With the Minilogue XD, KORG did something which may prove to be one of the most interesting things a synth manufacturer can do: they opened up its digital oscillator and effects engine to any developer that cares to create plugins for it, without going through Korg for approval or certification. This is already bearing fruit with a few very interesting plug-ins, and most likely more to come. Here’s a review and full beginner friendly tutorial of the XD, a few advanced patching ideas and an explanation of its digital engine alongside a few examples of third party plugs. Detailed timeline with list of tips andRead More →

Crave from Behringer is a semi-modular analog monosynth based their 3340 oscillator and ladder filter, with a single LFO and envelope, an arpeggiator/sequencer and a 32 jack eurorack compatible patch bay priced at around $200. The market for analog synths at this price is getting pretty heated up, so let’s check out how Crave compares – a full timeline is just under the video below: 0:00 Intro  0:45 Overview  2:30 Connectivity  4:00 Oscillator  6:00 Osc mods  7:05 Filter  8:45 Filter mods  10:45 Envelope  12:30 LFO  14:10 Utility  15:15 Arpeggiator  16:05 Sequencer  21:10 Global controls  22:00 Patch bay  22:20 Assign output  24:40 Patching ideas  25:35 Playing the filter Read More →

LYRA-8 from SOMA Laboratory is a synth that behaves like it’s from outer-space. From otherworldy drones to modulations that certainly aren’t from Kansas, LYRA-8 isn’t like any other synth. But is that a good thing? Check it out if you’re ready to step outside your comfort and into the twilight zone… (timeline below the video):   TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro jam 1:35 Overview 4:55 Envelope control 7:45 Modulation 11:00 Cross mod 12:35 Vibrato 13:10 Total feedback 13:30 Hyper LFO 14:25 Delay controls 15:45 Delay modulation 17:05 Drive 17:35 External in 18:45 Hold gate 19:05 CV Delay 19:55 CV Voices 21:00 Pros & cons 22:50 Outro jamRead More →

Toraiz Squid Loopop

There are quite a few solid hardware sequencing options on the market – both standalone sequencers spanning from Arturia’s KeyStep and BeatStep Pro, through Novation’s SL MkIII, all the way to Squarp’s Pyramid, as well the capable sequencers built into “groovebox” style hardware like the Elektron machines, Circuit and Electribes. Just when you thought innovation wasn’t possible, Squid is a surprising new sequencer from Toraiz – with quite a few new unique features. Here’s my review with an emphasis on what’s new and what can be improved/added, especially in comparison with what exists on the market today. There’s a timeline below in case you wantRead More →

Chase Bliss MOOD loopop review

MOOD is a new effects pedal from Chase Bliss Audio – developed in collaboration with Old Blood Noise Endeavors (its left side, with spacial reverb/delay style effects) and Drolo FX (the right side, micro-looping and granular synthesis). What got me interested in this pedal isn’t the individual parts – but rather its Clock feature – which lets you slow down its sample rate, and here’s the important bit: in harmonized steps of octaves and fifths.  The result is an effect that plays along whatever you “feed it”, and gives you a slower or faster and yet harmonically relevant and gritty version of what you playRead More →

SH-101 vs MS-101 by Loopop

The Roland SH-101 is a classic for good reason. It sounds great and has a clear and straightforward interface. Unfortunately, Roland stopped making them over 30 years ago, which is what makes Behringer’s MS-101 so interesting, not to mention the fact that the MS costs between a third and fourth of a second hand SH. This video starts with a feature comparison but tries to answer the big question which is – do they sound the same. Will you take the test? Here’s a link to my Patreon if you want to download the raw test file and outro jams.Read More →

FaderPort 8 from PreSonus is a controller designed to work with multiple DAWs, and its main differentiating feature compared to regular MIDI controllers is it motorized faders. While this may initially sound like a gimmick, using these faders is quite a transformative experience when, making a DAW feel more like an instrument rather than just software. FaderPort 8 officially supports Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, Sonar, Ableton Live and PreSonus’s own Studio One, and potentially any DAW that supports the HUI or MCU standards. This review and companion video focus solely on Ableton Live.   MCU Integration Before I dive into the details, it’s important toRead More →

Blackbox Loopop thumbnail

Blackbox is a new standalone sampler/sequencer/looper from 1010music – known for their powerful and flexible eurorack modules. It can play back samples chromatically and polyphonically, so you can play it like an instrument (including using single cycle waveforms) and it supports sample and clip slicing and time stretching for loops. You can sequence external gear with it, and it also has built in delay and reverb effects. Here’s a full review, and check out the summary below if you prefer to read rather than watch:   Review Summary On the pros side for Blackbox is how easy it is to use, compared to how powerfulRead More →

Digitone Keys from Elektron has the same synthesis engine as the “regular” Digitone, but as it quite clear from the first time you look at it, something is very different: Elektron added a three octave keyboard, as well as the additional controls above the keyboard, and the pitch and mod wheels on the left. Elektron is also providing hundreds of new presets, that are adapted for expressive control – meaning the react to velocity, pressure and mod wheel controls. Layout Let’s start with an overview of the synth and layout. Digitone Keys is an 8 voice multitimbral digital synth that includes both FM and subtractiveRead More →

SWN – Spherical Wavetable Navigator – is a six voice stereo wavetable synth, and what makes it special is the way it stores wavetables and the “spherical” way it moves between them. Typical wavetable synths morph between a series of wavetables in a linear fashion. SWN is different – it stores its 27 wavetables in a 3x3x3 cube and lets you “glide” in 3D space morphing from one shape to the other. It’s called Spherical because motion in any direction in space eventually loops back to the same location. Sphere Edit SWN comes with companion software called Sphere Edit, which lets you load, create, editRead More →