Re: Fenix Review

From Jim Johnson
Sent Wed, Feb 25th 1998, 00:23

Thanks for resending - I accidentally deleted the first.

I have a Fenix on order and am dying to get my hands on it - you certainly
made me even more antsy!

But...

>There are several other modules I haven't mentioned such as the CV Mixers
>which can act like octave dividers and/or CV attenuators.

How can a CV mixer do octave division? Are you referring to the octave (1
volt) offsets that can be added in one of the mixers?

Jim Johnson 
Metaphoric Software
-------------------
Makers of Techno Toys
Software for Electronic Music
http://www.technotoys.com
redacted@example.com

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

On 2/24/98, at 5:49 PM, Chris Whitten  wrote: 

>Here as requested is a mini review of the Fenix Modular Synth. 
>Firstly I'd like to pay respect to other people who have posted reviews on
>AH, I never realised how difficult it would be until now.
>So you know how to judge my comments, I have only been into modular
>synthesis for about 2 years starting with a Roland 100M cabinet and soon
>after adding a Doepfer A100 system. I do have hands on experience with
>Moog, Polyfusion, Serge, Digisound, Roland and Doepfer systems, some of
>which I currently own.
>I wont bother to detail the specifications of the Fenix as this and much
>more is available at their website: http://www.cameo.nl/Fenix/
>
>My top two criteria on evaluating a synth are it's sound and features. On
>both these counts the Fenix scores highly.
>Contained within the Fenix there are many modules most of which differ
from
>each other in some way. For example, there are three VCO's. VCO 1 is
>different to VCO's 2 and 3 in that it has a Sine waveform output, Sync
>(variable from soft to hard) and two sub outputs. 
>The Sync on this synth is very rich sounding. The effect is to add more
and
>more harmonics to the timbre rather than the classic nasal/hard sound you
>often get with oscillator sync.
>There are three filters all sounding rich and characterful. VCF's 1 and 2
>are 2 pole state variable. There doesn't seem to be any compromise in the
>sound however. They both sound as good to my ears as VCF3 which is a 12db
>and 24db (5 pole) ladder type filter. The resonance is very radical on all
>3 filters and can be set very high indeed before it self oscillates.
>Despite this I've found that I still get off on the filters with the
>resonance wound right down, this is a first for me. I've also processed
>drumloops through the filters (via each of the 2 audio inputs) and found a
>lot of scope for drastic sound deconstruction. 
>They say that filters can make or break a synth and all 3 on the Fenix are
>as good or better than anything I've heard. Tight, ballsy, rich, zingy and
>crystal clear. There does not seem to be any voltage control of the
>resonance however which is a shame.
>As I said, one of the strenghts of the Fenix is it's comprehensive and
>diverse array of modules. There are 3 LFO's, each with different features,
>two of them being voltage controllable. Likewise all three of the
envelopes
>offer differing approaches, two of the three being VC Envelopes. I found
>that this concept led me to approach patches in a more sophisticated way.
>Although it is very quick and easy to set up a basic patch I found that I
>couldn't resist plugging something into the extra VC inputs and very
>quickly I was into some radical sounding synthesis which would have been a
>lot more effort on the  Doepfer or would have needed some very clear
>thinking through on the Serge.
>There are three VC Mixers, two Portamentos and two Ring Mods (with
>additional vc inputs). Apart from the sound being so good, the sheer
amount
>of features on the Fenix makes my 12U of Doepfer redundant.
>One last module which is really great is the Analogue Noise, Digital Noise
>and VLF. I haven't figured out what to do with the VLF (very low frequency
>noise) yet but the digital and analogue noise timbres are sweepeable by
>voltage control which sounds fab, isn't like filtering and is something I
>haven't seen before. 
>There are several other modules I haven't mentioned such as the CV Mixers
>which can act like octave dividers and/or CV attenuators.
>I've been championing the Doepfer for a while on AH but I reckon at $1,500
>the Fenix has blown away all my other modular kit except for my 2600
(great
>audio input and all time classic synth) and Serge panel. Interfacing the
>Fenix, taking advantage of all it's VC capabilities, with my Serge panel
>(including Wave Multipliers) I have already in a few hours created sounds
>beyond what I thought possible on what is basically a monophonic analog
>synth.
>To sum up, it would be unfair to compare the Fenix to a Moog modular but
if
>anyone is thinking about a Doepfer, a vintage modular system or for that
>matter any mono synth under $2,000 it would be worth finding out more
about
>the Fenix. If they are really only going to make 25 it could turn out to
be
>an instant classic.
>CW
>p.s. Sorry about the gushing, no money has changed hands!. I have had a
>second opinion from a more experienced synthesist who agrees that it is an
>excellent sounding, very well appointed synth. Lot's of bang for your buck!