Modular Synth Basics

There is a new Youtube video series showing modular synth basics. So far there are 8 videos and I already have learned a few new things. These are simply and extremely helpful for anyone especially people new to modular synthesis. Thanks for Tuesday Night Machines for posting these!

“I started a new video series a couple of days ago, focusing on basic concepts of (Eurorack) Modular Synthesizers. My goal is to produce short videos, around 3 minutes in length, that quickly give the viewer a fundamental understanding of the topics covered. After that, the viewer can look for more specific knowledge at the other great resources online, for example the in-depth module demos of Raul’s World of Synths and of course this very community.” – The Tuesday Night Machines

For more info: The Tuesday Night Machines

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on March 7, 2014 at 5:52 am, filed under modular, synthesizer and tagged , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2014

So The NAMM Show 2014 is kicking off today. Usually I wait until the show is over then do a post about the stuff I like. However, this year I think I will keep this post up and just add to it as I find cool things I like. Refresh and re-vist this post if your interested to see my own thoughts on the new stuff!

HEXINVERTER.NET DRUM MODULES

HEXINVERTER.NET DRUM MODULES – About a year ago I contacted Stacy of Hexinverter.net. I wanted to know if I could buy his DIY HiHat Kit pre-built. At the time the answer was no. After some begging here we have not only the Hi Hats but a Kick Drum. Tiptop has the TR series nailed down (he used to repair those units I believe). Stacy is bringing some new flavors and just like synths we need variety in electronic drums. Very nice!

MOOG SUB 37

MOOG SUB 37 – Even though I am very much into my modular this Moog does look really great. Nothing in my studio has the bass of my Slim Phatty and I have a lot of equipment in there so there’s something to be said for the Moog sound. The SUB 37 really looks beautiful. I’m in love with my Microbrutes SH-101 like sequencer and the SUB 37 has one too. Even though it’s a simple little feature on a $1500 synth its the workflow that makes all the difference.

SSF ULTRA RANDOM

SSF ULTRA RANDOM – Sample and Hold is really important. I like old detuning oscillators. Using S&H and some other tricks I can make my new stable Eurorack oscillators sound bad. Bad meaning good. So I welcome the SSF Ultra Random!

IZOTOPE BREAKTWEAKER

IZOTOPE BREAKTWEAKER – They key to liking this is to think about using your own content in it. Once you do that you see there is some really cool stuff in this plug-in. The built-in sequencer allows you to use different tempos and time signatures for each channel. There is also a “generator” that gives you wavetable sequencing over parameters and MIDI control over everything. This looks to be another good remix tool.

ARTURIA BEATSTEP

ARTURIA BEATSTEP – An analog sequencer for a DAW, iOS and… Eurorack! No brainer awesome!

KORG GADGET

KORG GADGET – Nostalgia crack for musicians! No one can dispute you can use iOS for real music these days. I recently bought an iConnectMIDI2 just to do so. Here we have Korg making cool little retro inspired software gadgets on the most impressive gadget of all.

ELEKTRON RYTHM

ELEKTRON RYTHM – I know Elektron stuff is highly regarded but this is the first E box I want to own. I don’t think there is an analog drum machine I don’t want to own. I like how you can have parameter settings per sequencer move. It even has DIN Sync!

MAKE NOISE

MAKE NOISE – Six new modules! Rosie, Teleplexer, CTRLSEL-V, CTRLSEL-G, Mysteron and the Erbe-verb enter the amazing Make Noise world. The Teleplexer and Erbe-verb will surely end up in my studio.

More Wire the Ear picks coming as NAMM goes on over the next few days!

“The NAMM Show is the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry. It is held once a year, namely every January in Anaheim, California, USA at the Anaheim Convention Center, and is one of the two largest music product trade shows in the world. Its European counterpart is the Musik Messe in Frankfurt.” – Wikipedia

For more info: namm.org

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on January 23, 2014 at 8:09 am, filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



PPG 1984

Wolfgang Palm the father of PPG and Wavetable synthesis added some 80s videos to his YouTube channel. I really love the one above which shows him at work. You can see the care that went into making the PPGs and it’s in no doubt many are still working today. The accompanying music is also great!

“PPG Company 1984, Production, 10 year anniversary celebration music by Michael Wehr 2009 and from PPG-demo 1983″ – Wolfgang Palm

For more info: wolfgangpalm.com

via matrixsynth

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on January 11, 2014 at 6:12 am, filed under hardware, synthesizer and tagged , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Prophet 12 Module

My favorite synth of all time is the Ensoniq ESQ-1. This maybe only because I do not own a Sequential Circuits Prophet VS. You see there is something amazing about digital oscillators matched with analog filters. In my Eurorack system the best sounds I get are from my Ataraxic Translatron into Toppobrillo Multifilter. When the Prophet 12 came out I assumed it was an all analog affair. I watched a few videos months after its released and fell in love. When I discovered it was digital into analog filters I said, “ah yes of course!!”. So now there is a Dave Smith Prophet 12 module and I am all for it. Give me an 808, ESQ-M and Prophet 12M and see you whenever.

“Introducing the Prophet 12 Module, the same great sound engine of the Prophet 12 keyboard with enough portability to fit in a backpack! At twelve voices, the Prophet 12 boasts the greatest polyphony of any instrument designed by Dave Smith. Each voice features four oscillators capable of generating classic and complex waveforms, a sub-oscillator, resonant analog low-pass and high-pass filters, and analog VCAs. The new Character section adds a variety of wave shaping and sound sculpting options, like Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air. Additional features include a tuned feedback path, a four-tap stereo delay per voice, expanded arpeggiator functionality, deep modulation capabilities, and bi-timbral operation. The LFOs, delay, and arpeggiator can all be synced, either to the internal clock or an external MIDI clock.” – davesmithinstruments

For more info: davesmithinstruments.com/products/p12m

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on December 18, 2013 at 6:18 pm, filed under hardware, synthesizer and tagged , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Elektro Moskva

My friends over at Sequencer.de mentioned a movie called Elektro Moskva yesterday. It looks amazing so I had to repost the info here. The movie is about the Russian synthesizer world. If anyone knows how I can see the full film let me know. I am excited to go perform in Moscow in a few weeks.

“On a western device, you push a button and get a result. On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something.” – Benzo

For more info: elektromoskva.com

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on November 21, 2013 at 5:54 am, filed under hardware, synthesizer and tagged , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Korg Little Bits

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

For more info: korgusa.com

via Matrixsynth

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on November 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm, filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Linplug Spectral

Just because hardware monosynths and Eurorack modules are the rage doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep an eye on the plug-in space. There is still no faster way to knock out a remix or quick scratch track than on your laptop. One of the first plug-in synthesizers I fell in love with was the Linplug Albino. Linplug is about to release an all new synth called Spectral. You can see it’s a real Linplug with Peter’s modmatrix right in the center. Coming soon.

“Our new top of the line synthesizer, the LinPlug Spectral. 14 years of synthesizer building experience. If you are familiar with subtractive synthesis, you will feel right at home with the Spectral, because you can choose an oscillator waveform, choose a filter shape and go on from there. But Spectral delivers far more options than you would expect from the well sorted user interface. Both Oscillator Waveform and Filter Shape can be edited in depth. The unique audio engine is capable of delivering many sounds never heard before.” – linplug.com

For more info: linplug.com/spectral

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on November 1, 2013 at 7:01 am, filed under plug-ins and tagged , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



TC-11

TC-11 takes a good synth engine and tosses it under a highly customizable and beautiful touch interface. As you play the apps different presets your fingers fire LFOs, sequencers, arpeggiators, waveshapers, phasers and more. This is really a wonderful app. I think it’s like the classic Bebot on mega steriods. Be warned if you watch the videos above there is a good chance you will drop the $29 is costs.

“TC-11 is a programmable modular synthesizer on the iPad, controlled by multi-touch and device motion controllers. All synthesis parameters can be controlled by these two sources, which allows the user to create countless unique patch configurations. TC-11 does not use on-screen objects like knobs or buttons for synthesis control. Instead, your touches are the controllers. Distances, angles, rotation, speeds, and timings created by the touches are used to push synthesis parameters in real-time. TC-11 opens up every inch of the screen for performance. Plus, the iPad’s device motion capabilities can be used as controllers. The accelerometer, gyroscope and compass can be assigned to synthesis parameters to turn your iPad into a expressive motion-controlled synth.” – bitshapesoftware.com

For more info: bitshapesoftware.com/instruments/tc-11

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on October 6, 2013 at 4:10 am, filed under iPad and tagged , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Control Voltage Fair 2013 Report

On Saturday night I went to the second annual Control Voltage Fair at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan. It was at last year’s event where I first got the modular bug. Since that show I learned all I could about the Eurorack modular format and have purchased 31 modules and 4 racks to hold them. The modular “scene” is small and everyone I’ve met online, at Control or at these events has been friendly, helpful and really into it. It was extremely hot and humid on Saturday evening and this year the booths and live shows were outdoors. After a quick walkthrough I first stopped at the Tiptop Audio booth to play with the Trigger Riot and see the new Mix Z prototype. The TR lives up to it’s name as within a 30 seconds you can have a mass of drums making noise. The Mix Z is a mixer with a bus on it’s backside so you don’t have to patch the audio in from Tiptop drum modules. I met Richard Devine at the Make Noise booth. We discussed how he soundproofed his new studio. We also talked about how it’s important for children to hear a lot of music as they develop and how his own kid may end up a little different because of the modular sounds she’s hearing vs Row Row Row Your Boat. Ben Casey from Bangbang was there. He’s the de-facto Elektron dealer in NYC. Musician Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Knas the maker of the Polygamist synth were seen hanging out. Before the actual performances startetd Jeremiah Johnson had a small crowd gather around him while he improvised on the massive Control setup. They had the new Mutable Instruments modules in their giant Goikes racks and Jeremiah was making good noise with them. I talked to him after his was done about European gigs. I enjoyed Keith Fullerton Whitman’s performance. Modular sounds good live and outdoors. I like my music more structured and evil but it had moments where I wondered how he was doing it. Richard Devine’s performance had a certain sound to it. Plucky, vactrolish and for most of it happily quite dark. Due to the Tequila icey drinks they were serving right outside the festival I tired out and missed Lori Napoleon. Be sure to see my entire set of photos on flickr: click here

“People walking by outside audibly confused by the noise pouring out on to the street from RichardDevine ‘s set.” – Anthony Saunders

For more info: rivertorivernyc.com/artists/control-voltage

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on July 8, 2013 at 5:13 am, filed under modular, synthesizer and tagged , , , , , , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.



Thor for iPad

With the recent release of Waldorf’s Nave and today’s release of Propellerheads Thor for iPad it’s clear we are going to keep getting high quality synthesizers for iOS. Thor has a ton of features but my favorite is the Omnichord like Strum and Hit keyboard where you “Hold a chord and strum it with one finger. Or use the hit function to trigger the chord as a stab.”. It’s interesting to note that the Waldorf synth came to iPad first but will be a VST/AU shortly too.

“Thor for iPad puts the mighty Thor synthesizer at your fingertips. Reason’s legendary flagship synth delivers a thunderous sound, god-like sound sculpting capabilities and an innovative, lighting-fast keyboard designed for iPad. Thor is a synthesis playground, a flexible sonic workhorse, but above all, an expressive musical instrument for the iPad.” – propellerheads.se

For more info: propellerheads.se/products/thor

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on June 20, 2013 at 4:44 am, filed under iPad 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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