Listen to some pure Roland SH3 audio files.

I visit a great forum at to see what old toys people are using. There is a thread going on titled, “Roland SH-3 (not 3a) questions and value.” which I have been following. I own a Roland SH3 so I’m always curious to see how rare it actually is. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that Roland was sued by Moog over it’s filter design in the SH3 and shortly after released the SH3A.

Forum members have been contributing audio samples to see if there is a real difference between the 3 and 3A so I decided to upload a set for of my SH3 for everyone to check out. Each same is pure Roland SH3, no compressor or any effects. Recorded directly into a Motu 828 using Ableton Live. You can download the 24bit Wav files in a .zip or listen to the 320kpbs MP3s batch encoded using LAME and Techspansion’s great AudialHub.

The audio player will play each sample in succession:

You can download the high resolution Wavs by clicking here:

Roland SH3 by Oliver Chesler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

You can also see some videos of the SH3 in action in my studio: click here

Wire to the Ear’s Summer NAMM 2008 picks.

The National Association of Music Merchants otherwise known as NAMM met for their summer event last week in Austin, Texas Nashville, TN. Here’s the new gear and software I personally thought was interesting. I know some of these are not actual NAMM debuts but they fall in the “outed summer 08” category and were featured at the show.

Korg nanoSERIES. These small, flat and inexpensive controllers are just what a lot of musicians have been waiting for. These are perfect to toss in a laptop bag. The nanoKEY, nanoPAD and nanoKONTROL will be available in October and will each be under $150. link

The Moog Guitar. Some people are scratching their heads on this one. A Guitar from Moog? Would Bob approve? According to Moog (the company) this was being planned when Bob was still with us. Personally, I have no problem with the idea. My main gripe so far is that all the video demos I’ve seen of the M.G. in action are not too impressive. The first of the Moog Guitars available is the The Paul Vo Collector Edition which will cost you $6,495.00. link

Arsenal Audio. A new brand from API. A few years ago a friend of mine brought a filled API lunchbox into my studio and hooked it up to my microphone. My voice never sounded so good and never has since. API as a company knows what they are doing so when they launch a new division I’m ready to give it a chance. I’m not totally sure why they need to branch off. Are these built in China or something? If they sound good I won’t care. Three products kick it off: the V14 4 Band VPR 500 Format Equalizer (fits in a lunchbox), the R 20 2 Channel Mic Pre and R 24 2 Channel 4 Band EQ. link

MOTU Digital Performer 6. I’m an Ableton Live fanatic but competition is what keeps the sequencer space evolving at high speed so DP6 is very welcome. This is the true Mac sequencer. Was born on a mac and always lived there so let’s give the guy some respect. What are the new tidbits DP6 has to offer? A new interface, Track comping, Masterworks Leveler plug-in, ProVerb Convolution plug-in, Final Cut Pro Integration, Enhanced Pro-Tools HD support and Direct Audio CD burning. Not bad! link

SPL Phonitor. Imagine you could mix solely in headphones. Imagine you wouldn’t have to pay for a studio space somewhere far away from cranky neighbors. The Phonitor could be the first product that could make this dream a reality. This is a high end piece of hardware costing about $2k. You spend a few minutes dialing in parameters to match the sound of your speakers with your headphones and viola! I can’t wait to read reviews and hear from users of this product. We need this to work! link

So those are the new things that really peaked my interest. Roland continued to bore me with it’s new Juno Stage and of course there were more amazing Melodyne Direct Note Access demos. Sonic State and Sound on Sound have some great videos from the show floor worth checking out. Did I miss something you really liked?

Great pro-audio videos from Tech Stuff on is an Italian video website that partners with MTV Europe. It has it’s own internet shows and networks and it also allows users to upload content. One of the gems on the site is an in house show called Tech Stuff. They have produced ten excellent electronic music related videos.

Some of the subjects covered so far include a visit to Jomox in Berlin, Sherman Filter, Moog Music, Analog Synthesis, Theremins and more. The videos are all well produced and worth a visit.

Tech Stuff is a documentary of 10 x 4 mins episodes on the techniques, the artists and the mostTech Stuff bizarre instruments which have made the history of electronic music. Why is it that bands such as Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk use equipment from more than 30 years ago? What are Theremin, Moog and generative music? How does a filter work? How is sound digitalised? Who were Robert Moog and Lev Termen? Did electronic music already exist in the 1920s? How is a vinyl record pressed? And what about the future? These and many more questions find their answer in Tech Stuff, with rare footage, performance excerpts and interviews made to appease the needs of the International sound enthusiasts. – Tech Stuff,

Here is the 5 minute Jomox video interview with founder Jürgen Michaelis. In the video he mentions they still have a shop open in Berlin. I’m going to have to make a trip over there as soon!

Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2008 picks.

The NAMM Show acronym stands for “National Association of Music Merchants”. The event takes place twice a year. There is a summer event in Austin, Texas but the bigger of the two happening this week in Anaheim, California. There are many websites covering NAMM down to the very last detail. I’d like to only list here what I personally think are the most interesting new products. So without further ado here is Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM hot picks:

Moog Voyager OS

Moog Voyager OS. Take a normal Moog Voyager and get rid of its Midi, presets, display and XY pad and you have the new “OS” which stands for Old School. I’m not sure I totally “get” this new synth. Unless the sound quality improves by removing those features what’s the point? Having midi, XY and patch memory has to be worth a few hundred bucks to anyone, no? link

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08 Module

Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ’08 Synthesizer Module. A table top or rack mount version of the Prophet ’08. If you want to play chords and you want real analog it’s either an uber pricey Studio Electronics Omega, something used or the new Prophet 08. The new module will be the least expensive way into the polyphonic analog world. link

Access Virus TI Snow

Access Virus TI Snow. A small table top version of the Virus TI. I would rather have a real analog synth or a Waldorf Blofeld but I know the Virus sounds great. Somewhat unique in a hardware synth is the new Atomizer utility announced for Virus TI’s which allows for stuttery effects. link

Alesis SR-18

Alesis SR-18. This is a big surprise! An update to the SR-16! Drum machines are back! The SR-16 was such an Continue reading Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2008 picks.

Top 10 gifts for musicians holiday 2007.


Ableton Live 7. This is my favorite piece of software. Live’s innovative Session View mode gives musicians the freedom to try multiple musical ideas before entering the arrangement process. This fact gives Ableton Live a huge edge over it’s competitors. Each year Ableton has upgraded Live adding in features of legacy sequencers and also eclipsing them with new stuff. Some of the big items in the “7” upgrade include an Enhanced Audio Engine, new Compressor, Sidechaining, Time Signature changes, Rex file support, and an Innovative drum rack. link

Ableton Live 7

Moog Little Phatty. It’s all about the sound! Buy someone you love a Moog and they will be looking at it 20 years from now fondly thinking of you. All Moog’s are classics and the Little Phatty is pure Moog. Beautifully engineered nothing sounds as raw, bassy and loud. It sounds like a teenager behind the wheel of a Lambourgini. Manufactured in the good ole USA. link

Moog Little Phatty

Cognitone Harmony Navigator. The fantastic and large world of chords and scales can be illusive for those with no formal music instruction. During the music making process many musicians search for the right notes for the perfect chorus or bridge. Harmony Navigator is many colorful graphic playgrounds of chord sets. You jump around them in real time, clicking your mouse playing chords. The chords are grouped by colors and distance. As you do your clicks your creative juices explode. Each time I load the program a new song idea pops in my head. link

Harmony Navigator

Yamaha Tenori-On. This is a beautiful new electronic musical instrument designed by media artist Toshio Iwai. You hold it with two hands and are represented with a grid of 256 white LEDs. It has a unique sequencer which allows for traditional step style movements but also pings and gravity motions. The LEDs bounce and fly across the grid. You can add layers sounds. You end up with a gorgeous light show viewable from the front and backside of the instrument. If the musician you love had a Light Bright when he was a child he’s going to freak when he see this. Inspirational and new the Tenori-On. link


Apple Macbook Pro. The early 2000’s saw the music studio make it’s final journey from a room full of hardware into a single computer running virtual software. It is now possible to run practically as many effects and synthesizers as you need to make a nice song all ITB (inside the box). Another paradigm shift is that laptops are now so fast there is no Continue reading Top 10 gifts for musicians holiday 2007.