Geartalk: MFB Nanozwerg

nanozwergFirst in what I hope to be a long series about the gear I use, you might also call it ‘ye old synth porn babbling’, but in my defense, my porn collection is very small 🙂 Cut to the chase, the MFB Nanozwerg, what’s it about?

The Nanozwerg is an analog mono synthesizer by MFB, a small company from Berlin. It has a vco featuring Triangle, Saw, Square, Pulse, PWM waveforms, noise a sub osc, a filter with four modes, LP, HP, BP and notch and an audio input, a LFO with waveforms such as Tri, Saw, Square, S/H, LFO and One-shot mode. Pretty standard stuff so far, but it has some cool features which make this little box stand out.

The VCO can modulate the VCF for those nice analog FM sounds and the LFO goes well into the audio range. But that’s not all. On the back of the Nanozwerg, besides the expected MIDI in socket, you get CV in and outs: gate in, VCF in, VCA in, LFO in, LFO out. Some more cool things about the LFO: because it goes well into audio range, you can feed it into the filter’s input and use it as a sort of second oscillator. Sort of, because it’s maintaining its pitch, so it will not be in pitch with the melodies you play all the time. And it gets even better. Because there’s CV in for the LFO, it can modulate itself, but it can of course also be modulated by another CV source.  The Nanozwerg has another trick up its sleave: When the LFO is modulated, the CV output of the LFO is increased and its frequency extended some more.

So how does it sound? It can do all the bread and butter monosynth sounds like basses and leads. I especially like the Saw, Pulse and the Sub osc on its own sounds very tight and deep. The Triangle wave is the weakest waveform in my opinion, it lacks punch and it seems to drop a bit in volume compared to the other waveforms. But because the VCO can modulate the VCF, CV ins and outs and the LFO featuring some nice tricks it can do a lot more. It shines in filthy metalic sounds, but used in moderation, it also can do the typical bass sounds and leads, but with some added dirt to it.

I’ve recorded some examples, mostly filthy stuff,  which you can listen to here:

I just love this  yellow beast because it has lot of character in such a tiny box (dimensions about 140 x 130 x 35 millimeters and less than half a kilo in weight) and used it quite extensively on my Manufacturing EP.  And because of its CV ins and outs it plays very nice with my Arturia Microbrute, but that will be another post…