Tinysizer – little BIG modular synth

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2010 by Howard

I simply could not resist ordering one of these:
(EUR 1,299 from anyware-instruments.de)

The patching system (mis)uses standard connectors – brilliant!

Twinthesizers live

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2010 by Howard

Sorry for not posting here more regularly – I’ve been concentrating more on Facebook recently, but plan to be back here more often. To tide you/me over, here’s a pic of yours truly playing the twins (Microkorg XL) at a recent gig with the marvellous “Here & Now”:

Chimera BC16 and other goodies

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 by Howard

This British company appears to have finally got over its troubles and is delivering some neat toys. I’m once again sorely tempted by the BC16 – the circular arrangement of controls and the patching method (stackable banana cables across the centre) make for a very compact but powerful modular synth which might be stiff competition for Doepfer’s Dark Energy and MFB’s Kraftzwerg. Note that the image here is of an earlier version:

UPDATE: At the moment it looks like “Mr Chimera” is once again driving his potential customers crazy – by not delivering, by upping the price, and by announcing that no more orders for the BC16 will be taken.

Watch this space…

New HS sounds for MicroKORG XL (May 2010)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 2, 2010 by Howard

Radically updated bank of keyboard-player-oriented sounds. Most of the programs make use of the 3 assignable controls. Try switching on the arpeggiator and/or twisting the TEMPO knob during performance. Note that Genre and Category have been ignored.
Click here: MicroKORG XL sounds

ACE – Any Cable Everywhere

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 16, 2009 by Howard

U-he’s brilliant new modular VA synth “ACE” is now available from http://www.acesynth.com. Beefy analogue sound, audio-rate modulation throughout (so it’s a bit of a CPU hog), bargain price. I’m having a lot of fun thinking up ridiculous patches for this one!

ACE - main programming page

Ace - extra "tweak" page

Mutant V-Synth

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2009 by Howard

Packing up to move home (slowly but surely), I took the opportunity to photograph my mutant V-Synth. It’s a prototype, and the COSM1 button of structure 2  is in the wrong position (see lower image) – it belongs in the upper row next to OSC1. Oops!

V-Synth Proto

Structure 2

Twinthesizers field report

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2009 by Howard

Just a quick note to say that my two MicroKORG XLs have passed the “Gig” and “Studio” tests with flying colours. I played at a 100% solar-powered mini-festival near Tewkesbury, England, with the twins as hand luggage. The studio job here in Frankfurt was just up the road, so I packed both synths plus a mini-mixer (onboard effects) into a carry-all, slung it over my shoulder and hopped on my bicycle!

Rehearsing for UK gig:

Howie and the Twins

All new XMF (multi-multi-mode filter) in Zebra 2.5

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2009 by Howard

Urs Heckmann’s amazing new filter model for the next version of Zebra2, introduced by Urs himself. The video sound quality isn’t the best, and I would have preferred a simple sawtooth as input, but at least the sheer power / flexibility of this module should be obvious from this video:

Classic leads – the Minimoog in your VA

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by Howard

If your VA synth has two or more independant voices i.e. with independant portamento rate etc. or is a multimode synth, you could use this feature to make leads and basses react in a much more “analogue” way to performance controls. For instance, instead of using two oscillators within one voice, use two voices containing one oscillator each. Copy your simple patch to the second voice and VERY SLIGHTLY detune the following parameters against each other…

  • pitch (of course)
  • portamento rate
  • vibrato depth (also via mod wheel)
  • pitchbend range (same integer value, but a bit of offset in one of the voices)

Don’t detune vibrato rate – in fact you should make sure they are in perfect phase by retriggering them – those old synths used a single LFO for vibrato. Allowing vibrato phases/rates to drift apart makes it sound too lush. By the way, I’ve looked at a lot of “Minimoog” patches on a lot of synths, and have never seen this kind of thing done properly. Not even by me until recently! (on MicroKORG XL)

OK, it’s not a synth, but…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2009 by Howard

The ’70s Denon Elepian is a very interesting Wurlitzer type e-piano. Funky, amazingly fast repetition. BTW I wouldn’t have called it a PAINO!