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Dennis Ristow

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About Dennis Ristow

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  1. I was in the market for a string synth and stumbled on one of these on the instrument selling page Reverb.com. After doing a bit of research and watching some of the videos linked here, I took a chance on it. So glad I did. This thing is just fantastic sounding. Though it is only a preset machine, the fact that it is FM synthesis means that it does a few things OK and a few things damn near perfect. String sounds are OK, and with the ensemble mode on, plus running thru almost any reverb guitar pedal, it sounds really sweet. It really filled my want for a good Solina type string sound, without the crazy price tag. It's not a perfect Solina copy since you can't adjust the attack, and a sustain pedal really only gives you one speed of release time. All the sounds are played with an organ gate envelope, On/Off only with a bit of decay rather than full sustain using a pedal. The things FM is know for are EP sounds, horn sounds, and bass sounds. EP sound is OK, but not great. It could do a job in a pinch but I wouldn't want it as my main EP. The horn/woodwind sounds (both mono and poly versions) are incredible! and so are the bass sounds. The keyboard is velocity for volume and brightness, and there is a second touch, which is a bar that is set below the initial key strike that runs the entire keyboard. If you push down on the keyboard hard enough to press into this sensor, and then play another key, you'll "feel" the vibration into the first held key. This is their version of Aftertouch for volume, brightness and vibrato depending on the preset or the manual adjustment sliders. One correction to the above description. The wheel on the left is not a pitch bend wheel. It is available only to mono sounds, is active via a push button above the wheel, and controls a legato portamento glide time, high note priority. Takes a bit of getting used to, but it is an extremely expressive instrument. It says they listed new at around $1,300 or the same price as a DX 9 a year later, also with 4 operator FM voice engine. It also predates midi so no midi control in or out. I'm now on the lookout for it's brother, the CE25.
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