Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Archives: February 2012

February 28, 2012

Roland - The Synthesizer Pt. 2...

by Chris Randall

Here is the second of the four books in The Synthesizer. This one, Multichannel Recording For Electronic Music, is probably the least useful of the four, as the techniques described are almost entirely for a four-track tape context, and they simply don't translate to the modern DAW environment.

That said, the book is useful in two respects: first, as a primer for proper recording workflow, and secondly, in the event you do want to experiment with four-track analog recording and have never done so, this book is about as good a manual as you're going to find. It also inexplicably has the sheet music for a short Hadyn string quartet, and a rather odd arrangement of Greensleeves for string quartet, harp, and two recorders that I'm sure is absolutely banal in performance.

In any event, here is the PDF. If you've already donated for the previous one, don't bother doing it again. If you haven't, here's the button:

February 25, 2012

Roland - The Synthesizer Pt. 1...

by Chris Randall

I was able to scan in the first of the four Synthesizer 2nd Edition books. This is "A Foundation For Electronic Music," and the title pretty much sums up the contents. It is the smallest of the four, and contains a general overview of synthesis types of the era and what filters do.

It is perfectly pertinent today, as we've not diverged much in the 40 years since this book was made, with the caveat that it only talks about the methods available at the time, which were subtractive, additive, and some very basic computer stuff. There are three others in the set: Multichannel Recording For Electronic Music, which mostly describes recording and mixing techniques for a four-track tape deck and a 6-channel mixer, and the two-volume Practical Synthesis For Electronic Music, which has in-depth programming techniques. It mostly uses the System 700 for its examples, but the second volume also uses the System 100 and SH-101.

In any event, here is where you can get a zipped version of the PDF. I'll put up the rest in the next few days as I get to them, and once I have them all scanned, I'll bundle 'em all together and put them on the Free Shit page. If you find these useful, here's a tip jar. I paid too much money for these, and it'd be nice if I could spread the pain around a bit.

February 25, 2012

Home Is Where The Algae Is...

by Chris Randall

Home from my travels, at last. That was an interesting week. In no particular order:

1. I strongly recommend the Hotel Modera if you have to stay in PDX. Reasonably priced, yet with all the normal trimmings of a nice boutique hotel. Very happy with my stay there.

2. Between all the photos I took on the trip and that Roland thing, I have a lot of scanning to do. I'm going to put the books up one at a time, I guess. I'm just going to put them up as PDFs, since everyone with an iPad uses GoodReader.

3. The Monotron Duo and Monotron Delay are both finally available in the U.S. US$49.00 each. I'm thinking of putting all three in a single case, and breaking out some of the obvious patch points. I'll let you know how that goes.

4. Regarding the AI Comp, I have now listened to every submission in its entirety, and whittled the list down to 30 or so. This was difficult because I know a lot of you personally; I ended up renaming all the submissions with a numbering system so I wouldn't be swayed by friendships or whatever. The main things that got tracks axed off the bat were either obvious musical and technical flaws, or failing that, tracks I felt were too derivative. The purpose of this comp is to move things forward, not look back at what has already been done. I hope to have the final list done tomorrow or Monday, at which point I will put it up here.

Anyhow, that's it for now. I have a lot of work to catch up on. Phase Two is the next one out of the chute for 32/64 update, probably on Monday, or maybe today if I can talk Adam in to booting his compilers to fix one little thing. The only ones left are Ronin, Axon, Tattoo, and the two remaining freebies. This long nightmare is almost over.

February 23, 2012

A Change In The Weather...

by Chris Randall

After a 1400 mile drive in an un-heated RV, whereupon I was reminded that it is in fact February everywhere else in the country (you can discerne the ambient temperature from my AmEx bill, as I purchase things made out of wool that have sleeves and stuff) I arrived safe and sound in Hermiston, Oregon. At which point I immediately recalled why I left this town as soon as I was physically able. The amount of particulate matter in the air that came out of the south end of a northbound cow is somewhat higher than I'm prepared to accept in my advanced years.

That out of the way, I headed to Portland yesterday, and visited all (three of) my favorite businesses: Compound, Powell's Books, and Ground Kontrol. I fixed the high scores on Ground Kontrol's Tempest machine to the mid six figures, and gave Robotron a good thrashing. I need to find a Robotron machine. Also, at Powell's they have that book set pictured above. It is necessarily somewhat System 700 centric, but a very cool set. I'm tempted to buy it and scan it if it isn't already on line somewhere. It is kind of expensive, but something that needs to be in the Public Record, I think.

I'll be home tomorrow. This will be the first time I've flown since 1998. Is anything different? (Har har har.)

February 18, 2012

Phaedra updated to 1.0.1...

by Chris Randall

Phaedra version 1.0.1 is now available in the App Store. Changelog:

1. Fixed issue where LIVE CONTROL knob was incorrectly affecting gate time.

2. Fixed issue where OCTAVE settings per note were not recalled correctly when loading a saved document.

3. Timing and stability improvements.

4. Changed "SET RESET" button text on front panel to read "PATTERN LENGTH" since many people didn't realize that was what this button does. Changed manual to reflect the different UI.

I'm still working on adding the ability to drive analog clocks via the audio outputs. I have it sort of working, but the analog outs of the iPad are simply not loud enough to generate enough voltage to tick some sequencers. Currently, it'll drive an Intellijel uStep and a Monotribe, but not the Makenoise Ren?, nor generate enough voltage to kick a Doepfer EG. So I'm kind of at an impasse at this point. You basically need to amplify the signal to pull this off, and while most modulars would have that ability, it also is worth noting that the iPad's outputs are 16-bit, and thus only have about an 85dB S:N ratio (I know scientifically they're supposed to be 96dB or something, but this is the real world we're talking about, not Pedant Labs.) Amping the signal enough to where it will fire anything also brings that noise floor up to nearly unusable levels.

I'm also waiting for an SPDIF-capable interface, so that I can check the code for driving the Expert Sleepers ES-4. This will be extra cool and no problem, I think.

Anyhow, recommended update, blah blah blah.

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