Polyend Tracker Review and Tutorial

Tracker from Polyend is a new standalone hardware groovebox based on a grid-sequencing workflow first introduced on Amiga computers in 1987. Tracker is digital, sample based, and it has basic wavetable and granular synthesis capabilities alongside a few interesting sequencing tricks up its sleeve. In this video I look at what it can and can’t do, and its workflow in detail: TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 0:50 Tracker basics 2:40 Overview 5:05 Connectivity 6:10 Sample loader 8:10 Sampling 9:10 Sample Editor 11:30 Sequencing 14:00 Fill 17:20 Recording live 18:00 FX1 & FX2 20:15 Grid tips 22:50 Song mode 24:50 Perform mode 27:40 Master controls 28:25 Sample playbackRead More →

Tasty Chips GR-1 review

GR-1 from Tasty Chips Electronics is a polyphonic, multitimbral instrument based granular synthesis – a form of synthesis which chops up and layers samples into small pieces called grains resulting in anything from rhythmic patterns to drones and soundscapes that can be either close to, or quite entirely unlike the original sample. In this video I take a deep look at GR-1 all the way up to firmware version 2.2 which was recently announced. The end of the video also has 10 minutes of no-talking sound samples: TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 0:45 Granular basics 4:45 Panel overview 5:55 Play mode 8:25 Connectivity 9:15 Multi-timbrality 11:45 SamplingRead More →

Animals and synths tips and ideas

If you like synths and are on Instagram there’s a good chance you’ve seen and heard the beautiful synth and animal soundtracks created by AnimalsAndSynthesizers. Here’s a behind the scenes look at his workflow: Follow here!  TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro0:35 Origin story1:45 Visual inspiration4:00 Motion matching6:15 Opposing mods8:30 Microtonal vibe9:35 Harmonic layers11:20 Wait for sound12:50 Create ambience13:40 Hardware synths15:00 Counterpoint15:25 Synth foley16:55 Macro magic20:25 Forest synthesis25:45 Cat synthesis…26:15 Swarm synthesis29:05 More ideasRead More →

Elektron Model Cycles Review and Tutorial

Model:Cycles from Elektron is a standalone FM and drum synthesis based groovebox with a focus on knob per function control and simplified synthesis models. Elektron took a different approach here compared to its higher end Digitone – rather than give you free control over dozens of synth parameters, Model Cycles takes a more immediate and hands on approach giving you six fm machines and with four unique parameters controls in each machine. Here’s my full review, including quite a few tips and trick for making the most of it: TIMELINE: 0:00 Overview 4:00 Preset sounds 6:30 Tone machine 8:50 Chord machine 10:15 Kick machine 11:30Read More →

Five12 Vector Sequencer Review

Vector is a Eurorack sequencer from Five12 – it’s a digital sequencer that lets you sequence up to 8 parts (tracks) simultaneously, with either a monophonic melody, chords or drums – both over control voltage , and also thru multiple MIDI outputs. Vector doesn’t do everything, but it does quite a few things other sequencers just can’t. In this video I take a look at the things that make it special, what its workflow is like and of course pros and cons: TIMELINE  0:00 Intro  0:45 Overview  2:00 Inputs and outputs  3:00 The basic workflow  5:05 Sequencing  8:00 Lane types  11:40 Sequence controls  13:40 ChordRead More →

AKAI MPC ONE Review and full workflow tutorial

The Akai MPC One is a music production sampler, synth and sequencer that works both standalone, as well as a controller for Akai’s MPC Music Production Software. MPC One has a lot of the capabilities of its bigger brothers, the MPC X and MPC Live, in a much more compact and affordable package, though with some tradeoffs which I’ll cover. In this video I’ll focus what MPC One can do standalone, without a computer attached to it, compare it to MPC Live, go over its entire production workflow including all the ways you can sample and sequence, and of course discuss pros and cons comparedRead More →

Faderfox EC4 review

EC4 from Faderfox is a MIDI controller for hardware instruments, DAWs and software instruments, and the reason it’s worth taking a look at is this screen, which lets you label each knob on the controller so that you know what it actually does across multiple setups or controller groups.  In this video, I review EC4’s pros and cons, explore  how to use it and look at some alternatives: TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 1:55 Alternatives 2:35 Overview 4:10 Ableton Live 6:05 Hardware control 8:20 Display modes 9:00 Programming 9:35 Edit mode 12:25 Name mode 13:00 MIDI learn 13:20 Setup mode 15:00 Browser editor 16:20 Monitor 16:35 ProsRead More →

Korg OD-S test drive

OD-S is an analog overdrive pedal kit from Korg’s NUTEKT brand.  It was announced at Winter NAMM 2020 and was available as part of several DIY workshops at the Korg booth, where I built it. It’s based on Korg’s new analog triode vacuum tube, designed to give the same performance as conventional vacuum tubes in a more compact and stable form. In this video I quickly walk you through the build process and run synth and guitar sounds through it (with the kind help of Static from Korg): TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 0:30 The Build 1:25 The Controls 2:10 Synth test 4:15 Wide on/off 5:10 GuitarRead More →

Moog Subsequent 25 Review Loopop

Moog’s Subsequent 25 is an update to their analog monophonic Sub Phatty, now with 2 note paraphonic support and an updated sound engine. Unlike many analog monosynths, Sub 25 can store presets and be digitally controlled, which means a few extra benefits. Here’s an in depth review, tutorial and quite a few patch ideas: TIMELINE:0:00 Intro 1:15 Duophony 2:10 Overview 4:25 Hidden params 7:10 The filter 10:20 Oscillators 14:45 Mixer 15:45 Envelopes 17:20 LFO 20:35 App ——— PATCH IDEAS 22:10 Chords 23:30 FM Bells 24:15 Duo tips 25:30 Bi-timbral duo 26:35 Arpeggiator 27:35 Randomizer 28:55 Pros & cons 30:40 Outro jamRead More →

Korg Wavestate Review and Tutorial

Korg’s Wavestate is a new take on their original WaveStation from the 1990’s. It’s not a reissue, but rather a completely new synth with a much bigger sample library, more user friendly interface and modular style sequencing options, and it also has vector synthesis engine built in. In this video, I take a look at whether it’s easy to use, and of course explain both Wave Sequencing and Vector Synthesis: TIMELINE: 0:00 Intro 1:00 What is Wave Sequencing 2.0? 3:00 Vector synthesis explained 3:50 Overview 7:10 Navigating the interface 10:40 Timing lane 12:35 Crossfade 13:45 Sample lane 14:20 Probability 15:15 Pitch lane 16:20 Shape laneRead More →