Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
 
September 2, 2005

Okay...

by Chris Randall
 

I'm going to attempt to make an entry here, even though it's difficult to think about gear while watching my country come apart at the seams. I just want to warn you from the outset that I'm in a really shitty mood, so no punches will be pulled.


First up, Mbox 2. Everyone is getting all freaky-deaky over this. I imagine it's a nice enough little box, but two points. First, DigiDesign can't write drivers to fucking save their lives. I have an Mbox connected to this very computer, and the only thing that has kept me from spinning it through the nearest window on several occasions is that I actually need it so I can run the useless pile of shit that is ProTools LE on the rare occasion that I need to for AD purposes. These boxes are fine if all you need to do is run PT LE, but check it out: if you have it hooked to a PC instead of a Mac, the driver prevents the computer from hibernating. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on for hours. My second point is that I happen to be privy to the knowledge that a certain hardware company is about to announce a _really_ nice FW portable that blows this out of the water, in both features and price. Can't say who or what just yet. I'll find out if I can talk about it today.


Next, I'll have a Gear Porn picture today, I promise. Until then, if you're in the US, please don't drive your Hummer H2 a block to the grocery store then leave it running so the AC will keep it cool while you pick up fresh frozen snacks. We are quite literally _out_ of gasoline here. Try to keep things in perspective.


 
August 31, 2005

New Orleans...

by Chris Randall
 
 

I have plenty of thoughts on New Orleans, of course. It is one of my favorite cities in the world, and certainly my favorite in North America. If you're curious, you can head over to my other blog at the Sister Machine Gun site and read. I didn't feel it necessary to put the same post in two places.

 
August 30, 2005

New Unit from ElectroKraft...

by Chris Randall
 
 



Just got word from Tony at ElectroKraft that his new product, the Lunar Module, is now available. This little guy (or big guy; hard to tell from the picture) is the MIDI Controller Of Doom. Tony sez:


"I have created an exciting alternative midi controller that will produce sounds and rhythms not before possible with currently available midi controllers. The "Lunar Module" will transform your store bought sound modules, synths and drum machines into completely new instruments. Each one is hand made and can be customized to add controller options like pitch bend, sustain, modulation wheel, etc. Customizing can be done before or anytime after purchase."


The sound samples are fucking killer. I'm thinking that hooking this to a modular and using a scale quantizer (like the Blacet/Wiard MiniWave) and I'm basically in business. It is $249.00, and since each unit is hand-made, you can get customization really easy. Looks like a good purchase to me if you make any sort of experimental music.


 
August 30, 2005

AvrX update...

by Chris Randall
 
 

You might recall me talking about the AvrX synth on the old site. You might also recall that I mentioned that the inventors might make a kit available. I've just received an update e-mail from them regarding the status of this. They say:


The response has been greater than we hoped for, and so far around 40 people have announced their interest in buying a kit! At the moment we are getting quotations from our suppliers, studying different systems for payment, and working on the manual among other things. Within a couple of weeks we will have the final details ready.


I, for one, will definitely be rocking this shit when it is available. Status reports as they occur.


 
August 29, 2005

More on the Crumar GDS...

by Chris Randall
 

I've always wanted a Synergy, but truth be told, I couldn't really illustrate why. Just one of those obscure and hard-to-use things that I desire, more or less just because it is obscure and hard to use. This GDS makes the Synergy look like one of the most popular keyboards in the world, if you use a sliding scale based on obscurity and difficulty of use.


The Synthony page has a whole article on the GDS and how it relates to the Synergy. The original Synergy is sort of preset, and you'd need a GDS to actually program it. The Synergy II and II+ could be programmed with a Kaypro computer, and thus didn't need the GDS. I like this quote from the product's liturature: The GDS is a completely digital synthesizer. Consequently, it is free from the problems of traditional analog units. Fucking fantastic.


In any case, while the Synergy occasionally makes an appearance on eBay, AFAICT a GDS never has. These aren't common, by any means. Our friend Paul Schrieber (owner of MOTM) is apparently a Synergy Lover, and has a section on the Synthech site devoted to it, but it looks like his love was itinerant, based upon the frequency of updates (or lack thereof.) It is interesting to note that the Synergy and GDS are basically computers programmed to act like synthesizers (like so many of today's synths) and thus could theoretically be emulated in much the same way the PPG Wave 2.3 and DX7 have been. Something to ponder, anyways.

 

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