January 12, 2007

Open Thread: An experiment...

by Chris Randall

One of the blogs I read on a daily basis has an Open Thread every day (several, actually) where people can just discuss what's on their mind. I thought I'd give that a whirl here. It remains to be seen whether or not it'll work, but here 'tis. Obviously, we should stay within the general realm of topics normally discussed here. Have at it.


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Jan.12.2007 @ 2:28 AM
OK, here is something I am looking for, and maybe people on Analog Industries readers can help.

I am looking to completly eliminate the computer from my music, and at the same time keep a very small and tight setup that is highly portable / zero hassle for live performance (and music will be recorded live, or recorded performed in one take as if it was live).

I purchased an Akai MPC 1000, which is going to be the core of my setup (cheap, portable, easy to use), and I have a homemade sampler I built which is good for weird glitchy stuff.

What I am looking for, is a good hardware synth (nothing computer based) specificly for generating sounds that I will sample to the samplers. I don't need anything with a good sequencer, or anything with an arpegiettor, or anything like that, as I won't be taking the synth with me for live performance, or even recording the synth at home. I don't need anything with any sort of real time control. I don't need it to be sturdy, or easily portable.

What I need is something that has a excellent and versatile synthesis engine that can generate one-off samples really well (both tone sounds and percussion sounds). I considered a small modular, or something like that... but since I don't need any realtime control and won't be doing any knob twiddling, that would kinda be overkill. I don't want to pay a lot of money for features I am not going to use. I considered something like a DX7 (I do really like FM sound), but the DX7 itself is already been so sampled I am a little wary... and I like the CZ1000, but it is just not versitile enough.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


Jan.12.2007 @ 2:29 AM
Jeff C
Just a guess: Daily Kos?

A question, esp. for those who use Logic. Do you have a recommended drum sequencer of choice? Or do you do everything manually in the arrange view? I really like the idea of using a step sequencer in principle, but none of the ones I've tried/used - ie. Ultrabeat - seem conducive to the creative process, so I lay down drum tracks manually.

Just curious what people here prefer and use...

- Jeff


Jan.12.2007 @ 3:38 AM
I want to share a recent discovery (maybe some of you know it already): ChucK. A wonderful programming language for making sounds and music. The special feature for me is that one can manipulate every single audio sample! Also, working with chuck for me brought together some of the knowledge I gained over the last twenty yerars in one managable package: java, c++, classes, objects, modular synthesis, digital audio...
At the moment it lacks ways to control parameters via a GUI, it is really live-coding at its best. Try it yourself (used with the MINIAUDICLE it makes the most sense), and let me? us? know about what you think:
link [chuck.cs.prin]">link [chuck.cs.princeon.ed...]

Jan.12.2007 @ 3:52 AM

I've just become an ultrabeat fanatic in the past 2 weeks or so. I'm finding myself tweaking all my samples far beyond what they were before i inserted them into ultrabeat, and it's easy to drag patterns down to the arrange window to edit them further using an editor.

BUT, i find that using redrum in reason hooked up to matrix sequencers is my favorite way of step sequencing drums. You can get really crazy with those matrixes.

If you want to stay in logic, though...download Guru from fxexpansion and give it a shot. Also, a lot of people like idrum because you see all the sequences at once (for each drum sound) and it's rather no frills.



Jan.12.2007 @ 7:14 AM
Rex - I'm currently searchng for an Ensoniq ESQ-1. Totally simple yet flexibile enough to make super weird sounds and its CHEAP. Theres a pretty good overview here: link [homepage.mac.co...]">link [homepage.mac.co...]

I traded my MPC 1k for a Mono/Poly, I was pretty much just using the MPC to play back CR-78 samples, kinda wasteful. Now I've got a Roland MC-500 and a Aki S20 to do that and they only cost 125 dollars total. I love cheap shit (oddly enough I have way more disposable income now than I ever have and I'm all gun-ho over the cheapest of cheapest shit.


Jan.12.2007 @ 8:34 AM
Jeff- As far as step sequencers are concerned, sonicbyte's ERA2 is probably the most robust one I've come across that manages to remain fairly intuitive. Unfortunately, I think its PC only. Mac users seem to be nuts for Numerology, but while it looks cool, I can't really comment as it's Mac only at this point.

Rex- What about something like a Matrix 6R or 1k? Or a Cheetah M6? Since you like the FM sound, how about an FS1R?
I guess I'm having a little trouble pinning down what exactly you're looking for.

Here's my question:
I have, for some time, been noodling away at a product design for a synth. Nothing groundbreaking, but I think it's got some unique features. My problem is that when it comes to coding, I know absolutely dick (and have neither the time nor the inclination to teach myself). I know a bit about electronics, but not enough to design and build this thing (though it could be done in hardware).
Now, I honestly don't care if this thing becomes a sellable product or not, I'd just like to play with it. So I guess my question is, is there a proper way to approach developers with an idea like this (without getting screwed), or am I better off just sitting on this in the hope that someday I meet someone who is interested in working with me?


Jan.12.2007 @ 9:06 AM
I think the thing with developers is the same as anything, it's all about relationships. So approaching just anyone won't do you any good, but if you know and have an established rapport with someone like the Betabugs crew or similar, then you might get somewhere (i.e. developers who are actively looking for lots of projects, even though things have quieted down considerably at Betabugs).

Otherwise, most developers have more than enough ideas on their own, chances are they've put out 1 plugin for at least every 5 good ideas they've had.

To Rex: what kind of sounds are you after?

To Donald: Scot Solida was selling an ESQm not long ago, not sure if he sold it yet. If you don't mind the rack version, maybe drop him a line.


Jan.12.2007 @ 9:08 AM
I was going to guess Daily Kos, too...I read it daily. :-)

Anyway, Rex: what about an original Nord Lead? You can pick those up fairly cheap these days, and it has a pretty wide sound palette. Doesn't it do an approximation of FM, along with 'virtual' subtractive synthesis? But, IMO, the NL is rather rich sounding, if a bit digital, and I don't think you'd have any problem generating drum-type sounds with it (and obviously synth tones would be cake).

Alternately, if you want something "real" analog (albeit with DCOs), what about the Korg EX/DW synths from the 80's? Programming kind of sucks, but if tweak-ability isn't an issue, they're a steal, and they're way more flexible than the Roland Junos.

Just my $0.02.

- J


Jan.12.2007 @ 11:06 AM
Can anyone think of a tabletop effect unit, or a guitar pedal, that combines a delay with an analog filter, ideally one with some modulation options? The delay doesn't need to be analog.

Similarly, does anyone have any experience with any of the MFB synths or effects? I'm guessing they are rather plastic-like things, but they go for a fair price. Would be good to know if they fall apart easy, or sound like ass, etc.


Jan.12.2007 @ 11:15 AM
In sort of answering my first question, what are folks' impressions of the DSP effects on the Future Retro Revolution? Ideally I'd love something like that without the synth section (preferably a bit smaller in size than the Revolution).

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