A few years ago 1010Music released Bitbox – a simplified but extremely powerful Ableton-Live style sampler, slicer and clip launcher – by far the most advanced Eurorack sampler I’ve ever seen. Where it gets a little confusing is that since then they’ve released two completely different firmware versions for the same hardware – Fxbox and Synthbox, which transform it into radically different modules. I’m not talking about just updates with new features (which have also come out separately), but rather alternate firmware versions with entirely different functionality. In parallel, they’ve released independent modules with said firmware versions, which can also load each other’s firmware. So,Read More →

REVIEW The DrumBrute Impact is new smaller and less expensive brother to Arturia’s DrumBrute. It’s an analog drum machine that packs a punch at an aggressively low price point for an analog synth. My video review shows you what it can do, and discusses its pros and cons. ANALOG VS DIGITAL First, and most importantly, the DrumBrute Impact is an analog drum machine – which means it doesn’t work based on playing back samples, but rather there’s a physical synth circuit behind every one of its instruments. This is not to say that sample based machines are bad, just very different in how they makeRead 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 →

Elektron’s new Analog Heat MKII is an updated version of their analog enhancer and destroyer. The sound circuits remain mostly the same but the new interface and screen make a big difference. The Analog Heat isn’t cheap, so hopefully this review will help you evaluate if it’s worth it. Here’s my detailed review, walk-through and sound test with various sound sources on all eight analog circuits:   Timeline: 0:00 Overview 0:50 Analog Heat MKI vs MKII 1:20 Detailed sound test for the Character circuits with various audio sources 1:30 808 drums 3:50 Electric guitar 7:05 Sine waves 8:40 Digitone FM 9:30 The Filter 11:00 EQRead More →

The H9 is an effects pedal from Eventide that as evolved over the past few years: it contains all the effects previously released in the Eventide Factor series pedals – TimeFactor, PitchFactor, ModFactor and Space, and quite a few more that are exclusive just to it, that don’t exist in any of the Factor pedals. It’s basically all of Eventide’s hardware effects in one box, which is a pretty big deal, especially considering is doesn’t cost much more than one pedal. In the accompanying video I give an overview of the H9’s interface, and then explore my top favorite presets for synths. Finally I’ll summarizeRead More →

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 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 →

Maths by Make Noise is by far the #1 eurorack module on Modular Grid – both in terms of rating and popularity. In this video, I explain what Maths is and why it’s so popular. Maths sounds complicated and if you’ve heard some of the terms used to describe it – an analog computer, a function generator and various other quadratic equations, it may seem a bit intimidating, but overall, it has three core components: attentuverters, a mixer and slew rate limiters. It is however the combination of these things, which a few bonus features, that makes Maths such a versatile module. In this clipRead More →

Delay is one of the most popular audio effects, and understandably so.  In this clip I review EuroDDL, as well as use its various CV interfaces to create a chorus/flange effects, a delayed harmonizer, apply a PWM-like effect to a synth that doesn’t have that feature, loop drums and, since there’s a built in filter, create percussive Karplus-Strong sounds. While the concept of delay is simple – recording a snippet of sound and playing it back continuously, done at different delay times – delay can have a dramatic effect on your sound. Timed to the tempo of a song, delay can take a simple riffRead 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 →