November 5, 2011


by Chris Randall

One visit to my studio/office/Hellmouth, and you'll rapidly realize that my preferred form-factor for both effects and instruments is the desktop box. I couldn't justify this in any particular way except to say that I just like 'em. I like that I can move 'em around easily, and that they don't take up much room, and that they're easy to store. I don't like all the wall warts I end up dealing with, but we take the good with the bad.

November is turning in to a banner month for desktop units. I've been eyeballing the OTO Biscuit for some time, but frankly I just thought the price was a little high for what it did. However, I think OTO may have solved that problem. On Nov. 11th, they're releasing a new version of the Biscuit that adds a feature to flip the Biscuit in to a synth mode. The synth is designed by the creator of the Shruti-1/Shruthi-1, and apparently follows its general topology.

The best part? The update is free for existing Biscuit users, and the Biscuit will remain the same price. Info here.

And you already know about the new monotrons, the monotron delay and the monotron duo. The former is like the original monotron, but loses the filter and adds a digital delay. The latter loses the LFO and replaces it with a second VCO and a cross-mod knob. Frankly, these don't do much for me. I think I may be all monotronned out by this point.

For those of you holding off on getting an Alesis iO Dock because I told you to, go ahead and get one. The other one I was referring to was apparently cancelled. I will note once again that this is in no way Cthulhu's Gift To The Music-Making Masses, but it vastly improves the iPad's usefulness in a musical context. (Or, rather, it allows a musical context for the iPad at all, since IMO the iPad is essentially useless to a musician without it.) As long as you cover up the Alesis logo with a little piece of black electrical tape like I did, your pride doesn't even have to take too much of a hit.

In other news, I've been sick as a dawg all week. At first I thought it was just allergies, then I thought it was the flu, then I thought it was allergies again, but now I'm fairly convinced it's something that people in the PHX metroplexus get called "Valley Fever," or coccidioidomycosis. It's not as bad as it sounds, basically feels like a really bad cold or a really mild case of pneumonia. I'll survive.

Kombinat Dva is coming along nicely. Despite my dilapidated state, the UI is mostly done, and Adam has been adding new distortion methods at a punk rock clip. (Hah! See what I did there?) Gonna be a pretty slick unit when it is done. So how is your day going?


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Nov.05.2011 @ 10:09 AM
@chris: monotron delay doesen?t lose its filter. It says vcf right there on the video you linked.


link []


Nov.05.2011 @ 10:16 AM
I had Valley Fever when I was a young man. It hit me and I crawled to bed and didn't wake up for a few days, then slowly came around. It came back sometimes from what I remember, bet never as bad as the first time. I think it hits people differently.

Nov.05.2011 @ 10:50 AM
Chris Randall
@n.d. There's no resonance, and I am nearly positive that the filter is just on the delay.

@bongo_x: Yeah, it's hard to get a real good rundown on this shit. I have bad tightness in my upper chest, shortness of breath, complete and total loss of appetite (I've lost like 5 pounds since Monday, and I don't have a lot spare to lose), and I'm fucking tired all the time.

Today I'm a bit better, but this week has been hell on wheels. I can only be productive in the morning, because by noon, I'm totally shot. This is the worst thing in the world for me, because if I don't make something every day, I feel utterly worthless.


Nov.05.2011 @ 11:06 AM
Coincidentally enough I just purchased an iO Dock from Amazon yesterday. I don't know what promo they are running but it's $168 and I bought it and 5 cables I needed and the total came out to $170 including free shipping.

I also just read about the Biscuit update and am really excited about that. I will agree that it is a bit overpriced but it's a lot of fun. I think I'll pass on that new overlay though. I like the black face it has as-is.

Sorry about the Valley Fever. Never had it myself but several of my friends have gotten it. It's awful.

Nov.05.2011 @ 12:08 PM
beauty pill
I'm definitely psyched on those new monotrons! I'm impressed with your being unimpressed, Chris. I think I'm easier to impress than you, in general.

I simply love the monotron for the fun factor. I like the exact axis of half toy/half instrument.

This is a video of my bandmates pursuing a cartoon George Clinton/David Bowie feel with a monotron.

link []

- c

Nov.05.2011 @ 12:48 PM
Tiredness is the main symptom of Valley Fever, at least in my case. I don't really remember anything else, but this was in the mid-late 1900's. I'm not sure that that tiredness has ever gone away.

I don't really get the monotron delay, I have delays. Why pick one random effect, wouldn't more filtering be more useful?


Nov.05.2011 @ 1:12 PM
beauty pill
@bongox_x Do you not see the fun in this video?

link []

Sure you could rig up a monotron into some kind of delay, but... that's extra hassle and expense.

These things are meant for inspired, grab-and-go, put-into an-amp-and-record it fun.

It's not meant to be so serious.

- c

Nov.05.2011 @ 2:31 PM
Yeah, sure. It's not really even aimed at me, I have no more business giving an opinion on this than I do Justin Beieiirrberrrss latest haircut. I'm just flapping my gums.

I was just saying, you could have a flanger, or whatever. I love me some delays, but it seems sort of an arbitrary choice, just slapping an effect in there. Why not have a couple more synthy controls?

I was hesitant to click that link though, thinking you were going to get some Talking Heads all over me again.


Nov.05.2011 @ 3:48 PM
Much better now thanks in part to another informative entry ... while recovering from jumping head first into a EuroRack... Get well soon! ...and ditto on the tabletop boxes. Just building another lil cart for some of mine.

Nov.05.2011 @ 11:03 PM
beauty pill
Oh! You *don't like Talking Heads*!

Sorry. I seriously didn't understand that the first time. I thought you were talking about some youtube codec or something.

Wow, it's been a while since I've met an actual Talking Heads hater, but it's probably a sign that my social world is pretty cloistered.

- c

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