Buchla 200e, 250e, 266e makes me happy.


Buchla uncertainty from Joe Pascarell on Vimeo.

I like random sequencers of any type. I’m always adding little variations in my music using Ableton’s Random plug-in. In Buchla form a random sequencer in action is video worthy. With bright blue digital numbers, red and green buttons and yellow cables who wouldn’t stop for a few minutes and watch this.

“I did this when i first got the 200e. The stages of the 250e are being selected by the random voltages from the 266e. The tip of the sonic iceberg that is the 200e and the lovely uncertainty that Don so thoughtfully provided us! The old SFTMC 100 is helping out.” – Joe Pascarell

For more about Buchla head to: www.buchla.com

Subliminal Kid’s Macbeth M5 in a delightful video.


The Subliminal Kid in the studio from Ruben Broman on Vimeo.

Look at this gorgeous studio video of Stockholm, Sweden’s “The Subliminal Kid” (aka Peder Mannerfelt) in action. He has some class gear including the amazing Macbeth M5N, Roland System 100 sequencer, Roland RE-301, Boss DC1 and a Roland TR-909.

Shot with Panasonic HVX200, Sgpro 35 adapter and Zuiko 55mm f1.2@1.2 – Ruben Broman

The Subliminal Kid at: MySpace or visit him at SoundCloud

Atomolabs Mochika 2 synthesizer sequencer.

This pretty clear plastic noise machine has been out since August but since it’s not via a major manufacturer maybe you missed it? The Atomolabs Mochika 2 is a synth with a built in sequencer that can sync to Midi. How can you not love a synth with a built in sequencer? If your a musician isn’t that the definition of fun? If you were looking at my Voice of Saturn videos with some lust I would say the Mochika 2 should be on your “maybe buy that” list too.

“This synth features one square and saw waveform VCO (voltage controled oscillator) with a huge pitch range, from subsonic to ultrasonic sound. One square and triangle waveform LFO (low frequency oscillator), that modulates the VCO for the vibrato effect creating old school arcade Atari-like sounds. White noise generator that triggers the VCO and can create percussion like sounds. 8 step Sequencer with note on/off switch and pitch knob for each step. It has a 1/4 inch audio output, 1/4 inch CV Output (to control other analog gear). The Mochika features a MIDI input to sync the Mochika with any midi device sending midi clock signals, the mochika can sync 1,2,4 and 8 times the tempo of the master clock midi device.. Also the instrument is ligthed with 1 ultra bright red led that indicates the LFO Rate, and 8 red leds to indicate the step that is being played. Very useful when you play it on a dark stage. The Analog Sequencer is packed in a cool laser cut clear acrilic case that shows all the hand made analog circuitry. The instrument is powered directly from 110V or 220V AC.¬† Dimensions: 230mm(W), 170 mm(D), 80mm(H. incuded rubber feet and knobs).” – www.atomolabs.blogspot.com

There is some good demos of the Mochika in action at the Atomolabs YouTube page: click here. You can buy the Mochika 2 for $299 from the Atomolabs eBay store: click here. If anyone owns one or buys one let us know how you like it.

Vocal manipulation with Ableton Simplers.


Vocal manipulation with Ableton Simplers. from wiretotheear on Vimeo.

There are thousands of ways to mangle audio in weird and wild sound. Here’s a screencast of a trick I sometimes put to work. Here is the end result (4 samples are loaded in this player):

Here is the original sample I used:

The technique uses multiple Ableton Simplers in a Device Group. If your an Ableton wizard you will know this stuff  but if your not a regular user of Simpler and Macros you will learn something.

Sample credit: Incarnadine

The Voice of Saturn Synthesizer & Sequencer.


The Voice of Saturn – Synth & Sequencer from wiretotheear on Vimeo.

Here is a video of my latest toys. The Voice of Saturn Synthesizer & Sequencer. They are from Curious Inventor and available as a kit or pre-built. I’ve been able to also control the synth using my Kenton Pro-2000. I’ve also been able to lock the Saturn Sequencer to Ableton Live also using the Kenton Pro-2000.

Loosely based on the Atari Punk Console with some custom tweaks and an LFO front end, this box makes a ridiculous amount of different sounds (mp3 coming soon), all from three 555s. (synth) – www.curiousinventor.com

This is a 10 step analog sequencer, which basically steps through 10 different voltage levels that are set by the black knobs. The output control voltage and trigger signals are typically used to control pitch, filters, drum triggers and an endless number of other parameters on other synths. (sequencer) – www.curiousinventor.com

There not too much for me to say other than these are great, cheap, dirty and fun. What more do you want?

D16 Drumazon and Devastor video.


D16’s Drumazon and Devastator. from wiretotheear on Vimeo.

Here is a screencast I put together showing a few features of D16‘s incredible Roland TR-909 emulator Drumazon and their new distortion plug-in Devastor. I really like both of these. After watching the video I encourage you to head over to the D16 website and download the demos.

I’ve owned a real Roland TR-909 for many years. In fact I bought mine from Chaka Kahn! I can honestly say Drumazon is a better replacement. It’s a joy to use and you get all the nicesties of software (presets). You also get features a real 909 doesn’t have like random and automation. When you add a quality multiband distortion unit like Devastor to it you can’t help but smile. This is audio software at its best.

http://www.d16.pl/

Do you own any of D16’s products?

A video of the Effectrix plug-in from Sugar-Bytes.

Here is a Wire to the Ear video of an absolutely must have plug-in that has just been released. Effectrix is a VST/Audio Unit which sequences effects such as XLoop, Scratch, Reverse, Stretch, Tonal Delay, Stutter, Vinyl, Crush, Filter, Phaser, Chorus, Delay and Reverb. Sugar-Bytes from Germany has done a really fantastic job here.

Tweak your beats, create new rhythms, turn your stuff into colorful grainclouds….reverse parts, stretch others, apply delaylines or even create melodies out of atonal material. – Sugar-Bytes.de

I’ve been waiting for a plug-in like this to appear for Mac OS-X. On the PC side there has been Illinformed’s Glitch. In this video I set up a simple Roland TR-808 drum loop using Audiorealism’s ADM. I added the Ableton Compressor and Saturator to make the 808 more like “hot chrome”. I go through some of the presets, adjust a few parameters and alter some Effectrix sequence bars. As I recorded this I noticed a few parameters I need to figure out. For example, how to adjust the sequence step length and have one effect line modulate another. I also see there is a random function which I absolutely love.

There is a 30 day demo. Be warned: to try is to buy!

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

Interview with Jim Heintz of Way Out Ware.

Jim Heintz of Way Out Ware.

I had the pleasure of using a Macbeth Studio System’s M5. Some people compare it to an ARP 2600. It does have a similar layout although I personally found the sound to be also Moog-ish. Have you used one? What are your thoughts?

Macbeth M5I have checked out the M5 a couple of times now. I first saw it at MusikMesse in Frankfurt a couple of years ago, and after getting to play with it unfettered, I had the pleasure of meeting it’s creator Ken Macbeth. I found the instrument to be built of very high quality and the sound quality was exceptional, however, I felt the filter was not very similar to that of the ARP 2600. People may compare it to the 2600, and as far as the layout goes, it is somewhat similar making it easy for me to navigate, however, the sounds that the M5 produces are all it’s own IMHO.

I really like it.

I am looking forward to seeing the M5 and Ken again at the NAMM show.

What makes the TimewARP 2600 different from the Arturia ARP2600 V?

I believe that the TimewARP 2600 sounds much more like a real ARP 2600 than any other virtual synth on the market. This belief has been confirmed by many very notable users of ARP 2600s. Our emulation is sample accurate in all respects and models the original circuits of the ARP 2600 where ever possible. One area that TimewARP 2600 stands apart from other products is in the area of audio frequency modulation. You can take any audio source on the TimewARP 2600 and route it to an CV input and get the behavior that you would expect if you were to do that on a real ARP 2600 across the full frequency range of the component. I have not seen this in other virtual instruments. This feature is how many famous ARP 2600 sounds are created.

timewARP 2600 from Way Out Ware

Will there be more features added to the TimewARP 2600? A sequencer for example?

I would love to expand the TimewARP 2600 to include a sequencer, however, I can’t say when that will be. We recently added a couple of small additions to the TimewARP 2600 including a “Master Volume” control and offset controls to the MIDI beat synch feature. As time permits, and market allows, we will continue to enhance the TimewARP 2600.

Let’s talk about kikAXXE. It’s a synth, drum machine and sequencer which sounds super yet it’s priced quite low. Was there a lot of special discussion of it’s price? I am surprised by it honestly.

We did not compromise on sound quality inkikAXXE from Way Out Ware KikAXXE. Our goal was to produce a cost friendly electronic music environment that was fun. We left out a few features in order to justify the price, but all in all I believe KikAXXE delivers the goods. Our hope is that by providing KikAXXE at such an attractive price, that it will open the door to a wider audience of users and allow more people to discover what analog synthesis is all about. At the same time, we have many pros excited about KikAXXE too.

The thing that has to be clear is that KikAXXE is inexpensive, but still sounds awesome and can produce very useable results quickly and easily.

Are you still in contact with Alan R. Pearlman? I know he has endorsed the timewARP 2600. Did you send him kikAXXE?

I try to stay in touch with Alan as often as I can. He has been very supportive of Way Out Ware, and we really appreciate that. He has told me that he believes in what we are doing regarding brining analog synthesis to a wider audience, and making it affordable. He said that he had considered producing a computer based synthesizer when ARP was still around, but the computers of the time were not powerful enough to get the job done. I believe that he feels that WOW products are bringing his legacy to a new generation of users.

Besides your own products have there been other audio software emulations have impressed you? Continue reading →

A video of KikAXXE from Way Out Ware.

The company Way Out Ware created my favorite software synth the TimewARP 2600. It’s a re-creation of an Arp 2600 semi-modular analog synthesizer. They have just released their new toy the KikAXXE and it’s a huge amout of fun!

It’s based around a re-creation the Arp Axxe and therefore it has only a single Oscillator. However like the original Axxe there is a noise generator and sample & hold which increases it’s flexibility. But the fun really starts when your eyes focus on the top part of the plug-in. Here you find a drum machine and an analog sequencer! The final joy can be found on the bottom right: an analog tape delay. Watch this video to see all these sections in action. The video is nicely sized so be sure to click the TV icon under the player to view the show in full screen mode.

Arp Axxe

As with the TimewARP this plug-in really does “Kik AXXE”! I had a blast using the fully working 30 day demo and I know in a month I will have to whip out the credit card. Luckily this noise machine is only about $70! Have fun watching the video but do yourself a favor and download it and make your bleeps and beats.

photo credit: geirarne