Yeah, it's a great-looking system, but there's a number of things about it that are sort of sub-par. For example, the 400 might seem like it has three VCOs, but what it really has are three fixed waveform generators. Wanna sweep some PWM past another fixed square wave? No can do on the 400. Those "oscillators" also have no fine tuning...just a VERY broad single control. The sequencer has a reset...but no individual gate/trigs out or step switching so that you might make proper use of it. And the knob placement/sizing is...ah...well, about as bad as a boxful of 2hp modules.
I've told people many times over many years that assembling a modular system does NOT consist of tossing things in a box and patching them together. And yet, the 400 feels like that, but at the module level. There are things about it that just...hm...well, I've run across a few people who think the AE looks like a toy. But it sure as hell ISN'T a toy; it's the "hot hatchback" of the modulars, where looks deceive and the thing can actually run rings around systems costing several times as much. In fact, I like that about it. But the TE 400 looks super excellent...until you screw around with it a bit and discover that the fun stops at the "skin-deep" level because TE didn't see fit to make their modules anywhere nearly as functional as they should (could) have been.
Frankly, I'll take toy-looking sheer, raw power over snazzy-looking underpoweredness any ol' damn day of the week. And at EUR 435, which is about the same price of the TE 400 over here, the AE Starter 2 stomps the 400 right out of the box.
Besides, 4 cabs of TE 400 is...4 TE 400s. 4 cabs of AE, OTOH...that's $22k of Eurorack-competitive performance in "stealth mode" for dirt-cheap. Gonna be interesting when Robert gets the USA distro pipeline going (very soon, btw!).
Excellent video by Bo. It seems to be the general consensus about those TE modular. I don't really get it either. They look awesome, granted, but feature-wise they really fall flat. There are a lot of other options for the price, AE of course but also a lot of semi-modulars are in that ballpark.
I like the keyboard though, I think it's a nice concept (although it's rather expensive for what it is).
You are absolutely right. Ae is way more professional and a real modular with many options. Also the price is better in terms of features. So before buying it I would buy another ae starter 2. But I like the color.
I'm a sucker for their design sense (my Pocket Operator will likely become a makeshift AE module if I can not damage it in the process). I very much love the Lego-compatible potentiometer shafts. I think they should have put some rows of holes spaced compatible to lego technic so it's easier to start attaching blocks and motors etc.