Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Tags: Eurocrack

August 21, 2016

Tech Time No. 007: Voltage-Controlled Cassette Deck...

by Chris Randall

Like the subject line says... I was curious as to how the Onde Magnétique OM-1 worked. Originally, I thought that these super cheap little decks might be powered directly from the sequencer. I went out and hit a few thrift stores and bought several and gave that a try, with success rates that varied between "not at all" and "fuckin' nope." (I believe I briefly referenced this failure in one of the other Tech Time videos.) So I just set that aside with a shrug and moved on to other things.

However, last night I was looking at the OM-1 video again, and I was like "oh. Duh. He's just throwing 0-5V at the speed pot." So I busted out the video camera and soldered a jack right to the pot, and sure as shit, works like a charm, as the video above shows.

Something I didn't mention in the video: this isn't 1V/Oct. It's more like 5V/Oct. Sequencer 1 actually shows the voltage value you're shitting out the CV outputs in linear mode, so I was able to just put a tuner on the ass end, and scroll the voltage values until it was tuned to 12TET. I got 14 semitones total out of it, which is plenty for demonstration purposes. But if you're going to attempt this, you'll need a sequencer that can output linear values in addition to 1V/Oct. Sequencer 1 is, of course, perfect for this sort of foolishness. I'm sure there are others that will work fine, but I don't feel like talking about them.

When it comes to the cassette itself, take the lowest note you want to play, and record a note a semitone below that (so you have some wiggle room) on your cassette, and you'll end up with a full octave above that note.

You can clearly hear the portamento in the note programming later in the video. This is a result of the time it takes the motor to move to the new speed. This is an electromechanical process, so it's not instantaneous. Something with inertia needs to be accelerated or decelerated, and this takes time. Hence, fixed portamento.

July 23, 2016

Full Of Techno: Push 2 And Simpler...

by Chris Randall

This week's Tech Time is a more sophisticated version of something I touched on in the last Push 2 / Modular video, making polysynth patches from a mono analog. I show my whole workflow, from initial sample to laying it in the mix.

The channel is starting to get a little momentum; I'll do my Cranky Old Man video on Sunday.

July 10, 2016

Tech_Time No. 002: Using the Eurorack and Push 2 together...

by Chris Randall

A slightly less esoteric Tech_Talk this week. My own personal workflow for dumping Eurorack tracks to Live for further production. This is kind of quasi-basic, I think, but I do get a lot of people asking me how I do it, so I guess it's something that people find interesting.

Looking for topics for next week's Tech_Talk and Weekly. Hook a brother up!

March 18, 2016

Upcoming Events And Stuff...

by Chris Randall

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Lax at blogging. Sue me. I'm busy.

Speaking to that, if you're in the PHX area on Saturday, March 26th, we have a synth meet at Phoenix College you should probably attend. I'll be there with the latest and greatest from AD, and Blue Lantern and Synthesis Technology will also be in attendance. It's free to one and all, and runs from 2PM to 6PM, as the picture above implies. Plenty of room, tables, etc. Bring your interesting shit. Nobody cares about your D50, so leave that at home.

Immediately after that, I'll be on the way to Berlin for Superbooth 16. I'll be there from the 29th to the following Monday, April 4th. I'll be at Superbooth with the Audio Damage Road Show all three days of that event, but otherwise, my time is my own, so if you're in that fair city and want to get together for whatever it is they do in Berlin, I'm down. Hit me up on Twitter or email or whatever. (With the following caveat: I plan on spending zero time in nightclubs listening to loud music. If that's your bag, enjoy, but it's not for me.)

In hardware news, DubJr Mk2 is released and shipping. Most of our retailers have it in stock. It is a heavily updated iteration of our first module, DubJr. (Naming conventions: we has them.) Product page is here. Basically, the original shrunk to 6HP, and we added tap tempo, a clock input, a feedback loop, and a switch to defeat the internal filters. All in all a pretty slick little module, and the most live-performance-friendly delay you're gonna find. US$289, but we're totally sold out here at the office, so you'll have to hit up Control or Analogue Haven or one of our other dealers.

In software news, we've updated Sequencer 1's firmware to 1.3.4. A couple of bug fixes, plus "Note" and "Gate" modes for the CV outputs, essentially turning it in to a four-voice sequencer (well, that's a bit of a fib. Three voices is easy. Four is hard, but possible if you're clever.) We also added Actions, which are basically per-pattern directives to control various functions of the transport on a probability basis. (Think: Follow Actions in Live clips. Like that.) This has really extended the reach of Sequencer 1. You can get the new firmware on the Sequencer 1 product page.

I've made a short video to demonstrate both the multi-mode features and the Actions, in the form of a cover of Aphex Twin's "Avril 14th."

January 30, 2016

Sync 01 and stylus...

by Chris Randall

Audio Damage is sponsoring a manufacturer's event in San Francisco on March 5th, at Codeword (917 Folsom at 5th st). I'll be making a website and promo materials next week, as we finalize who, exactly, is attending.

There will be four live performances, and I think I can safely say that most of the Western US manufacturers will be in attendance. This is shaping up to be a fantastic major West Coast event, and is not to be missed! Codeword has a full bar and attached pizza joint, which covers two of the three major food groups. (it is a satellite of the famous DNA Lounge, and has the same set of facilities). Unfortunately, both the State of California and JWZ are anti-smoking, so the third food group is out of the question.

I'll update this post as information comes in, but I have signed the contract for the venue, so it's a "go" no matter what. For obvious reasons, this will be a Euro-centric affair, but there will be non-Euro synths there from at least one attendee, and I guarantee you'll want to nerd out on 'em. If you're in Central California, be there or be... yeah.

Listen to "stylus" by chris randall.

Also, put up a new track last night. Apparently the genre is "ambstep," something I didn't know existed until it was pointed out to me that this was very much that. (That seems to be the case with micro-genres.)

Anyhow, 100% Euro and found sounds, recorded to, mixed from, and mastered to analog tape. Vocals by Kate Dilemma. Mastered by Wade Alin. I don't have any particular process notes, as this track is very much in line with how I've been working lately: create a bed on the Euro w/ Push2, multi-track it out in to a structured song where the production occurs, stem it to 8-track tape, record the stems back in to the computer, final mix, record to the 2-track, back in to the computer, send it to Wade for the final squish. Download is available on the Octave page. Enjoy!

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