Synth Site: Elektron ESI AB: Sidstation: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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xonox a hobbyist user from canada writes:
This is one special machine, do not get this expecting it to make tb303 basslines or anything other machines can do... This synth sounds different, like the sid chip always sounded different than anything else. It can make really good sounds. I was programming the other and i thought i had used the 3 oscillators, but i was only using one in fact. Power to the PWM on this machine. Loads of interesting settings, the lfos are so complete, every screen in it has some welcome options... The interface is the best menu driven interface i ever used. Oh and you can use more than one filter mode at the same time, like using low-pass, hi-pass and bandpass at the same time, giving weird things... The bandpass filter on this is so trippy. I find it real hard to make static sounds with this machine, as soon as you change a couple of parameters, your sound becomes animated a bit with subtle chnages in it, this makes much more interesting sounds :)

the sid chip is noisy, but i think this noise is part of the character

feel free to email me if you have any questions

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-03-2001 at 14:40
bulldogge a hobbyist user from USA writes:
Well, I've had my SidStation for a week now, having gotten it for Christmas. While I ussually wait at least a month to review a synth, I think I've gotten a good enough sense of the Sid to review it decently--I've been playing it non-stop!

This is the most unique sounding synthesizer I have ever heard. No matter how you program it, it will allways yell out "SID". If you think Arps, Moogs or Nords have a distinctive character, well, you haven't heard anything yet. This could be seen as a bad thing, except that the sound of the Sid is pure funk. It's a lo-fi digilog beast, and if you have any appreciation for 80's computer game sounds, you will love the Sid. It can do great bass, it can do superb leads, and it can do excellent pads--nothing standard or boring, though. All the sounds just scream out for attention--this synth wants to be heard. Fitting in a mix unobtrusively is not for the Sid.

The architecture is quite deep. The oscilators sound great (8-bit lo-fi funk), and have many features and modulation possibilities--I really like that each oscilator has it's own amplifier envelope. The filter is excellent--it really grabs the sound and rearranges it. The filter envelope is really just top-notch, it can keep the sound changing and moving forever. The four LFOs have a large amount of modulation destinations, and can even be mixed together and modulate each other. You can make some really complex sounds, and while the routing possibilities are not quite in Modular territory, they are about as impressive as any hard-wired synth, IMO.

All of which brings us to the interface. This could be where Elektron has outdone themselves. I am not ussually good at figuring out menu editing and the like. But, I was able to access and locate every feature in the SidStation within a half-hour. Only a week later and I could program the Sid in my sleep--it is that intuitive.

If you can't tell, I am having a blast with my Sid. I just can't stop playing this beast. I'm sure as I use it more I'll find something I don't like or wish was different, but I don't think it will mater--I just love the sound of the Sid.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jan-01-2001 at 15:49
Dr. Whammo a professional user from USA writes:
:Whammo here:

Im not sure why some people are whining about the so-called noise level of the SIDstation. It is NOT your typical 'white-noise' variety... it is actually the faint sound of the oscillators running (amongst other unidentifiable chaos) because the filter on the SID never closes 100%. I have found this "noise" to be a PERFECT starting point of an ambient soundscape, or perhaps the icing on a bed of FX.

As far as the sound on this thing goes - it is so BAD ASS unique that it must be heard to be believed. This chip has come along way since the C64, and it is all due to the programmers at Elektron. You can go from needle sharp leads to ripping crusty bass with the turn of a knob. Alternately, you can go from silky smooth pads to blip-bleep chaos as well. The diversity of sound possible with this thing makes it hard to believe there is only 1 sound chip behind it all. The wavetable implementation is the kicker though... it will allow you to explore a literally infinite field of sonic timbres and textures, and once they are programmed, you can alter the speed in realtime for some freaked out fx. Throw in the onboard arpeggiator on top of it and you have a self contained music 'force' at the touch of one key. Play a little tune like this and it will BLOW YOUR MIND. It sure sounds like a hell of alot more than just 3 voices going. Again, only firsthand experience of this thing can show you the ULTIMATE POWER that is available.

The filter on this thing is what makes the SID a hybrid synth - because it is pure analog. The oscillators are phase-accumulated and digitally controlled, and they can generate sound that goes into the Mhz range!! No joke! Not very many synths out there can make that claim. The PWM on this thing is UNBELIEVABLE - it is a staple of the SID chip. The filter is very peculiar in that it "shreds" or "rips" the sound more than say, a moog, but it is a kind of sound that many people string 3 or 4 modules together to imitate. Again, you must hear it yourself to understand.

I cant say enough good things about this synth. If you are into electro music, or retro style 80's stuff - you will worship the SID like a God! It also fits in very well with the dance crowd and other techno stuff, and it could be the next king of industrial synths. I can see it fitting into other styles as well, but the main point is that it is a very DOMINANT and POWERFULLY PRESENT type of sound... which is a good thing. It can be made to be subtle, but usually the temptation to push it over the edge is just too great because the results almost always give you a sonic orgasm.

Enough ranting for now - :Whammo out:

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Dec-23-2000 at 15:52
amfreq a part-time user from usa writes:
in the time that i've owned my sidstation it hasn't functioned 100% very long. initially i had a problem with my radio shark bought psu, all the particulars were right...and i just figured it made a massive amount of noise as people had warned me of that, i promptly picked up a cheap microgate which works as it's suppose to. what was screwing me over was that if you indiscrepantly touched the plug of the psu that went into the sid it would reset itself and screw the memory(it also had odd occurence of lowering the noise if twerked just right). after awhile i was getting fed up with all the hum and buzzing, i took it upon myself to get things working as they should...cause the prediciment i was in surely couldn't be the end result of a properly functioning synth. i emailed elektron, and they clued me in that it may be the power supply. i also was informed that they were shipping psu's that would work as properly intended. after hearing this, and reading a few posts from the elektron list that some people have had shoddy solder connections in their sidstation which contributed to the iffyness of the psu(never could keep any patches for long, lost a lot!). so i took my sid apart and poked around at the inside where the psu jack is soldered while powered on. it didn't seem as if that were the problem, i also took the liberty of dusting out the inside of the psu jack which seemed to do a little good. finally though i just went ahead and bought the new official psu, and while being very small and compact, it also reduced a lot of noise i was getting from my psu. i have examples of the before and after noise up at the egroups site.if your using a powersupply other than the official one that now comes with the sidstation. you may actually be able to lower the noise considerably by picking up the now included supply(i suspect that the problem came from the very loose fitting plug, which was packaged as the specified 2.1mm diameter, i haven't had the chance to check if that is true). there are before and after mp3's up the at the egroups mailing list site on another note i recently fried my sid chip whilst repatching my equipment. strike number two. all in all i really like the sound of the sid, it can sound very video gameish(good good!), but once i got past it's video game homage it became a very sweet sounding instrument. i especially love soloing leads on the sid with a generous amount of portamento.....ooooh now that's just pure bliss.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Nov-10-2000 at 09:22
a professional user writes:
Actually, JMOpinion, the SID chip is inherently noisy - it's not Elektron's fault. I actually kind of like the noise on my Sid Ninja, since it adds a bit of low-fi character. Just run it through a noise gate and you'll be fine.

The main problem I have with my Sid is that the resonance on the filter isn't very well implemented. You can't assign it to a knob, and it doesn't seem very distinctive. But the box still rocks.

The Machinedrum won't have any noise, since it's based on DSP chips - Elektron claims that it will have three times the computing power of the Access Virus. Given the excellence of the SidStation, I'm hoping it will be up there with the 909 and the Jomox boxes in the league of drum machine excellence.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Nov-09-2000 at 23:17
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