Yesterday I stopped by Control in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see Peter Kirn demo his upcoming MeeBlip ANODE synthesizer. The MeeBlip ANODE has digital oscillators, an analog filter, envelope, MIDI, and an LFO. You may be thinking what’s the big deal. Well the ANODE is very inexpensive (a little over $100), small and most importantly sounds very good. It’s also open source and by grabbing one you support Peter who with his blog Create Digital Music has given a huge amount to the pro-audio community over the years. When I arrived it was hooked up with a tasty P3 Sequentix sequencer and Korg Volca Beats. I quickly ran home and grabbed my new Roland TB-3 to hear it sequence the MeeBlip too. The MeeBlip/TB-3 combo sounded quite good and I was glued to their knobs for a good thirty minutes.
“Combining an analog filter with unique digital sound sources, all in an easy-to-understand, compact sound package, MeeBlip anode is synth hardware anyone can enjoy immediately. anode is part analog, part digital, capable of producing a range of uniquely aggressive, bass-heavy sounds. And inspired by the best classic synths of the past, getting your hands on that sound is always simple, direct, and intuitive. Simply plug in a keyboard, computer, iPad (via adapter), or controller via the MIDI port to play notes. Then, adjust sounds via knobs and switches – you don’t need to navigate a single menu. Its digital side reproduces the sound and architecture of classic synthesizers, but with an emphasis on adding personality, especially in the low end. Its all-new analog filter with resonance can range from smooth to raunchy – perfect for shaping sound or making squelchy basslines.” – meeblip.com
For more info: meeblip.com
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
TipTop Audio has released another in their line of Roland TR-808 modules for the Eurorack system. I own all of them so far and they are all stellar. I believe I read Gur used to repair or clone real 808s so he really knows what he is doing. This time the Rimshot and Clav are covered in the new RS808 module. The sound is right and besides the flexibility of being in the modular environment the module has slightly more variation than the original.
“The RS808 is the TR-808’s analog Rimshot and Clavs sound generator in Eurorack format. It’s a low-cost module that brings back that classic sound, but with even more variation and control, continuing to expand your Tiptop Audio modular drum machine. The RS808 comes with two switches that give a total of 4 different positions: two are the classic Rimshot and Clavs sounds as found on the original, and two are unique to the RS808 module adding a range of snappy “click” sounds the circuit is capable of producing. Two control knobs were added, each have different effect for the selected sound. In general, these controls can be categorized as Pitch and Snap as they control the frequency of the oscillator and decay of the envelope generator. The RS808 is an exact reproduction of the original circuit which sounds like a fresh machine coming off the assembly line back in the 80’s.” – tiptopaudio.com
For more info: tiptopaudio.com/rs808
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
If you haven’t already grabbed a few modules here’s another intro video from FluxWithIt to tempt you. I never knew HP stood for horizontal pitch.
“This is just simply a primer to get people a little bit of info on what eurorack is. How to get started, and what some of the key elements are.” – fluxwithit.com/intro-to-eurorack-modular/
For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_synthesizer
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
Here’s an unpretentious unboxing Eurorack video. I hope Billtrius posts a video each time he get a new module it will be fun to watch. I added a couple of other videos he has on his channel too.
“Heck yeah. It’s a mixer module.” – Billtrius
For more info: youtube.com/user/Vlogski/videos
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
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
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