Sunday, December 14, 2014

Waiting for NAMM 2015

Lately I'm waiting for NAMM 2015 announcements. I'm looking forward to keyboard workstations and audio interfaces. Both areas really aren't developed for pro-sumer anymore. Audio interfaces tend to be overpriced with too many connection types and stability problems. Keyboard workstations tend to have gotten cheaper and have worse builds than before. If Roland does not announce a real workstation I think I'll be giving up on their company entirely. If you spend $1000 dollars you don't deserve a plastic toy. I won't wait anymore after 2015 NAMM. Hopefully exciting stuff leaks out.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Yosemite 2

I've been using Yosemite for about a month. Of course you can't stop the upgrade train. The night mode menus are actually a good feature, even if it kind of breaks aliasing and the look of the system. The middle-screen spotlight pop up isn't too bad. I still think I hate the notification center. I perform a task and then it logs in there 30 times. Its not necessary. Many apps are just a bit junky now. If I mistype weird screens like notification center or mission control / launchpad pop up and those are totally useless and get in the way.

While I don't like a lot of the new apps and features, I can't say I have a better alternative.

Other than that, I've been still creating new sounds on my V-synth every couple of days and play SNES (Yoshi Island. I've been thinking about making a new video of some kind.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

OS X Yosemite: Do not upgrade!

OS X Yosemite has the poorest interface design in many years of Apple products. The employees have been making a series of declining quality control decisions. I do think the people working on these interface ideas should quit.

So, Yosemite Sam? I don't think anyone should upgrade to it. It's harder to read, the gradients, the transparency are all haphazard. What extras are here? Nothing great. It looks like it uses slightly more memory, but it was already a beast. I can't read my screen well. It looks like an OS9 re-skin from 15 years ago. I really think all the developers should complain to Apple. This update is not helpful.  iTunes, which I've been complaining about for years is not fixed. It got uglier.

The mac-crashing Extensions are back! Well maybe they don't crash...yet.

The iconic trashcan icon looks like a water glass.
I could get a spider monkey to render a better cylinder in Ray Dream Studio.

They changed window behaviors again. Maximizing makes a folder go full-screen. In what universe is that useful? How am I supposed to drag files out of the folder if the entire window covers every square centimeter of visual real estate?

Please go back to this, I'm begging you. I do think Yosemite is worse than Aqua. I could read and navigate Aqua.

Edit: Dark mode helps. Disabling Transparency makes text harder to read. There is no technical reason not to upgrade. I just think this was update was not envisioned well.

Edit: Also this is unrelated, but I really like using Blogger instead of Wordpress. It was totally the right choice for my content, so its likely to stay like this for years.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Moved to Blogspot!

I moved Chip Collection to Blogspot! Most of the content has been transferred including the product pages etc (on the right bar). This will probably be a permanent residence of the blog, since there is no maintenance. I created the site in 2006 and didn't know how far I'd go with it. I will probably renew the domain, but I'd take offers over email (asking $3.2k now).

Some of the patches and refills are now FREE (Tone Collection, Diva Patches, Korg ER-1 and more) if you can find them. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Free Enhanced Mellotron M400 Samples

By synthhead

Expressive Tron - Enhanced Mellotron M400 samples Free from Tronsonic was uploaded by: tronsonics
Duration: 82
Rating: more

Source: synthtopia

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Most Important Synth Tips Ever

1. Use modulation

Step sequencers and time sync-ed LFO are the most important parts of the synth. They connect the sound to the music in a rhythmic way. Modulation expresses the sound over time. Modulation re-shapes the wave and makes it talk. Modulate the filter. Modulate the pitch with a FM or OSC sync. The modulation alone can make a groove or just using the mod wheel can make your synth talk to the listener. You can even start with modulation during the creation of your patches. Modulating pulsewidth gives the sound an interesting texture. Synth sounds are not all about envelopes. Envelopes often trigger exactly the same at each note press. This makes it no better than a rompler. You get a static sound with envelopes. With a rhythmic modulation, step sequencer modulation etc. you can make the sound alive. Modulation can often make a sound unrealistic, but that is the point of using an analog synthesizer. Making realistic sounds often is a failure. If you synthesize a sound thats already been heard before, you could still create a modulation of it that's never been done. Modulation is an important area to explore. It might not make any sense at first, as to what is changing what. Some synths are very poor choices and have limited modulations. Always pick a synth that makes LFOs and step sequences easy, and make sure they are time synced.

2. Create sounds by playing along with music

This is important to getting your sound EQed and to match your song style-wise. Customizing a synth sound to your music just makes it more fluid. A lot of times you can fix a synth sound by adjusting the amount of bass or brightness (filter). Many digital synths are way too bright and must be adjusted, and pulled back to be less aggressive. Filters used for bass often aren't too bright. You can often make a better bass sound on a synth thats not too good at bass, by bumping up the EQ. Overrall you should think of yourself as mixing the sound with other sounds.  If you create sounds by themselves, you'll listen to them again later and they will be too loud, or won't work in your songs.

3. Learn how to use EFX.

Not all synths have effects. The ones that do are pretty special. Sometimes a boring patch can find life with some basic effects like chorus and reverb. Effects can add to the modulation-factor. Effects give atmosphere. Effects can make the synth sound talk. The patch you are making is either a voice or an effect sound with some type of subconscious emotion that effects can further bring out. Different effects can remind the listener of different periods of music when those effects were popular. They can make the sound generic or take it to a new level.

4. Learn how to adjust timing of every parameter

Timing of the envelopes, LFOs, and even reverbs / phasers can drastically change a sound. The timing of each parameter can align harmonics into a new layer of combined sound. At the end, everything will just feel right. Not everything needs to be synced, but you can try to achieve a subconscious harmony of waves (or dissonance if you prefer).  You can sweeten and tighten up sounds by playing a musical sequence. You can load up old patches and just re-tweak everything to fit a different speed of playback.

5. You don't need an analog synth to make music

Analogs can be great, but not all of them fit with music production needs. They are missing many modern features. The external connections can slow you down. Their limited nature can hold you back music wise. The modern computer can do everything that an analog synth can. It will just sound slightly different. Most listeners will never be able to tell if you are using an analog synth or not, especially with todays effects and recording process. There are good reasons to use analog synths, but there are just far more options with digital music creation. The cost is a lot less. Buying an analog synth will not turn you into a genius. It may not even make your music any better. You may want one for performing or experimentation, but in the end its not 100% necessary. In the end an analog instrument will never match the functions of a digital synth without a great cost to the user.


In a more basic review:

Make your synth sounds TALK.

Adjust the timing of everything to harmonize the sound

Add effects to add atmosphere

Adjust the EQ to match the song

Use effects to make your synth sound TALK