Frap Tools USTA Review and Tutorial

USTA is a eurorack sequencer based around the concept of four independent tracks with variable stage lengths, meaning that each step in a sequence doesn’t necessarily represent the same amount of time as the one before or after it. It also supports chance and randomization or a per stage basis and has 16 stage knobs for immediate access stage parameters. It’s quite a bit more powerful than may initially seem, but with power comes complexity. Here’s a full review and tutorial alongside a walk through what a set up it controls can look like: TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 0:50 Overview 3:40 Setup walkthru 5:00 Project structureRead 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 →

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 →

Here it is! A full, detailed review of Elektron’s new Model:Samples, and a feature by feature comparison to Digitakt, which is the question I believe most people interested have on their mind: what are the tradeoffs, and what can one do that the other can’t. I’ve also narrowed the gap between the two a bit with a few tips and hacks that fill in the blanks in Model:Samples’ feature set, like the lack of sample locks and filter envelope. Below are two timelines, one for the 10 tips/hacks in the video, and another based on overall content. TIP/HACK TIMELINE: 1:40 Add Amp envelope stages usingRead More →

This video is a comprehensive tutorial for Squarp’s Pyramid sequencer – one of the most feature packed sequencers out there. If you want a shorter review and comparison to Hermod, Squarp’s modular sequencer – here’s a link to it. This video is a deeper dive into Pyramid – getting into all the nitty gritty details, features and workflow.   Here’s the video, and there’s a timeline below.   MAIN CHAPTERS: 1:00 OVERVIEW 11:00 LIVE MODE 17:00 STEP MODE 31:40 TRACK MODE 41:25 SEQ MODE 46:35 MIDI EFFECTS 53:55 MISC   OVERVIEW 1:10 Connectivity 2:00 Panel overview 2:30 Basic terms 3:15 Modes 4:00 Project scope 5:30 NavigationRead 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 →

The Arturia Spark LE – or Sparkle has been around for quite some time, but I only came across it when I needed drum sounds for a clip I made a few weeks ago. I was scouring the web for good drum plugin with plenty of sounds, downloaded a demo of this and was impressed with how good it sounded. And when I saw you could get the hardware controller for Spark used on Reverb for around $100 and new for around $200, I decided to check it out. Now first – when looking at the pros and cons of this – obviously, it’s notRead More →

TRK-01 is a new synth and drum engine – or more precisely a kick and bass synthesis and sequencing plugin from Native Instruments. Though it can be used to produce a variety of non kick and bass sounds, its focus is helping you create, manage and boost the low end of your track. The kick and bass are the beating heart of electronic music. The challenge is that they occupy similar portions of the audio spectrum and if they don’t sit together well, can send a track down-hill quickly in a river of mud. TRK-01 from Native Instruments aims to solve that problem, get youRead More →

The Subharmonicon is a lovely, interesting and different synth from Moog. Only around 100 were hand soldered and built at Moogfest’s 2018 Engineering Workshop, and there’s no information currently about whether it will be released commercially. Even though availability is scarce, I decided to put together a review of this instrument, because the way it works is such a breath of fresh air when it comes to sound generation and sequencing. Also, one would hope that Moog will eventually mass produce the Subharmonicon, as they did for most, but not all past Engineer Workshop projects, like the DFAM and Werkstatt. This review includes an interviewRead More →