Thursday, September 30, 2010

Best Friends Forever IV - XL Edition

This next quick patch is a small extension of my earlier Best Friends Forever posts.

Although i don't always use this patch, i do like the simplicity of it, getting me more out of my Slew Limiter.

As blogged earlier, I use the A-182-1 Switched Multiple mainly to switch between my keyboard ( via MIDI ) and my A-198 Ribbon Controller.
For this i split up this Multiple in two halves, the upper half controls the Gate, the lower half controls the pitch ( CV )

The black cables that go into the Switched multiple are for ( quantized ) Ribbon Control if channel 2 is selected, the yellow ones are for keyboard control, via channel 1

The only advantage in this patch is that i am now using both halfs of the A-170 Slew Limiter, the lower ( and more extended half ) for the Ribbon Controller, the upper half for the incoming output of the MIDI-CV Interface.

A-115 Audio Divider

A module that i use a lot in my patches to get a fatter sound is the A-115 Audio Divider.

This module adds 4 seperately mixable sub-octaves to your original signal,
where F/2 = half the frequency = first sub-octave,
           F/4 = quarter frequency = second sub-octave,
and so on...

It is a perfect module for making nasty low bass sounds.
Especially the F/16 output can sound very dirty ( but very gritty ) if you turn its volume up.

Most of the times i feed a signal directly from an A-110 VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator into the Divider module.
To make optimal use of all of the sub-octaves, i turn the footage (or octave-) switch of the original oscillator up one or 2 octaves.
( An option is to leave the original signal out of the mix )
This makes even the lowest octave (F/16) a bit useable in my setup.

Note that all 4 sub-octaves outputs are all true square waves, so the output provides 4 square waves plus the original signal.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PatchPierre Mobile App for Symbian

Good news for all Nokia owners and followers of this blog.
The official PatchPierre Mobile app is out, for all Symbian and selected S40 devices.

A few screenshots:
NetPierre presents the PatchPierre Mobile app. The ultimate way to watch PatchPierre's content on your Nokia device. PatchPierre provides (basic) A-100 -tips -patches sound-examples and other general (analog) synthesizer-tips for those of you interested. The app enables easy browsing through the posts and also gives links to the original articles
Click HERE for a direct link to the OVI Store

*Update: Version 2 is out now... with better design, and a feed to the comments

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best Friends Forever III

My next unseparable combo is a threesome this time.

This is another essential combination for me, because i use my A-198 Trautonium/Ribbon Controller a lot to control my A-100 system.
The yellow patchcables between these modules always stay connected whenever i start a new patch.

The Voltage Control output ( pitch control ) of the Ribbon Controller goes straight into the A-156 Dual Quantizer.
This module divides the signal into various little steps that provides many different possibilities to scale the notes that are played, allowing the player to play more accurate notes and scales.

Note that I use the lower and more extended half of the Dual Quantizer.
The upper half has less functions and can only divide the signal into steps of 1 /12th Volt = 1 Volt per Octave

Last in the line is the A-170 Dual Slew limiter. With this one i can add a subtile portamento to the signal.

Again, only the lower half of the module is used in this patch, because this half has more possibilities.
The slewrates are adjustable from low to mid or high, and it has separate controls for rise and fall times.

This patch gives me all the control that i need, and i cannot do without any one of these in my live-setup.

Quick Tip I - Cleaning the A-100 with a Brush

As most of us know, the Doepfer A-100 can be quite a dust-magnet, and with all the cables and knobs, it isn't the easiest instrument to clean.

A dry piece of cloth often gets stuck between the wires if you try, and cleaning between the knobs can be awkward at some times

What i prefer for a quick cleanup is a dry long-haired (painting)-brush.

It quickly removes all the dust from the surface of your modules without any problems.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ribbon Controller USB-connector Project Part 1

After a few weeks of randomly disturbed signals, the USB-connector of my A-198 Ribbon Controller finally broke a pin... or two.

It's not the first time this happened, last time was a little over 2 years ago.
It is just one of the very few weak spots of the whole A-100 system, it might be cost-related, but i'm not sure about that.

Back then, Doepfer was so kind to send me a USB connector for free, and i know that if i'd mail them i can get one again, but i'm not sure this solution will work very long, as i use this Controller a lot lately.
The weight of the USB-connector (and cable) is just too big, and the way i hold it (guitar-style) is probably not the best way to hold it (?)

My plan is to by-pass the USB-connector by wiring the cable in another way. I'm still not sure how exactly, but i'll see. And you will.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Modding II - Joystick Spring Removal

The A-174 Joystick Controller outputs 2 control voltages, generated by a spring-loaded X/Y cross potentiometer.
Two springs inside the module take care that the controlling lever returns to it's centre position if untouched.

One very easy modification is the removal of a spring from this module

The process of removing is quite simple, and is described clearly on the Doepfer DIY page / section 4.2.10.

I decided to remove one spring only, the horizontal one. ( X-axis )
This way the Controller stays fixed, even if i let go of the lever, and doesn't automaticly go back to the middle.

If you do this to the Y-axis ( vertical ) of the module, the lever would fall down to it's lowest position due to gravity, which also can be handy in some situations, but not mine at the moment.

This small modification adds just that tiny bit more flexibility to my setup.

Note: Pay attention that warranty is lost if the joystick is modified !

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Best Friends Forever II

Two other modules i hardly ever unwire are the A-190 MIDI-CV/Sync Interface and the A-182-1 Switched Multiple.
I use this combination to quickly switch between my Keyboard and my A-198 Ribbon Controller to control various sounds.

Like i did with my A-180, i split up the A-182-1 into a 2 x 4 Multiplier.
The lower half handles the Gate signal while the upper half handles the CV/Pitch.

The yellow cables from the A-190 go directly into the Multiplier, and the black cables that go into the Multiplier come (almost) directly from the A-198 Trautonium/Ribbon Controller's outputs, one rack lower.
With the red switches i can now manually decide what instrument i would like to use for the sound i am working on...

If i switch it to 1 it uses my MIDI keyboard, if switched to 2 i can use my Ribbon Controller.