Modular Synth Basics

There is a new Youtube video series showing modular synth basics. So far there are 8 videos and I already have learned a few new things. These are simply and extremely helpful for anyone especially people new to modular synthesis. Thanks for Tuesday Night Machines for posting these!

“I started a new video series a couple of days ago, focusing on basic concepts of (Eurorack) Modular Synthesizers. My goal is to produce short videos, around 3 minutes in length, that quickly give the viewer a fundamental understanding of the topics covered. After that, the viewer can look for more specific knowledge at the other great resources online, for example the in-depth module demos of Raul’s World of Synths and of course this very community.” – The Tuesday Night Machines

For more info: The Tuesday Night Machines

WMD Sequential Switch Matrix

A matrix switch is a really important module. I watched a demo at length on matrix switch being used in the 5U format and really wanted one. To see the video I am talking about that got me inspired: click here. Thankfully WMD has released their Sequential Switch Matrix and it looks great!

“Our take on an essential module. Four inputs can be routed with individual buttons to four outputs. Those routing settings are stored in an array of matrices that can be sequenced or controlled with CV. Preset routing, feedback loops, chop sequences, trigger blasts (with expander), four-bit-wavetable-synthesis, and dramatic controllable mayhem are all possible.” – wmdevices.com

For more info: wmdevices.com/ssm

KOMA Elektronik Event at Control

Yesterday after work I went to the KOMA Elektronik Event at Control. For those who don’t know Control is at Eurorack modular synthesizer store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn owned by Daren Ho and Jonas Asher. KOMA Elektronik make modules and advanced pedals. They are Dutch and Austrian and the company is based in Berlin. I was pretty tired from working all day but really enjoy the get togethers at the store so I forced myself over there. After a large coffee, a couple of beers and some synth tweaking the conversation and fun started. KOMA didn’t have any new modules to show but they said they do have some in the works. Control is starting to get a lot of cool used stuff and I spent a few minutes checking out a weird vintage mixer with a built in drum machine. I also played with the Volcas for the first time and discovered they are really nice in person. I couldn’t resist buying something so I picked up an Intellijel Planar. I mean it’s a joystick so I have to one. After exploring some modules there are three I now have to add to my must have list: Modcan Quad LFO, Qu-Bit Electronix Nebulae and an Intellijel Rubicon. I really enjoy watching other people patch and create music on the large systems. I always get some ideas and also realize there are things I can do that I didn’t know I could. Nullsleep (Jeremiah Johnson) and others created some interesting loops worth watching. Be sure to come out to one of these events if you can it’s a lot of fun if you’re into synths! To see the full set of photos: click here

“On January 16th 2014 KOMA Elektronik will come to the Big Apple to host an event together with our buddies from Control Synthesizers and Electronic Devices! From 6PM till 8PM we will be at Control to answer all your questions that you might have about our machines, special techniques and upcoming designs. We will show our new machines and will have a few drinks to start the new year in a great fashion.” – koma-elektronik.com

For more info: koma-elektronik.com and ctrl-mod.com

Valhalla DSP Z-DSP

Reverb is coming to the Eurorack space in a big way (pun intended). There has “always” been the Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb and you can now build the Music Thing Spring Reverb. Audio Damage and Make Noise both have reverb modules coming out. The video above is a demo of the also soon to be released Valhalla DSP reverb cartridge called The Halls of Valhalla for Tip Top Audio’s Z-DSP module. Sean Costello creates the Valhalla reverbs is known to be a real reverb genius. I like old Lexicon 80s reverbs and use his Valhalla Vintageverb often.

“A demonstration of the upcoming Halls of Valhalla reverb cartridge for the Tiptop Audio Z-DSP. This cartridge has 8 high quality modulated reverb algorithms, ranging from short (Room, Chamber) to medium sized (Plate, EnsembleVerb), to big (Cathedral), to unbelievably huge (Niflheim, Asgard, Ginnungagap).” – ValhallaDSP

For more info: valhalladsp.com and tiptopaudio.com

Electronic Musician Modular

I used to get both Keyboard and Electronic Musician magazines in the mail each month. My iPad and the internet has replaced those days but I am glad to see the mags still live on. Electronic Musician has just started releasing Modsquad a YouTube series with Gino Robair and Jim Aikin about modulars. I really like these and there’s no better video online that shows off the Metasonix R54. Enjoy!

“Electronic Musician magazine is the ultimate resource for musicians who want to make better music, in the studio or onstage. Visit our website for artist features, gear reviews, and more tutorials!” – emusician.com

For more info: youtube.com/user/MyElectronicMusician/videos

Toms909

Tiptop Audio continues its quest to recreate the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 in Eurorack format. Toms909 is the latest addition to this amazing range. I have most of the drum modules already and they are spot on plus more. So if your ready to get your Jeff Mills on these are available now for $400 USD.

“The toms909 contains all three of the tr-909′s original low, mid and high tom-tom circuits adapted for use in the eurorack modular synthesizer format. the module was tested to sound like a fresh machine coming off the assembly line back in the 80′s. to add flavor to the beast we have extended each tom’s tuning range so it’s easier to dial soft bass drums on the lower ends and high pitched toms on the other. in addtion to that all three toms are voltage controlled, letting you play the tom’s pitch with cv sequencers…” – tiptopaudio.com

For more info: tiptopaudio.com

Brute LFO

Wait a minute. A iOS app can be a Eurorack LFO? Apparently so! Check out the Brute LFO videos above to see it in action. Pretty cool! $3.99 USD.

“The Brute LFO is a powerful low frequency oscillator that modulates your analog gear. If you have a hardware synth that allows you to use external gear to modulate the pitch, the filter, or any other parameter, just plug the Brute LFO into the CV in and start playing. It consists of three separate LFOs. LFO 1 and 2 can be controlled using the control elements in the top half of the screen. The big knob in he middle sets the rate of both the LFOs. Additionally you can change the waveforms of the LFOs, detune LFO 2 and change its phase. The amount knob in the top half also sets the overall amount of the modulation. The elements on the bottom half (LFO 3) can be used to modulate the frequency of LFO 1 and 2. And the brute switch destroys everything!” – justuskandzi.com

For more info: justuskandzi.com/brute-lfo

Electronic Road Runner

This video made the rounds earlier this week but I didn’t press play. This morning I clicked and oh yeah this is amazing. Someone put an electronic soundtrack to the classic Road Runner cartoon. They did such a good job. The acid Warner Brothers intro alone is just so great.

“Consider the recursion of Coyote, who never eats, but only considers eating, ad infinitum. This barren, craggy, dry universe is more like a Mandlebrot purgatory with an endless supply of Acme weapon products which can’t function predictably, or whose proper function can’t be apprehended by Coyote.

Every ravine, every rocky outcrop, every national road that splices the desert is generated anew each time Coyote is forced not to die – his bones regenerate, his cardiac arrests are all false. He can be skinned alive a million times a million times.

This routine unravels from a spool that was never wound. Is this because of artifice that such toil is even noticeable? Why contrive a purgatory like this when heaven can be imagined? Or would every heaven ever dreamt only appear as purgatory to enlightened eyes?” – sssnacksss

For more info: wikipedia.org/Wile_E._Coyote_and_The_Road_Runner

Mutable Instruments CVpal

To sync my studio computer with my Eurorack modular set up I use an Innerclock Sync-Gen IILS. It’s a beautiful and amazingly built module but by no means is it inexpensive. Expert Sleepers also has a group of modules and software you can use. This week Mutable Instruments released CVpal. It is a CV to MIDI module kit (you have to build it yourself) for 40 Euros. I bought one to get my Macbook Pro in sync with a second “spare” row of modules I have. I am really excited to see how inexpensive this is. If you add 11 Euros to your order you they will send you a small plexiglass case for the module making it self contained. Once I have it put together I will report back here to let you know how well it works.

“The CVpal features a large palette of control modes – monophonic with velocity and extra square oscillator, monophonic with clock outputs, duophonic, dual monophonic, or even quad trigger conversion! Its 12-bit DAC with an 8-point software calibration curve makes it more accurate than more expensive products. A simple stand-alone case is also available for the CVpal – making it useful outside of the modular – with a stompbox or a desktop analog synth for example.” – mutable-instruments.net

For more info: mutable-instruments.net/modules/cvpal