New Synth Today

Blackmagic is really good and totally free for the normal version - they only charge when you start getting clever with colour correction. That synth sounds really interesting - but in the videos they rarely record it properly. I saw one the other day for a really nice synth that I have from ages ago, yet the video made it sound rubbish!
I ought to say a bit about the Sledge 2.
There are a few problems, that I have not got the full measure of yet.
The case is rather plasticy, but as I knew it was all plastic beforehand, that's ok.
One benefit is that if I broke the case, I could glue it back together again.
The concept of the synth has been well thought through.
The control panel is well layed out, and maybe even oversized. That is a pretty good feature.
The legends under all the knobs are white against black, and are all a good size. This would be most welcome,
if you were performing in subdued light. They're all easily readable.
Most of the factory voices are vey good, and a few that I don't like.
Once you've read the manual, creating your own voices is intuitive, and there are 1000 locations to store all the voices.
You can overwrite the factory voices if you wish.

Now to the problems:
It does not do a silent power-up, so you have to turn the master vol knob down, before power-up.
Even when turned right down, I still hear a heafty 'CLICK' through the headphones during power-up.
Interestingly, when you turn the master vol on just a bit, you hear what sounds like a relay clicking. Perhaps that is part of a silent
power-up mechanism, which doesn't quite cut the mustard.

There are 3 ways you can wade through the 1000 voices.
1. You can type in the voice number, say '375', on the numeric keypad, and get straight to a favourite.
2. You can nudge through them using a couple of 'UP' / 'DOWN' buttons.
3. You can twiddle a rotary encoder, to get through the huge list faster.
To make shorter work of finding a voice, they are grouped. Each voice is placed in one of about 8 groups, such as ATMOSPHERIC, PAD, LEAD, SOFT LEAD, ARPEGIO, POLY, etc.
The rotary encoder is also a button, and pressing it toggles between selecting a voice on the screen, or selecting which group type on the screen.
So when you have selected a group type, the rotary encoder is restricted to the voices in that group.
The design of this is all fine.
I think it falls apart if a group happens to be empty, and you then twiddle the rotary encoder. THE SYNTH HANGS.
The only way out is to turn the synth off, and back on again.

The next problem comes if you select a voice from the DRUM group.
One of the DRUM group voices uses a spit keyboard, with a bassy rhythmic beat from the lower keys, and a pad type voice from the upper keys.
All very fine, but if you then try switching to a different voice, the bassy rhythmic beat persists, and you cannot engage any other voice. The synth is as good as HUNG.
The only way out is to turn the synth off, and back on again.

Another problem occurred when I played a PAD voice.
I gave it a bit of 'welly', while playing arpegios, and maybe exceeded the polyphony. I'm not sure.
There was a loud 'CLICK', like a power-up, then silence.
The only way out is to turn the synth off, and back on.

For sure, it seems the Italians don't know how to write and test software.
If I'd been in charge these bugs would never have made it out of the factory.
My Korg MS2000B Analogue modelling synth has no bugs, and has just worked, for many years.
Given that this is the second incarnation of the original Sledge, I'd have expected the software to be more robust.
I'm not sending it back, but will explore what I can and cannot do with it, and hope Studiologic will come up with a software update.
If it had a metal case with wooden cheeks, and bug-free software, the Sledge 2 could be a very desireable synth.
I could have made that video. He said his yellow sledge had 2.5.1 software. My Sledge 2 has 2.5.2 software.
Also he reports how you have to scroll into a voice in a particular direction to engage it. I forgot to report that one.
Sounds like it might not be dependable enough for live work.
I would say so. I watched a Rick Wakeman video, and he said he will incorporate it into his current touring rig.
He may be regretting that.
In a studio, you could put up with some messing about.
Ok, three weeks ago I ordered a Modal Cobalt 8X synth, from the big local music store.
modal-cobalt-8x crop.png
They said it'll take about 2 weeks to come.
The 2 weeks came and went, then 3 weeks. Other suppliers were saying 'Not available to Order', but one claimed to have some.
I went in to get the store to find out what's going on, but Modal weren't answering the phone, or emails.
Perhaps they have gone bust.
The store had a Sequential Prophet Rev2 on demo, which was for sale at a discount:
So I cancelled the Modal order, and enquired about the Prophet.
They shaved a further smidgen off the price, and I bought that instead.
I figured a Prophet wouldn'd do my synth collection any harm.
Because the roads were chockablocked when I tried to pop in last week, I walked to the store.
This meant I had to lug a big weighty box home on foot. Probably a mile and a bit, as the crow flies.
Six rests later, getting on for half way, a very kind lady stopped in her SUV, and offered this grey-haired old git with a big box a lift.
I offered her a £10 note for her trouble, but she refused. So I said I'll send it to a charity of your choice then.
She opted for the charity 'MIND', a mental health charity.
She dropped me plus box at my house, nearby. I thanked her and promised I would send the money.
So I looked up the charity on the net, got their address, and posted off a cheque this afternoon.
Back to the plot-
I fired up the Prophet later on. I'd never tried one before.
I went through a bunch of the factory voices. Very cool indeed. With just a couple of fingers, it was making very cool sounds.
I was thinking Left hand on the Prophet, Right hand on the Sledge, could be a magic formula.
The Prophet has a lot of depth to it.
Looking forward to digging deeper...
More on the story of Modal Electronics. Although they went into administration, there is hope they can continue.
So, I had another look, and found that DV247 had stocks of the Modal Cobalt8X.
I put in an order, and it arrived today. See the picture above.
Spent the day at home, waiting for 2 parcels.
The Cobalt8X is a weighty solid keyboard, and a bit of quality.
I have not yet got the measure of it, just checked out some preset voices, to make sure it works.
I will need to have a good read of the manual, as it is not like traditional synths.
Just glad to be able to get my hands on one.
It is getting like 'synth central' around here.