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Showing posts from June, 2013

BookTip XV: Theremin - Ether Music And Espionage

Wow... It took me quite some time to complete reading this book, but it was worth it... and i believe I have never read such an interesting biography as this one.
Maybe it has to do with the broad spectrum of interests that this book covers, maybe just because Lev (Leon) Termen (Theremin) had such an interesting life.

Before i started reading this book i only knew a few things about Theremin; his Russian origin and his main
invention the Theremin (created in 1919, patented in 1928), originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone or termenvox/thereminvox.

Theremin lived from 1896 to 1993 and this book takes you along on his journey through a very interesting time with some of the world's major events of the last century: the Russian Revolution, two world wars, America's Great Depression, Stalin's purges, the cold war and perestroika.
It clearly shows how Theremin lived a life between communism and capitalism and "from the KGB to Macy's store windows, Alcatraz to th…

Skiff- Friendly

skiff  ( s k í f ) :
" A flatbottom open boat of shallow draft, having a pointed bow and a square stern and propelled by oars, sail, or motor.
[Middle English skif, from Old French esquif, from Old Italian schifo, of Germanic origin.] "
They have been out there for a while, but it seems like more and more people like to use "skiff" type wooden or aluminium shallow racks to house their Eurorack modules.
Flat-bottomed shallow skiffs that often lie down horizontally or are slightly tilted can be very useful in many situations because they fit perfectly on your desktop, next to your computer.
In my opinion they are perfect to put controller modules in them, but be aware...

The shallow depth of some skiffs might not be enough for the kind of modules you want to put in there.
Be sure that the depth of your modules is tuned to the depth of your skiff and vice versa.
I see a lot of manufacturers putting the word 'skiff-frien…

Random Video: Sequencer ratcheting like Tangerine Dream, Doepfer MAQ16/3 by Kittenpurse1

This video appeared on YouTube last month...
It's a demo of a technique that this guy developed using the Doepfer MAQ 16/3 sequencer and an A-150 Voltage Controlled Switch to imitate the the popular 'ratcheting' note trill effect used by Chris Franke in Tangerine Dream.

Video: Sequencer ratcheting like Tangerine Dream, Doepfer MAQ16/3

" The popular 'ratcheting' note trill effect used by Chris Franke in Tangerine Dream can be difficult to imitate. Here's a demo of a technique I developed using the Doepfer MAQ 16/3 sequencer and Voltage-Controlled Switch."

Uploaded by kittenpurse1

Owl Theremin by David Cranmer

Wow... this looks impressive.
David Cranmer, from Nervous Squirrel built this very cool Theremin with an Owl that can move up and down..

From the website:

" This was commissioned by Scott Williams, who got in touch to express his love of both owls and theremins. Surely the two could be combined somehow?

A few drawings were developed, and then a meeting was arranged in the Morgan Arms. Scott was easy to identify, being the only chap carrying an owl.
The final unit consisted of a geometric timber log on a steel stand, a classic analogue pitch & volume theremin, and a motorised system to raise the owl from within the casing.

The image on the right show the casing removed.
The theremin is in fact an excellent PAiA Theremax, the same as used for the Badgermin
The owl rests on a sliding carriage, which can slide along four vertical bars fixed inside the log.

When the motor is turned on a winch mechanism winds a length of sash cord, which loops over the top of a seco…

Quick Tip XIII : Improvised Multiples

The bigger your Eurorack gets, the more often you need longer cables.
In case you don't have enough long cables, i would advice you to put an A-180(-2) Multiples module somewhere in the middle of your system so you can extend your cable-reach from there.
If you don't have enough multiple modules, you can also look if you have other options.

You should know that some Doepfer modules have multiple in- or outputs that are interconnected in a way that they can act as multiples as well...

You can recognize these in/outputs by the connected line between the mini-jacks.
The A-175 Voltage Inverter  and A-165 Trigger Modifier  are nice examples,  both have two separate channels, so also two multiples.
The A-164-1 Manual Gate module can even be used as 3 separate multiples.
The 2 outputs on the A-119 External Input module are connected together too, as well as the audio inputs on the A-126 Voltage Controlled Frequency Shifter.
A few more Doepfer modules also have this option, let me kno…

New Ladik Modules

Another new video from Ladik popped up on YouTube today.
I'm not exactly sure why, but there is some kind of charm about these kind of small east-European synthesizer companies IMO and finally i have a little bit more info about this Czechoslovakian manufacturer.

Like a site for example, find them now at and have a look at their other products, the Synare 3 clone for example looks and sounds pretty amazing.
I haven't had contact with the owner (yet), but i'm quite interested to know how this all started and where this company is heading to...
I would love to record an interview-session with them for an upcoming interview-series for my blog next winter. (I have a few more people on my list, including Dieter Doepfer himself)

Their latest video shows two of their new products;
The J-010, an industry standard Joystick CV controller for Eurorack, with two outputs with adjustable settings for range and offset for both X and Y directions.
and the J-011, The J-Ma…

Random Video: DIY Acrylic Modular Syntheziser

This video comes from Jonas Karlsson via the Doepfer A-100 Analog Modular Facebook page.
It features himself, building and installing modules into his DIY acrylic Eurorack-case. It even has some nice music...

Video: DIY Acrylic Modular Syntheziser
" DIY Building a Eurorack modular synthesizer case of acrylic and Doepfer DIY kit 1.
Stills and video, Music is made with Doepfer A-111-5 Mini synthesizer voice,
Make Noise Phonogene Sequenced with Make Noise René
And a Korg Monotron delay " Uploaded by miip999 Zyntetix at Bandcamp

The Rest: Waldorf Pulse

The Doepfer A-100 is not the only analog synthesier in my studio.
Although i am not a collector, I do have some other quite interesting analog machines which I will review in a new section called 'The Rest'

Th first synth that I will discuss today is my Waldorf Pulse... just the plain edition, not the fancy 'plus'-version that was released one year later with CV-Gate outputs and an audio input...
The original Pulse does have the full MIDI in/out/thru sockets and a stereo audio-output.

Waldorf is the German company that emerged from the former digital synthesizer company  PPG,
The Pulse (Years of production: 1996-2002) is a monophonic synthesizer with three digitally controlled analog oscillators and an excellent arpeggiator. 
This 3-unit high synthesizer module has 100 patch programs which are divided into 59 presets, 40 user sounds and one random sound.
It has only 4 buttons and 6 knobs on the front panel and a very powerful programming/ modulation matrix.
Besides th…

Doepfer A-170 Dual Slew Limiter Video Tutorials by Raul Pena

Yay... a new tutorial series by Raul Pena has started...
The topic this time is the Doepfer A-170 Dual Slew Limiter , enjoy!

Video 1: Doepfer A170 Dual Slew Limiter Basics
" First video in a series on the Doepfer A170 Dual Slew Limiter. Discussing Basic Concepts and features. Audio demonstrations begin in next segment. Sound and Video by Raul Pena. "

Video 2: Doepfer A170 Dual Slew Limiter-Processing and Oscilloscope views Pt 1

" A continuation of the Doepfer A170 Dual Slew Limiter series. In this segment Oscilloscope views of subaudio waveforms are examined when processed through a slew limiter. Audio rate examples begin in the next segment. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 3: Doepfer A170 Dual Slew Limiter-Processing and Oscilloscope views Pt 2

" A continuation of the Doepfer A170 Dual Slew Limiter series. In this segment Oscilloscope views of subaudio waveforms processed with a slew limiter modulating a VCO are compared to those unprocessed. Sound and …

Doepfer A-135-1 Voltage Controlled Mixer Re-Design

The original A-135 module was a simple quad voltage controlled mixer.
It was made of 4 independent linear VCA's, mixed to one common output.
For each VCA the following inputs and controls were available: audio input with attenuator, control voltage input with attenuator, gain (pre-amplification).
The VCA's were realized with high-quality CEM VCA's (CEM3381).

The module could be used for voltage controlled mixing of up to 4 audio signals with separate control voltages (e.g. by LFO's, ADSR's, Random, Shepard generator, MIDI-to-CV interface or other control voltage sources).

In June last year, Doepfer announced the re-design of several modules because of shortage of CEM3080 Chips that were used in this A-135 and other modules.
This year a few of these re-designed modules were released, each in a slightly extended/ improved version (like the A-130/131 that are now also DC-coupled, and the recently announced A-141-2).*

This new version of the A-135 also has some nice …

SiteTip: A Patch A Day by Hamilton Ulmer

I have been following Hamilton Ulmer's 'A Patch a Day' project from the very beginning, and he completed the first full month of his eurorack/video-project this week.

On his YouTube page, he writes:
" I am not new to music, but I am new to modular synthesis. So I am creating one simple patch a day in order to get used to my small system.

I will do approximately 365 patches over the next year. Over that course of time I will likely add modules, change my setup, and explore various rabbit holes.

A few questions arise from these constraints. First, can I manage to create compelling sounds on a small system without investing a hell of a lot more money? Second, can I consistently produce something even moderately worthwhile every day?"

Videos: A Patch A Day by Hamilton Ulmer (Full Playlist)

Very interesting sounds and a great idea for a project, I'm looking forward to the next 11 months... ;-)

You can also find him on Twitter

New A-141-2 Voltage Controlled ADSR/LFO Announced

Doepfer announced another new module this week.
The A-141-2 Voltage Controlled ADSR/LFO will replace the old A-141 module that is running out now. (the last ones are on sale)

The newly announced 14 HP wide A-141-2 Voltage Controlled ADSR/LFO will be similar to the A-141 but it has a lot of extras/ improvements.
For example it has a common CV input for all time parameters (A/D/R), a 3-position range switch for time range 10:1:100 and digital outputs for EOA (end of attack) and EOR (end of release).

It also has three envelope outputs: one with fixed ADSR, one inverted output and a third output with additional CV input for level (i.e. built-in level VCA)
There's also the possibility to change the shape of each segment of the envelope (exponential - linear - inverted exponential), it has a VCLFO mode and is planned for summer 2013
The price will be around 125.00 Euro, price and planned release date (August 2013) are still without obligation !
Source: Doepfer Website

Quick Tip XII : A-149-1/2 Connection

Since i recently own an A-149-1/2 Quantized/Stored Random Voltages combination i thought it would be a good idea to spend a few blogposts on it.
Sadly something in my mixing-desk popped yesterday, so i can't make any demo's of it right now (or even listen to loud music...) I hope fixing it will not take too long... or cost too much :-(

This first post is very basic, but i have seen the question on how to connect these two modules pop up on forums several times.
This can also be found in the A-149-2 Manual (PDF), but i guess this post (and picture) will provide all the info you need.

The A-149-2 must be placed directly next to the A-149-1 module (I prefer it on the right side as it seems more logic to me)

The special connecting ribbon cable is equipped with 10 pin female connectors on both ends.
Join the two modules with the supplied 10-way ribbon cable.
Make sure that the ribbon cable is not twisted, and that the colour-coded section is oriented the same on both modules.

One …