Some demo songs say “I’m cheesy, please buy me.” “I’m trying desperately to sound like the current genre of the moment.” This one says something different. It shouts: “Greetings. I’m the Dominion 1. You might not know me – but you should. I am awesome. I am your new best friend. I am what you covet – I am what you shall have, because I will be yours. Together, we will triumph. We will quest together through the party times, and the world will go our way in ways that surprise even us. People will gather around us, and love will vibrate through the air. For I am an analog synth that’s not like the others. And this is my song. Sing it with me.”
Wait – back up. What’s the MFB Dominion 1? Well, if you caught the coverage of any trade show in the last two years, you might have seen some mention of it – it’s a boutique piece, and it’s been (cough) a work in progress. It is, however, now really close to being available, it seems – soon.
yapacc aka Uwe George Giegler, who produced this synth-demo anthem, is not only a groovy music maker. He’s also the fearless leader of Berlin’s MFB. That might not be a household name like Moog or a big brand like KORG, but MFB has been consistently putting out really special boxes. (Think the underrated Tanzbär and 522 drum machines, each of which could hold its own against the much-vaunted Roland AIRA TR-8, or the beautiful, budget Nanozwerg synth, as well as a nice set of modules.)
The Dominion 1 has our attention partly because so much of the synth world has lately been around tiny monosynths – or, at the opposite extreme, ridiculous high-end monstrosities. The Dominion 1, by contrast, is the mid-budget four-door sports sedan of analog synths. It’s got loads of personality and more than enough power, with a balanced set of features:
- 3-octave keyboard (from Fatar), with velocity and aftertouch
- Arpeggiator/sequencer with preset storage
- 3 VCOs with waveshaping and both analog/digital ring modulation
- Dual-sync and “dynamic” dual-FM (that is, both VCO2 + 3 can be synced with VCO1, and you can also modulate VCO3 from VCO1 and VCO2 and the LFO and the envelope)
- Stable tuning, digitally controlled
- Noise oscillator
- Multi-mode filter with discrete components. 12 modes – four low pass, four bandpass, two highpass, two bandstop filters, all with different slopes.
- Modulate the filter with anything, via MIDI or analog or envelopes or keytracking or other modulation sources – resonance included.
- Patch panel with CV integration for you owners of other analog gear
- A velocity routing matrix – this is clever, as of course, it’s the closest-available input, always literally at your fingertips
- 3 LFOs, two with a one-shot function and reset for extra performance/rhythm options
- 3 envelopes with long-throw faders
- Analog control panel, internal power supply
- MIDI in, out, thru jacks – and MIDI dump
- 26 inputs and outputs, so you can make this the center of your studio (including loads of other MFB gear)
Cost is 1380 €, excluding VAT.
Now, you’ll have to do some multitracking to get the sound in that demo. That’s 21 tracks of Dominion 1. But, hey, you can produce a whole track (or record) on this thing – and be pretty happy at the end of it, I imagine.
More information (Deutsch):
http://www.mfberlin.de/Produkte/Musikelektronik/DOMINION_1/dominion_1.html [warning - Web design I'll call... "vintage"?]
And loads of videos:
Since we have to wait a little longer for this synth, though, let’s enjoy the live synth disco goodness of yapacc with Souki (aka Carina Lohmeyer):