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

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Free Bass Sounds from Modulars: Ableton Live Sampler Instruments, Free Loops

By Peter Kirn

Do you dream of wires but require some sounds … now?

São Paulo-based sound house Spektro Audio has shared a lovely Live pack full of multi-sampled bass instruments, free. They set to work on a very tasty-sounding Eurorack modular, then put together ten Sampler-based instruments in Instrument Racks, complete with options for filtering, distortion, and the like. Using their CV Toolkit, they triggered that same modular setup from their Live set. No specifics on what's in their rack, but you'll spot some nice modules from some of our favorite builders: Mutable Instruments (is that Braids?), Tip Top more

Source: CreateDigitalMusic

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Get a $250 Eventide Channel Strip, Free, for Any Platform

By Peter Kirn

You know those infomercials that tell you to call now – though it makes absolutely no difference when you call? This is the opposite of that.

Basically, you can buy a new 64-bit channel strip plug-in from Eventide for US$249. Or, act now, and it will cost … nothing. It's free, through the 8th of July. I had to read this twice; I thought maybe it was an older version or an existing plug-in. It's not. Their intro price is zero, and then it goes up to two hundred fifty bucks.

And coming from Eventide, this is especially big news, as the more

Source: CreateDigitalMusic

Hear the MFB Dominion 1 Synth in an Epic, Triumphant Demo Song

By Peter Kirn

Some demo songs say “I'm cheesy, please buy me.” “I'm trying desperately to sound like the current genre of the moment.” This one says something different. It shouts: “Greetings. I'm the Dominion 1. You might not know me – but you should. I am awesome. I am your new best friend. I am what you covet – I am what you shall have, because I will be yours. Together, we will triumph. We will quest together through the party times, and the world will go our way in ways that surprise even us. People will more

Source: CreateDigitalMusic

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone

By Peter Kirn

Sometimes, it takes just that one set of sounds to unfreeze your creativity and get a song started. And that's why freebies are sometimes such fun: they're even a bit more odd, a handful of offbeat sounds that just begs to be turned into … something.

The folks at Puremagnetik have been posting some gems to their Tumblr account. This just in: “Wicked Kits” is a collection of five drum kits pre-configured for Ableton Live. (As with any Live kit, there are raw samples you can use in any tool you like – Renoise, MPC, whatever.)

The emphasis here is definitely vintage, more

Source: CreateDigitalMusic

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Staying Mobile, Imperfect; Music and Talk from Robert Lippok, To Rococo Rot

By Peter Kirn
Robert, at home in the studio.

Robert, at home in the studio.

It's festival season, a time for pre-packaged artists, album-perfect live sets, pristine digital worlds that sometimes literally come from the folks at Google. And there's nothing wrong with that. But maybe now is a good time to look to the other avenue – to keeping things rough and loud, flawed, live in the sense that has mistakes.

Robert Lippok, the always-busy, long-working Berlin-based artist, can celebrate both that messiness and obsessive control. As a soloist, he's been a staple on Raster Noton; he's also known for being one third of To Rococo Rot. 2014 is bringing more

Source: CreateDigitalMusic

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MIDI Piano Roll Turned Into Platformer: Adventures of General MIDI

By Peter Kirn

It turns Logic Pro into a game level editor. It makes a standard MIDI file into a terrain of platforms to explore. As you navigate, your footfalls on piano roll-visualized notes procedurally generate sound effects and music.

And it turns General MIDI — and Super Midio, and my personal favorite, the SysExorcist — into heroes.

It's Adventures of General MIDI, a platformer made from MIDI files. And it's the creation of Will Bedford, who quips that he fails miserably at his own game in the YouTube video and gives up at the end. Even more unlikely (arguably), more

Source: CreateDigitalMusic

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Korg Gadget iPad DAW Looks Super Fun

Holy smokes! That looks fun.
A collection of fifteen Gadgets, Recording and Mixing!
They call it "A second Daw"

Might need an iPad now.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Roland FA-06, FA-08 Leaked

These were found on a Russian distributer's site. There is also a placemark for these on Roland Turkey. Found on this thread. There hasn't been a time ever where someone hasn't found website leaks, or when someone took photos. It appears to be like an Integra-7 with audio recording and a sampler! It probably is remeniscent of FA-76, which is why there is no Fantom name on top. I would love to know if the keybed is Fantom G / JP-80 quality, because I am not interested in weighted 08 keys (I'm a synth player only).

It looks like they have performance controls, a color screen, and dials / pads from the Fantom. I'm not a big fan of the style of this one. Very blocky and the numeric graphic is a litle weird. It might be cool if the pitch wheel lights up. Overall it looks nice. I've definitely been looking for a "G" replacement. But I must say these are aesthetically disappointing, like early 90s junk.

TB-03 and TR-08 might exist as well, but I have no evidence. The FA-06 might cost $ 1,680


From the Roland Turkey site (translated)
Roland's new FA series completely effortless power real-time, ultra-fast workflow and re-imagined workstation for maximum versatility. You play all music styles ready to support the FA-06 and FA-08 flagship INTEGRA-7 sound module from a huge sound bank, tons of studio-quality effects impressive, real-time controls and internal 16 backlit pad with zero load-time audio capable of playing, rapid prototyping to sahiptir.sequenc feature is easy to use and the ability to make continuous loop recording your songs and ideas, whether export to multiple channels allows you to use in your DAW software. The creator of your world in every department on your side who will be FA series; powerful, real-time controls and with more live performances for use alone outside, USB Audio / MIDI interface and DAW software controls and real-time computer-based studio çalışmalarınız in the control center can become.

  • Has been designed to increase your creativity, music has been re-imagined Workstation

  • Intuitive, large color LCD screen, streamlined interface

  • Lightweight, portable 61 key keyboard precision body (FA-06) or 88-key senses represent Ivory Ivory Feel-G mechanism (FA-08)

  • SuperNatural from INTEGRA-7 sound module synth, acoustic instrument sounds and sound davulları containing over 2000, thanks to the built-in audio input add more 'can be added.

  • Axial sound bank free on Roland's extensive audio collection fully compatible with the INTEGRA-7 synth tones supernatural synth processor

  • SP-404SX features built-in 4 banks based X 16 pad sampler and SDHC card recording and playback directly to

  • Non-Stop recording will let you create your songs easily walkable 16-channel sequencer; Sequencer complete stereo mix channels, multi-channel audio or MIDI to the DAW can save SDHC card to use in our writing.

  • 16 independent MFX processors, drums six COMP + EQ processors, unique TFX (total effects) and global EQ, chorus, and reverb Enrich your Soundu with.

  • Your Tone, effects and real-time control external MIDI devices, Sound Modify buttons can be assigned to six users

  • One press of a button i FA-06/FA-08 your DAW via USB it ready to use in our writing

  • D-Beam, Rhythm Pattern, Arpeggiator and Chord Memory features Expand your creativity with palette

  • Performance, Sample and audio recording to DAW software for Guitar / Mic and Line inputs, these inputs are assigned to the ambience reverb feature offers the performance and during recording.

  • Audio expansion, updating, and computer and audio / MIDI interface, USB input for use as the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit with iPad MIDI connection possible.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Analog Synths Under $700 Compared


Here is a comparison of features per dollar on budget synthesizers. This was done in early 2014, before Winter NAMM with available synths. Winner: Microbrute! Runner up were the Volca Keys & Bass. I'll apologize ahead of time for any errors, but I think this is close enough to do a basic comparison.


Monday, January 6, 2014

What is The Fastest Mac Per Dollar For Audio?


Here we have a collection of Macintosh boxes, mostly portables, to see which is the best value for the dollar. What matters is raw computing speeds since we use them for audio. Used Mac Pros and a Refurb Mac mini was thrown in. Most of these are Apple store prices, and all should have 256GB hard drive upgraded figured into the price. (128GB or lower is not acceptable!).

What is the conclusion? Best Dekstop: The 2.66 quad Mac Pro from Megamacs was the best deal. If you want something slightly faster, the refurb 2011 mac Mini server is a little faster, and obviously quieter. Best laptop deal: Macbook Pro 15" 2.0 Ghz.  Remember these all had 256GB drives (SSD) or 500GB+ equivalent hard drive.

Older portables like the 2009 MBP may be cheap and available on ebay, but they have pathetic scores, being half as fast as a new Mac Mini, so they are not recommended. Also note if you bought a used Mac Pro you could upgrade the machine with a new graphics card and it would still be an acceptable value today. If you do go portable, just get a new laptop! (People tend to bang up used ones anyway).

Update: The lower Graph is jumbled. Sorry. Mac Tracker was used to find the scores, so there may be a slight discrepency. This is a general guide.