Every once in awhile it becomes necessary to shuffle the modular deck. I recently picked up a Polyend Seq, pattern sequencer and instantly found it useful for coming up with new ideas. I’ve reconfigured my Buchla rig with a 225e midi decoder module to interface the Seq with the 200e modules that respond to incoming midi messages. I removed to the 206e, since I didn’t really need two preset managers in the system, and now rely on the 210e for mixing multiple sources. I’m committed to a couple of performances in the next 6 months, and this will be the configuration for these performances.
I just finished up another voicing project for Dave Smith / Sequential for the upcoming Prophet X keyboard. This is something different that uses a multisampler engine, digital oscillators, and analog filters! The primary sample content comes from the 8DIO libraries and includes an abundance of acoustic instrument sets. The fun really begins when you can modulate the sampler engine with LFOs and envelopes to create granular-ish textures and morphing tones. I particularly like all the PPG wavetable samples, and being able to FM these with acoustic piano samples.
I’ve been helping Dave Rossum with a bit of testing and content development for his new sampler module called Assimil8or. It has eight (mono) sampler channels which can be configured to run as one shots or loops. Two channels can be paired to playback stereo samples, or a series of channels can be ganged together to simultaneously play. Each channel can be configured with a ridiculously high 384khz sample rate with 32bit wordlength, and can playback DC samples, so channels can be used as CV sources.
In the video, I have a set of loops configured that can be triggered on the fly like performance clips.
yeah, the landscape FM Stereo Field is just a beautifully designed piece. The overlapping concentric circles of the touch plate gives you the sense that it was inspired from watching the stars under a desert sky while on an acid trip in the 70s. The sounds that emanate from this unique device are quirky and unpredictable. Touching the contacts creates feedback loops within the internal circuitry, and vary depending skin galvanic response.
I have a patch configured on the 84hp skiff that i used at the Modular on the Spot performance at moogfest, and for an upcoming performance, I’m incorporating the Stereo Field as a random control voltage source to modulate various parameters of Morphagene and Morpheus.
It’s now official that the latest version of ReBirth RB-338 for iPad has been removed from the iTunes app store.
The details of what happened can be found on the interwebs if you dig around, but things change and the beat will still go on… if you don’t delete the app!
I’ve been busy working on factory programs for the upcoming Sequential Prophet REV2 synthesizer. This is an update to Dave Smith’s popular Prophet 08, but features a 16 voice polyphony along with new effects and improved features. It’s an incredibly versatile performance instrument. I’m posting snippets over on my IG feed.
I’m one of the lucky participants of the Moogfest 2017 Engineering Program who had the opportunity to build something a little extra special this year, the DFAM - Drummer From Another Mother. The workshop is a great experience, and the DFAM is simply a fun unit for synthesizing a wide array of drum and percussion tones. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s going on with this unique bit of kit.
The DFAM is a monophonic drum and percussion synthesizer with an eight step sequencer. The voice is comprised of two oscillators, a noise generator, filter section, modulation envelopes, and patch points, all housed in a skiff friendly 60hp 3U Eurorack panel (the same footprint as the moog Mother-32).
DFAM’s two oscillators have selectable square or triangle wave which can be hard synced, making it possible to create pulse or sawtooth timbres. There is also a linear FM routing between Oscillator 1 and Oscillator 2 to generate ringing bell tones. The Noise Generator is a third source which can be added on the mixer section.
The Filter section features a switchable resonant low pass filter/high pass filter, and the ladder filter is calibrated for an extended low end that can be tuned down to 20Hz. The filter can be modulated by an envelope generator as well as the noise generator. Connecting a signal to the VCF Mod input jack bypasses the noise modulation of the filter, making it possible to apply frequency modulation of the cutoff. For example, you can patch a VCO output to the VCF Mod input to apply audio rate modulation of the cutoff frequency.
DFAM has three envelope generators, each with a variable decay stage. One EG is dedicated to the Oscillator pitch, One to the Filter Cutoff, and one is dedicated to the VCA. The VCA envelope has can be switched between a “Fast” exponential curve and a “Slow” linear mode. Each of the envelopes can also be modulated from external sources through the patch points.
The DFAM Sequencer has two controls: Pitch and Velocity. Pitch controls the oscillator tuning at each step, and Velocity controls the intensity of the Envelope Generator modulation at each step. The implementation of variable velocity controls makes it possible to create dynamic changes to rhythm patterns.
The CV patching section is populated with inputs and outputs for most of the controls on the front panel, including clock input/output for easy synchronization with other devices. There are Sequencer output and V/Oct input jacks for control with other devices, and direct outputs from the envelope generators to trigger other modules.
Here’s a hands on video that will give you some idea of the various tones DFAM can create. It’s pretty easy synthesize a wide range of sounds like Bass Drums, Kick Drums, Snares, Hi Hats, Blips, Toms, Bells, etc.
For several months now, I’ve been involved with Rossum Electro-Music and have been testing their new eurorack module, the Control Forge. This is a programmable 8 stage control voltage generator that can be use in a variety of applications. It can act as a waveform generator or an LFO, an envelope generator, a step sequencer, and many other applications.
Dave Rossum is one of the founders of E-mu… yes that E-mu… and has created many important electronic instruments including the Emulator samplers and the SP1200 drum machine. The first E-mu instrument was a modular synthesizer system, and history comes full circle with Rossum’s new line of eurorack modules.
The 8 Stage envelopes are stored as “Presets”, and 500 Presets can be saved internally. Presets can be chained in a sequence, and this is where things get interesting. Structuring Preset envelope curves as rhythmic elements then sequencing these elements into a greater arrangement breaks away from repetitive loops in traditional step sequencers. The response is incredibly fast, so you can develop modulation textures when scaling up the time factor.
The following video is a handful of modules being driving by the CV out/ Inverted CV out and the two trigger outputs. The control forge knobs have been programmed to act in a variety of functions as the sequencer steps through different presets:
It’s been a few weeks since the sad announcement of the passing of Don Buchla, and I’m still processing the weight of this news. In the history of electronic music there are a handful of pioneers who unarguably, have been pivotal in the development of synthesizer technology, and Don is one of the most significant figures in this category. In recent years with the renaissance of the modular synthesizer, many people now appreciate the importance of Buchla’s contributions and realize the genius of his electronic instrument designs. It’s incredibly heartening that the legacy of Don Buchla will carry forward for another generation of synth fanatics.
It’s been years since I considered changing out my studio monitors (like 20 years!), but i’ve finally taken the plunge and switched to Meyer Sound Amies. The transition from my old monitors to the Meyers is a lot less shocking than I had anticipated, and even though I work without a subwoofer, mixes seem to translate incredibly well to larger systems as well as mobile formats.
It’s strange that I’ve wanted HD-1s for a long time after having worked on them in different studios, but I think i’m pleasantly satisfied with the Amies.
I’m quite happy to finally announce that i’ve finished an album of ambient/electronic pieces that I’ve been working on for a few years now. Velomne is now available on pretty much every streaming platform and sales portal: