed over to the point of absurdity, as though some of the greatest music ever made wasn’t done with far less. In this case, for how most people will likely use this box, the left/right complaint seems a bit of a joke.

At any rate, it’s my opinion that the Medusa is a very well-thought-out machine (grin).