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

Archives: 2005

October 23, 2005

PSS Battle!

by Chris Randall

The fun continues here at Analog Industries, where (despite all evidence to the contrary) we know how to fucking party! It seems our friend J. Robert Lennon unwittingly threw down the gauntlet when he posted a link to his PSS-only track in the comments of the last post.

Well, I'm certainly not going to be outdone on my own website, so I've gone and penned a four-minute (and change) PSS-470 Odyssey, a bizarre mish-mash of IDM, progressive house, and what could only be described as dubdustrial. As if I had nothing but time on my hands, really. So grab yourself an MP3, and lean back and enjoy a powerful combination of a $2.00 yard-sale keyboard and several thousand dollars worth of outboard. Take that, Mr. Lennon!

Who's next? Who wants to join the PSS Battle? Two men enter, one man leaves!

October 22, 2005

Yamaha PSS-470: Synth Of The Gods

by Chris Randall

Well, okay, maybe not "the Gods." How about Synth Of The Dogs? I came across one of these at a yard sale a couple months ago for $2.00, and I was like "hey, why the fuck not?" It sat in my workshop area until today, when I got the wild idea that I would, like, turn it on and stuff. Come to find out, as hippy-dippy home keyboards of the 80s go, this one is actually kind of semi-cool. Not so much the built-in sounds, but it is a 2-op FM synth, with various non-sensical controls (like only Yamaha can do) to chew up the preset sounds. This section is called, inexplicably, the Digital Synthesizer.

But never mind that. What is fucking fly about this stupid little thing is the drum machine. Not only are the sounds, like, totally amazing (I'm not entirely sure at this juncture, but if someone told me the drum sounds in this bitch were analog I'd believe 'em) but you can program your own beat. Like, from scratch. How often do you see that on a home keyboard of this vintage?

Hours of fun ensued, and I can now add "Master PSS-470 Programmer" to my resume. This bad boy gets two thumbs up from me. If you see one at a yard sale or Goodwill, I give it a strong "Buy" recommendation. I can now say there's a piece of Yamaha gear I like.

UPDATE: Due to popular demand (well, okay, one demand), Here is a zip containing the absolutely stunning sounds of the PSS-470 Custom Drummer. You can go ahead and delete your Discrete Drums folders now, kids. You'll never need another drum sample. Seriously. I'm right in the middle of composing my PSS-470 Demo Song, As Realized By Someone Who Really Likes Yellow Magic Orchestra.

October 21, 2005

Moog Mixers...

by Chris Randall

I was browsing around the Moog Archives today, and came across these two pieces. Pictured above is the Moog 1084 mixer, which is, according to the 1971 Moog Catalog, "a signal coordinating center of moderate complexity designed to meet the requirements of modestly scaled electronic studios." Sounds like something I really, really need. Eight line inputs and two mic pres later, this four-buss mixer is obviously poised to set us up the bomb. If that one isn't enough...

...the 1200 is even more flyer, with an effects send and a classy mixer-like form-factor. This one would set the aspiring c. 1971 laptop musician back a whopping $3995, while the 1084 was only $1825. Now, I know a lot about synths, and even have a hefty dose of experience with the various Moog outboard processors, but I've never heard of these two pieces until today. Anyone here seen one of these in real life? Here's a color pic of the 1084, which seems to be altogether more common than the 1200. I found a couple hits for 1084s for sale, but literally _nothing on the Interwebs about the 1200, other than the Moog Archives page.

October 21, 2005

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday!!!

by Chris Randall

Okay, so no multi-image oak and velvet Room Of Doom this week. What we have here is a prime example of why Roger Arrick sleeps well at night. This Italian fellow (who's name I am blissfully unaware of) has obviously dropped just shy of ten grand at, for a system that nicely compliments his VCS3 and Doepfer synths. It's no Scot Solida Monstrosity, but this dude is no slouch, either.

But, wait...

What's that in the rack?

Argh! Another Mackie mixer! I just can't win, can I?

October 20, 2005

Moog 907A Fixed Filter Bank...

by Chris Randall

If you were wondering why I've been rather silent the last couple days, this is why. The next Audio Damage product, coming out some time next week, after we tidy up, is the 907A Fixed Filter Bank. Now, this is a little more esoteric than our normal products, I'll grant. It's one of those things where if you know what it is, you know why you need it, but if you don't, it's kind of hard to explain.

The original Moog 907 was designed by Bob Moog because of a request by Wendy Carlos for a bank of bandpass filters to use when modeling, e.g., wind instruments, cellos, etc. In short, things with a resonating cavity in them. This configuration is known as a Formant Filter, and is also handy in speech synthesis and the like. (That big hole between your nose and chin is a resonating cavity, it turns out.)

Now, what does it sound like, you ask? Well, I'll have samples up on the AD page in a couple days, but the long and short of it is this: any audio passing through this filter picks up a kind of vocal quality. The original, and our software clone, only cuts the signal; there is no gain as it is entirely passive. So there is a bit of attenuation. We thought that sticking to the original would be better, as giving each band gain would drastically affect the sound of the device, and basically make it nothing like the original. So there are 8 bandpass filters, along with four-pole low and high-pass filters, for a regular orgy of sound-carving fun. This will be $29.00, and available for OSX VST/AU and WinXP VST at some point in the next few days.

UPDATE: I whipped up a quick vamp so you guys can get a bit of an idea of what the 970A and Phase Two are all about. The signal chain is:

Lounge Lizard (Dirty preset) -> 907A -> Phase Two -> DubStation -> Waves RComp

The first 8 measures are just the Lounge Lizard and DubStation. At measure 9, I switch on the 907A. Phase Two gets turned on for the last 8 measures. (Then I automate the regen and time on DubStation at the very end, just for fun.)

Here's the MP3. Thank you very much. I'll be here all week, and don't forget Wednesday is Lady's Night.


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