Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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 process behind the whole module-design and where Dieter shared his point of view about the pros and cons of the community-input, mentioning the importance of the Yahoo A-100 Usergroup (and his annoyance about it sometimes) and the creative input from live musicians like the icelandic band GusGus when it comes to developing new modules.
It reminded me of his work with the guys from Kraftwerk in the past, with the development of the Schaltwerk, the vocoder and other projects...

Monday, February 15, 2016

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.

Me and the AQA ElektriX engineer 
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

AQA ElektroniX modules
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 controlled modulated spatial effects with it´s own special character.

- Delays can be routed in parallel or serial configuration (A => B or A II B)internal feedback with a 6dB HP and LP filter in series for each delay, feedback signals are attenuverted
using normalized feedback in and out jacks, the feedback loops can be opened to insert other stuff
feedback can be switched between parallel and cross routing between A and B
- Audio input attenuators for each Delay
each delay time can be independently controlled by knob
each delay time can be independently modulated by an attenuverted external control voltage
each delay time can be independently modulated by an attenuverted external control voltage
- Normalized audio signal Inputs
- Outputs for the delayed signals
- Outputs for the delayed signal and HP+LP filtered delayed signal (for feedback use)
- Normalized feedback-signal Inputs

Check out the video below for soundexamples.

AQA ElektriX new Modular Euro Rack Synthesizer Modules Dual DELAY AQA at Dancefair 2016

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AQAElektriX
AQA ElektriX on YouTube
AQA Elektrix is distributed by Alex4

Sunday, February 14, 2016

DanceFair/Musicfair Pro Audio Summit Impression

Victor Coral
School of House
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.

DJ Magazine talk at the expo-floor
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 and Chocolate Puma (amongst others) and a large demo-dropoff zone hosted by national and international record-labels.

The expo floor wasn't huge but filled with a wide variety of exhibitors.
It wasn't too busy on the Saturday, the people in the booths were very accessable for info and plenty of headphones were available for the public to listen to all the new synths and stuff...

Roland Eurorack Modules
Aira Modular, System 500
and Effectors
I had a lot of fun with (finally) playing around with the Moog Mother32, Korg Minilogue, the Novation MiniNova and BassStation 2, plus the modules from the Roland Boutique range JP-03, JX-08, and A-01.
Besides that, Roland showed the whole AIRA-range and a big rack with all their Eurorack modules including the  Aira Modular, System 500 and Effectors...

Arturia showed their Maxibrute for the first time in Europe.
The MatrixBrute is a programmable monophonic / duophonic analog synthesizer, outfitted with three ‘Brute’ oscillators, Steiner-Parker and ladder filters, three envelope generators, analogue effects and a matrix-style modulation matrix.

A short talk with Andy Mac from Akai learned me that they will shoot new MPC-Touch tutorials next week... I hope they will be online soon, as the last 4 Basic Workflow Tutorials that they released (a few weeks ago) were pretty useful for an MPC-noob like me, someone who is totally unfamiliar with the whole MPC-workflow.

One of the 2 Doepfer cases at the Alex4 booth
The most interesting booth (for me) was the one from European Eurorackdistibutor Alex4 that showed a diverse range of Eurorack modules from brands like Doepfer (with most of their new modules), AJH Synth, Verbos, Endorphin.es and Vermona
That last one als showed the prototype Vermona TwinCussion, a percussion module that is capable of very nice 'syncussion' sounds.
DJ/Producer Lucien Foort
The modules from the Austrian Birdkids brand were also on display at the Alex4 booth and the engineer from AQAElektrix showed me their full range of Eurorack modules. More on this in my next blogpost.
Allert from SonarTraffic, who also helped out at the booth  took the time to explain the interesting concept of their studio at Kytopia.

We spent the last hours of the day back at the workshop area from the Herman Brood Academy, where Lucien Foort (from Quadrophonia and more) presented a workshop. He first went through a short history about modular synths, up to the recent Eurorack-boom before he gave an intuitive tutorial on how to integrate modulars in your curent DAW setup.

Overall it was a great atmosphere at the whole event with almost everything you'd expect, including overexpensive drinks and food... and yesssss.... BoothBabes! :)

You can find the rest of my pictures from the Dancefair Saturday at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1103743713004246.1073741844.143124692399491 …