March 3, 2006

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday!!!

by Chris Randall
 



Oh, good ol' Dr. Joseph Paradiso. Can't go wrong. I have to admit, I usually find my HCGP subject during the week at some point, and save it for Friday, but for some reason I let two perfectly good HCGP sites drop already this week, and used up my cushion. So I've spent the last four hours looking at pictures of every fucking project studio on the face of the planet.


Long story short, I've seen a _lot_ of Nord Leads in the last couple hours. They're starting to make me throw up in my mouth a little bit. I hit a link, see red, close the tab. Next.


So, like the Walter/Wendy Carlos episode of January, I have to fall back on an old standby. This one isn't as well-known as, say, T.O.N.T.O. (I'll never be that hard-up for gear porn), but it has been around damn-nigh as long, and probably holds the record for single largest DIY synth project. Built over a 14-year period, this beast has assimilated every synth that comes in a reasonable distance. It is, in fact, the Katamari Damacy of modular synthesizers. You bring a MiniMoog in the room, it rolls over it and Borgs it in to submission.


(Is "Borg" a verb? It is now.)


Every other synth you see in that picture has been patched out to join with the main modular, up to, and including, a Casio SK-1 sampler. Dr. Paradiso is an associate professor at MIT, and thus has access to more cooler stuff than the unwashed masses like you and I. Such is life.


Anyways, there is a _lot_ of information about the building of this synth and its history, videos and MP3s of it in action, and photos of its entire lifespan available on the page devoted to it. Go forth.

 
 
 

7 comments:

 
 

 
Mar.03.2006 @ 6:00 AM
the harvestman
The modular SK-1 is a fantastic accomplishment (even more impressive that it was reverse-engineered instead of consulting some of the technical documentation), and was total pornography to me when I first read about it in 1997. As a result, my explorations into circuit bending have been less focused on pure experimentation and more about extending the functionality of the instrument.

The rest of the modular is pretty cool, but the assimilation of digital instruments is much more interesting to me. Dr. Joe's project influenced a very specific part of my SK-1 work: the refinement of simple gate interfaces for full automation of circuit-bent performance from max/msp, small-format modular or whatever.

 
 

 
Mar.03.2006 @ 9:15 AM
Muff Wiggler
"It is, in fact, the Katamari Damacy of modular synthesizers."

my love for your blog just took a serious rise hehehe

 
 

 
Mar.03.2006 @ 10:52 AM
davetron5000
The ads for me are all about pianos. Google Ad Sense needs to be taught that there are other things with piano keys on them....
 
 

 
Mar.03.2006 @ 12:46 PM
synthetic
Has anyone noticed the strange speaker placement in studios with large modulars in them? They often stick a monitor way at the top of a shelf. I've noticed this in a few HCGP studios. And it's usually a crummy monitor at that.
 
 

 
Mar.03.2006 @ 2:07 PM
okpokp
is that a tascam console?
 
 

 
Mar.03.2006 @ 6:57 PM
RexRhino
It listened to the music samples... they weren't at all that interesting, or perhaps not interesting enough to live up to my expectations that comes with having a modular rig that needs it's own zip code. OK, it wasn't that bad really, perhaps I shouldn't critize,, but every time I see this awesome gear I expect to have eargasms when I hear the mp3, and then I am let down.

Is it that he is not putting his best work up, or is it that awesome taste in synths doesn't mean good musical ability? Or perhaps nothing ever lives up to the fictional music in my mind when I see these things, and the music is actually good? What is the answer?

 
 

 
Mar.03.2006 @ 7:08 PM
Chris Randall
You'll find that good musicians can make interesting and good-sounding music from a tin can and a piece of string. Bad musicians can have a modular the size of Rhode Island and it won't change the fact that they can't put sounds together in an interesting fashion.

-CR

 
 

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