The SynthSummitShow episode 20: Taiho Yamada (MOK) + giveaway

The SynthSummitShow episode 20: Taiho Yamada

 

Mr Yamada has an extensive history in the synthesizer world dating back to early days of the Alesis Rompler synths such as the Quadrasynth and has been instrumental in quite a few key synthesizers of our time. From the Alesis Andromeda, Ion, and Fusion to the M-Audio Venom Taiho Yamada’s career has been steeped in synth gold. Now striking out on his own with company Media OverKill (MOK)  Taiho looks to set the bar with a new form of patent pending synthesis in WaveRazor. Join this show and learn details on how you could win a copy of both WaveForm and WaveRazor! It was a great interview filled with lots of 90’s and 2000’s synth history, very much worth a listen!

Novation Circuit Review

The Novation Circuit portable Groovebox

This Circuit review is one that I specifically requested from Novation. I was quite interested in the idea of a portable groove box that held one of my favorite synth engines in a battery controlled, forward thinking design. I was concerned about the macro control layout as I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the layout. I came away from my time with the circuit gaining a new appreciation for this different take on a portable synth. Instead of focusing on specifics like ADSR settings or complex oscillator set ups, This groove box opts to give you macros that can control 4 parameters on any given patch. While this might be a bit confusing, it also serves as the pathway to inspiration and discovery of new unexpected sounds. This is where Circuit can come into its own… The sequencer is a bit on the basic side being only 16 steps but it does allow for independent note lengths and pattern chaining. You can launch patterns in a similar way to the ableton live clip launching method. Speaking of Ableton Live, a copy is included free with Circuit and Circuit can be used as a controller for live.

The Battery power and the fact that it has a built in speaker was a large draw for me. I’m happy to say that through out this entire review I never once needed to actually plug it into the wall (though the wall adapter is included in the box). The internal speaker is quite adequate to get its sound across in a quiet setting (don’t expect it to be loud enough to get peoples attention in a noisy bus station but it will certainly turn heads if you are sitting in a starbucks.)

I found the over all build quality to be extremely good. The knobs feel VERY nice , smooth with decent resolution. the body didn’t creak or feel hollow and plasticy.  The build felt so nice I let my 2 and a half year old son bash away on it with not so much as a scratch or a worry. I have to say he quite enjoyed it as well.

I was skeptical of the layout but came away impressed with the build quality. The constant updates from novation is a very promising sign and the addition of sample import and “sample flip” is not to be over looked. the rigid 16 step sequencer resolution is probably my biggest gripe but for what this product is, its hardly a deal breaker.

If you are looking for a groove box that you can confidently take with you on the go and is truly stand alone… this might be right up your alley.

The SynthSummitShow episode 18: John Bowen synth designs

This episode I was fortunate to have John Bowen on the show. A staple in the synthesizer community for roughly 40 years, John has been instrumental in many of the legendary synths of our time. Join us as we walk through a piece of synth history and cap it off with a discussion of his amazing Solaris synthesizer.

for more info check out Johnbowen.com 

Zeta Ohm Fluxus 1 (FLXS1) sequencer goes live on Kickstarter!

The Fluxus one Sequencer from Zeta Ohm


* Breaking news, ZetaOhm have ALREADY reached the goal and are not even halfway through the campaign!*

Recently at Knobcon 2016 I was very lucky to meet an enterprising young man by the name Tenkai. Not only did he save the day (I had a catastrophic computer failure) but he debuted an amazing new eurorack modular sequencer he was working on. Continue reading

Hex Inverter Mutant Rim shot, ZNO, Red Dragon Eurorack modules at NAMM ’17

Hex Inverter the mind behind the Mutant Drums series of Eurorack Modules returns to NAMM 2017 with a new filter, Rim shot and wild noise source oscillator. Winston from Balcones Whiskey steps in to assist with this coverage so big thanks to Winston and the crew at Balcones whiskey.

New Synthesizer Modules from Hex inverter at Namm 2017!

Pittsburgh Modular Double Helix VCO and new Lifeforms modules NAMM ’17

 

Designed to be the nucleus of a synthesizer, the Double Helix Oscillator is a modular waveform generator like no other. A set of beefy, analog oscillators paired with voltage controlled shape contouring, deep modulation and a performance-ready voltage controlled modulation matrix create a dynamic, analog waveform playground.

At the core of the Double Helix are two, wide-range precision oscillators. The primary oscillator includes a full complement of waveforms and multiple modulation options. The secondary oscillator offers a more focused set of waves and frequency modulation. Both oscillators reach deep into LFO range and can be used as voltage-controlled modulation sources.

The contour section of the Double Helix Oscillator features a highly tuned wavefolder paired with an exclusive dynamic impulse low pass gate. The contour signal chain starts with a two-channel mixer. This allows multiple waveforms or multiple oscillators to be combined before passing though the contour section. The first half of the contour section is a voltage-controlled, 6-stage wavefolder used to add odd harmonics to the incoming waveform. The timbre and timbre CV controls set the density and amplitude of the folds. When processing a sine wave, the wavefolder creates a spectral change from zero harmonics to square, with an infinite harmonic series.

The second half of the contour section is a dynamic impulse low pass gate. The effect of the low pass gate is similar to pairing a low pass filter and VCA together. As the dynamics control is opened, the filter adds harmonics and the VCA increases the amplitude of the waveform. As the dynamics control is closed, the filter removes harmonics and the VCA decreases the amplitude of the waveform. This pairing mimics how sound behaves in the real world creating a more naturally tonal response. The impulse input adds the ability to strike or ping the low pass gate circuit creating a very organic, percussive sound. The decay time of the impulse input is set by the dynamics response control allowing the strike to be tuned to a specific musical context.

The modulation section includes an LFO offering simultaneous sine, square, and random waveforms. A noise source is also available for audio or modulation use.

A pair of voltage-controlled routers manage all the CV inputs creating a dual, voltage controlled modulation matrix perfect for complex signal paths, experimentation, and live performance. The matrix consists of two voltage-controlled amplifiers designed to control the modulation amount inputs that can be routed to any of the Double Helix CV inputs. Each of the CV inputs can be switched to channel a, bypass, or channel b and mixed with a dedicated CV input.

Features

  • Panel size: 28hp
  • Depth: 37mm
  • Power Usage: +12v 223mA, -12v 205mA
  • Does not require +5v

Radikal Technologies releases the eurorack Swarm Oscillator RT 311

Radikal Technologies releases radical Eurorack-compatible oscillator module with a DSP-driven difference

MÜNCHEN, GERMANY: having turned heads, opened ears, and blown musical minds with a successful showcase at The 2017 NAMM Show, January 19-22 in Anaheim, California, high-quality synthesizer developer Radikal Technologies is proud to announce availability of its RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR — an advanced DSP-driven Eurorack-compatible oscillator module that, as implied by name, goes far beyond the realms of standard oscillator fare, firstly thanks to two oscillators that can both build swarms of (up to eight) oscillator ‘clones’ capable of being pitched in musical intervals, chords, clusters, or fat detunes, dutifully backed by having all parameter settings saveable as interpolatable snapshots, enabling even more radical results — as of March 28…

A dictionary definition of swarm typically reads: a large number of things… or oscillators, in the case of Radikal Technologies’ radical RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR, which, when switched to its highest SWARM setting, sees a maximum of 16 oscillator ‘clones’ running simultaneously. Something that stands out from the sound of the (ever-expanding Eurorack modular) crowd — to (partially) paraphrase the early-Eighties British breakthrough hit from synth-pop pioneers The Human League (themselves no strangers to the small-format modular system popularised by fellow German developers Doepfer Musikelektronik) — and surely something to behold? But building swarms of oscillator clones using both (OSCILLATOR 1 andOSCILLATOR 2) banks’ specialised set of TUNE, OCTAVES, DENSITY, SPREAD, and DETUNE controls to create pitched musical intervals, chords, clusters, or fat detunes does not necessarily mean that all 16 of those clones have to sound simultaneously.

Switched into (its default startup) Manual-Mode of operation, the RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR can function much like any other Eurorack-compatible all-analogue oscillator out there with OSCILLATOR 1 and OSCILLATOR 2 respectively appearing at the two (OUT 1 and OUT 2) outputs as sound sources for further manipulation elsewhere — using Radikal Technologies’ own RT-451 DUAL MULTIMODE FILTER module, for instance. In this scenario, the sound of the RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR module matches exactly what would be expected from the potentiometer-controlled parameter positions on its 32 HP (Horizontal Pitch) sized front panel; putting yet more controls at adventurous users’ fingertips, both banks of oscillators feature WAVE controls for smooth transitions between waveforms and TLM (Timelinearity Modulation), a variation of pulse-width modulation — known from Radikal Technologies’ SPECTRALIS 2 ANALOG SYNTHESIZER/ BEATMATRIX/FILTERBANK desktop hybrid — that can be applied to all waveforms, while exponential FM (Frequency Modulation) and linear FM modulation or PM (Phase Modulation) are also available alongside oscillator synchronisation. Pitch is, of course, controlled by the (calibrated) 1V/OCT input (which can be quantised so that only pitches of a certain tone sequence or scale are output).

Other operational modes make more radical results really shine through, though. Switching Snapshot-Mode into play permits the RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR to store up to eight memory setups, each with eight snapshots, saving all oscillator settings and memorising them even after whatever Eurorack small-format modular synth system is playing host to the module has been powered down! Such snapshots are assigned to one of eight positions accessible via the ‘big knob’ dominating the RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR’s front panel. Put it into Interpolator-Mode and everything (literally) revolves around the cyclic traversal of those snapshots, smoothly crossfading from one to the next with transitions taken care of via voltage control, an internal LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), or the big knob itself — either way, the surrounding eight LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) illuminate accordingly in user-chosen colours, helpfully highlighting which snapshot is playing at any given time.

To make room for an RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR in any Eurorack small-format modular system means making more sound colours available to the sophisticated synthesist… Radikal by name, radical by nature, now a swarm of oscillators need not take up too much valuable rack space, so why not add one (or more) modules to your setup today to start puttingRadikal Technologies’ latest DSP-driven design through its unique-sounding paces? 

 

Now shipping, the RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR is available for purchase from Radikal Technologies stockists at an MSRP of €598.00 EUR (in Europe) and $659.00 USD (in the US).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR webpage here: http://www.radikaltechnologies.com/index.php/rt-311-swarm-oscillator/

Watch a short demonstration video of the RT-311 SWARM OSCILLATOR here: http://youtu.be/u3q03WoDwyk