Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Synth Toys For 2016

Roland System 500 Complete set. I think this might be somewhat collectible or useable for a long time into the future. I do like the digital 1m module too however & their other eurorack modules look nice. As a toy collector I'd pick up all of these. The JD and mini modules I do not like for different reasons. They are cheap / small looking.

Yamaha's new Montage looks quite good. They added their FM engine back in.

The Matrix Brute....I think it might not sound that great, or something is funny. So many controls and its so cheap! What would I really do with it? I don't know. I'd need more audio demos to make a decision.

I like the Korg Minilogue. I think the sound does not seem too complex yet. However it looks like a nice build for a great price that blows out Arturia.

Where was Akai? Waldorf is kinda meh too. Neither company has a flagship.

So it is 2016?
What is the ultimate synthesizer? What should you really buy to make music?

1. Jupiter-80 (find me a more powerful synthesizer with effects & layering! you can't!)
2. Korg Kronos
3. Korg Odyssey
4. Yamaha Montage
5. Dave Smith Prophet 12 or Pro 2

What else would you need to make music? Maybe just sound banks on your computer, or a drum machine. This would be my recs for buying something new off the shelf. Happy 2016. Push the envelope of technology and make new music for me. Do not settle for retro music or nostalgia.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Roland Boutique, Moog Mother, and More Updates.

So what is going on with the new Roland boutique line? It looks awesome, but of course when you get into the details its another product I do not need. I just hope this tech comes to a mega-synth module that's overpowered with all the options. The boutique systems are only 4 polyphony. Therefore, I can't use it as a Jupiter 8 clone. Minikeys also invaded to keep the cost down. My fingers are too big. I could use it as a module, or buy two of them, but geez thats too many hookups and doubles the cost for a digital system. They are kind of cool and sound better than whats out there now, but I'd end up spending as much as my computer for a Jupiter-8. I'd just end up fooling around with it.

Roland's Boutique line is Kinda Cool, but a pass just from the specs alone. Roland came out with other synths this year but I don't care about those either!

Moog's Mother 32 is a Euro rack system that sounds good so far and is not expensive. I think a lot of people will be picking this up. It seems to nudge a lot of budget options out of consideration if you are into modular.

What else? I've been playing synthesizer at home. I renewed this domain for another year and plan to keep it going as long as I can. I'm still happy with the switch to Blogger platform. I might create a seperate video gaming blog and review games, because that is also a hobby.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Synthesizing Cymbals (909 High-hats) on the V-synth

It is quite hard to get a good cymbal sound by subtractive synthesis alone. A lot of tutorials will use mainly a noise oscillator and a triangle, but you can go a little bit farther. This will not be a full tutorial, but I will give some nice hints. This setup makes a slightly 909-ish high hat sound.

This is my chain for high hats.

Juno OSC with octave oscillator up + Noise OSC -> FM Modulation -> Comb Filter -> Resonator, Resonator Guitar model.


The Juno Osc seems to make a nice cymbal sound. It is sort of like triangle but has extra waves. With the extra oscillator engaged you can tune it a little. Turn the pitch up very high. Next, the Noise Osc can actually be tuned slightly with the PWM control. The FM modulation enaged seems to make more sharp noise. You can try it on or off. The comb filter, tuned up seems to channel the energy, and you can adjust the tone. Lastly, the metallic guitar resonator  gives it all that 909 sample cymbal sound if you balance it right and tune it up high. (I also found the resonator works better than the frequency shifter for snare drums and toms, but thats a different tutorial).

You will have to find the right tunings and timings yourself. I'm not going to go into the envelope settings because they are either long or short for open or closed high hat. You can also change parameters dynamically with velocity. Copying the sound into zones allows you to make the open & closed sound. Remember to make the pitch scale flat of the oscillators so the sound doesn't change.

Good luck. If you have a better formulation, leave it below.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to get PCSX2 working with Wineskin on Yosemite

The mac is not the best system to run the latest batch of emulators. I can promise to get the emulator program working, but not every game. Its still better to buy an actual PS2 and the actual game, but this is a start up tutorial to help you get tinkering. Below is some text instructions that will help.
  1. Open Wineskin Winery. Create a wrapper. Name your app PCSX2. View wrapper in finder.
  2. Open the app's package by right-clicking "show package contents" Double click Wineskin.
  3. Install PCSX2 software. Choose setup executable (the PCX2 exe installer). Quit.
  4. Back out of the folders. Double click the actual application PCSX2.
  5. PCSX2 settings. GS: ZeroGS. SPU2: Configure. Select PortAudio.
  6. Put your PS2 Bios files inside the Bios folder in the OSX user document's folder! Overall its pretty annoying finding the right directories, and I'm not going to go into it further. I left it default because the program crashes and gets confused sometimes.
  7. Select the bios and hit Finish! The PCSX2 is running. You can run your ISO rom files with fast boot.
  8. Recheck your graphics and audio settings, like the PortAudio, and make sure its configured to the default audio device.
Overall I got some games to boot up, but there were slow downs. I'm not promising you can play the games. I was able to get a bit into Monster Rancher 4. I couldn't get Ridge Racer 5 to run right. If you have extra tips on settings please post them. I will not answer any questions or provide other links. This was the best method I found to get the application to work sadly. Hopefully the programmers make a real mac version that runs games. The state of PS2 emulation is pretty poor compared to Genesis and SNES.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Anouncing V-synth Ultimate Pack 2

New for 2015, this is the second V-synth Patch Bank with 300+ more presets from our website. If you are a previous customer of the first V-synth bank, you'll want to purchase this Ultimate Pack 2! You can have a preview of it's synthesizer category here: This is a serious fill-up!

It features more great sounds, piano, guitar, FX, dubstep sounds, the best basses, ambient pads, and 70s & 80s synths. Its $99 and is the culmination of a year's work of making presets. These are specifically developed for this website and are not copies. More useable and more mixable than ever before.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

ProTip: Interesting Harmonic Distortion on the V-synth

If you want to emulate another piece of gear's harmonics, you can attempt to do so with the V-synth. With an FFT program, (I recommend SigScope) you can determine the harmonics of the amplifier distortion MFX on the V-synth.

1. Select a sine wave.
2. Play the note that closely relates to a FFT graph you are emulating. (In my case a 1k sine wave)
3. Use the Guitar Amp Master Fx and scroll through different settings to see the output.
4. Find someone else's FFT test graph for whatever piece of gear you are emulating.
5. Adjust the Gain & EQ to match the graphs. The harmonics are the lines after the first large spike. The spacing and height of each determines the change. You can just guess or do the best you can. You might not be able to match it at all, or you might find a new sound you like.

With the V-synth you must use really low gain both on the OSC and the MFC volume. If you hear the sinewave overdriving, you are a little too loud.

I was able to match Neve 1073 channel strip with two Marshall amplifiers, one in the COSM, and one in the MFX. Both had low gain. I used a LPF on the first COSM slot to have a bit of roll-off. You can also introduce noise into the mix on the second OSC.

Basically, it is "british EQ" on the V-synth!Does it sound the same?  I'm not sure I even care, I'm just exploring the sound pallette everyday with this keyboard. I'm sure I've done things the designers hadn't thought of.

So what can you do with all this? You could run audio through the input, or use the LPF for different synth sounds. SigScope pro can also check the waveform shapes if you want to explore more. If you have this set up, you will probably run out of slots for creating synth sounds, so maybe use a sample. If you have a JP-80 you could probably go wild, as it has more FX combinations. If you are going old-school, you could probably use a plate reverb.

So thats my tip for getting slightly different distortion textures! No matter what you do, you can never get things perfect, but its fun to try and explore the endless possibilities.