Monthly Archives: January 2019

Size Matters

Mini keys and knobs are not performance enhancing

Many things being relative, this is my perspective. For adults done with their upward growth cycle, certainly for those of us old enough to be having our second mid-life crisis, small keys and controls are not a bonus. Note, I’m speaking of the size of the keys not how many there are.

I have to imagine the 50+ years old set are an important part of the market. Manufacturers need to cut this mini craze out or offer better options. I love electronics miniaturization as much as anyone, but keyboards and controls need to be adult human-sized. I’m a 6 foot tall male with normal sized untalented hands and 60+ year old eyes with bifocal glasses like most of my contemporaries.

At least offer a desktop of reasonable size so people can pick their own keyboard. No, I do not want to waste the space in my already space-constrained studio with a mini-keyboards I’ll never use. However, saving space and decreasing usability are not good either.

Decent sized knobs and controls with appropriate space between them are essential. In my opinion you should be able to grab any knob with 3 fingers. If you have to use two fingers like human tweezers, a compromise has been made.

And what nut engineer or designer came up with the idea of black or whatever knobs with no visible position indicator? At least put dang white lines, visible white dots, lights or something visible on the knobs! I shouldn’t have to draw or paint lines on even a less than $500 synth.

Not to pick on any one brand, but how do you think sales and customer satisfaction would have been if the Korg Minilogue had 25 full sized keys in the same size format (with white lines on the knobs) like the Novation Bass Station II or scaled up to a full sized 37 keys format for $100 more?

The biggest key word here for me is performance

I’ve been an IT professional for decades. I’m quite comfortable clicking and command lining my way through things. When I play musical instruments, it is not what I seek. I want to play an instrument not a calculator or a computer. Speaking of computers, I don’t use mini-keyboards on those either, do you?

I’m not real gung-ho on playing a DAW live, but when I program a sequence or tracks in a DAW, it may be a different thing. Eurorack could be a different issue as well.

As a side note, in addition to real sized keyboards and controls, adding screens that further detail what the controls are set to, with mostly single level diving like the Sequential Prophet X/XL does, or even more so, touch screen capabilities like the Waldorf Quantum does… that is using your noggin manufacturers.

Full size should dominate

I find it hard to imagine it would add more than $100 or $200 tops, to any mini synth or desktop, depending on how many keys, to put full sized keyboards with the appropriate real estate for normal sized controls on them. There shouldn’t be a $300+/$1000+ difference between full sized and mini-sized.

3/4 sized should be the secondary option, not the full sized version. Look at other instruments, like guitars. 3/4 sized are available but full sized dominates the market, even the entry level ranges. Synths and other electronic gear should be the same.


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Novation Bass Station II joins my synth ‘studio’

Can you have too many paraphonic synths?

I think the answer is no, you cannot have too many paraphonic synths, however I do believe my next one will be a polyphonic.

From this point forward, I will have to get creative fitting more hardware into the space I have, ha!

Look forward to more BS2 posts and added information on the Uptown Oscillators Novation Bass Station II page.


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