Music

  • Are The Teenage Engineering Kids Alright?

    I’ve added another new device to my music-making arsenal. Well, two, really. Both are from a company called Teenage Engineering, a small company well known for their calculator-like Pocket Operator series of miniature synthesizer/beat-boxes. To be honest, I really had no plans to buy anything from Teenage Engineering. I’ve always thought their stuff was neat, but I didn’t think it was really for me — because I was mostly familiar with the Pocket Operators, which tend to be lo-fi, chip-tune-ish, beat-oriented devices, great for hip-hop or techno … or … whatever that’s called these days, or playing

  • Some [Over]simplified Science of Sound Synthesis – Ring Modulation

    Following a recent Discord discussion of Ring Modulation in sound synthesis, I put together a little video demonstration of the something called “ring modulation.” In synthesizers, this is a method of using one audio source to modify, or modulate, another. It’s also the basis of amplitude modulation. Think AM radio. It’s also the basis of a vocal effect called vocoding. Think the Dalek’s battle cry of “Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!” Both A.M. and vocoding pile a lot of additional processing into the mix before getting a fully usable result. And, in creating synthesizer sounds, ring modulation can be pretty brutal when

  • Enter Skulpt

    My weekend entertainment… The Modal Electronics Skulpt Synth SE did arrive yesterday, but between the day gig and a 7Souls band rehearsal list night, I had just enough time to plug it in and make sure that it beeped and booped. I had a little play with it this evening, just to get some idea of what it can get into, and made a couple little sample tracks. A Skulpt “Init” patch in the Modal App Tonight’s setup was a little simpler than

  • Crafty Little Synth

    Back when I bought the Microfreak, I was also considering a virtual-analog synth from Modal Electronics called the Skulpt. At the time, the price was the same for both, and my sales rep suggested that I should put off buying the Skulpt, and get the Microfreak. Which I did. But, I still wanted the Skulpt. So, yesterday, I ordered the latest version of the Skulpt, referred to as the Skulpt SE. Not sure exactly what the differences are, but I do know that the price was 2/3 the price of the original. And, so for just a little more than

  • Four Reasons Why I No Longer Want a Modular Synth

    In the past, I may have alluded to my desire to own a modular synth. I’ve held onto that desire since, well, I can’t even think of a time when I didn’t want to own and/or build one. Until, quite literally, just now. This Moog Model 55 modular synthesizer is similar to one I experimented with during my brief time as a college student.– Moog Music image What’s strange about this revelation is that there probably couldn’t be a better time to start building one. With the maturation of the Eurorack standard, and the

  • Necessity’s Child

    Steef Geelan came up with this solution to the screen glare problem. I used it, along with a couple of others, as a model for mine. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. In my last post in my Kronos Chronicles (links to other posts above), I mentioned that when playing in bright sunlight, the LCD touchscreen is pretty close to impossible to see. Moving the 2nd tier keyboard helped, but it’s not ideal. I looked on the interwebs for solutions, and at least feel better knowing that I’m not the only one who has

  • Kronos’ Public Debut

    Playing live with 7Souls at Perry’s Restaurant, May 15, 2021.Photo by Steve Kimbell This past Saturday, I played my first live gig of 2021 (the last time 7Souls played was back in November!), and my first live gig with the Kronos, at an outdoor show at Perry’s Restaurant in Odenton, MD. Playing the Kronos live was, generally speaking, a joy. That’s not to say that it was perfect. It wasn’t. But by-and-large, the experience of having great sounds at my fingertips, and being able to step through the night without having to search for

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