I guess I’ll mainly skim through the features as the website above does a better job of detailing it all, I wanted to talk a little about my own experience with it and why I so quickly fell in love with it and feel the need to share / recommend it:
Analog phase modulation
3 Filters (two resonant, one VERY flexible)
37 LFO’s and 37 EG’s!
Vector morphing on an analog synth
There’s a whole bunch more than mentioned above so check it out on the website but the bit I’d really like to focus on is the digital brain behind it all.
Due to there being a lot of processing power in here and clever design, there’s been a ton of features added since it was initially released and since I bought mine back in March, the following ideas I suggested have all been implemented: microtuning, Audio rate LFO’s that track pitch, independent track lengths of the two sequencer lanes and being able to set the response of the envelopes between the extremes of LOG and LIN with 128 steps.
The LFO’s are one of my favourite features as you can create very complex patterns with them that are relevant to the structures within your music due to being able to set them in HZ.
It’s sad to me that this thing has largely gone unnoticed as it’s truly a labour of love of the designer and also it’s truly incredible and has brought me a lot of joy and I’m sure there’s many others out there that this thing would suit perfectly who are unaware of its existence and end up settling for something less suitable to them.
I’ve been making a bunch of demos to try and show off some of what it’s capable of, there’s also demos by the designer available on his website as well as his youtube but I initially found it very difficult to judge before buying so I have some bits on my soundcloud available:
Demoing / promoting is not something that at all comes naturally to me but I hope that this post finds people who’re looking for this kind of thing as it’s awesome!
I had the same question, downloaded the manual. looks like you turn whatever knob on the left you want to modulate and the screen will display its settings. The controls underneath the screen seem to switch context automatically so that tweaking them sets the modulation for that knob.
The UI is actually very well thought out, the designer didn’t want the synth to be a horrible menu divey experience, all menus are found by selecting the relevant parameter and hitting the left or right button by the main encoder, any setting is no more than like 2 seconds away.
You have an lfo per parameter but you also have 4 global lfo’s which can be accessed on top of that so you can have two lfo’s modulating each paramater, the envelopes are also loop able so they can double up as an extra lfo on top of that.
Setting the lfo speeds is very quick, they have huge range (up to 440hz in their default setting but they can be set to track pitch instead and they can go from around -36 to +36 steps) it generally doesn’t take more than a few seconds to dial in the speed I want and also there’s some very smart GUI features like the copy function which allows you to copy all the modulations from one parameter to another where you can then alter them, you just touch the pot of the parameter you want to copy, hit copy and then touch the pot of the parameter you want to copy it too.
One thing worth noting about the audio rate lfo’s this was a bonus feature he added on my request, they’re very well implemented but due to certain limitations, there’s some aliasing of the lfo’s starting around the 6th octave if I recall correctly but this in itself sounds very cool, analog sound modulated by digital aliasing!
Oh you also have some ridiculous amount of LFO shapes, something like 50 or more and you have an lfo designer where you can create your own lfo shapes which I’ve never seen implemented as deeply as it has been here, this feature came out the other day so I’ve not actually tested it yet but it looks very cool!
Prior to this I’d been considering getting into modular but after buying a semi modular I realised it wouldnt be financially possible for me as I’d always be wanting another vca or env or lfo or whatever, I also didn’t like not being able to save the patches I’d spent ages figuring out, the Motas-6 has fully satisfied me in what I was hoping to get out of modular but it can also interface very nicely with a modular system due to its 4 cv inputs.
If anyone ever has any questions or any particular demos they’d like to hear of this thing, let me know and I’ll what I can do!
thanks for sharing. I really love the sounds you’ve gotten out of it! The “Pi Drone” track sounds like it could be on a boards of canada record. I’d be curious to hear some short percussive sounds with the noise generator and stuff. I also like the screen ui. it has a sort of elektron look to it.
I started poking around the website and got to the history section of the website, https://www.motas-synth.uk/history.html … I see what you mean about labor of love, that the designer has been iteratively working on this mono synth design for 25 years!
Thank you, I’m happy you like them! It’s so difficult to know where to begin showing this thing off as I generally feel like it’s capable of it all, I’m actually going to buy a second one after I sell a few bits and the two of them would honestly have my satisfied as a sort of strange polysynth.
About the BOC reference, this synth seems very good at nailing those kinds of sounds, it has a bit of a dusty / organic character to it that fits very well into those kinds of sounds but it can also do clean and energetic ones very well too! I’ve got some USB noise bleeding from my sequencer currently which shows up more when I do darker sounds but I’ll be sure to demo that side of it too.
I’ve been meaning to do some kind of evolving / percussive sequence on this thing and I’m working on some more demos right now so I’ll get to work on that as soon as I finish recording the bit I’m doing, I’ll try and get it so that it moves through a great range of percussive stuff.
I email the designer (Jon) quite regularly as we’ve been discussing ideas for it quite a bit, he’s a really lovely guy and quite the genius when it comes to this stuff (as you’d imagine after working with it for 25 years) but he also works with stuff that translates well in his day job so he has a ton of relevant experience for this.
I’ll probably dedicate my studio time today to doing demos for this again and then will probably take a break for a while until I get the whole USB noise issue sorted so if anyone else has anything they’d like to hear, feel free to let me know!
Slept on it, revisited today. This still seems super dope. I could use a poly synth but love mono synths. This seems like a good way to have both. I’m not a good keyboard player so 3-note chords is probably all I’ll ever need. And then this thing does a billion other things. Love the drone demos and the paraphonic demo. The filter demo is also really good, it can get really squelchy and expressive. The screeching, overdriven sounds near the end are sweet.
It’s the most special thing I own to be honest, I definitely don’t think you’d regret it! I love the way I can get it to interact with my sequencer too…
Got another demo here:
I’ve made a percussive loop thing too which I’ll record now, It’s largely garbage but it does show off some of the percussive timbres that can be had, It’s a mostly generative loop so it’s constantly changing and there’s some worth while sounds that pop out now and then out of the sludge haha…
Will post shortly!
Edit: And here’s the percussion video, like I said not the best but it’s quite an interesting approach to percussion synthesis, you can make various patches that generate unique sounds and then later cut the ones you like out and put them in your sampler.
The Motas-6 is also great for all your typical percussion sounds (kicks, claps, snares, toms and hats! probably one of the best synths for hats!) But to demo this would be quite a bit more time consuming for me to individually synthesise them all.
I’ve got a few more demos here for you, Just waiting on my usb isolator to arrive so I can demo some darker basses without any whine from my sequencer’s usb showing up.
Both of them vary a bit as the recording goes on but can maybe be a bit of a pain to listen to for a long time haha! can be worth skipping through a bit to catch some of the variations… Especially on that second video, it’s kind of split into 3 sections where the modulation intensity deepens and patch changes a bit each time.
Edit: I’ve got another demo here, someone on another forum asked for some filter sweeps so I tried to capture a whole bunch of different settings for some sweeps, I hope people here get as much enjoyment out of them as that one person did
Jon’s begun posting over at GS forums, he just posted about the latest update to the Motas-6 firmware and I thought I’d share it here:
"New Motas-6 firmware v0113 is now released!
Get it from https://www.motas-synth.uk/downloads.html
Be sure to check out the updated user guide too.
I’ve added full patch editing during vector-morphing and those expanded modulation options (via M1–M4)… and quite a few other features and tweaks (full listing in README.txt file with the firmware).
Also MotasEdit is updated to v1.08, adding PC keyboard control of slider values and recognises latest new Motas-6 LFO waveforms (from previous firmware release)
Pretty huge update, have gone from being able to have 2 lfo’s per parameter to 6… pretty insane! Also a feature not mentioned in the summary that’s pretty interesting is the ability to trigger the randomise patch function via a midi message so you could use that now for some pretty interesting generative approaches, I’ve got some ideas for this which I’ll record soon when I get a chance… If anyone has anything else they’d like to hear from the Motas, let me know and I’ll try my best!
I’m beyond pumped to hear that my 2nd Motas is now finished and tested and ready to ship that that I’ll have it some time next week! I opted for the silver one this time as my studio’s already completely mismatched and I’m a sucker for shiny things… and imo it looks really nice!
Can’t wait to begin exploring the potential of two units, Have been reading into the psychoacoustics of stereo sounds which is very interesting, I’m curious as to what I’ll be able to do with Motas-6 in stereo!
Jon also mentioned in the email that he’s going to continue work on the new firmware this weekend and that he should have it ready some time next week… He’s making it so that when a pot is selected (done by touching it) and you turn page lock and value lock on, The entirety of the modulation section will be mapped across the front panel for easy tweaking, Pretty great! Will make it a lot more intuitive to find the ton of sweet spots this thing has
That’s it for me now in regards to buying new gear… If I want anything more I’m going to have to build it my self! (or maybe I’ll some day down the line I’ll justify a third one )
I’ve also got some more recordings of this thing I thought I’d share:
Also my second Motas arrived a week ago and I’ve been obsessively programming the two of them in any bit of free time I’ve had. The more I use them, the more I begin to question if I need any other gear than these two as it’s all starting to get less and less use and feels a little pointless to reach for in comparison.
Here’s a few things I uploaded using the two of them:
Hey everyone, been a while since I posted anything as I’ve had a very busy few weeks but I’ve got some stuff recorded from a few weeks back… Nothing that perfectly shows off the Motas (struggling to figure out how to do that as it’s sound potential seems to be pretty much infinite!)
I’ve got a bunch more to share too once I get around to uploading them although I’m running out of space on soundcloud so not sure what to do there…
How are all you other Motas users getting on? I’d love to hear what other people are making with theirs… I can’t help but feel my own musical taste is probably not what most people are into so would love to hear from someone who has a more classic taste in synth sounds would make with this.
I’m still constantly amazed by what the Motas can do, especially now that I have two of them and it’s great to hear that Jon has a lot of interest in exploring features that could be added for use with 2 or more units… It’s kind of funny but I’ve ended up generally using the two Motas in place of what I’d normally use a poly synth for, I generally like very textured pads and the Motas can just do so much more than anything else I have in that way. Wish more people would take a leap of faith with this thing as everyone I know that has, has been blown away by the sound and features.
I’ve got another few recordings of things I’ve used the Motas in a few weeks back, got around to going through stuff and thought I’d share, Some of the recordings are the Motas in isolation and some are the Motas(s) in little song sketches.
Oh, I don’t know if it’s been posted but I saw someone mention on a forum that detroit modular will soon be stocking the Motas in the US so anyone who’s been interested over there now has it a little easier
I’m planning on doing a workflow video to give an idea of how it is to patch on this thing, do people prefer videos with someone talking about what they’re doing / the synth in between sounds or is it better that everything’s described in text?
So inspired by a video I recently watched and also a trick you can do on the SY77 I decided to try and see if you could get something like wavefolding out of the Motas-6 using the PM section and I got some pretty amazing results which are drastically different from anything else I’ve heard out of the Motas until now. Anyone who’s got one, I recommend you give the following a try and have a play about with various settings as there’s a lot of range to it.
You want to create a chain of phase modulation from 1 > 2 > 3
Osc 3 as the carrier set to lowest possible pitch and set to a triangle wave
Osc 2 is turned right down, its pitch is set to 0c
Osc 1 is turned right down and you can vary the pitch to focus on various harmonics much the same way you would on an FM synth
I’m definitely hearing wavefold timbres coming out of this but the oscillators can’t be turned down to 0hz although they get pretty close so there is some movement to the sound you’d not hear on something like the 0-coast.
Very nice bonus thing to have in this synth, I recently bought a synth just for its wavefolding ability but I’m now probably going to be selling that as I’m happy enough with what I’m getting from the Motas, the wavefold timbres are maybe not as clear but there’s also a LOT more range and possibilities in what you can do with them.
I’m thinking I’ll probably make my first video on the Motas around this discovery as the sounds are WILD
I made a couple of videos showing off a few unusual things about the Motas recently and thought I’d share… My hopes with this videos as opposed to my demos on soundcloud was to give an idea of how it feels to program the Motas as at a glance it could seem overwhelming with all the available features but my experience with it is that everything is very intuitively laid out and there’s a lot of things implemented that help improve the patch making process (such as the copy button, resetting a value with the up/down button, and the map modulation to pane function by turning on page and value lock) After spending a couple weeks programming this thing, it’s muscle memory and the main limitation after that is just your own imagination in how to combine all the various possibilities.
Video on using the hpf resonance mode on lpf1 and combining it with a particular filter routing, all sound is coming from LPF1 but the HPF and LPF2 are routed in a sort of loop:
Video on achieving wavefold-like timbres using the phase modulation section by setting the carrier VCO to either sub or supersonic levels (in the demo I use supersonic):
Polychaining is the biggest new feature, see the list below for full details of this update.
Please read the updated user guide for more info.
CHANGE HISTORY LOG:
FEATURE: New polychaining of multiple Motas-6 units for polyphonic playing.
FEATURE: New intelligent MIDI OUT merge function, required by polychaining
FEATURE: New options to transmit patch and global settings on various pages (especially useful with polychaining).
FEATURE: New infra- and ultra-sonic modes for VCO2 and VCO3 primarily for use with phase modulation to allow carrier suppression.
FEATURE: New CV option to send MIDI CC codes
FEATURE: Changed portamento values to display time or rate instead of arbitrary units.
FEATURE: When patch is reset to default the parameter mappings now also reset.
FEATURE: Improved SysEx sending routines to lock-out other data when sending
FEATURE: New MIDI diagnostics display option to show last 16 events as HEX values.
FEATURE: LFO pitch now changes by 1 octave in pitch/note track mode when using encoder pushed.
FEATURE: Improved keypress handling on menus
FEATURE: Increased update and sending rate of CC mapping real-time control.
FEATURE: Added NRPN control and parameter mapping for portamento, note-off tracking, LFO sync MIDI and pitchwheel sensitivity.
FEATURE: Disabled sending of NRPN data when MIDI CC data is sent for a parameter in the parameter map.
BUG-FIX: Fixed error in mapping text display garbled.
BUG-FIX: Removed always sending MIDI CC from CV data.
BUG-FIX: Fixed some NRPN parameters being sent with the wrong codes.
BUG-FIX: Fixed calibration routine for noise source intensity reporting FAIL incorrectly."
Pretty huge update, excited to give that polychain stuff a go but there’s also so much else in this update that I’m excited for
I’ve had a bit of a new realisation on the power of the Motas, there’s such a great range of analogue features couples with a ton of digital control that you’re able to do a lot things with it that go beyond what you’d immediately think to do with it… I thought I’d share two examples I’ve done so far:
I made a 303-like patch where I modelled the accent by turning on / off various envelopes on various parameters to try and capture that sound, I think it’s still a way off and there’s things that could be done to improve it which I will do in time but thought I’d share a recording done demoing it:
I also realised that the Motas could become an incredible multi voiced drum machine due to the amount of VCAs there are in here, this example is my first attempt at something like this on it but was impressed at how quickly I could get some decent results from it and also how much shaping can be done with things like filter fm, AM, feedback, distortion, overdrive etc…
I’ve had some ideas for some features that could really improve the Motas in this regard which have a good chance of making their way on to this thing, if they do, I’ll share an updated example of what can be done with this kind of thing with those new features.