With the Minilogue XD, KORG did something which may prove to be one of the most interesting things a synth manufacturer can do: they opened up its digital oscillator and effects engine to any developer that cares to create plugins for it, without going through Korg for approval or certification. This is already bearing fruit with a few very interesting plug-ins, and most likely more to come. Here’s a review and full beginner friendly tutorial of the XD, a few advanced patching ideas and an explanation of its digital engine alongside a few examples of third party plugs. Detailed timeline with list of tips andRead 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 →

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 →

Most drum machines and sequencers don’t support importing MIDI clips or loops, which is a shame because there are plenty of MIDI clip/loop libraries out there with excellent content, many played by real drummers with obvious human groove and feel, which is quite hard to program manually. This video offers a workflow to “import” MIDI clips into practically any modern drum machine and sequencer using a DAW and a simple MIDI effect. It then shows how you can quickly find loops in at least one large database – using the “tap to find” feature in Toontracks’ products. If you’re familiar with other such tools, pleaseRead 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 →

“Generative Music” is a term coined by Brian Eno to describe music that is always different and changing, generated by a system but led by creative guidelines, rather than typical music which follows a set of predetermined notes intended to be played the same way every time. This video includes 20 ideas and even more tools for creating generative music inspired by Brian Eno’s generative work. It’s focused on ideas rather than one platform, and covers eurorack, iOS, VCV and Ableton tools for creating generative and probability based music. TIMELINE OF IDEAS AND TOOLS: 0:00 Defining Generative 1:05 Simple randomization – Ableton MIDI LFO Max4LiveRead More →