July 12, 2013

Hands, With Occasional Face...

by Chris Randall

Fun with the Analog Four, driving an original Oberheim SEM and the Eurorack jank with its CV outputs. No DAW, no plug-ins, no computer. Everything is sequenced from, and mixed in, the A4. It's worth noting, if you're thinking of buying one, that the analog inputs on the A4 have very limited controls. If you want to give up a synth channel, you have full control, but if you're just bussing them to the outputs, you only have pan, level, and FX sends (chorus, delay, and verb.)

That being the case, the A4 isn't ideal for this situation. I think if one had both an Octatrack and an A4, one would have better luck with this sort of environment. I had actually been planning to buy an Octatrack fairly soon.


As those of you with the constitution to follow my relentless tweetstream know, the missus and I bought our first house last weekend. Things are moving at a punk-rock clip (largely because we got fully pre-approved before we offered on a house) and we close on August 9th. Aside from nipping my Octatrack Dreams right in the bud, this will no doubt prove to be a wise decision in the long run. Not least of which because it has a huge back yard. More than large enough to build a Facility in. (c.f. the previous post on the subject of Facilities.) Now, whenever someone says to me "I'm building a studio!" my first response is "did your parents drop you on your head?" But yeah...

Anyhow, if you don't hear from me for a couple three weeks, that's why. In other news, I did another video a few days back, and I never posted it here. Similar kit, but I multi-tracked it in Live instead of mixing directly in the A4. Here 'tis:



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Jul.15.2013 @ 11:42 AM
Cool! You can design a studio outbuilding that can withstand the near-constant haboob onslaught:

link [media1.s-nbcnews.co...]

Jul.15.2013 @ 12:58 PM
Chris Randall
Yes, that exactly. Although the haboobs are a SE PHX phenomenon, and we're moving to NW PHX. So safe for now. At least until the collapse of our eco-system reaches the point where I'm drinking pool water.

So, like, a couple months or something.


Jul.15.2013 @ 2:03 PM
The future Internet archaeologists who comb through the great databases preserved in the underground NSA caverns will wonder why this Crandall could make such flippant jokes about the great Arizona collapse of 2023, that loomed in his future. Clearly, this Crandall had some sort of pre-cognition of what lay in store, yet he treated the upcoming ecological disaster with mockery.

The answer will be revealed when they link the analog industrial website to the site with the bluebird:

Crandall had a deep hatred of Logic.

Jul.15.2013 @ 3:35 PM
Chris Randall
Says the guy that lives on the side of not one, not two, but three active volcanoes.


Jul.15.2013 @ 5:09 PM
Seattle is pretty safe from the volcanoes. Rainier is too far south, Baker is too far north, St. Helens is WAY too far away for anything but minor ashfall, and Glacier Peak is in the middle of the North Cascades and won't hit any civilized areas.

Tacoma could see some action from Mt. Rainier. Puyallup will be in major trouble in the event of a Rainier eruption or lahar, as it is built on several hundred feet of mudflow from an event 5700 years ago.

The huge earthquake may not hit in our lifetimes, or for the next several hundred years. When it does hit, yeah, we're fucked.

Jul.15.2013 @ 5:28 PM
beauty pill
What a cheerful thread!

- c

Jul.15.2013 @ 11:19 PM
Great new vids and congrats on the house! I built myself a studio in our backyard a couple years ago and other than the pain of the cost (soundproofing and acoustic treatment weren't cheap) it has been pure joy.

I also picked up an A4 shortly after seeing your demos in the new year and it was love at first twiddle when I finally got my hands on mine. I loved the workflow so much that I soon picked up an Octatrack as well. I love that between them I've got all my analogue and MIDI sequencing needs covered, in addition to their respective synthesis and sampling.

I'm not a zealot for any one side of the hardware vs software religious wars, but for me right now, an all hardware setup is just what I need. I spend my days standing at a desk writing code in the same studio I make music in. Being able to shut my laptop at the end of the day and still have a powerful sequencer/sampler/synth setup has turned out to be a really great way to shift gears for me, and a lot of fun to boot. My copy of Live 9 must be crying itself to sleep lately.

Jul.16.2013 @ 8:54 AM
Chris Randall
Yeah, I'm basically of the same exact opinion you are. When my entire day is spent designing and coding music tools, my interest in staring at a computer to make music is very limited.

Well, when we get settled, perhaps I'll see if I can't swing purchasing an Octatrack.


Jul.16.2013 @ 9:12 AM
Adam Schabtach
What j.j0b said. That's why I bought an Octatrack last week. Also, I realized that, over the years, I've put a silly amount of effort into trying to make working with a computer feel like working with hardware. Perhaps it would make more sense to just use hardware? So far the experiment is a success; I'm quite happy with sequencing my modular with the Octatrack's MIDI sequencers. Next step is to try out the sampling stuff which it apparently also has.

The A4 is quite tempting, but for the nonce I'll try to make use of what I already know and love. Arguably I need a drum machine (again) more than I need another synthesizer, but I'll start by sampling my 606 with the Octatrack.

The stumbling block is the lack of a mixing desk. I have a little A&H Zed-10 which works well enough for what I'm currently doing, except that I'd really like to have more than two FX sends. Sadly I haven't the room for a proper mixer. I'll probably cave in and start using a DAW's mixer, driven by some sort of control surface that I can place next to the other hardware.


Jul.16.2013 @ 12:54 PM
Congrats on the house, and I'm glad it's going efficiently.
Here in England property purchase is both painful and terrifying, like root canal work by a dentist prone to fitting.
It's possible here (and sadly common) to spend three months on the process of buying a home and have the seller or buyer pull out the day before exchange of contracts, with no financial penalty for the .
I was an estate agent for 14 years and saw some devastated and distraught people in that time.
It wouldn't happen in a civilised country like, say, Scotland which has a sale process much closer to your own.

Those Make Noise people seem to be teetering on the mad genius/insanity pivot; it's a good job you hardware enthusiasts are all as fabulously and deliriously wealthy as Russian oligarchs or they might have difficulty shifting such pricey items despite the innovative technology. E.g."Mechanically Orbited Carbon"---I hope they've taken out a patent on such radical devices.

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