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Showing posts from 2016

Livestock Electronics at ADE SoundLab

It's always fun to meet new Modular manufacturers, especially when they're from the Netherlands
and/or Belgium.
Last Saturday i had the chance to talk with Daniel Mulder, one of the co-founders of LiveStock Electronics at a special Amsterdam Dance Event SoundLab showcase event.

Livestock Electornics was founded in early 2016 and is about to release their fist modules at the end of this year. Their modules are heavily inspired by the chiptune and DIY-scene, and Daniel showed off a few interesting sounding new modules... you can find all info on their website.

The SHEPARD is a 4-channel step sequencer specifically designed for live settings.
This module is great for polyphonic and polyrhythmic sequences. And has a lot more to offer than just triggering notes and gates!
The interface is divided into two modes, play and edit mode. In play mode loops of several channels can be selected at the same time, and easily duplicated. While edit mode gives you the possibility to create …

Doepfer A-184-2 Voltage Controlled Crossfader / Triangle-to-Sine Waveshaper

More News fom the Superbooth event in Berlin (March 31st - April 2nd, 2016)

The A-184-2 Voltage Controlled Crossfader / Triangle-to-Sine Waveshaper is the combination of two functions and planned primarily as an expansion module for VCOs or LFOs (e.g. A-110-1, A-110-2, A-145, A-147-2).
The upper section is a very precise triangle-to-sine converter (thank's to Tim Stinchcombe who recommended this circuit).
It can be used to convert any triangle waveform into a (nearly) perfect sine.  The converter is much better than the simple diode converter used in the A-110-1, A-111-1, A-145 and A-147-2.  Two trimming potentiometers are used to optimize the sine shape.  The converter should be assigned to one VCO or LFO because the trimming potentiometers have to be re-adjusted if the input level or DC offset of the input signal changes.  If the trimming potentiometers are deliberately mis-adjusted it can be used also as a waveshaper for non-sine waveforms (e.g. sine-shaped at the top of the sig…

New Doepfer High End VCOs A-111-2, A-111-3 and A-111-4 Thru-Zero Announced

Doepfer has announced two new High End VCO's at the Superbooth event in Berlin (March 31st - April 2nd, 2016)

The A-111-2 is based on the CEM3340 Rev G chip
There was a close cooperation between Doepfer and OnChip since 2015 regarding to the new re-issue of the CEM3340 and they received the first samples in January during NAMM for development.
The first production batch of the CEM3340 Rev G arrived 2 weeks ago and the production of the A-111-2 has started during the next few days (they are still waiting for the latest front panel and pcb samples). 
Doepfer expects the first modules to be finished around the end of July/August. 
The A-111-3 is also based on the CEM3340 Rev G ,and Doepfer is working on a Thru-Zero VCO based on the CEM3340 Rev G too (module A-111-4).

The Doepfer A-111-2High End Voltage Controlled Oscillator II is the successor of the obsolete High End VCO I A-111-1 and here are the most important features of the planned module:

Triangle core, min. 15 octaves pitch range (…

Meet the Maker - Modular Synths panel with 6 Eurorack Manufacturers

At this year's Winter NAMM show, Vintage King Audio presented the TEC Tracks panel: "Meet the Maker -- Modular Synths".
This short (35 minutes) panel discussion, distributed by Sound On Sound, brought together 5 well-known modular synth makers to talk about the booming Eurorack format.

Panelists included: Dieter Doepfer (Doepfer), Dan Green (4MS), William Matthewson (WMD), Ryan McGuire (Vintage King moderator), Tony Rolando (Make Noise), Brandon Ryan (Roland) and Gene Stopp (Moog Music)

They talked a bit about the history of the Eurorack standard (with it's US-based Inch-metrics... lol), and the influence of live-Eurorack performers on new modules.
William Matthewson from WMD offered an interesting insight of what to expect in the future with new controls, like tactile things, body movement, gloves, the integration of virtual reality and other new futuristic techniques that can convert all kinds of signals into control voltages.

Interesting to hear was also the pr…

AQA ElektriX at Dancefair 2016

At Dancefair/Musicfair, I had the chance to talk with an engineer from AQA Elektrix, one of the more recent new brands in Eurorack, about their range of Eurorack modules.

AQA Elektrix is a Eurorack Modular Synthesizer manufacturer that works closely with musicians. The modules by AQA Elektrix are inspired by classic circuits that get modified and developed further. They are also working on complete new designs with new functionality.
The modules are manufactured in Berlin, look very nice and the knobs feel solid as a rock.
AQA only released a few modules so far;
the TEG-1 / Triple Envelope Generator,
M/S-Matrix, a module that converts a Left/Right-Stereo-Signal into its Mid and Side Components
the QLFO / Quadrature Low Frequency Oscillator and the DUAL SVF / Dual 12 dB State Variable Voltage Controlled Filter

He also showed me their new 21 HP wide Dual VC Delay that produces some very cool and interesting 'dubby' soundeffects.
Used in parallel/stereo-mode it generates voltage …

DanceFair/Musicfair Pro Audio Summit Impression

This weekend I attended the annual DanceFair/Musicfair Pro Audio Summit, the biggest in the Netherlands at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht.
A gathering of more than 6000 music makers, industry professionals, 80 record labels and manufacturers of musical instruments, producer and dj gear.
It was the 5th time that Dancefair was held, and the first time that Musicfair joined in.
All together a great event for DJ's, producers and other fanatics for networking, learning and exploring, with inspiring workshops in different rooms and a nice Expo-floor.

We started off our Saturday quite relaxed with an interesting talk about the History of House, presented by Victor Coral from the Dutch School of House.
After that we learned a little more about audio-compression with some interesting views on side-chaining at a Pro Audio session.

There was plenty of room for the younger audience and new talents with various production-sessions and workshops for the different styles of dancemusic by Hardwell an…

Doepfer A-106-5 12dB SEM Filter Special Edition

Temporarily a special edition of the Doepfer A-106-5 12dB SEM Filter is available. It is equipped with a stylish Oberheim-style cream-coloured anodized front panel and black knobs.

Module A-106-5 is a 12dB multimode filter that is based on the filter circuit of the Oberheim SEM
The filter is equipped with a band pass output and a combined low/notch/high pass output.  For this output a control knob defines the relation between low and high pass signal.  If both signals appear at the same level (i.e. middle position of the Mix knob) one obtains a notch filter. Otherwise the low or high pass signal predominates.  The module does not feature self oscillation in contrast to most of the other filters of the A-100 system.  The module generates a distorted audio signal if the level control is set to about 50% (i.e. center position) or more with A-100 standard signals like VCOs.

Inputs: Audio In, CV1 In without attenuator, CV2 In with Polarizer
Outputs: Bandpass Out, Low/Highpass Mix-…

Doepfer A-184-1 Ring Modulator / S&H/T&H / Slew Limiter Combo

Another unexpected release from Doepfer

A-184-1 is the combination of 3 functions which are actually already available in other modules (e.g. A-114, A-148, A-170). In many systems it's not necessary to have two ring modulators (A-114) or two S&H units (A-148) or two slew limiters (A-170) available. That's why we have compiled these function in one small 4 HP module.
The upper section is nothing but half of an A-114, i.e. a ring modulator with the usual X/Y inputs and the X*Y output.

The lower section is a Sample & Hold (S&H) / Track & Hold (T&H) unit followed by a slew limiter.
An internal jumper is used to set the mode to S&H or T&H. In S&H mode the unit picks out a sample from the voltage at the SH input at the rising edge of the trigger signal input. In T&H mode the output follows the input voltage as long as the level of the trigger signal is high.
As soon as the trigger signal turns low, the last voltage is stored.
The trigger input is …

Downloadable Frontplate Templates for Doepfer Modules Announced

You might have noticed the colorful new frontplates on the Doepfer website recently.
I had almost mistaken them for new Special Editions, but Doepfer clearly writes:

"The custom versions of a few modules featured on the Doepfer website are only a design study made with a self adhesive foil, printed by a color laser printer.

That way the customer will be able to design "his" personal module by printing his design on an self adhesive foil and stick the foil to the module (for this the module has to be dismantled). There are no plans to offer these versions of the module, but they do plan to offer suitable templates for download."

Knobs in different colors are also still available so your only limit will be your imagination.
I wonder how Doepfer will further develop this idea... i.e. if there could be such a thing as an online Doepfer Template designer tool or such... Hmmm... Nice.

The first examples look very impressive IMO...

Doepfer A-110-6 Trapezoid Thru Zero Quadrature VCO Announced

The Doepfer A-110-6 Trapezoid Thru-Zero VCO is the third of Doepfer's Thru-Zero oscillator-range. The module is based on an idea by Donald Tillman from 2003 but has been revised for the use of modern electronic circuits (no OTAs/CA3280).  Because of it's unique trapezoid core it's totally different compared to other VCOs but the trapezoid core is not the only specialty: it is also a quadrature VCO and features linear thru zero frequency modulation.
The term "quadrature" means in this connection that the oscillator outputs two trapezoid waves with 90 degrees phase shift. The same as sine and cosine of a standard quadrature oscillator. These waveforms are called TRASIN (trapezoid sine) and TRACOS (trapezoid cosine).
The term "Thru-Zero" means that even "negative" frequencies are generated. But this a bit a misleading term as negative frequencies do not really exist. "Negative" means in this connection simply that the TRASIN/TRACOS wav…

Doepfer A-110-3 Triangle Thru Zero VCO Specifications

The Doepfer A-110-3 Triangle Thru Zero VCO is the second Thru-Zero module that Doepfer is releasing ( after the A-110-4 Quadrature Thru-Zero VCO )
This module was first shown in November 2014 ( read HERE ), and now there's an official release right before NAMM2016.

The A-110-3 is a Thru Zero VCO with triangle core. The term "Thru-Zero" means that even "negative" frequencies are generated. But this a bit a misleading term as negative frequencies do not really exist. "Negative" means in this connection simply that the triangle wave will stop when the linear control voltage reaches 0V and continue with the opposite direction as the linear control voltage becomes negative and vice versa.

The module has two control sections: linear and a exponential. The exponential section consists of the XTune control, the 1V/Oct input and the XFM input with the corresponding attenuator XFM. The exponential control voltage is the sum of these three voltages.  The linear …

Doepfer A-121 Multimode Filter Re-Design

We all knew a re-design of the Doepfer A-121 Multimode Filter has been in the pipeline for a while, due to the unavailability of certain chips inside.

Since the beginning this has always been one of my favourite filters, because of it's sophisticated sound and the VC infut for resonance control. Oh, and the multiple simultanuous outputs...

At Namm 2016 Doepfer will present the A-121-2, the successor of the obsolete module A-121.
The circuitry is totally different from the A-121 which used the obsolete CEM3320 filter circuit. 
Module A-121 is a voltage-controlled multi-mode filter with a cut-off slope of -12 dB / octave.
Four simultaneous outputs are available, each with different characteristics: low-pass, band-pass, high-pass and notch (or band reject).  The cut-off frequency determines the point at which the respective filter effects appear.  The frequency can be adjusted manually, or by voltage control (Filter modulation, for instance by an LFO or ADSR).  Two CV inputs are ava…

Doepfer in Black... Vintage Style

Exciting news from Doepfer for this upcoming NAMM2016.

First this:
Finally they decided to release modules featuring black frontpanels with white print and vintage style knobs.
The result is truly stunning... i would love to change all my silver frontpanels rightaway :)
It will also look great with their latest series of Special Edition modules.

Imagine this with their new colored knobs too... i'm very excited for this :)

So far for these modules vintage versions are planned:
A-110-1 Standard VCO, ƒA-110-2 Basic VCO, A-114 Ring Modulator, ƒA-118 Noise/Random, A-120 24dB Transistor Ladder Lowpass Filter, A-132-3 Dual Linear/Exponential VCA, A-138 Mixer, A-140 ADSR, A-147-2 VCDLFO, A-148 S&H/T&H, A-180-2 2x4 Multiple and the A-190-3 USB/MIDI-to-CV/Gate Interface.
If there are sufficient inquiries they will offer the black panels and vintage style knobs as spare parts.
There are also plans to offer more modules with black panels (e.g. the sequencer series A-154/A-155/A-156).