I recently discovered Gotharman’s instruments and the Little Deformer 3 has piqued my interest- it seems like the culmination of all the things he’s put out (granular sampling, mono/poly synths, out-there effects, etc) in a nice small package. The only downsides I can see are a potentially steep learning curve and that it is super expensive, especially with all the bells and whistles.
I’ve read through more pages of the various MW threads than I’d like to admit, but I’m curious if anyone here can chime in with any experience with the LD3 or any of the earlier iterations?
I was a brief owner of a LD2. Loved the effects and real-time control over what you were doing. I really did not like the learning curve, the button combos, the limitations of the sequencer. It was either very difficult or impossible to delete samples and adding samples. I could not figure out a way to integrate it into my setup. Used it standalone in a few things but sold it pretty quickly.
I think some of what was happening with the machine was ahead of its time, one of the first granular offerings as far as i know, but other parts - the display, the sequencing, the storage all felt from an earlier time.
Always intrigued by the Gotharman stuff. Was seriously considering the device that did the LD effects only, but it was beyond what I was willing to pay.
I love my deformer 2 which ive had for several years now…I can say that his instruments do not require alot of manual reading to get going but the sheer depth of capabilities and different ways of incorporating it all is immense…there are just soo so many curious goodies in there…nothing else sounds like it…and I love boxes like that…
I think hes one of the most interesting electronic music instrument makers of our time that is also at the cutting edge on his own terms.
Totally agree, I have an LD1, the black version. There’s a world of scope for sound generation, it’s a really unique raw sound that I warm to nothing else sounds like it. I use mine mainly as a synced effects processor. The learning curve is really pretty straightforward…after using an Octatrack though everything seems straightforward
i love my LD2. it’s the 3rd time i bought one - just wasn’t using it that much at the time and it became a part of downsizing, but missed it a lot.
it’s certainly a beast with its own character, which is probably the main reason i love it. it’s got that “ghost trapped in a machine” thing going for it, especially when using the effects. i don’t use it as a sampler, so can’t comment on that, and iirc pitch sequencing is possible but fiddly. i use mine mostly as a weird drum machine (love the samples that come with it for this purpose).
it has a built in synthesis as well with variable waveform oscillators, so you’re not limited to samples. and it has a built in distortion / compression / filter bank (which i haven’t tried yet!). i find it not that difficult to use, once you get used to navigation. ha, sorry about the button combos - afraid that was my idea ) i asked for it because before you had to use inc/dec to get to a page, so having a button combo for main pages saves a lot of time. iirc there are no other button combos.
this is another thing i love about it, flemming is incredibly responsive, his support is above and beyond. i just really appreciate somebody who has a passion and a vision and continues creating awesome, weird, inspiring instruments.
kinda relieved LD3 is so different - i really like LD2 as is (although i love the look of LD1 limited edition!)
Since it has not been mentioned, Deformer plus the cv expansion is next level. CV controlled swing on your patterns…Hell yes!
Lately ive tuned the Delay effect into a weird as hell synth with full cv control and saved that as a preset so its just ready to go with whatever plugs in.
Even just for connecting random cv/midi together which may not be possible otherwise its a useful utility.
Thanks for everybody’s input- I placed an offer on a used LD2! Honestly, I just can’t justify the price tag on the LD3 right now, but seems like I’m in for a good time regardless. I’m especially curious to see how the LD2 pairs with some of the Norns/Grid MIDI scripts!
I regret selling my LD2 some time ago. With a bit of time, I found the button combos to work just fine - I think I may have put more energy into getting comfortable with it because it was so eccentric and kind of likeable for that reason. And I always liked how it sounded. The LD3 is really tempting, but you won’t regret the LD2 at all.
I’m reviving this thread, because I have just acquired a Little Deformer 3 and it’s blowing my mind Haha! What a wonderful and crazy beast!
As it was already stated here, the Little Deformers are complex, which is why I never dared to get an LD2. However the LD3 has a really well done interface now, without many button combinations and with a rather flat menu structure for its massive feature set. After reading through sections of the manual while waiting for it to arrive and then playing with it for two hours on the couch, I already felt quite at home.
Here’s a first jam session video:
… and a video blog, in which I talk about what this thing can do, what the hardware options are and how the interface works (skip to 9:30 for a UI overview, or to 13:40 when I make a quick simple beat)
The touch screen works really well, but because of the pots and the easily accessible “menu quick jump” buttons, one doesn’t have to rely on it constantly and just whenever it feels natural. The only time you really need to press two buttons at once is when selecting or muting parts and you can make this a toggle too now, so the part selection or part mute function stays active.
I hope more people will check the Little Deformer out now. The price is certainly not low, but the capabilities are incredibly extensive and the build quality is top notch.
Thanks for the overview and videos… or no thanks, as now I’m significantly poorer.
The granular focus of this device is what convinced me the most - I’ve been interested in granulator hardware for some time. Eurorack has some good stuff (I use g0, Reflex LiveLoop, Gotharman’s standalone Pitchshaper module and Mimeophon currently) but nothing on this level. This also offers more functionality than e.g. the otherwise very attractive GR-1. A workstation indeed.
It reminds me very much of Octatrack, but with eight-note polyphony and an entire range of granular (and other) effects and modulation, and, well, that was all I needed to know. Blackbox sold, LD3 ordered. I nurture some hope that, if it works for me, I’ll come to scale back the Eurorack substantially and recoup some of the expense.
Hey, thanks for watching the videos! Which configuration of the LD3 did you order?
I was also very interested in the Blackbox, but with the funds I got from my own Eurorack & more sell-off, I went for the LD3 instead and am really happy with it. You‘re right about the Octatrack feeling. I get that as well. It‘s like a mix between that one and an Electribe, but with added functionality and a smaller footprint on the table. I tried out live sampling/looping yesterday and that‘s really well done too.
P.S. just for keeping this thread updated on the video front, here‘s my granular overview video:
… and today I was using the LD3 to trigger and modulate some 5U modules:
I ordered it without optional components. I dislike blue LEDs and don’t require the larger chunk of sample memory (famous last words). I’m interested in the analogue filterboards, but was unwilling to spend any more on the thing just yet. I gather it’s possible to add one later if desired.
Especially now that I’ve watched your video there, demonstrating the granular elements of the sampler slots, I have no doubt that this machine will bring me great joy. So thanks for that! I generally dislike menu-heavy stuff, but am prepared to put in the effort for all that this device offers. I love that rather archaic, no-frills UI.
Haha, yeah, the UI is not overly beautiful in it’s design, but it’s actually quite functional. I’m also very happy that the menu diving isn’t that bad either, because the “FUNC” mode step buttons take you to the most used menus immediately.
But let us know how you like it when you received it
Fellow Ld3 user here…got his after having the ld2 for a couple of years…which I still have although its not getting any use since I got this late last yearat. I do miss a couple of things on it that did not make it on to the LD3. Hopefully some of those can be added back. Some key ones that I miss tho are the mod matrix wheras the ld3 has dedicated modulation slots, so no more sending 5 things to control 1 thing which I did do alot of espesh with CV. And yeah speaking of CV I miss the physical knob attenuation of the old annax.
Im liking the LD3 alot and its slowly creeping its way into compositions. The polyphonic and stereo capabilities are pretty crazy coming from the old one. Its littered with features that absolutely no “groovebox” would ever have. Its a tweakers device just like the ld2 and rewards really getting inthere and programing ur patch just like a modular synth. Although surprisingly there is good deal of unique instant gratification to be had in true weird gotharman style. When I first got it I would just do these epic polyphonic drone jams using the on screen keyboard…y modulation and using the morph knobs default setting which just returns all params to their init position. This yielded some uniquely insane sounds that kept me well satisfied till I felt like digging deeper…and ever deeper it goes…
The gain staging of the device is very sensitive and one needs to keep things really low to avoid clipping. Although more often than not you eventually lose that battle. But gotharman sounds like no other device and always adds a nice contrasting flavour in an ensemble…I can only describe it as reveling in the digital nature of itself but with a most unique analogue feel. its the most analog sounding digital device i have used.
I got mine with all the bells and whistles barring blue leds and expanded sample memory.
CV is an absolute must if you ask me. Also since I use bugbrand and buchla having a cv input range upto 12v is appreciated. I got the VCF2 and VCF 8 filterboards.
I received my LD3 mkii a couple of days ago and have been getting to know it in brief spurts of free time ever since. Even without the useful button shortcuts, the menu system is far easier to navigate than I’d expected. And it looks fantastic; I’ve nothing at all against the informative, no-frills layout.
The possibilities of this device with patching, routing, processing and modulating are mind-boggling. I’m amazed and delighted. I look forward to developing some fluency with the controls.
In addition to the manual, your videos, @NightMachines, have proven helpful with figuring out a few things. Thank you for that! I’m still not quite sure why the only sample I’ve tried so far imported in stereo and auditions in stereo, but remains resolutely mono in the bus. But yeah. Great times. I’ll be scaling my eurorack a great deal after this. I’m sure I’ll be adding the analogue filterboards later as well.