Single synth obsessions


This is a great thread! It’s very inspiring to hear other people talk about this philosophy with as much passion as I have for it.

Ha, should have read the rest of the thread before posting my reply. Looks like we’re on the same wavelength. Love your work btw! Mini Moves and Mini Moves Deluxe are such jams.

yes! Didn’t know this existed, gonna try to track it down for sure. Every time Mario Paint is mentioned I need to post this:

Didn’t realise there was a facebook group for it, it’s right up my alley; thanks for linking!

holy shit! All of this sqein stuff sounds great. You have about as many aliases as I do haha :smiley:


yea this sqein track knocks, i love a good monomachine rinse! that machine was my singular obsession for many years and i still think it is the great est synth ever, when a pattern or kit clicks together and you can just jam out a take it felt like being locked in some silver digital rehearsal studio program and your bandmates are all bizarre alien algorithms


Cheers @Open_Mike! I appreciate the sentiment a lot :smiley: Just getting a (hopefully) small reminder of my mortality.
Yeah, I haven’t posted much in a good while, but want to stay active in the community, because it’s way cooler than facecrack or any other social media stuff IMHO :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
There’s heaps of inspiring folks here, so I’m going to check in occasionally. Rock on everyone :sunglasses:


How on earth does he get this thing to sound like a piano? I’ve never heard a synth sound like an acoustic piano before. Like it literally sounds like a piano vst.

After watching the rest of this I’m blown away. Here I thought I needed some expensive spitfire audio strings to make movie production level stuff but nope I just need a minibrute and an ear.


One! Single synth obsession
Every little step he programs…
One! Forget combination
Every sound that synth makes…
One box and suddenly no other synth will do
You know you’ll never be lonely with
You know who
One! Yada yada yada…


Not much to contribute, other than agreeing completely on the advantages of focusing on a single synth. I used to work exclusively on a Machinedrum for years.

These days I focus on old monophonic Roland SH synths, and either make tracks with a single SH synth (multitracked) or a combination of SH synths.

This track was made with only a Roland SH-5, drums and all:


You beat me to it! Benge’s album immediately popped into my mind when I saw this thread. Highly recommend for anyone looking for some old school modular analogue goodness.

As for myself, in school I had access to an ARP 2500, and thoroughly enjoyed recording textures or multi-tracking pieces together using only that. I also had the opportunity to learn and perform with a Make Noise Shared System in school, and while that was much more complex/complete, I found the experience similarly gratifying and inspiring.

I find the experience of focusing on one synthesizer, especially in the hardware domain, to be a great way of adding expression to electronic music, similar to how acoustic instrumentalists can with their own physically constrained tools. Limitations force you to go deeper and increase the dynamic range of the sounds you try to achieve.


I need to read and listen the wohle thread, but before I do I want to say That I do this too and I think working with only one synth or one self contained system is so satisfying! I do this all the time, making music is so much fun with limitations!

(Elektrons are very good for this by the way :grin: )
I wanted to make an album with only a digitone, but have so much side projects that it never happened… this was my first attamped couple of months ago after a couple of hours having a digitone


Inspiring thread for sure! Just dug an old Korg Trinity Plus out of the closet. Haven’t touched it in years, but started making patches on it tonight to see if I can come up with something. I was on the verge of giving it away to make some room, but I’m gonna give it a week :slight_smile:


Remembers someone this from The Cure Keyboarder Roger O Donnell? He did a whole Album in 2006 using just the Moog Voyager.


Its possible when you shape out certain frequencies and use subtle Modulations and Work in the Gainstaging. Especially the Minibrute reacts very sensitive towards that.
Something i also noticed about the A4. Always keep the Levels in check.



This one I made with the electribe 2 only:

If you like deep techno stuff :slight_smile:


spitfire strings won‘t hurt eiher :slightly_smiling_face:


This is a very inspiring thread … :+1:

But I seem to be one of the few guys, which prefer to have plenty of options around and to use them simultaneously :wink:

I see the truth in it that focusing on one instrument or piece of gear only and learn how to get the most out of it, is the best way to master it. I also admire, if all the sounds of a track are done with one single synth and demonstrating that this machine can create so many different sounds … well, IMO that’s what synths are for, in the first place. If I get new gear in the studio, I always focus on it, but I try to find out, what are its particular strengths and take note, where to use this later.

But TBH I have often not the patience to re-create sounds on a machine, if there is another great source in the studio already, which I only need to switch on. There are machines, which deliver exactly this warm and deep analogue pad sound, or this string or brassy sound, or that moving and evolving pixie-dust, which I want to sugarcoat a vibe, or that fat punchy kick …


Not the only one. It’s just that I go through obsessive periods during which I focus on a single instrument or process. Not always - it’s never black and white and there are no rules in my room. Whatever gets the inspiration fired up or keeps it burning…

This is true for me, too. When I am in the throes of inspiration, I often use certain instruments to do jobs for which I know they are well suited. Thick, domineering basses? Minimoog, every time. Punchy, pointillistic bass? Odyssey or SH09. Gurgling spacescapes? Gotta be VCS3.

Though I will often challenge myself to wrench every last drop of sound design potential out of a given piece of gear, that doesn’t mean it will always - or even often - be used in that role.

Some days I go into the studio with a particular systematic challenge or dictum in mind (usually when I am feeling stymied by the many options at my disposal), other times, I feel inspired by the sheer number of choices on hand.

Self-imposed limitations can be inspiring given the staggering amount of affordable options we have available to us today. And the best thing about that is that many of those options are more than capable of being the only instrument needed for complete, well-realised productions. There has never been a better time to be an electronic musician - and these kinds of threads drive that fact home.


Similar approach here :wink:

Focusing on one particular synth at a time is for me like traveling to a new country, learning a new leanguage, and taking note of places, which I want to explore later in more detail. Often I check out only the reasons, why I bought the instrument in the first place and this is often enough some very special capability, which I expected during doing some research. Most patches made during this time are more at the extremes of possibilities.

Very true … sometimes friends ask me … “Do you really need all this stuff?” … and believe me or not … my answer has always been “… honestly? No. But I love to have all those options.” … maybe it was the limitation of my youth, when such gear was absolutely out of range …


That is almost verbatim a regular exchange in my own life. I could make music for the rest of my life with any one or two things in my studio (especially a sampler with a built-in sequencer like the Octatrack, Digitakt, EPS, Machinedrum UW), but the options are good to have if they don’t overwhelm. Some of my voluntary limited processes serve to remind me that it was a lot harder way back when I started, and give me a greater appreciation for what is now available.

Occasionally, when I get weary of the need for repairs, service, maintenance, I flirt with the idea of getting rid of most of it and setting up a “pared down” studio with a few choice items. I’ve never had the courage to see that thought through, though oddly the suggestion seems to horrify my family and friends more than it does me…


sometimes friends ask me … “Do you really need all this stuff?” … and believe me or not … my answer has always been “… honestly? No. But I love to have all those options.”

This would fit perfectly in the reasons to GASbuy Gear Thread…uuuuh all those new possible Options, If i get Just one more of this…


The main reason I like to zone I on one box is mainly to learn more about the box. I know the OT isn’t a synth, but I’ve spent a lot of months using just that box because it’s been such a challenge for me to learn it…and I’m going to learn it!
But this week, it’s all about learning to program a once insanely overpriced, outdated synth just to see what I can get out of it :slight_smile: