Diabolical Devices Roland TR-707/727


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoaNgWraGOw

James Gramling is the technician behind the name Diabolical Devices who circuit bends drum machines and other noise making boxes. I’ve always loved the Roland TR-707. It’s the super tight kick in so many late 80s EBM and New Beat records. The Roland 727 is the 707’s latin cousin and her sounds are all over mountains of Freestyle tunes that still grace NYC radio. I think it’s really interesting that Big City Music, a traditional music retailer is selling James’s bent machines.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iMrx76ey1k

Diabolical’s custom modified TR-707/727 drum machines are capable of producing a whole range of new sounds. We add a bending patch-bay and hard-wired toggle switches which activate different ring modulated, filtered, distorted, and delay/doubling type effects. What “makes” these machines is the added multi-stage pitch oscillators…” – circuit-bent.com

If you don’t want to burn yourself silly with solder check out these drum machines at Big City Music: click here

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

D16 Nithonat and Devastor samples.

D16 Nithonat

D16 have released their Roland TR-606 clone called Nithonat. I love all the D16 drum machines because they sound fairly close to the original hardware they emulate and also have terrific internal sequencers. My favorite feature is the random function. It is well worth reading the manual if you try/buy any of the D16 drum machines so you get the most out of them. Here is a set of samples I created from the new box:

Related post: D16 Drumazon and Devastor video.

In memory of my Roland Juno-106.


Get To Know Your Gear: Episode 1
from Blorp Corp on Vimeo.

Sometime around 1996 I was living in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (actually I was in Midwood). I came home from a European gig to find myself locked out of my apartment. My keys wouldn’t open the door as they did many times before. I quickly realized someone had tried or possibly succeded in breaking in. I called the police and six officers entered my small one bedroom. I was told to remain in the hall. The female officer of the group came and and told me, “It’s not pretty in there. You’re going to be a little upset.”.

That was the understatement of the year. Everything was gone except my DAT (Wikipedia: DAT Recorder) tapes and Electrocomp-101. Now when I mean everything I mean everything. They took my food, underwear, soap and bed too. Gearwise two TB-303’s and a ton of other pieces you would find in a typical 90s techno guy studio were gone including a loved Roland Juno-106. So this morning I smile knowing I’m safe, I have my old tunes on DAT tapes and my Electrocomp is still as large and heavy as ever. Needless to say all my studios since have been armed and alarmed.

Related post: Secure your recording studio from thieves.

Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2009 picks.

Ableton Live 8

Ableton Live 8. My passion Ableton Live has reached number 8. Once again the Berlin coding masters give us new features that fit nicely into the Live interface and workflow. So what’s new? Add grooves to clips using the new Groove Engine. Adjust grooves in the new Groove pool. Extract grooves from existing clips with simple drag & drop. Enhanced warp modes and a new warp engine that auto-assignes handles to transients. A new plug-in called Looper: Create endless layers of loops in a live performance jam with auto tempo recognition. Five new effects: Vocoder, Multiband Dynamics, Overdrive, Frequency Shifter, Limiter. Workflow enhancements: Crossfades, Enhanced Midi Editor, Collapsable and easy to create Group Tracks, Multi Parameter Manipulation (adjust several volume faders at once, etc.. (yay!)), Screen Magnifier, Audio & Midi Browser Previews now have a waveform display and scrubbing. Share: Built into Live 8 is a new way to share and collaborate over the internet. A new option in Live’s file menu called Share Live Set will send your song to Ableton’s servers. The song gets it’s own webpage and link. You can set the privacy settings. Songs files can be shared anywhere such as MySpace or Facebook. Suite 8 also got an upgrade: All new Library, new version of Ableton’s FM Synth Operator, Collision a creative percusion synth that uses physical modeling. link

Max for Live

Max for Live. Full integration with Cycling 74’s Max. Create your own audio and midi effects inside the LIve interface. Building and editing of new effects and instruments takes place in real time. Check out the video on the Ableton website of the step sequencer created with Max for Live. I can’t wait to see what people come up with! Luckily there are built in tutorials. link

Akai APC40

Akai APC40 Ableton Live Controller. An official hardware controller for Ableton Live from Akai. Clip launch section with buttons that change color to show if a clip is playing or not. Dedicated clip stop and stop all buttons. Dedicated scene launch buttons. Multiple banks and bank selection methods help you quickly and intuitively jump around a large session view. Mixer section with faders, mute, solo buttons, cue and arm track buttons. A track control section of 8 knobs for pans and sends. Tap tempo and sync buttons to match external turntables or devices. Assignable Crossfader. Transport and record controls for studio work. Make this an extension of your arm and your live show will be a lot better.  link

Waldorf Largo

Waldorf Largo. I’m going to quote the Waldorf press release on this one because it says it all, “Many producers and synthesizer enthusiasts asked for a full-blown Waldorf Synthesizer for their virtual rack. We listened, and now we proudly present Largo. Largo mirrors the technology used in Blofeld and Q hardware synthesizers.” If it has the sound of the Q it’s a great win. link

Native Instruments Maschine

Native Instruments Maschine. A controller built by Berlin’s NI with a companion software instrument perfectly matched to it. It can run stand alone or in your DAW. Maschine can also be a standard midi controller. link

Motu BPM

Motu BPM. Don’t let the Groovebox look fool you because the new BPM from MOTU is purely software. 15 gigs of sounds, multi-effects including convolution reverb, Step and Note Sequencers an internal mixer and more. I bet some producers will make their full songs all in this software. Could it gain a cult following? Just like Propellerheads Reason I can see this on my laptop for an alternative view every now and then. AU, MAS, TRAS, VST, MAC/PC, in your DAW or Stand Alone.   link

Roland AX-Synth

Roland AX-Synth. Finally, the return of the “Keytar” from Roland. You get keys, you get a Ribbon, D-Beam and modulation bar. The new AX-Synth also touts 6 hour battery life and MIDI over USB. I like it but why isn’t this wireless? link

All the above I want in my possession. Some other interesting things that peaked my interest at this year’s NAMM included the Celemony’s Melodyne Editor with DNA, Arturia’s Minimoog V 2.0 and the Moog Etherwave Plus Controller Theremin.  Some of you maybe happy about Cubase 5, Novation Automap 3 and the newest Virus TI synth? The weekend is just getting started so I will update this post when I find more goodies that peak my interest. What’s getting your goat going?

Icey rain and two nice synthesizer videos.

It’s some sort of ice raining today in New York so this is perfect “stay in the studio time”. If you’ve been following my life through this blog or Facebook (my profile) or Twitter (follow me) you know my studio is in a container somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean coming from Berlin. Therefore, I can only daydream, watch videos of other people’s studios. Luckily, Vimeo always has something for me to gaze at when it comes to synth gear. Here’s two videos I found this morning I think are tasty…


Patch Tutorial 1 from Elan Hickler on Vimeo.

“The envelope controlling the lowpass filter is set with high attack, decay, sustain, and release. The pitch VC to the lowpass filter is inverted but heavily attenuated. I used no resonance and the notch filter was turned all the way down.” – Elan Hickler


stop_motion_synthesizers from Alex Inglizian on Vimeo.

“671 still frames shot with Nikon D70. Sounds made with Roland Juno-60, TR-909, Omnichord, Yamaha CS-5, & hand made synth.” – cliplead.com

I’m fine making music with my Macbook Pro and Ableton Live but I can’t wait to get my fingers on some real knobs again. Which one of these videos did you like the most?

photo credit: 1Sock

Free Roland TR-727 samples from Kent Williams.

Over at the Ableton forums Kent Williams has posted a link to a nice set of Roland TR-727 samples he recorded using four different methods. I own a TR-707 and love it’s sound and design. It’s quite a lot of fun flicking the little mixer’s channels up and down.

The TR-727 is, of course, the ‘Latin’ version of the TR-707 — same hardware, but Latin percussion samples instead of a trap set.

Many sample sets have been made of the TR-727, starting with the ‘Music Machines’ set at Hyperreal.org, which is nearly 10 years old, and 16-bit only. see http://machines.hyperreal.org/manufacturers/Roland/TR-727/

I was inspired to do this set by the guys at Goldbaby — http://www.goldbaby.co.nz — who have done some obsessively loving sampling jobs on many old drum boxes, through a wide variety of gear.

I don’t have as snazzy a studio as GoldBaby but I think I’ve done pretty well with what I’ve got. – Kent Williams

His recording method is included in the readme.txt file that accompaniments the sample pack. To download click here: 727_Samples.zip

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?

TAL U-NO-62 is a free Roland Juno 60 emulation.

I once owned a Roland Juno 60. It’s a great synth and certainly has the classic Roland sound. The guys at Togu Audio Line (TAL) released the U-NO-60 a few years ago and have been updating thier emulation often. The 62 brings us even closer to the original.

The U-NO-60 vst plugin is a polyphonic virtual analogue synth with a unique filter sound. An original JUNO 60 is used as reference for the oscillators and filters. Like the original, the plugin is capable of self-resonance and thus could be used to some degree as a tone generator. The filter section also features controls for envelope amount and polarity, LFO modulation and keyboard tracking. In addition, a non-resonant highpass filter is provided to thin out lower frequencies. – kunz.corrupt.ch

It’s free and Mac/PC compatible so go and try it out: click here