Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Arpangel »

Ben Asaro wrote: Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:44 am Well, I just learned a very important lesson about letting my eyes dictate my actions instead of my ears.

I started out using this setup with the Boomstars going into the Doepfer LPFs. And I was beginning to get frustrated at the sound. The Oscillation always sounded AMAZING before, going into the Doepfer SEM filter, but it sounds rather anemic going through the LPFs, and has a weird peak resonance that I thought just sounded rather uninspiring.

Well, when I got round to trying to figure out what role the Subharmonicon was going to play in all this, I felt immediately hamstrung -- then I realized, of course! I typically use the SubH with each VCO going out through the LPFs, which sound amazing when used together.

So, I got to thinking ... and recalled my lowly Dreadbox Eudemonia filter/mixer/VCA. I've actually barely used it since I purchased it because it didn't really work with the SubH the way I wanted it to, and tbh I mostly got it because it's inexpensive and wanted to see what all the fuss was about with Dreadbox.

I took the Boomstars and rerouted them a bit, running them through their VCAs and then into the Eudemonia, just to see if it would sound better. JACKPOT! They immediately came to life and now it sounds terrific, very inspiring, indeed! (In general, I do tend to think that a SEM style VCO sounds better going VCO > VCA > filter, rather than the typical way round)

As a side benefit, I learned that the filter in the Eudemonia is self-oscillating, but not in a nice way -- it a howling, screeching, feedback-drenched whale song from Hell. It sounds, in short, stellar. :D So that happy accident has now become the intro to the new piece I'm working on.

And it taught me a valuable lesson: just because it looks good on paper doesn't mean it sounds its best; you have to try everything!!

As an aside, I have a Doepfer Wasp, and 120 LP, the Wasp is fabulous, really ads character, also, the 120 is a very underrated filter, lovely dark smooth sound.
I always put things through my Grandmother filter if I need something with "that" sound.
Yes, some filters are hyped up, and when you try them they are a bit of a let down, one that you should check out if you have some spare cash is the Verbos Four Pole, worth every penny, and deserved of all the hype!
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That would be an ecumenical matter.

Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

Verbose makes amazing products.

One of the goals for this skiff was to not buy new modules, but use what I have to the extent possible. Right now I’m only out about $80 for a couple of cables and the custom stand for the 6U case.

If I were to get a new filter, it would probably be the Jove, I love that filter’s sound. Fortunately, I don’t have to!

I’ve realized that with the Boomstar VCOs, they sound best (to my ears) when there is a bit of overhang in the bass. The bass with the 24dB ladder filter is too tight, and there’s something with the midrange that just wasn’t working.

The Eudemonia being a mixer also makes my life easier, I can filter both voices at once, and I can run the Mother -32’s noise output through it as well.
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

Had a very productive day working with the modular yesterday! Perhaps the biggest breakthrough was getting a great Berlin School style pluck; it took a lot of experimenting but now that I know what the secret is, I can replicate it.

And The Secret Is … having a filter envelope with an adjustable peak! I was using an analog EG on the filter but even with an attenuator on it, it was problematic getting it to sound right. (Plus, I have more voices that I have attenuators.)

I ended up using the MOD outs from the NerdSeq with a very short AR envelope on it, and while notes were playing, adjusted the peak level until there was just the right amount of filter movement.
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

First successful test flight of the rig! Here's a run through of each voice playing the same pattern over the bassline, and then all of them playing the same pattern in unison. Aside from the M32, they all hold their tuning remarkably well. :D In fact, I can't even tell when the first two voices switch from Oscillation VCO 1 to VCO2, they sound that close to each other.

https://soundcloud.com/asfollowswriting ... rig-test-2

I hear one small fix: the Blackhole needs some predelay, but aside from that, I think the voices are as tweaked as they need to be to get something written.

The only thing on my "wish" list is a different output/headphone module. I've noticed that Rosie is definitely cutting some of the low freqs off, and the output is quite low; I have to add quite a bit of gain to record, which means it will be the same for FoH (or front of stream, as the case may be).

Otherwise, I'm VERY happy with the results so far!

The only element I need to incorporate now is something to actually perform on... and I really feel that this needs a wash of strings. In any event, I'm glad to be moving past Phase I of this project!!
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by BobTheDog »

Sounding good :)
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

Thanks!

I added the final element last night: the KeyStep and JV-1010 set to a slow string patch. The JV-1010's diminutive size makes it perfect for this application.

Everything is starting to sound suitably atmospheric and dark now lol. I will need to add some processing to the strings, which will be the final step towards getting this done; probably some phase shifter/flange and a good dose of Space Echo. :)

My plan now is to get the RV-500, Blackhole, and whatever effects I use for the JV-1010 onto one of my Pedal Train boards and get that down on to the floor and off the shelf, as it's not really needed there. That should free up some valuable real estate...
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

Connected my poor-man's string machine yesterday, and it works a treat! Slow string patch on the JV-1010 > MXR Script 90 > BOSS RE-20 Space Echo > Eventide Space Echo.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/PkcHzknMgjHGqnkW9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Gv4a96sNtMREaZ1i7

https://photos.app.goo.gl/oFUaZ7kGKPukP8Md6
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by BobTheDog »

It would be nice to see a photo of the entire rig being used.
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

Full performance pics/video coming soon! I'll snap an as-done pic when I've sorted out the pedals, though.
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by BobTheDog »

:thumbup:
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Arpangel »

Ben, a friend came to New York about twenty years ago, he’s a musician, he loved it, I’m sure it’s changed massively since then, but he did comment on the alternative music scene, how buoyant it was, and how people were very receptive, and wanted to know what you were doing etc, he didn’t want to come back to the UK, he said it was a very positive atmosphere in NY creatively.
Are there still plenty of opportunities to play? underground clubs, interesting venues etc?
If I come there I’d like to have a good look around and check out a few places, even though it’s changed, also, check out a few modular dealers, and music shops.
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That would be an ecumenical matter.

Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

The NYC music scene of today, post 2010, is almost unrecognizable from the scene of yesteryear. Music Row disintegrated to dust, all the shops are gone or scattered. The big loss to us was 48th St Custom Guitars, that was possibly more legendary than Manny's. There are a couple of music stores of note still here, but they are very much diminished compared to what they used to be.

In terms of venues, some styles of music (like jazz and alt rock) continue to survive, if not thrive. However, once NYU gobbled up the majority of the real estate from Union Square through the East Village and into Alphabet City and the West Village, they closed down MANY legendary venues like The Bottom Line and CBGB. With them went all of the classic dive bars that subsisted from the venues, like Holiday Cocktail Lounge and Mars Bar.

It's not totally bleak, however, as one of the advantages of being the Hipster Capital of the World means a healthy dose of counterculture. The modular/synth scene is BOOMING here, with New York Modular Society being a large network of modular/synth enthusiasts that regularly holds meets and shows. They had 2 just this past week, which I've been too busy to attend lol.

For shops, we have Control, one of the best-curated modular shops in the US, right here in Brooklyn.

I hope that answers your question!
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

double post
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Arpangel »

Thanks Ben, we’re aiming for next spring, if things even vaguely get back to normal. We want to stay for about a month, a couple of excursions into Canada, if we can make it, Ontario, at least that’s on the same side as NY!
We want to visit Control, go to a few clubs, just chill out, and also go to Grant Avenue Studio in Hamilton, Ontario, it’s a special place for me, like a pilgrimage.
Even though the scene in NY has all but disappeared, I have to go, I’ll just stand there and soak up the vibes of the past, it’s still a great place for me, it’s just got to be done.
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Re: Here we go -- single-skiff performance synth in 104hp?

Post by Ben Asaro »

There's an AMAZING synth studio here that we can book for a few hours and have a jam!

https://tonetweakers.com/blogs/news/the ... o-in-nyc-1
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