Monday 16 November 2009

SunSyn 2.0

I took my SunSyn to Jomox in Kreuzberg today for the 2.0 update. Like many users, I'm looking forward to the improvements but also concerned that some of the SunSyn's 'characteristic' (or should that be 'idiosyncratic'?) sound might be lost.

Jürgen reassured me that the sound will remain the same and was kind enough to show me some of the new features. Besides improvements to the arpeggiator and portamento functions, the RCOs have been completely overhauled and even allow FM. This sounded fantastic and greatly enhances the SunSyn's sonic palette.

This is the sound of my pre-update SunSyn, recorded for posterity:

Sunscape  by  navs

I hope to have my SunSyn back in two to three weeks - I'll let you how the upgraded synth sounds then.

Monday 9 November 2009

PotD - The Organ Grinder

Featuring the Plan B Model 23 Analog Shift Register.

The Organ Grinder plays his merry tune. All is well until monkey and Schnapps get the better of him:

PotD - The Organ Grinder  by  navs

In this patch the M23 was used to shift a quantized sequence to a pair of detuned VCOs, the 'both' input of a Bananalogue/ Serge VCS and the CV input of a VC-LFO. The sequence was transposed by the stepped output of a Wogglebug. A sequential switch was used to alternate between a 'regular' and voltage controlled clock. The switch was triggered by a comparator reading the output of a second random source.


UPDATE: Patch details

I tried to keep the patch description as simple as possible, but for those of you who want to try this here is a patch chart.

The A-147 VC-LFO acts as the master clock and feeds the SQ8, which sends a gate to the VCS (or Maths).

The envelope generated by the VCS is patched to the output VCA. In my patch I fed the two VCOs to a separate mixer (VCA-4MX) before the final VCA (VCA-2P), but for simplicity I've shown an A-131 in this chart.

The sequence generated by the SQ8 goes to an A-156 quantizer, the CV goes to the ASR and the trigger output of the A-156 clocks the ASR. From there, output one goes to VCO1, output 2 to VCO2, output 3 to the second input of an A-151 switch and the last output feeds the 'both' input of the VCS.

The random elements:

the 'step1' output of the SQ8 clocks the Wogglebug. In turn, its clock output steps the S&H/ noise.

The Wogglebug's stepped out feeds the transpose input of the quantizer. At the beginning of the patch I kept the randomness to about 9 o'clock, towards the end I swept it up manually and then back to zero.

The SH-NZ output feeds an A-119, which I've used as a comparator. Depending on the gain & threshold settings you can generate an amplitude-dependent gate. As the A-151 feeds the CV-in of the VC-LFO, the gate toggles the switch between 'regular' and VC-clock. As an alternative, you could use a VCA to alter the amount of VC-clock or, indeed, alter the CV amount manually. If you don't have a comparator or A-119, you could use the burst output of the Wogglebug. I sometimes find this too frenetic, so I send the burst gate to a clock divider to calm it down a bit!

Sunday 1 November 2009

navs.modular.lab is one today!

Breaking with tradition, there's no new gear in this first anniversary post. Instead of modules, I've got some literary inspiration for you and the environmental sounds that most of us try to eliminate or ignore.

Pictured above are some of the books I got for my birthday recently (life begins now, apparently) - interestingly, these gifts were all from women, bless 'em!

Allen Strange's 'Electronic Music' needs no introduction and Horowitz/ Hill's 'Art of Electronics' is considered by many to be a standard. Showing my ignorance, I hadn't heard of Daniel Levitin's 'This Is Your Brain On Music', but it has been a real eye and ear opener. All three are highly recommended.

In homage to B(if)tek's "sound of the b(if)tek studios" from their '2020' album, I've also recorded the sound of my own studio:

navsmodularlab_studiosound  by  navs

OK, so my studio isn't that loud. I cranked levels on the desk, turned the monitors up and limited the recording. The loudest pieces of equipment are the Space Echo (unsurprisingly) and the Sunsyn's cooling fan, which you can hear panting away at the end of the take. Time for that 2.0 update.

It's been a great year for modular synthesis with loads of exciting new kit and technology. I've tried to get my hands on as much gear as I could (thanks!) and feature it on the blog. I hope you've enjoyed the posts so far and that you'll continue to visit the site and leave your comments in the coming year.