Friday, May 9, 2008

FLAME Clockwork: review pt. 2

Alright, I've had a few days worth of tinkering and fondling with the unit and I've gathered some more opinions and a few questions along the way.

You Don't Know Jack: Lets start with those lovely 3.5mm outputs. I have to award a gold star or two on quality. These have to be the most snug 1/8 sockets I've personally ever used. It actually takes a fair amount of force to get them out, I've even taken some pictures of this feat with and without a flash, there's no photoshopery (photoshop + tom foolery = photoshopery. its in the bible, look it up) going on here. I've had my fair share of modules (atleast in eurorack format) and one thing that always rings true whomever the manufacture is; over time you will have to do a little maintenance. Taking an hour (or 4, depending on your system) and one by one gently pressing each sockets contact plates inward slightly as they will loosen over time to give you those nifty, troublesome connections we all know and love.

MIDI will convert you: Throwing in a midi converter along with the package was a nice touch. I mean, they already had to write the code to have the unit sync to midi clock, why not go the extra mile an do use all a solid and add the converter? To be honest I would have probably still bought the thing had a converter been absent from the equation. I used the clockwork with just the MIDI at first, testing it as a control surface then as a sketchpad rhythm box. Both were easy to initiate and the unit responded well to fast as well as slow movements. I didn't notice any zippering or sluggish behaviors, yet another handy use to add to the collection! But this coin has two sides and as such while putting this little guy through his paces I came across two worrisome glitches that I hope are particular to my unit and not your own. (NOTE: I used all eight midi outs on my Emagic AMT8 as well as the thru's on my Doepfer A-190 and Future Retro Mobius. ALL connection paths achieved the same results) The first of two oddities was the CV output, Its pitch slightly fluctuated as if someone had left the mod wheel on a quarter of the way up. I also tried the exact same cables on the other two converters with no problems. Secondly the unit seems to have a begrudging disdain for keys E4 & F4. If this pair is pressed simultaneously you get a nice, sustained, warm & fuzzy feeling in your gut along with stuck CV and Gate settings. Thats a great feature. Here, let me show you.

Bits & Bobs: Again, I'm hoping its just my unit. Even so, I'm still in love with the Clockwork. I'm going to have to stash it elsewhere for a bit because its starting to be a crutch and just too damn fun to not mess with. Lastly, I'm not sure if this is a feature to this unit (or just something common all together with gear) but if you accidentally plug the midi cable that is supposed to be going to the "in" of your unit into the "out" it politely lights up all of its LEDs to half brightness regardless if it has power or not. Which I like to imagine, it its own special way is trying to tell you "...wrong hole fool !..."

So There you have It. Thats my honest, unfiltered, unbiased opinion. I hope I've been informative enough for you to come away with at least one thing new to learn about the unit. :)

1 comment:

Kosta said...

Great review! Sounds like so much fun... I just bought one used, but it doesn't have a power supply. Would you mind sharing the spec on yours? Their site says 12..14VAC, 500mA but I saw someone talking on a forum about the CV not working with a 12V power supply that they had.

Thanks for taking the time to write all of this up. Super helpful.