Wednesday, May 15, 2019

No pain, no gain

Some changes in play:

  • The Spectre suffered from the boot-problem-syndrome that affected so many AD modules, so it had to go. Luckily, the dude that I bought it from on Reverb is top-notch, and dealt with it with class. I owe Okie's for the assistance.
  • Replaced with the Malgorithm. Never had great luck with Industrial/Harvestman modules, and this one is falling about the same: to much self-noise ATM. I may need to work with it a bit more, but it isn't really speaking to me yet.
  • The bigger distortion piece meant a smaller VCA. Damn, I already miss the uVCA. We'll see what happens here.
Everything else is cookin' with gas, and I was able to prep a whole bunch of field recording pieces that I'll be using at the Jazz Central gig next week. I'm not going to be able to jumble this up much between now and then, so this is how it will roll.

Now I just have to get my crap together w/r/t MPC sets!


Sunday, May 5, 2019

OK - In the Pocket (for now)

OK - I've gotten all the pieces together, swapped the Rossum filter for something a little more fun (for me) and pulled a bunch of modules out of the Save Box for the modular sampler. The whole thing is based off a 1010 Music Bitbox - have I raved about that enough? I freaking love it, and I've mostly been tweaking/playing with a very small set of files (I haven't really started sampling or collecting specifically for this device yet). It hits the sweet spot of awesome and fun for me, and it also lives in the MPC mental world for me, so I'm quite happy.

I settled on the WMD Overseer filter, which gives me stereo coherence but with a simple, DJ-like interface. Sounds great, responds perfectly to modulation and has that funky tilt function. Love it! I'm also back to the Intellijel uVCA - still, to me, the perfect VCA implementation. It's like an old friend, and I never tire of using it. Combining that with the Supercell is a winning combo, since I often use the VCA for modulated modulations - and the Supercell/Clouds loves that action.

I ended up getting an Audio Damage Spectre - despite my deep-seated issues with those punks, and the fact that the module will never be supported. Again, I get stereo coherence (I think...) and some nice algorithms. Modulating the whole scene is that Quadra (I had to buy some jumper blocks to use it without the expander...) and a MantaMate, which gives me nice random stuff when nothing is plugged in, but also acts as a decent MIDI converter - and a host for the Manta, too. The Manta seems like a good option for firing off stuff in the Bitbox, but it also makes me wish for a good CV-to-MIDI (on 1/8") converter I could use to randomize access into that module.

Alas, you can't have everything.

It looks like I'll be using this for some sample action in my gig on the 22nd - unless I find a way to have the MPC handle this. One less piece of gear is always useful. In the meantime, this has become my sofa-modular, and I'm loving it to death!


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Sample System - Version 1

Here is the current version of the Sample Modular. The top (1u) section is a pair of QuadAtts and a pair of NoiseTools. The 3u section is a Quadra with Expander, 2HP VCA, 1010 Bitbox, Rossum Morpheus and the Supercell. Hella power.

So why would I be talking "Version 1" about this? Isn't it already perfect?

Nobody that has ever used a modular would buy the 'perfect' thing, but here are my issues (that I will soon resolve):

  • That Rossum filter is amazing, but I don't like it. Does that make sense? Not at all. But it's my reality, and I have to honor it. (Kind of pisses me off, though - because there is a lot in there to love...)
  • The 2HP VCA is just too dinky for fun. I've got to get back into a uVCA like the old days - even though that Supercell also has a VCA. But I use VCAs for variable modulation all the time, and I could use the real estate to do some damage.
  • I really want something for a little distortion, and I want it all in-the-box. I want to work on this by sitting in The Big Chair and fiddling it while I watch basketball or something, so it can't be an external pedal or anything. That's got to get added.

So changes are in the works - but this gives me a great platform for starting to work with the Bitbox. Version 2 additions are already on order (and will be cost neutral, thankfully), so here we go!


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Playing Games with Samples

I'm in the process of making the next 'special purpose' skiff for my system - this one being specific to working with samples. After digging in to a number of different sample-based modules, and actually getting hands-on most of them, I've decided that a 1010 Music bitbox is my future. The fact of the matter is that it speaks to me in a similar fashion to the MPC Live, and a nice cluster of firing inputs, is only modestly hyper-complex and looks damned cool.

I'll reveal the entire skiff next week (after I'm back from Expo), but suffice to say that it is built off an Intellijel 4u x 108hp skiff-ish case. I've got most of it pulled together - a lot of it was pieces that I got in trade or had hanging around the house. But it seems like a good sitting-on-the-soft rig, and I'm looking forward to adding this setup to my performance rig.

More anon!


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Berna Down The House!

I was rumbling around Synthtopia today, getting caught up on the latest news and checking out some of the coolische videos that tend to show up on Sundays. Looking at some older messages, I saw a winnerGiorgio Sancristoforo has created a version of Berna 2 for Windows!

I've long been a Berna fan - mainly because it forces you to think differently about synthesis. Because it is emulating an old tape music studio, you have to consider different ways of creating events (no envelopes!), contours (still no envelopes!) and pitch changes (no keyboards, either!).
These limits cause you to steer clear of your favorite techniques - because you just can't do 'em. Instead, you find yourself thinking about mixing and modulation ideas, creative ways of using a ring modulator, and splicing/mixing action on the bank of virtual tape machines.
If love this software - much like I love the other goodies by Sancristoforo. If you haven't tried out Berna, check it out at his site:


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Can't Do It...

So, with the recent destruction of my studio space, I needed to pare down my physical keyboard stack. My 'next studio' is probably going to be an Output Platform workstation/desk and a sidecar for the small modular - and that'll be it.

My first thought was that I could let the Nord Lead 3 pass along - so I pulled it out of the closet and set it up to make sure there weren't any problems with the encoders or buttons.

Ran through everything and found it all working as expected. Then I started selecting presets and tweaking controls. Bliss. I could take any preset and, with a few nudges, turn them into something that I could love. The way that the indicators give you an immediate sense of what's going on means that you always stayed connected to the patch - even with some of the less-used controls.

I realized that the reason I was obsessed with this synth - and the reason I went out of my comfort zone to buy it - was exactly this: no surprises. No hidden crap. No trick settings. All of it is right there for you to see.

I can't imagine anyone trying to make one of these today - it flies in the face of the 'endless encoder debacle' from DSI, and the parts count has to be humiliating. But I love it, and I can't sell it, and something else is going to have to go if I have to clear out some room.



Thursday, April 4, 2019

Why Do They Have To Take All The Good Stuff Away?

I was really sad to see that Red Bull and Yadastar have decided to pull the plug on the RBMA, Red Bull Radio and other projects related to global electronic music support. From what I can tell, they are going to roll things back to the country-level support, meaning that we will be less likely to see these amazing talks, on a comfy couch, with our heroes.

It was easy to take potshots at RBMA - they were supported by Those Evil Drink Makers, the were hogging the attention, or they were taking advantage of 'the scene' for their own profit planning. But I've probably learned more about some of my favorite artists by watching RBMA videos than almost anything else.

Some favorites? Let's try these (the links give the artist away...):

Amazing stuff. 'Nuff said?