The MatrixBrute by Arturia is a massive synth with a hefty price tag – is it worth it? Well, that depends on what you want or need… but as far as synths go, this is one of the most advanced analog synths ever made – certainly in terms of what’s possible with just three oscillators. In this video I explore what makes it special – what I call its “superpowers” – things you don’t see in lower-end synths, and some things you just can’t get anywhere else: 1. Duo-split: typically, three oscillator synths are monophonic, however the MatrixBrute’s duo-split mode effectively turns it into aRead 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 →

In this video we get to know the people and process behind building Moog’s new Grandmother synth, as well as get a taste of what it sounds like. Like Moog’s Mother-32, Grandmother is a semimodular analog synthesizer. But Grandmother has a few new tricks up her sleeve: a classic spring reverb (we get to see the spring in this video!), two oscillators, faithful reproductions of Moog’s vintage modular components, hard sync, a keyboard and more. In this video I test the sounds of a few of these new components, as well as get a factory tour for an inside look on how Grandmother is built.Read More →

The open source music community is blooming with creative ideas – unique sequencers, synths, loopers and effects are being shared by many innovative creators – from well-known commercial contributors like Mutable Instruments and projects like Pure Data and SuperCollider, to independent hobbyists posting innovative ideas on various forums. The problem with open source music platforms like Organelle, Raspberry Pi, Bela and others is that there’s no easy to use “glue” to connect one idea with another. Hardware musical instruments have MIDI, Eurorack has control voltage and patch cables, and VSTs have DAWs, but if you want to connect one open source project with another, you’veRead More →

KORG just released their version of Gadget for Nintendo’s Switch gaming console. Gadget for iOS and Mac are powerful workstations for music production and performance. The big question is, how well does Gadget translate to the world of console gaming? After reviewing it in depth, it seems Korg Gadget for Switch has a different goal in mind, at least in my opinion – certainly for this first version just released – and that goal is real-time, multi-person music creation and jamming. To see if it accomplishes this goal, I tested it live with my daughter, and the result of our first jam session, for betterRead More →

The Behringer Model D is a great analog synth – and by design it’s monophonic. However, if you’ve seen my channel before, you know I’m not going to let that stop me from trying to play more than one note at a time with it, something that has a unique characteristic in synthesizers that are intended to be monophonic. You can’t control any of its 3 oscillators separately, but there’s a fourth oscillator that can be controlled independently, and that’s the filter – via a dedicated CV input – and when you crank up emphasis all the way, it resonates and creates its own tone.Read More →

The Behringer Model D is an homage (or clone, depending on your point of view…) to the classic and legendary Minimoog Model D. Behringer’s main achievement, aside from creating a faithful and great sounding synth, is pricing it at $300. In this video I review some of the “cons” of this synth, and the many “pros” that make it a very enjoyable synthesizer.Read More →

I recently received for review the VariFO, a new and relatively cheap quad LFO module from VoicAs – a new eurorack company. With so many LFOs on tap, it inspired me to put together a clip with beginner as well as more advanced and creative LFO uses. In this clip I explain what an LFO is, demonstrate how its basic parameters work (depth, rate, shape), and show ten different things you can do with LFOs: 1. Tremolo 2. Vibrato 3. FM synthesis 4. A Wobble effect with two LFOs 5. How an LFO can also be used as a clock or trigger in a modular setupRead More →