Medusa is an innovative new synth, the result of a collaboration between Dreadbox and PolyEnd. The core of what’s new with Medusa is the GRID – a multi-mode expressive interface that can be used as an instrument, a sequencer, a modulator, or any combination of the above. Medusa combines Dreadbox’s great sounding analog synth capabilities with PolyEnd’s experience in making SEQ – its powerful and yet easy to use sequencer. They call it a Hybrid Synth and it is indeed a combination of a few things – it has both analog and digital oscillators, it’s both a monophonic and polyphonic or paraphonic depending on yourRead 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 →

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 →