Pianocade

The Pianocade is an open source MIDI controller and simple synthesizer with an arpeggiator. It’s made in Canada and based on the Atmel AT90USB646e. It’s about $325. Remember some fun in the studio can be inspiring so it gets my vote!

“The Pianocade is a synthesizer designed to sound, look, and feel like vintage arcade games. It’s easy for people who want to dive right in, powerful and feature-rich for people who want to tinker, and fun to play for everyone.” – pianocade.com

For more info: pianocade.com

The Man Master – The Horrorist

I am pleased to announce the release of my next single The Man Master. The song takes you inside a world of gender bending and sexual domination. If you’re a fan of early 80s new wave, synthpop and EBM I think you will love this one. Everything was recorded using real analog equipment. The main synth is an Analogue Solutions Telemark. The drums are Jomox Mbase, Mbrane and MFB-522. Everything was sequenced using a Doepfer Dark time. I was blown away by the Carretta & Workerpoor and Millimetric remixes. This is the second single from the upcoming album Fire Funmania. The music video was shot in Berlin and I give a great hug to the director, Kate, the little makeup girl and everyone else!

“Feed me poison. I vomit blood. I kiss your feet. Show me the boss!”

Buy now: iTunes and Beatport.

San Francisco

I’m flying today to San Francisco. For a change this is a pure vacation weekend. No screaming or heavy equipment to lug around. It’s strange to be able to pack everything I need in 15 minutes. I’m visiting my brother, his wife and new baby. They are both neuroscientists but you may also know my brother as the musician Acrosome. A few years ago he bought some new music gear and he reads this blog so I suspect sooner than later there will be another Acrosome record. He has some cool stuff in his studio including a re-issue Oberheim SEM, Motu Volta, Vermona DRM, NordLead and other goodies (photo from 2010 above). I’ll try and make it to Robotspeak. If they have a Doepfer Dark Time I’m going to push him to get one because as teens we were major EBM freaks together and he needs an analog sequencer ASAP. Friday I’m going to visit one of my oldest friend Rich Lin. He works at Zynga and I’m certain he’s high on the food chain there so I will get a proper tour. I’ve known Rich since I was in 3rd Grade and we have the same birthday. He also has a young family and on Saturday we are all going to a beach on the Russian River. It’s going to be good to get away from NYC humidity. Unlike going to Europe my data plan will be intact to I’ll be Instagramming, Twittering and if I have time in the evenings posting here.

“When the night turns into day you can’t believe the things I say. And when I lie and make you cry I prefer we were high.” – Acrosome

For more info: robotspeak.com and zynga.com

Andrei Morant – Late Night

Here’s a track that you would hear very early in the morning or as the title very much appropriately states Late Night. The club is almost empty and your watching a few very good looking people dance to this. Listen to the open hihat come in at 3:16… it’s not time to go home yet. Get up and dance too. Andrei Morant is from the US.

“by far one of the worlds best techno dj’s alive.” – rick_schuffler (Discogs review)

Buy on Beatport: beatport.com/track/late-night-original/3369639

Permut8

Is this is a software Oto Biscuit? Maybe not but it’s from Sonic Charge so it’s 100% going to be useful. 12bit delay, analog saturation, limiter, etc… Permut8 is available now for $66 (25% off if you own any of their other products). I’m going to try it tonight when I get home from work and will update this post with some thoughts. Please do tell me what you think!

“Permut8 is an effect plug-in that embraces the sounds of primitive signal processing hardware. At its core is a 12-bit digital delay with variable sample rate from 0 to 352 khz. The delay is controlled by a programmable processor that allows you to change and modulate the delay time with various “operators”. The input and output stages offers virtual analog components for saturation, limiting and filtering. The sound of Permut8 is raw and complex but noisy and warm at the same time.” – soniccharge.com

For more info: soniccharge.com/permut8

Delptronics LDB-1 Audio Samples

Here’s a direct recording from the new Delptronics LDB-1 analog drum machine. As you can hear it has a dark sound. The unit itself is in a cheap plastic case and while programming it is very easy I wish it had 16 buttons and LEDs instead of 8. Jumping between two banks of 8 steps while recording is annoying. With Trigger Out, Clock & Gate Input and Midi/Dinsync it’s easy to connect the LDB-1 with pretty much any system. It’s $240. There is also a Eurorack module.

“The LDB-1 has all of the features of a classic analog drum machine in a small, affordable package.” – delptronics

For more info: delptronics.com/ldb1

SpaceWiz

Jordan Rudess has released another music app. Spacewiz is similar to Synthpond however with galaxy graphics and space sounds. This app maybe too Yoga/hippie for me. I need a Darth Vader mode with some minor note lazer zaps or something. I do like the interfaces of the Rudess apps. $9.99 USD.

“Immerse yourself in the wonders of a visual/audio experience like no other! Take the role of viewer AND creator in a galaxy where you reign.” – Jordan Rudess

For more info: itunes.apple.com/us/app/spacewiz

Vocal Compressor Settings

My usual vocal chain is Shure SM7b, Api 512c, Wavearts Track5 (which I only use the Gate section) and Izotope Nectar. Recently I took my API Lunchbox and SM7b to a friends house to record. He didn’t have any plug-ins on his computer and I realized he needed compression on his vocals. When I bought my Lunchbox and 512c I also bought an API 527 compressor. It’s always been in the Lunchbox but I rarely use it. In fact, I’m ashamed to say I just use software compressors, mostly presets and never really figured out how to set my 527. That’s what this post is all about. This is a question to Wire to the Ear readers. What would be a good setting on my 527 compressor for vocals. What’s a good starter setting and what should I adjust?

I’ve already asked a friend (Cesar B. de Guzman aka @cyndiseui) on Instagram. I set my 527 as he thought would be a good start. He makes a lot of music but what do you think?

“527 is a VCA comp that has a very fast attack response. U could do this ratio 1 til 3. Attack 3 o clock. Release 8-9 o’clock. Set to new if you want something sparkling style or old as punch vintage type… The only thing you could adjust yrself is threshold. Technically you could leave from 2 to 3 db down from the threshold as a starter.” – cyndiseui

For more info: apiaudio.com/527.html

Studio Time with The Horrorist

Today I thought I would give you a quick look at some of my workflow. Here’s how I often start creating an EBM (Electronic Body Music) style track. I’ve started a Eurorack modular system and you can see my first two pieces in action here. I have recorded a 5V Pulse into Ableton from the Korg SyncKontrol iOS app. I loaded the click into Simpler and use MIDI to create a pattern. In this example it’s a straight 16th note. I use Ableton Live to route the 5V click out of my Motu 828 MKIII into a Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer. The Dark Time is not in sync with my Ableton MIDI set up. The Dark Time controls an Analog Solutions Telemark (SEM clone). 8 steps of CV variation and CV filter variation loop the bassline. I also have the Dark Time send a clock out to a Korg Monotribe. On the Monotribe I have muted the drums and just have it playing some lazer zap type sounds typically where you would find a snare drum. Using MIDI I have a Vermona DRM1 MKIII playing a kick and snare. The Monotribe’s clock out goes into an Intellijel uStep which sends a 16th note clock to a Make Noise Echophone. I have a MFB-522 drum machine in sync with Ableton via MIDI playing a clap. This clap is sent into the Echophon where it’s delay shimmers in 16 synced steps because of the uStep control. I can play with the Echophon’s pitch knob for a wicked nice analog clap delay effect. Is it worth all this effort? In my opinion yes. You can’t really get a sound like this without going analog. This part would make a good verse. Because I can pitch the bassline on a MIDI keyboard the next step is to make a Chorus, maybe change the Dark Time sequence length or patter slightly, add some pads from an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and add vocals. I hope you enjoyed the peek into a world where control is everything.

“CV/Gate (an abbreviation of Control Voltage/Gate) is an analog method of controlling synthesizers, drum machines and other similar equipment with external sequencers. The Control Voltage typically controls pitch and the Gate signal controls note on/off. This method was widely used in the epoch of analog modular synthesizers, beginning in the 1960s and up to the early 1980s. It was mostly superseded by the MIDI protocol, which is more feature-rich, easier to configure reliably, and more easily supports polyphony.” – wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_voltage

For more info: thehorrorist.com

80s Drum Fill

It’s Monday and everyone’s working so while your having some coffee how about some sweet Viscount RBX-850 drum fills?

“This musical item is one of the few examples I have where the Viscount plays both melody, bass, and rhythm. The song is called Dove and I have been told that it was a hit for an Italian singer that called herself Moony. The other parts of arrangement is played on Yamaha HE-8 organ and Roland JX-8P synthesizer. I recorded it in 2003 on my Fostex 8-channel tape machine.” – organfairy

via Matrixsynth