Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New modules and "The Sword"

Many delays in my posts due to a sequence of things:
1) HP Deathly Hallows released
2) My Birthday (26 now)
3) Family in town to visit

Of course, right there between 2 and 3 I got the final "big" shipment of Modules from Analogue Haven. I say "big" because it was more than 1 or 2 modules (8 to be exact) and will likely be the last shipment of such a quantity. I still have a couple more modules to purchase, so it's not the last of the orders...just the last of the "big" ones.

This order brought the Plan B Model 28 Tap Clock (fucking outstanding!), Plan B Model 10 Poly Env (super cool and a great alternative to regular EGs), Livewire Dalek Modulator (super sweet, and my first real oscillators, even if they don't track 1v/Oct), as well as some general Doepfer modules (A-138c Mixer, A-150 Voltage Control Switch, and A-160 Clock Divider). The final module, which I was overly surprised about was the Doepfer A-105 SSM LP Filter. This is basically a Curtis-based filter that is supposed to sound like the Prophet, Mono/Poly, anything that used a Curtis filter. I've never really experienced a Curtis filter before, so I didn't know exactly what it sounded like (it's always hard to tell how much a filter influences the character of a particular synth when it's built in), but it is really great sounding! The top end is nice and bitey without being harsh or gritty. It's a perfect complement to the FrequenSteiner! I'm really glad now that I decided to add a second filter, especially this one.

The Dalek Modulator is also very cool and I have really been enjoying having a real oscillator to play with. Gone are times of having to use the FrequenSteiner self-oscillate just to get an audio tone. The timbres that can come out of the Dalek are quite interesting and beyond what I expected, even with my experience with the Moog MF-102 ring mod. They certainly do each have their own sound. The fact that the ring mod section can be used independently of the oscillators is also very cool.

I know I'm incredibly behind on the video demos and I will get working on some very soon, but in the mean time, enjoy the following audio demo.

In this patch, the main "lead" sound is actually my guitar through an Effector-13 Soda Meiser with a fairly conservative setting being run through the Doepfer A-105 SSM LP filter which has it's cutoff frequency modulated by the Smooth output of the Plan B Heisenberg Generator. The signal is then run into a VCA being opened by an ADSR triggered at a 1/4 note (thanks to the Doepfer Clock divider and MIDI clock from MachineDrum)

Also running into that VCA (it has two audio inputs, each with atten) is the second audio source which is the Dalek Modulator Ring output. The Carrier is tuned to "E" and is not being modulated. The Modulator, however, is being fully modulated by a CV signal from the Livewire Dual Cycltron which is being attenuated through a VCA by the "Difference" output on the Vulcan Modulator. This is what is causing that rhythmic "shift" in timbre in the background.

The output of the modular+guitar then feeds into the Moog MF-104 analog delay with the Frostwave Resonator in the delay's feedback loop. This just gives the delay a more "tape" sound because each repeat gets a little more filtered and band-limited sounding. I was going to modulate this and get some dub-feedback stuff in there, but I got lazy.

The drums (and MIDI clock for the modular) are from the MachineDrum. Some of those sounds might be preset ones and others ones I programmed, but it's just a simple pattern. I really like the kick sound, it has a lot of attack so it's easy to hear on small speakers, but there is a lot of bass down on the bottom.



kakihara said...

That's a neat loop there and great sounds!
I've got the Model 28 and Dalek Modulator in mid July and indeed, that ring modulator/vco exceed what I expected... For the M28, well I haven't found yet a concrete use for it for now but still I've fooled around with it enough to know that soon it's gonna be needed live maybe to clock some "sequences" and making interesting rynthmic paterns with it!
Model 10? I thought it was out of stock still... i've been waiting for like 3 weeks now to see it back as availlable on AH's site... when did you ordered it?

felix said...

Yeah, certainly for live use it will be invaluable...I've already been able to use it to sync up to a track that a friend wants electronic treatments on that has no click/tempo map. The phase lock on the M28 also works very well, so if you do have a traditional click track, you can actually get it to sync to that.

There's also fun to be had by taking the Serial output, sending a CV into the Select input and then attenuating that Serial output with a VCA. You can definitely get some "sequenced" sounding patterns out of that.

I actually ordered 2 Model 10s back when AH had the Anniversary sale, but by the time my order was processed they were out of stock. They left a note in the system or something and with this order, they emailed me saying they actually had just gotten two in stock. I recently decided I only wanted 1, so I took that one...the other one must have gone to someone else in a similar situation. If you haven't already, email them and let them know you are looking to get one and they will probably notify you as soon as they get some in stock (based on the availability of other Plan B items @ AH, I'm guessing they are waiting on a shipment from Peter).

Zerosum said...

wow dude! Cool!
Damn that Plan B model 28 looks sweet!!!
When did you get a Machinedrum?!?!?!
wow....nice work...
i need sleep

felix said...


I got the MachineDrum several months ago...before I started planning the modular actually. It's an awesome drum machine, but it's definitely not for someone who's fairly satisfied with software-based drum machines (or sample players)...those are the guys that feel that they spent to much money on it.

For me, it's worth having a dedicated controller sitting right there for me to quickly and easily change a track in a pattern or tweak a sound, etc. The sound is great too, it's very powerful and really cuts through without sounding clicky or overly attacky. People also say it's "loud", in terms of actual signal level its not that loud, but I think they mean it's a perceived loudness.

Either way, it's dope, I love it.

Michael said...

That is a seriously cool loop - have you worked that into a track at all?

felix said...

No, unfortunately I've been incredibly lazy about working on my own stuff. In fact, tt's only recently that Zerosum convinced me to record patches, both for archiving and sharing with you guys here.

I *plan* to work these recordings into tracks, but at this point have not. I'm down for any collaborations, so if you (or anyone) want to use this (or any others) in a track, just let me know and I can set you up with the wav files.