Wire to the Ear Interview with Klaus Suessmuth of Acidlab

Klaus Suessmuth from Acidlab

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Klaus Suessmuth of Acidlab. He is the man behind some killer Roland hardware clones. Not only does he replicate the sounds of the originals to the extreme detail he also takes the time to extend the feature sets of these ancient machines. To top it off Acidlab hardware looks great!

I think the Roland TR-808 is the king of all drum machines sound wise. How close does the Acidlab Miami sound to a vintage TR-808?

Closer than any other 808 clone. Without a direct comparison not possible. The differences of the sounds are just in the pitch and in the range of the variation of the original. The Bassdrums decay is increased.

Does the Miami have a fully analog signal path?

The Miami has the same analog sound-circuits of the TR-808. The components are replaced with new components. In some sound-circuits, the original parts were used to achieve the same sound.

What features does the Miami have that a vintage TR-808 does not?

  • programming on the fly (tap-write)
  • all the modes (track write, track play, pattern write and pattern play) can be changed without stopping the sequencer
  • two shuffle-modes
  • synchronization with midi-clock
  • midi mode (instruments can be played with midi notes,
  • less noise and less 50Hz, because of newer opamps and no transformer in the housing

Acid Lab - Miami

Let’s talk about how you make your wonderful toys. Do you manufacture all the Acidlab products by hand in Germany or do you outsource some of the labor to a small factory?

The electronic is assembled from a factory, I do the calibration and the rest of the assembling.

How long does it take to make a Miami?

Too long! Have to do a lot improvements on the production workflow.

Have you ever been to Miami Florida?

Yes, once in the airport on the way to costa-rica, with no money left (all was gone for the fly-ticket) …..

You have created some very nice clone machines. Have you thought about making an all original design? For example, I love my Vermona DRM1 MKIII…

The Bombass is an all original design! I have done a lot of  special moduls for my modular systems as prototyps…

Acidlab Bombass

Do you also keep another day job? Exotic dancer? Software developer? Sherpa?

Of course – Design and research as electronic developer in a big German firm. Main topics are powerelectronics and low noise sensor systems with highest resolution.

If you caught someone in your home stealing all your music equipment would you: A) Kill them.  B) Forgive them and give them 20 Euros for food. C) Tie them up and make them watch DJ Scooter videos for 24 hours.

They will get crazy from using my equipment !

Tell us some links where to find your products, websites, videos and anything else!

www.acidlab.de

In the US, contact: analoguehaven.com

MySpace:
myspace.com/acidlab_bassline
myspace.com/acidlab_bombass
myspace.com/acidlab_miami

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on September 8, 2009 at 5:51 am, filed under hardware, interviews, synthesizer and tagged , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Another TR-808 clone.


808 drum machine clone test
from Danjel van Tijn on Vimeo.

There’s no drum machine like the Roland TR-808. It has kick that goes from a sharp click to boom and snares and hats that sound like chrome lightning. Since Roland never released the 808 and used prices are up and up it’s no wonder clones are arriving. We already have the Miami from Acidlab and as you can see above the MB808 from intellijel could be coming our way. I say yay.

More info: intellijel.com

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on July 1, 2009 at 5:33 am, filed under hardware and tagged , , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Global Groove and Swing parameters in Ableton Live.

Ableton Live - Groove Control

I just released a new EP on my label called Diagnosis Terminal with Miro Pajic. One of the songs “IO” has a heavy swing to it. It’s a very easy two step process to implement Swing in TTC-016 Front CoverAbleton Live. Swing is of course popular in Jazz and is one of the main stylistic points in modern “Minimal” techno.

To hear it work let’s create a test clip. I put and instance of Impulse with a Roland TR-808 kit on a track. I double clicked an empty Clip Slot to create an empty Clip. Then in the Midi Note Editor I laid down a 4/4 kick, Snare on the 2 and 4 and a 16th note closed Hi Hat.

On the top left side of the Ableton interface, to the left of the metronome “dots” you will see a number 0. That number represents the Global Groove Control parameter. Click and drag that number upwards to about 55.

Lastly, back down to the the Clip View and under the Groove drop down menu choose “Swing 16″ which matches the 16th closed Hi Hats you have placed in your clip. Now listen to the loop with the Groove Control parameter at 0 and then at 55:

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If your working with a pattern that is mostly 8th notes set the Swing to “Swing 8″. This is the classic rock swing preset you hear on vintage drum machines.

Be sure to check out the swing parameters in plug-ins like D16′s Nepheton or Audiorealism‘s ADM as they both Swing in a awesome aggressive nature. For MPC timings and unique Groove Control patterns try out Propellerhead’s Reason 4 ReGroove Mixer.

Do you like to swing?

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on February 18, 2008 at 10:16 am, filed under Ableton Live, song writing, sounds and tagged , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



BeatBearing clear plastic chrome sphere sequencer.

There are many reasons why I am in love with this video: clear plastic, chrome spheres, multi-color LEDs, laser scanner and Roland TR-808 sounds. I am really happy things like this and other unique sequencers such as the Monome and Tenori-on are being produced. I’m on the verge of either building one myself of buying one.

A tangible rhythm sequencer. Ball bearings are used to trigger drum sounds. Visual feedback is displayed from underneath to indicate the current time and the state of each ball bearing.

Do you want one too?

Peter Bennetts website: click here
via Matrixsynth

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on January 14, 2008 at 2:29 am, filed under hardware, live performance and tagged , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Make Roland TR-808 Hi Hat samples sound “real”.

Ableton Live - Impulse and Filter

The Roland TR-808 is my favorite drum machine. To hear a real one in action check out Cocteau Twins - Garlandssongs like Jam on It by Newcleas, Shallow Then Halo by the Cocteau Twins or Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye.

On eBay they usually go for well over $1000 USD so not everyone can afford one. Even if you do own one sometimes using samples is just more convenient. A big tip off to seasoned listeners that your faking it is the Hi Hat sound of most samples. Here is a trick that John Selway showed me on how to make Roland TR-808 samples sound more real.

Roland TR-808

I’m going to use Ableton Live’s built-in Auto Filter but any filter plug-in should work. This is a very simple trick but once you hear it “fix” the sound you may use it often. I am trying to get rid of it that symbalance, feathery, super high digital sound and replace it with something more metallic and clear. Check out the original untreated samples in action here:

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Make sure your Hi Hats are on a separate audio channel and add Auto Filter as an insert. Grab the fluorescent yellow dot inside the automation display and drag it about a centimeter to the left and a half centimeter upwards. The kHz should read about 7.01 and the Q about 1.60. Take a listen to the Hi Hats now:

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Now take a listen to what these improved Hi Hats sound like in action. Here they are in a song called Body to Body off my new album Attack Decay: click here

Here are a few places you can find Roland TR-808 samples online. Keep in mind that Roland TR-808′s sound different from each other, have lots of tuning settings and can be recorded many different ways. The kb6 set is free, the Gold Baby set was recorded to tape and my personal favorite is the Wizoo set.

If you know of any good TR-808 sample sets online let me know in the comments.

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on December 28, 2007 at 9:03 am, filed under plug-ins, sounds and tagged , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.




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