Shut Up & Play: Sounds Of The Sequential Trigon-6 Synthesizer

Sound designer Paul Schilling shared this talk-free tweak-a-thon with the new Sequential Trigon-6 synthesizer.

The Trigon-6 is a 6-voice analog synth that features the Sequential’s take on the classic Moog 3-VCO-plus-ladder-filter tone, in a modern polyphonic instrument design.

“I enjoyed spending some quality time with this instrument,” notes Schilling. “My intention in this video is to focus on the sound character of the Trigon-6 oscillators and filter (both 4- and 2-pole), with different oscillator volume settings and filter cutoff/resonance settings. After each change (osc volume or filter resonance), I adjust the track volume in order to keep the overall level somewhat consistent.”

He adds, “Since this is a sound design unit it doesn’t have the production knobs, which are much nicer!”

21 thoughts on “Shut Up & Play: Sounds Of The Sequential Trigon-6 Synthesizer

  1. One thing that impressed me was how much like an EML-101 this can sound in the 2-pole filter mode. More than anything else, this gave me clue as to how the oscillators may really sound. When I got to about 10:30 in the video I started having reminiscence “feelings” again, this time it wasn’t anything Moog. One of the filter sweeps occurring at about that point hit me like a lightening bolt. EML-101 ran through my brain, and did so for a number of times in succession as these sweeps continued. I found this a bit weird in that the 101 didn’t have a ladder filter, but I went back and listened a couple times and concluded that the character of the 101 was, indeed, there. I’m not so sure what this means, exactly. However, it was my continual mental comparisons of my 101 and my Mini that would lead me to select one over the other for any given lead line. The EML oscillators were definitely nowhere near similar to the Mini’s in the way they sounded raw. Personally, I believe that much of the difference in character between the two instruments was determined by the oscillators (at least as much as between the filters which would seem to be the most obvious place to look), and I think the oscillators on this instrument may sound a lot like those on the EML-101. My interest in this Sequential synth continues to grow.

  2. Its taken for granted now, but you couldn’t always latch a chord on a synth and then play it monophonically, an EDM favorite. In the stone age of the tech, EML released the Poly-Box. It did the same thing, when the Prophet-5 was new. IIRC, it only put out a semi-grainy saw-flavored sound, but it was enjoyably big for the time. Lead lines made from 5ths are so 20th century.

    1. I’m pretty sure that the Poly-Box came a bit earlier than the Prophet (1974 or 1975). It was an amazing little device. Basically, it was just a very accurate pitch follower (it used audio inputs) that controlled a simple divide-down organ-type “oscillator” to produce tones at intervals determined by the depressed keys on the Poly-Box. Its output was mono audio. Yes, the audio was grainy, but sounded a lot like the square wave raw (untreated) sounds that the vintage string machines made using similar technology. However, if you had a modular (or semi-modular) synth that could accept a 5V gate to control it, the illusion of a true polyphonic synth (although it would really be paraphonic or duophonic) was amazing, because you could route the audio out of the Poly-Box to a pre-filter mixer on a synth. If you triggered the synth’s filter and amp envelopes using the gate signal, you essentially had a multi-note paraphonic synth capability (limited by the 13 keys on the Poly-Box). Also, as you alluded to, Dave, at least in one mode the switches controlled by the Poly-Box keyboard could be latched. In that case, the output of the Poly-Box would be passive and present at the synth’s input mixer. Then as you played different notes on the synth the Poly-Box would follow them, and the synth would treat the input from the Poly-Box as it did any other source (e.g., oscillator) going into the mixer, giving you the gated chord effect you mentioned. It was a great little box but the most amazing thing about it was the accuracy of its pitch following circuits. For people stuck in the “voltage control” idiom (including the digital emulations thereof) it may seem odd that no voltage control was used in this device, making it compatible with any synth that had a relatively pure audio output source (e.g., an oscillator) and a way to route audio from the Poly-Box back to the synth before its filter.

    1. Be glad to live in an era where excellent synths can be found within a wide price range; there will always be stuff outside of your grasp; to whine about this is laughable at best. If you really want it, you could make a purchase happen after some saving up / selling old gear. You’re not entitled to anything; it’s up to manufacturers to figure out who they want to cater to. Not the other way around.

    2. You must be very young. Modern instruments are incredibly cheap compared to the early/mid 1980s. The original Prophet 5 carried a list price of $3,995. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $13,097. The bargain-priced Roland Juno-106 was $1,095 — $3,140 in today’s dollars.

        1. Yup. Electronics products used to be far more expensive decades ago. Do you remember when plasma televisions were $9,999 at Best Buy? I do.

        2. Look at in perspective, $7500 seems like a hell of a price tag for a diamond engagement ring, but that’s the national US average. Compare the utility of the two purchases. The synth will give you hours of pleasure and will maintain at least some of its current value when you decide to get rid of it. The ring, on the other hand, might lead to hours of pleasure, but after you find the person wearing it having sex with your best friend it becomes worthless!

        3. You can look at it from different angles: Is it expensive in comparison to what analog polysynths of the past used to cost? Absolutely not. Is it expensive if you are a professional musician that earns money with it? That depends on the money you will realistically make with the investment. Is it expensive if music is your hobby and you just want to tinker around with a nice new toy? That depends on your available income. Is it expensive in comparison to comparable instruments on the market? That depends on your personal definition of apples and oranges. So it might be too expensive for you, but affordable to the next person.

          1. This comparison with the past doesn’t work:
            once, it was a must to spend significant amounts of money to have a good synth, in the present this is no longer true. Today, a good vst emulation and a good mix will give you the same result at 1/100 of the cost. I mean that today comparing prices with those of the past is inadmissible.
            I believe that whoever buys a physical synth today is looking for a particular feeling with the instrument, already knowing that this idea is in total conflict with pragmatism and with one’s budget.

            The gear that I can take into consideration today is the one that competes with the software in terms of price/performance but in the physical version, I am referring to all the clones on the market (preamps, eq’s, compressors, synths, drum machines, etc)

            1. You’re looking at synths as electronic products, instead of as instruments, which makes a huge difference in your perspective.

              If you’re a hobbyist or someone looking for the cheapest way to make a sound, soft synths and knockoffs probably make the most sense for you.

              Most musicians that play seriously, though, value nice instruments, and appreciate and are inspired by the craftsmanship, the sound, and the experience of playing a great instrument. Every keyboard workstation you can buy has great piano sounds, but it’s nothing like playing a grand piano.

              If you’re looking at something like the Trigon or a Minimoog as a piece of consumer electronics, you’re missing the point.

              1. That’s exactly what I was trying to say, but you said it better.
                Basically we are talking about ideological choices, which have little to do with being “affordable” (as someone forcibly tried to write here)

                1. i wonder why the difference in cost between this, pro6,ob6 vs the rev2 16. more wood, separate voice pcbs, royalties to tom, better pots?
                  it cost double for half the voice count and 1/10 the features, is it really only manufacturing cost? we can all only guess…

    3. You don’t have to buy any hardware to be a musician. A mid-range laptop with a DAW is all you need to produce and release music. However, if you go into gardening, you will have to invest substantially in hardware, because you can’t mow the lawn with a plugin.

      1. lol, ok

        I have spent most of my life living in rural areas where the majority of my neighbors had gardens. No one ever had a “lawn garden”

        Made olive oil for ten years and did 5 Farmers Markets per week where other “farmers” and people with “gardens” would sell stuff from their um gardens…not one person in my ten years ever sold any lawn lol.

        Having had a quarter acre garden for a decade or so, when I think of “gardening” mowing lawns wouldn’t even be on my top 50 things related to “gardening”

        Bad analogy.

        I no longer have my orchards but still garden every day, and not one minute is spent mowing anything lol, due to ongoing drought we put in artificial turf 8 years ago. FWIW, mowing lawns is more related to landscaping, I know this because almost all the neighbors on our street hire guys with “landscaping” printed somewhere on their trucks to mow their lawns, not one truck says “gardening” anywhere on it lol.

        Other than that I agree about Puter/VST stuff.

    4. Uli Behringer….is that you? (its a joke and yes I buy Behringer products too, but this synth is not overpriced for what it is, especially in these times…. although I do wish for more keys)

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