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
I grew up loving Lego. Now I’m really into modular synthesizers. Now Korg has released Little Bits. A little random module? A small speaker? The modules are held together by magnets? So fun.
“The new Synth Kit includes an assortment of 12 electronic Bits modules that instantly snap together with magnets to create circuits like those used in KORG’s famous analog synthesizers. Modules included in the Synth Kit are power, oscillator (x2), filter, envelope, delay, keyboard, micro sequencer, mix, split, random, and synth speaker.” – Korg
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
What do you call your company if it gives it’s users what they want? Korg. For years everyone has been yelling “real analog” “inexpensive” “analog poly” “303 reissue” and at Frankfurt’s Musikmesse Korg announced the Korg Volca series which pretty much covers all those wants. All the boxes have MIDI and Sync (like on the Monotribe). The Beats has some analog voices and a few samples. The analog voices can be edited via knobs and the length of the samples can also be adjusted. There’s a digital stutter effect for the samples. The Volca Bass is similar to a 303 albeit with a Korg 700s filter and the Volca Keys has a Polyphonic mode. They come out this summer and will be $150.
“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. These powerful and fun-to-use true-analog devices deliver a diverse array of fat sounds that can be obtained only from an analog synthesizer. Each is also equipped with sequencing/recording capabilities for intuitively generating performances. Multiple volcas can be used in tandem via the vintage-style sync in/out, and with your favorite DAW software or MIDI keyboard via MIDI In. Battery operation and built-in speakers mean that you can conveniently play anywhere and anytime. These are the next-generation analog synthesizers, bringing you the ultimate sounds and grooves with ease and depth. Whether used together or by themselves, the volca series is poised to inject true analog power into any performance or studio setup!” – korg.com
When I saw the new Korg MS20 Mini I should have out $600 aside for it. There was one problem though. My heart now belongs to my Eurorack modular. But wait The Harvestman has come to the rescue! Scott has announced the English Tear which is an attenuverter and Eurorack interface for the Korg. He says it will be available in April and be inexpensive. Spend. Spend more now!
“I announce with great satisfaction ENGLISH TEAR, the first in a line of small utility modules. This module features the expected “voltage processor” attenuverter and big offset knobs, but also includes a full set of functions for interfacing to an MS-20. Easy conversion from exponential volt-per-octave to linear hertz-per-volt and back, as well as V-trigger to S-trigger conversion. Jack normalling fixes the voltage processors to these converter circuits, so you may scale the input voltages as desired. The log/expo converter ciruits also have many other uses in your modular system beyond the conversion of pitched voltages.” – The Harvestman
Korg is about to release an all analog reproduction of the MS-20. It’s a little smaller but some of the same engineers that worked on the original are taking part of this project. When I was living in Berlin the 80s new wave band Camouflage had the studio next door to me and owned a MS20. I had the chance one day to play with it and it was real wild, basy and raspy. While the software Legacy version is cool and useful it didn’t come close to the original I used. I suspect that part of it’s wild and dirty nature was that it was old so we will see if the new Mini really has what it takes. It’s expected to be about $800 USD.
UPDATE: $600 USD!! Available in April.
“We can confirm now that the Korg Mini MS-20 is for real, that it’s a new analog mini-synth and that Korg’s engineers have tried to faithfully recreate the circuitry and sound of the original synth classic.” – Synthtopia
Korg has released iPolysix an iPad version of it’s classic Polysix synthesizer. Unlike the original there is a step sequencer, drum machine, chordal mode, Soundcloud sharing and Kaoss type effects pads. About $15 USD.
“iPolysix is an analog polyphonic synthesizer that’s been carefully designed to take full advantage of the 7.9-inch display of the new iPad mini as well as the iPad. Bringing together a sequencer, drum machine, and even a mixer, it transforms your iPad or iPad mini into the ultimate analog synth studio. Pack an amazing set of early-’80s analog equipment into your iPad, and time-travel back to the dawn of polyphonic synthesizers!” – Korg
James Spadavecchia contacted me about his product USBtribe. It’s an interface you install into a Korg Monotribe. Once installed the Monotribe shows up as a controller. You have tempo and transport sync, synth MIDI in on Channel 1 and drum MIDI in Channel 10. The modified Monotribe also now has MIDI out so you can record the MIDI of what the Monotribe is doing. Installation was mostly easy. It took me a little fiddling to get the tiny plugs into the terminal block. To file a hole required for the wire’s out I had to buy a round file. Check out the demo video I created above to see it’s features.
“Introducing the USBtribe, a USB MIDI interface modification designed specifically for use with the Korg Monotribe analog ribbon station. This mod adds a USB socket to the Monotribe synthesizer, providing USB MIDI IO and DC power supply over a single USB cable.” – usbtri.be
I decided to stay home this weekend. I stopped by Control in Williamsburg and picked up a new module for my Eurorack system. I bought a Toppobrillo Multifilter. You can hear it in the above videos filtering a Wiard Oscillator, Make Noise Echophon and a iPad Police Scanner. The clock and drums are from a Korg Rhythm 55. An Analog Solutions Telemark is providing some LFO modulated white noise snares and a Korg Monotribe is joining in with some resonant rides and a synth line. Both the Telemark and Monotribe are being pinged by an Intellijel uStep. There’s also an Intellijel uVCA and Pittsburgh Modular ASDR doing some utility work. There’s won’t end up as songs as sometimes it good to just play around.
“The so-called state-variable filter has a long history in electronic music- traditionally the most versatile voltage-controlled filter at any analog synthesist’s disposal. there were several classic design examples and variants produced throughout the heyday of analog synthesis, such as those implemented in the Oberheim SEM, the EDP Wasp, and the fabled,albeit lesser known filters such as the famous Serge filters and Arp 1047; the classic SVF configuration is simple and versatile- with several different filter responses available simultaneously ‘for free’ by nature of it’s design with no elaborate mixing schemes. traditionally there have been some considerations when designing a wide-range filter with variable Q using this topology, for instance, relative instability/ generally poor sound and behaviour at very high Q, many designs get around this by limiting the maximum Q available, among other things. those that are designed to allow for self-oscillation will often become unstable at the threshold and have inconsistencies initiating or mantaining oscillation across the entire audio range. The Toppobrillo Multifilter is a new/ traditional state-variable design based on a great modern quad VCA chip, the SSM2164. this, in part, helps make the Multiflter what it is, a clean, quiet, stable and very controllable filter at it’s core, without limiting its palette, well suited for processing anything you can run through it.” – toppobrillo.com
A new Analogue Monologues video has been posted by Vince. This time he takes on really one of the all time best synths the Korg MS-20. I played with a real one a few times. The last time was the band Camouflage’s in Berlin. It blew me away. It’s much more loud and raw than any MS-20 plug-in version you may have used. By the way yesterday Korg released something called Krome and a MicroKorg Xl. While those new products will be useful to some they are not MS20s. They aren’t even close.
“The Analogue Monologues is a series of mini video-documentaries made by Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode/Yazoo/Erasure). In each webisode Vince talks about one of his analogue synths and explains where the on/off switch is. This series proves, once and for all, that he really doesn’t know much about anything (a must see!).” – erasureinfo