I used to own and use a Roland SBX-10 to get my 909 and 303s all in moving along nicely with my Atari ST. Today Roland has released the SBX-1. Not only will it sync MIDI and DIN devices but also CV. This is going to a very useful box for live or in the studio.
“The SBX-1 lets computers and electronic instruments communicate and synchronize with each other. It supports a vast array of both analog and digital devices through DIN SYNC, MIDI and USB, and any of these can be the master clock source. You can use the SBX-1 itself as the master sync and control your external devices with its rock-steady internal clock. With hands-on control over timing and groove, and support for CV/GATE, the SBX-1 is far from just an ordinary sync box.” – roland.com
For more info: roland.com/products/en/SBX-1
Whenever a new Noystoise creation comes out I usually post about it. They are just so beautifully hand crafted. The latest NT02 would be nice in a live set up. It is available now for $260 USD.
“The NT02 consists of a square wave VCO with chorus/delay, a white noise generator, a ramp LFO, and individual 12db resonant lowpass filters for the VCO and white noise generator. the pitch of the VCO is controlled by one axis of the VCO joystick, while the other axis controls the delay time of the chorus. the chorus circuit is basically just your typical PT2399 delay chip setup, except there is no feedback loop. the VCO is fed to the delay chip, and the delayed signal is recombined with the initial signal before the filter stage. the effect makes the VCO sound much bigger and warmer with the chorusing effect. almost like an old analog poly-synth with detuned VCOs. the white noise generator is your basic two transistor type found in many old synth designs.” – Noystoise
For more info: noystoise.com/2014/08/nt02
I am working on my next album. I have equipment lying all over the place in several totally different locations. In one corner of my apartment I have “little” Eurorack set up and for the sample of the track above Im using a Korg SuperDrums DDM110 for beats and sync. Your also hearing a Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas through a Synthesis Technology E440 which has it’s filter controlled by a Make Noise Pressure Points and transpose controlled by a Flame Tame Machine. Now to do some vocals…
“Where does all this leave the DDM110? Not realistic enough to satisfy people who want a drum machine to act as a convenient substitute for a real drummer, not considered ‘classic’ enough to command the extortionate prices paid by retro enthusiasts for just about anything 15 years old with a Roland badge and no MIDI port. This ‘half-way’ status, coupled with its more eccentric qualities, is enough to place the DDM110 in the ‘love it or hate it’ oddity category. I personally gravitate towards the former opinion.” – Sound on Sound
For more info: soundonsound.com/sos/jan01/articles/korgddm110
One of the most famous synth synth sounds ever recorded is the bassline on New Order’s Blue Monday. It is in fact a Moog Source. Above Retrosound gets close but I think he needs a little more resonance. Ministry also used a Source in their Twitch era recordings. When I lived in Berlin I used the band Camouflage’s Source and was blown away by it. It’s also in my top five most beautiful looking synths ever. The Source was released in 1981 and Blue Monday in 1983.
“At nearly seven-and-a-half minutes, “Blue Monday” is one of the longest tracks ever to chart on the UK Singles Chart, and is the biggest-selling 12″ single of all time. Despite selling well it was not eligible for an official gold disc because Factory Records was not a member of the British Phonographic Industry association. According to the Official Charts Company, its total sales stands at 1.16 million in the United Kingdom alone, and “Blue Monday” came 69th in the all-time UK best-selling singles chart published in November 2012. The song begins with a distinctive semiquaver kick drum intro, programmed on an Oberheim DMX drum machine. Gillian Gilbert eventually fades in a sequencer melody. According to band interviews in NewOrderStory, she did so at the wrong time, so the melody is out of sync with the beat; however, the band considered it to be a happy accident that contributed to the track’s charm.” – Wikipedia
For more info: vintagesynth.com/moog/sourc
This my friends seems like a must have combination. For less than $700 you get a truly killer bassline monster.
“waldorf rocket sequenced by roland aira tb3 effects come from the mc808 in the beginning i used a little reverb later some more effects. this is just an example nothing special tb3 volume is turned down so all you hear is the waldorf rocket damn i really love the rocket great little synth.” – bananepoep
For more info: waldorf-music.info and rolandus.com
Mike Walters makes some crazy unique synth toys under the name Mystery Circuits. The Zenotron is his newest and my opinion his greatest creation.
“The case was made from an old modem, the monitor was a small filmstrip viewer I cut in half. Behind the translucent screen is a cut down pipette box. I installed 88 LEDs where the pipettes normally go (perfect fit). The miniature keyboard comes off of an old toy, and I rebuilt the key contacts from little surface mount tactile switches. The sounds on the Zenotron come from a modified BleepLabs Nebulophone kit. A 2-Axis Parallax joystick controls the waveform and arpeggio rate of the Nebulophone. There are only 10 notes on the Nebulophone circuit, so the A# and B of the keyboard are wired parallel to the C and C#. Audio from the Nebulophone is fed to the clock input of a 4017 decade counter, which varies the sequence speed according to the Nebulophone’s audio. Each step turns on two transistors that light an array of 4 to 5 green LEDs. All of the LEDs are wired randomly, though I tried to make sure the spread around the pipette box was even. The LEDs are wired to a DB25 connector inside the Zenotron. For the volume pot, I just replaced the feedback resistor in the last opamp stage of the Nebulophone’s output. The LFO pot is wired the same as on the Nebulophone, but it has an off switch when turned all the way down. If the switch is off, the LFO seems to change according to the joystick. The LFO controls the Nebulophone’s filter, which uses an optocoupler. The color scheme was very much subconsciously inspired by the Kaypro II and the Commodore SX-64.” – mysterycircuits.com
For more info: mysterycircuits.com/projects/zenotron
A person named SammyIAm created Moppy which is a “Musical controller for an Arduino-floppy drive set up.”. He then posted a video of Moppy performing Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. Marc Almond found the video and decided to repost it this time with his own vocals on top!
“Several people showed me the brilliant floppy drive rendition of Tainted Love by Gigawipf here on YouTube so I thought it might be fun to add the vocal! :-)” – Marc Almond
For more info: github.com/SammyIAm/Moppy
A few posts ago I posted a video that Radio Shack ran during the SuperBowl. It showed how their stores are being updated so they were no longer like the old 80s stores. Well the 80s Radio Shack stores were incredible. I had a TRS-80 CoCo. I loved looking through all the small electronics parts they sold. I even had an Armatron. There is a great website that lets you look through old Radio Shack catalogs called radioshackcatalogs.com. While most everything they sold now simple is part of your cell phone it’s an amazing trip down memory lane for nerd like me.
“At this website you will be able to view these old 1939-2011 Radio Shack and Tandy Electronics’ catalogs, sale flyers, brochures, and more…year by year…page by page.” – radioshackcatalogs.com
For more info: radioshackcatalogs.com
Wolfgang Palm the father of PPG and Wavetable synthesis added some 80s videos to his YouTube channel. I really love the one above which shows him at work. You can see the care that went into making the PPGs and it’s in no doubt many are still working today. The accompanying music is also great!
“PPG Company 1984, Production, 10 year anniversary celebration music by Michael Wehr 2009 and from PPG-demo 1983″ – Wolfgang Palm
For more info: wolfgangpalm.com
My favorite synth of all time is the Ensoniq ESQ-1. This maybe only because I do not own a Sequential Circuits Prophet VS. You see there is something amazing about digital oscillators matched with analog filters. In my Eurorack system the best sounds I get are from my Ataraxic Translatron into Toppobrillo Multifilter. When the Prophet 12 came out I assumed it was an all analog affair. I watched a few videos months after its released and fell in love. When I discovered it was digital into analog filters I said, “ah yes of course!!”. So now there is a Dave Smith Prophet 12 module and I am all for it. Give me an 808, ESQ-M and Prophet 12M and see you whenever.
“Introducing the Prophet 12 Module, the same great sound engine of the Prophet 12 keyboard with enough portability to fit in a backpack! At twelve voices, the Prophet 12 boasts the greatest polyphony of any instrument designed by Dave Smith. Each voice features four oscillators capable of generating classic and complex waveforms, a sub-oscillator, resonant analog low-pass and high-pass filters, and analog VCAs. The new Character section adds a variety of wave shaping and sound sculpting options, like Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air. Additional features include a tuned feedback path, a four-tap stereo delay per voice, expanded arpeggiator functionality, deep modulation capabilities, and bi-timbral operation. The LFOs, delay, and arpeggiator can all be synced, either to the internal clock or an external MIDI clock.” – davesmithinstruments
For more info: davesmithinstruments.com/products/p12m