Friday, February 5, 2016

Programming State Variable Filter Behavior on the Oberheim Matrix-12 and Xpander


This is NOT a step-by-step tutorial. This DOES show how I set up a couple of patches to get STATE VARIABLE filter behavior on FIXED filter synthesizers like the Oberheim Matrix-12 and Xpander. To be clear, I leave out all the programming steps where I save and rename the patches as you must.

This method works on most any programmable, multi-timbral, polysynth where different filter modes are configurable. The downside to this method is the overall polyphony will be cut in half. On the Xpander this means 3 voices. But hey, on the SEM it uses only one voice.

0:10 Intro, what is a State Variable Filter
0:55 How the State Variable filter works
1:22 My settings for two Single patches
1:58 My setings for the Multi patch
3:12 So you want to sweep the filter cutoff, too....don't you?

Some modern synthesizers allow you to do this within one patch, but they MUST have TWO configurable filters PER PATCH. Waldorf Blofeld, Novation Ultranova, Elektron Analog 4 and Analog Keys, Dave Smith Prophet-12, Access Virus and TI Snow, and more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer Archnemesis


All tracks generated using custom patches I made on the Blofeld with a TR-8 providing rhythm backing. I sent the choir sounds through a JH Triple Chorus module I built.

Big Sky and Timefactor effects used here and there. All tracks recorded direct to Cubase SX3 via E-mu 1616. NO additional eq, compressors, etc. were used.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Korg PolySix Mojo Machine



This is the Korg Polysix with the Kiwisix upgrade. This demo features both original patches and factory presets. The main advantage of the Polysix is the 3-BBD chip ensemble effect, which shares the likes of ARP Solina and many others.

Another really cool feature is the external filter control input. No, it cannot filter external sounds. But it can take voltages from external devices like a sequencer and use that to step-modulate the filter.

The Polysix is also good at arpeggios and bass. What's better than bass?...more bass!...you can stack all six voices in unison mode for insane bass action.

There is a trick you can do to achieve filter high-resonance self-oscillation, and nothing else. To defeat the main oscillators, set the OSC to Pulse Width and set the Width to maximum. Make sure the sub osc is also turned off.

0:00 Choir sound, filter self-oscillation FX
0:28 to 2:24 Filter is being modulated, via the external filter control jack, by a control voltage coming from the Beatstep Pro
2:24 to 3:22 String Ensemble

ALL synthesizer sounds originate from the Polysix. A Volca Beats provided rhythm backing, Big Sky and Timefactor for effects. All tracks were recorded direct to Cubase SX3 via E-mu 1616. NO additional production, eq, compressors, mastering, etc. was used.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Maestro Phase Shifter PS-1B demo w/ a Synthesizer


Demo of the Maestro PS-1B Phase Shifter. This is the rarer version with the Variable Speed knob. The knob does exactly what the switches do, with the ability to set the speed anywhere in between. The knob only works when the slow phase switch is set. As the switches OR knob settings are changed you will notice a smooth and gradual transition in speed.

The synthesizer is the Korg reissue ARP Odyssey. If you're interested in the patches hopefully the footage shows the patch settings to some degree. I added a small amount of delay for stereo widening. During one section I use the Moroder delay trick to change simple 8th notes to stereo-panned 16-th notes, and then apply the phaser. I was recording levels pretty hot, sorry there is some clipping in parts of the audio.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Seductress Roland Juno-106


I have packed a ton of Roland Juno-106 sounds, both original patches and factory presets, into this demo. I have bought and flipped at least four 106s, the one I now have being the fifth? Every time I come across another it seduces me into taking it home, hence the title.

ALL synthesizer sounds originate from the Juno-106. The TR-606 provided rhythm backing, Big Sky and Timefactor for effects. All tracks were recorded direct to Cubase SX3 via E-mu 1616. NO additional production, eq, compressors, mastering, etc. was used. Except the levels were very quiet so I cheated by pushing them up with a plug-in limiter across the output. Happens sometimes.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Boss DR-110 MIDI Sync Project

**EDIT 01/20/2016 - Well. While it works there is an issue that shows up after 5 minutes. The timing goes crazy. When I turn it off a while, it works again. But after 5 minues problems show up again. I wonder if my shrink tubing insulation on the Arduino is causing heat build-up inside there. I am tempted to re-locate the added circuits to the battery compartment and remove the insulation.**

These past two weeks I have been developing and building a MIDI sync input for the Boss DR-110 drum machine.  This allows my DAW to control pattern Start/Stop and to synchronize the clock timing during recording and playback.

I selected the Arduino Micro to process the MIDI data for its tiny size.  It is relatively affordable and can handle incoming MIDI serial data.
While the Micro was on Order from Mouser, I did initial testing with the Arduino Mega.
I accidentally burned the START/STOP traces, so I had to jumper them.  The wires carry the signal pulse to Start and Stop the drum machine.
I removed the clock wire between the CPU board and the Voice board so that I could add a switch.
The switch can choose internal normal clock, or to use the MIDI sync.
MIDI isolation is critical as host/slave devices can have floating grounds at different potentials.
Close up of the MIDI isolation circuit.
My MIDI isolation circuit comes from a design I did on another project.  This is a MIDI shield I made for Arduino Mega, and proved useful for initial testing on this project.
Close up of the MIDI isolation circuit.
The new MIDI isolation circuit.  It would be powered by the Arduino Micro.
I performed testing at every stage, to ensure I was moving forward and solving problems one at a time.
One of the problems was the Micro needed 9v power, and the DR-110 uses 6v by floating the ground to a different potential.  My solution was to DC bias the 3 control signals CLOCK, START, and STOP using a simple voltage divider and tantalum coupling capacitors.  This way the control signals stay above 0v with relation to the ground that the DR-110 uses.
Final assembly.  The added circuits would be tightly squeezed in together with components and needed insulation.
One final test before everything goes together.  The blue light is the Arduino Micro.
Very careful alterations were made for the switch and MIDI jack.
Finished product.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Crushing On The Roland Boutique JP-08 Synthesizer



Listen to this and just try not to fall in love with the Roland JP-08 module. I have packed a ton of Roland JP-08 sounds into a demo that demonstrates the JP-08 in action. Most of the patches are original, except a factory string patch.

ALL synthesizer sounds originate from the JP-08. The TR-8 provided rhythm backing, Big Sky and Timefactor for effects. All tracks were recorded direct to Cubase SX3 via E-mu 1616. NO additional production, eq, compressors, mastering, etc. was used whatsoever.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Synth Spotting At Dallas Synth Meet 2015

Some brief sights and sounds at the Dallas Synth Meet in Grand Prairie Nov 1, 2015.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Setting A Roland Jupiter-6 On Fire



The Roland Jupiter-6 Synthesizer is an absolute MONSTER. Pads, Bass, Arpeggio, Strings, Leads - it's all here. And the JP-6 is my favorite go-to synthesizer for SOUND EFFECTS. I have crammed a plethora of strangely beautiful effects and noise that demonstrates its versatility which is beyond comprehension.

Obviously no actual synthesizers were harmed in the making of this all Roland Jupiter-6 demonstration. The TR-8 provided rhythm backing, Big Sky and Timefactor for effects. All tracks were recorded direct to Cubase SX3 via E-mu 1616. NO additional production, eq, compressors, mastering, etc. was used whatsoever.