Wednesday 26 November 2008

Patch of the Day - The FM Ratio Stepper

Who says you can't do decent Linear FM in the analogue domain?

The FM Ratio Stepper

Today's patch was inspired by my GAS for a Modcan VCDO and William H's excellent FM tutorial.

The idea was cribbed from the lovely 'harmonics' VCDO demo, with William H's ratio to pitch conversion PDF proving invaluable.

I used two channels on my Kenton Pro 2000 II to provide the separate CV's which were fed to my Livewire AFG (carrier) and Cwejman MMF-1 (modulator).

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Worldtronics Festival/ Richard Scott Live

Couple of electronic events to look out for if you're in or around Berlin during the next couple of weeks:

Tomorrow night (26.11) sees the opening of this year's Worldtronics festival at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

And Richard Scott will be improvising with his Buchla Lightning at the Coma on the 4th December.

No, that's not Richard in the title pic. It's Theremin player Dorit Chrysler who'll be taking part in '7 Women No Cry' along with seven other one-woman bands at the HKW on Wednesday night.

The Worldtronics Festival runs from the 26th to 30th November. You can find more info and the full line-up here. Info on Gudrun Gut's Monika Enterprise label and 4 Women No Cry compilation series is here.

But enough of the synth-babes, back to synth-hunk Richard Scott!

At his last gig in October his set-up included the Buchla, Wiimote and Rob Hordijk's Blippoo Box. I missed this post on Matrixsynth but was taken by it's sound when I met Richard playing his Blippoo at Schneidersbuero a couple of weeks ago. It looks and sounds great, so I hope it makes an appearance at the Coma in December!

Richard said he would be uploading some sounds soon, but in the meantime you can hear mono-poly's Blippoo Box noodles here and read more about Richard's Lightning and hear some of his compositions at his website.

Sunday 23 November 2008

VICMOD Ensemble Live

via matrixsynth

Just up the road from my brother - wish I could go!

It's been snowing and absolutely fritter in Berlin for the last two days.

Lucky sods in Melbourne can look forward to clear blue skies and 27C on Tuesday ...

Patch of the Day - Hold Me Now

A simple on/ off 'Hold' patch inspired by ACA at the forum.

This patch allows you to hold a note and toggle it on and off. ACA's original Nord Modular patch was designed to allow him to use his ribbon controller as a modulation source during the sustain stage and was itself inspired by Scott Stites Softpot Ribbon Controller (1), (2).

Since I don't have a 'CV-Zauberstab', I came up with my own patch, figuring I could always apply modulation to a modulator (e.g. FM VCO, LFO etc.) via after touch or mod-wheel.

Here's the PDF.

Hold + Mod

Hold Me Now

Two nice aspects of this patch are the ability to end the hold period with a different note and quite simply the nature of toggling notes on and off means you might come up with riffs you wouldn't normally play.

Let me know if you've got any suggestions for improvements.

Happy Patching!

Saturday 22 November 2008

Tiptop Audio Z3000 Test

As promised, here's the test (14MB).

And for instant gratification, here's a few examples:

Z3000 Sync + PWM + Exp. FM

Z3000 Audio to Sync

Can you guess the track?

AFG vs. VCO-6 test to follow next week ...

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Oscillator Orgy!

What a week it's been. First I get my AFG back from Livewire, then I finally get my hands on a Cwejman VCO-6 and yesterday Tiptop Audio's Z3000 arrives at Schneidersbuero.
Oscillators. They're like buses...

There's been a lot of hype surrounding the Z3000, so I was keen to hear it for myself. I'll let the dust settle on my first impressions before posting the full test, but for starters here's an 'amuse-oreilles' :

Tiptop Audio Z3000 Demo

Apologies to Tiptop for the picture - I couldn't resist!

I'll also be posting an AFG vs VCO-6 clash-test. These two oscillators, while having completely different designs and concepts cover remarkably similar ground. Seems to me, that if you were currently in the market for a new high-end Eurorack oscillator, these would be the main contenders: at roughly the same price, both offer linear as well as exponential FM and some form of über-PWM.

This is what you can expect:

AFG vs VCO-6 Demo

One final teaser: I think I've cracked the secret to the AFG's Anti-Matter outputs. I'll post the full patch details, with sound examples and oscilloscope shots, along with the VCO test.

Till then, happy patching!

Sunday 9 November 2008

Patch of the Day - The Polyphonic Modular

A quick demo of the Kenton Pro 2000 MkII's polyphonic mode.

The most obvious application would be to play chords, but why stop there? The beauty of the modular environment is that you can assign different waveforms, filters and envelope settings to each voice.

In today's patch I used 3 VCOs (panned hard left/ right and centre), a similar number of EGs, VCFs & VCAs and a touch of random modulation to add some movement to what would otherwise be a fairly static riff. The Kenton is in 'Regular Cycle' mode, which means it passes each new note on to the next VCO in the chain.

The clip starts off with a simple three-note chord progression. Three notes, three VCOs, so no movement yet. Each voice plays the same note it was originally assigned. After four bars I introduce a simple bass sequence which forces the Kenton to start distributing the notes among the available voices. Four bars later, I add another simple riff and we're in full swing. Another four bars later I introduce a random CV which is patched via a sequential switch to the three EGs: one gets some attack CV, the other two some random decay. I used a tad too much, but at least that way the effect is clearly audible. Last four bars are the full riff straight.

Friday 7 November 2008

Neulant van Exel Klangformer 6HE case

Need a road-worthy case for your Eurorack modular?

Then check out the Neulant van Exel Klangformer:

Pricey, but ruff 'n' tuff!

From the product page at Schneidersbuero:

"If you like to go swim with your modular after the gig or if you just do not like to become nervous of getting it sweatty or dirty or just too hot or too cold this is the safe box. Lookalike a better Hilty including wonderful lamps stable made .. this is the prototye.. so they can make it for you in black if you want or with other extras, just ask, please."

... in need of a little copy-editing, but you get the picture ;)

More info from Schneidersbuero.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Patch of the Day - The Random Multiplexer

First Patch of the Day of the new blog features Doepfer's A-152 voltage addressed T&H/ switch and A-149-1 Source of Uncertainty:

Three detuned VCOs play the same sequence. The Multiplexer, or switch, randomly dictates which VCO sounds when.

In the first example I'm distributing the gate signal to trigger three short envelopes. First I manually switch between the VCOs so you can hear them in isolation, then I patch in the 2n output of the A-149-1 to randomise the address, then I patch the QRV output to the gate-generating LFO's CV input to randomise the tempo.

In the second take the multiplexer is distributing it's own digital triggers. As above, first you'll hear me manually switching between the VCOs, then applying the random elements. In this instance I've triggered long decay envelopes for a nice fading effect.

Mixing courtesy of Cwejman's VCA-4MX & VCA-2P. The VCOs aren't tuned to exact intervals and the sequence itself is un-quantized, so sorry for the dissonance!

Random Multiplexer 1

Random Multiplexer 2

Sunday 2 November 2008

Coldcut vs TV Sheriff ''Revolution '08"

With just a couple of days 'till the US election, a little bit of politics and music. If you haven't already seen it, check out this gem from Coldcut & TV Sheriff:

via the Ninja Tune mailing list:


Dancefloor hooligans Coldcut join forces with America's leading audio-visual vigilante TV Sheriff to bring you an election vivisection...Revolution '08.

A drum+bass powered all-out AV assault on an American media machine now in psychotic overdrive for the Presidential election. A 10000-frame crash edit comedy celebration of the blatant corruption, warmongering, florid insanity and plain good old smelly bullshit that characterises the cultural landscape of the world's most confused country. 21st century satire is alive and well.


Watch the video here
For more info go here

Download iPod video here.

Saturday 1 November 2008

Welcome to Navs Modular Lab!

Welcome to navs.modular.lab, a resource for Euro format module reviews and samples.

Over the past year, I've tested more than 20 different VCOs, VCFs, VCAs, Modulators and Manglers and posted the results over at the Canecutters website. I'll be moving the tests from their old home during the next couple of weeks and adding some new ones. You can look forward to Plan B's Model 10 Polyphonic Envelope, Doepfer's Source of Uncertainty and some lovely examples of the Livewire AFG's FM capabilites.

This site will also be home to Patch of the Day, my modular patch diary which has just celebrated its first birthday.

But to kick things off, I've got some demos of Bleep Lab's Thingamagoop which I bought here in Berlin at General Robots - a great shop full of things you didn't know you needed.

Not exactly modular, but fun nonetheless!

Thingamagoop Rises

Thingamagoop Flies

Thingamagoop Modulates

Thingamagoop did his thing through Cwejman's MMF-1 filter and a Roland Space Echo. On track 3 I ran him through an envelope follower and took the signal to stimulate a pair of ring modulating VCOs (Cwejman's VCO-2RM).

Hope you enjoy the sounds & site and look forward to your comments!