Maddi's Synth and amiga setup with a summer view through the window.

Trackers, Synths, Feasts And Catch-Ups

So, we’re back from our trip away to my old place and we always enjoy it as we get up to all sorts. This time around, I took a couple of things back. One of them being my Yamaha Reface DX.

I’ve been thinking about selling this for a year now, the reason being is because I had a TX7 (DX7 in synth module form). I still held onto it because I thought I can have a secondary one. But my recent find of the Volca FM2 (Mini modern DX7) combined with my TX7 and Reface CS, convinced me to let go of the Reface DX.

I will do a future video about this situation and show why I made this decision. But for now I will say goodbye to a dear friend <3. Though it’s going to a good home, Electronscape’s home.

I’ve done past videos using the Reface DX, you can check some of them out below:

The Newcomer

So while we went to one of these ‘cash converter/cash generator’ exchange stores because as we were walking around the town centre, Rich suddenly pointed and said “Look! Synths!”. The next thing I remember is my face pressed against the shop front window trying to look in…ouch.. *rubs nose*.

Now I already have in my possession someone’s Yamaha SY22 so I was naturally curious about the SY55. Ideally, I’d have loved it to be a SY77 or a TG33 because the SY55 isn’t exactly a higher model to the SY22 even though there are some things about it that are an improvement, other things I prefer on the SY22. (I’ll do a side by side video on these two at some point). Heck I’d definitely not complain if it was a full sized DX7 ;-))

What attracted me about the SY55 is that it’s Multitimbral 16. Which means it can produce 16 different sounds simultaneously. Each sound can be assigned to a MIDI channel. So I could if I wanted, link this up to the Polyend Tracker, and instead of using samples, just assign all the MIDI channels to the SY55 and use that instead. Also another thing that attracted me to this was that it’s at a good price, a third of the price of the Reface DX I just sold. So definitely worth exploring.

On the way out of the store I also saw my old keyboard, the Casio CTK-450 my first full size keyboard. I got this for my 13th birthday, I spent hours on this and learned a lot with it.


So the day we arrived back home, I got on with sampling the sounds of the SY55, I have them now and am looking up ways to change the Sound bank on it and put more sounds onto it. The same way I do with the TX7 and Volca FM2 using Dexed via MIDI.

Yamaha SY55 sampled onto Polyend tracker

Speaking of trackers, I recently released a video about different trackers on the Amiga. I did mention it before creating it and many of you were looking forward to it. In the video, I went through each of the ones I used on the Amiga back then and talk about why I’m so drawn to Soundtracker Pro 2. I also mention other trackers such as MODPlug Tracker/OpenMPT and Polyend Tracker, not to mention Synthesizers such as the TherapSID and DX7. It’s quite an involved video and I enjoyed creating it.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can enjoy it here:

I’ve actually created five tracks for my upcoming album already, I have to say I’m excited about it once again as I’m liking the feel of the ones I’m creating so far.

The Great Feast.

I’ve had a hectic few days, also a get together at the weekend. I cooked a feast of Middle Eastern food as well as freshly made pizza (including the base) for Rich’s daughter’s birthday get together. It was a lot of hard work but worth it as everyone loved the food and enjoyed themselves!

Family sat around feast

I had made freshly made falafel, hummous, chicken and beef kafta, salad with lemon and olive oil, fresh baked Arabic bread and fresh pizzas. Needless to say Rich’s daughter Alice, enjoyed her birthday very much <3

These are the left overs, the only proper chance I got to get a shot of the spread 😀

I definitely need to do this again sometime, maybe not in such a frantic manner this time as this normally would be a few days worth of dinners 😀
Rich said it’s the best falafel and hummous I’ve made to date. It’s amazing the difference freshly soaked chickpeas make. I think I’ll be doing that more instead of using canned.

I had better get on with some project work as I have plans for upcoming videos, not to mention continuing the next album.
Hope you all have a lovely evening!

13 responses to “Trackers, Synths, Feasts And Catch-Ups”

  1. Corey E Ostman avatar
    Corey E Ostman

    Oh my, all that food looks delicious!

    I’m following your advice and not updating the Polyend Tracker until they issue a bug fix release. It’s been super stable since I bought it and I don’t want to mess that up.

    I always lusted after a DX7 when they were new. When I got to see one in person last year my first thought was: whoa! this thing is HEAVY!! I don’t know about the DX7 II but the original is built like a tank and weighs about as much lol.

    Every once in a while I’ll toy with buying a Yamaha EX5. I think it’s underrated with all its physical modeling, but I don’t feel I have the time to keep it serviced. Besides, I’m satisfied with my piano, eurorack, Polyend and Moog. Less is often definitely more. I’ll get lost for an hour or two just sitting at the piano.

    Thank you for sharing, Maddi!

    1. Maddi avatar

      Thanks Corey, I’ve just read around int he groups that Polyend have said it will be 1-2 weeks till a hotfix is released. I can’t wait as the freezing is doing my head in. It freezes at a shrill sound that gets my ears.

      I get this feeling the DX7 is built like this SY55, this thing is heavy and seems to be built like a tank. It plugs directly into a wall which means it’s more Atari ST style, transformer inside it.
      (This made Rich happy him being an ST kid)

      You’ve made me curious about the Yamaha EX5 now, thing is I would love to explore synths without buying them lol I wish I had more people here who were into them. Less is definitely more and I think the buy sell thing is the best way, especially since I can sample for polyend use before selling on.

      It’s a pleasure Corey! Thanky you!

  2. Paul Δ. avatar
    Paul Δ.

    I’ve been eyeing the Korg Volca as well. Can’t wait to see what you do with it. Also the food looks very yummy!

    1. Maddi avatar

      if you’re into the DX7, I recommend it, as it’s literally a mini DX7 in module form. make sure it’s the Volca FM2, the second one as its got more features, the bank is 64 patches now instead of 32. You can even add patches to it using the fere dexed plugin and patches you can find around. You just gotta have a good USB MIDI interface that works.
      And thanks Paul 🙂

  3. Leigh Ryan avatar

    Amazingly, in the photo of the Casio CTK-450 (I started on a Casiotone CT-310 myself when I was 13!), below it on the wall is a Yamaha DSR-2000 which was the keyboard that followed my CT-310 and carried me through the end of high school and well into my university years. It’s so little-known (and, to be fair, relatively unremarkable) that even just seeing a picture of one in the wild was enough to make me catch my breath. 🙂 Thank you for that.

    1. Maddi avatar

      It’s a pleasure and I know you’ve just felt the same feeling seeing the Yamaha DSR-2000 as I felt when seeing the Yamaha CTK-450 after all these years, especially since both were our high school keyboards. 🙂
      It’s a pleasure Leigh and thank you.

  4. Paul Jackson avatar
    Paul Jackson

    Hi Maddi

    Five tracks for your upcoming album already? My goodness, at this rate, it’ll soon be a double album!

    I really enjoyed the video about your love for different trackers on the Amiga. I spotted those hearts you drew on the Soundtracker screen around Marco Nelissen’s eyes… very telling… hahah. 🤣

    So after watching I did give the FTM (Face The Music) tracker a look and loaded up the example module. Very entertaining!
    Wondering now if you shared the link as an intelligence test as it took me the longest time to figure out how to load a song. Just hope I wasn’t being timed! Just goes to prove your point about different UI’s affecting the workflow.
    That sample song is exactly the style of module that appeals to me! Hahahah. Thank you.

    That feast looked epic!

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Maddi avatar

      Hi Paul,
      Haha yes five tracks already, kinda starting on the 6th. I think after Paradox I’m just letting it flow.
      The Marco eye hearts, I was being facetious! Lol! If anything I probably have a crush on Soundtracker Pro 2 itself as a program as I can’t shut up about it lol! Okay this felt surreal to say, It’s too early and I havent had a coffee yet lol.

      FTM tracker it took me a while to load a module, it’s odd and the way the tracker doesn’t follow the song, I tried looking everywhere.. lol The mod, I knew it would appeal to you for sure. a small melodic part in the track reminds me of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Robots’ …But After thinking “what the actual ffff” to the rest of it, I read the dude’s readme and its a very weird story behind it.. i’ll let you find out yourself if you haven’t done so already :-))
      And no you weren’t being timed, it’s not the most intuitive UIs I suppose it doesn’t help that it’s not in English.

      I’m glad you liked the video though as I enjoyed making it 🙂

      Hope you have a great weekend also Paul!

      1. Paul Jackson avatar
        Paul Jackson

        Hahah, yes, the Marco screen was a great humorous touch to the video and I certainly meant my comment above as lighthearted teasing. Those added hearts did make me smile though, great addition to your point, and made it all the more amusing. 😀

        I see what you mean about the FTM Tracker not, um, well, actually tracking the song as it played. I agree it seems an important part of being a “Tracker” for it not to be the default setting!

        …and now I’m curious to look at that ReadMe file.

  5. Jason avatar

    Hiya Maddi ☺️ Much synthesiser and tracker goodness on the channel and in the blog at the moment and that is fantastic!

    I am also very stoked to hear that 5 tracks on the next album are already done and that will be a day one purchase for me like Paradox was when it came out.

    Those synths are wonderful and it’s just sounds you don’t get with modern systems and music software. The 80’s and the 90’s had such a distinctive electronic music sound that is so rich and vibrant.

    I am glad that you are blending so many musical techniques and using equipment from the past and the present to make tracks that are just so unique.

    It’s a joy to listen to and to discover the creative and technical process behind it all, truly fascinating.

    I’d like one table of all that amazing food please. Giant zip lock bag and ship it over to Ireland lol 😂

    Anyways, great blog entry and all the best to you, Rich, Mr Neelix and everyone there ☺️👍🏼

    1. Maddi avatar

      Hiya Jason, I guess my reply to this didn’t go through? I’ve only just come back here after a few days and saw it’s not posted. Now I gotta remember what I wrote, freakin computers lol.

      I hope you’re doing well, yes indeed 5 tracks done already and I sort of want to start again (you’ll know more of what’s going on in the upcoming post) it put a stop to everything and with good reason :-). And yes I do plan to use synths again in the later album. I think music creation has become more interesting for me in these recent years as it was Amiga tracker only before.

      LOL giant zip lock bag to Ireland. I would if I knew the postage company wouldnt eat them first ;-))

      I hope yourself and Fiona are doing well, greetings to you both 🙂

  6. […] This track I created on the Polyend Tracker, I didn’t use any synthesizers on this. however the samples which I did use were all sampled from the Yamaha SY55 which I bought last year. More about that in this post. […]

  7. […] a watch in the cash converter store where I got the Yamaha Sy55 Synthesizer. I actually wrote a blog post about it back then. Rich does so much for others but never gets anything for himself. I’ve […]

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