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Monday, September 19, 2016

Synton Fenix Modular Analogue Synth SN V59

via this auction

"Despite the look, it is not semi modular like the Arp 2600 or the Korg MS-20 but fully modular and fully patchable, like a current Eurorack system but all included very cleverly on one front panel. All built with discrete Through The Hole components, not SMT technology. Which translates to better (vintage) sound and future serviceability.

- It uses banana sockets. Yes, it is a big plus in my opinion as I experienced many contact issues with my 3.5mm jack systems but never any on this banana patching modular. Also, banana jacks are stackable, no need for multiples. And the connection is so strong, you can almost lift the synth with one cable connected. All this means better audio performance.

- Although there are no really esoteric and strange modules on board (which would be pretty useless for most of the time) but every module has a trick or two which is not obvious.

- Even similar modules are not the same, like VCO 1 has some pretty useful functions (voltage controllable level of OSC sync, from off thru soft to hard sync, or phase controllable Sub Oscillator). All 3 OSC has the purest waveforms I have ever seen on oscilloscope and sounds pretty strong and good.
The 3 LFO’s also comes with surprises, having Trig in or Gate Input, simultaneous outputs for positive only and bipolar LFO waveforms, even double frequency ones from the same LFO, etc.
Ahh, the filters! We have three filters on board, two of them are the same (so you can use them for stereo audio processing, for filtering external sources) multimode filters with VERY SWEET sound, not a copy of any vintage circuits. VCF 3 is very special, it has 5 poles not just 4 poles as all the other 24db LP filters because designers found out that for a real 24db response you nedd 5 poles. It is a bit MOOG filter like but has it’s own sound.
The 3 Envelope Generators are indeed 5 EG’s, and we have not ONE but TWO ring modulators, one of them with 3! Inputs (for additional Amplitude modulation of the modulator CV) , then do not forget about the very special noise generator: in addition to white noise, we have digital noise (Voltage controllable spectrum) and VLF noise (Very low frequency random voltage). And the 2 different external audio processor modules to convert audio to Env, Gate, Trig, Velocity Cv, etc.

- This is a very musical sounding modular synth, has all the necessary modules for producing quality sounds and new electronic music. (while most custom selected Eurorack systems are really good only at sound effects and experimental noises. Not to say that you cannot have a good sounding Eurorack system but real life shows it’s not easy. Here we have a proper selection of high quality modules ready to go)

- Ease of use. Yes, I know some critics wrote its controls are labeled confusingly but I found it logical and easy to use. The knobs are the “right size’, all the patching is done STRAIGHT below the controls but out of sight (means you can still adjust the knobs even when it’s fully patched).

- It is a modern analog modular synth which is light years ahead of 30+ years of vintage ones, with none of the reliability issues or constant need for expensive service for keep it running. All in all it is solidly built with the best quality hardware for longevity and a nice feel to use.

- It is one of its kind. Only 65 or about was made and while low production volume does not mean collectability by itself, it has many qualities which makes it a future (or contemporary?) classic and a good investment too, besides being an excellent electronic instrument

- It looks great! Imposing but decent, nice color scheme. It is a real centerpiece of any electronic studios.

- Somehow I like it better than the Fenix II which came after it (with tiny knobs and non-related sockets beneath the controls) The basic sound of Fenix I and Fenix II is the same.

For more details, please visit the official Synton/Fenix site: http://www.dutchsynth.nl/Fenix1.html"

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