Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Synthesis Technology E560 Deflector Shield Demo Eurorack Module

Today I demonstrate the Synthesis Technology E560 Deflector Shield module. It is a digital effects module that has Frequency Shifting, Ring Modulation, and Phase Shifting. There's not as much talking in this one. I read the documentation and still don't fully understand everything that is going on. But it sounds absolutely wicked.

I show what effect all controls have on the sound. This demo uses a simple sawtooth from my Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizer Box as the sound input. Each knob has its own dedicated CV input, as demonstrated by passing a triangle LFO also from the Synth Box to each CV input as an example.

There are a tonnage of little sweet spots. Paul Schreiber has done an amazing job on this one. This module stereo outputs were sent to my Mackie mixer and panned hard left/right, and recorded direct to a Tascam DR-05 w/ no other effects or production so the E560 can shine in all its glory.

Contents: 0:22 Frequency Shifter
5:04 Ring Modulation
6:23 Phase Shifter

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Roland VP-03 Vocoder Synthesizer User Review VP-330 Boutique

I usually demo synth products, but today I'm going to give my review of the Roland VP-03 Vocoder. I have some experience having owned an original VP-330 MK1 and studying its synthesizer process. It inspired me to author my own VST plugin version that emulated the VP-330 sound, only it did not have the Vocoder. So check out this review and see what I think about this interesting product.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

EHX Stereo Polyphase Pedal Demo w/ A Synthesizer #7

The Electro Harmonix Stereo Polyphase is not your usual Phaser pedal. It has a lot of controls that many others do not. It is designed to accept either guitar or keyboard line level inputs. It also has a VERY interesting expression pedal input that can be used as a Control Voltage input to directly control the phase shift frequency. So this way you can match the frequency sweep timing to your song tempo using a synthesizer clock! In this demo I use the ARP Solina String Ensemble synthesizer. This has a very familiar sound similar to running an Eminent 310 through a phaser like Jean Michel Jarre.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Modular Eurorack Demo ft. Audio Damage Proton Module

I can listen to music like this for days. It ends up on the minimalism side, perhaps some influences from Air Liquide and Steve Reich. In the previous demo I showed what the Audio Damage Proton sounded like on its own. Here I build some other sounds from my rack around the Proton: DNA Symbiotic Waves and Sampleslicer. The Proton gets stereo panned with the EMW VC Pan. A very short loop is droning on the Sampleslicer, there were some other nice loop points but changing those manually in realtime got out of synchronization. Next time I may try to use a CV to achieve that. Bass drone coming from the Synthesizer Box mix out jack, run through the SEM filter. Also using a Timefactor for delays. Recorded direct to Tascam DR-05, no post production.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Arturia Beatstep Pro Sequencer USB Port Jack Easy DIY Repair

Any system is only as strong as its weakest link.

Enter the Arturia Beatstep Pro Sequencer, tons of user reviews boast solid construction seemingly built like a tank. On the first few uses I would be inclined to agree. However after about a dozen uses the USB port jack on mine has become intermittent. Symptoms include sudden power blackouts and reboots, even when not touching the USB cord. You don't have to play out live to a crowd to know, this is no bueno. I am careful and take care of my gear. I am especially careful with the USB port and its cord, however I run a bunch of other connections back there and the wires usually hang up with the USB cord. Why is this happening?

One condition could be contact fatigue. If you plug/remove the USB cord a lot, the little contacts could become worn away. You will frequently see this in older cell phones. But more likely as in my scenario, the lead-free solder on the USB ground pins disintegrated resulting in a faulty solder joint at the circuit board. It would be too easy to blame the RoHS standard for requiring lead-free solder, which is structurally deficient for such a use. But if I worked in a factory around solder all day long, lead-free is the way to be. What can be done about it?

If the item is still under warranty you could send it to the company and they can fix or repair the item. There may be a repair charge if the company deems the issue to be caused by negligence. And who's to say? Even if there is no charge, you could get your sequencer back and have the same thing happen again. I'm only mentioning all of this because if you choose to repair the USB port yourself, it WILL void your warranty. Also, if you're not careful and touch something electronically sensitive, you may accidentally damage something else. I'm not liable for anything you do, so be careful not to shock yourself. If you're not confident in doing these things, there's no shame in getting an electronics friend or service tech to help. You have been warned. Now let's fix this thing already.

1. Flip the sequencer over and remove all the black screws. Remove the metal back plate. This will expose the circuit board. Remove all the little screws holding the circuit board in place.

2. In this orientation, pull the circuit board away from you to dislodge the minijacks from the case. Then lift the edge closest to you up and away. If this isn't happening, check you have removed ALL the little screws, it may be easy to miss 1 or 2.

3. Flip the circuit board over and note the location of the USB jack near the power switch.

4. Using regular rosin core solder (I use 60/40 from Radio Shack), make new solder joints on the two GROUND pin locations at the locations shown by red arrows. Make sure the pins get soldered nicely to the circuit board contact pins here. I needed a magnifier to see the work area.

5. Put the circuit board back in and secure it to the case with the screws. This is the time to plug in and test it, making sure you DO NOT touch any of the electronic components inside while you do so. At this point you will be able to wiggle the USB cord lightly and make sure it does not blink the power. If so, you'll need to do it over. Or there may be something else going on. Hopefully this has been helpful, this is what I did to restore mine to working order. If everything is good, you can go ahead and put everything back together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Audio Damage Proton ADM17 Eurorack Module Demo

Here it is, the new Proton Eurorack Module ADM17 from Audio Damage. There's already some good videos on what it is and how to use it. In this demo I get right to making noise, patching, and scratching the surface of this Karplus Strong synth voice and/or delay effects module. There is a wide range of sounds from fat basses, plucked banjo, delay feedback madness, and more.

Gate and sequences come from Arturia Beatstep. Some of the patching sources I use here: LFO and oscillator at slow rate, Sample/Hold, Glide. I also run the sound through a Doepfer SEM module, there's no rules here. Audio recorded direct to Tascam DR-05.