New Arrival: The UNO Synth

Toronto held a synthesizer expo in August of this year, and it coincided with a pager duty shift. That meant I was able to visit, but I couldn't hang around it long. The purpose of my attendance was to gather information, and to see if Teenage Engineering would have a booth. They did not. I talked to the Roland folks, and mentioned that I was new to synths, and told them I was looking at the Pocket Operator series. The salesman would hip me to the Korg Monotron Duo as another fun way to experience a small, cheap synth, and after watching some YouTube, long story short, a unit is in the mail. (From Japan for some reason.) At the synth expo, would be intimidated by the modular rack you see below:

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Right across the aisle, I met my first, true love of synthesizers, the IK Multimedia UNO Synth:

(None of the people in that photograph are me, and it was taken by the IK Multimedia rep.)

I tried a few notes and twibbled a few knobs, and when picking it up, I was stunned how light it was. It felt like it barely existed. It was for sale at the expo and Moog Audio (a synthesizer and guitar effects pedals shop with stores in Toronto and Montréal), and they were selling it for a promotional price of $200 Canadian. Since I had only heard about it then, and hadn't even gotten started with synths (that would happen a month later), I couldn't pull the trigger. The promotional price lasted, as advertised, that weekend, and after I had decided to plunk down the money, the price went up to its manufacturer suggested price of $250.

Another month of visiting Moog Audio and watching YouTube videos would go by, the price remaining the same. A week ago, the idea of finding it on Craigslist or eBay occurred to me, and I did find a few units on the auction site. One unit had a starting price of $100 USD, which made me wonder how that unit was acquired. I decided it was none of my business, and set a mental bid limit of $200 Canadian, and just kept bidding until I reached that price. Thanksgiving Monday was the last day of bidding and, a little bit hungover from drinking a few beers the night before, I had somehow woken up at 7:00 AM, looked at my phone, and noticed I had been outbid, but was still under my self-imposed limit. I would sleepily miscalculate what I needed to bid to stay under $200 (it would work out to about $218), but I figured that would be OK, since Ontario taxes is 13%, and $218 would be under the $226 full price of the promotional price. I expected to be outbid, since that was still cheaper than retail price, but due to some miracle, someone didn't want it more than I did.

Not thinking I would be in town when it eventually was delivered, I had it go directly to the post office with FlexDelivery, a service Canada Post offers to have packages sent directly to the post office with a unique address where they email you when something arrives. I got the notification today, 2 days after the message from eBay indicating it was shipped, and not realizing what it was for, I matched up the tracking info start date with the shipping date. And here it is:

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New Arrival

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The getting started tutorial doesn't linger on any of the features, so tonight I have watched it with lots of pausing and rewinding. I like that style a lot, actually. There's no wasted time, and I can still go through it at my own pace. I've already downloaded the controller software, and the only disappointment so far is that I can't update the firmware. I had heard from the IK Multimedia rep at the synth expo that turning it off resets the unit, so after I recalled that, taking out the battery took it out of bootloader mode. So far I love everything about it, from how it looks to how it feels to how it's controlled. I can't wait to make interesting noise with it!