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.21.2013 @ 11:42 PM
from the videos I've seen of the deformer, it seems geared more towards capturing live audio and manipulating it with granular effects. Although I think you can play back grains via MIDI Note. I don't know, it's been awhile since I checked it out.

I was thinking more along the lines of something like Robert Henke's Granulator instrument for Max For Live. Something dedicated to manipulating a loaded audio file rather than something tailored to live "glitching". And something that has a UI that isn't quite as, um, quaint, as the deformer. Something with a usable waveform display and like 4-8 knobs/encoders with the ability to page thru parameter menus.

Sep.21.2013 @ 11:50 PM
I guess what I'm going for is if Elektron did a granular box without all the sequencing and multitrack stuff. So imagine a single tracked Octatrack (Track) with the bottom third cut off.

Sep.22.2013 @ 6:49 AM
Desktop Axon would be amazing, with per-node clock output to feed a modular.

I've always wanted a desktop multi-output oscillator bank, maybe divide-down, to spit out organ-like drones. But it could be elaborated on, maybe to include an updated riff on old string synthesizers, to appeal to a broader audience than just me and handful of other drone guys.

Sep.22.2013 @ 7:00 AM
Chris Randall
This conversation is intriguing. It never occurred to me to use the fact that Grainshift is outputting 32 grains of a real time input as a marketing point, since I wouldn't use "granular" to describe something that wasn't capable of that, being part and partial of Curtis Roads' concept. But it was pointed out to me on Muffwiggler that Grainshift is the first "granular" product for Eurorack that has more than one grain.

It seems to me that the vast majority of effects and instruments that enjoy the "granular" designation are just samplers that play one really tiny loop. Unless the DSP has multiple grains, with independent control over the pitch and duration of each, it's not really granular, at least in the Roads definition (which is, pretty much, _the_ definition) of the concept.

So just to be clear, are you asking for essentially a desktop version of something like the iPad apps Curtis or Borderlands (which are "true" granular synths) or a sampler/effect that can do really tiny loops? (Basically a wavetable synth where you can add new wavetables in real time.) Because these are different things.


Sep.22.2013 @ 7:25 AM
mike kiraly
Instead of a desktop synth, I'd love AD to explore a desktop hardware multi-FX unit geared towards performance. Think an Elektron box, but with AD effects slots instead of synth parts. Pattern sequencers, parameter locking, freely configurable routing, plenty of modulation options, user definable macro knobs, synced to Midi clock or CV triggers etc. Nobody makes something like this. Of course I could load all of your plug ins into Maschine or Live and start mapping midi controllers, but if I don't want to involve a computer, than I'd have to string a bunch of stomp boxes together, a solution with many limitations.

Sep.22.2013 @ 7:33 AM
I'm with boobs.

Sep.22.2013 @ 7:35 AM
aaaand...something warm and nasty, like a mix between a Wasp and Sherman filterbank where the only only 2 interfaces are patch cables and a built in leap motion controller.

Sep.22.2013 @ 10:10 AM
Since I migrated ITB, I haven't been looking at hardware. What could tempt me would be a synth plug-in with an optional dedicated hardware control surface. Probably not what you're looking for but submitting this datapoint just in case.

Sep.22.2013 @ 11:16 AM
Something digital, followed by an analog VCF and VCA (there's no "I'm with bleen" button on here, but I'm with bleen in this case).

Each voice has 3 D/A outputs:
- The audio output of whatever digital synthesis technique you chose to use. Granular, FM, feedback something or other, wavetable, etc.
- Control signal for VCF.
- Control signal for VCA.

Choose a VCF and VCA with enough character that digital emulations are essentially impossible. Run everything at 96 kHz, so that the artifacts are pushed outside of the normal audio range. Want to use linear interpolation for your grains? At 96 kHz, not a problem. 96 kHz control signals for the VCF and VCA will allow your envelopes to be as "snappy" as you want, and will also allow for filter FM.

Sep.22.2013 @ 11:32 AM
I'm with bleen-sean.

It'd be cool to see a resonator bank of some sort... along the lines of a P3100, but with individual control/freq/pan/mod for each resonator.

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