Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Synovatron CVGT1 Eurorack-to-Buchla Converter

If you want to control a Buchla modular synthesizer with your Eurorack (or your Eurorack with a Buchla!) you should know that Buchla uses a different Volts-per-octave ratio as the Eurorack synthesizers, that work on a standard 1 Volts/Oct.
Buchla's pitch CV scaling conforms to neither the common 1V-per-octave or Volt-per-Hz (Roland) standards.

Buchlas generally conform to 1.2V/Octave (100mV/semitone) but older systems have 2V/octave scaling e.g. 258.
The other voltages lie in standard regions. 
Control voltages and timing pulses of the Buchla are +5V (signals with sustain) and +10V (transients only), and should be compatible with most other manufacturers' devices.
Besides that, Eurorack uses 3.5mm mini jack sockets and Buchla uses 4mm banana sockets.

Synovatron's latest module is a Eurorack format Eurorack/Buchla translator called CVGT1.
It was launched a few months ago at the Brighton Modular Meet at the University of Sussex just outside Brighton UK.
The 8 HP wide module allows Eurorack and Buchla synths to interact with each other, as the name suggest it provides a CV and a Gate/Trigger interface.

The module is an active module; The CV amplifiers use precision 0.1% resistors to set the scaling plus very fine adjustment by trim pots to achieve even better accuracy.
Trim pots (on the board) can be adjusted for trigger widths between 0.5ms and 5ms.
Not only does it provide the correct format connectors (and adheres to the Buchla color code) but it also deals with the CV scaling and offsetting and the gate/trigger and timing pulse conversion required to allow control in both directions.
CVGT1 can also be used to adapt to other banana connector synths e.g. Serge or Bugbrand which have 1V/octave using the "1" scale position.

More info at http://synovatron.blogspot.com

Watch the CVGT1 in action below (although it is hardly visible in the video, but i do like the soundscapes):

Video: Mutipatch 1 by Eldancer (Buchla and Eurorack)

mutipatch 1 from Eldancer on Vimeo.

Tony (from Synovatron) mailed me today that he can't make them fast enough, and that he's just over half way through my pre-order waiting list.
He underestimated the demand, initially he only bought enough components, pcbs and front panels for 20 modules (big mistake).
He will be building another ten or so but have negotiated with a local company to build the rest for him.

Monday, October 29, 2012

RIP Joop Stokkermans

The Magic Of The ARP-Synthesizer (1970)
Orchestra conducted by Bert Paige.
Last week on the 25th of October, Dutch composer, piano player and (ARP) synth-pioneer Joop Stokkermans died at the age of 75

Stokkermans was an extremely important contributor to Dutch TV music, radio music and commercials from the early 60s into the late 90s.
Although he is mainly known as a pianist, but he also had a great interest for synthesizers since they first appeared.

In 1970 he recorded a full album on the only working ARP available in Europe at the time, together with help from technician Roddy de Hillster who programmed most of the sounds.

The album contains re-arrangements of standards from classical Bach (Air) and Tchaikovsky (The Swan) compositions, re-arrangement from Bacherach, Paige and Becaud and some compositions of his own.
Together with a full orchestra conducted by Bert Paige this turned out to be a very interesting and maybe even groundbreaking album in Dutch synthesizer-music.

Video: Joop Stokkermans - Blij zijn zolang het nog kan (B.Paige)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Random Video: Doepfer A-118

" Listen what a 118 Noise Module sounds like !"

Video: Doepfer A-118

Uploaded by fifteenarts

Friday, October 26, 2012

Doepfer and Vostok Live Modular Music Part 1 and 2

A pair of fresh random videos from YouTube again.
I picked these 2 today, sadly without live-video, but with great soundtracks.
Composed with Doepfer and Vostok modular systems... and much more*.
Watch the slideshows.

Video 1: Doepfer and Vostok Live Modular Music Part 1

Video 2: Doepfer and Vostok Live Modular Music Part 2

* After posting these videos, the creator of these tracks (Marvin Wilson) mailed we with some extra info:
" I made the two tracks using just the modular stuff, recorded live as i always do.
On part one the dark energy's produce the drum sounds... sounds a little like the old roland TR77 or 55... while the a100 did the bass and top line, the vostok also producing the mid sounds plus the ems style fx...

Part two the vostok does some processing of voices from tape while the dark energy's do the high resonating sounds and finally the a100 the squelchy bass, both make heavy use of the analog sequencers run in tandem. 
Thought i would put two contrasting tracks up,anyway glad you like the music, all the best, Marvin"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Doepfer MS-404

In December 1994, Doepfer released the Doepfer MS-404
The MS-404 is a MIDI analog synthesizer with a 24db resonant filter that Dieter Doepfer intentionally created for his own personal pleasure earlier that year.

MS-404 close-up - Picture via Matrixsynth
In the summer of 1994 he created a monophonic analog synthesizer in a 19-inch rackformat / 1 unit high.
Although his module could do so much more than reproducing the sound of a TB-303, most consumers looked at it as an extended clone of the classic Roland TB-303 bassline.

Its two LFOs (that can modulate the single VCO) add a lot extra to the original 303 functionality.
Other extra features include a full ADSR envelope generator, noise, FM and PWM capabilities, an external filter input, CV/GATE interfaces, MIDI implementation and a glide effect.
The MS-404 can be played via MIDI but all parameters are controlled manually only.
The slide and accent effects from the TB-303 are possible on the MS-404 via glide control and it uses MIDI velocity for accent.

MS-404 Picture via Matrixsynth
The price was around 300 Euros (598 DM) and the module was released in a time when the demand for 303-clones was huge and many different manufacturers were building those; Future Retro 777, Syntecno TeeBeeControl Synthesis Deep Bass 9, and MAM MB33 were  few competitors, to only name a few. (A large list of 303-clones can be found on Wikipedia)

In the beginning Doepfer only planned to launch 50 to 100 modules, but they received almost 500 orders in the first two months in 1995.
At the end of 1997 Doepfer had sold more than 3000 MS-404 units.
The last MS-404 was sold in March 2001, as the amount of inquiries was falling (from 100 items per month to hardly 10 items per month at the end of 2000).

The few differences between the 2 regular versions of this module are minor.
There were always rumors that the different versions of the MS-404 sound different, but there were never any changes in the MS-404 hardware.
Version 1 can not use MIDI sustain, but this doesn't have any effect on the sound.

The rare green version of the MS-404
(Picture via Marc C Young)
In 1997 approximately 100 limited edition synths (with a green faceplate and a printing 'Music Store') were sold as a 25th anniversary special for Music Store of Cologne, Germany.

Doepfer still offers technical support for the unit and the manual is still available online.

Video: Doepfer MS-404

" Smooth synthpop demo made with the Doepfer MS-404.
This is really a little 1 VCO beast. Multitrack + external FX. "
Uploaded by SyntheticMachines


Saturday, October 20, 2012

New BNC Connectors For A-178 Theremin Antenna

It's good to see that Doepfer also keeps improving the older modules.
I already complained in July 2011 about the lousy connector of the A-178 Theremin antennas
(read the post HERE), and look now what they recently announced:

" From August 2012 an improved version for the antenna connector is used.
A so-called BNC connector is used to connect the antenna to the module (same type of connector as used in measuring equipment like oscilloscopes)."

The old A-78 antenna with mini-
jack connector
The new version of the module is so brand new that it still has to be sent to Doepfer's photographer for taking pictures.
The new model seems to have a completely different front panel and pc board.

If you are experienced with DIY you may replace the 3.5 mm socket by a BNC socket yourself and increase the diameter for the new connector in the front panel, but you can also place it parallel to the original antenna socket at the same height, but more to the right where there is more space behind the front-panel (at the other side of the PCB).

Doepfer wrote to me:
" We never tried it but it should be possible to remove the old miniature jack socket and widen the hole asymmetrically (i.e. not drilling it but using a rasp) so that the BNC socket can be mounted and manually wired to the pc board.
But I cannot guarantee that it works as I have no old A-178 available to try it out.
But you may also connect the BNC socket in parallel to the miniature jack socket.
Pay attention that an isolated version of the BNC socket is required
(no electrical connection to GND/front panel is allowed) !

The connectors are not available via Doepfer, but i did already place an order today for 2 new antennas (for 20 Euros each).
You can probably read more about this project next month...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SiteTip: Waveform City

Another interesting site that i only recently discovered is WaveForm City.

Waveform City produces and publishes interviews with synth-manufacturers and influential people in the field of analog synthesizers.
Pretty interesting stuff... so far they published 14 episodes since the beginning of this year.
They have already posted interviews with Harvestman, WMD, Make Noise, Mark Verbos, Richard Devine, Tom Erbe and many others, i hope they will interview Dieter soon...

You can find all interviews at: http://waveformcity.blogspot.com

You can also follow Waveform City on SoundCloud via

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Doepfer A-154 Sequencer Controller Videos by Raul Pena

After Raul Pena's A-155 Analog/Trigger Sequencer videos from last month,
the only logic follow-up to that series had to be about this next module.

The A-154 is an expansion module for the A-155 that offers a lot of extra features that are not available in the basic control unit of the A-155.
Up to 2 A-155 modules can be controlled by this module.

Video 1: Doepfer A155/A154 Analog/Trigger Sequencer and Sequencer Controller Basics

" Sound and Description by Raul Pena."

Video 2: Doepfer A155/A154 Analog Trigger Sequencer Demonstration

" Sound and Description by Raul Pena."

Video 3: Doepfer A155 and 154 Sequential Controller Modulation Part One

" Video Demonstrates Basic Modulation of Doepfer A154 sequential controller when used with the Doepfer A155. Sound and Description by Raul Pena."

Video 4: Doepfer A155 and 154 Sequential Controller Modulation Part Two

" Part Two of a demonstration of Modulation of the Doepfer A154 Sequential Controller when used with the Doepfer A155. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Check out Raul's latest survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K3Z9PVF
Other places to find Raul's World of Synths on the Web
raulsworldofsynths on YouTube
raulsworldofsynths on Vimeo
raulsworldofsynths on SoundCloud
raulsworldofsynths at iTunes
raulsworldofsynths at CDBABY

Thursday, October 11, 2012

YouTube Tip: MrWogie's Channel

Okay... i was kind of excited when i accidentally landed on THIS obscure YouTube channel, and to be honest... i still am (a bit).

Screenshot of MrWogie's setup
There is not a lot of info accompanying the videos, but YouTuber MrWogie (Wolfgang Giesecke) uploads a lot of analog/modular studies, soundscapes, drones, very cool modular synth improvisations and other interesting analog compositions.
A bit weird for some perhaps, but sonic p*rn for some.

All uploads are mainly audio, but a lot of his videos have a slow slideshow showing some pictures of (assumably) his setup.
His latest videos seem to involve a very nice system (A-100, Dark Energy, Yamaha EMP100 effects, and several PC's running virtual synths).
It sounds like MrWogie is a classically trained musician, you will also find orchestral music in his YouTube stream.

The weirdest thing in my opinion is that these videos hardly have been viewed or played.
I'm sure you'll like them if you're an analog music fan like me.
Here's a preview...one of the least weird ;-)

Video: Sequenc1 by MrWogie

The video above is totally not representative of the the rest... there are weirder, more obscure pieces of art on this channel.
Check out the rest at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrWogie
and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wolfgang.giesecke.5

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dark Energy II Coming Soon

It looks like the long-awaited Dark Energy II will almost see the daylight.
Doepfer receives the first batch of pre-serial Dark Energy II models any time now...

After these models are tested and checked (and no major flaws are discovered), the first production-order will be placed and Doepfer can start distributing the first modules.*
A part of that first production-batch is reserved for people who pre-ordered their DEII.

Dark Energy II
To fresh you up, the main differences between the Dark Energy II and the original Dark Energy are:

- 12dB multimode filter with lowpass, notch, highpass and bandpass (instead of 24dB lowpass of Dark Energy I)
- the previous LM control of the filter becomes the filter type control (continuous crossfade lowpass - notch highpass - bandpass)
- the LM function of the filter is no longer available
- the waveform switch is used to select between saw and clipped/distorted saw (in the center position the saw is off)
- the basic waveform of the VCO is saw (not triangle like the Dark Energy I).
- because of the pure analog circuit and the temperature control it takes about 30 minutes until the VCO is in tune.
- the VCA has a exponential scale (not the combined linear/exponential scale of Dark Energy I)

*Via StromKult.de

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Random Video: First Stage of a Modular Synth

I found this informative and interesting video on the web about basic rack/case-building... enjoy!

Video: First Stage of a Modular Synth

" Just started building my Eurorack modular synthesizer. I wanted to demonstrate that building your own "Frankenstein" system is easy to do. This video demos, the set up of the power supply and bus board, and a single VCO module."

Uploaded by kj6bbs (Chris)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Nokia App-Update

Although the platform seems to be slowly dying (i recently made the last changes to it...ever) my FREE PatchPierre app for NOKIA phones ( S40, S60, Symbian ) is still available.

Basically this PatchPierre Mobile application is an RSS-feed(s) reader plus NetPierreTV YouTube videoplayer.

Over 6600 downloads/installs already in 157 countries...
(and more than 1000 downloads of the latest version in the last two weeks)

The app will soon be available for the latest NOKIA Asha Touch devices; the Asha 305/306/308/309/311

You can find all versions of the PatchPierre app in the NOKIA store at

Screenshot small
N8 Screenshot by @wonderhelm

Don't worry if you don't own a NOKIA device.
PatchPierre.Net also looks good on your Android, iOS and Windows phone or tablet via the special mobile version of the app at http://oviappwizard.com/mip/plus/list.jsp?&id=184288 (for as long as it lasts), 
or the original mobile version of the blog via http://patchpierre.blogspot.nl/?m=1 , or keep on track with the the RSSfeed in your favorite RSS-reader or applications like Flipboard.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Modular In A Picture Frame

A great idea for a nice modular case can be found on http://groanmaster.blogspot.nl/

This project by Andrew Dobbels involves a real picture-frame and a 208 HP Eurorack with various modules.
You can find the making-of pictures on his site with explanatory texts, so you can build your own.

More pics HERE