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
My friends over at Sequencer.de mentioned a movie called Elektro Moskva yesterday. It looks amazing so I had to repost the info here. The movie is about the Russian synthesizer world. If anyone knows how I can see the full film let me know. I am excited to go perform in Moscow in a few weeks.
“On a western device, you push a button and get a result. On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something.” – Benzo
For more info: elektromoskva.com
I remember watching Depeche Mode perform live during their Music for the Masses tour. On stage Martin Gore would hit some pads that were connected to an Emulator sampler. From that moment on I wanted to turn everything into something that I could hit and have it make a sound. The Touch Board is a Kickstarter from a company called Bare Conductive. They have created a nice device based on Arduino that gives you a bunch of sensor connectors, an MP3 player, MIDI, machine control and more. You can also create and connect hit points using conductive paint. Watch the videos above to get an idea. I think this is pretty cool.
“Now anyone can transform touch into sound (and so much more!) with the Touch Board, an easy-to-use Arduino-compatible device. The Touch Board is a tool to make your projects interactive, responsive, smart or just fun. Use the Touch Board to change the world around you by turning almost any material or surface into a sensor. Connect anything conductive to one of its 12 electrodes and trigger a sound via its onboard MP3 player, play a MIDI note or do anything else that you might do with an Arduino or Arduino-compatible device.” – Bare Conductive
For more info: kickstarter.com/touch-board-interactivity-everywhere
The Therevox is an elegant instrument made in Ontario Canada. I think it’s a sort of mix between a Theremin and slide guitar. Some have MIDI control. Depending on the model these run from about $1500 – $2000.
“Inspired by the Ondes Martenot (1928) and the Electro-Theremin (1950), the ET-4 is controlled by moving a finger along a reference keyboard shaped to provide tactile feedback. Dual pressure sensitive intensity keys control the amplitude of the ET-4′s two independent analog oscillators. Combined with a low-pass filter, white noise generator and internal spring reverb the ET-4 is an expressive and versatile performance instrument.” – therevox.com
For more info: therevox.com
This Saturday there is a free event any musician in the NY area will enjoy. At IMSTA Festa you will see booths and rooms where music tech companies set up. This year Ableton, NI, D16, Alesis, Arturia, M-Audio, Propellerhead, SSL, Steinberg, Celemony and many more will be there. In addition there are panel discussions through out the day. I’ve been on a panel in the past but this year I will just be watch and playing with the new toys on display. Registration is free!
“On September 28th, the International Music Software Trade Association and SAE Institute New York will partner to host IMSTA FESTA, a celebration of music technology. IMSTA FESTA brings a collection of top music technology companies together in an environment where they can interact with music makers face-to-face. IMSTA FESTA is known for bringing heavyweight music industry professionals under one roof for this limited engagement. Our panels bring together an array of industry experts to discuss the state of the music business, technology and much more. IMSTA FESTA is a FREE event open to anyone interested in the art of music making; professional and semi-professional musicians, songwriters, music producers, and audio engineers, as well as music students and educators.” – imsta.org
For more info: imsta.org/imsta_festa_2013NY
I remember when most speakers had metal grill covers. I’ve never dented my own speaker cones but here’s a CNET video showing a few tips on how to fix a dent. I would have used Scotch tape but I’m guessing it doesn’t work?
“Did someone poke in the center of your speaker? CNET’s Donald Bell shows you how to take the dents out of a damaged speaker dust cap.” – CNETTV
For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudspeaker
I just set up an eBay alert for an Elgam Carousel. You could really call this a vintage groovebox. It would go nicely with my Omnichord! Pretty machine.
“The CAROUSEL is an interesting analog preset rhythmbox with accompaniment made by Elgam, Italy. It has rhythm (like the Elgam Rhythm Match series), bass, chord and 3 arpeggiators! Rare, obscure and very interesting!” – AnalogAudio1
For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Groovebox
Future Music visits two artists I really like. If you don’t know what Vitalic or Boys Noize sounds like check them out for some real fun. I remember performing in the south of France about 6 months before most people heard Vitalic’s song Pony. I was at soundcheck and the DJ was using it to test the system. I stopped and said ah yes this is going to be so big. It’s fun when you get a chance to hear things before they “happen”.
“Pascal Arbez better known by his stage name Vitalic (born in 1976) is an electronic music artist. He was born in France. Alexander Ridha (born in 1982 in Hamburg), better known by his stage name Boys Noize, is a German electronic music producer and DJ.” – Wikipedia
For more info: vitalic.org and boysnoize.com
Here’s a nice EBM or maybe New Beat example of what the Korg Volcas can do. Check out that sick stand too. The performer should be wearing some Liberace style rings.
“Following in the footsteps of the monotron, monotribe, and MS-20 Mini analog synthesizers, Korg announces the Volca series. volca is a new lineup of EDM production tools comprised of three distinct models: the Volca Keys lead synthesizer, the volca Bass synthesizer, and the Volca Beats rhythm machine.” – korg.com
For more info: korg.com/volcaseries