Friday, October 28, 2011

Doepfer A110 Filtering Demo's with A-101-2 and A-120 by Raul Pena

Raul Pena ( from ) made another excellent set of tutorial videos.
This time it is all about filtering; In a few episodes he explores all functions of the A-101-2 Vactrol Low Pass Gate filter, in comparison with the A-120 Low Pass Moog-style filter.
Very interesting stuff again...

Video 1: Doepfer A110 Filtering with A101-2 and A120 Intro
" Short Introduction into Filtering the Doepfer A110 Standard VCO. Dicusses Features and Functions of the Doepfer A101-2 Low Pass Gate and A120 VCF Low Pass Filter.Sound and Video by Raul Pena. "

Video 2: Doepfer A110 Filtering with A101-2 Low Pass Gate
" Demonstration of the Filtering of the Doepfer A110 VCO with an A101-2 Low Pass Gate. Next More Filtering with the A101-2 Low Pass Gate."

More video after the break -

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hardcore Modding the A-182-1 Switched Multiples

I must admit i am not a very sophisticated modifier / solderer.
I don't have an electronic background, find it hard to concentrate at times, and i can easily lose my patience when i'm working on stuff.
I am quickly satisfied with the modifications that i do, as long as my projects look good on the outside and are safe (i.e. no loose wires inside that can cause short-circuiting etc.)

A good example of my somewhat rude approach is my A-182-1 Switched Multiples modification.

Originally this module is a simple passive multi-connector similar to the A-180 Multiples module.
In the A-182-1 each socket is equipped with a 3-position switch that allows to connect the corresponding socket to the internal bus #1 (left position), bus #2 (right position) or to turn the socket off (center position).

A-182-1 Modification detail
I wisely decided to split up the A-182-1 into a 2 x 4 Multiplier, like i did with my A-180 because I found this this modification very handy.

I can now use my modified A-182-1 Switched Multiple for quick switching between my keyboard ( via MIDI ) and my A-198 Ribbon Controller.
For this i split up the Multiple in two halves, the upper half controls the Gate, the lower half controls the pitch ( CV )
More info on this HERE

Okay... I know i could have scraped of some of the wires on the PCB to do this modification, but i wasn't completely sure if that would be enough. To be sure that there were no other connections i just took a junior hacksaw and cut the whole PCB in half. 
As this is a passive module (not connected to the busboard) i thought my mod could hardly go wrong with this.
It might be a bit rude perhaps, but it works!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SiteTip VI : MIT Open Courseware Music and Technology: Algorithmic and Generative Music

It's kinda weird that, if you search well, there are 2 Music and Technology Courses on the site of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the same course number (21M.380).

I blogged about one earlier (Contemporary History and Aesthetics, find the blogpost with an interesting 80-minute video HERE) and i am still very enthusiastic about it, but the other one is also very informative.

This course, Algorithmic and Generative Music, as taught in spring 2010 by Christopher Ariza examined " ...the history, techniques, and aesthetics of mechanical and computer-aided approaches to algorithmic music composition and generative music systems. Through creative hands-on projects, readings, listening assignments, and lectures, students will explore a variety of historical and contemporary approaches. "

Surfing through the pages of this course you will find a lot of interesting information on (analog) sound, music history and much more, again accompanied by many links to other interesting reads and audio-examples.

Find the course homepage HERE
Download the lecture notes HERE ( 11.8 Mb PDF )
Full course Materials can be downloaded from HERE

Licence info:
Ariza, Christopher. 21M.380 Music and Technology: Algorithmic and Generative Music, Spring 2010. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 16 Oct, 2011). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A-157 Trigger Sequencer Update

Here's an update on the long-awaited A-157 (or whatever the module-number will be) Trigger Sequencer module.
I wrote about this highly interesting module earlier, you can find that post HERE

This is what Dieter Doepfer's feedback was, when this step-sequencer got mentioned this week in the Doepfer A-100 Usergroup :

A-157 Prototype(s) , as shown at NAMM 2010
" will definitely come !
At present we are waiting for the new PCB prototype with 16 x 8 buttons and LEDs.
Our first plan to use two pc board with 8x8 buttons and LEDs did not work because this would cause a gap between the steps 8 and 9 because of the space required for the PCB connectors.

Our plan is to separate the 16x8 button/LED board from the control unit as it seems that there are two groups of users: those who vote for a simple, easy to use (and soon available) version and those for a "sophisticated" version with additional features (probably with LC display to handle all functions).
The plan for the simple version is to have only two clock/start/stop inputs available (clock #1 for the units 1-4, clock #2 for 5-8) and a simple memory management (similar to the TR808).

For the "sophisticated" version there are plans like independend first/last step for each row, copy and paste functions between rows and memories, right/left shift of complete rows, longer patterns (A, AB, ABCD), maybe intros, fill in's, track programming, more than two clocks and some more.

To handle these additional functions probably an LC display and additional buttons will be necessary.
But this information is very preliminary.
One could use the standard control unit at first and then replace it by the high end version as soon as it is available. "

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quick Tip VIII : Mounting the A-174-2 Wheels Module

Please be aware of this when you want to install an A-174-2 Wheels Module in your A-100 rack;

A-174-2 Wheels Module, note the pot on the left
As the potentiometer of the left wheel projects about 10 milimeters beside the rim of the front panel, a 2 or 4 HP blind panel has to be mounted left from the module. "

A-174-2 Sideview

Unless the module left to the A-174-2 has sufficient space in this area of course.Like an A-174-1 Joystick Controlled CV, for example.

None of the A-100 modules that are 4 HP wide fit there...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Installing the A-100NT5 +5Volts Adapter (old type)

Some of the A-100 modules, for instance the A-113 Subharmonic Generator and MIDI-modules A-190 or A-191, need an extra 5 Volts power supply.
The old way was by doing this with the A-100NT5 5 V supply, but because installing it was 'suitable for qualified personnel only because of electrical safety' Doepfer doesn't sell these adapter anymore.

The 5V power supply needs to be mounted near to the main power input, on the blank upper back panel with four stand-offs, nuts, serrated washers, and bolts. 
Newer back panels (since summer 1999) are already equipped with the 4 mounting holes required for the 5V supply.

If you are considering installing and connecting the A-100NT5, it’s crucial to take note of the following safety instructions:
• The installation and connection of the A-100NT5 must only be carried out by a qualified electrician or technician.
• If no suitable expert is available, the rack must be sent to a service centre or direct to Doepfer Musikelektronik
for the power supply to be fitted.

• Danger! Before installation and connection of the power supply, it is essential that the whole rack is isolated completely from the mains current.

Note: The new A-100 AD5 5 V adapter module can simply be plugged into a free socket on the bus board; The current is taken from the 12V supply! 

Find info on both adapter(s) HERE
Find the full installation instuctions of this adapter in THIS PDF

Monday, October 10, 2011

Filters V : A-120 24 dB/Oct Low Pass Moog Style Filter VCF1

Perhaps the best known low-pass filter in analogue synthesis was developed by Dr Robert (Bob) Moog in the late sixties.

It was used in the modular Moog synthesisers of that decade, but it got really popular in 1970 with the introduction of the Minimoog.

Moog's 4-pole filter is built with a co-called "transistor ladder" design with a cut-off slope of -24 dB/octave. That’s what gives it its classic, legendary Moog sound.
 Resonance is adjustable all the way up to self-oscillation - in which case the filter behaves like a sine wave oscillator.

The Doepfer A-120 is a very nice Moog emulator, but still most reviews say it doesn't sound 'Moogy' enough.
( i sadly don't have a real Moog to compare and verify that )
Moog's original circuit was flawed because it exhibited a small amount of distortion. Many engineers would have tried to correct this but Moog didn't.
He probably found that the sound was musically pleasing and he was probably right...
Maybe this module just sounds a bit 'too clean'.
It does still have a warm character, and it sounds very impressive in my opinion.
( and definitely unlike any of my other filters ).

Whenever i hear the name Moog i mainly think of great (Minimoog) synth-lead solo's or hand-played fat basslines, but you can also use this filter for wobbly dub-step basslines, sequenced loops and other (housey) basslines.

An interesting and more in-depth study on the Analysis of the Moog Transistor Ladder and Derivative Filters can be found in this PDF by dr. Timothy E. Stinchcombe.

Video : Doepfer A-120 (Moog) Low Pass Filter Demo by NetPierre

" Doepfer A-120 (Moog) Low Pass Filter Demo by NetPierre
created for my blog at
A simple sawtooth wave from my A-110 into Audio in.
An envelope generator signal is sent into CV2, and some noise from the A-118 is fed into CV3.
Drums are provided by an Elektron Machinedrum "

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

My Main Live Configuration

An interesting topic popped up on the A-100 Facebook Group recently;
" How do you guys trigger your analogue synths sounds on live gigs? "
I do change my setup from time to time, but i do have some kind of basic setup for my live-sets and jams.
I have a total of 5 VCO's in my A-100 system, and i try hard to get the most out of it every time i play.

 Elektron SPS-1 Machinedrum
At the heart of my setup there is a drum-section, consisting of a Roland R-8 and an Elektron SPS-1 Machinedrum. The Electron is a perfect machine with plenty of  electronic drum sounds, i use the R-8 for the more 'organic' drumsounds.

MSY-2 MIDI-to-SYNC Converter
Synchronizing over MIDI is controlled by the R-8, through the Machinedrum and through a Doepfer MSY-2 MIDI-to-SYNC converter straight into the MAQ 16/3 Sequencer.
The MSY-2 is used to keep my TB-303 basslines in sync with the rest.
I also use the CV and Gate outputs from the TB, i get back on this later.

The MAQ 16/3 is Doepfer's MIDI Analog Sequencer.
It has 3 sequencer rows of 16 steps with Gate and CV outputs, i mainly use the top 2 rows for programming loops and basslines. From the MAQ 16/3 it all turns analog and goes right into my A-100 system.

MAQ 16/3 main controls
Row 1: main row, usually a 16 step pattern;
The  first row's CV goes through an A-180 multiple into two separate A-110 VCO's (with sometimes a slight de-tuning involved )
I often turn one of the VCO's 3 or 4 octaves up and send one of its output waves through an A-115 Audio Divider to add some extra (sub) bass.
These layers all mixed together with an A-138 mixer can be send from here to any other kind of filter or effect module, ending in an A-130 VCA somewhere.
The first row's Gate signal goes into input 1 of my A-143-2 Quad ADSR, that contains 4 independent ADSR-type envelope generators.
Gate input 1 is automatically connected to the switching contacts of the Gate input sockets 2, so from that single input i can retrieve 2 different envelopes.
One of them is sent to a VCA, the other one often goes to a CV 2 input of one of my filters.
That is basically my first (sequenced) A-100 Audio-source #1.

Row 2: Usually 6, but sometimes even 3, 8 or 12 steps long;
The CV signal from the MAQ's second row goes straight into my third VCO.
One or multiple waveforms can be sent from there and used for various different purposes, filters etc... coming together in A-130 VCA nr 2
Gate 2 goes into the third input channel of the Quad ADSR, i split up this with another multiple so i have 4 identical envelopes for use in the rest of my system. One of them goes to VCA nr. 2
So that's my second (sequenced) A-100 Audio-source #2.

VCO 4 is controlled by the CV coming from my (synced) TB-303.
The 303's gate signal triggers an ADSR for another A-130 VCA envelope.
I can send this audio-signal through all sorts of modules, resulting in A-100 audio-source #3

My 5th VCO ( and my only A-111 High End VCO ) is used for my solo's.
With an A-182-1 Switched Multiples i can easily switch between my MIDI masterkeyboard or my A-198 Ribbon Controller.
More info on this in detail HERE.
The Ribbon Controller CV goes into my A-156 Quantizer and an A-170 Slew Limiter for easier playing and a nice glide effect, as blogged HERE.
The Gate signal from my MAQ's row 3 (max. 16 steps or pauses) is sent to the 4th input of the Quad ADSR.
I like using this programmed (almost arpeggio-like) envelope to open a filter or amplifier with this, watch the video to see what i mean by that.
I have plenty options to do whatever i want with the wave-forms from this 5th VCO, but I like to keep the sawtooth wave for the A-129 Vocoder.
I guess that makes up audiosources #4 (vocoder) and #5 ( the VCO ) then...

What i did not mention here are the various other mixers and multiples used, the added noise, filters and LFO etcetera, but i hope you understand this is just the basic configuration of my A-100.

Video: Just me... and the Music take 1, an older jam by myself (from YouTube)

" Live Electronic Jam by NetPierre.NL feat. Doepfer A100 + Ribbon Controller, TB303, Machinedrum and effects, no post-production, and sadly no compession ) "

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A-110 VCO Tutorials from Raul Pena

Raul Pena, who already brought us the A-188-1 BBD tutorials, recently published six new video tutorials.
This time the focus is on the A110 VCO:

Video 1 : Doepfer A110 Features and Functions
" Explanation of Features and Functions of the Doepfer A-110 Standard VCO Module.
Next in this series Audio Demonstration of Waveforms and Pulse Width Modulation.Sound and Video by Raul Pena. "

More video after the break:

SiteTip V : PatchPierre Facebook Page

Time for a shameless self-promotion post;

In case you didn't know already, the PatchPierre Facebook Page is live since the end of august.
Feel free to follow me there too for the latest blog updates, extra video's, links and (perhaps) more in-depth information and discussions.

You will also find my modification pictures, neatly organized in a special Module Modification Folder. More pictures will be posted soon...

If you have questions, suggestions or other remarks you may also post them on my Facebook page.
( Your comments on the blogposts below are still welcome too )

Find it HERE