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

Archives: 2005


December 13, 2005

SEMtex XL

by Chris Randall
 



You kids know about this thing? From Anyware Instruments of Germany, this is a 2-VCO patchable analog, in the same neck of the woods as an Oberheim SEM module (hence the name, I suppose.) It has a whole slew of MIDI->CV stuff, and doesn't sound half bad, according to the samples on the website.


It is apparently 1200?, and I'm pretty sure I could get at least one real SEM for that, but then what do I know? Vishay pots, Neutrik & Switchcraft connectors, and there is at least one in actual existence.


UPDATE: one of the creators of this critter wrote to tell me the following: "uhm, the semtex is not a "SEM", it is more a modular system based on a SEM plus lots of things.. like
the semtex has 2 Vcos plus 2 Subs and 3 very fast envs..
(the SEM has no subOSCs, the semtex has 2 of them)"
Apologies, but I call 'em like I see 'em. A two-vco tabletop synth with the name "semtex" is gonna be compared to a SEM module by a lot more people than me.


 
December 13, 2005

Scanalyzer...

by Chris Randall
 

Sorry I haven't been in my normal posting frenzy lately, but we have a new album coming out on Positron!, and it is sucking some of my time up. On The One And The Zero is the debut full-length from Scanalyzer, which consists of myself and Wade Alin (of Christ Analogue and Atomica.) Chock full of crafty programmed goodness, it is all modular synth and complex beats. Go pick yourself up a copy at the Positron! store, as I have stacks of them taking up space which would be better suited for keyboards and outboard.


On a personal note, unless I've counted wrong, this is the 67th album to be released with my name on it as either producer or artist (or, in this case, both.) That's getting up there. I remember sitting in Chris Connelly's apartment in Chicago a dozen or so years ago over a bottle of mediocre red, and I asked him how many records he was on. He answered "oh, fuck. I don't know. Seventy?" That seemed like a fuck of a lot of records at the time, and I thought I'd do pretty well if I appeared on a third of that during my entire career.


Funny how things work out.


 
December 12, 2005

New Intel based iBook for January?

by Chris Randall
 

Think Secret seems to think so. And there's a bigger article as well. Normally, I would never buy brand new technology from a company with a proven track-record for fucking early adopters. However, needs must when the devil drives, and in this case, the devil will be Audio Damage releases compiled with the Universal Binary.


Plus, my iBook (on which I'm typing this very missive) is on its last legs. So Early Adoption it is. At least you guys will have me as a guinea pig, so you can watch me swear and rant before you have to plunk down the cash yourselves.


 
December 12, 2005

Alternate OS stuff for the MPC1000

by Chris Randall
 

I don't have one of these boxes so I shouldn't really care that much, but I'm always tickled when someone takes the time to make an alternate OS for something. Machinesound informs us of this site, which seems to have a couple different programs for the MPC1000. It's hard to tell what the hell is going on with the severe Engrish of the translator (e.g. "Loading those which convert the music data of the CD to the WAV to the memory of the MPC, being something which you play, it does") but I think there are three separte programs. Or maybe one program that does three things. Or something.

 
December 10, 2005

Phase Two Update...

by Chris Randall
 
 

Yes, it's time for a progress report on Phase Two, the next product from Audio Damage. Yesterday we hit a rather important milestone, as we froze the DSP code. It took a little longer than we had anticipated to get to this point, for a couple of reasons. First, while the switches on the Bi-Phase (and thus our UI) for the LFO shapes show sine and square waves, the actual waveshapes of the LFOs have little to do with those nice geometric descriptors; also, the shapes change quite a bit as the rate is increased. So it took a little bit more time to accurately emulate that.


The next problem we ran in to is that there are a _lot_ of filters in the Bi-Phase. We've modelled all of them, but it took longer than we expected to accurately tune them all to reproduce the Bi-Phase's distinctive character. There are filters on the input and output, and obviously a 6-stage phaser has six filters (and the Bi-Phase has two 6-stage phasers; hence the name), and there are filters in the feedback path for each phaser. So it took quite a bit of measurement, trial, and many errors to get it right.


So, the GUI part has been done for some time (as you no doubt saw on my last update.) That was grafted on to the VST itself yesterday, and I now have in my VST folder a fully working Phase Two with GUI. So what's left to do? Gotta get the MIDI stuff working (in lieu of the pedal, we've allowed the user to assign a MIDI CC to fill that role), gotta get the presets working, gotta _write_ the presets, then it gets ported to OSX VST, then finally to OSX AU.


So, I'm sorry to say that Phase Two will not be our last product of '05, but rather our first product of '06. Everything that is left to do is well-worn territory for us; nothing has to be invented, so it should go pretty quickly. I don't want to give an estimated date yet, but if I was a betting man, I'd bet on mid-January.


In other news, if you're in the Portland, Oregon area, Positron! Records (the parent company of this site) is throwing a release party for our Scanalyzer album, which will be out next week. The party is at Noir, it's tonight (Saturday, the 10th) and I'll be the DJ for a while. That's always amusing because it is, in effect, a goth/industrial club, but I can't be bothered to figure out all the bullshit synthipop that passes for industrial these days, so you can expect to hear none of that. So I'll spend a couple hours getting scowled at by fat chicks in black spandex while I pointedly play Shriekback and Iggy Pop songs.

 

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