Bach On The Akai Timbre Wolf Looks Ridiculous, But Sounds Better Than It Looks


Bach – Canzona in D-Minor on the Akai Timbre Wolf from synthesizers

This video, via nonstoppicnic, captures an arrangement of Bach’s Canzona in D-Minor for the Akai Timbre Wolf.

The Timbre Wolf is strange and often misunderstood keyboard. It’s built like a tank, and has four analog synth voices. But the synth voice are very basic, and are configured essentially as four independent monosynths, which can make it awkward to use for standard polysynth tasks.

The video highlights this quirkiness, as the Timbre Wolf’s ’round-robin’ voice allocation makes it challenging to expressively control Bach’s individual polyphonic parts.

Here’s what nonstoppicnic has to say about it:

“I realize this video looks somewhat ridiculous. Playing this was kind of like playing a video game actually, because the Timbre Wolf does round robin so I’m basically chasing after and trying to anticipate the voices to make tweaks to them. Couple that with the fact that TW’s knobs don’t really change a whole lot, and it looks like these dramatic knobs tweaks result in nothing or subtle changes. But all that said, it does allow for some constantly changing articulations. I mixed in a little octave pitch up, vibrato from the awesome Airwindows, and some Valhalla shimmer.”

 

8 thoughts on “Bach On The Akai Timbre Wolf Looks Ridiculous, But Sounds Better Than It Looks

  1. It’s been much maligned, but I love my timbre wolf for what it is – a 4-track 303 style sequencer, a two octave keyboard, four sawtooth oscillators, and a few mediocre tone control knobs. For $100-$200 used you could do a lot worse.

  2. “But the synth voices…….are configured essentially as four independent monosynths, which can make it awkward to use for standard polysynth tasks.”

    Like the Oberheim SEM.

    1. Yes – it’s no SEM, but with better parts choices, so that the knobs offered a broader palette of sounds, the Timbre Wolf might have gotten a better reception.

  3. Working within its restrictions it’s a great synth. The only reason I sold mine was because I wanted just one synth with a broader pallet in my minimal setup. Interesting use of it in this video.

  4. Playing 4 independent voices polyphonically is one of the things that makes something like an Oberheim 4 voice, DSI Tetra, or Korg Mono/Poly, or a 4-voice modular so interesting.

    Musical quartets also typically use four different voices, though usually in structured rather than round-robin fashion. I expect modern workstation synths do something similar to simulate a string quartet, orchestra, or choir.

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