First Look at the new Modulus 002 in action

July 11, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

modulus.002 takes British synth power polyphonically to world stage, the press release below:

BRISTOL, UK: breakthrough British electronic musical instruments manufacturer Modulus is proud to announce availability of modulus.002 — the first analogue/digital hybrid polysynth to have been designed, developed, and manufactured in the UK for four decades — as of July 10…

Even though the technology for mass-market synthesisers was patently pioneered in the UK in the leafy London suburb of Putney at the tail end of the Swinging Sixties, the last time that a polyphonic/multitimbral analogue synthesiser was designed, developed, and manufactured in the UK — actually within Wales — was way back in the late Eighties. It is with utmost pride, therefore, that Bristol-based Modulus has not only succeeded in bringing back that pioneering spirit to Blighty with the mighty modulus.002 but has admirably succeeded in doing so by creating an amazing modern-day musical instrument that truly represents one giant leap for ‘synthkind’ with a sizeable number of notable new features to its innovative name. No easy task in climatically cynical conditions during an era of increasingly shortened attention spans, synth-wise or otherwise. Been there, done that, bought the (Moog) T-shirt, some might cynically say!

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Yet surely soothsaying is a better bet in this case? Why? Well, modulus.002 even sports some world firsts! So what makes modulus.002 tick, then, and what, exactly, is it that makes it so special in comparison to today’s commercial and ‘boutique’ offerings from other manufacturers, both bigger and smaller? Let’s look at some straightforward facts for starters…

As an analogue/digital hybrid keyboard synthesiser (using an aftertouch-enabled premium Fatar semi-weighted, five-octave key mechanism), modulus.002 provides 12 discrete voices of polyphony with full multitimbrality if so desired. As such, it features two NCOs (Numerically-Controlled Oscillators) per voice for exceedingly high resolution and stability with wide-reaching waveform selections, together with two sub-oscillators, individually (and uniquely) switchable from a traditional square wave to having the same waveform as the main NCO to effectively produce four oscillators per voice; a Modulus-designed 24dB/octave four- pole transistor ladder filter featuring some very unusual morphing or ‘polesweeping’ effects, enabling ear-opening transitions from 24dB/octave four-pole to 6dB/ octave one-pole filtering and anywhere in between; one LFO per voice as well as a global LFO; wide-ranging modulation options, all accessible directly via the front panel — no navigating convoluted and confusing menus; a pure analogue signal path from the oscillators right the way through to the combined XLR/TRS balanced/unbalanced outputs (with all 12 voices individually available for external processing via a dedicated D-Sub connector); two audio inputs enabling internal audio processing from the VCF onwards… and that’s only scratching the surface. Not literally, of course!

While all voice control parameters are accessible via a well-thought-through front panel that is both attractive and intuitive in use thanks to sticking to traditional synthesiser workflow, what lies beneath is really remarkable. Radically departing from the norm, modulus.002 is blessed with an unrivalled user interface based around a high-quality 4.3-inch screen with wide viewing angle. It is context sensitive, whereby the control parameter of any control knob touched by the user is immediately displayed onscreen. Synthesiser savants and audio aficionados will surely unite in their appreciation of the sonic depths that this well-specified speedy dream machine can deeply dive into!

Forget about an analogue renaissance here, however; let’s talk truly revolutionary design features for a moment. modulus.002 represents a unique approach to synthesiser design, taking traditional analogue circuitry combined with modern, reliable digital developments and marrying it all to a completely new control platform. Phenomenally, modulus.002 brings cloud functionality to a synthesiser for the first time! The Ethernet port means modulus.002 can be connected to a network to enable updates via the Internet — no more MIDI SysEx dumps to get you down in the dumps — and access to the modulus.cloud means user profile settings, sound patches, sequences, and other content can be easily replicated to a cloud-based server platform to enable rapid resynchronisation to another modulus.002, regardless of whether it is owned by the same user or a collaborator at a remote location. Let’s be honest here. We’re well into the 21st Century now, so why not provide modulus.002 users with data management features that are expected as the ‘norm’ in modern consumer technology devices, yet have hitherto eluded the electronic musician? Makes sound sense to the Modulus team, that’s for sure! And we’re sure it will make sound sense to modulus.002 users, too.

So what other notable modulus.002 features are worth making a song and dance about? An inbuilt MIDI-sync-able 16-track, 12-row, 32-step sequencer with 16 front panel-positioned step-time editing controls can give any hardware rivals already out there a serious run for their money. For sequences can not only be transposed dynamically while running but sophisticated so-called ‘mini arpeggiator sequences’ created using the arpeggiator’s Hold mode can be speedily saved as sequences for latter recall and editing using the sequencer. Moreover, modulus.002’s Animator allows any control to be sequenced, enabling complex filter transitions, waveform changes, and modulation matrix changes to be sequenced. Lest we forget, 12 ‘quick recall banks’ are accessible directly from dedicated front panel buttons. Build up set lists of presets, sequences, and animations, making modulus.002 a live performance partner par excellence.

Plain and simple? Far from it, it seems! So who better qualified, then, to explain the whys and wherefores of taking a truly thrilling synthesiser design from the drawing board to an equally enthralling production-ready product launch like this in under a year than company co-founder and principal designer Paul Maddox, a top-tier talent with proven production pedigree, best known within the synthesiser industry for his well-received MonoWave, a limited-run, 19-inch rack-mountable, MIDI- controllable monosynth inspired by Germany’s legendary PPG Wave series — arguably amongst the most coveted high-end synthesisers of the early Eighties — featuring two digital oscillators with 256 samples per waveshape and an analogue 24dB transistor ladder filter, as well as his more recently-released VacoLoco range of ‘pocket synth’ designs. Do tell. Why now? Why the big step up to the brave new world of modulus.002? Muses Maddox: “This came about because I’ve had a long-held dream to build a polysynth since I was knee high. I’ve nearly got there several times, but it was a golden opportunity in July last year when my business partner, Philip Taysom, and myself sat together and said, ‘Now is a good time to do it.’ Both Philip and myself are passionate about synthesisers, and we feel that the synthesiser market has been neglected for a long time in terms of high-end, pro — in quality and feel — instruments. I quite often equate this to a PRS guitar. There is nowhere in the synthesiser industry that I’m aware of where you can go and buy the equivalent of a PRS. That’s what we’re aiming at — top quality, top to bottom.”

So there you have it, folks. With top-quality components sourced and designed throughout its robust, road-ready construction coupled with upmarket design flourishes like leather-bound end cheeks — quite possibly another world first, modulus.002 is a fighting force to be musically reckoned with. British synth power is alive and kicking, and Modulus has just fired its impressive opening synth salvo that more than lives up to its Machines for Musicians tagline. It’s aim is true, so watch this space…

modulus.002 is available to purchase for £2,995.00 GBP (plus VAT). EU pricing — correct at time of writing — is €3,795.00 EUR (plus VAT). US pricing — correct at time of writing — is $5,200.00 USD (plus local sales tax). Contact California-based agent Geoff Farr (geoff@modulusmusic.co.uk) for all United States sales enquiries. All other enquiries relating to the rest of the world should contact info@modulusmusic.co.uk.
Feel free to visit www.modulus.me for more detailed modulus.002 information

Snakebite – hybrid digital analog synthesizer for the Reason rack

February 27, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

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New Reason Rack Extension, Snakebite by DLD Technology is a hybrid digital analog synthesizer which is designed to make sounds that aren’t possible using traditional virtual analog (VA) synth design. Sound creation begins with the triple oscillator bank where each tone can be morphed in real time. The sound is then passed through bit-crush, a screaming 18dB filter and finally digital distortion to create sounds not heard from tamer synths.

A retro BBD delay finishes the sound off, and can be modulated in real-time for crazy pitch shifting effects. Analog control is available to detune things a bit (or a lot) and the binaural system can be enabled to create sub audio bass and increase the stereo field. Plenty of external CV control is available, and the audio path can be broken to insert external audio or pre-filter effects.

Features

  • Triple oscillator with variable shape and morph controls
  • 18db highly resonant low pass filter
  • Venom control for filter overdrive
  • Pre-filter bitcrush for extra harmonics
  • Bucket Brigade Device (BBD) delay
  • Binaural sub audio bass (8-15Hz)
  • Flexible matrix LFO / CV routing
  • Low DSP usage
  • Glowing snake eyes(!)

Pricing and Availability:

€25.00 in the Propellerheads shop.

SECRETS OF ANALOG AND DIGITAL SYNTHESIS | Steve DiFuria | VHS instructional course | 1985

February 24, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

SECRETS provides a clear, no-nonsense guide to making any sound on any synthesizer. Starting with the fundamentals of sound creation, it progresses through such advanced topics as programming FM synths like the DX-7. Valuable insights are offered into stage and studio performance techniques which are applied to a variety of makes and models so that you will derive benefit from this video no matter what kind of equipment you have. A 130-page manual is included, making this a complete course on electronic keyboards.

Steve DiFuria is the narrator and featured performer on this video. He is a highly respected consultant in synthesizer design and a Keyboard columnist who has programmed for Frank Zappa, Stevie Wonder, and Lee Ritenour.

DCI Music Video, Inc. 1985.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This Video may contain copyrighted (©) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes.

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Stix Digital Drum Synthesizer for iPad – Demo and Tutorial

January 22, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Fantastic and very versatile drum machine from developer Alexander Smith.
https://itunes.apple.com/app/id698024…

STIX is a powerful 16 channel (8×2 voices) sampling synthesizer and sequencer.

Check out Audio and Video demos + download the user manual from our webstite now:

http://twisted-electrons.com/apps/stix/

Each kit features no less than 200 parameters that are controllable in real-time via touch or MIDI.

STIX is also a 8 channel 16 step drum sequencer with recording functionality. The sequencer’s 8 patterns can be chained into songs in Track Mode.

Up to 100 Preset Kits can be stored and the 8 drum modules can be performed on the pads throughout the app’s modes.

STIX also features Audiobus compatibility!

Roland U-220 sound demos

October 28, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The rack-mounted version of the U-20. Plenty of realistic sounds (especially for the time), and several drawn from classic Roland synths like Jupiter-8 and D-50.

The U-220 is a digital synthesizer that uses ROM samples of pianos, brass, strings, bass, drums, etc. However it is built for professional use and is truly a quality instrument, even though its sounds may seem like dated-eighties synth pop cheese. It’s got nice piano sounds, but they’re not the real thing. It features 6 part multitimbrality with a 7th drum part, plus 2 direct outputs and 2 stereo outputs. The 30 note polyphony helps if you take advantage of this synths multitimbrality for creating entire performances and ensembles. Digital reverb, chorus and delay effects liven up your sounds. Editing is simple, but there are no filters. With several performance features, the U-20 has a full 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch. There’s an on-board arpeggiator, a chord-memory feature and the U-20 accepts Roland SNU-110 sound library cards.

Sonic Potions LXR build and jam with Shruthi-1

October 7, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Time lapse build of the Sonic-Potions LXR digital drum synthesizer and some messing around with it for the first time. All sounds come from the LXR and the Shruthi-1. The Shruthi is slaved to the LXR and is just playing the equivalent midi notes as the drum sounds. The LXR is being run through a hardwire RV-7 pedal (seen directly north of the LXR). I am sure that this is only scratching the surface of the LXR’s capabilities.

Playing the V-Synth GT

September 8, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Released in 2003, the V-Synth was a new flagship synthesizer from Roland debuting some of their coolest features of the time, allowing for a new world of sounds full of life and motion. The V-Synth combines multiple oscillator technologies, user sampling and new COSM filtering for incredibly dynamic new sounds. The user has realtime control of a waveform’s pitch, time and formant plus a killer arpeggiator and a host of realtime controllers including the revolutionary TimeTrip Pad and twin D-Beam controllers. All this leads to sounds that can move, morph, evolve and sound totally unique.

The V-Synth has dual oscillators that offer a choice of three different synthesis methods: analog modeling, PCM waveforms with user sampling, and external audio input processing–all with up to 24-voice polyphony. The PCM oscillator is powered by VariPhrase for complete sonic control. Choose from over 300 preset waveforms or sample your own. Then use the “TimeTrip” function to manipulate a waveform’s time aspect in any way you wish. Slow it down to uncover rich moving harmonic content; speed it up to create high-speed tonal motion; freeze it at your favorite spot; or rewind it backward at any speed without changing pitch and formant, which can also be independently controlled. The Analog modeling offers several fat-sounding analog style waveforms. The third oscillator type is External Audio Processing, which lets you process any signal arriving at the V-Synth’s analog inputs. All three oscillator types can be layered and mixed in several ways, or modulated using FM, ring mod and oscillator hard sync.

All programming is achieved via the large LCD Touch Screen plus a bunch of hands-on controls and knobs including the new TimeTrip Pad, twin D Beams and the velocity/aftertouch sensitive 61-note keyboard. While you can independently manipulate the pitch, time and formant of sampled waveforms using VariPhrase technology there is also powerful COSM processing offering analog-style filter modeling, a resonator and Side Band Filter, plus global reverb, chorus and multi-effects. The V-Synth’s programmable arpeggiator can modulate sound parameters to provides additional rhythmic and timbral controls.

The V-Synth is fully suited to the modern day studio as well, with analog I/O and MIDI ports supplemented by USB and digital S/PDIF I/O ports. Use the analog or digital inputs to sample your own waveforms to be used in the variable oscillator. You can even exchange .WAV and AIFF files via the built-in USB port, which also works for MIDI. Resampling is also possible, allowing users to capture any performance with the TimeTrip Pad, D Beam or arpeggiator – or even effected sounds – as an entirely new waveform. All Preset Patches are fully re-writeable, giving users plenty of space for their own creations, which can also be saved via USB to a computer or to an optional PC card. With PC card adapters, other media such as CompactFlash, SmartMedia and MicroDrives can also be used.

Additionally, with V-LINK Onboard Video Control users are allowed playback and performance of video clips with music created on the V-Synth via the Roland DV-7PR Digital Video Workstation (sold separately). Use V-LINK to trigger different video clips with V-Synth’s keyboard while using the bender to change playback speed. Using the TimeTrip Pad, you can scan a clip forwards or backwards with your finger, or change colors using the Twin D Beams. A totally unique feature perfectly suited for live use.

The V-Synth GT was later released in 2007 which adds Roland’s Vocal Designer technology with revolutionary Articulative Phrase Synthesis technology. Articulative Phrase synthesis recreates the ever-changing behavior, nuance and sound of an instrument as it’s being played. The results are stunningly expressive and realistic, and can be applied to acoustic instrument simulation as well as new, never-before-heard sounds. In a nutshell, it lets acoustic instrument sounds such as a violin sound like it’s being played with a bow rather than keys on a keyboard. New front panel features include a color touch-screen with eight universal control knobs, and the addition of dedicated buttons and sliders to make access faster and easier. The GT could also has a maximum 28 voices of polyphony.

Checking out the KORG DS-8 Digital Synthesizer

July 24, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Playing the Korg DS-8 without any additional effects or eq. All you hear is coming straight out of the Korg DS-8.

“The Korg DS-8 employs 4 operator FM synthesis from Yamaha – but on the DS-8 you have sliders to tweak a sounds a bit. A pity, that it’s not possible to save the sounds you have edited with the sliders. You have to edit the sounds in the normal edit mode.

On the DS-8 you have to deal with terminology from analog synths, not with “operators”. It also has an useful effect processor with great delay and modulation effects. The little brother of the DS-8, the Korg 707 does not have this effect processor, which is a big minus.

In the video I show you the kind of sounds, which are the best on the Korg DS-8 in my opinion – mostly beautiful, relaxing pads. A lot of other sounds are also possible, but many of them are quite ugly, so I let them out…. :-)”

Accelerator goes Analog

July 21, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Here is a Single patch on the Accelerator that attempted to replicate the sound of a Roland Jupiter-8. Chords were played over a sequenced portion of the same patch.
With clever programing a digital synth can sound really analog.

Sonic Poison LXR Drum Machine – 1st test

July 6, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The LXR is a digital drum synthesizer. They sell it as a DIY kit, so you will have to build/solder it yourself.
The kit contains an unassembled frontpanel PCB and all needed parts, as well as an assembled mainboard with all the SMD components. A picture of the kit content can be found here.

“Today my new drum machine LXR arrived, this is a first test-jam where i tried out some functions and only playing around with other synths… so no real music here, sorry :-)”

Features:

  • Cortex M4 based
  • 6 voices (VA and FM)
  • 7 sequencer tracks (extra open HH channel)
  • 44kHz / 16 bit audio
  • 4 mono outputs
  • 4 different instrument engines
  • 1/128 step pattern resolution
  • USB/Din Midi
  • different lengths for each track
  • 8 chainable patterns per preset
  • Step probability
  • SD-Card
  • Cowbells!
  • 39 buttons
  • 6 LFOs routable to every voice parameter
  • complete kit. comes with all needed parts for assembly
  • No SMD soldering required
  • open source
  • All! actions possible without stopping the sequencer playback

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