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.06.2011 @ 8:50 PM
er... I mean, Violent Femmes. Bad spelling day going on over here. Too much National Novel Writing Month action. I'm starting to burn out already!


Nov.06.2011 @ 9:58 PM
beauty pill
Does anyone reading this have the OTO Biscuit?

- c

Nov.06.2011 @ 10:28 PM
@beauty pill, i do.

Nov.06.2011 @ 11:11 PM
Love me some TH. Hella band.
And Johnny Marr AND Adrian Belew...

Nov.07.2011 @ 9:00 AM
beauty pill
@myrnaloy How do you feel about it?

- c

Nov.07.2011 @ 1:42 PM
@beauty pill - i like the biscuit a lot,not as much as More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear Of Music and Remain In Light, but a lot.

As a bit crusher and a filter it is very cool indeed. The wave shaping is great too. It does some other stuff (i have sorta forgotten but i think delay and pitch shifting at the very least) that I remember noting but not really being particularly blown away by.

The addition of the synth will be cool and will preserve the biscuit's place in my studio.

As CR says, it was, perhaps, initially overpriced (though it is uber-classy lo-fi w/ace packaging etc.) but would get a pretty strong recommendation from me at this point.

Nov.07.2011 @ 3:56 PM
What's the deal with the above pictured faceplate? Is that what new Biscuit models will look like? Is it an overlay users can buy? I didn't see any explanation on their website about it.

Nov.07.2011 @ 4:01 PM
Chris Randall
They talk about it in the forum. The Biscuit will still look like it always did, but you can buy that overlay from them for Synth Mode.


Nov.07.2011 @ 4:23 PM
slightly OT but if you check the OTO facebook page there is a pic of a work in progress that is kinda exciting.

link []

Nov.07.2011 @ 5:28 PM
Solipsist Nation
So I don't think anyone has mentioned that the Monotron Duo appears to have pitch quantization built-in, with different selectable scales (major, minor, etc). That's pretty cool for a toy instrument, and I think will make it more immediately musically useful than the original continuous-pitch ribbon controller.

I'm gonna buy both of them anyway. The original was great fun to haul around and noodle on.

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