Top 5 Mini Synths

Synths are a producer’s best friend that hold many capabilities including sequencing drum machines, performative effects, sampling etc. These small pieces of hardware are extraordinarily versatile with any studio set-up and are not going to break the bank either. Through our advanced Synthesis Course you can learn the ins-and-outs of synths to expand your scope of music production/Djing.

…it’s become increasingly apparent that it’s not necessary to spend a small fortune to buy yourself a small, yet highly functional piece of hardware.

This post is inspired by the famous, for all synth specifications click here.

1) Korg Monotron series

Korg series
Small, practical, and powerful. These analog synths by Korg are battery powered that feature built-in speaker and mini jack audio output. The Original, Dual oscillator, and Monotron Delay synths all have their own distinctive personality which adds to the uniqueness of the Monotron collection. Watch the video below to learn the exact differences between the Monotron Synths.

2) Bleep Labs Nebulophone Synthesizer

Bleep Labs Nebulophone Synth
This synth Bleep Labs is small, but do not let that fool you. This synth packs a punch, with its 10 individual keys it spans the capabilities from switching between chromatic modes to modifying between eight different wave lengths. For more information watch the video below.

3) Gakken Analogue SX 150 Synthesizer

Gakken Analogue SX 150 Synth
Simple and affordable, this Gakken Analogue SX 150 Synthesizer uses the sylus to control the pitch. Some criticism is that, with the stylus, you are limited, but with a few cords you can attach this cool synth to a MIDI controller and have no limitations. Watch the video below for a quick demo on the capabilities of this synth.

4) Korg Volca Series (Volca Beats, Volca Bass, Volca Keys)

Korg Volca Series (Volca Beats, Volca Bass, Volca Keys)

This version of Korg Volca Series comes in there different forms. The Volca Beats, Volca Bass, and Volca Keys. Below is a video that demonstrates and explains the differences between the three designs.

5) Mutable Instruments Shruthi 1 Kit Synthesizer

Mutable Instruments Shruthi 1 Kit Synthesizer
This synth is a hybrid that blends digital with analogue in the form of a simple box. Along with these features this synth has a 16 step sequencer, a comprehensive arpeggiator and modulation matrix. Watch the video below to get on in-depth idea into this hybrid synth.

Learn the techniques behind using synths and broaden your music production/Djing horizon by taking out Synthesis Course.

Contact Sarah at 617.849.9321 for more information regarding enrollment and availability.

Mmmmaven is Thankful for YOU

Believe it or not, Black Friday sales are not just for department stores. This year, Mmmmaven will be joining in on the post-Thanksgiving festivities with 20% off ALL COURSES! Whether you’ve never touched a turntable and want to start from the beginning, or you’re a pro and are hoping to develop a career, NOW IS THE TIME!


Classes are small, giving students plenty of individual attention, and are taught by the best DJs and Producers in Boston. Students are set up with a their first live gig right after graduation, and get 20% off all services after their first course.

MMMMaven is the best thing that happened to me. Excellent institution for people who are interested in learning DJ skills. I highly recommend everyone.

Courses include DJ 101, DJ 102, a full DJ program, Music Production 101, Music Production 102, the full Music Production Program, the Master Program, plus Youth Programs during the summer and school year.

Contact Sarah to check out the studio and find out what class is right for you:

The Best Reverbs for Dance Music

Reverb is one of the simplest audio effects around, but also one of the most vital tools to bring dimension and realism to recorded audio. Nowadays almost any environment can be recreated or imagined with digital convolution reverb software, but there are several different methods and devices that give convolution a run for its money. Attack Magazine complied a list of the top reverbs for dance music, so we took a look through to figure out what exactly makes a good dance music reverb.

Among the contenders is one of the most advanced digital software units, the Audio Ease Altiverb.

It is the original convolution reverb unit, the technique that utilizes impulse responses of actual environments to model the environments acoustic qualities with stunning accuracy.

Users can even record and share their own impulse responses for anyone to use. The only downside is that fine tuning impulse response reverb is less intuitive than other methods of reverb, but convolution is certainly the most versatile.

Bricasti M7 Reverb Unit

Another category of reverb units featured in the post are digital hardware units. They use digital processing and algorithms, but are tactile and intuitive. The Bricasti M7 looks like a standard studio rack effect unit, but inside its rectangular metal box is an incredibly powerful digital reverb machine. Bricasti has some of the world’s cleanest convolution and algorithm based reverbs, and they can be tactfully fine tuned with the sleek designed rack unit.

EMT 140 Plate Reverb

The oldest, but most iconic reverb belongs to the behemoth known as EMT’s 140 plate reverb unit. It boasts a large metal plate, suspended by springs, which audio is tranduced through and then received by pickups to create a realistic, yet imperfect sounding ambiance. Its imperfections actually give it its much sought after unique character and sound.

To view all of Attack’s reverb suggestions, click through to the article and then take a look at our courses to make sure you don’t wash out your mix with too much reverb.

Mmmmaven upgrades to Serato DJ

serato scratch live

Serato has made massive improvements to their famous DJ software, and we have decided to hop on board and make the switch from Scratch Live to Serato DJ. So what does this mean?

First off, your Scratch library, as well as many other functions (Auto Loops, Loop Roll, Reverse, iTunes support, etc) are still available on Serato DJ. You can even still use the Serato Control Vinyls! Aesthetically, the features might have changed (everything looks so sleek!) but your favorites are still there for you.

Now for the new things:

More cue points (8 vs 5) – More cue points means more control over your set.

FX powered by Izotope – you’ll notice a huge upgrade in the quality of the FX. Izotope is a leading name in the industry. You can find their work in Halo 4, Rockband 3, Adobe Audition, Nine Inch Nails, Skrillex, and more. You can see how much control you’ll have from just one screen shot:

izotope effects serato

Slip Mode – want to go into free time? Slip Mode has you covered, it’ll help you come back in on the beat every time.

Sync – a highly controversial topic to DJs (seriously there’s even Facebook groups about this), so Serato gave you the option to have sync on or off to help you get tracks in time quickly. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, it’s a feature worth checking out!

In general, the UI got crisper and more compact, but filled with more toys and tools – all things you hope to see in an upgrade. To get a more in depth breakdown of the differences, check Serato’s comparison page.

Ready to try it out yourself? We’ll be using Serato DJ in our DJ courses!