Pigments from Arturia is a new software synth that is their own original creation, rather than an emulation of a vintage synth. Is it the best sounding synth ever? I think it sounds pretty good but I’ll leave that decision up to you. What I think they really did well here though, is make a synth that’s an extremely useful tool for learning synthesis, for a few reasons. #1: Arturia’s Demo Policy The first reason Pigments is a good learning tool isn’t actually unique to it, but is true about all of Arturia’s software synths and that’s their demo policy. You can download Pigments andRead More →

The ContinuuMini is a new portable synthesizer and smaller brother to one of the most unique instruments I’ve ever played – the Continuum, also from Haken Audio. There are two things that make the Continuums special – their extremely sensitive playing surface, and the advanced built-in synth engine, called the EaganMatrix with its custom built in presets – designed to work with, and make the most out of the playing surface. I reviewed the bigger Continuum earlier this year – and I really liked it, but as I mentioned in that review – I wished it cost less and that it had more on-board controlsRead More →

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 →

For the past two years, every time I discovered something non-obvious about Ableton Live I jotted it down, and the result is this clip and the accompanying tips to be added in the November edition of my book – available on Patreon. Ableton Live is an extremely powerful DAW and electronic music performance platform, but there are a few aspects of it that are far from intuitive. Hopefully this clip will help you make more of it! Here’s a clip timeline: 0:00 Don’t panic! 0:55 Use two windows 2:20 Overview 5:00 Recording 7:50 From session to arrangment 10:20 Overdubbing 11:45 Clips & devices 13:10 EditingRead 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 →

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 →