I returned my Dwarf a year ago because it felt short in my estimation as a guitar-centered product (my main use case at the time). It seems like Dwarf improved in that regard since then despite trials and tribulations but at this point, I’m definitely not looking for more guitar gear.
That said, I’m getting a bit more serious about playing keys. I’m spending most of my time playing “in the box” and coming from the guitar world, “arranger keyboards” or “stage pianos” somehow, do not seem very appealing to me (something about a closed-off, proprietary way of doing things). I’d much rather base a rig on a midi keyboard with good action (these days, there are a lot of them out there) and do my sound design in a familiar way that I know and enjoy, so either using my computer, using a multi-fx unit, or using a sound module, and ideally a combination of the latter two.
While it could be successfully argued, that things like Zoia, Beebo from Poly Effects (which I don’t like due to comparatively high latency but people seem to enjoy, including beasts like Josh Smith), and countless other guitar multi-fx units, can compete with Dwarf, other than I think the first two, there are not that many multi FX boxes that have synths in them. On the other hand, sound modules aren’t that popular these days (so far I only managed to find some budget offerings from a company called midiplus) so it kinda looks like Dwarf is uniquely positioned in this regard.
Now, from what I can remember, Dwarf can be a bit rough around the edges when one actually tries to use it, so I’m wondering if anyone is actually utilizing Dwarf as a sound module for playing keys.
I know that effects wouldn’t be an issue, but I’m wondering about the ways to generate sounds:
- How good and - more importantly - cpu/ram intensive is the sf2/sf3 instrument loader?
- I remember there was a version of TAL-Noisemaker and Dexed inside the Dwarf, are there any other worthwhile synths available?
- How about the rest of the sound generators? “Fluid Pianos”, “Fluid Strings” and such. How good/dsp intensive are they?
It’s still early days when it comes to my keyboard shenanigans, and I’m perfectly happy doing things in-the-box for the time being (especially with how good Ableton is) but in a similar way to how I’m using HX Stomp and a modest pedalboard to offload some DSP from my PC, Dwarf might be a cool way of achieving the same thing for other sounds.