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 →

Moog’s Spectravox was Moogfest 2019’s Engineering Workshop synth. It’s not available commercially, at least not yet. The only way to get one is to have built it at the workshop (or buy it on eBay…). To see what it’s like to attend this workshop, I made a whole video about the experience last year building the Moog Subharmonicon (see video here). Building Spectravox was a very similar experience, except this time I didn’t make any mistakes and the 30-instrument unison patch ritually played at the end of the workshop was even more impressive, as is shown towards the end of the video below: So, whatRead More →

If you’ve seen my Eurorack videos, Plaits from Mutable Instruments is in many of them. It’s a very flexible module with 16 different sound engines and three control knobs for each. In MicroFreak, Arturia have taken 7 of the 16 engines from Plaits – they can do that because Mutable have generously made their code open source – added 5 of their own – and multiplied that: MicroFreak has four copies of the concept behind this module, wrapped in a full synth with an extensive mod matrix, analog SEM filter, rather innovative sequencer and arpeggiators and a touch surface controller. Probably the most amazing thingRead More →