eXpanse, buy or not?

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reddust
Posts: 395
Joined: 07 May 2018

Post 04 Mar 2019

Hi,

I am gearing up my synths and I am thinking about adding Expanse to my RE library. I had it once in my subscription plan but didn't have much time to test it, it seemed not to be the easiest synth to manage, but I really liked the sound quality it has.
The question is that I already own the included synths in Reason (Europa, Thor, Malmström...) plus additionally some RE synths I have recently bought like Parsec2, Super Audio Cart, Pulse or Poltergeist.

I am pretty new to electronic production, have made most of my music with drum machines, bass and guitars in the past and I still have to learn a lot about how to use synths in Reason to get my sound. Which actually goes more in a direction that may mix genres like chiptunes or dubstep, computer like sounds and some spacey atmospherical sounds. Most of the eXpanse demos I've listened to have a techno/trance sound, which I am not interested in, and some of them are also very atmospherical but I think I might have enough of this kind of sounds with the synths I already own.

So my question is, could eXpanse add something to the kind of sounds I am looking for that could be interesting and not already possible with the synths I already own?

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Flavolous
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Post 04 Mar 2019

reddust wrote:
04 Mar 2019
Hi,

I am gearing up my synths and I am thinking about adding Expanse to my RE library. I had it once in my subscription plan but didn't have much time to test it, it seemed not to be the easiest synth to manage, but I really liked the sound quality it has.
The question is that I already own the included synths in Reason (Europa, Thor, Malmström...) plus additionally some RE synths I have recently bought like Parsec2, Super Audio Cart, Pulse or Poltergeist.

I am pretty new to electronic production, have made most of my music with drum machines, bass and guitars in the past and I still have to learn a lot about how to use synths in Reason to get my sound. Which actually goes more in a direction that may mix genres like chiptunes or dubstep, computer like sounds and some spacey atmospherical sounds. Most of the eXpanse demos I've listened to have a techno/trance sound, which I am not interested in, and some of them are also very atmospherical but I think I might have enough of this kind of sounds with the synths I already own.

So my question is, could eXpanse add something to the kind of sounds I am looking for that could be interesting and not already possible with the synths I already own?

First master Europa, once you have absolutely without a doubt done everything you can imagine with Europa, then you're ready for eXpanse. Otherwise if you enjoy watching sound design tutorials and creating something based on a tutorial. Most of the serum tutorials translate very well into eXpanse. The presets that come with eXpanse though are world class, so if you're a preset tweaker it might be a great tool for you. Generally you'll find stock devices can easily cover the majority of the sonic palette so it comes down to just how much you'd enjoying using the device. I find eXpanse a little bit too deep and naturally gravitate towards devices like VK2 with tones of flexibility but clearer GUI and layout. Zero is also another device I'd recommend, the GUI on Zero is also quite clear. Might be worth subscribing to a bunch of different synths before cashing out as its quite a lot of money for these devices! You can make any genre with any synth...

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reddust
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Post 04 Mar 2019

Sounds like a good plan, I think I'll do that, learn some time and see how much I could need this synth or maybe Zero after getting to know my current synths better. I guess if I get expanse I'll wait for some sale or maybe buy it as a rent-to-own article

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Loque
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Post 04 Mar 2019

For what you are seem to looking for, i recommend Nostromo instead of eXpanse.

eXpanse is a good one, very easy to use imo and very feature rich. Some uber cool features are hidden and are more for the advanced sound programmer like the EQ for the oscillator, additive synthesis, interoscillator AM/RM/FM ...
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Boombastix
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Post 04 Mar 2019

You might want to consider the Rig once it goes on sale, you will be set with eXpase and more for a long time to come, or the Synapse bundle on sale too. Both an insane value for money.
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botnotbot
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Post 04 Mar 2019

Boombastix wrote:
04 Mar 2019
You might want to consider the Rig once it goes on sale, you will be set with eXpase and more for a long time to come, or the Synapse bundle on sale too. Both an insane value for money.
Definitely go for buying it in the Rig. Or subscription too. Very nice options.

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Karim
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Post 04 Mar 2019

reddust wrote:Hi,

I am gearing up my synths and I am thinking about adding Expanse to my RE library. I had it once in my subscription plan but didn't have much time to test it, it seemed not to be the easiest synth to manage, but I really liked the sound quality it has.
The question is that I already own the included synths in Reason (Europa, Thor, Malmström...) plus additionally some RE synths I have recently bought like Parsec2, Super Audio Cart, Pulse or Poltergeist.

I am pretty new to electronic production, have made most of my music with drum machines, bass and guitars in the past and I still have to learn a lot about how to use synths in Reason to get my sound. Which actually goes more in a direction that may mix genres like chiptunes or dubstep, computer like sounds and some spacey atmospherical sounds. Most of the eXpanse demos I've listened to have a techno/trance sound, which I am not interested in, and some of them are also very atmospherical but I think I might have enough of this kind of sounds with the synths I already own.

So my question is, could eXpanse add something to the kind of sounds I am looking for that could be interesting and not already possible with the synths I already own?
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Wobbleburger
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Post 04 Mar 2019

I have both eXpanse and Serum. I tend to go for eXpanse more for wavetable stuff. I love the RE format and it sounds about the same. Also, it can do osc to osc FM which is cool. Learn how to translate Serum to Expanse. Once you do this (it's not that hard), you have thousands of tutorials on youtube.
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two shoes
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Post 04 Mar 2019

In my opinion Expanse is amongst the most versatile and powerful soft synths available in any format and the true flagship instrument for the Reason rack. Learning how to use Europa will yield insights into Expanse and vis-versa but I see no reason you need to master Europa or exhaust its creative possibilities before starting to learn Expanse - for one thing you will never truly finish learning or exhaust the sonic possibilities offered by any instrument as powerful as Europa or Expanse but even if that were a thing I see no reason to limit yourself in that way. The whole “you gotta use subtractor or some other “beginner” synth for x amount of time before you can use or appreciate newer more complex instruments” seems to be common advice around here but I think that’s rubbish. It’s a silly way to look at subtractor or ES-01 or whatever more basic synth first of all, but more importantly you should use whatever synth appeals to you and makes you want to play with it - this isn’t learning to fly planes or ride street bikes - no one gets hurt if you crash and burn your first few times out of the gate with a big monster synth like Expanse so no graduated licensing is necessary. If you like the look and sound of Expanse (or Spire / Dune 3 / Spectra / Oberon / any other big boy synth) I say go for it. Maybe it’s true that starting with something that’s complicated and involved isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to learn sound design, but unless you’re being paid or graded on your ability to learn synthesis from the ground up in the shortest possible period of time (if that’s your goal I’d suggest getting syntorial and using it to learn the Legend) who cares. If I could only use one synth for the rest of my life in Reason I’d choose Expanse without hesitation - there’s really very little you can’t do with it, and with the ability to load Serum wave tables you have a nigh unlimited pool of building blocks. I do agree with the guy who said get the synth bundle though - you can get Expanse now for 150 or wait till may and prolly get the whole bundle for the same price. Cheers.

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reddust
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Post 05 Mar 2019

Thanks for all the advices guys, I wonder if that bundle will be available as a rent-to-own product but I guess not, because sales are excluded of this buying option. Which other REs come in that bundle, I couldn't any infos about it currently in the PHs shop. I'm not sure if want the rest of the REs in the bundle because my intention is to pay eXpanse as a rent-to-own product or wait for a sale so I don't have to 150 bucks all at once.
two shoes wrote:
04 Mar 2019
In my opinion Expanse is amongst the most versatile and powerful soft synths available in any format and the true flagship instrument for the Reason rack. Learning how to use Europa will yield insights into Expanse and vis-versa but I see no reason you need to master Europa or exhaust its creative possibilities before starting to learn Expanse - for one thing you will never truly finish learning or exhaust the sonic possibilities offered by any instrument as powerful as Europa or Expanse but even if that were a thing I see no reason to limit yourself in that way. The whole “you gotta use subtractor or some other “beginner” synth for x amount of time before you can use or appreciate newer more complex instruments” seems to be common advice around here but I think that’s rubbish. It’s a silly way to look at subtractor or ES-01 or whatever more basic synth first of all, but more importantly you should use whatever synth appeals to you and makes you want to play with it - this isn’t learning to fly planes or ride street bikes - no one gets hurt if you crash and burn your first few times out of the gate with a big monster synth like Expanse so no graduated licensing is necessary. If you like the look and sound of Expanse (or Spire / Dune 3 / Spectra / Oberon / any other big boy synth) I say go for it. Maybe it’s true that starting with something that’s complicated and involved isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to learn sound design, but unless you’re being paid or graded on your ability to learn synthesis from the ground up in the shortest possible period of time (if that’s your goal I’d suggest getting syntorial and using it to learn the Legend) who cares. If I could only use one synth for the rest of my life in Reason I’d choose Expanse without hesitation - there’s really very little you can’t do with it, and with the ability to load Serum wave tables you have a nigh unlimited pool of building blocks. I do agree with the guy who said get the synth bundle though - you can get Expanse now for 150 or wait till may and prolly get the whole bundle for the same price. Cheers.
I also tend to think like this, eXpanse's layout is not my favorite but still I layout I feel comfortable working with and inspiring. Its sound quality is what I liked the most, but both sound quality and an inspiring and easy to read GUI are important features or even requisites for me.

And I also tend to use different instruments depending on the song or song part, so I guess buying eXpanse right now wouldn't hurt either. I guess I'll sleep over this idea through a couple of days and then decide if I get it now as a rent-to-own item or wait for the next sale and see if I get the bundle or just eXpanse for a lower price. What seems to be sure now is that sooner or later I'll end up buying it :)

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antic604
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Post 06 Mar 2019

It's good to think about your tools - synths in this case - how well they cover entire sound / synthesis palette. You have great granular synth (Grain), great wavetable synth (Europa), awesome additive synth (Parsec), few very good subtractive synths (Subtractor, Thor).

I'd suggest looking at FM (frequency modulation) synths, like those 3, with probably FM4 being the optimal choice in terms of depth vs. flexibility:

Image

https://www.propellerheads.com/shop/rac ... nthesizer/

Image

https://www.propellerheads.com/shop/rac ... nthesizer/

Image

https://www.propellerheads.com/shop/rac ... nthesizer/
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Cubase Pro 10 @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

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antic604
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Post 06 Mar 2019

And BTW, take them for a trial or subscription now.
There's May Madness sale just around the corner :)
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my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

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reddust
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Post 06 Mar 2019

Hey Antic, thanks a lot for your answer and the links, I really like this approach of going for a kind of synth that belongs to a different class, the three you suggested sound all very good to me, maybe FM4 is the less interesting to me but I cannot really tell because there aren't any user demos on the site. I think I'll restart my subscription plan so I can test these together with eXpanse and see which ones are really worth the buy in my case at this moment and wait for the may madness sale.

BTW, what do you people think of Robotic Bean Resonans? I know is pretty different from eXpanse and the others we've talked about but as I want to mix traditional sounds (using VSTs) with electronic sounds (using all kind of synths, and here is where eXpanse came as an option) in my music, this one seems to be like the perfect tool to make transitions between these kind of sounds or create sounds that are kind of in the middle of both worlds.

I've seen Parsec2 can reproduce analogue sounds pretty good too, but I think, you cannot route an audio track through Parsec2 as it seems to be possible with Resonans, or am I wrong?

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Micha1973
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Post 06 Mar 2019

eXpanse is a flagship. if u own a vst like serum u dont need this re. but i like eXpanse very much with few presets and it´s for me a new inspiration. :essentials:
Music Is My Life
&
Reason 10 sounds better :essentials:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsW3Wr ... gA05XklBng

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moneykube
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Post 06 Mar 2019

try it and make sure your system is not brought to it's knees

scratchnsnifff
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Post 06 Mar 2019

reddust wrote:
04 Mar 2019
Hi,

I am gearing up my synths and I am thinking about adding Expanse to my RE library. I had it once in my subscription plan but didn't have much time to test it, it seemed not to be the easiest synth to manage, but I really liked the sound quality it has.
The question is that I already own the included synths in Reason (Europa, Thor, Malmström...) plus additionally some RE synths I have recently bought like Parsec2, Super Audio Cart, Pulse or Poltergeist.

I am pretty new to electronic production, have made most of my music with drum machines, bass and guitars in the past and I still have to learn a lot about how to use synths in Reason to get my sound. Which actually goes more in a direction that may mix genres like chiptunes or dubstep, computer like sounds and some spacey atmospherical sounds. Most of the eXpanse demos I've listened to have a techno/trance sound, which I am not interested in, and some of them are also very atmospherical but I think I might have enough of this kind of sounds with the synths I already own.

So my question is, could eXpanse add something to the kind of sounds I am looking for that could be interesting and not already possible with the synths I already own?
if you like electronic synths. yes expanse is hands down the most powerful synth in reason.
its easily as powerful as NI massive. but has even more power. its the most feature packed synth without a question! i have nothing but nice things to say about it. it has inter oscillator FM spectral EQ/filter sequencer, plus workflow stuff like copy paste oscillators.

you really won't be sorry with this purchase
Mayor of plucktown :evil:

scratchnsnifff
Posts: 1298
Joined: 21 Sep 2016

Post 06 Mar 2019

antic604 wrote:
06 Mar 2019
It's good to think about your tools - synths in this case - how well they cover entire sound / synthesis palette. You have great granular synth (Grain), great wavetable synth (Europa), awesome additive synth (Parsec), few very good subtractive synths (Subtractor, Thor).

I'd suggest looking at FM (frequency modulation) synths, like those 3, with probably FM4 being the optimal choice in terms of depth vs. flexibility:

Image

https://www.propellerheads.com/shop/rac ... nthesizer/

Image

https://www.propellerheads.com/shop/rac ... nthesizer/

Image

https://www.propellerheads.com/shop/rac ... nthesizer/

while i totally agree.

expanse is a 4 operator Fm synth. but you can use an unlimited amount of wave shapes. and the FM works as easy as you would imagine. plus the additive editor is kinda cool.

there is no going wrong with expanse no matter the genre.
Mayor of plucktown :evil:

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antic604
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Post 07 Mar 2019

reddust wrote:
06 Mar 2019
BTW, what do you people think of Robotic Bean Resonans? I know is pretty different from eXpanse and the others we've talked about but as I want to mix traditional sounds (using VSTs) with electronic sounds (using all kind of synths, and here is where eXpanse came as an option) in my music, this one seems to be like the perfect tool to make transitions between these kind of sounds or create sounds that are kind of in the middle of both worlds.
On the face of it, Resonans seems like a very interesting idea - the demos certainly sound very appealing.

But once I actually tried it, I somehow only could come up with one type of sound - metallic, bell-like timbres no matter what I used as a source and which resonator I chose... It's very likely I don't understand it though, as I know it has many fans around here. Definitely try it out!
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Cubase Pro 10 @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
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other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

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antic604
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Post 07 Mar 2019

scratchnsnifff wrote:
06 Mar 2019
expanse is a 4 operator Fm synth. but you can use an unlimited amount of wave shapes. and the FM works as easy as you would imagine. plus the additive editor is kinda cool.
True. But, FM in itself isn't easy to grasp (and in particular to get the result you want), so I prefer "traditional" workflow like those other synths are offering - seeing an algorithm or a matrix seems easier to me :)

But I agree - one can't go wrong getting eXpanse (or actually any of the Blamsoft devices :))
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Cubase Pro 10 @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

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reddust
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Post 07 Mar 2019

Looks like I'm going to end up buying eXpanse plus some other REs as well. I actually got Resonans already yesterday as a rent-to-own RE because from what I've seen and listened on the videos and demos it seems like a perfect tool for my music.

@antic604: from what I've seen in Resonans you can modify the sound inside the Modal Resonator by using the structure button. It is supposed to go from more wooden like sounds on the left to more glassy and metallic sounds on the right end, but I only could do a very short test yesterday, wanted to see if I could route one of my VSTs through its backside panel using the audio inputs to modify my VST instruments. And as far as I know you can load your own waves as samples and set the level to zero in the Impulse Filter to only listen to your loaded sample and getting rid of the default white noise sound that is the base for creating sounds directly on Resonans. That is something I only got to know after seeing this video:


From what I've seen and listened so far I really like the both synths by Blamesoft, expanse and zero, do you know if they are both included in any of the bundles that where mentioned before in this thread?

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antic604
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Post 07 Mar 2019

reddust wrote:
07 Mar 2019
@antic604: from what I've seen in Resonans you can modify the sound inside the Modal Resonator by using the structure button. It is supposed to go from more wooden like sounds on the left to more glassy and metallic sounds on the right end, but I only could do a very short test yesterday, wanted to see if I could route one of my VSTs through its backside panel using the audio inputs to modify my VST instruments. And as far as I know you can load your own waves as samples and set the level to zero in the Impulse Filter to only listen to your loaded sample and getting rid of the default white noise sound that is the base for creating sounds directly on Resonans.
Yeah, I'm aware of all this but I just couldn't come with interesting results, similar to factory patches or demos. Maybe it's simply because I don't like the GUI and wasn't very motivated to get deeper into it :)

Regarding bundles, the one with instruments - Synthetic Rig 3 - only has eXpanse but not Zero:
https://www.propellerheads.com/shop/bun ... tic-rig-3/
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Cubase Pro 10 @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

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reddust
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Post 07 Mar 2019

Very interesting bundle but I think that's too much for me and there are too many REs inside I don't really want or need.

I guess I'll go then directly for expanse and zero, might be getting one of them as rent-to-own as I still have place for one in my monthly budget and get the other one on the next sale.

Thanks everyone a lot for the good advices and links, great community here in ReasonTalk :)

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antic604
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Post 07 Mar 2019

reddust wrote:
07 Mar 2019
I guess I'll go then directly for expanse and zero, might be getting one of them as rent-to-own as I still have place for one in my monthly budget and get the other one on the next sale.
In the spirit of my earlier advice to diversify your rack, instead of getting Zero + eXpanse, I'd suggest swapping one of them to Complex-1 - it is incredible and there's nothing like it in the RE environment:

Image

https://www.propellerheads.com/en/reaso ... /complex-1





Sorry for not making your choice easier :lol: :oops:
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Cubase Pro 10 @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

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reddust
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Post 07 Mar 2019

antic604 wrote:
07 Mar 2019
In the spirit of my earlier advice to diversify your rack, instead of getting Zero + eXpanse, I'd suggest swapping one of them to Complex-1 - it is incredible and there's nothing like it in the RE environment:

Sorry for not making your choice easier :lol: :oops:
Haha, I actually have taken a look at complex-1 too and it also came up as very possible option. I really like the quality of the latest additions by Propellerheads themselves, Europa, Grain, the drum sequencer... the only one I really don't like are the reason drum kits, kind of too easy and not very good sound quality as a user of FXpansion's BFD3 for years.

If I go for complex-1 I'll be most surely letting Zero aside for a later point and get expanse and complex-1. I'll check some more demos and videos to see if I would be able to use complex-1 as it looks as it name already says, pretty complex :)

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antic604
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Post 07 Mar 2019

reddust wrote:
07 Mar 2019
If I go for complex-1 I'll be most surely letting Zero aside for a later point and get expanse and complex-1. I'll check some more demos and videos to see if I would be able to use complex-1 as it looks as it name already says, pretty complex :)
Good choice! :thumbs_up:
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Cubase Pro 10 @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

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