Friday, August 28, 2009

Waldorf Wave gets updated OS

Long after its sold out, the Waldorf Wave synthesizer gets an updated OS. Its 75.- euro but I guess worth it. I wish I had a Wave...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BeatThang hardware running embedded Linux

I like sampling drumboxes so I follow the story of the upcomming hardware drumbox Beat Thang. Today I learned that it runs an embedded Linux inside which is pretty cool, hopefully it could be hacked and extended.

Manufacturer Beat Kangz had some trouble violating the GPL recently by distributing LADSPA Plugins with their software plugin without giving credit and sharing that source but hopefully its sorted out. Companies seems to have difficulties to understand open source licenses and how to do a proper business with it, the Kangz are not the first.

DIY minimal drum machines

Here are some very minimal drummachines by Eric Archer with photocell modulation and sync over IR:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ghosttown Hamburg

Hamburg has a long tradition of closing down music clubs but now its 3 in a row. Its Astrastube, Waagenbau and Fundbureau that are about to close shorttermed. All three are in one area and rented from the Deutsche Bahn railway company who are now about to renovate the bridge SternbrĂĽcke which is running over that area. Its a sad loss for the shrinking music scene in Hamburg. I performed several times in Astrastube and Fundbureau.

Monday, August 17, 2009

return of the dinosaurs

While some scientists plan to clon at least Mammuts, it seems that some early digital music synthesizers makes a comeback too.

On one hand its the Canadian Acxel resynthesizer, reborn as a soundcard. It analyses and mangles samples through additive synthesis with FFT and the first version from 1991 got a special device called Grapher with touch sensitve LEDs making it easy to draw filters and envelopes with your finger.

They promise a remake of the Grapher for 2010.
Even the website looks vintage.

And then there is the Fairlight CMI sampling computer. You might have heard it at Yello, Trevor Horns projects Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Art Of Noise, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Coil, Graeme Revell/SPK.

While the company was around all the time, they were specialzed in high end studio recording systems for audio and video, a logical step from sampling. They claim now to simulate that certain sound through the hardware emulation with FPGA ICs. We are not talking about software emulating hardware like virtual analogue synths, its about hardware emulating hardware with reconfigurable chips. The price tag is vintage too, that system seems to cost 17.000$. I wonder what they will do with their typical lightpen because these devices only work on CRT monitors, not LCDs.

The big question is if these systems nowadays have their place and market. While everyone seems to use software synthesis, dedicated hardware instruments still seems to cut better through a mix and provide a more lively sound. While there is a point in using real analogue synths today, what have these digital systems to offer?
I must admit that I find the early period of digital synthesizers in the 70s-80s most interesting, offering several new aproaches. This period inspired me often on my own software projects like 'Microcomputer' and 'Minicomputer'.

8bit sampler DIY style

Found an interesting project: 8bit sampler DIY style

Friday, August 7, 2009

control your Mackie C4 via OSC on Linux

I released a new open source software:

contrOSC is a middleware to bridge hardware DAW midicontrollers to OSC (Open Sound Control) enabled software like PD, CSound or SuperCollider, so you can easily create patches which communicates with the devices. The first implemented one is the C4 by MACKIE. Get it at

Demopatches for CSound and PD are included

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Minicomputer doesn't like Midiclock

My softwaresynthesizer Minicomputer can freak out when you sent Midi Clock or other bigger amount of mididata to it, resulting in XRuns. I have to rethink the priority of the midi thread, it seems to high, cutting the audio task.

I learned it in a session yesterday when I connected a MPC 1000 to it to sequence the synth and accidently sent out Midi Clock sync