Synth Jam With All The Bad Gear

Sunday Synth Jam: The latest video in synthesist Florian Pilz’s (AudioPilz) series, All The Bad Gear – described as “The show about the world’s most hated audio tools” – features a synth jam with all the bad gear.

Some of the gear featured has a popular reputation of being terrible; other gear has been criticized for design compromises like minikeys; and other gear is just cheaply made.

Gear used in the jam include:

  • Roland TB-3
  • Korg Electribe ER-1
  • Korg Microkorg
  • Alesis 3630
  • Akai Timbre Wolf
  • Roland TR-509
  • Alesis SR-16
  • Korg Volca Beats
  • Korg Electribe EA-1
  • Red Sound DarkStar
  • Yamaha DJX2b
  • Behringer Virtualizer
  • Akai Rhythm Wolf
  • Akai Tom Cat

Is any gear really ‘bad gear’? Or does it just need a good musician to coax the music out of it?

Check out the video and let us know what you think in the comments!

24 thoughts on “Synth Jam With All The Bad Gear

  1. Defo not about the gear but always about the musician. If that had been a blind test without knowing the instruments being used or being told it was a ‘bad-gear’ test, I’m fairly certain that most would not have been able to pick out many individual synths/drum machines/effects etc., and, not withstanding your personal opinion on the composition, most would agree it was a ‘good’ track.

  2. Sorry, but the Korg ER-1 and Volca Beats are legit awesome.

    The TR-505 sounds like crap but has a fantastic X0X sequencer and full MIDI so it still makes a great front end to drive a drum sound module (I used an Alesis D4).

    1. I used to use my TR505 to sequence basslines on my CZ101. This was way back when those were both current synths and not throwbacks. I had the drum notes set to a scale, it was very limited but it’s not like I’m Oscar Peterson.

  3. Not my bag musically, but well done! I remember when the original TB-303, SH -101, et al. were considered “ “cheap” gear…

  4. “Tom Cat” actually beeing very cool great sounding gear!
    The kick, snare and hats are superb!
    Noone noticed tho because the wolves where so cheesy.

    1. the tomcat is super limited but sounds great,especially if you put it through some analog OD or fuzz. I also have an ER-1 mkII that I use all the time. – also used to use the ER-1 a lot it is thin but useful

  5. I taught myself to scratch on the Yamaha DJX2B because my parents thought it would just be a phase and didn’t want me getting real decks at first. Twenty years later and the turntable is still the central instrument in my process!

  6. I think some of our “bad gear” expectations are built up on the premise that each box is supposed to do everything. It’s like criticizing the piccolo for not sounding like a double bass or kettle drums.

  7. “Bad gear” is a fallacy, spawned by the internet.

    I’ve used almost everything in the vid, and the only piece here that I could never get behind was the EA-1. The “dirty” sound he pulls from it is pretty much all it can do.

  8. Still using a macbook pro and an RME interface. Also, the 505 with custom roms *and* a modified compressor in the mix? Cmon bruh. Not even half-way bad.

    And the biggest BS: Actual Tesa gaffa tape, it’s at least mid-tier. heh. But seriously, this was fun.

  9. If you feel a piece if gear then that’s all that matters. I have a whole cupboard of stuff I used to like which I can’t be bothered selling now.

  10. The “Bad Gear” channel is a never ending font of good ideas with subpar equipment. Even when things don’t always pan out (like his Alesis compressor mod) it’s still a worthwhile exercise.

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