September 21, 2013

The Next Episode...

by Chris Randall

The first production run of Audio Damage modules is officially sold out, at least as far as we're concerned. We've sold the entire production run to Analogue Haven, Alex4 (which is a European distro company started by SchneidersBuero), and EquionoxOz. We've pulled the trigger on the second production run, and will have more backplanes in early November. When this second run shows up, we're going to introduce at least one more new module. Possibly two, but not likely.

Simultaneously, we've begun development on a more powerful CPU/RAM backpack that will enable us to make much more sophisticated modules (think a pretty much full-featured Replicant or Dr. Device in hardware). This will take some months, as these things go, and we'll discuss the feature set here and get some input. We made every attempt, and were largely successful, at keeping the initial Euro release secret. But now that the cat's out of the bag, we'll be pretty open about what's upcoming, unless it's a case where spilling the beans would mean opening ourselves up to competition. However, something like Replicant is an advanced case study in DSP in a Euro context, and is difficult to pull of without starting with an existing DSP library tailored to the task, so I'm not too worried about that. If someone else could have done it, they already would have, since it's such an obvious effect for the Euro environment.

Now, this is not to say that we'll only be releasing DSP-based audio effects. We have plans for several different things, now that we have a WORKFLOW, and finally I get to my point, such as it is. Adam is on the way to Japan, and I'm in charge, and when that happens, my imagination runs wild. (Every time he gets back from Japan, I spend the first three days interrupting his tales of travel to tell him about The Next Big Thing I thought of while he was gone.) One of the things I'd like to think about is a desktop synth.

Now, there is no shortage of desktop synths. One could make the argument that market was all full up. But one could (and in fact did) make the argument that all DAWs come with a delay, so why make one? We built a pretty nice business on that concept. So...

Now, this wouldn't have to be a digital synth (like, say, the MeeBlip -> Blofeld range of devices.) We have strong analog chops up in here. My question is this: if you were presented with a new desktop, a little guy, what would you like to see that you haven't seen before?


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Sep.28.2013 @ 4:06 AM
Vet=very and I'm sure more typos...damn iOS7 on the 4S, that was time consuming to type.

Sep.28.2013 @ 3:32 PM
A sequencer or some kind of very playable interface is so important to me on a desktop instrument. If you can't use it in bed, laying on the floor, or on the couch, I think you end up with a budget product people make do with or only appeals to people that already have a ton of money invested in other stuff. I think it's hard to love something you can't at least sketch song ideas on.

I'd love to see the dial / ring system from Replicant in hardware. Circles are great for visualizing when using loops. Not much competition either. In a lot of ways the Buchla Arbitrary Function Generator would be better as buttons that you selected and used a single dial to adjust. Or maybe circles within circles that could could twist to line up in various ways? Like an old school multi-disk combo lock.

What is analog good at? Feedback and distortion. (Analog filters use feedback and distortion to sound good, yeah?) Good sounding analog distortions aren't going to break the bank.

Honestly, I don't get the hype over analog oscillators. I get cooler sounds with a mic, some mallets or a bow and some rosin. I get warmer, more lush sounds with soft synths and quality choruses and reverbs. Feedback makes a beautiful oscillator though, if only it was easier to interact with...

So: Sampler/multi delay unit with analog filters on inputs. Distortions/limiters/compressors/ear saving clipping on inputs and outputs. Delays with patchable inputs and outputs to insert whatever into the chain. Something like two samples at a time: voice and percussion. Maybe make voice a bit more wavetable centric and percussion a bit more drum sample oriented. If I wanted multi-sampling or to get really in depth programming sounds I'd probably use a computer. Give the rest of the memory to some longish pitch shiftable delays. Also, digital delay clicking when changing time isn't bad if you sequence it! (I was very disappointed the p12 dropped the inputs and the sequencer from the evolver myself. boring.)

How about two discs like a DJ, scrubbing the delays and/or pitches back n forth?

I'd pay up to 2000 dollars. Maybe more if I could feel safe dropping it and really using it like, you know, an instrument.

Sep.28.2013 @ 4:16 PM
I love the longer threads here, not least because they serve as a timely reminder that I am, in fact, an Ignorant Idiot.

"You can use C intrinsics to call optimized assembly code (at least in VisualDSP++ - not sure about the free compilers), but this is going to be fixed point, and probably double precision for decent sound quality. "

I'm sure that's English, just in a version that's so way, way, way above my head that all I can see is its underside glinting prettily in the distance.
Which is fine by me; I can't be the only reader who is serenely content in the knowledge that I am hobnobbing with actual wizards.

Sep.29.2013 @ 6:33 AM
My personal take on this is that its hard to find a sub-1k polysynth with an interface that doesn't drastically blow chunks.

Come up with a good way to do something phosphor-eque or a simple polysynth with digital oscs (maybe FM heavy) and digital filters (your korg model?) with a decent amount of knobs, midi in, audio out for under 1k and you'll have my money on day one.

Sep.30.2013 @ 4:46 AM
Aalto. But "analog". And with knobs and buttons for nearly all of the functions. Because, I tried designing something close to that on paper with Eurorack modules, and ended up looking at a good chunk of this years take home pay. It also spread out into nearly 300hp of space. If it was all done on a couple of PCBs, it could be done smaller and cheaper. Allow it to do ridiculous things. Give me LFOs with 30 minute cycles that can also go into the audible range. Make it sound very West Coast. Let the sequencer in it also shit out MIDI. Make it look good, like an Oberheim Xpander. Then sell it to me.

I'd also be happy with a similar type of box that was a variable bitrate/samplerate sampler that could also do granular jank to said samples or synthesize its own grains (because I'm tired of trying to figure out how to get Emission Control/Cloud Generator working on newer computers). Give me some kind of abstract sequencing ability to organize the grains. Give the "synth" portion a nice set of real time controls like an S612 and a nice analog LPG and multimode filter. Heck, give the abstract sequencer a nice set of real time controls (maybe something kind of related to Axon, but built to be touched). Let it resample itself like an ASR-X. In fact, make an ASR-X as if it was designed by Don Buchla and Curtis Roads. Let me be able to run feedback loops through it until it blows up. Make it look good, like an Oberheim Xpander. Sell me two of them to that I can sync them up and make dense worlds of sound.

Killer delay and reverb on everything.

Both of those things are things that I would use on the couch, on stage, or even in the studio.

- William

Sep.30.2013 @ 7:34 AM
"make an ASR-X as if it was designed by Don Buchla and Curtis Roads"

I mean, I don't see AD putting that out, but yeah. Put me down for one of those.

Sep.30.2013 @ 11:25 PM
@wgparham: Do you have links to the Cloud Generator manual? I don't think I can run the program on any of my machines, but it would be nice to at least read what Roads wrote back in the 1990s.

Oct.02.2013 @ 5:02 PM
Apologies if this thread is really finished (?) but it has been great to take the opportunity to check out the (potential) competition. I really like the little Waldorfs, and the MeeBlip is very nice too; so I expect that what comes from AD will be unusual as well as great sounding. I hope we've given you enough ideas...

Oct.07.2013 @ 10:04 AM
beauty pill
Most of this thread goes ---- whoosh! --- right over my head.

- c

Oct.07.2013 @ 3:52 PM
well - to boil it down to what it will likely mean...

at some point in the future, Chris and Adam will make some awesome sounding hardware. you will like it, and most likely, buy it.


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