Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Random Video: Eurorack Techno: Stress Testing Doepfer's A-132-4 VCA by Skrapadelix

I found this one on YouTube, a very nice subtle techno track by skrapadelix showing off his A-132-4 VCAs and more...

Video: Eurorack Techno: Stress Testing Doepfer's A-132-4 VCA

" I just got a new VCA (well 4 of them actually) in the shape of the Doepfer A-132-4.I'm really impressed with the size (6hp), value for money and the sound - snappy, loud and clean. Here's a test patch with bass, percussion, hats and stab each routed through a separate VCA - and no matter how hot the levels get, the A-132-4 takes it all like a champ.

Patch details:
Kick drum: Analogue Solutions DB99
Bass: Cyclebox II sequenced by A-149 into VCA channel 1
Percussion: Piston Honda sequenced from A-160/A-161/A-138c into VCA channel 2
hats: A-118 into VCA channel 3
Stab: Flame Talking Synth into Pittsburgh delay into A-124 Wasp filter into VCA channel 4
The whole mix routed through the TipTop Audio Z5000 cv'd by the A-143-1.
As usual everything done in the wooden box in realtime with nothing else added..."
Uploaded by skrapadelix

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Doepfer Gifts - Full Disclosure

Doepfer mug-shot
Back in January i received an e-mail from Dieter Doepfer himself in reply to a few questions that i had in preparation for a new blogpost.
Doepfer customer service has always been good, and Dieter always tries to personally answer his emails the same day. 
He is always willing to help me out with my retro-product-questions.
Besides the answers to my questions, he also had another nice announcement.

" Hello Pierre,
that's really a nice collection of our history products

When I have the time I could scan all the old documents I still have.
I think this will help you to continue the excellent work.
As you agreed that we link to your page I'm willing to offer some compensation for your job.
Publishing these details will also help us because sometimes customers ask for something like that.
Let me know if you are interested e.g. in a free A-100 module or similar."

Thank you, Dieter

...and last week, my package finally arrived.
They sent me a beautiful black-and-white Doepfer mug and an A-149-1/2 Quantized/Stored Random Voltages combination,  great modules that were high on my wishlist.

Doepfer mug and A-149-1/2 combo
I am very thankful for these gifts, and i see it as a recognition for (over) three years of blogging about modular synthesizers here at PatchPierre.Net.
I also feel that i have to mention these gifts from Doepfer here, as some kind of disclosure.

I will (of course) write one or more blogposts about my new modules, and i will keep on bringing you all the Doepfer news in the future.
Not much will change by these gifts, but i will stay the Doepfer fanboi that i always have been...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Random Video: Like Forbidden Planet by Yoric Spick

I liked this new video on YouTube.
Sadly it hasn't got much info, but what I see is a nice Eurorack module, controlled by a wooden custom-made (DIY?) controller box with faders, buttons and a joystick.
The video is shot on a mobile phone in portrait-mode and the video isn't very sharp, but I like the sound-effects that are created...

Video: Like Forbidden Planet

" Jeu aux joysticks et faders inspiré par les techniques du GRM. "
" Play with joysticks and faders inspired by the techniques of GRM
Uploaded by yoric spick

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

BookTip: Vintage Guides from FutureMusic

'50 Great Second-hand Buys' and '30 Vintage Buys' by FutureMusic
I have been buying/collecting Future Music Magazine almost since the beginning, i believe it was in 1993 when i first discovered the magazine and bought issue #5 in a Dutch bookshop.
Back then it was a great magazine, i remember that it was around the top of the big retro-hype that was going on in the mid-nineties.
One of the main advantages of that was that every month it was filled with lots of reviews of interesting hardware, in contrast to what i see lately whenever i pick one up in the local bookstore.

50 Great Second-Hand Buys
Free with Future Music #18
April 1994
About half a year after I bought my first FM  issue I got myself a subscription, and I have enjoyed the magazine for almost a decade.
I even had a year subscription to the Dutch version of the magazine.

Not only did the Future Music come with a free demo-CD with every issue, sometimes the came with other extras, like these two little books for example.

The '50 Great Second-Hand Buys' booklet (64 pages) came with the April issue of 1994 and featured descriptions and (basic) technical specifications of 50 of the best second-hand music-buys around.
It also gave advice on what to look for and what your rights were when you were looking into buying second-hand gear.
It's weird to see how dated the info in the book now looks with the AtariST and Amiga hardware and software-tips...

30 Vintage Buys
Free with Future Music #37
November 1995
The other booklet (32 pages) '30 Vintage Buys' appeared 1 ½ year later.
It had quite some overlap with the other book, but was also very interesting for people who wanted to buy second-hand classic gear.
This one included 30 retro gear reviews (including 13(!) Roland products), buying advice, pros and cons of the equipment and a short fact file section for each item.

If you are interested in vintage gear, these two books together are nice collector's items, but the info in it was rather limited and at some points very dated.
If you need more details on older equipment i suggest you read other books like the 'Keyfax Omnibus Edition' by Julian Colbeck or Peter Forrest's 'The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers' (out of print) for example.
These books offer much more in-depth info, and cover much more instruments.
Also check out my other BookTips

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Most Wanted VII: A-1?? Speech Module

Time to get one of my earlier segments off the shelf.
Since i first started to write this blog, i have posted quite a few 'Most Wanted' posts about modules i would really like to see being made by Doepfer.
In some cases i even did some predictions and/or wild guesses which proved to be not that far from what has come out of the hands of Doepfer lately.

For example... Take a look for example at my blogpost from December 2010, and compare it with the details on Doepfer's forthcoming A-190-8 MIDI-to-Sync Interface module.

A-1?? Speech module,
announced in the 2008 Doepfer brochure
I really wish i could tell you more about this one too, but i can't...
The A-1?? Speech Module was first mentioned in the 2008 A-100 brochure, as a 'synthetic human voice moduled controlled by CV/Gate or MIDI' 

I often wondered what this module would be like, and I have been waiting for more info about it ever since.
My hopes were that it would be a module with a SpeakJet chip inside, just like FLAME's Talking Synth, a module that has always intrigued me...
The variety of the SpeakJet chip ranges from speech-like sounds and synthetic robot voices (as well as beeps and alarms), to retro-style sci-fi sounds.
Due to the structure of the Speakjet (with its complex sound synthesizer, preset sounds and serial interface) it offers an impressive range of possibilities. The SpeakJet is not sample based as you might think, it has its own sound engine.

Video: Speakjet Chip Demo Mode

" In this video I demonstrate the Speakjet chip in demo mode in which you can hear all the pre-loaded vocal and sounds that the chip outputs in demo mode.
FYI: I used the mic connection instead of the 120ohm speaker that they recommend since you can barley hear the chip(in demo mode w/o an amplifier)!"
Uploaded by sergiolcjr

To be honest, i don't even care what speech-chip the A-1?? will have inside, the thought alone of bringing synthesized speech into a Eurorack modular is a good thought.
In my opinion it is hard enough nowadays to invent original and new truly analog modules, so i would welcome the use of more digital chips and circuits integrated in a CV/Gate-controlled modular environment.

Sadly enough, this module disappeared in all later Doepfer brochures.
I will investigate this further and post more about this module later... i hope... ;-)

A few days after posting this Dieter replied to my blogpost;
The response to the announcement of the speech module was very poor.
And as there is already a similar module available from another manufacturer (Flame Talking Synth) we decided to stop this development and focus on other new modules.

Find all my earlier 'Most Wanted' posts HERE

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Modular Checker by Ladik

Now here's an interesting looking Eurorack test-tool...

Ladik (from the Czech Republic) has now produced a nice device that you can plug into any mini-jack-socket to check if there is any voltage output (positive and negative)

They look quite robust and they are made out of a Quality REAN (Neutrik) connector and has a bright bi-colored LCD (positive = red, negative = green) that starts glowing if it registers a signal of approx 2 Volts.

He hasn't listed them on eBay yet, but expect to find these soon HERE

Video: "Checker" for modular Eurorack synth

"Is an signal in this hole?
3,5mm jack (Rean by Neutrik)
Just checks if in a madular jack is positive or negative voltage over 2 volts."
Video uploaded by RuprechtM

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Random Video: The Doepfer A-160 Clock Divider As Sequencer

I only recently found out that someone on MuffWiggler has created an impressive list with all kinds of Eurorack video tutorials
This list is being updated regularly, because i also see some of my own recent videos in the Doepfer section of the list.

One of the more interesting videos i stumbled upon there was a year-old video by hiawogice from YouTube that shows the use of a Doepfer A-160 Clock Divider as a nifty little stand-alone sequencer module.

Module A-160 is a frequency divider for clock/trigger/gate signals, particularly for rhythm uses.
At the outputs, you have access to the sub-divided clock signals, from half the clock frequency down to 1/64.
The Clock Divider can be used in combination with the A-161 Clock Sequencer to produce stepped sequences with a length of from one to eight events.
This video shows you can also have a lot of fun without the A-161 module...

Video: Doepfer a160 sequence
" demo of a fun, simple concept: clock divider as sequencer. sorry for camera mic audio quality"
Uploaded by hiawogice

Friday, May 10, 2013

Random Video: Emergence Sea by RockWoofStone

Video: Emergence Sea

" Listen on Soundcloud:https://soundcloud.com/rockwoofstone/...
Main track elements:
Reverb: Doepfer A-199
Delay: Echophon, Pittsburgh Delay
Panning: VCAMatrix + Circuit Abbey Invys
Drums: Tip-Top modules + MFB SEQ-01
VCOs: Sychrodyne, Doepfer A-110, Dixie, Rubicon, E340
Arpeggios from the Doepfer Dark Energy (out of shot) using it's built in arpeggiator.
Sequenced bass-line: SympleSEQ Mk II (out of shot) (with a tip of the hat to a certain early 80s track ;-)
Transposition: manually controlled from Pressure Points
Envelopes & main modulation elements from PEG, Maths, Quadra, Doepfer Quad LFO.
Emphasis/modulation of bassline gesture controlled from Doepfer A-178 Theremin (out of shot)."
Uploaded by RockWoofstone

Thursday, May 09, 2013

SiteTip: ModularGrid.Net

ModularGrid is a community driven database for modular synthesizers with an intuitive drag and drop rack planner.
Their extensive database supports all common modular formats like Eurorack, Buchla, Dotcom, 5U, Frac and Serge.

The ModularGrid has many features and here are just a few:
- Combined Planner and Module Database
- Unlimited Racks
- Works on iPad
- Rate your favorite modules and find the most popular modules based on user ratings
- Access your Modular Sketches from any computer
- Show off and link to your Modular Sketches from websites or forums

I did write about saving patches and modular planners in previous posts (find them HERE and HERE), and this is a nice alternative. Even if your module is not in their database, you can simply add them yourself.
Sketch a Patch is a nifty paintbox feature inside ModularGrid.
With this feature you can draw cables on your screenshots and show the world your awesome patches.
It is also possible to share your whole rack with others on forums and/or for discussion elsewhere. (find mine at http://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/4120 / work in progress)

Overall this is a very nice site, and although i hadn't visited it in quite some time, I will check it out more often now i've seen the improvements they went through...

Check it out at http://www.modulargrid.net/

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ladik M-011 Modular Voltage-meter Module for Eurorack

Now that looks interesting;
If you (just like me) can't get enough of blinking lights in your modular, this might be something for you.

On eBay this Bipolar voltmeter module called Ladik M-011 popped up.
It's a very basic analog VU-meter for modular synthesizers with 3 switchable ranges (front panel switch): -2 to +2V, -4 to +4V, -8 to +8V, and a zero-point in the middle.

4 x Ladik M-011 Modular Voltage-meter
It has 4 LEDs/steps for positive and 4 LEDs/steps for negative voltage in the selected ranges and it seems very
handy for checking CV or audio output levels between modules.
There's also an LED for the centrepoint/zero input.

For example - slow LFO will light up alternating bar up and down (depends of waveshape),
symmetric VCO output will light symmetric bars (alternating so fast for eye) which appears like
continuous light in positive and negative range.
Not suitable for exact measuring of CV (tuning check or so). Step spacing is too big for this.
All three panel jacks are parallel (can be used as one to two multiple).
Quality England connectors (not cheapo China), durable engraved panel.

Video: Modular V-meter module ladik M-011 in Eurorack (Doepfer A100) format

" V-meter for Eurorack (Doepfer A100 system).
3 switchable ranges (front panel switch): -2 to +2V, -4 to +4V, -8 to +8V, zero in the middle. 4 steps for positive and 4 steps for negative voltage in selected range.
Very handy for checking CV or audio levels between modules.
For example - slow LFO will light up alternating bar up and down (depends of waveshape), symmetric VCO output will light symmetric bars (alternating so fast for eye) which appears like continuous light in positive and negative range.
Not suitable for exact measuring of CV (tuning check or so). Step spacing is too big for this.
Some flicker is caused by camera shutter, with high-frequency input signals bars "steady lights" (too fast switching for eye)."
Uploaded by RuprechtM
Built by the seller.
The PCB on rear side is silver coated.
The module has a max. depth of 60 mm and costs $65
Power ribbon cable included (handy 20cm, 16/10pin). 6 mA +12V / 6 mA -12V


Sunday, May 05, 2013

Acid Reduction by PatchPierre

Video: Acid Reduction by PatchPierre

" PatchPierre live Acid Jam, unscripted and unrehearsed.
- equipment used:
Doepfer A-100 & MAQ16/3, Roland R-8 & TB-303, Elektron Machinedrum,
Captured Live on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/NetPierre "

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Doepfer History: Doepfer MCV1 MIDI-to-CV Converter

In 1986 Doepfer introduced the first in a series of MIDI-to-CV interfaces, the MCV1.
The MCV1 was a monophonic MIDI-to-CV/GATE-Interface that could control other vintage analog synthesizers equipped with CV and Gate/Trigger inputs via MIDI.

MCV1 front (version 4 or 5)
MCV1 was equipped with MIDI in and Thru, one CV (control voltage) output to control the VCO's (Voltage Controlled Oscillator) and a Gate/Trigger output to control the Envelope Generators.
It was suitable for synthesizers using standardized V/Octave or Hz/V and gate voltages from +5V to +12V or switched trigger (S-Trig)

The factory setting and adjustment of the CV output was 1.00V/Octave. To change or re-adjust the scale you had to insert a small screw driver into the the hole labeled ADJUST/ or SCALE right of the CV jack and turn the potentiometer setting to the desired value.
The factory setting for the GATE output was +5V voltage gate, and if you wanted to change the setting you had to remove the cover plate.
On the PC board inside you could find a  jumper that could be set in 3 ways: +5V or +U voltage gate or SWITCH TRIGGER (S-TRIG. e.g. used by MOOG).

There was also the possibility of changing additional settings by Program Change control numbers.
The interface had no separate ON/OFF switch nor have a built-in power supply. Instead it used an external plug-in type.

Back side of the MCV1 plus external adapter
The pictures probably show version 4 or 5. 
Versions 1 and 2 were available only as kits and there was no suitable housing available (i.e. pcb only). 
Version 1 had no sockets on board. The MIDI and CV/Gate sockets had to be wired manually. 
Version 2 had MIDI and CV/Gate sockets on board. MIDI channel and other parameters were adjusted by means of a DIP switch. 
Version 3 was a redesign of version 2 so that a small standard case could be used (the case in the picture). 

As far as Dieter remembers the only difference between versions 3 and 4 was the non-volatile memory. Version 3 did not store the settings (i.e. after power off the settings for MIDI channel, reference note and other parameters were lost and the unit started with Midi channel 1 and reference note 36 after the next power on). 
Version 4 had a non-volatile memory for these parameters 

The price range of the MCV1 was from around Euro 50 (kit version without case) to about Euro 90 (ready built with case).
Approximately 500 units were sold (i.e. all versions together).

Another fun fact: The guy who programmed the firmware for the MCV1 about 30 years ago showed up at the Doepfer/Alex4 booth at MusikMesse in Frankfurt this year. They had not seen each other in more than 15 years...

Find more info at http://www.doepfer.de/alte_anl.txt/MCV1_V5E.txt

*Special thanks to Dieter Doepfer again for all additional info

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Doepfer A-124 Wasp Filter Tutorial Videos by Raul Pena

A brand new series of Raul Pena's excellent tutorial videos starts today.
This time all about the A-124 Wasp Filter, one of my favorites...

Video 1: Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter Basics

" A short description of the basic features and functions of the Doepfer A124 Wasp filter.Sound demonstrations begin in the following segments. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 2: Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter LP/BP/HP/Notch Demonstrations Part One

" A brief discussion of the sequencer setup for the demonstration. The Bandpass portion of this filter of the Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter is explored. Other filter types will be examined in the following segments. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 3: Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter LP/BP/HP/Notch Demonstrations Part Two

" A continuation of the exploration of the Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter. The Notch, Lowpass, and Highpass portions of the Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter are explored. In the next segment this filter is compared to the Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 4: Doepfer A124 Wasp vs. A121 Multimode Filter Part One

" Continuing the Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter series, this part one of two explores how the Doepfer A124 Wasp filter compares to the Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter. A brief discussion regarding setup followed by audio demonstration of Lowpass filter similarities. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 5: Doepfer A124 Wasp vs. A121 Multimode Filter Part Two

" Continuing the Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter series, part two of two explores how the Doepfer A124 Wasp filter compares to the Doepfer A121 Multimode Filter. Audio demonstration of Notch, Bandpass, and Highpass filter similarities. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

Video 6: Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter- Modulation and Other Effects

" The final segment in the Doepfer A124 Wasp Filter Series. Covering Modulation and other effects. Sound and Video by Raul Pena."

New videos in this series will be added to this post weekly on Thursdays.
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

The easy and very useful self-oscillation modification (with clear pictures can be found via http://patchpierre.blogspot.nl/search/label/A-124 )