TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

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dahliafae
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TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by dahliafae » Tue Jun 29, 2021 3:50 pm

Hi friends! I need an amazing eurorack reverb. I currently have a FX Aid and like it, but I'm starting to have interest in the Z-DSP (+Valhalla cards). Is the Z-DSP well worth it for the larger size and cost? How does FX Aid and Z-DSP compare, sound-wise?

Please let me know, thank you!(=

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by lavalamps » Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:35 pm

They are both based on the same chip and they both have good hardware built around it. This mostly leaves the Al Gore Rhythms as the primary differentiators. Thing is they are really really good on both. The FX Aid is a bit cramped. Even the XL is no ergonomic star unless of course space is your priority.

I didn't spend too much time with the Z-DSP so others may be able to go over more peculiarities it may have. I don't know that it has clock reduction like the FX Aid though? That's a surprisingly useful option on most of the effects. I get a lot out of the extra CV control on the XL but some effects are more CV hungry than others.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by mamonu » Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:43 pm

btw XODES is offering a way of adding the possibility of running algorithms cards from Z-DSP in Erica modules with a smaller footprint
(on Erica Pico DSP/Erica Black Hole v1/v2)

look for the XODES BCI Black Card Interface

perhaps it will be of interest. Or not :)
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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by Tonefloat01 » Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:45 pm

I have both but purchased the Z-DSP first because it was basically the only game in town at the time for Euro effects.
I bought mostly all of the Z-DSP cards with very few exception and for the most part they are all useful if you wanted that certain effect.
The Z-DSP is very large compared to the FX-Aid and more expensive as well.
If it were me again today starting from scratch I’d buy the FX-Aid first and then try all the algorithms available on their website and then decide if the ones that the Z-DSP cards offer fill the void in your effect arsenal.
There’s also the E520 (which I have on order..) as well which is newer but larger and more expensive than the Z-DSP but it’s an option as well.
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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by djd_oz » Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:46 pm

I have both, the ZDSP has some of the best SPIN FV-1 algorithms out there, it also has a screen which takes up a lot of the space, the feedback inputs/outpts (very handy) and yes, you are able to slow down the clock.

Soundwise, I do prefer the ZDSP algorithms over the FX Aid algorithms, however, the Fx Aid wins on the hp size, convience and don't have to purchase algorithms.

The other alternative is the gbiz uDervish.
Last edited by djd_oz on Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by dBVelocity » Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:04 pm

I would also consider the TipTop zverb. It has some wonderful algorithms all around which are different from the Valhalla ones and more of them too. It's nearly the same hardware in a smaller package with a mono input to the stereo out etc. The cost is also better.

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dahliafae
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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by dahliafae » Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:31 pm

mamonu wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:43 pm
btw XODES is offering a way of adding the possibility of running algorithms cards from Z-DSP in Erica modules with a smaller footprint
(on Erica Pico DSP/Erica Black Hole v1/v2)

look for the XODES BCI Black Card Interface

perhaps it will be of interest. Or not :)
Oh that would be perfect !!! No DIY experience though so i will likely break it ;_;
Thanks for the info anyways!

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by dahliafae » Tue Jun 29, 2021 8:09 pm

lavalamps wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:35 pm
They are both based on the same chip and they both have good hardware built around it. This mostly leaves the Al Gore Rhythms as the primary differentiators.
djd_oz wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:46 pm
I have both, the ZDSP has some of the best SPIN FV-1 algorithms out there, it also has a screen which takes up a lot of the space, the feedback inputs/outpts (very handy) and yes, you are able to slow down the clock.
Oh I see! I didn't realize they were using the same chips. Good to know, thank you!

I'm assuming that means the quality of the effects are a bit more similar then?

I definitely love the size of the FX Aid modules, but am feeling the need for more options for sounds and deeper control. Need stereo ins and outs too, or else i would be trying out many others mentioned :doh:

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by ŘłB23³ » Tue Jun 29, 2021 8:31 pm

The erica blackhole v2 is stereo in and out, and if XODES is making it so that it could use tiptop cards that would be super awesome! I mean it does already have 24 different options but to have more is always welcome for me! Thanks mamonu for the information!

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by XODES » Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:22 am

dahliafae wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:31 pm
No DIY experience though so i will likely break it ;_;
This is something that I didn't quite wanted to promote, yet I occasionally modify Erica Synths units on request for people that have no other solution. Best is to contact me for details.
ŘłB23³ wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 8:31 pm
The erica blackhole v2 is stereo in and out, and if XODES is making it so that it could use tiptop cards that would be super awesome!
Well. There actually are both backpack and 2HP versions available for the V2! :)
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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by continuum » Wed Jun 30, 2021 9:42 am

lavalamps wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 6:35 pm
I didn't spend too much time with the Z-DSP so others may be able to go over more peculiarities it may have. I don't know that it has clock reduction like the FX Aid though? That's a surprisingly useful option on most of the effects.
Z-DSP is the original CV Clock control module. It's the jack labeled 'Clock'.
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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by Dadodetres » Wed Jun 30, 2021 10:46 am

I dont hace neither and interested in both. I assume the CV to clock can make a "huge" difference in character, specially for textures.
Following the topic here.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by igorrr » Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:45 am

At the moment FX AID has 152 effects, plus all the freely available effects can be loaded via its pc program.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by bemushroomed » Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:50 am

Z-DSP is very, very overrated and way too big for what it offers. Gotta hate having to mess with the cards (and the immense cost of them), and each card only has a few programs. It overdrives really easy too, never had that problem with fx aid..

it was one of my first purchases in euro and one that i don't think back very fondly on, especially spending so much money, first on the unit and then on the cards.. the only thing cool with it was the two custom made cards i had done for it with some algos from the web, there was one really nice glitch effect there that liked. There's absolutely zero reasons to purchase it over the mucn more versatile and tons cheaper FX aid, IMO.

The kind of dedication in terms of updates for this module should be supported by everyone, it's exactly what the euro "scene" needs. He could easily have made us purchase these new effects, if he was greedy.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by djd_oz » Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:44 pm

dahliafae wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 8:09 pm
I'm assuming that means the quality of the effects are a bit more similar then?
Yes and no, the h/w (SPIN FV-1 chip) is the same for both modulues which inhereits a somewhat lo-fi and grainy texture to the effects.

However, the s/w and algorithms differ for these modules, hence the sound of the individual effects will be different due to this. Best to checkout the divkidvideos on youtube for a review of the various ZDSP cards.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by drxcm » Wed Jun 30, 2021 9:17 pm

Have both and love both.
The Z-DSP is a keeper for me because of the analog feedback path, and Halls of Valhalla. There are some great cards. Love the Mariana Trench too.
I don't think it's overrated at all, but it is big, and I'd love a smaller one!

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by dBVelocity » Wed Jun 30, 2021 10:41 pm

I have to agree, I love them both and my Z-DSP is almost always on the Mariana Trench card.

I feel the only downside to Z-DSP that people tend to mention is the size. This does allow for a better ergonomic experience though, with a screen readout of the current algorithm which is absent on nearly everything else.

So if your case can afford the space, the second hand ones are easily had for a bit more than the FXAid XL.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by loorenz » Thu Jul 01, 2021 5:34 am

I own both, if the size and the price of the module are not important for the decision, here are my thoughts:
- FX AID: better reverb algo for mono to stereo FX, more reverb choice too in this category.
- Z-DSP: better overall stereo algo, more CV able, and the analog feedback path with VCA is why I have kept Z-DSP over all the other FX units.
The SSSR Labs Vertigo card is great and mainly all the Tip Top cards are usefull.
But finally with the price of the module and some cards, it's pretty expansive compared to FX AID

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by Aiyn Zahev » Tue Jul 06, 2021 11:50 am

Had both, got my Z-DSP recently. I don't think the reverbs are better in one or the other, just different, and I personally like the Valhalla ones a lot. I like the ergonomics of the Z-DSP a lot more too. The extra knobs, the screen, I think it's ace. Same goes for the algorithms being on cards, I don't need the computer involved in loading new sound effects. If I had to choose I'd make room for the Z-DSP as it's just more enjoyable to use, but if I needed the space and just wanted some effects on tap, I wouldn't hesitate on the FX Aid either, it sounds fantastic too.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by mdoudoroff » Tue Jul 06, 2021 12:37 pm

Interface can be awfully important. A lot of people are anticipating XAOC Timizoara, because it promises labeled parameters but a much smaller footprint than Z-DSP.

Personally, I can’t imagine having a Z-DSP sitting there just doing end-of-chain reverb. If I just want a nice studio-quality reverb, I’ll just fire up a $50 Valhalla VST. To me, the value of Z-DSP is getting crazy with the feedback and. in some cases, with modulation. It’s a platform for “abusing” algorithms in the modular context. Kind of like Erbe-Verb, but different.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by drbrain » Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:31 pm

Have both. FXAid XL - love that you can change what is loaded from a very large library, mostly sits at the end of the chain for effects. Z-DSP - play this more like an instrument due to the crazy stuff you can get out of it by sending a square wave to the clock input and how many things you can modulate.

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by dahliafae » Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:35 pm

So I didn't end up purchasing the Z-DSP; I actually went with an Eventide Space pedal to use alongside my rack. Still waiting for it to arrive so no thoughts on it yet. I think I just realized that SPIN FV-1 based reverbs are not quite satisfying enough for my ears.. 🤷‍♀️
Still kept the FX Aid because it has so many other amazing uses.
Thank you so much for the help everyone !!<3

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by drbrain » Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:45 pm

I also have an eventide space pedal and it is great. Use it through the Ferry module.
dahliafae wrote:
Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:35 pm
So I didn't end up purchasing the Z-DSP; I actually went with an Eventide Space pedal to use alongside my rack. Still waiting for it to arrive so no thoughts on it yet. I think I just realized that SPIN FV-1 based reverbs are not quite satisfying enough for my ears.. 🤷‍♀️
Still kept the FX Aid because it has so many other amazing uses.
Thank you so much for the help everyone !!<3

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by djd_oz » Tue Jul 06, 2021 6:09 pm

dahliafae wrote:
Tue Jul 06, 2021 3:35 pm
Eventide Space pedal
Good choice. The reverbs on this pedal are pretty EPIC, put it on anything and it will sound HUGE!

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Re: TipTop Z-DSP vs Happy Nerding FX Aid

Post by oakwood » Wed Jul 07, 2021 6:35 am

mdoudoroff wrote:
Tue Jul 06, 2021 12:37 pm
To me, the value of Z-DSP is getting crazy with the feedback and. in some cases, with modulation. It’s a platform for “abusing” algorithms in the modular context. Kind of like Erbe-Verb, but different.

this, exactly :zen:

sounds like you found a great solution for your needs, dahliafae

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