Semi modular synths are becoming increasingly popular, so much so that it almost feels like if your synth doesn’t have a patch bay, you might be missing out on something, like interesting sequencers such as Rene 2 or Ornament and Crime, or sound generators like Rings or Plaits, and many many more, that you just can’t find in regular synths. Or maybe you want to enhance your modular setup with components of regular synths, like the expressive grid controller of Medusa or the easy to use FM engine of Digitone. Bridging modular and “regular” synths can be seamless, but it does require an understanding ofRead More →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Grandmother is the latest semi-modular analog synth from Moog. There have been increasingly more and more semi modular synths released in recent years and the demand for rewiring synths and interfacing them with other modular gear grows. In this clip I explore what’s special about Moog’s Grandmother, and it turns out there’s quite a lot there, especially if you look beneath the surface. For example, while the front panel seems to show only two oscillators and one envelope, in reality, Grandmother has three fully functioning volt/octave oscillators (four if you count the self resonating filter), two and even three envelopes, and is capable of beingRead More →

In this clip I’ll look at a few ideas to take your semi-modular synth to the next level with Eurorack modules. In particular, I focus on a few that might make a big difference in what you can do with your semi-modular synth. Most semi-modulars come with “synth basics” such as oscillators, envelopes, lfos, filters and a sequencer. This clip looks at ways to extend these basic capabilities by patching internally and using external modular gear. There are plenty of great semi-modular synths – Mother-32, MiniBrute 2 and 2S and many others. I’ll be using the MatrixBrute in this video, though most of the tipsRead More →

The Moog Subharmonicon is a lovely instrument that unfortunately, as of June 2018, isn’t available other than the 100 attendees that built it at the 2018 Moogfest Engineering Workshop. What’s unique about the Subharmonicon is its ability to take a core oscillator and generate sub oscillators at special sub-harmonic frequencies, which can produce harmonically pleasing results. It also has the ability to subdivide a tempo clock and the result is a poly-rhythmic clock that creates interesting patterns, when combined with other sequences clocked at different sub-divisions. Maths by Make Noise however, is one of the most popular eurorack modules, and it turns out you canRead More →