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

Archives: 2005

November 12, 2005

Lots of Logic...

by Chris Randall

Ho, ho, ho. I bet you thought I was going to go off on one of my thrice-yearly rants about Logic! No such luck. What we have here is a big fat pile of logic chips, plus a metric fuckload of germanium (and silicon too) transistors and a bunch of LEDs, as well as a mess of other shit too prosaic to mention. I purchased this Pandora's Box for the low price of $10.00 at a yard sale.

The short version of this story is that you can expect my DIY output to increase significantly in the next couple weeks as I start a Fuzz Face assembly line.

November 12, 2005

TechnoMage LIFE 2...

by Chris Randall

I assume you all remember the little LIFE gizmo that TechnoMage made a couple years back. Well, snappa just hipped me to the fact that there is a LIFE 2 in the works.

I tend to start looking for the exit sign when I hear the phrase "breaking down the barriers between performer and instrument" or anything that could conceivably fit in that paradigm, but setting aside the "organic, unexpected, subtle, ambient, hypnotic, analogue" descriptors for a moment, and accepting that this is just a little synth with no keyboard and no labels on the knobs, and it does look like it could be fun. The TechnoMage website isn't very explicit on what hoops one would have to jump through to aquire one of these little beasties; I assume they're for sale somewhere.

November 11, 2005

Mmmmm, nice...

by Chris Randall

I was thinking the other day that it would be interesting to have a collection of the various 6-voice synth-on-a-chip analogs. My mental list included the SCI Prophet 600, Korg PolySix, and Roland Juno 60. (I've owned the latter; one of my favorites.) Lo and hark, in my email today I get a missive from Analog Haven, informing me that their used gear selection is now online. And what do we have but that beauty of a 600 for $499.

I think this is his way of getting me to start fasting or something. I've been looking at that page all day and thinking "now, how can I talk my wife in to letting me buy this?" I know that 600s come up here and there for less than that, but quite frankly, in this day and age, I'd be more than happy to send an extra banger to Analog Haven just for the fact that I know I'll eventually get a working synth in the mail.

November 11, 2005

New TC plugs are food for thought...

by Chris Randall

TC announced a couple new PoCo plugs today, and in doing so, also announced their new UI initiative. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, so I have a bit to say on the subject. (What are the odds?)

When you're making plug-ins, you have to decide if you want to do a hardware look or a look that takes advantage of the environment (i.e. a computer screen. I've found that, in general, people prefer the former. I haven't really explored something like the Fabrik C pictured above, but I've gazed longingly at the System 6000 stuff for some time. The two schools of thought are, in my opinion, as follows:

The Hardware School states that a device that does a particular thing is more intuitive if it looks like the hardware.

The Modern School states that it's stupid to make a piece of software look like hardware, when it's on a damned computer screen.

Now, when we're doing something like Phase Two, which exists in the Real World as the Mutron Bi-Phase, logic would dictate that we make the UI as similar to the real thing as possible. (Which we've done.) But for something like Filterscape it makes sense to take advantage of the computer paradigm. (IMO, Filterscape is the single best modern UI there is.)

Speaking just to the email on the subject I've received, most people prefer hardware looking plug-ins to modern looking ones. I've done a bit of meandering in the AD product line before I settled on our current cartoonish hardware look, which I feel takes advantage of the computer environment, but still keeps an intuitive hardware feel to things. To get a good cel-shaded 3D look, I obviously need to tilt the hardware a bit, and this won't work for something like Ronin.

Anyways, I'm just thinking out loud. What do you guys feel? Is something like the new TC plugins and their uber-modern interface better than something like DubStation and its simple, cartoonish UI?

November 11, 2005

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday!!!

by Chris Randall

This is a special edition of Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday, where we bring it on home. Yup, one of our own is featured this week. Here you see the birthplace of all things Audio Damage, the studio/office of a certain Adam Schabtach. Thankfully, I talked him in to selling his Mackie mixer recently, else I'd have to make fun of him, and I'm reasonably certain that wouldn't Increase Shareholder Value. In any case, you can see Adam's Monster MOTM and DIY Modular hovering in the corner. In the rack on the left are various and sundry Devices of the sort that are frequently used for making and/or effecting sound.

Under the red 'n' white flag/cozy is our Bi-Phase, from the loins of which sprang the soon-to-arrive bouncing baby Phase Two. You'll just have to trust me on that. Adam and I are both of the "you can never have too many computers" school of thought. You'll note there are three CPUs in the photo (just behind the Bi-Phase is a Thermaltake Tower Of Power.) That's the half of the room that _doesn't_ have a lot of computers in it. When I finally show you my studio, you'll be stunned stupid by the shear volume of computers I have. It's slightly ridiculous.

Anyways, that's what it looks like when you stay at home working on plug-ins all day. My studio is similar. My modular is smaller, and there's less cabling running hither and yon, but everything is covered with a fine film of cigarette ash. You take the good with the bad.


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