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 →

If you were ever curious about what it’s like to attend Moog’s Engineering Workshop at Moogfest – join me as I walk you through the process of building the Moog Subharmonicon, including some pretty nasty mistakes I admit to making along the way. Luckily Moog’s engineers are patient and helpful, and used to dealing with such things… Moogfest is a synth fan’s dream come true, with live shows, music making workshops and plenty of synths on hand. A small subset of Moogfest is the “VIP Engineering Workshop” – where, for a hefty price ($1,500+fees) you get to build a new, unreleased synth, with guidance byRead 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 →

I went to Superbooth 2018 in Berlin and put together a little tune out of a few synths I had fun playing with.   Here they are in order of appearance: 1. Instruo Modular Scion and other modules 2. Novation Peak 3. Tasty Chips GR-1 Granular Synth 4. Haken ContinuuMini pre-kickstarter prototype 5. IK Multimedia UNO 6. Tiptop Audio Circadian Rhythms and multiple Tiptop drum modules 7. Medusa by Polyend and Dreadbox 8. Moog Model 15 iOS app 9. Soulsby Atmultitron 10. AJH Wave Swarm 11. Theravox running thru EarthQuaker pedals 12. Pittsburgh Modular Sequence Designer and Lifeforms SV-1 13. Lyra-8 by SOMA 14. MatrixBruteRead 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 →

Squarp is a company that specializes in making sequencers – Pyramid and Hermod are the only two products it makes. Pyramid, which has been around for a while, was designed for “regular” MIDI compatible instruments (though it has a few CV inputs and outputs). Hermod, its smaller, modular brother – released a few months ago – was designed with Eurorack control in mind. This focus shows, and both sequencers have a massive sequencing feature set: high resolution sequencing, long flexible pattern lengths, polymetry and polyrhythm support, Euclidean sequencing, plenty of MIDI effects and much more – all things you typically see in a DAW, notRead 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 →