Single synth obsessions


1/8" stereo out!


I think @Scot_Solida really slammed the nail on the head. An entire generation or two of electronic musicians began when synthesizers were incredibly expensive. I remember saving up to buy an mc303 as a teen (not even that expensive comparatively). That was my only synth for a long time. It really was all about finding the synth that did what you wanted cause that was the only synth you were going to get.

Even as funds have become more fluid as I have grown into adulthood, I still get stuck on the idea of having a single box that does what I want because of the early mentality.


Do you have any tracks put up anywhere? I have a Digitakt, just recently got a Volca FM but haven’t had much time to mess with it since Christmas and also new to FM, and have been eyeing an SP404 the past couple of days, so will be pretty much exact setup! (plus a micromonsta)


That 0-coast-track is really pushing that synth. Very cool.


Funny, I started working on a series of pieces under the term ‘single source’ a couple years ago. In my case, it was all bass guitar, through effects into a looper. Then I tried to distill it even further by using a single bass riff into a DT, then just a single bass note. Or I’d do a whole track using just the 0Coast into the DT and later an OT. Most of my stuff now is my bass guitar played live into the OT. My friends thought it was impressive that I could squeeze all of the sound out of a bass guitar, but a couple searches on YouTube showed it wasn’t nearly as unique as I would’ve liked to believe :slight_smile:
I do think it’s a great way of working for a couple reasons. You quickly learn that you can turn practically anything into anything else. You waste a lot less time searching for the right sound when you’re forced to make your own sounds and the results (for me) tend to be way more satisfying.


Sadly I don’t have any tracks uploaded. I’m mostly a jammer and very rarely record anything. I tend to just sit in front of the units once a week and have fun.

I don’t use a DAW. The digitakt controls the Volca and the SP.

I may revise my DAWless approach some time this year however. Will see how the overbridge situation pans out, the thing is I have been getting by perfectly without it, and it’s not for recording or multitracking I’m really interested in it’s the immediacy of all the takt’s features in one place while I work on the sp and volca fm.

The Volca fm is really for me an understated little synth. It is capable of some seriously complex sound. I love that little guy


Love this thread. I go through this excersise every time I get a new piece of gear. I feel like it really helps me get to grips with the possibilities of whatever I am working with.
I started a new project last year where I only use my own Reaktor environment. I built all the sequencers, synths, drums, mixer and fx from scratch and am constantly adding to the system.

Most tracks on that page are recorded directly inside Reaktor and have no post processing or editing after the fact. I’ve found the results from this process to be really different from my other workflows, but still very identifiable as my aesthetic. It’s pretty cool recognizing limitations within the system and then spending a day or two building stuff to work around those limitations!


I’m more of a sampler guy than a synth guy, but DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing comes to mind. Made on an MPC 60 with 26 sec of sampling time. I like how limitations push creativity.

Your post also reminds me of a YouTube video I saw a while back where one of the synth movie soundtrack masters (can’t remember which one at the moment, maybe somebody else does) was saying that the most important thing is not choosing which synth to use, but to actually just make a choice (anything!) so that you can start mastering it.

I think that’s where most of us fall down, by changing and adding gear so often. The people that master their stuff and push it to the limits, whether it’s a synth, guitar, sampler, or bucket, are the people that inspire me the most.


Really cool stuff!


I resonate with this sentiment @Simon, and lots of others with fine examples. I also resonate with @Open_Mike in his approach and tend to view my Octatrack as my main electronic instrument and supporting orchestra. My creative limit is just the OT with strings and voice piped in via analog preamps.

Also, since I’ve taken up painting about 9 months ago, I’ve noticed a similar kind of power in limits with painting via limited palette. Sometimes with only two colours! Very powerful.

This and other 'nauts threads are keeping me highly entertained as I sit in the hospital waiting to have my gallbladder removed tomorrow. Thanks all. I’m really enjoying hearing about everyone’s process.


Great example and such an amazing record still. Interestingly, at some point he got obsessed with working in ProTools and started making bigger, more expansive music that I don’t enjoy nearly as much


Well put and so true!


the turntable played an important role as well :slight_smile: Such a masterpiece


Wish I had said it originally and wish I could find that great YouTube video.


Recreation of the Hans Zimmer Filmscore for Inception with just a Minibrute…plus a plethora of FX Plugins.


Jogging House did some great releases on Seil Records that are Digitone/Digitakt only. I Love them! Brilliantly done!


It’s pretty much my main philosophy for my 0F stuff; I could talk for hours about it! It kinda half came from chipmusic and the desire to push every piece of gear to its limits, but also a somewhat lazy mentality of not wanting to bring too much extra gear into the picture, due to setup times, having to synchronise patches, etc.

Having said that though, I’ve recently been experimenting with dividing my studio into pairs (currently, MnM+OT, DN+OP-Z, Nord G1+Lead with zaquencer), which will probably be mixed up again at some point, but paired machines seem like a nice middle ground. And it means I can still just turn on one of those machines at a time easily without affecting my entire setup. I don’t know how people can handle setups containing more than say, two Elektron boxes; if I tried that it’d be a cacophony!

Yeah, this is part of it for me as well. Ever since I heard Confield, I’ve been obsessed with creating “organisms” of sound, where even though there are distinct elements such as melody, chords, drums etc, everything sounds glued together, like the same sound generator being stretched and morphed, each element influencing the others in some way. Nanoloop 2, Monomachine, Nord G1, and OP-Z all seem to draw me into this kind of “ecosystem” approach where you can stretch things to the point where the separation between parts isn’t entirely clear. Recently I’ve been discovering it on the Digitone as well (using the master overdrive!) and it’s basically flipped my sound design philosophy on its head, which is also why I’ve taken so long to put out a sound pack :sweat:

Wow, I didn’t know that was FS1R! Now I want one even more :stuck_out_tongue:
It’s one of my favourite minimalist electronic albums, mostly out of admiration for the discipline/dedication to a very specific kind of sound design. That admiration extends to Mark Fell’s solo work, which, while I agree with someone from WATMM who said a lot of it sounds like Sonic the Hedgehog repeatedly smashing a pinball bumper, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it! Perhaps that’s the chiptune influence coming through again.

Definitely. I think having experience in chipmusic develops this mindset, for sure. For me, it’s always been about trying to push things into making sounds that nobody else has thought of making, or that nobody else is interested in making (lol probably more likely). It’s a real challenge, and I’ve only ever succeeded a handful of times, but when it works it’s amazing!

I have to include a link to this bryface track because it’s just so great. LSDJ wave channel only:


Very nice, that reminds me of my first tracks in 1999 when i just Had an Electribe R…


Hey hey @Tanburi, long time no post… :smile:
Sending you good vibes that all goes well tomorrow…


Single synth Tunes… I Love them!