Have you ever hooked up a new piece of gear into your setup and suddenly heard a horrible noise you weren’t expecting? Or just had an unbearable noise find its way into your recording without you noticing in the heat of the moment? The cause may be a ground loop, some other interference, or even loud air-conditioning. Here are a few ways to solve this problem: Use one outlet If a ground loop is the problem – Plugging everything you’re using into the same outlet will probably solve it – most noise or hum issues coming from ground loops are a result of having yourRead More →

Novation’s SL MkIII is a big departure from versions one and two that came before it, and most other MIDI keyboards on the market, because it’s not just a DAW and Hardware instrument controller, it’s also a standalone 8 track MIDI, USB and Control Voltage Sequencer. The idea behind the SL MkIII is that all three – the DAW controller, the Hardware controller and the sequencer – sit behind one interface and blend together into one control center. That kind of integration has the potential to change the game for what is expected of a DAW or MIDI controller. Does the SL MkIII deliver? Let’sRead More →

Make Noise have just released the new version of Rene – an update to the original Rene from 2009, which, according to Modular Grid, is the most popular Eurorack sequencer and one of the most popular eurorack modules overall. The original Rene introduced the concept of Cartesian, or X/Y, or GRID based sequencing, which is a method of sequencing, where rather than going through steps sequentially, as is done in traditional sequencers, you can go back and forth, up, down, left or right, or in any angle or number of steps, and in any direction on a grid of locations.   What’s new? The newRead More →

Elektron describe the Digitakt as a “Drum Computer and Sampler”, but it can actually do much more. Not only is it a full blown subtractive synth, but due to its unique LFO destinations, it can be used for quite a few other forms of synthesis, including granular, wavetable and more. Furthermore, by routing its MIDI sequencer back into the machine itself (either with or without creative interference on the way), it can be taught quite a few new tricks, like quick polyphonic sequencing, new LFO destinations, additional LFOs per track or cross track LFOs, and much more. An update regarding tricks that use MIDI loopback:Read More →

I’ve been traveling this week – to Knobcon in Chicago – and took two very odd travel companions on the road with me – Bastl’s SoftPop and Gecho’s Loopsynth. They’re very different, but the thing they have in common, other than being battery powered, is that they are entirely unlike any synth or instrument you may be used to, and that they can both make bubbly water sounds…. So, for those reasons I reviewed them together, but if you’re interested particularly in one and not the other, just skip ahead. Bastl SoftPop Let’s start with SoftPop. It’s described by the company as a psychedelic analogRead More →

Native Instruments just released MASCHINE MIKRO MK3 – the new entry level hardware controller for MASCHINE – its hardware-software beatmaking/groovebox platform, and two immediate questions come to mind – how is it different from the MK2 version of MIKRO, and how does it compare to MASCHINE MK3 – it’s bigger brother in the product line. What is MASCHINE A bit of an intro to MASCHINE as a platform: unlike standalone hardware, like the Elektron Digitakt, the Korg Electribes or the Novation Circuit, MIKRO and other MASCHINE controllers are just that – they need to be connected to a computer to work. That has advantages andRead More →

If you create music, you’ve GOT to try doing it in quad. The experience of sitting in the middle of music you create while your sounds rotate around you is like none other. I’m hooked. In this video I walk through four potential setups for making quadraphonic music – with a DAW, using Eurorack modules, using VCV Rack, and I also propose a solution for DAWless set ups. The “secret” to creating quadraphonic music is really just about different ways of moving audio, controlling its level and timbre from one speaker to the next. The effect though is, in my opinion, magical. All these tipsRead More →

Medusa is an innovative new synth, the result of a collaboration between Dreadbox and PolyEnd. The core of what’s new with Medusa is the GRID – a multi-mode expressive interface that can be used as an instrument, a sequencer, a modulator, or any combination of the above. Medusa combines Dreadbox’s great sounding analog synth capabilities with PolyEnd’s experience in making SEQ – its powerful and yet easy to use sequencer. They call it a Hybrid Synth and it is indeed a combination of a few things – it has both analog and digital oscillators, it’s both a monophonic and polyphonic or paraphonic depending on yourRead More →

Wavetable synths are a lot of fun but strictly digital. Is it possible to create one that’s completely analog, for analog waveforms and sounds? Well, I wouldn’t be asking if not. This clip shows you how. The basic idea is quite simple. If you plug two analog waveforms into a mixer, you can morph between the two waveforms (and sounds) by applying different mix levels to each source. If your mixer has an inverter, you can also subtract one waveforms from another. If you add a VCA to the mix (pun not avoided) then you can modulate the different mix levels using an LFO orRead More →

Suzanne Ciani is an electronic music pioneer, composer, sound designer responsible for iconic sounds in commercials and video games, AND not only a pioneer but someone who is still leading the pack today with amazing modular performances. But what you won’t get to really know about Suzanne’s performance until you attend one of her concerts is that all her shows are strictly quadraphonic, and the experience is amazing. That experience can be recreated in the studio, so I set out to create series of videos about creating quadraphonic music and performance. Here’s Part 1 of that series – a master class with Suzanne Ciani. Suzanne’sRead More →