Jumping into the modular world of Eurorack synths can be an inspiring and yet overwhelming experience (read also our Introduction To The DIY Modular Synth World).
It’s not just a matter of money and time (let’s face it, you’d better be single or with a very patient partner!); it’s the fact that many potential users still find the whole thing quite intimidating. They just want to make music, not become patching ninjas.
The tabletop option
The problem isn’t new. After all, this is why in the early days companies like Moog and Korg came up at some point with compact and easy to use synths like the Minimoog and the Ms-20. Musicians love portable and user-friendly instruments.
Fast forward to the present. You are tired of your virtual synths and you want some instant tactile control on your music (possibly with actual knobs and not through the glass of an iPad).
You very likely have some MIDI controller, be it a standard keyboard or something even more portable, like the KMI QuNexus. Why not just get a simple, tabletop synth then?
A few days ago Make Noise finally launched its 0-Coast tabletop synth (after generating hype at the recent trade shows). Will it be what you’re looking for?
What is it?
The Make Noise 0-Coast is a self-contained, standalone monophonic synth, designed to pledge no allegiance to either West Coast or East Coast synthesis philosophies, drawing on the ideas of both to create something that gives you the best of both worlds.
You can use with or without patch cables. The necessary connections have been made from circuit to circuit so it operates as an expressive, musical mono synth.
– Two Channels of MIDI to CV and MIDI to Gate
Alternatives to the Make Noise 0-Coast?
If you’re shopping for a tabletop synth, the market offers some interesting options, although quite different from each other.
From the ‘classic’ Doepfer Dark Energy II (ultra-compact but pretty powerful!) to the Dreadbox Erebus – a cool sounding little beast with a vintage touch (paraphonic with Delay/Echo!) – to the Moog Mother-32 (see our Moog Mother-32 review) and the simpler yet fun approach (no patching) of the Vermona Mono Lancet, there’s no shortage of alternatives to start your tactile synth adventure (or to complement an existing system).