Monday, April 29, 2013

Random Video: Analog Modular Karussell! System by Schneiders Buero

Schneiders Buero (distribution, sales representative, general importer of various European synthesizer brands and products) from Berlin posted a nice video showing how random people react to a modular synthesizer.

Video: Analog Modular Karussell! System by Schneiders Buero.

" Take a look at the analog modular system by Schneiders Buro.
See people interact with that really cool modular synthesizer system wich turns 360° while operating.

Analog Modular Karussell! System by Schneiders Buero JoCognito"

Friday, April 26, 2013

Random Video: Cumulus 2 - The Bridge by Glitzerstrahl

Glitzerstrahl has uploaded the sequel in his Cumulus series of videos. (Find part 1 HERE /work in progress)
Interesting noises this time again, made with a great variety of Eurorack modules, find a full list at

Video: Cumulus 2 - The Bridge by Glitzerstrahl

" Part two in the tentatively named Cumulus series. Based entirely on the modular synth, with the exception of the kick drum. This track continues to explore the theme of sound textures started with the Cumulus 1, but this time with a higher tempo.
The track was recorded in multiple layers with the Morphing Terrarium as the primary sound source, except for some guest play from time to time by the Bubblesound VCOs. Only reverb was added as an effect while mixing the layers. There are no other computer generated effects.

Of course, all layers where recorded as continues 'live' recordings, each track 'over dubbing' the previous ones. The video was recorded in separate takes for each layer, and since all I have is a web camera and iMovie the results are... not exactly stellar. But at least it gives you some pretty light to look at as an excuse to listen to the track! ;-P Not all of the layers where filmed so if you are trying to match up knob-wiggling with actual sound it wont exactly match all the time :).

Modules are from Doepfer, XAOC Devices, Synthesis Technology, Bubblesound, TipTop Audio, Pittsburgh Modular and 4ms. "
Uploaded by GlitzerstrahlMusic (subscribe!)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Using an A-115 For Complex Waveforms

The A-115 Divider module is very useful to create 'complex' layered basslines, and I use it a lot in my patches.

This module adds 4 separately mixable sub-octaves to your original signal, where F/2 = half the frequency = first sub-octave, F/4 = quarter frequency = second sub-octave, and so on...
Especially if you turn up the original oscillator source up a few octaves, you can get very nice results.

My latest PatchPourri video demonstrates a basic patch, where the original A-111 Oscillator (a square wave, driven by an MAQ16/3 Sequencer) is turned up 4 octaves before it is send into the A-115 Divider.
The A-115 can handle any kind of input waveform, but note that the 4 sub-octaves outputs are all true square waves, so the output provides 4 square waves plus the original signal.

Video: Using an A-115 for complex waveforms - PatchPourri IV by PatchPierre

" Short PatchPierre Tutorial
Equipment used: Doepfer A-100, Roland R8, Elektron Machinedrum "
Uploaded by PatchPierre (subscribe!)

Added filtering will bring even more color to your mixed signal, from here you can route it to anywhere in your system...

This is part 4 in my PatchPourri video-series withs basic patch-examples, find them all HERE

Friday, April 19, 2013

Maxi Schaltwerk

It's weird that i haven't posted any video's of the original Doepfer Schaltwerk sequencer (introduced in 1997) on my blog yet.
After the recent announcement of the upcoming A-157 (or Mini Schaltwerk),
I thought it would be interesting enough to look up more info about the Schaltwerk and share it with you.
It will take some time, but I will post more about it in future blogposts, so here is just a teaser, uploaded 2 years ago by popitem

Video: Doepfer Schaltwerk quick demo
" 3 tracks sequencing a modular synth with cv / gate5 tracks sequencing a midi drum modul (mfb kult)"
uploaded by popitem

As you see there are many differences between the original Schaltwerk and the new A-157/Dark Flow modules.
Besides the size, the main thing is that the new modules will only sequence triggers, and no note/pitch info. That's why i think it will be mainly used for triggering drum-sounds with it, that can ultimately result in very complex rhythms once the A-157-4 controller will be out.

Doepfer A-157 (or Mini Schaltwerk)
prototype at MusikMesse 2013
Funny thing is that the A-157 has the same amount of push-buttons (8 x 16 trigger matrix), only on a much tinier surface.
That's just another thing that i like about the Doepfer modules; many features on space-effective modules.
I am aware that in some cases you can hardly turn a knob if you have big fingers, but luckily I am blessed with small hands and fingers.

The original Schaltwerk is no longer available from Doepfer anymore.
Sometimes used ones pop up on eBay and other sites, good luck finding a second-hand one... I wish i had one too.

ps. There are not many Doepfer Schaltwerk videos on YouTube yet... Feel free to upload more Schaltwerk-videos in the near future if you have one.
Thanks in advance, more Schaltwerk next month...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Doepfer MAQ16/3 Versions

This year Doepfer is celebrating the 20th birthday of the MAQ16/3 MIDI Analog Sequencer with a special 'Dark Edition'

The current MAQ16/3 version
The original version of the MAQ was designed in cooperation with the German band Kraftwerk 20 years ago, and is used by many famous musicians like Human League, Jean-Michel Jarre, Klaus Schulze and many more.

These sequencers are best known in Doepfer's silver-grey color, but this new Dark Edition is not the first black MAQ sequencer that they sold.
In fact there were a few different versions that gradually evolved into the current version.
The first MAQs for example, only had 8 presets, no CV/Gate outputs, and a potentio-meter instead of a rotary encoder for data input.

An overview of the most important innovations of the current version 3.xx compared to the older versions 1.xx and 2.xx:
- CV and Gate output for each row (not on the original version)
- 30 preset memories (instead of 8 only)
- Editing feature of all preset data (not only the running parameters but even the step values)
- New additional running modes (e.g. one shot and serial connection of rows)
- On/Off for single steps or complete rows
- Remote control via Midi standard messages
- Step advance via external Midi note on message (no longer clock controlled)
- A rotary encoder instead of potentiometer for data input
- Dark Energy-style knobs (Dark Edition only)

The first black MAQ16/3 model - Picture by Fixed1t
As i wrote in an earlier post, the current MAQ16/3 including the new 'Dark Edition' is now totally 'maxed out', meaningnthat the existing hardware of the MAQ16/3 is already "exhausted" and it will be a problem to add more features with the existing controls and displays.
If you have an old model, you can still upgrade it to todays' standards.

Older devices with software V1.xx or V2.xx can still be updated to the current version 3.xx.
This requires the replacement of the old main board by the new one and the transfer of some integrated circuits from the old board to the new one (including the main processor with PLCC case).
In addition the data potentiometer has to be replaced by the rotary encoder and 6 holes for the CV/Gate sockets have to be drilled or punched into the rear panel.
If your unit is already equipped with the new main board an update to the latest firmware version is carried out simply by replacing the EPROM.
You can find out if your MAQ16/3 contains already the new main board by checking the installed firmware version. It is displayed for a short time after power on. If it shows 3.xx (xx = any number) the new main board is installed.

The latest firmware version for the old main board was 2.04 while the latest firmware version for the new main board is 3.72 (as of summer 2012).
The installed firmware version of my own MAQ is 3.61...

The new MAQ16/3 Dark Edition
Read more about the MAQ updates at

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Using an A-118 to Liven Up A Bassline (Look, No Hands)

One of the main problems that I have when performing live with a modular synth is that i only have two hands.
This new PatchPourri post shows an example how to simply  'automate' a filter with an A-118 Noise/Random Voltage module.
This can add a nice random effect to your basslines, with the right settings, and might be useful in live situations where you can't pay attention to everything.

I don't use the Noise audio-outputs of the A-118 Noise/Random Voltages a lot, but i love using the random outputs of this module.
(I even added a 2nd Random output to this module a few weeks ago - find my blog-post about it HERE)

The patch goes as follows;
A sequence on the MAQ16/3 controls an A-111 VCO sawtooth that goes into an A-121 Multimode filter
A-118 RND output controls the Filter cutoff, the other (copied) A-118 RND output controls the Resonance.
I added an envelope to the A-121 CV2-input to make it a little bit more punchy.

No edits or effects... no hands (just watch the LEDs on the A-118)
All hands were free for simple additional drums from my Machinedrum.

Video: Using an A-118 Random Voltage to liven up a bassline - PatchPourri III by PatchPierre

" Short PatchPierre Tutorial (Look... no hands, just watch the A-118's LEDs)
Equipment used: Doepfer A-100 system,A-118 Noise/RND Voltage and A-121 Multimode BandPass filter plus Roland R8 and Machinedrum"

This principle was also (maybe even better) used in one of my earlier A-120 videos, just keep your eye on the yellow wire.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Deep Inside The Doepfer Booth at MusikMesse

Ah... the first pictures and videos from the Doepfer/Alex4 booth at MusikMesse are popping up on the internet.
This first one, from (@steelberryclone on Twitter) shows the inside of the Alex4 booth with a glipse of their new products... 

Video 1: Deep inside the Doepfer booth at MusikMesse

" A quick tour of all the modular stuff you will find in the realms of Doepfer
Nice and bleepy with loads of modules and flashing lights
Get all your electronic music news first here at Steelberry Clones
SBCLive@MusikMesse2013 "

The next video, from CDMblogs / CDMTV shows a little more of new A-157 Trigger sequencer.

Video 2: Doepfer Sequencers at Musikmesse

" Impressions from the ALEX4 booth, modular sequencers, sequencing. "

SonicState gives a nice overview of the whole Alex4-booth in the next 2 videos, with an introduction by Andreas Schneider from Alex4 (+ Schneiders Buro) in video 3, and an interview with Dieter Doepfer in video 4.

Video 3: MESSE13: Alex4 European Modular Synth Distribution

" MESSE13: Alex4 European Modular Synth Distribution Mr Schneider Tells us all about it "

Video 4: Dr Doepfer Introduces New Synth Modules - MESSE 2013
" MESSE13: A Chat With Dr Doepfer New Serge slew, gate sequencer, MAQ16/3 Dark Edition "

More SonicState MusikMesse videos HERE

Doepfer A-127 VCRF Re-Design

I almost missed this between all Doepfer's other MusikMesse announcements;
As of April 2013 the Voltage Controlled Resonance Filter A-127 is available in an improved version.
Instead of the CA3080 chip (not available anymore) that was used in the original versions, new high-end circuits (SSM2164) are now used.

Doepfer A-127 Triple Voltage Controlled Resonance Filter
"The SSM2164 chip contains four independent voltage controlled amplifiers (VCAs) in a single package. High performance (100 dB dynamic range, 0.02% THD) is provided at a very low cost-per-VCA, resulting in excellent value for cost sensitive gain control applications.
Each VCA offers current input and output for maximum design flexibility, and a ground referenced -33 mV/dB control port."

A-127 + Expander
This is probably the Doepfer filter that i use the most, and the brand new re-design also promises to reduces the noise floor and the distortion clearly, according to Doepfer.
(The noise that i never really noticed before...)

The price of the new A-127 VCRF remains unchanged.

Check out how to make an A-127 expander module HERE.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Doepfer Monster Base Unpacking Video by Raul Pena

Video: Doepfer Monster Base Unpacking
" A short unpacking video of my new Doepfer Monster Base.My subscribers will like to know there will be a change of scenery soon. I though this an appropriate way to let them in on the secret. ;). Sound and Video by Raul Pena."
Uploaded by Raul Pena

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Custom Wooden Side-panels For Your Synth

I did spend a few words on the wooden side-panels for the Dark Energy / Dark Time that i had seen online more than a year ago.
Until now i had little info on them, but now i have a little bit more.

Dark Energy with custom wooden side-panels
The side-panels are made and sold by Howard, who is calling himself Synthfan73 on eBay UK
He makes and sells these custom made wooden side-panels for all kinds of desktop synths like the Dark Energy (1 and 2), Dark Time, Moog Minitaur, Access Virus b, Waldorf Q(+)
He also created wooden panels for the Clavia Nord Lead Desktop 1 / 2 / 2x, Vermona Mono Lancet and Novation Nova. (see video)

In my opinion they look great and perhaps they are ergonomic too.
If i only had one of these 'Dark' instruments i would definitely try them out.

Due to popular requests, he makes the Dark Energy panels in dark Saple Mahogany wood.
They are coated in Danish finish and fit both Dark Energy and Dark Time and can be found on Ebay UK under 'Doepfer Dark Energy.
£29.99 a set. (+ postage)

Video: Doepfer Dark Energy & Moog Minitaur Custom Panels

" Custom Panels Montage."
Uploaded by Howdy
Available from eBay UK (Not to be confused with the guy in eBay US).

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Doepfer A-121 Multimode Filter Tutorial Videos by Raul Pena

As promised, a new series of Raul Pena's excellent tutorial videos has started today.
This time Raul digs deep into, and explains all about one of my favorite filters, the Doepfer A-121 Multimode Filter.

Video 1: Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter Basics

" A brief look at the Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter. Basic Features and functions are discussed.
Audio demonstrations in the next video in the series.
Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 2: Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter Low and High pass Filters Demonstration

" A brief look at the Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter.
Audio demonstrations of the Doepfer A121 Multimode filters.
A specific look at the Low and High Pass Filters. Next video in series looks at the Band Pass and Notch filters.
Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 3: Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter- Band Pass and Notch filters Demonstration

" A brief look at the Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter. Audio demonstrations of the Doepfer A121 Multimode filters. A specific look at the Band pass and Notch Filters. Next video in series looks at Modulation of the filter.Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 4: Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter- Modulation Demonstration

" Last segment in the Doepfer A121 Multimode filter series. Segment explores modulation of the A121 via the 1/V per octave inputs for frequency and resonance. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Check out Raul's latest survey at
Other places to find Raul's World of Synths on the Web

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Doepfer MAQ16/3 Already Maxed Out

The announcement of the re-issued MAQ16/3 Dark Edition has been warmly welcomed by most people.
It has also triggered the obvious MAQ-update questions again.
Although i am very happy with my MAQ16/3 MIDI Analog Sequencer, i agree that there are still many points for improvements in my, and other people's opinion.
The main issue that i have with the MAQ is basically the limited number of only 30 presets/memories.
It could also help if it had different scale settings, shuffle control and a bigger display for example.

Sadly the new MAQ Dark Edition will not bring any changes in that...

My Doepfer MAQ16/3 with
firmware version V3.61
Back in 2005, Doepfer explained how they already maxed out the capacity of the original MAQ hardware design.

" We discussed several times a "MAQ16/3 Mark II".
The main reason why we did not develop a new sequencer so far (2005) is because we wanted to offer the possibility to upgrade older devices (as for the CV/Gate output
addition from version 3.0).
Most of the suggested improvements would require a hardware change that does not allow to update older devices (e.g. LC display or a second display for more information, additional LEDs to display the step that's value is displayed currently, rotary encoders instead of potentiometers for exact adjustment, and some more)

Maybe there will come a "MAQ16/3 Mark II" at some time but it will not be possible to upgrade the existing MAQ devices because of hardware/mechanical limitations. 
We believe that the existing hardware of the MAQ16/3 is already "exhausted" and it will be a problem to add more features with the existing controls and displays. 
For example the glowing LEDs to show the currently selected row or the usage of the points of the display are already such makeshifts."

What you will get with the new Dark Edition MAQ, is still an awesome and affordable sequencer, that hasn't been available in black for a very long time and that will probably look better in your setup as the recent silver(y) edition... (that will also stay available for now)
Doepfer is being very smart IMO with using their already infamous range of 'Dark'-branded products for this latest edition, and that also makes it nice for the collectors.

Find all features of the recent MAQ16/3 at

Monday, April 01, 2013

Using an A-174-1 Joystick for WobWob

I'm not sure how to name my latest collection of short basic tutorials yet, but i am considering the name "PatchPourri" for this weird collection of short basic patch-ideas.

My latest video shows how you can simply use an A-174-1 Joystick for dubstep-like effects.
The idea comes partly from blogpost i wrote about Dmitry Shtatnov's DIY-fader, but i used this patch before on several other occasions.

In the video a 2-note sequence from the MAQ16/3 controls a standard A-110 VCO.
I connected the X-output from the joystick module to the CV input of a VCA, and the Y-output controls an A-121 Filter (lowpass mode).
Very simple, very basic... off course you can expand this in all kinds of ways.
Have fun experimenting!

Video: Using an A-174-1 Joystick for WobWob by PatchPierre

" Short PatchPierre Tutorial
Equipment used: Doepfer A-100, Roland TB-303, Machinedrum "

Uploaded by PatchPierre (subscribe!)

Read how i removed the spring from the x-axis of the A-174 Joystick module at