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Electronic Musician - July 2018

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RECORD • PRODUCE • PERFORM
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MASTERCLASS
Arturia
MiniBrute 2
Synth
Soloing
Brent
Mydland
Organ
Workshop
Four-Limb
Independence
Sound
Design
Beyond
Arpeggios
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More!
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REVIEWS
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š–›žˆ™ŒGOˆ•‹G –œ™G‰œ‹ŽŒ›HP
ROLAND
AUDIFIED
M-AUDIO
KORG
TR-8S
DW DRUM
ENHANCER
HAMMER 88
VOLCA MIX
THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF THE PROPHET
S A M P L E S
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D U A L
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Universal Audio Arrow, Burl Audio B2 Bomber ADC, PreSonus FaderPort 16,
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46
M-AUDIO
Hammer 88
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36
]
48
THE ART OF
SYNTH SOLOING
Brent Mydland
AUDIFIED
DW Drum Enhancer
38
18
ORGAN
WORKSHOP
Limb
Independence
40
BILL IRWIN
Modulation
10
COMMUNITY
12
42
SOUND DESIGN
Beyond Arpeggios,
Part 1
FIVE
QUESTIONS
Terri Winston,
founder of
Women’s
Audio Mission
JULY
20 1 8
KORG
Volca Mix
52
RUISMAKER
Kosmonaut and
AUDIO DAMAGE
Discord4
54
SUGAR BYTES
Aparillo
56
SONICCOUTURE
Haunted Spaces
The release of Glamping marks
Manning’s first solo project in a
decade. This month, we learn about his
songwriting and production process,
and get an exclusive peek at his
favorite vintage keyboards and synths.
14
66
This month, we examine a select list of recent and noteworthy
hardware releases for DJs, in a range of price points—from
products designed for specific software to hybrid models
that support a variety of applications and double as mixers,
turntables, or standalone players.
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IN THE
STUDIO
The Monks
of Doom with
Bruce Kaphan
NEW GEAR
Products
from UVI,
Propellerhead,
and others
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44
M A G A Z I N E
57
WAVES
Torque
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16
ELECTRONIC
GUITAR
Rick Cox
58
MASTER CLASS
Arturia
MiniBrute 2
62
TECH
Unifying I/O Names in Digital
Performer and Pro Audio Control
Electronic Musician (ISSN 0884-4720) is published monthly by Future PLC, 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016. Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY, and
at additional mailing oices. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Electronic Musician, P.O. Box 232, Lowell, MA 01853.
Electronic Musician is a trademark of Future PLC. All material published in Electronic Musician is copyrighted (©) 2018 by Future PlC All rights reserved.
Reproduction of material appearing in Electronic Musician is prohibited without written permission. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited
manuscripts, photos, or artwork. All product information is subject to change; publisher assumes no responsibility for such changes. All listed model numbers and
product names are manufacturers’ registered trademarks.
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_
JULY
20 1 8
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Have you ever been in a critical musical situation—either onstage or while
recording—and suddenly discovered
that part of your setup doesn’t work?
Were you ready for it? If so, what was
your strategy?
In the high-stakes world of professional audio, redundancies are built
into a production to avoid show-stopping failures. But while major acts with
millions of dollars riding on a tour can
aford to have fully duplicated systems
at the ready, the rest of us must find
clever ways to be prepared for disaster.
If you are planning to do any kind of
work in front of others and you haven’t
given this some thought, it is time to
come up with a plan of action.
Under the term “electronic music”
are innumerable approaches, and in
nearly every case, electronic equipment failure is far more unforgiving
than is the malfunction of a traditional musical instrument. Replacing
a broken guitar string or drum head
is trivial compared to dealing with a
complete drive failure on your laptop
where you’ve carefully organized several GB of data. And because most of
us have a complex, customized setup,
there is no one-size-fits-all solution
(other than having a fully redundant
system at the gig with you, of course).
I’ve met artists who carry a com-
The Really Useful
Piano Poster
m
}
plete set of back-up audio files (mixes
or stems, depending on the kind of
music they make) on a USB drive and
their mobile device. It also makes
sense to keep a set of backups in the
cloud. Although it won’t help you if
you’re in a venue without access to
stable Internet connectivity, it’s worth
having it there in other situations.
What is your backup plan when
your system goes down? If you already have a system in place, we’d
love to hear about it: Send us an email
detailing the setup. We will gather
the best ones together in a future article on the topic to share with the
rest of our readers.
GINO ROBAIR
EDITOR IN CHIEF
gino.robair@futurenet.com
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rom my own experience as a teacher, I know that visual aids are very useful, especially with something as initially confusing as music
theory. But while it would be perfectly appropriate to hang The Really Useful Piano Poster on the wall in a piano-teaching studio, its
designer, Domenico Arenare, conceived of it for a different audience: It is designed for musicians and music producers who don’t
have a full understanding of music theory or a background in keyboard
playing, but who occasionally need a reference.
“When producing music, I used to use a number of online resources,
apps, and good old-fashioned pieces of paper to look up different scales,
chords and diagrams,” Arenare explains about the genesis of The Really
Useful Piano Poster. “But I wanted a much easier, more immediate way to
access all of this information, so I brought it all together onto one poster.”
The graphical density of the poster looks intimidating at first, but the
information is logically organized and simple to follow. The main section
shows 48 scales and 60 chords: Each row is based on a note name, starting from C at the top and moving chromatically to B. The columns (from left
to right) include the major scale and the three minor scales with left- and
right-hand fingerings, followed by the root positions of basic chord shapes
(major, minor, augmented, diminished, dominant seventh). Also shown are
where the notes reside on the grand staff, diatonic chord names, and the
circle of fifths. Its large format, colorful design, and quality printing make it
easy to read at a distance.
Arenare’s Kickstarter campaign to fund the poster brought in nearly four
times the stated goal when it ended in late April. By the time you read this, The Really Useful Piano Poster will be available for direct order in
several formats from thereallyusefulpianoposter.com: as a digital download in PDF format for £10; printed on an A1 size (23.4" x 33.1") paper in a Standard (folded) version for £15 including shipping; A1 size but rolled in a paper tube for £15 plus shipping; and in a Deluxe version
(higher-quality paper and silver-foil debossing on the logo) for £25 plus shipping. —Gino Robair
XW
JULY
20 18
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ADVENTURES IN DIY
BY DAVID BATTINO
Welcome to
My Pad
Build the Perfect
MIDI Controller with
Sensel Morph
Fig. 1. Silicone overlays transform
the Sensel Morph from a MIDI
controller to a drawing tablet, or
(using the transparent Innovator’s
overlay) anything you design. I
made a cartoon drum pad.
Last night, I printed my own MIDI controller. The secret ingredient was Overlay Designer, a new software feature for the Sensel Morph (sensel.com; $299). Morph, as the
name implies, is a highly customizable touchpad and a terrific platform for DIY projects. It’s beautifully designed from brushed aluminum, about 6.75 inches tall, 9.5 inches
wide, and a quarter-inch thick. The top surface holds some 20,000 pressure sensors
that Sensel says can detect 32,000 levels of force. That’s responsive enough to handle
everything from paintbrushes to drumsticks.
To keep you oriented, the Morph ofers silicone rubber overlays ($35 each) with control layouts ranging from computer keys to drum
pads (see Figure 1). Each overlay has a unique
arrangement of embedded magnets that snap it
into place and reconfigure the base to send new
types of data. (You can also use Morph without an
overlay.) Like an iPad, the Morph detects multiple
fingers at once. LEDs glow gently to show where
you’re touching.
The Morph transmits over USB or Bluetooth
and includes a rechargeable battery. It can’t play
iOS softsynths over USB unless you use a powFig. 2. Magnets in the Innovator’s
ered Lightning adapter or USB hub, so the wireOverlay hold my printed control layless option is handy. An optional Developer’s
out against the sensor base. Each
overlay has a unique arrangement
Cable ($19) breaks out the USB port to four pins
of magnets that loads a control map
you can connect to an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.
from memory.
Drawing Inspiration
Fig. 3. The editor app supports
numerous protocols, including
QWERTY, MPE, MIDI Machine Control, and touchpad data. You can
even mix types on a single layout.
I’ve been messing with Morph since Roger Linn lent me his system last summer, but
it really clicked for me when Sensel released Overlay Designer and a transparent skin
called the Innovator’s Overlay. To create my custom MIDI controller, I drew buttons and
sliders in a graphics program, printed the page, and slid the paper under the overlay (see
Figure 2). I then exported the page as an image file, loaded the image into the SenselApp
editor as a background, drew control zones on top, and downloaded the control map to
the Morph (see Figure 3). Interestingly, Roger built a prototype of the LinnStrument using a similar approach, as you can see in his 2010 video: youtu.be/AoAOx97G8ew.
Developing controllers on paper makes it easy to refine them. Some of the buttons on
my initial layout were too close to the edge, causing double triggering. So I nudged the
graphics inward, printed another page, and raised
the trigger threshold in the editor. Next, I made a variation with drum pads instead of keys. (The Morph
memory holds only one map per overlay, but downloading a new map from the editor takes seconds.)
The editor also generates STL files so you can create tactile controls on a 3D printer. (The Innovator’s
Overlay has a recessed area on top to hold them.)
Sensel has tips on materials and printing services
on its site. For my paper layouts, I set my artboard
to 238mm x 140mm, with 5mm inner margins on
the sides, 12mm on top, and 10mm on the bottom.
I’ve only scratched the rubbery surface here.
Check out Tim Thompson’s amazing audiovisual
instrument built from four Morphs at youtu.be/3_
s2P7gMRm0.
J ULY
201 8
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XX
IN THE STUDIO
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BY BARBARA SCHULTZ
During the time it took to make the Monks of
Doom’s latest album, The Bronte Pin, bass player/
vocalist Victor Krummenacher cut five other albums: two solo records, one with roots band McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and two more with his longtime bandmates in Camper Van Beethoven.
It’s not that all of the other projects work at
lightning speed; the Monks’ album actually took
seven years to complete.
Formed in the mid 1980s as a jam/prog/jazz/
rock side project to Camper, the Monks of Doom
released their early records a lot closer together
between ’86 and ’92, but then the members mainly
put the Monks aside until a covers record, What’s
Left for Kicks, appeared in 2006. The status of the
Monks is inseparable from Camper’s story; members of both groups have changed over the years,
while a core of founding members has remained
constant. Each group stopped for a lengthy period
and re-formed in the 2000s.
Today, the Monks of Doom are three current
members of CVB: Krummenacher, guitarist Greg
Lisher, and drummer Chris Pedersen; and Counting Crows guitarist and occasional CVB member
David Immerglück.
Immerglück’s busy touring schedule was one
of the factors that extended the process of creating The Bronte Pin—that and the fact that all of the
other members play in multiple bands and some
work day jobs, plus Pedersen lives in Australia.
There you have a recipe for a scheduling nightmare. But the band did manage to carve out two
days for basic tracking in Fantasy Studios’ Studio
A to get the songs rolling back in 2009.
To begin, the players shared what engineer
Bruce Kaphan calls “kernels of ideas” for songs,
and then expanded those into longer jams from
which they could choose a direction, or pieces,
that would end up on a final track.
Knowing a little about their process begs the
question: How does a jam/prog/jazz/rock quartet who rarely see each other and don’t have fully
formed compositions nail down basic tracks in
just a couple days? The short answer is, they don’t.
But in truth, they got a surprising amount done.
“After working together for 30 years, one thing
that this group of people understands is eiciency,” says Kaphan. “And another lovely attribute of
experience is that you come to count on your intuition. You trust that ideas will flow. Their attitude
was, ‘Let’s make an album where we demand this
from ourselves, where we are put on the spot and
forced to create right now.’”
With only a couple days to create a foundation for
the album, Kaphan knew he needed to capture parts
from all possible angles. So he put up what he calls a
“safety net” of multiple amps, mics and DI’s. While
the bandmembers may have used their own efects
as they worked to define what they could as far as arrangements and approach, Kaphan left a lot of sonic
doors open to select or process sounds later.
“For example, on drums, I set up close miking—a
beater side and a front side of the kick drum, snare
top and bottom, hi-hat, tom-toms, cymbals—as well
as a Glyn Johns trio of mics, and a farther placed
AKG C24 stereo microphone,” Kaphan says.
“We kept all that diversity, and then on some
of the tunes, we later stripped things down to
one presentation or another, so I might have been
down to three microphones or even fewer at one
point in a mix. I never had to insert myself during the sessions to change anything out because
I knew they would have variables to work with.”
“And then Bruce gave me the drive and said,
‘Good luck!’” jokes Krummenacher.
Actually, what followed were numerous sessions in Kaphan’s personal studio, and Krummenacher’s and other bandmembers’, to refine the
work they’d done in Fantasy and build pieces into
whole songs. Copious overdubs, cut-and-paste editing, re-amping instruments, and plenty of sonic
invention came into play.
Zeroing in on the development of the song “Up
Bass player and vocalist Victor Krummenacher leans over the console in Fantasy Studio A.
XY
JULY
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£ G l t | z p j p h u U j v t
from the Cane,” Krummenacher ofers a microcosm of the overall album creation.
“‘Up from the Cane’ was a song where I had a
concept in mind,” Krummenacher explains. “I have
a gold coin that belonged to my grandfather that
was always supposed to be a gift to the first-born
son. It was given to my Uncle Vic and then, because
he didn’t have any male children, he gave it to me.
It also comes with a rabbit’s foot—a really old, dry
rabbit’s foot. My uncle was born in 1925, so you can
imagine the state that rabbit’s foot is in now! It also
came with this crazy letter that my grandfather
typed up that basically tells the story that’s in the
song. The moral is that if you have the gold coin,
you’re protected from the perils of the world.
“For this song, I wanted a really aggressive tribal
punk sound. I had paraphrased the story of the coin
in the lyrics, and I had a kind of stupid three-chord
bass rif that went with the lyrics. When we went
into [Fantasy Studios], I started playing the rif, and
Chris played along, and we did that for about 15
minutes with Greg and Immy [Immerglück] making guitar noise in the background. It was not entirely congealing, but in the midst of doing it, Chris
just really caught the pocket and we ended up with
a snippet that was not quite long enough to support
the lyrics of the song, but was pretty well-executed.
“So, I took that snippet home and edited it and
elongated it enough through some cloning to what
needed to be the body length of the song,” Krummenacher continues. “But the guitar stuf wasn’t
working, so I figured out a basic rhythm guitar
part and a lead line that I thought could work.
Then I presented that to the band.”
At first the guitarists didn’t warm to Krummenacher’s guitar parts, so they were reluctant to take his
idea and run with it. “Then I thought, Greg plays crazy good slide guitar, and I said, ‘What if you play these
parts but on the slide and we bring it up to a really
intense level,’” Krummenacher says. “And Greg was
good with that. Immy’s really great at creating colorations and stuf, but he still didn’t want to play guitar
on it, and that’s where backwards piano came in.
“At one point we were in Phantom Vox Studio in
L.A. Immy and I listen to a lot of free jazz, and we
Drum miking in Fantasy Studios
thought, let’s try to get a flavor of Sun Ra or Albert
Ayler or something unexpected: those great singlenote sounds that you get when you play something
backwards—you turn it around to where the sound
of the piano is sucking in. It added a lot of tension.
“And then on top of that, at another session with
Chris, the percussion genius in him comes out.
There are these interstitial breaks in the song where
it’s just the bass rif but the drums have dropped out.
So Chris started going through this series, this evolution of percussion: drum sticks on the floor, pieces of
metal, just a lot of crazy sonic palette work.
“So, we’d done a lot of embellishment, but
we still needed a really intense lead vocal, and
that fell on me. Basically I shouted for so long—
I couldn’t speak for about two days after I was
done. And even after the labyrinth that it took to
get there, the song went through maybe 10 mixes.
Bruce was throwing in explosive sound efects—
like, literally, sounds of explosions. And one of the
very last moves was: we had re-amped the bass,
but we also decided to double the bass because it
Guitarist Greg Lisher in engineer Bruce
Kaphan’s personal studio. Designed by
Michael Blackmer, Kaphan’s facility is
equipped with a Pro Tools system, Dynaudio
BM6a monitors, a front end comprising six
channels of Neve preamps, four channels of
API 312s, Summit TPA 200Bs, and more. would be more fluid and palpable.
“Then, suddenly it was like, ‘Wait, it’s losing
something, let’s go back,’” Krummenacher recalls.
“So, we went back three or four versions and we
knew we had the one. That happened on several
songs: We’d push and push until we’d gone too far,
and then go back and find the sweet spot. That’s
maybe one of the key lessons of this: Bruce says
that if he gets a mix to the point where moving
something half a dB is too much, he knows it’s
done. I feel like there’s another side of that on arrangements. If the music seems to be losing energy, go back.” Q
Barbara Schultz is the managing editor of Electronic
Musician magazine and the senior editor of Mix
magazine.
Kaphan drew up this
setup for the band’s
Bronte Pin tracking
sessions in Fantasy
Studios
Guitarist Dave Immerglück in Kaphan’s studio
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BANDLAB TECHNOLOGIES
PROPELLERHEAD
MAGIX
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ihukshi
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DAW software
$99
Loop-based DAW for Windows
$149 (or $7.99/month)
HIGHLIGHTS 16 tracks of audio and
HIGHLIGHTS Redesigned GUI • 24bit, 192 multitrack recording • 64-bit
architecture • new audio and MIDI
editing features • 9 GB of Acidized
loops • DN-e1 virtual analog synth •
Vita 2 sample player with 11 instruments • Vintage Efects suite • Acid
Pro 365 for $7.99/month includes
everything here, plus free updates •
upcoming VST3 support available in
free update for all users
Multitimbral sample and
soundbank player
Free
Sonar Windows-based DAW
Free
HIGHLIGHTS Redesigned GUI is
HIGHLIGHTS A free download for
scalable to screen size • workflow
enhancements include new Favorites tagging option for presets
and patches • works as standalone
instrument or as a plug-in • 40 integrated efects • customizable arpeggiator • Falcon 1.5 update ($349;
free to registered Falcon users) is
also available and includes new frequency shifter, event modules, FMenhanced wavetable oscillator, and
100 additional presets
BandLab users, this is a streamlined
version of Sonar Platinum (without
some of the 3rd party products and
content) • includes 64-bit mix engine,
Skylight user interface and ProChannel modules • unlimited audio, MIDI,
loop and aux tracks • touch-device
support • installation of Cakewalk
for BandLab does not afect previous
Sonar installations • download using
BandLab for Windows client
MIDI recording • 10 instruments
(including Europa Shapeshifting
Synthesizer, Thor Polysonic Synthesizer, Subtractor Synthesizer, NN-XT
sampler, Kong Drum Designer) • 11
efects (RV7000 mkII reverb, Scream
4 Distortion, Softube Guitar Amp
and Bass Amp, and others) • analogmodeled mixer with bus compressor •
support for Rack Extensions and VST
plug-ins • $299 upgrade price into the
full-featured version of Reason
TARGET MARKET Musicians, compos-
TARGET MARKET Producers, DJs, mu-
ers, producers
sicians, students
ANALYSIS Sonar, one of the premiere
DAWs for Windows, is back. And
it’s free!
ANALYSIS A low-cost, yet surprisingly well-featured, entry into the
Reason ecosystem.
cakewalk.bandlab.com
propellerheads.se
TARGET MARKET Musicians, sound
cians, DJs
designers, producers
ANALYSIS This powerful (and free)
software instrument just got a whole
lot better.
uvi.net
All prices are MSRP except as noted
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TARGET MARKET Producers, musi-
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
ANALYSIS The first major update in a
decade, version 8 includes a wealth
of instruments, efects, and loops.
magix.net
6
5
8
7
5
6
7
8
DAVE SMITH
INSTRUMENTS
I K M U LT I M E D I A
DREADBOX
ROLAND
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Mono analog synthesizer
$199
Analog paraphonic
synthesizer
$190-$240
Eurorack module
$399
Keyboard synthesizer
$3,999
keyboard • 8 stereo voices (16 mono
voices) that combine samples and
synthesis • bi-timbral, with two
16-bit/48kHz sample-based engines
• 2 high-resolution digital oscillators with waveshape modulation •
analog filters • polyphonic step sequencer • 4 LFOs • dual DSP efects
including reverb, chorus, standard
and BBD delays, rotating speaker
• 150 GB of sample content from
8Dio • 50 GB storage for importing
samples • USB connectivity
HIGHLIGHTS Designed with Soundmachines and Erik Norlander • 27note touch-pad keyboard • two
VCOs (saw/triangle/pulse on each)
• 2-pole, resonant multimode filter • VCA • noise generator • LFO
with 7 waveforms modulates pitch,
filter, amp, and VCO waves • 100
presets (80 rewriteable) • 10 arpeggio modes with 4-octave range •
100-pattern step-sequencer • 13
scales available for keyboard • onboard efects • line-in mixer • USB
• MIDI I/O on minijacks • runs on
battery or USB power
TARGET MARKET Keyboardists, sound
TARGET MARKET Musicians, DJs,
designers
producers
ANALYSIS A unique interface to con-
ANALYSIS An Italian-made instru-
trol a thoroughly unique sounding
hybrid synth.
HIGHLIGHTS 5-octave, semi-weighted
HIGHLIGHTS Build it in 42HP Euro-
rack format ($190) or as a desktop
module ($240; includes power-bus
board and power supply) • 2 VCOs
(osc 1 saw; osc 2 pulse) • 2-pole lowpass filter • voltage-controlled LFO
• voltage-controlled echo • 3-stage
envelope generator • onboard
MIDI-to-CV • controls for filter
cutof and resonance, delay time,
and tuning • 16 patch points with
CV/gate I/O
HIGHLIGHTS Made in collaboration
with Malekko in Portland, OR, the
Sys-510 is a synth voice in one module • VCO with three waveforms •
lowpass filter with dual-highpass
switch • external inputs • VCA with
several outputs • normalled connections • other new 500-series modules include the Sys-555 Lag/S&H
with ring mod, pink and white noise,
lowpass filter, envelope and VCA;
Sys-505 multimode filter with bandpass filter with VCAs; and Sys-531
mixer
TARGET MARKET Musicians and
sound designers who build their
own gear
TARGET MARKET Musicians, sound
ANALYSIS Welcome set of modules
for any Eurorack user.
ment with fully analog signal path.
ANALYSIS A relatively low-cost way
to get a surprisingly powerful analog
synth voice.
ikmultimedia.com
dreadbox-fx.com
designers
roland.com
davesmithinstruments.com
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BY MICHAEL ROSS
I f you have seen Finding Dory, Bridge of Spies, The Help, The Adjustment Bureau,
Revolutionary Road, The Salton Sea, The Legend of the Mummy (1998 version) or
any of a dozen other movies, you have heard the work of guitarist Rick Cox. Though
his guitar might be prominently featured you might not recognize it as such because, more often than not, Cox employs the instrument solely as a sound generator, to be sliced, diced, and reverbed beyond all recognition.
Early on, Cox had the sole composer credit on
a few films, including Corrina, Corrina, starring
Whoopie Goldberg, but soon realized he hated
dealing with contracts and deadlines. Since then,
he has largely added his distinctive textures to
soundtracks created by others, including the highly
successful Thomas Newman.
“These days, we work at Thomas’ home studio,
in a house next to the one where he lives,” Cox
explains. “He has a studio room with a big monitor and all the gear he needs to compose. Down a
flight of stairs, there is a ‘live’ room where I have
a rig set up.”
This rig includes a laptop with an Arturia Audio
Fuse interface, an Electro-Harmonix Superego, a
Red Panda Particle pedal, and a volume pedal. “I
am also into slow-attack pedals,” he says “I use a
really cheap Mooer version with one dial, the Slow
Engine. It is the best one I found so far.”
Often, Cox will hold a chord with the Superego
and then process it with plug-ins. Crucial to controlling his sounds is the inexpensive Korg Nanokontrol. He uses the eight sliders to regulate the
first eight audio or MIDI tracks, two of the knobs
for two more tracks and the remaining six for effects returns. “It’s really fast,” he says. “You don’t
hear the original signal; I have efects that I bring
in and out with the knobs. That’s where the playing comes in, more so than strumming the guitar.”
These efects are largely plug-ins such as the Zynaptiq reverbs Adaptiverb
and Wormhole (“I hesitate to even call Adaptiverb a reverb because it
colors the sound so much
it is almost like an instrument”); and granular effects such as New Sonic
Fig. 1. Sugar Bytes
Turnado can run eight
effects at a time.
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Arts’ Granite and SampleSumo’s SaltyGrain. Another current fave plug-in is Sugar Bytes Turnado,
in which eight diferent efects can be run simultaneously (see Fig. 1).
“Sometimes, I will record guitar chords using
my voicings, convert them to MIDI using either
Ableton or Melodyne, then play them with a keyboard,” Cox says. He eschews sample libraries in
favor of making his own samples. “I will use Ableton as a scratch pad to record dozens of unrelated
ideas, then go to one of these Ableton sessions and
open the file of recorded samples and audition
them. For each movie we discuss the ‘sound palette’ for that particular film.
“I worked with Ry Cooder in the late ’90s. He
had a completely diferent approach from Thom,”
Cox recalls. “Ry would stripe an entire 2” reel of tape
and improvise to the film. What made it easier was
that director Walter Hill was there the whole time.
That eliminated the issue of a composer writing
something and the director not liking it. We would
be at Ocean Way studios six days a week for three
months. I played a lot of ‘sponge’ guitar, where you
finger standard chords but instead of using a pick,
you rub the strings with a really fine-grained sponge,
or foam. It produces a beautiful wash, especially if
you run it through some reverb and delay.”
Cox’s latest project with Newman’s is a new
series for Hulu called Castle Rock based on Stephen King stories. “Thomas is composing music
for the main title and a
couple of episodes,” he
says. “I have started going through old samples.
I am just trying to put
evocative sounds together. As a composer
and performer of experimental music, I never
expected to make any
money from it.” Q
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BY MARKKUS ROVITO
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Electronic music production and DJing go
hand in hand. DJs rarely ascend beyond a
certain level without producing their own
tracks, and electronic producers who don’t
DJ, frankly, may be leaving money on the
table from gigs that they otherwise would
get. It behooves many of us to do both.
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Reloop Mixtour
Reloop Mixon4
Trends in digital DJ gear have been reflecting
this parallel to music production. For example,
the major software programs tend to coalesce
into their own ecosystem with exclusive hardware dedicated to the specific software functions,
as is the case with Native Instruments Traktor
Pro software’s 4-track Remix and Stems Decks.
Algoriddim Djay sits on the opposite end of that
spectrum with very little exclusive hardware and
an interoperability ethos of natively supporting as
many hardware controllers as possible.
Electronic musicians have fully re-embraced
analog synthesizers and other hardware units, but
also have unprecedented ability to interconnect
them and integrate them into DAW software. In
a similar manner, DJs who returned to (or never
left) vinyl records have more options for hybrid
mixers that blend software control with traditional DJ gear.
And the improving price/performance ratio of
hardware electronics over time, has treated the DJ
world to more hardware that can operate either as
standalone gear or connected to a computer, in the
same way that the Akai MPC X that we reviewed in
the last issue operates as a standalone workstation
or as a controller for the desktop MPC 2 software.
This round-up focuses on all those trends with
a selective, rather than comprehensive, collection
of the most recent and noteworthy DJ controllers.
The first groupings showcase controllers designed
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Reloop Beatpad 2
Reloop Touch
for specific software at a variety of price points, followed by the hybrid controllers that also double as
mixers, turntables, or standalone players. All of the
controllers include audio interfaces unless otherwise noted, and all the prices are street prices.
Keep in mind that while many of these pieces
have been designed for specific software with
which they will wield the most immediate and
complete results, these are all MIDI controllers
that are mappable for any MIDI software. Some
kind DJs may have already posted mappings to
Internet forums to match the hardware to your
preferred software.
ALGORIDDIM DJAY
Popular for its low price ($49.99; Mac/Win), userfriendly interface, and pro-level features, Algoriddim Djay Pro, is also the only DJ software at the
moment that integrates with Spotify for mixing
tracks streaming over the Internet. You can get a
version of it for Android or iOS (supporting the
iPad, iPhone, and even the Apple Watch). Algoriddim has baked in native support in Djay Pro for
100 DJ controllers and counting, but there’s not
a ton of software built expressly for the program
besides few models from Reloop.
The German manufacturer Reloop generally
makes excellent DJ hardware that still flies a bit
under the radar in the States. Its Djay Pro-focused
models all work with Mac/Win/iOS/Android
(Algoriddim software sold separately) and begin
with the Mixtour ($199), a slim-format, highly
portable 2-deck controller for Djay Pro. It may be
the most highly functional and best designed DJ
controller in its size that still includes a USB audio
interface. Mode and Shift buttons help maximize
the available controls. You have hands-on browsing, EQ, filter, cue point, looping, and channel control over both decks, as well as Master and Headphone outputs.
Reloop’s larger units for Djay Pro both have
4-deck functionality: the Beatpad 2 ($599) and
the flagship Mixon4 ($799), which was jointly
designed for and includes Serato DJ Pro software.
The Beatpad 2’s 2-channel-strip mixer uses mode
buttons to control four channels, while the larger
Mixon4 has four distinct channel strips, as well as
more robust efects sections and dedicated control
buttons. The Mixon4 also has its 16 performance
pads below, rather than above, the jog wheels,
which many DJs prefer.
(Reloop also provides mappings to Traktor and
VirtualDJ software for the above three controllers.)
ATOMIX VIRTUALDJ 8 PRO
Reloop also makes the most remarkable controller dedicated to VirtualDJ, Touch ($799), which
includes a full version of VirtualDJ 8 Pro software.
Touch stands out for its built-in, 7" multitouch
screen, which displays the software’s interface
Detail
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Traktor
Kontrol D2
Traktor Kontrol S8
Traktor Kontrol S5
Pioneer DDJ-1000
Pioneer DDJ-XP1
Pioneer DDJ-RZX
almost comprehensively, so you don’t have to
depend much at all on the connected computer.
Touch also supports full-screen video mixing and
has a 4-fader efect unit on each side. Its performance pads give you eight loop, cue, slice, and other modes, with the option to split them into two
modes on four pads each.
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR
Although you can get Traktor maps for other OEMs’
controllers, only Native Instruments makes Traktordedicated hardware. And while NI makes some other stripped-down and more traditional controllers,
its most exciting options remove the jog wheels in
favor of touch strips, use color displays that update
their views according to what you’re doing, and have
dedicated controls for Traktor’s Remix Decks and
Stem Decks, which are for the Stem file format that
splits a full mix into four component tracks.
Starting with the big daddy, the Traktor Kontrol S8 ($1,199) has a full 4-channel mixer, as well
as four Volume faders on each side for Remix and
Stem Decks. Its interface accepts four stereo line
or phone inputs for mixing and has four stereo
outputs, including Booth out and both XLR and
RCA Main outs.
With the Traktor Kontrol S5 ($799), you have
a very capable option that’s more portable and fits
into tighter spaces, but still has the color displays,
four stereo outputs, and 4-channel mixer. It loses
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the dedicated faders, knobs, and buttons for Remix/Stem Decks on each side from the S8.
To supplement other gear that takes care of the
channel mixing and audio interface, the Traktor
Kontrol D2 ($399) essentially represents a single
deck sliced of of the Kontrol S8. It has the full
Remix/Stem Deck control system, performance
pads, transport controls, color display, and effects section. A single D2 can control two software
decks and has an extra 2-port USB hub for chaining other devices.
PIONEER REKORDBOX DJ
Along the same lines as Native Instruments, the
dedicated controllers for Pioneer Rekordbox DJ
come from Pioneer itself. Again, it’s not such as
bad thing to have the overall global leader in DJ
hardware designing for its own software, and using some of these controllers can help familiarize
you with Pioneer’s interface scheme used on its
club-standard CDJ players and DJM mixers.
For DJs using turntables, CDJs or other devices, the beautiful Pioneer DDJ-XP1 ($249) add-on
controller supplies a world of looping, efects, and
performance pad options for up to four decks of
Rekordbox DJ software. (It has no audio interface.) A whopping 32 performance pads give you
all the usual options, as well as some rare abilities.
For instance, their Keyboard mode triggers a Hot
Cue or other sound in semitones, like playing a
synth or sampler. A pad editor also lets you customize pad arrangement and assign pads to certain modes and features.
Pioneer makes many low- and mid-priced allin-one controller options for Rekordbox DJ, but
jumping to the DDJ-1000 ($1,199) lands us at the
latest option for taking advantage of the software’s
most advanced new features, such as the Related
Tracks option that suggests mixable songs. The
DDJ-1000’s full-size mixer includes a Sampler
section and 14 tempo-synced Beat FX. It also integrates color displays in the middle of its full-size,
CDJ-style jog wheels.
For video DJs with tons of space for an uncompromising surface, the DDJ-RZX ($2,999) integrates three 7" touch displays, as well as everything
you need to mix audio and video on the hardware.
It has touchscreen control over both audio and
video efects. It includes the full Rekordbox Video
software, which is an upgrade from Rekordbox DJ,
as well as USB camera support for the video decks.
SERATO DJ
While you can use Serato DJ with any MIDI device, certain important functions are only accessible from Serato-certified controllers. Luckily
there is a large and varied selection of those.
Fortunately, Pioneer has not abandoned Serato
software, because it recently updated one of the
best-selling and greatest options for afordable Se-
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rato control to the DDJ-SB3 ($249), which includes
the somewhat limited Serato DJ Lite software that is
upgradable to Serato DJ Pro for $99. The DDJ-SB3
fixes the layout problems of its predecessor by improving the transport controls and providing eight
performance pads per deck, up from four. Those
pads also have two cool new modes: Pad Scratch for
beginner-friendly scratching and Fade FX, which
lower volume while applying efects for transitions.
Another afordable product, the Roland DJ-202
($299), is the best low-cost option for getting Serato
DJ Pro software, which adds mix recording, more
cue points (8) and sample slots (32), more efects,
and additional performance modes. Besides being a
great option for a compact and portable 4-deck Serato controller, the DJ-202 streamlines the most distinguishing characteristics of the larger DJ-505 ($699)
and DJ-808 (see below): an onboard sequencer, four
TR drum kits, and vocal FX on the mic input. You
can use the DJ-202’s performance pads to sequence
either the Serato sampler’s sounds or to make beats
with the included 909, 808, 707, and 606 drum kits.
Mid-priced Serato controllers abound, but Numark has two distinct 4-deck options with Serato
DJ Pro that stretch the price/performance ratio
admirably. The NS6II ($799) includes two USB
ports for simultaneous use, dual Mic and Line/
Phono stereo inputs, Booth and XLR/RCA outputs, hi-res jog wheel displays, and capacitive
touch knobs for instant efects and EQ band-kills.
The Numark NVII ($699) ofers the lowestprice entry for a dual-display Serato controller,
providing advanced browsing, track view, and other view modes from the color screens. It also has
touch-activated functions like the filter knobs and
jog wheels. It has nine performance pad modes,
Booth output, and XLR/RCA Main outs.
Roland DJ-808
Denon DJ MCX8000
Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS2
Denon DJ
SC5000 Prime
Pioneer XDJ-RX2
Traktor Kontrol Z2
Pioneer DJM-S9
When looking at high-end Serato DJ Pro options, the large-format Roland DJ-808 ($1,299)
fully realizes the drum machine and Voice Transformer (VT) efects features mentioned with the
DJ-202, along with being a full-featured, 4-channel controller. It has a complete TR-S drum machine module at the top of the unit and 16 stepsequencing buttons with Accent control, buttons
for easily selecting the Serato Sampler or TR909/808/707/606 drum sound to sequence, drum
tone controls (Trim, Attack, Tune, Decay), and
level faders, among other features. The VT section
has dedicated controls for Pitch, Formant, Reverb,
and more for the mic input, including a handy
Duck switch for lowering the music while speaking. The 8-in/8-out audio interface also includes
two USB audio inputs for other Roland Aira gear
and 5-pin MIDI Out.
Not only is the Denon DJ MCX8000 ($1,299) a
do-everything, 4-deck Serato DJ Pro controller, but
it also has internal Denon Engine software for operating as a standalone unit for playing music of of
two USB storage ports or from the four stereo line
or phone inputs. The Engine track database also
will import your Serato DJ cue points, so you can
perform with your tracks the same whether you’re
hooked up to Serato on a computer or using the
MCX8000 as a standalone machine.
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STANDALONE PLAYERS/
SOFTWARE CONTROLLERS
Like the MCX8000 above, there are more and more
DJ players that will work either on their own or as
a software controller. The apex of the DJ hardware
world, the club and festival standard Pioneer CDJ2000NXS2 ($2,199) CD and media player, exemplifies
this trend perfectly. This latest model of the legendary
CDJ has a 7" color touchscreen with QWERTY keyboard, a high-res USB audio interface, hot-cue keys,
and both a USB drive port and an SD memory card
slot. The CDJ-2000NXS2 also works with Rekordbox, Serato, and Algoriddim Djay software.
For the first time in a long while, the vaunted CDJ
has some honest competition in the marketplace
now that the Denon DJ SC5000 Prime ($1,899)
media player ofers some extra features above and
beyond the latest CDJ at a lower price. For example, the SC5000 Prime has eight multimode performance pads along the bottom, a multi-touch 7"
screen, as well as an HD display for track info or art
in the center of the jog wheel, three USB flash drive
ports along with an SD card slot. The SC5000 Prime
also integrates with Rekordbox and Serato software.
In a category pretty much of its own, the Pioneer
XDJ-RX2 ($1,699) standalone digital DJ system
feels like a hybrid between a DJ software controller with multimode performance pads and a club-
style set of Pioneer CDJs with a mixer. You can use
it completely on its own with USB flash drives and
the 7" touchscreen. It has onboard Beat FX and
Sound Color FX, as well as three stereo RCA inputs
and three stereo outputs (Booth and XLR/RCA
Main). It also integrates perfectly with the included
Rekordbox DJ software connected to a computer.
MIXER CONTROLLERS
Most relevant to DJs using DVS—turntables with
control vinyl to manipulate software decks—a class
of controller mixers combines software control
with high-end DJ mixers. The Native Instruments
Traktor Kontrol Z2 ($599), for example, includes
Traktor Scratch Pro 2 and timecode vinyl and CDs.
It comprises a 2-channel standalone mixer with
two extra channels for Traktor’s Remix Decks. It
integrates just as well with turntables or media
players connected to its audio inputs as it does with
add-on controllers like the aforementioned Kontrol
D2 connected to one of the Z2’s two USB hub ports.
The remainder of these mixer controllers work
with Serato DJ Pro and Serato DJ DVS. The Pioneer DJM-S9 ($1,699) is designed to be a 2-channel battle mixer for scratch DJs, so it keeps the areas surrounding the high-end Magvel Pro adjustable crossfader clean and puts the software controls above the faders. These include performance
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pads with eight modes, FX selectors, and Style
Levers for quickly triggering or locking on efects.
Mixars Quattro ($1,499) is the only 4-channel
mixer controller of this bunch, and it provides software control for all four decks, as well. That includes
transport controls, track browsing and loading, looping, and cue point and sampler triggering. The Quattro
also has two onboard efects modules: a 14-program
beat synced efects units with display, and four filter/
tone efects selectable for the channel Filter knobs.
The 2-channel Rane Seventy-Two ($1,899)
raises the bar for mixer controllers with its color
4.3" touchscreen display that shows vertically scrolling track waveforms with their cue points. Laid out
like a scratch mixer with a clean fader section, the
Seventy-Two still has tons of Serato control, including 16 total performance pads with 10 modes, efects
control, and an efects section with level and filter
knobs. The mixer has two USB ports for computer
connections, as well as two USB ports meant for the
companion Rane Twelve turntable controllers.
TURNTABLE CONTROLLERS
For DJs who love the vinyl turntable feel, without
the feel of a tweaked lower back from hauling full
record crates, the Rane Twelve ($799) delivers a
powerful motorized platter with adjustable torque
and a real 12" vinyl that spins at 33.3 or 45 rpm and
has a Motor Of switch for traditional wind-down
efects. The extremely precise platter controls Serato tracks with 3,600 ticks of resolution, and you
can switch it to control all four Serato decks. It
also has a touch strip for track searching, as well
as triggering cue points. Since it was made to work
in conjunction with a mixer, it does not pass audio.
The Reloop RP-8000 ($699) is a fully functional professional DJ turntable with a variabletorque, quartz-driven, direct-drive motor. It also
happens to have a complement of MIDI controls
and is Serato certified, although it does not include Serato software. The Trax encoder scrolls
through playlists and loads tracks from Serato’s
library, while the column of eight drum pads control Cue, Loop, Sample, and Slicer modes or two
of those modes at once split into four pads each.
The RP-8000 is available with an S-shaped
tone-arm or a straight tone-arm, and you can daisy
chain up to four of them together into a single USB
computer port. Q
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BY BARBARA SCHULTZ | PHOTOS BY JAY GILBERT
Roger Joseph Manning Jr. has toured with his
own bands—including Jellyfish, Imperial Drag
and the synth-geek favorite the Moog Cookbook—but for now he says he’s happy to be
playing with Beck. For one thing, legs of
Beck’s tour are relatively short, so Manning
is able to spend more frequent time at home
recording, which is his first musical love.
Another plus: Beck appreciates the sounds
that Manning brings. “I’ve got a Jupiter-8
and Prophet-10 out with me,” Manning says. “I
warned him from the beginning, ‘These
sound fantastic, but they’re old and I don’t
have a backup if we run into any trouble on
the road.’ He thought about it for a minute
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and said, ‘Well, I can hear the diference. I
want my audience to hear the diference. So
let’s bring ’em.’ I thought, Okay. I’m with the
right employer.”
Before heading back out on tour, Manning
updated us on his stage gear as well as his latest EP, Glamping, a quartet of original songs that
bridge many of the ’60s and ’70s vocal harmonies and keyboard sounds that Manning favors.
h™ŒG –œGŒ•‘– •ŽG›šG‰™Œˆ’G™–”G›–œ™•Žf
Yes, I prefer to be in town recording. I love the
construction aspect. But Beck is such family, and I’m
such a fan, and he tours so smartly that I gladly create
the time for it.
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Fig. 1. Here, Roger is flanked by his dual-manual Cordovox and
his Hohner Clavinet C5 sitting atop a Fender Rhodes SeventyThree.
Fig. 2. Roger with his rare, clear Gleeman Pentaphonic
synthesizer. His prized Baldwin Discoverer is behind him sitting
atop the dual-manual Vox Continental Baroque organ.
iˆ“‹ž•GkšŠ–Œ™Œ™
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~ˆ›GŒ“šŒGˆ™ŒG –œGŠˆ™™ •ŽGž›G –œf
Interestingly enough, we’re in the process of redesigning the keyboard rig, but for the past four years,
promoting the last record, Morning Phase, and the
new album, Colors, it consisted of an incredible marriage of old and new. I’ve got a Yamaha upright acoustic piano, a Clavinet D6 right next to my Nord Stage
88, which I use both as a controller and to get some
good Wurly and electric piano and synth sounds. And
then I’ve got the Jupiter-8 and Prophet-10.
~ˆ›˅šG –œ™G—ˆ•–G•G –œ™Gš›œ‹–f
I don’t actually own an acoustic piano. I’ve got
every sample library everybody else has: the Ivory
piano libraries and Nord, and Cinesamples has
some nice upright pianos. Keyscape had just came
out when I was making this EP, and I love that.
But there is an acoustic piano on this record.
The piano for “I’m Not Your Cowboy” is the baby
grand at my parents’ house in northern California.
My brother Chris Manning is a talented engineer,
and he captured the acoustic piano and vocals on
two of the Glamping songs.
In the past several years, I just haven’t been in a
home that has space for an acoustic piano. It would
be nice to have a big, broad Elton John grand piano
sound, but that requires quality miking through a
quality board in a quality room, and I’m making
a solo record out of my back pocket. Fortunately,
technology is such that I have options.
~ˆ›˅šG›ŒG™Œˆš–•G–™GˆG•ŒžG™ŽG‹ŒšŽ•f
Beck is working on a new visual concept for his
stage show, and he wants to minimize the clutter
of gear. We’re still figuring out what that’s going
to look like. I’m working with [computer tech]
Ian Longwall, who oversees our Ableton software samples. We have several people, including
me, triggering samples and Ian masterminds that.
We’re still figuring it out, but I think we’ll be sampling a lot of my custom sounds, which might be
time-consuming, but it will sound good and the
tech crew won’t be shaking their fists at me for
having to haul that Yamaha into every venue.”
{Œ““G œšG ˆ‰–œ›G ‹ŒŒ“–—•ŽG ›ŒG ”ˆ›Œ™ˆ“G –™G
n“ˆ”—•ŽUG
The evolution of those songs is similar to my previous two solo records (Land of Pure Imagination and
Catnip Dynamite) 10 years ago. After Jellyfish and
Imperial Drag broke up, I was sitting on pounds of
unfinished material that I was hoping to finish with
my collaborators some day, but that didn’t happen.
Even as I continued to freelance and go about my
business, these songs just wouldn’t leave me alone.
I couldn’t stand not to finish them and share them.
So, I just started working on them in Pro Tools. It
was a labor of love and I took my time. For example, I
could hear a bass part the way I wanted it in my head,
but that didn’t mean I could pick up a bass and play
it. So, I would sit patiently and try, even though I’m
not trained as a bass player. And with the help of the
computer, I would nudge the audio around till I got to
what the bass part should sound like. Something that
might take a properly trained bass player 20 minutes
to get to might take me three days to arrive at the same
destination, but I just sculpted everything that way,
making adjustments until it had the right groove.
The songs on the EP are newer but like the
other solo records, there may be a verse that I
wrote in college, or a snippet of a melody from
three years ago, and I fleshed it out. All that said,
music is something I just get up in the morning
and create, but lyrics are more work. So this time
around, I reached out to a friend, Chris Price, and
he helped me write three of the songs.
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That song is built on top of an eighth-note
Wurlitzer electric piano pattern. All of the electric
piano coming from the left is my vintage Wurlitzer
200a. The Electric piano that’s right-heavy is from
Keyscape; that’s one of their electric pianos that
I mutated because I wanted to have a super-rich,
chorusy vintage-sounding, Wurlitzer electric-piano sound. So you’ve got old meets new there.
p›Gž–œ“‹G‰ŒG•ŠŒG›–GˆŒG
ˆG‰ŽSG‰™–ˆ‹Gl“›–•Gq–•G
Ž™ˆ•‹G—ˆ•–Gš–œ•‹SG
‰œ›G›ˆ›G™Œ˜œ™ŒšG˜œˆ“› G
”’•ŽG›™–œŽGˆG˜œˆ“› G
‰–ˆ™‹G•GˆG˜œˆ“› G™––”SG
ˆ•‹Gp˅”G”ˆ’•ŽGˆGš–“–G
™ŒŠ–™‹G–œ›G–G” G‰ˆŠ’G
—–Š’Œ›UGm–™›œ•ˆ›Œ“ SG
›ŒŠ•–“–Ž GšGšœŠG›ˆ›GpG
ˆŒG–—›–•šUG
I just jumped in and started programming drums,
creating a skeleton for the songs. I’ve found that
once I complete the drum architecture, I have a
tone that the rest of the song can evolve from. It
starts to dictate what the guitar sound should be,
what the keyboard sound should be.
Then, if the song is keyboard-driven, there will
v•ŠŒG –œG ˆ‹G ›ŒG ”ˆ›Œ™ˆ“G ›–ŽŒ›Œ™SG žˆ›G be a piano bed or a synth bed next, or it might be a
—ˆ™›šG‹‹G –œG“ˆ G‹–ž•G͌™š›f
guitar part—just trying to get a rhythm bed together.
h›Gžˆ›G—–•›G‹‹G –œGš›ˆ™›Gˆ‹‹•ŽG–Šˆ“šf
I put a scratch vocal on almost immediately because I’ve learned that I have to arrange around
the lead vocal. Everything else is going to be subservient to that. In the past, I sometimes got so
excited about all these wonderful parts, I realized
by the time I put the lead vocal on, there were too
many things distracting from it. Now I make sure
the bass part, a drum fill—everything is paying attention to the lead vocal and helping to build dynamics against what the lead vocal is doing.
And then I go decorating-crazy and at some
point—I’d say when a song is about 50 percent
fleshed out—I’ll put the background vocals on because they’re usually very thick and are going to
demand a lot of space in the arrangement. I don’t
have a system, but I do try to make sure everything
serves the lead vocal out of the gate.
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š–œ•‹šGˆ•‹Gˆ™™ˆ•ŽŒ”Œ•›šfG
I really enjoy the art of background vocal arranging. If you listen to the kind of pop arrangements
they had with Jef Lynne and ELO or The Carpenters or Fleetwood Mac or Queen, it all evolved from
the folk trends from the early ’60s. I grew up really
appreciating that and trying to develop that skill,
and I continue to do that because I love it so much.
J ULY
201 8
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Every song on this EP provided a diferent vocal jigsaw puzzle both in terms of how you voice
the chords and write them out compositionally,
and how you record them sonically: how many
people you put on each note and how you multitrack it. Some things I really wanted the sound to
be thick and juicy, and other times I wanted things
more intimate, with fewer voices, and each poses
its own challenges.
o–žG‹‹G –œG™ŒŠ–™‹G–Šˆ“G—ˆ™›šf
For the most part, all the singing was into my Audio-Technica 4050 microphone, into an Avalon mic
pre, into Pro Tools. I have no real training as an en-
gineer, though, so I work with a great mixer named
John Paterno. If we got into complex chorusing or
delays on vocals, I let John take care of that. Frankly,
when I’m constructing a keyboard sound or a vocal
arrangement, if I go down the engineering rabbit
hole, the idea can get lost very quickly. Musically, I’ve
got to be impulsive with my idea or I might lose it.
By his own admission, he was very much a one-man
show at that point. He had a hit song [“Hello It’s
Me”] and enough money to buy some gear, and he
shoved everything into his apartment and he didn’t
have any rules, just songs that he loved.
When I listen to those recordings, I completely
get lost in the environment that he created, not
just of the tunes but of him saying, “This is me,
j–•š‹Œ™•ŽG –œG‹–•˅›GˆŒG‹ŒŒ—GŒ•Ž•ŒŒ™•ŽG just raw, stumbling around the equipment.” Soniš’““šSG›G›ˆ’ŒšGŠ–œ™ˆŽŒG›–Gž–™’Gˆ“–•ŒGˆšG”œŠG cally his songs were breaking every recording rule
ˆšG –œG‹–SG•Š•ŽG›–žˆ™‹GŒˆŠGš–œ•‹U
in the book. Stuf is distorting. Parts are panned all
There’s an era of Todd Rundgren solo albums crazy; there’s so much nuttiness going on, but it
that absolutely inspires me to do what I do: that pe- ends up enhancing his songs because it adds that
riod when he made A Wizard, a True Star and Todd. much more charm and character.
m™ˆ•’“ SGžŒ•GpN”G
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š–œ•‹G–™GˆG–Šˆ“G
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Šˆ•GŽŒ›G“–š›GŒ™ G
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To choose one, obviously, is challenging, but
it pretty much always come back to the Clavinet
for me. It’s such a joy to play because it’s highly
percussive, and I grew up playing drums so I enjoy that. It allows me to be much more rock and
heavy if I choose. You can put a Clavinet through a
Marshall stack and guitar amps and pedals. That’s
what I did in Imperial Drag; I had my Clavinet and
Wurlitzer going through guitar amps and pedals,
and I was basically the second guitar player.
The Clavinet has what is basically a giant guitar
pick-up underneath it, so if you put some delay on
it—particularly an analog delay—you can bend the
delay time, I’ve gotten some crazy almost pedal
steel-like sounds out of it. It’s a highly expressive
instrument that many people only know from Stevie Wonder on “Superstition.” I’ve really enjoyed
presenting what it can do to an audience. So if I
had to be on a desert island with a piece of gear, I
guess that would probably be it, even though I’ve
got a lot of cool synthesizers. Q
Ready to perform.
Anywhere. Any time.
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BY JERRY KOVARSKY
N o doubt you are surprised to see me covering the Grateful Dead in an instructional column on synth soloing. But here we are, and it’s a rare, but very tasty little
solo we are covering this month.
EXPANDING THE DEAD’S SONIC PALETTE
The Grateful Dead’s fourth keyboardist, Brent Mydland brought a lot of sonic diversity to the group
during his tenure from 1979 to 1990. Of course,
he covered acoustic piano (mostly Yamaha CP-70,
actually), Rhodes, and some ferocious B3 playing,
but he started to diversify and used a Minimoog, a
Prophet 5 (and later a 10), a Yamaha GS-1, and then
went whole-hog-in using a Kurzweil MIDIBoard
to control an ever-expanding arsenal of MIDI modules, including a Roland MKS-20. However, he really is only known to have taken one true synth solo,
##
& #
and that was on the tune “Alabama Getaway” from
the Go to Heaven album, released in 1980.
TASTY MOOG TREAT
“Alabama Getaway” is a basic I-IV-V rocker, written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter in the style
of Chuck Berry. Mydland’s solo is very simple and
melodic, and sounds akin to what a pedal-steel guitarist might play. He mostly uses the A major blues
scale, which is like the A major pentatonic scale
with the added minor third—the C natural (see Ex.
1). The full solo of 16 bars is shown in Ex. 2. Pay par-
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Ex. 1. The A major blues scale, which consists of the root, second, minor third, major third,
fifth, and sixth scale tones. You can also think of it as the major pentatonic scale with an
added minor third.
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Ex. 2. Brent Mydland’s only synth solo with the Grateful Dead, as captured on the studio recording
of “Alabama Getaway” in 1980. Note the tasteful pitch bending, which seems to emulate a pedal
steel guitar approach.
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Ex. 3. Two approaches to playing the opening phrase of the solo. The first uses the technique of
pre-bending a note down, which allows for a smoother release of the wheel post-bend. The second
uses an easier bend approach, but it can be difficult to release the wheel quickly before the last note.
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Ex. 4. Here’s another example showing the pre-bent note technique vs. the more traditional bending
approach. You should strive to master both methods.
ticular attention to the various bends throughout
the solo. Brent utilizes a number of techniques and
speeds of bending, which shows how well he had
assimilated the Minimoog, even though it showed
up rarely in his performances with the band after
1981-82. The bluesy half-step bends from B to C
natural in bars 1 and 9 through 11 are quick, but
listen to the slow whole-step bend he does in bar
4. Very expressive.
His opening line utilizes a cool bend technique
that I’d like to analyze. Looking at my notation you
see that the first note is bent: he plays a G key but
sounds an F♯. Here, I don’t mean for you to play
the G and then bend down to the F♯ audibly. You
need to pre-bend the note, so your wheel/joystick/lever is bent down a half-step before you
play the G. To play this whole solo you should set
your bend range to a whole-step above and below,
so you need to get familiar with what the half-step
feels like (and sounds like).
To hear why this technique is helpful, look at
Example 3 and try both of the bend approaches
shown. In the second approach, where you play
the F♯ and then bend up the half-step into the G,
it is hard to keep the notes legato and then play
the A cleanly, without hearing the “release” of the
bend mechanism. The pre-bend technique of the
first example avoids this.
In Example 4, I show the application of this
technique again later in the solo, which occurs in
bars 12 and 13. Here the pre-bends are a wholestep, which is easier to execute since it is the full
bend range we are using. Be sure to listen to the
recorded solo to hear how smoothly Mydland executes these bends, and the whole solo in general.
LIVE VERSIONS
There are so many live recordings of the band, and
you can hear that Brent often stuck closely to this
solo in concert. Of note is their appearance on Saturday Night Live on April 5, 1980, when they were
first promoting the new record. Mydland plays the
solo exactly like the record. On Dick’s Picks, Vol. 13,
the version performed at Nassau Coliseum, N.Y.,
on March 6, 1981, has a markedly diferent Minimoog sound, with a softer attack. And you can
watch him play the solo on YouTube at a March
28, 1981, concert at the Rockpalast in Germany. Q
J ULY
201 8
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BY JIM ALFREDSON
A s keyboardists, most of us have spent a fair amount of time working toward
gaining independence between our left and right hand. But what about our other
two limbs? Why should drummers have all the fun when we can use our feet, too?
Developing independence between all four
limbs takes dedicated practice, and these simple exercises, utilizing the son clave, will help
you begin the journey.
CLAVE IN THE HAND
Drummers constantly practice limb independence by tapping on whatever is around them.
So for three of these exercises, we’ll focus on the
rhythm of each limb and not worry about notes.
The beauty is that these exercises can be practiced anywhere (while watching TV, in the oice,
sitting in traic, etc.) with or without a metronome (although a metronome will always help).
Start by tapping quarter notes with your
left foot. With your right hand, tap the 3-2 clave
rhythm in Ex. 1. The 3-2 clave rhythm is what is
known as a ‘keystone’
rhythm in Afro-Cuban
music. This means it is
the ‘key’ that locks all
the other rhythms to- Ex. 1
gether in the ensemble,
and it is useful in our
exercises due to its syncopation.
Practice slowly and,
once you feel comfortable try the other foot Ex. 2
and hand: Tap quarter
notes with your right
foot and the 3-2 clave
with your left hand (Ex.
2). Once you are comfortable with that, use
both feet to alternate
Ex. 3
quarter notes.
Next, practice alternating the hands
as you tap out the 3-2
clave while, at the
same time, alternating quarter notes with
the feet. For example, Ex. 4
starting with your left hand, the clave pattern
would be left, right, left, right-left. When you
repeat, you have two options to practice: Beginning the pattern with the left hand again, or
starting the next pattern with the right hand.
CLAVE IN THE FOOT
Because many of us tap quarter notes with our
feet while playing, already, the above exercises
may have been a bit easy. Let’s change it up and
play the 3-2 clave with the feet (Ex. 3). The syncopation of the clave rhythm may trip you up at
first, but that’s okay. Practice slowly and pay attention to where the of beats land.
Once you are comfortable playing the clave
with each foot on its own against quarter notes
in the hands, divide the clave rhythm between
¼ ## N N N N N N ¼ ## N N N N N N ½## N N N
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both feet by playing the first note with your
left foot, the second with your right, the third
with the left, and so on. Once you’re comfortable with that, practice the pattern starting
with your right foot.
CLAVE IN THE BASS
Jazz organist John Patton used a variation of
the clave rhythm for many of his bass lines,
such as in his song “Latona” from the album
Let ’em Roll. The bass line is deceptively simple and never changes key. The diiculty, however, is in improvising over the top.
Begin by practicing the bass line on the pedals until it becomes second nature, using one
foot and then both feet. Next, add the melody
with the right hand (Ex. 4). The left hand can
hold a G minor chord or play the chord in a 3-2
clave rhythm. To gain greater limb independence, play various subdivisions with either
hand over the top. Remember, start slowly and
use a metronome whenever possible. Q
N N N N N N N N N N N N N
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N WWW.NEUMANN.COM
90 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN SOUND
U 67
Return of the Legend
Back in production, reproduced to the original specifations.
This article originally appeared in the October 1977
issue of Contemporary Keyboard magazine.
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O ne of the subjects I’ve received many questions about is modulation, the
process of moving or traveling from one key to another. As in all traveling, getting there should be half the fun.
The simplest modulation is no modulation
at all. Simply finish the tune in the original key
and start the next tune (or the same one over
again) in a diferent key. When you decide to
use a chord progression to move from one key
to another, you should have some thought in
mind as to exactly what you want to accomplish
during the key change. Do you want to maintain
a steady rhythm? Do you want an even number
of measures such as two or four? Would you like
to use free form, playing rubato to show of your
creativity? Are you modulating for a singer or
instrumentalist who needs harmonic and melodic movement that is easy to follow?
Once you have the ability to modulate, don’t
be locked in to any specific set of rules that
will limit your thinking. Let’s start with the
conventional movement of chords around the
circle of fourths, playing a simple 7th chord on
each root—B7 to E7 to A7 to D7 to G7 to C7 to
F7 to B7 to E7 to A7 to D7 to G7 (= F♯7) to B7,
making a complete circle.
If you are arbitrarily changing keys to give a
tune a lift, you can simply change the final major chord to a 7th chord built on the same root,
and this chord will act as a V7 in the key a fourth
higher. (Example: Ending on C major, change to
C7 and move up to F major for the second chorus.) Generally, when changing key, you should
move upward to create a brighter sound. (Note:
One of the reasons I speak of the movement
from dominant to tonic as up a fourth rather
than down a fifth is because left-to-right is
the conventional direction for reading.) It isn’t
necessary to move up a fourth; any movement,
from a half-step on, will please the ear.
When you’re moving between tunes in a
medley, especially when you’re using sheet
music written in the original keys, your movement up or down will be dictated by the order
in which you play the diferent tunes.
A simple rule for moving up a fifth (down a
fourth), such as from the key of C to the key of
G, is to change the final major chord to a minor,
JULY
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then move up to the 7th chord built on the root
a whole-step above and from there into the new
key. Example: Ending on C major, change to C
minor, then to D7 followed by G major. That’s the
chord progression IVm, V7, I in the new key. Practice this modulation around the circle of fourths.
When modulating, you can create simple melody lines using arpeggios, or come up with more
complex lines by creating melodies that relate to
the tune you’re about to play in the new key. This
subject is too involved to go into this month, so
we’ll stick to chord progressions for now.
Another way to modulate up a fifth is to
think of the I6 (C6) in the old key as an inversion of the related Vlm7 (Am7), which would
be IIm7 in the new key. Then use the progression IIm7, V7, I (Am7, D7, G) in the new key.
You can also add a IVm6 to this progression,
making it IIm7, IVm6, V7, I. Ending in C and
modulating to G, the entire progression then
becomes G7, C6 = Am7, Cm6, D7, G. Practice
this in other keys around the circle of fourths.
Another way to get to the V7 (or V9, V11, V13,
Ex. 1
Ex. 2
Ex. 3
BY BILL IRWIN
etc.) of the new key is through the root a halfstep above or below it. For example, if we wanted to use D7 to move into G major, we could play
either E7 or D7 before the D7. The ear will generally accept this kind of chromatic movement.
Here are some of the possibilities for moving up
a whole-step from the key of F to the key of G
(see Ex. 1). Modulating up a major third from the
key of E to the key of G could be done as simply
as this (see Ex. 2).
The D9 chord in the second and third progressions above is heard as a substitution for a
IVm6 in the initial key. Look for more opportunities to substitute the 9th chord whose root is a
fifth below that of an original minor 6th chord.
Moving from the key of B to the key of G offers a number of possibilities that relate to the
material we’ve just covered (the Bm7 and B13
chords in Ex. 3 are substitutions for the original B major chord).
Here’s a tip from Val St. Regis: Play the original ending major chord, then play a diminished chord on the same root and proceed directly to the new V7, which will have as its root
either one of the notes in the diminished chord
or one of the notes a half-step away. It sounds
good, and it’s easy enough to be a handy technique for a beginner. Q
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BY FRANCIS PREVE
A rpeggiators have come a long way since they appeared as accompaniment tools
in vintage analog synths. Nowadays, nearly every DAW includes an arpeggiator,
usually packed with features ranging from customizable patterns to unusual transposition steps to incredibly small note values. Although these advanced features
are useful for crafting melodic rhythms, they are equally loaded with possibilities in
terms of sound design.
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In the next two Sound Design columns, I will
demonstrate the sonic possibilities of arpeggiators, beyond how they are normally used. Let’s
begin by exploring their potential as a source for
new waveforms. Once you’ve created a sound you
like, it can be recorded and imported it into your
favorite sampler for use as a timbral resource.
STEP 1
Most modern arpeggiators include a broad array of pattern
options and the ability to set very
small note values. These two
features are the keys to turning
an arpeggiator into a waveform
generator in conjunction with
extremely fast tempos.
Begin by setting your arpeggiator to its fastest setting; 128th
notes are ideal, but 64th notes
will also work (see Figure 1).
Then, set your master tempo to at least 200 BPM;
400 BPM if you’re using 64th notes.
Fig. 1
help you diferentiate between the timbres that
are created by the arpeggiator, itself, and those
that are the result of the synth or sampler’s settings. Once you get the hang of this process, you
can then investigate the synth parameters more
deeply for wider spectral variety.
STEP 3
With your arpeggiator note value, master tempo,
and sine wave generator in place, play a note. Instead of a rhythmic cascade, you’ll be greeted with
a single pitched tone. Once you’re hearing the tone,
play a chord and the tone will change. Select an alternate pattern and you’ll get a diferent timbre.
If you are looking for consistent results, restrict
your arpeggiator to one octave. If your pattern goes
Fig. 3
Fig. 2
[Y
JULY
20 18
STEP 2
Select an instrument from your DAW’s tool kit.
Although any softsynth or sampler will work well
with this technique, I recommend beginning with
an instrument that can generate a simple sine
wave; Figure 2 shows the standard default preset
in Ableton’s Operator.
Starting with a single-frequency sine wave will
£ G l t | z p j p h u U j v t
beyond that, you’ll have less control over the sound.
Finally, apply a tuner plug-in at the end of your
chain and use the master tempo of your DAW to tune
your newly developed waveform to C (see Figure 3).
That way, when you render or record your results, it
will import cleanly into your sampler of choice.
Once you’ve got a handle on the above techniques, you can explore the numerous interactions
between synthesizer parameters and arpeggio settings. With a bit of experimentation, this approach
can be a treasure trove of unique waveforms that
will set your sounds apart from the pack. Q
Programmable Auto Fill
Faders have
assignable colors
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Motion sequencing
Artists spoke, and Roland listened.
The TR-8S feature-set reads like a
user’s wish list of upgrades (with
quite a few powerful surprises, too).
ROLAND
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H as it really been four years since the TR-8 upended
the dance music scene by reintroducing a generation
to the iconic sound of Roland’s most influential drum
machines? In that time, it’s become impossible to avoid
the 808 kick, 909 snare, and Roland’s classic analog
percussion elements in every dance music genre.
But as with any hit product over time, users
will master the features and then demand more.
But with something as time-honored as the 808
and 909, what does “more” look like? Spoiler alert:
The TR-8S.
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the first TR-8 combined a lightweight
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plastic housing and bold, almost toy-like design, the
BY FRANCIS PREVE
Francis Preve has been
designing synthesizer
presets professionally
since 2000. Check out his
soundware company at
symplesound.com.
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Over 400 instruments.
Import and process
sampled data from SD
card. Real-time processing of individual
drums. Extensive effects. Performanceoriented sequencing.
Assignable audio outs
double as triggers for
voltage-based gear.
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No CR-78 ACB models.
Software editing would
greatly enhance kit
design.
$699
roland.com
[[
JULY
20 18
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
TR-8S’s build quality is substantially more robust,
and nearly every aspect is more refined and customizable. For example, you can assign your own
colors for the fader LEDs on a per-kit basis, which
is useful when performing in dark club settings.
The parameter layout is largely identical to the
first unit, with new features logically placed in context. Upgrading your workflow from the TR-8 is
straightforward, as you can lean on muscle memory
as you explore the wide range of enhancements.
The back panel includes six assignable 1/4"outputs, in addition to the stereo pair. These additional outs can serve as triggers if you’re syncing
to other gear or have a modular rig. A dedicated
trigger output is also present (see Figure 1).
There is also a pair of external audio inputs,
which can be used in a variety of ways, including
side-chaining tasks and processing audio. MIDI is
covered by both DIN and USB, with the latter capable of sending multichannel audio for the individ-
ual drums, as on the TR-8. You
can also use USB for unusual audio processing through many of
the efects outlined below.
FACTORY AND CUSTOM
SOUNDS
If you just want instant gratification, there are 84 preset kits that run the gamut
from functionally identical re-creations of Roland’s existing array of drum machines, such as
the 808 and 909, to specialized kits that are optimized for modern dance genres, trap/hip-hop and
world percussion—and a lot more in between. I’m
always pleased when manufacturers leave a few
empty slots for user customizations, and there are
44 of these in the unit’s 128 kits.
The onboard drums are comprehensive, including all of the ACB (Analog Circuit Behavior)
modeled 808, 909, 606, 626, 707, and 727 drums
that are available as expansion packs for the TR8. In addition to the 81 ACB drums, there are 342
sampled hits, including roughly 160 efect, synth,
chord, bass, voice, and stab options.
If that’s not enough, there’s an SD card slot for
adding your own samples, each of which can be
up to 180 seconds. While that’s theoretically long
enough for loops or even stems, manual synchronization would be pretty cumbersome for anything substantial. That said, there is around 600
seconds of memory for 44.1kHz mono samples
(300, if you’re working in stereo), and with more
than 30 years of drum libraries available online,
it’s doubtful you’ll ever hit your head on the sonic
ceiling of this instrument—especially if you factor
in the synthesis and efects amenities for each.
Whether you’re using factory samples or im-
absence of traditional song construction tools becomes
a relatively moot
point: With up to 16
8-bar (A-H) patterns
instantly available
Fig. 1. In addition to MIDI, USB, and a dedicated trigger output, the TR-8S includes six assignable audio outputs that
(128 total), certain
can double as trigger outputs. The SD Card slot allows you to load your own samples into the unit.
dance and pop arrangements can be
porting your own, there are a number of synthesis
ADVENTURES IN SEQUENCING
configured with a little advance planning, if that’s
tools for further customization, including an amp The TR-8S lets you enter drum parts in three dis- your goal.
envelope with attack and several hold parameters tinct ways: By activating steps using the iconic
There’s also a user programmable auto-fill feafor sample duration. The resonant filter operates 808-style editor for each instrument, trigger- ture for each pattern, with options for 2, 4, 8, 12, 16,
in both lowpass and highpass modes with a dedi- ing multiple drums within a kit by tapping their and 32-bar intervals—along with a manual insert opcated envelope for modulating the cutof. Other associated buttons, or—new to this instrument tion—which is ideal if you’re sticking with convenparameters include stereo spread and a bit-crush- series—by selecting a drum and tapping a single tional arrangement tactics. The auto-fill feature also
er for each sample.
velocity-sensitive rubberized pad on the right of includes options for the original TR-8 scatter funcFor the ACB-modeled instruments, there’s a dif- the control panel. This last approach allows for tion, which is useful for glitch and EDM transitions.
ferent set of parameters that correspond to their nuanced articulations of hi-hats and shakers, as
Like its predecessors, the surface of the sesounds. For example, when working with the 808 well as authentic snare and tom fills.
quencing tools leans heavily toward 4/4, but hit
snare, this knob can be assigned to Snappy for direct
Like the TR-8, the TR-8S puts its focus square- the “Last” button and you’ll quickly discover that
control over its noise component. On the kick, you ly on performance, so there are no obvious song- every drum/instrument can have its own length. Dig
can adjust the attack transient. Toms include a few creation tools here (though there’s a really clever a little deeper and you can create what Roland calls
new parameters that relate to their predecessors’ workaround below) but that’s not the point. “sub-steps” for each step, with their own divisions.
sound, but allow more in-depth customization.
Where the original adhered to a more purist ap- These are huge assets for extremely complex polyIn addition to the instrument-editing tools, proach to re-creating the behavior of the 808 and rhythms in the context of traditional club music.
the front panel includes dedicated tune and de- 909, the sequencing tools in the TR-8S function
Another major upgrade? Kits can now be
cay knobs, as well as an assignable control knob like a wish list of upgrades that address the limita- saved with the patterns, so even in the above scethat can be used for panning, efects sends, LFO tions of the first unit.
nario, you can alter the sonic character dramatiOn the earlier unit, each pattern included A/B cally within a performance or composition, doing
depth, and an array of insert efects including filters, boosts, compression, drive, and a second bit- variations that could be tied together to create things like using an 808 snare and hats for one seca longer pattern of up to 32 steps. From there, tion and switching a 707 snare for another, while
crusher, among them.
you could select contiguous strings of multiple keeping a 909 kick throughout.
KITS AND EFFECTS
patterns, up to its 16-pattern maximum. If you
In addition to more thorough pattern sequencIn addition to the extensive drum design tools, thoughtfully used the entire unit’s memory, you ing options, all of the instrument knobs and efects
each kit has enhanced versions of the delay and could theoretically sequence a 32-bar pattern.
now ofer Motion sequencing, which is easy to
reverb, with a surprisingly deep level of customWhen it comes to sequencing, the TR-8S is ex- implement: Just turn on Motion, hold the Record
ization for each. Each kit also includes a set of ponentially more sophisticated. For starters, each button, and turn the desired parameter. Once you
mastering efects, some of which are identical to pattern includes eight variations that can be relat- have something that works, you can save it with
the instrument inserts, with the addition of a few ed to each other (for continuity purposes) or total- your pattern. And yes, you can parameter lock to
more distortion efects, flanging, phasing, and a ly diferent grooves. These variations are labeled steps too, if that’s your sound.
variation on the sideband filter from the System-8 A through H and can be combined in any permuand V-Synth.
tation, as long as they proceed sequentially. That
A BOLD NEW BEAT
There’s also a sidechain option that can be de- is, with a single pattern’s set of variations, you can Since its introduction, I’ve been using a TR-8
rived from the TR-8S’s external input or one of the manually configure it to play ABCD for a period (both live and in the studio) and in that time it’s
drums in a kit. While this sidechain feature does of time, then press ACGH for a thematic varia- become a real workhorse when I need an authenall the usual tricks with compression and such, the tion, and BDEG for another section. Discovering tic Roland vibe. The TR-8S is an order of magnikit-level master LFO (with multiple waveforms) is that the patterns didn’t require contiguity was a tude more advanced, without sacrificing the origia bigger standout, as it can be assigned at the instru- huge lightbulb moment as a performer, because it nal’s legit street cred.
ment level to almost any drum parameter. It’s great means you can generally use a single pattern (with
As a studio instrument, it will quickly become
for everything from wobbles to subtle timbre shifts these variations) as the basis for an entire track or a go-to for electronic producers. As a live instrupervading a groove. This is the first time I’ve seen song. What’s more, any given selection of pattern ment, I have no doubt it will be quickly embraced
this feature on a mainstream drum machine and I variations is saved with the pattern, so pattern 1 by the DJ crowd. As a sound designer, I can’t wait
expect it to become a hallmark of the TR-8S sound. will remember its last entered configuration.
to start creating my own custom kits for this beast.
All of the above parameters are saved with each
In this way, you can have pattern 1 play ABCD, It can take any sample collection—homespun or
kit, and kits can easily be copied, so if you find or pattern 2 play BCDF, and pattern 3 play A-H in se- third-party—and breathe new life into it.
create something that has a vibe you like, you can quence, then string those three patterns together
Yes, this is a rave review, because the TR-8S is
use it as the basis for future projects.
to create a custom 16-bar cycle. This is where the an astonishing achievement for $700. Q
J ULY
201 8
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Music stand included
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Minimal controls
Weighted piano-like action
Despite its low price, the Hammer
88 is a well-built, 88-note USB/MIDI
controller with a realistic, piano-like
action for stage or studio
M-AUDIO
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F or those who came to electronic music by way of the
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If, like me, you don’t fall into either category, M~p{oGljlsslu{G Audio’s
Hammer 88 USB/MIDI controller just may
be
what
the doctor ordered. It marries a fully weightwphuvGhj{pvuG ed, piano-like
action to a set of basic but functional
BY JON REGEN
In addition to being the
editor of Keyboardmag.
com, Jon Regen is a singer,
songwriter, and pianist
from New York City.
z{ylun{oz
Satisfying pianohammer action. Terrific
build quality. Pro-level
software included. Affordable.
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At this price, none to
speak of.
$399 street
m-audio.com
[]
JULY
20 18
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
ume fader. The keyboard can be
split into zones and configured
for performance by means of the
included software editor. On the
back are three footswitch jacks,
USB and 5-pin MIDI output,
and an AC socket. Alternatively,
the Hammer 88 can run on USB
power. M-Audio includes a music rest as a bonus.
The software bundle includes Pro Tools First,
Ableton Live Lite, two acoustic piano plug-ins
(Mini Grand and Eighty-Eight Ensemble), the DB33 Tonewheel Organ plug-in, the Velvet electric
piano plug-in, a three-month subscription to the
Skoove interactive piano course, and the M-Audio
Hammer 88 Preset Editor.
acoustic piano, finding an approachable MIDI controller can be daunting. There are numerous weighted, 88note controllers on the market, but most are aimed at
the beginner digital-piano market or at the power user
who requires a multitude of knobs and ports.
controls and ports, and includes a suite of fantastic
software and virtual instruments, all for under $400.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Unlike many of the company’s lighter, more portable
oferings, the Hammer 88 is a solid piece of gear. The
entire top panel is made of metal, the underside appears to be MDF, and the overall weight is a gig-maneuverable 38.5 pounds. It could be the centerpiece
of a studio or live rig; it’s that well-constructed.
The keyboard has a fantastic feel and response.
Many of the more expensive 88-key controllers
have keyboard actions that are far lighter than the
Hammer 88’s. While this is usually done so the
keyboard works well with piano, organ, and synth/
electric-piano parts, those seeking a heftier grand
piano feel are often left unsatisfied. Without reservation, the Hammer 88 has one of the best weighted
actions I have tried. Much like an acoustic instrument, the Hammer 88’s action is meaty and begs
the player to dig in. I found that I was able to play
piano parts with a degree of accuracy and expression rarely available on a digital device.
The controls include pitch and modulation
wheels, increment/decrement buttons, and a vol-
ROCK IT, 88
Immediately after unpacking the Hammer 88
and registering the included software, I fired-up
Pro Tools and began recording. I was thoroughly
impressed with the resilience and response of the
keybed. Piano parts that I struggled to craft on
lighter, more expensive 88-key controllers came
to life with the Hammer 88.
I love the acoustic quality of the included
Eighty-Eight piano plug-in, as well as the Rhodes
variations in the bundled Velvet software. Particularly great are the tremolo and tape-delayed Rhodes
models which drew me in from the very first note.
Overall, M-Audio’s Hammer 88 is a winner,
with its solid piano action and inviting suite of included software, all under 40 pounds and under
$400. If you’re looking for an afordable MIDI
controller for studio or stage that plays like a piano
but thinks like a modern musician, you owe it to
yourself to try one. Q
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Instrument-based
processing
Set up parallel
compression
Modeled tube
distortion
The Audified DW Drum Enhancer
plug-in offers a suite of processing
tools that are specially designed
for drum mixing.
AUDIFIED
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M ixing multitrack drums is not only challenging but
ton to invert the polarity of a
track, one of the many useful
features on this plug-in. When
dealing with multitrack drums,
you often want to be able to flip
the polarity of a particular drum
mic to reduce phase issues, such
as comb filtering, that can occur
between the various tracks.
Also on the left side is the
Drum Type Selector, the large wheel where you select the type of instrument you are processing. Doing
so adjusts some internal parameters to match your
selection. The control has four categories—Snare,
Kick, Toms, and Other—the first three of which let
you choose between Modern, Heavy, and Vintage
drum types. Select the Other category when you’re
processing room, overhead (OH), and bus tracks.
The internal parameters set by the Drum Type
Selector are not user-adjustable. These include EQ
Type, Compressor Type, Compressor Attack and
Release, Noise Gate Attack and Release, and High
Pass and Low Pass filter frequencies among them.
The diferences between Vintage, Modern, and
Heavy settings are subtle, although the Modern
settings do sound brighter. Even though you cannot adjust the internal parameters, it would be
useful for Audified to create a document showing
how they are set for each of the Selector settings.
also often requires a number of different processors.
To help simplify the process, software maker Audified
teamed up with Drum Workshop, a leading drum manufacturer, to create DW Drum Enhancer, a one-stop
drum-mixing plug-in that has virtually everything you
need—except reverb—to mix drums. Think of it like a
channel strip that is specially designed for drums.
h G w s | n T p uG
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setup includes a noise gate, a phase/pot h r l G k y | tG larityTheswitch,
a compressor, an EQ, highpass and
tppunGlhzply lowpass filters, and a saturation section with five
BY MIKE LEVINE
Mike Levine is a composer,
producer, and multiinstrumentalist from
the New York area,
and is the Technical
Editor—Studio for Mix.
Check out his website:
michaelwilliamlevine.com.
z{ylun{oz
Excellent presets. Easy
and fast to use. Flexible Saturation section.
Invert switch. Eiciently designed GUI.
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Not all effects parameters are adjustable.
No button for stepping
through presets. EQ
section is limited.
$199
audified.com
[_
JULY
20 18
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
diferent algorithms. The processors’ position in
the GUI corresponds to where they are in the signal chain, which is useful. You also get four LED
meters: Input and Output level, Saturation input
level, and Gain Reduction for the compressor. You
can change the meters to VU in the Menu section.
However, only some of DW Drum Enhancer’s parameters are user adjustable. The plug-in is a sort of
hybrid that sits between being a fully programmable
processor and a preset-only plug-in. Nevertheless,
there is a significant amount of adjustability available
that allows you to set it up to suit your needs.
UNDER CONTROL
The DW Drum Enhancer’s graphical user interface
has numerous knobs and buttons. Fortunately, they’re
intelligently laid out, and easy to see and access.
The panel is divided into equal-sized left and
right sections. Dividing them is a graphic display depicting tubes that peek out from behind holes, along
with logos for Audified and DW. The only functional
feature in the center section is the bypass button:
The tubes go dark when you turn of the plug-in.
On the left, near the Input Level knob, is a but-
AT THE GATE
A key processor in the DW Drum Enhancer is the
Noise Gate. A gate is important for drum mixing, as
you are often dealing with tracks that include a lot
of bleed. In some cases, you will leave the bleed in,
but in others, especially with kick or snare tracks,
it is handy to be able to isolate the intended sound.
The DW Drum Enhancer’s Gate gives you three
controls: an On/Of switch, a Threshold knob, and
a switch that toggles between Soft and Hard knee
operation. To the left is an LED that lights when
the Gate closes. The attack and release settings are
not user-adjustable, but instead are part of the internal parameters.
I’ve found noise gates, overall, to vary widely in
regards to how diicult they are to set. However,
the DW Drum Enhancer’s gate is among the easier
ones I have used. It did an excellent job of isolating
drums without causing the decays to sound cut-of
and unnatural, and I ended up using it frequently
on the kick and snare on multitrack mixes.
Ditto for the filters: These are intelligently set
and can be quite useful.
TRUE GRIT
The Saturation section lets you add up to five different flavors of modeled tube distortion. The
choices are Presence, Vintage, Brown, White and
Lo-Fi. With the Saturation set low, the tonal differences are very subtle. When you crank it, however, you can really hear the diference.
I found the Saturation efect particularly useful
for snare drums. It successfully softens their initial transients and adds some character, while still
sounding natural.
Besides turning up the Saturation knob, there
are a couple of other ways to maximize the Saturation efect. One is by turning up the Compressor’s Makeup Gain, which allows you to hit the
Saturation circuit harder. Another is to change the
plug-in’s Calibration setting, which controls the
diference between digital zero (an absolute setting) and analog zero, which is zero on the meters.
The lower you set it, the more Saturation you get.
POWERFUL PRESETS
Among the most impressive aspects of DW Drum
Enhancer are the banks of presets. According to
Audified, DW artists had input on the presets, and
it shows. They’re separated into categories according to drum type (the drum types correspond
to those ofered by the Drum Selector knob) and
give you a large selection of settings (see Figure 1).
The Presets do a great job of showcasing the capabilities of the plug-in, providing you with a lot of
sonic variety. They make excellent starting points
when you begin your mix.
The Presets are available from a pull-down
menu on the lower right. I was a little frustrated
to discover that there isn’t a button for stepping
through the presets. To change from one to the
next, you have to reopen the pull-down menu, reselect the category, and then choose from the list.
If DW Drum Enhancer gets an update, my biggest request would be the addition of plus and
minus buttons that allow you to step forward or
backward through the presets. The way it is now,
it is harder to compare one preset to the next because of the time it takes to
switch between them.
GETTING COMPRESSED
The Compressor ofers bypass, Threshold, Mix,
and Make-Up gain controls. It doesn’t have a Ratio control, nor does it ofer user-adjustable attack
and release parameters. Diferent compressor algorithms become active, depending on the setting
of the Drum Type Selector, but the choices are
not detailed in the manual and I could not hear
much diference in the sound of
the Compressor when switching
between Selector settings.
Nonetheless, the Compressor k~Gk™œ”Gl•ˆ•ŠŒ™˅šGw™ŒšŒ›šG‹–GˆGŽ™Œˆ›G‘–‰G
sounds good and is vital to the plugin’s mission of providing all-in-one –Gš–žŠˆš•ŽG›ŒGŠˆ—ˆ‰“›ŒšG–G›ŒG—“œŽT•SG
drum processing. It is perhaps a
little heavy-handed in its compres- —™–‹•ŽG –œGž›GˆG“–›G–Gš–•ŠGˆ™Œ› UG{Œ G
sion, but the Mix control lets you
back it of enough to make it very ”ˆ’ŒGŒŸŠŒ““Œ•›Gš›ˆ™›•ŽG—–•›šGžŒ•G –œG‰ŒŽ•G
useful, in addition to giving you the
opportunity to apply parallel com- –œ™G”ŸUGG
pression.
ALL
THINGS
BEING
EQUALIZED
The EQ section includes singleknob (boost or cut) controls for
Hi, Mid, and Low frequencies,
as well as fixed-frequency highpass and lowpass filters. You
also have the ability to place the
EQ either before or after the
Compressor in the signal chain.
Although I would have liked
to have at least a semi-parametric configuration so I could
select the center frequency for
each band, the EQ is quite useful.
The frequencies for each band
were well thought out, and you
get a decent amount of control. I
found it easy to accomplish tasks
like adding bottom end to a kick,
fattening up a snare, or dialing
down the highs on overheads.
Fig. 1. A nice selection of presets, created in collaboration with some of DW’s
artist endorsees, are included for each drum type.
J ULY
201 8
ENHANCED INDEED
DW Drum Enhancer is a good illustration of a plug-in where the
whole is greater than the sum of
its parts. Despite having a reduced
degree of adjustability, compared
to what you would get by using
individual plug-ins for each of the
efects here, DW Drum Enhancer
succeeds in its mission to be an effective all-in-one drum processor.
It is convenient, easy to use and
ofers a lot of variety.
I tried it on every type of
drum track I could access, from
multitrack sessions to loops and
the stereo output from virtual
drum instruments, and in all
cases, I was able to improve the
sounds quickly and efectively.
Not only will DW Drum Enhancer be a boon to drum mixing newbies, but more experienced mixers will also find it to
be a useful and powerful tool.
It does a great job of quickly allowing you to hear a variety of
sonic options for the particular
drum or drums you’re mixing.
Overall, DW Drum Enhancer is a powerful and efective
product that can take the mystery out of drum mixing. Q
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Powers 3 Volcas
Send and Return
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Built-in speakers
The Volca Mix can power
three Volca instruments
while providing two mono
inputs, a stereo input,
send and return jacks, and
compression and stereowidth effects on the output.
KORG
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BY FRANCIS PREVE
Francis Preve has been
designing synthesizer
presets professionally
since 2000. Check out his
soundware company at
symplesound.com.
z{ylun{oz
Three-channel analog
mixer. High- and low-cut.
Aux sends and returns.
Integrated compression
and stereo enhancement. Doubles as a hub
for voltage clock and AC
power. Built-in speakers.
sptp{h{pvuz
No volume knob for aux
input. First two mixer
channels are monophonic.
$170 street
korg.com
\W
JULY
20 18
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
I n the five years since Korg first intro-
a set of tiny
send knobs
that route signals to a mini-jack output, with
a stereo aux return input. Although the return does not offer its own volume knob, it is
useful for more than efects—
especially if you’re a laptop or
iPad-based performer. With
some planning, you can run
your computing device into the
Mix, set your master level from
that, then add your other Volcas
in real-time as you DJ.
The stereo RCA outputs also include adjustable compression and stereo-width enhancement.
In my extensive tests, these mastering processors
give the final output a polished and punchy sound
that works well, even when blended with professional club tracks.
Additionally, using the output and aux-return
input, you can easily daisy-chain multiple units
together. For example, you could mix drum modules into the first unit and heavily compress them
before routing the mix into a second unit to add
other gear. There’s also a pair of built-in speakers
that have a bit more oomph than the earlier Volcas. As I quickly discovered, these speakers are
handy for both bedroom rehearsals and campfires.
The Volca Mix is more than just the final puzzle
piece for integrating Korg’s portable grooveboxes
into a live rig. In a way, it makes the whole series
far more coherent as a platform. If you own more
than one Volca—or have a few desktop devices in
your bedroom studio that need mixing—you owe it
to yourself to test-drive one soon. Q
duced its Volca line of synths and beatboxes, the
series has captivated producers by combining legitimacy (real analog, DX-7 compatibility, etc.) and
affordability, with all six units selling for around $170
each. In a way, the Volca lineup has a lot in common
with the modular world: Every unit is specialized,
offers audio-based sync, and is affordable enough
that you can build a customized rig. Of course, if that
rig gets big enough, the associated cabling starts to
resemble a Eurorack too.
Although I’ve been a major fan since they arrived
(I own all six), they’ve been relegated to studio use
only, because I can’t risk battery issues for multiple
units in a live set. Yes, there are AC adapters available,
but pairing them with two power strips (to support
all of the power adapters) means bringing yet another gig bag that is almost larger than the units, themselves. Then there is the issue of integrating them
into a mix, which can be problematic when the club
won’t let you reconfigure their DJ mixer.
That’s why I wish the Volca Mix had arrived
ages ago. Not only does it ofer three fader channels (two mono, one stereo), but also it serves as
a single power source for multiple Volcas, thanks
to three discrete power outputs, cables included.
There is also a master-sync function and play/stop
button, for controlling the tempo of all connected
units with a single knob.
Each of the channels includes a short-throw
fader, similar to those found on Korg’s Nano controller series, along with a mute button and lo/hicut filter knobs that work extremely well for both
light EQ and Daft Punkish sweeps. There is also
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Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
IOS APPS FROM
RUISMAKER &
AUDIO DAMAGE
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T his month, I want to take a closer look at two essen-
AUDIO DAMAGE DISCORD4
Discord4 is another iOS multiefect that includes dual delays,
a pair of multimode filters, and a
reverb (see Fig. 2). But the primary emphasis here is on a pair of
pitch-shifters that can operate in
three modes: Vintage (a classic Eventide emulation),
Modern, and Granular (useful for experimental effects). A pair of LFOs with continuously variable
shapes can be assigned to a wide range of parameters, with independent depths for each destination.
Here, the focus is squarely on power and flexibility, with an attention to detail that includes the
ability to set the pitch-shifters’ sample bufers independently for either vintage authenticity or to
get digital artifacts. Assigning the dual LFOs to the
pitch-shifters and delays simultaneously makes it
a powerful chorus/ensemble efect, too.
This means rolling up your sleeves and diving
into its interface, since there are only 20 presets
that barely scratch the surface of Discord4’s deep
capabilities. The whole package is fairly vast for
its sub-five-dollar price—a fraction of the cost for
the desktop version.
Speaking of the desktop versions, Discord4 for
iOS is fully compatible with the VST/VST3/AU/
AAX plug-in for OS X and Windows. So, if you’re
already a fan of those, this is a no-brainer.
tial delay plug-ins for iOS-based producers. Both are
$3.99 and in the AUv3 format, making them well worth
their purchase prices, since each encompasses a wider range of uses beyond their typical applications.
t|z{Toh}lG
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BY FRANCIS PREVE
Francis Preve has
been designing
synthesizer presets
professionally
since 2000. Check
out his soundware
company at
symplesound.com.
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4-tap stereo delay. Auto-panner.
Reverb. Haas effect. 2-bar looper.
Dual-filters for delayed signals.
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Taps strictly parallel configuration.
$3.99
ruismaker.com
kpzjvyk[
z{ylun{oz
Dual pitch shifters, delays, multimode filters. Reverb. 2 LFOs.
Preset compatibility with Mac/
Win versions.
sptp{h{pvuz
Only 20 presets.
$3.99
audiodamage.com
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JULY
20 18
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
RUISMAKER KOSMONAUT
Bram Bos’s synths and drum modules have generated a passionate following among iPad-based
producers, thanks to their elegant interfaces and
impressive sonic detail. Kosmonaut is his first
foray into AUv3 efects and for a delay, it covers
all but the most exotic applications (see Fig. 1). It
has an array of four taps (each with feedback, volume, and panning), as well as dedicated modules
for auto-panning and looping, plus a spacious hall
reverb, and the Haas efect.
While the four delays are hardwired in a parallel configuration, each ofers discrete control over
time, volume, panning, and feedback. A pair of filters (non-resonant lowpass and highpass) can be
applied to all four delays as a group, with a simple
triangle-sine LFO for sweeping their cutofs.
The auto-panner, Haas processor, and reverb
are equally straightforward with basic parameters
for each, so it’s hard to get lost in the interface.
And the tape-style looper ofers up to two bars
(eight beats) of recording. The included presets
are top-notch, and if those aren’t enough, there is
a Randomize button that you can tap until something catches your ear.
Kosmonaut isn’t particularly deep, but that’s
not the point. Instead, it’s a utility efect with delay and ambience tools that lets you quickly nail a
sound, so you can keep your production workflow
in motion.
EFFECTIVE DELAYS
While there’s a bit of overlap between these two
iOS efects, with Kosmonaut ofering four delays and Haas tools and Discord4 specializing in
pitch-shifting, the fact that you can buy both for
less than $10 and have all your delay bases covered
means you don’t really have to decide after all. Q
3
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Ways to Stay in
Tune with
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Orbit view
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SUGAR BYTES
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BY FRANCIS PREVE
Francis Preve has been
designing synthesizer
presets professionally
since 2000. Check out his
soundware company at
symplesound.com.
z{ylun{oz
Unique approach to FM
synthesis. Customizable unison modes interact with modulation
sources. Graphic LFOs.
Orbit mode.
sptp{h{pvuz
Pronounced learning
curve. No aftertouch
support.
$99
sugar-bytes.de
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JULY
20 18
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
W hen it comes to designing softsynths, Sugar Bytes
it is the equivalent of playing 16
notes in that mode, spanning
two octaves.
Obviously, that’s a lot of musical density for one note, so in
addition to the unison depth,
there’s a parameter that assigns
the efect to one of six additional
voice templates: all, even, odd,
every third voice, just the lower
voices, or just the upper voices. This is essential
knowledge for comprehending Aparillo’s LFOs.
Fortunately, the dominant element in the synthesis user interface is a graphic that displays the LFO
behavior. Both of the LFOs are represented by two
sets of 16 dots that traverse a vertical plane in the
main interface. Each dot represents one of Aparillo’s
unison voices (see Figure 1). The individual LFOs offer a slightly diferent set of features that complement
each other, like phase relationship, quantization (as
in clock-sync, ofering all divisions from 1/2 to 1/64th
notes) and sample-and-hold. Thus, the visualization
is crucial for understanding how the LFOs interact
with the unison voices.
Another groundbreaking feature, Jitter, is
available for both rate and phase-related parameters. Adding Jitter to either of those parameters
imparts randomness to the LFO’s efect on each
voice, independently. It’s tricky to describe in
print, but immediately obvious when you look at
the interface. Because the synth is designed for
unison mode, adding jittery chaos to the signal
imparts complexity and richness. Just skimming
through Aparillo’s amazing preset bank quickly
demonstrates this.
While the LFOs can be assigned to nearly any
relevant synthesis parameter, even that is an over-
is among the most innovative companies around.
They gamble big with their products by implementing
established synthesis and processing tools in radically unfamiliar ways, much like Wolfgang Palm’s iOS
apps and Wide Blue Sound’s Kontakt instruments.
For some developers, instrument design qualifies as
artistry.
Aparillo is a definitive example of this approach. At its core, it is a four-operator FM synth
with efects. But that’s where the comparison to
a conventional instrument stops because, from
there, Aparillo introduces a variety of unusual
elements that invite experimentation and deliver
wholly original results, even if you’re a seasoned
sound designer.
UNISONS AND MODULATIONS
In terms of its familiar features, there are two
modulator/carrier pairs, configured in one of three
algorithms, with adjustable modulator ratios for
each. You’ll also find timbral modifiers (including waveshaping and brightness), dual envelopes,
a pair of LFOs, and a set of efects that genuinely
sound terrific. However, even these synthesis foundations are configured in a manner that requires
exploration and tinkering to understand fully.
The first thing to note is that the instrument is
optimized for monophonic use in unison mode. In
fact, if you’re starting a new sound from scratch,
it is illuminating to begin by examining the unison types, which include key modes like major,
minor, augmented, diminished, and six other
musically relevant options, including a user-definable key. Thus, with the unison depth at 100%,
simplification, because each parameter destination includes the same secondary unison menu
(as described above) that lets you configure the
LFOs to afect specific voices. For example, you
can apply LFO 1 to simultaneously modulate the
FM amount of only the even numbered voices,
the cutof frequency of every third voice, and the
waveshaping of just the upper voices. Add a touch
of Jitter and that modulation is no longer moving
in lockstep, but quivering slightly as it follows the
LFO waveform’s path. And that’s with just LFO 1.
LFO 2 ofers the same array of destinations, but
adds a ring-mod mode that outputs the sum and
diference of the two LFOs.
The LFOs aren’t the only modulation option.
Other sources include an ADSR modulation envelope, four types of curve modifiers, mod wheel,
pitch bend, velocity, and the arpeggiator envelope.
The only thing missing is aftertouch, which I hope
will be added in a future release.
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mode at 100% with only odd-numbered voices resulted in a dreamy, ambient progression.
Once you’ve set up your preferred tuning, four
knobs modify the arpeggiation behavior. The Arpeggiation knob determines how much the arpeggiator impacts the voices: As you increase the
value of this parameter, the voice arpeggiation becomes pronounced, while sustaining notes gradually lower in volume until the stepped pattern is
fully apparent.
The OP Balance parameter blends the arpeggio between the two FM pairs, so you can apply
it to only one timbre in your patch. The Rate knob
sets the quantized note value, with the addition of
decimal points for dotted and triplet variations.
The final parameter, Decay, adds a simple release
to each arpeggiated note and can also be used as a
modulation source as mentioned above.
Last, there are two additional trigger settings
besides the standard clock. Threshold triggers the
entire unison stack at once every time a selected
LFO crosses it, whereas Collision mode triggers
the stack whenever the dual LFO cycles intersect.
The integrated efects include a resonant multimode filter, an autopanner with multiple waveforms, a delay, a wonderfully large reverb, and another Sugar Bytes innovation, the Spacializer. This
last efect appears to be another delay and can be
used like one with high Size settings. At low Size
settings, it resembles a Dimension D, and with low
size and high feedback it sounds a bit like a resonator but with more of a physically modeled character. Think of it as having a deep level of control
over a reverb’s early reflections.
IN ORBIT
Aparillo’s final component is the Orbit section,
which is demonstrated beautifully in every factory
preset and a great way to get customizable results
from the synthesis engine without having a clue
about its features. Here, each synthesis element is
a node in a user-designed constellation (see Figure
2). Every node can have its own modifier settings
(such as cutof frequency, operator balance, or reverb mix) and, more importantly, radius.
Interacting with these nodes is the Orbiter Object, which can be freely positioned in relationship
to the nodes. As the Object approaches a node, its
synthesis modifiers become more pronounced.
For example, if you cluster the cutof and reverb
mix in one area and the operator balance in a different area, moving the Object around will alter
the sound, based on proximity. This is certainly
great for live performance, but Aparillo includes
a Motion Capture mode that lets you record your
mouse gestures and play them back in loops of up
to 32 bars.
A NEW FM EXPERIENCE
Aparillo is so utterly original that even after two
decades of synthesizer reviews, I found it nearly
impossible to adequately describe its features—
you have to see and hear them yourself. Even the
online videos don’t capture the experience of its
parameter set in action.
In terms of sound, Aparillo is one of the most
complex and richly textured synths I’ve ever used.
And conceptually, it will blow your mind regardless of your synthesizer experience. Remarkably,
its sophistication doesn’t interfere with instant
gratification. The presets are uniformly breathtaking, and switching to Orbit mode is a great way to
reactivate your beginner’s mind. Aparillo is genuinely inspirational. Q
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STRANGE ARPEGGIATIONS
Once you’ve got a handle on the grandeur of
Aparillo’s modulation amenities, it’s time to engage the arpeggiator, which also defies convention. Instead of basing the arpeggio pattern on
a held chord, Aparillo maps the arpeggio to the
tuning parameters of the unison section, then
steps through the 16 voices in sequence. If you’re
using classic unison detuning with a low percentage, the results are a series of slightly detuned
notes in succession.
The entire efect depends on those unison settings, so some configurations will be atonal, while
others will deliver patterns that are both unusual
and musical. For example, using the major unison
Fig. 2. Orbit mode lets you instantly modify the sound by positioning its Object, and its
motion can be recorded as loops.
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Load four Elements
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Vector synthesis
Advanced
arpeggiator
Fig. 1. A view of the
Haunted Spaces filter
page. Click on the gear
icon and programming
details are neatly
tucked away.
SONICCOUTURE
organized by function: Main, Filter, Envelope, FiltEG, and LFO.
You’ll find dedicated 4-stage
envelopes for amplitude and the
filters, per Element. You can scale
the filter’s response to envelope
generators and velocity. MIDI
Learn via Control Change messages is available, and if you want
to adjust a parameter equally and
simultaneously in all Elements,
click the Link button or hold
down the Option or Alt key while
you change the setting: You can
see the relevant parameters of all
four quadrants. There is no mute
or solo button, but holding OpI f you’ve seen any of David Attenborough’s Life setion/Alt while clicking on the on/
ries, or if you were a fan of the band Cabaret Voltaire,
of button for any quadrant shuts
of the other Elements.
you’ve heard the work of Chris Watson. His previous
You’ll appreciate that the vecsample library for SonicCouture, Geosonics, comtor’s parameter window remains
bined environmental sounds with DSP, synthesis,
constant whatever edit page you
and musical scripting.
are working on, making it easy to
jump between synth and vector
Watson’s latest project, Haunted Spaces, cap- edits. The Q button quantizes vector playback to
tures a range of man-made spaces—the Entrance the nearest beat for tempo-synced crossfades, and
of Hades in Greece, the Vigeland Mausoleum in you get a menu for altering the vector path.
Norway, and a railway station in Brussels—as well
Calling the Jammer an arpeggiator sells its generas natural environments such as massive bat caves ative aspects short. Apart from note direction, speed,
in Borneo. Here, his field recordings merge with and feels, Jammer can add randomly played notes at
similar techniques as those used in Geosonics, but the interval of your choosing. The Evolve slider adds
with a major addition: Vector synthesis is used to randomness to your arpeggio, and Gaps randomly
create animated and evocative sonic images.
inserts more rests. If randomness isn’t your thing,
Four tabs at the bottom of the widow access simply constrain the Jammer’s choices with the Key
Haunted Spaces basic operations: Jammer, Options, filter, by clicking notes on the virtual keyboard, or by
Haunted Spaces (the main window), and Efects. The recording MIDI data. Combined with the vector, the
main window’s four quadrants represent the four animation possibilities are impressive.
instrument cores (called Elements) that comprise a
All of this is dressed up in an efects section with
patch; a floating cube in the center drifts between the a pair of convolution reverbs ofering a choice of
four Elements in an x/y vector. Clicking on the sample impulses from studios and conventional spaces to
name in each core opens a browser for loading any of exotic and bizarre sources. The results are deeply
the hundreds of samples and synth sounds.
atmospheric and evocative, with sounds ranging
Looking at the sparsely populated main window, from quiet, peaceful, romantic, and soothing to
you’d be tempted to think that Haunted Spaces is a mysterious, creepy, portentous, loud, and violent.
preset-only collection. In fact, programming details There’s a high degree of programmability, so it’s
are neatly tucked away and kept from being a dis- easy to forge your sounds the way you want.
traction (see Fig. 1). Click on the gear icon and each
SonicCouture Haunted Spaces is a cinematic
Element’s synth parameters are at your disposal, library in the very best sense of the word. Q
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BY MARTY CUTLER
Marty Cutler is the author
of The New Electronic
Guitarist, published by Hal
Leonard.
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Extremely playable,
musical, and evocative
sounds. Highly programmable.
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Nothing significant.
$179
soniccouture.com
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JULY
20 18
£ G l t| z p j p h u U j v t
WAVES
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BY FRANCIS PREVE
$69
waves.com
Torque is a specialized
plug-in capable of reaching into a mix and allowing you to retune specific
drums without afecting
their formant characteristics. The package includes
four plug-in variations—
two mono and two stereo—that are optimized
for either recorded material or live applications.
The standard plug-ins
are phase-coherent, but add a bit of latency (determined by the DAW sample rate): at 44.1 kHz it’s
32 samples, and at 192 kHz it’s 128 samples. Overall, however, timing is tight. The live versions offer “zero” latency (truly imperceptible in informal
tests), at the expense of phase coherence.
The Focus Section at the top of the plug-in displays the dynamics of the audio signal across the
frequency spectrum. From there, you select the frequency range that you want to shift and/or correct.
A monitor option is available so you can solo the Focus frequency range as you make your adjustments.
Torque’s parameters are straightforward. The
threshold control sets the volume required before the
formant-corrected tuning algorithm kicks in. This is
ideal when working with live
drum tracks, as it allows you
to tailor the response when
working with overhead mics
or recordings with a lot of
bleed. When the signal exceeds the threshold, Torque’s
shifting algorithm kicks in,
with a two-octave range.
Speed and Trim controls
vary the responsiveness and
volume of the shifted material, respectively.
I tested Torque on a variety of percussion material, both mixed loops and isolated drums, and
the results were impressively transparent. Moving
beyond drums, I processed a wider range of audio
sources. Outside of its intended purpose, Torque
can be used as a radical harmonizer with artifacts
reminiscent of a frequency shifter. Consequently,
it has a lot of potential for techno production, as
well as sound design for film or video. I was even
able to create ghostly parallel fifth harmonies on
flutes and solo cellos.
Whether you use it for acoustic-drum re-tuning or as an unusual efects processor, Torque hits
the mark beautifully. At a list price of $69, it’s definitely an impulse buy, regardless of your goals. Q
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J ULY
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BY FRANCIS PREVE
\_
JULY
20 18
£ G l t | z p j p h u U j v t
A mong the many useful new features Arturia added to the MiniBrute 2 is
a 48-point patchbay, which utilizes 3.5mm minijacks like the ones used in
Eurorack modular systems (see Figure 1). The ability to reroute signals easily
as well as integrate the MiniBrute 2 into a larger setup, makes this the perfect
introductory instrument for musicians who are new to modular synthesis.
touch of pitch drift with this approach, but the
sound will be quite similar.
Fig. 1
Fig. 3
This month, we’ll look at some interesting
sounds you can create using the MiniBrute 2’s
patchbay. But first, we’ll look at ways to overcome
a few of the instrument’s idiosyncrasies.
For example, the MiniBrute 2 lacks a dedicated
mult/splitter, making it impossible to route certain modulation sources to multiple destinations—
a requirement that is a staple of many common
sounds—without additional gear. A simple fix is
to use a stackable 3.5mm cable, such as the Tiptop
Audio Stackcable or the Modular Addict Stacking
Eurorack Patch Cable (see Figure 2).
configuration, plug the filter’s ADSR output into
oscillator 1’s PWM or Metalizer input to achieve
the same efect, then use their associated knobs to
fine-tune the depth.
Additionally, the MiniBrute ofered both positive and negative modulation from the envelope. If
this is the sound you’re after, plug the ADSR into
the MiniBrute 2’s inverter module to change the
polarity of the modulation (see Figure 3). Finally,
the original model allowed simultaneous modulation of both waveforms at individual depths. To
replicate this, use a stackable cable to split the signal. The default modulation knobs will continue
to work as independent depth controls, despite
the change in modulation source.
Keyboard Tracking (MIDI KBD to Mod input). It’s surprising that the MiniBrute 2 doesn’t
include a normalled control for adding keyboard
tracking to the filter cutof, as this is a crucial
component for using resonance to highlight specific harmonics consistently across the entire keyboard. You can quickly re-create this routing by
connecting the KBD output in the MIDI section to
the filter Cutof (Att 1) input in the patchbay. From
there, setting the associated knob to 100% will
closely approximate chromatic tracking, allowing
either harmonic emphasis or an additional tone
generator when the resonance is self-oscillating
(at maximum value).
VCO 2 as sub-oscillator. The MiniBrute’s suboscillator (with sine and square wave options)
contributed to its impressive low-end. Although
the MiniBrute 2’s second VCO doesn’t phase-lock
like a sub-oscillator, you can re-create similar subsonic efects by setting its tuning to Fine mode,
selecting a sine or square wave, and tuning it one
or two octaves below oscillator 1. There will be a
Fig. 2
BACK TO THE BRUTE
Despite lacking a few features from the first MiniBrute (such as the sub-oscillator), the MiniBrute
2 has a more advanced set of synthesis tools. Recreating familiar patches from the original model,
however, requires an altered approach.
Envelope modulation: pulse wave and Metalizer. The MiniBrute had dedicated knobs for
filter-envelope modulation of pulse width and
the triangle-wave-based Metalizer, whereas the
MiniBrute 2 normals these routings from LFO 1
and velocity, respectively. For fans of the original
BRUTE FACTOR PRO TIPS
As with the original, the MiniBrute 2’s Brute Factor parameter functions as a feedback loop from
the main output back into the filter. However,
cranking this parameter to maximum can interfere
with the chromatic pitch coherence of a sound.
To get the most from your own sound design,
you need to understand its overall behavior at
varying settings. From 0% to 50% is the sweet spot
for adding grunge, while 50% to 75% works well
for extremely aggressive sounds. Settings over
75% is where you will often lose tuning coherence;
it’s useful for efects and percussion, but not as viable melodically.
The MiniBrute 2’s inclusion of a second oscillator can make the Brute Factor’s behavior more
erratic, as even the smallest tuning diferential
between the two oscillators can yield unpleasant
“beating” artifacts. For the most consistent results, stick with oscillator 1 only as the tonal source
when designing with this feature. Lastly, when
working with oscillator 1’s sawtooth and square
waves in conjunction with Brute Factor settings
above 70%, you can dramatically improve tuning
coherence by mixing in some triangle wave (with
the Metalizer set to zero) in conjunction with the
saw/square elements.
ICONIC PATCHES
Although the MiniBrute 2’s “cookbook” is a fantastic guide to modular-synth basics, the examples
don’t delve too deeply into the underlying synthesis
principles. Here are four iconic synth sounds with
deeper explanations of why they work as they do.
Vintage Hard Sync Leads. Envelope-swept
hard sync is the cornerstone of several legendary
analog synth patches, from ’80s new wave to oldschool funk. The efect is so important that most
programmable two-oscillator synths include a dedicated hard-sync button to activate it. The modular approach requires considerable forethought,
as everything is configured by hand. Here are the
essential concepts for quickly setting up envelope
modulated hard sync on the MiniBrute 2.
1. Sync oscillator 1 by patching the output of
VCO 2 (set to Fine tuning mode) to the sync input
of VCO 1. Now, for every complete wave cycle of
oscillator 2, oscillator 1’s cycle resets, regardless
of its phase and tuning. Thus, oscillator 2 will determine pitch, while the tuning of oscillator 1 will
determine the spectral component of the efect.
2. Next, for the definitive hard sync sweep of
those hallmark synths, connect the filter ADSR
output to the FM input of oscillator 1. If the sync
cable wasn’t connected, you’d simply hear a dramatic pitch sweep, but in this case, it’s the tradeJ ULY
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Fig. 4
mark squawk of countless hits (see Figure 4).
3. With the patchbay configured, the most
relevant parameters are VCO 1 tuning (the sync
timbre), FM depth (amount of hard sync sweep),
and the settings of the ADSR envelope segments,
which will govern the behavior of the animation.
For the most conventional sounds, leave the filter
cutof at maximum and focus on the sawtooth and
square/pulse waveforms in oscillator 1’s mixer.
Supersaw Leads. The MiniBrute’s Ultrasaw
is one of its most innovative features, producing
an analog version of the ubiquitous supersaw effect. With Ultrasaw’s continued availability on the
MiniBrute 2 and the addition of a second oscillator, it’s possible to make even bigger versions of
this essential EDM timbre.
1. Start by setting both oscillators to sawtooth
with VCO 2 in Fine tuning mode, and VCO 1’s Ultrasaw amount should be set to 0. Raise both sawtooth
waves to equal volumes in the mixer and tune them
very closely, so that there is just a touch of detuned
thickness. Open the filter cutof to maximum and
set the AD envelope to Gated for full sustain.
2. Keeping Ultrasaw of, patch LFO 1 to VCO
1’s FM input and set the LFO waveform to Random Gliding (the last option in the selector) and
increase the FM amount knob on the oscillator. At
high modulation values and LFO rates, this will add
a chaotic pitch variation. For this sound, just a tiny
bit of pitch modulation (FM) delivers an animated
detuning efect for the dual sawtooth oscillators.
3. Now, adjust the Ultrasaw modulation from
LFO 2 for the sawtooth and experiment with LFO 2’s
rate and waveform type. To keep the Ultrasaw efect
fluid and organic, stick with sine, triangle, and Random Gliding waveforms while adjusting the amount
and rate to taste. If you’ve followed the above steps
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correctly, the result will be an even richer detuning
efect to use as a starting point for your designs.
Pro Tip: Because LFO 1 is also normalled to PWM,
experiment with adding a touch of PWM modulation
while adjusting the base pulse-width and blend a bit
of that in for even more textural depth.
Trap and 808 kick. While the “cookbook”
includes several useful kick-drum configurations, here is another option that’s tailored
to replicating the definitive 808 kick drum.
1. Open the cutof to maximum, lower all of the
mixer faders except VCO 2, then set its waveform
to sine and tuning mode to All. Next, set the AD
amp envelope to immediate attack, medium decay,
and Trig (not Gate) mode. This will serve as the
basis for the sound.
Pro Tip: You can make a similar kick that
tracks keyboard pitch by patching the ADSR to
VCO 1 FM. But since it ofers only triangle (not
sine) the result will require extensive tinkering
with the filter settings.
2. To emulate the 808’s distinctive attack “click,”
patch the ADSR output to VCO 2 pitch. Because of
the MiniBrute 2’s lack of an integrated mult/splitter, this will disable the keyboard tracking of the
VCO (and the stackable cable doesn’t allow for customizing the voltages appropriately). Thus, tuning
this kick drum depends on VCO 2’s tuning knob.
Here, the 10 o’clock position is a good starting point.
3. With the filter ADSR now modulating VCO 2’s
pitch at maximum depth, setting all envelope segments to minimum, then increasing the decay very
slightly will impart the trademark 808 “click” transient. For longer trap and hip-hop booms, increase
the decay parameter on the AD amp envelope.
Pro Tip: To emulate the sound of a “hot” 808 into
a mixer, accentuate the punchiness of this kick by tailoring the Brute Factor parameter in the 0% to 50%
range. Go beyond that and the result is less stable.
STARTERS FOR EXPERIMENTATION
One of the most common frustrations with modular synthesis is that it is hard to know where to
begin. Option fatigue is a very real phenomena,
and without a specific goal for your experiments,
it can be diicult to retrace your steps to fully understand why you like or dislike the character of a
given patch configuration. Conscientious exploration is the key to mastering the immense range of
options that modular synthesis ofers, so below is
a list of starting points, with brief explanations for
their design applications.
Noise Modulation. Modulating synthesis parameters with noise is a fantastic resource for hard,
gritty, industrial efects, and experimenting with
various destinations and modulation depths can
yield wildly diferent outcomes. It’s also useful for
emulating weather sounds, especially in conjunction with noise itself as your original sound source.
Fig. 5
To get started, plug a cable into VCO 1’s noise
output, then patch it to the filter cutof (Att 1) or
resonance (RM) inputs, as this will yield the most
dramatic efects while allowing you to tailor the
depth with their associated knobs. Once you familiarize yourself with the overall flavor of this
technique, try patching noise as a modulator for
the pulse-width or Metalizer inputs and adding
just a touch of it, while blending in unmodulated
waveforms like a sawtooth from VCO 1 and/or
VCO 2 (see Figure 5). Used subtly, this can impart
crispiness to your sounds.
Audio Rate Modulation. Audio rate modulation from VCO 2 is an incredibly powerful resource for generating sideband-oriented efects.
With so many possible destinations, here are three
experiments to get you started, using the output of
VCO 2 as your modulation source.
1. Because ring modulation is closely related
to amplitude modulation, and filter resonance
generates an increase in amplitude near the cutof frequency, try this approach: Set VCO 2 to sine
wave and tuning mode to Fine, then patch it to the
RM modulation input on the filter. Set the cutof
to around 40%, resonance at 0, and the RM depth
knob to maximum. With a bit of tweaking, you’ll
hear a bell-like tone reminiscent of classic ring
mod. From there, adjust the frequency of VCO 2
and the filter cutof to experiment with timbre.
2. Setting VCO 2’s tuning mode to All and raising
the pitch to maximum is a great way to add a highfrequency shimmer to VCO 1’s waveform options,
regardless of VCO 2’s waveform. With this as your
foundation, patch VCO 2 into PWM or Metalizer,
then blend that modulated waveform with one or
more of VCO 1’s mixer options. With the lowpass
cutof at maximum, it will impart a slightly gritty
Fig. 6
character to the highs of your sound, which can be
fine-tuned using the modulation depth.
3. Set lowpass cutof to around 40% (10 o’clock)
and resonance to maximum. Then set up VCO 2’s
tuning to All mode with a square wave and patch it
into the VCA (+5v) attenuator. This will cause the
synth to drone, since the VCA will be continuously
modulated. Once this is configured, adjusting the
cutof frequency with VCO 2 tuning values above
70% will deliver voice-like, bit-crushed efects due
to the square-wave-generated sidebands.
either the AD envelope or VCO 2 to cyclically animate the Metalizer amount for a third harmonic
animation efect.
Note that when you use the AD envelope in
this manner, the segment times dictate the “LFO
rate.” That is, if you want a fast equilateral triangle
shape, set both attack and decay to low values. For
a slower rhythm, increase these values accordingly. With extremely fast segment times, it’s even
possible to push the AD into audio rate modulation and generate sidebands.
ENVELOPE LOOPING
While some users initially groused about the replacement of the original MiniBrute’s ADSR amp
envelope with an AD envelope, Arturia’s implementation is actually far more flexible, thanks to a
set of switches that allow this envelope to do a few
advanced tricks.
The first thing to understand is that the Decay
segment is actually a decay-release. That is, the
segment completes even after you lift your finger
from a key. In practice, this is largely unnoticeable, because with short decays, the sound will
generally reach silence before you end the note
event.
Gate vs. Trigger mode. This AD envelope can
operate in either Gate or Trigger mode, which covers all but a few specialized ADSR functions (and
you can always head to the patchbay if you want
to swap or reroute the envelopes). In Gate mode,
the envelope sustains at maximum, which is ideal
for pads and leads. In Trigger mode, the envelope
always decays to minimum, with no sustain.
Once vs. Loop. This is the feature that makes
the AD envelope more versatile than standard
ADSR modules. In Once mode, the AD envelope
behaves traditionally, performing familiar note articulation duties. In Loop mode, it functions like
a variable-shape LFO. In this case, adjustments to
the attack and decay segments allow both saw up
and down shapes, as well as a variety of triangular
forms (see Figure 6).
Of course, the looping feature also provides an
extra modulation tool, in addition to the dual LFOs
and VCO 2’s ability to operate in low-frequency
mode. Accordingly, you can combine them to create evolving drones with minimal patching. For
example, since Ultrasaw and PWM are normalled
to LFO 2 and 1, respectively, you can then patch
SIGNAL PROCESSING
With its resonant, multimode Steiner-Parker filter
and VCA, the MiniBrute 2 is a powerful resource
for processing external signals. Here are three instantly accessible uses for the audio input.
Processing instruments. With tempo-synced
LFO options and the ability to trigger the envelopes
through MIDI or sequencing, the MiniBrute 2 is an
amazingly versatile efect for incorporating electric
guitars into dance music in innovative ways.
Insert effect. For the above reasons, it’s also
possible to integrate the synth as an insert efect
in a hardware rig or via a multi-channel interface and compatible DAW like Ableton Live or
Apple Logic. The implementation will vary based
on your studio configuration, but the results are
Fig. 7
worth it if you want to chop and process vocals or
other production elements in tandem with your
sequences. (Visit emusician.com for my tutorial
on “The Integrated Studio” for specifics.)
Paraphonic filtering. If you have an old digital synth collecting dust in a closet, connect it to the
MiniBrute 2’s MIDI output. Then, plug the digital instrument’s audio output into the patchbay’s external
input. This will allow you to route the digital waveforms and presets (strings and brass are great as starting points) into the filter and amplifier in a paraphonic manner. That is, you can still play chords, but the
note articulation will be monophonic, like a vintage
string synth. It’s a powerful way to breathe new life
into older instruments while adding real-time timbral
control with the MiniBrute 2’s knobs and faders.
(Note that the MiniBrute 2’s external input is a
3.5mm jack located on the patchbay. Consequently, if you want to process instruments that have a
1/4" output, you’ll need an adapter.)
SEQUENCING TRICKS
While the MiniBrute 2S swaps the keyboard for a
set of pads and knobs for advanced step-sequencing functionality, the essential concept for both
instruments lies in understanding that the parameter modulation functionality is based on velocity
and pressure. That is, if you want to sequence a
synthesis parameter on either unit, your modulation tools will be the same; they’re just accessed
with a diferent user interface.
Essentially, the MiniBrute 2 lets you articulate parameters based on your playing style (with
some associated editing functionality), whereas
the MiniBrute 2S adds the ability to dial in the velocity and pressure with the sequencer knobs, in
addition to pad dynamics.
While filter and amp routings are the obvious
choices for familiar sounds, here are three alternative
destinations that deliver radical spectral complexity.
Pulse-width. Sequencing the pulse width lets
you rhythmically accent some notes, while thinning others. When the pulse-width narrows, the
sound will get brighter and thinner, so blending
VCO 2 an octave lower will help retain fullness.
Additionally, this efect is most audible with a high
filter-cutof value.
Hard sync. Refer to the hard sync tutorial
above, but in step 2 connect the pressure output
to the FM input of oscillator 1 (see Figure 7). Using pressure will allow you to sequence the timbre
shifts in a manner that evokes ’90s-era “big beat”
dance music (such as Chemical Brothers and
Crystal Method).
Metalizer. While velocity is the default modulator for this tool, its behavior is always stepped.
Switching to Pressure lets you fluidly shift the
Metalizer spectra in a more continuous manner in
conjunction with real-time sequence recording. Q
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BY MICHAEL COOPER
I f you’ve been using any of MOTU’s latest interfaces with the included
Pro Audio Control Web app, you know how powerful and flexible the combination is. When used with your DAW, the Web app’s versatile routing and
huge virtual mixer let you, among other things, track large ensembles and
overdub with up to seven different stereo cue mixes output from the interface to musicians’ headphones.
Unfortunately, there’s a wrinkle: Straight
out of the box, Pro Audio Control’s USBinput names (From Computer 1, From Computer 2, and so on)—also used for its mixer’s corresponding input channels— don’t
match the default names the app publishes
for track outputs in Digital Performer.
When the singer asks you for less kick drum
in his headphones, which From Computer
fader do you lower in the app’s mixer?
It would be a lot simpler and more intuitive if you could make your tracks’ output
names in DP match the input names showing in Pro Audio Control’s mixer (as well
as in its Routing matrix). In this article, I’ll
show you how to do just that.
DIFFERENT NAMES BY DEFAULT
It’s important to note that Pro Audio Control automatically publishes names for
track outputs in DP, and these track output
names are by default determined, in part,
by which input channel they are routed to
in the Web app’s virtual mixer. When using my MOTU 8D digital interface, the Web
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app automatically routes all its hardware
inputs to the first available input channels
in its virtual mixer. So, for example, if I have
only three of the 8D’s four pairs of 2-channel digital (AES/EBU and S/PDIF) hardware inputs enabled in the Web app, they
are automatically routed to the app’s mixer
channels 1 through 6. DP routes its tracks
(via USB) to the Web app’s next available
channels in sequential order. (AVB sources
go to channels after DP.)
In my example, the first track (listed at
the top) in DP’s Tracks window is automatically routed to the Web app’s seventh
input channel (DP output named Mix In
7), the second track goes to the eighth input channel (DP output Mix In 8) and so
on. Unfortunately, the Web app’s inputs
for those same DP tracks are respectively
named From Computer 1, From Computer 2
etc. (instead of Mix In 7, Mix In 8, etc.) in
both the app’s Routing and Mixing (virtual
mixer) panes (see Figure 1).
Because the Web app publishes names
in DP and not vice versa, the way to get the
Fig. 1. The names of track outputs in DP
(shown in the upper half of this composite
view) and inputs to the MOTU Pro Audio
Control Web app’s virtual mixer (lower half)
are different by default. (These two screen
captures were taken at different times.)
Fig. 2. As names are retyped in the From
Computer (USB) input bank in the Web
app’s Routing tab (shown in the top half of
this view), the names in the Output column
in DP’s Tracks window (bottom half) update
to match the retyped names.
Fig. 3: In this custom template,
the names for each input in
the Web app’s From Computer
(USB) input bank (top left in
this view) have been edited
to match those for the corresponding instrument tracks
(sub, kick, snare and so on) in
DP. The same names are automatically assigned to input
channels in the Web app’s virtual mixer (bottom half of this
view). The names in the Output
column in DP’s Tracks window
(top right) match the names in
the Web app’s Routing tab, except that trailing numbers have
been arbitrarily added in DP.
names of DP’s outputs and the Web app’s inputs to
match is to edit in the Web app. There are two possible ways to go here: Create generic I/O names
that will always match for any conceivable project,
or create a custom template tailored to (and that
will only work for) a consistently used recording
setup. I’ll show you how to do both.
A UNIVERSAL SOLUTION
To make the I/O names always match no matter
what type of project (music production, post-production, etc.) and tracks (vocals, instruments, dialog, foley) are involved, first open the Routing tab in
the Web app. In the I/O routing grid that appears,
inputs to the Web app are listed at the head of columns across the top. The From Computer (USB)
input bank lists all inputs coming from DP (From
Computer 1, From Computer 2, and so on). Click on
From Computer 1, retype the name, and press Return on your keyboard. The input’s “new” name
(exactly the same as the original) becomes highlighted to indicate it’s been edited (see Figure 2).
As you re-type the name for each From Computer
input in turn, you’ll notice the names of outputs in
DP’s Tracks window will update to match the retyped names in the Web app’s Routing tab precisely.
For example, in Figure 2 the kick drum’s output in
DP (formerly Mix In 8) becomes From Computer 2,
which is exactly what the kick’s input in the Web
app’s Routing tab—and the kick’s mixer channel in
the app—are named. All the names match.
CREATE A CUSTOM TEMPLATE
If you consistently record the same type and number of instruments and vocals in every one of your
projects, you may wish to create a custom tem-
presets for the Web app (including
custom presets you’ve saved), overwriting the previous names they
used. If you should suddenly land
a post-production project, for instance, your dialog tracks’ outputs
will automatically be named kick,
snare and so on, which makes absolutely no sense. For this reason,
I prefer to name all USB inputs for the Web app
From Computer [#] as in the universal solution I
proposed above. No matter what kind of project
comes your way, you’ll have an intuitive setup that
works like a charm. Q
plate in which each fader in the Web app’s mixer is
named after its source (bass, vocals and so on) for
even faster identification. To do this, edit the From
Computer input names in the Web app’s Routing
tab so that, from left to right, they match the track
names listed in DP’s Tracks window
from top to bottom (see Figure 3). As
you edit each From Computer name in
the Web app to respectively read sub,
kick, snare, hat, and so on, you’ll see the
corresponding names in the Output
column in DP’s Tracks window change
essentially to match the new names.
The only diference will be the Output
names in DP will also have a trailing
number added (1, 2, 3 and so on) that
indicates the tracks’ sequential order
in the Web app’s USB-input bank.
You can delete the trailing numbers
by editing each output’s name in the
left-hand column of DP’s Bundles window (under its Outputs tab; see Figure 4). But it’s probably not worth the
trouble, as the trailing numbers will
be automatically restored in other DP
projects you load. What’s important is
that the names for instrument and vocal tracks’ outputs in DP are easily and
quickly recognized in the Web app’s
Routing tab and mixer input channels—speeding your workflow.
Naming the Web app’s inputs (and
therefore DP’s track outputs) after
specific instruments and vocals has Fig. 4: Names in the Outputs tab for DP’s Bundles window
one major drawback: The names will (bottom half of this view) are edited to remove trailing
numbers in the Output column in DP’s Tracks window
be applied across all existing Routing (top half).
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This vintage ad from the September 1979 issue of Contemporary Keyboard is a reminder of how exciting—and competitive—the
synth market was at the time. When the duophonic Octave Cat was first introduced, players immediately noticed a resemblance to
the popular ARP Odyssey. ARP, on the other hand, saw it as a patent infringement but were unable to keep Octave from producing
it, or the follow up Cat SRM (pictured here with the single-VCO Kitten), which continued through 1981. —Gino Robair
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BY SARAH JONES
T he Women’s Audio Mission (San Francisco) was created to cultivate diversity in the recording industry. This nonprofit provides hands-on training to
young women and girls in the Bay Area and beyond through school outreach
programs, studio classes, internships, job-specific training and placement,
and mentoring activities designed to empower participants and provide a
stronger path to higher education.
Now in its 15th year, WAM has served
12,000 women and girls and placed 650 women
in media jobs, in an industry that is 95 percent
male. The organization trains nearly 2,000
people each year in its facilities in San Francisco and Oakland and at Bay Area schools, and
is expanding its geographical reach through
conferences and events nationwide.
At the helm is founder Terri Winston, an
award-winning engineer, producer, and former major label recording artist and director
of the Sound Recording Arts Degree Program
at City College of San Francisco.
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This is a population where 73 percent don’t
have access to a computer or a mobile device.
Seventy-eight percent have never touched a
musical instrument. It’s heartbreaking. We just
decided that until we met all that demand, that’s
what we would focus on. It’s actually more costefective to do this than to wait till that person
starts to get into trouble. We should be making
that investment. The education system is just
failing a huge part of the population.
n––Ž“ŒSG k–“‰ SG h‹–‰ŒSG jšŠ–SG ˆ•‹G –›Œ™G
Š–”—ˆ•ŒšG ˆŒG œ•‹Œ‹G ~htG —™–‘ŒŠ›šUG
~ˆ›G ˆ™ŒG ›ŒG ‰ˆ™™Œ™šG ›–G ‹Œ™š› G •G ›ŒG ~ GšG›ŒG—™ˆ›ŒGšŒŠ›–™G͌““•ŽG›šGŽˆ—G•G
ˆœ‹–G•‹œš›™ f
—œ‰“ŠGŒ‹œŠˆ›–•f
You have to go outside of your circle of
It’s resources. It’s not like teachers are failfriends, you have to go outside your family, go ing anyone; employees of the public school sysoutside your neighborhood, go outside your tem are dancing as fast as they can. But when
community, in order to be inclusive. That’s we start only allowing certain people to have
not always comfortable for people, and I think access to education, that’s not okay. That’s
people equate comfort with something being where the gap comes from. For us, we’ve exgood. I don’t believe in that. I think that some plored corporate partnerships because we
of the greatest discoveries come from a place need to diversify where our funding comes
of unknowing and discomfort.
from. There’s only so much money that we can
I think all kinds of diversity can be ad- get from the government; if you think about it,
dressed the same way. We’re providing that if the government had extra money, it should
environment for someone so that they feel like be dumping it into the education system.
this is something they can do when they have
the right support. We’re not coddling them; €–œ˅ŒG‰ŒŒ•G‹–•ŽG›šG–™GX\G Œˆ™šUGo–žG
they go out in the world, and they do it, and ‹–ŒšG ›ŒG •‹œš›™ G “––’G ›–G –œG •–žSG šUG
žŒ•G –œGš›ˆ™›Œ‹G–œ›f
they’re great.
We see the most change at conferences
u•Œ› TšŸG —Œ™ŠŒ•›G –G ›ŒG Ž™“šG –œG ™ŒˆŠG like AES or NAMM. We have such heavy trafˆ™ŒG“–žG•Š–”ŒUG~ GšG›G”—–™›ˆ•›G–™G –œG fic, and manufacturers are starting to position
]]
JULY
20 18
£ G l t | z p j p h u U j v t
toward our booth because they see how many
students are streaming to us.
It’s been really heartwarming to me to see
how many male allies we have. How many
young men are walking around with WAM
buttons on and WAM t-shirts on. How manufacturers like Mackie are sending pictures of
the guys on the assembly line in WAM shirts.
That’s people saying, “Hey, we’re with you. We
want to help do this.”
Change is slow, and not necessarily tangible.
But another way to look at it would be to look
at the venues here in San Francisco and to see
that almost every single venue has a woman
from WAM as a live sound engineer. I was talking to a male musician who said, “Terri, I don’t
see that it’s a problem here. There are so many
women.” I said, “That’s because we are in San
Francisco.” That was great, because he saw it as
normal. There are a lot of little things like that.
~Œ™ŒG‹–G –œGžˆ•›G›–G›ˆ’ŒG~htG•ŒŸ›f
Last year in Boston, we did the first and only
women’s recording conference, which iZotope
hosted on its campus. We had 100 young women on the East Coast come and learn to record
with Susan Rogers, Leanne Ungar, and a host
of other folks.
On June 9th we’re holding a conference at
Capitol Studios in L.A. We’re capping it at 100
and it sold out in three days. We’re just trying
to see where’s the biggest demand for the next
WAM location, because that’s the constant
question we get: “How do we open this here
in our city?”
The natural growth would be to expand to
other cities. We’re looking at holding a conference in New York this year, and we’ve had a UK
government entity come over to try to figure out
how to bring our Girls on the Mic program there.
We’re not changing; if anything, we’re perfecting our curriculum and looking for ways to
bring it to more people all over the world. Q
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