Sunday, February 2, 2014

Episode 1 - Sound Art

In this First episode of Not--Here you will get a brief overview of Sound Art through the eyes of google. Thats right, I googled Sound Art and read through the results for your enjoyment.

Just quickly. Being an internet user and regular listener of podcasts, I have noticed a lack of  regular podcasters in the area of Sound Art. Not to say there are none, just that they are not particularly regular. It is my intention to upload a new podcast every fortnight or month. One of my favorite podcasts is FPP or The Film Photography Podcasts. They have been the inspiration behind starting this with their attitude of just do it!

The sound in this podcast are all tracks performed or created by myself, with the exception of the Japanese recording Kasane Ogi (SA 3033 or JP 365) on  columbia 45 in my collection.

The links used(or you could just google it yourself):

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Octatrack Hands-on Videos Begin to Appear, Featuring New Elektron Super-Samp...


Sent to you by marcel via Google Reader:


via Create Digital Music by Peter Kirn on 2/17/11

Elektron's Octatrack sampler is shipping to producer's hands, bringing this multitrack, time-stretching, step-sequenced, modulation-packing digital sampling hardware to real-world music-making. The results make comparisons like "Ableton in a box" seem pretty fair – and give you more an idea of what the thing does than Elektron's bizarre (and wonderful) short science fiction film, which seemed to suggest the box would incite revolutions and make you grow tentacles and change into a tortured alien. (See below)

Two of the people I'd most want to see work the device are featured in the videos above – at top, Richard Devine, and at bottom, Matthew Dear. Devine, for his part, makes use of re-triggering features:

Just triggering single shot samples of nord percussion and analogue drum sounds. Using the three stages of LFO's for each track to control effects animation and various other parameters. Making some use of the re-trigger sample functions spanned across 4 patterns.

Matthew Dear plays live on a New York public radio station program, Beats In Space on WNYU 89.1FM. (Listen to the whole show.)

It's a story focused on the drum sample library, not the Octatrack, but there's also a good example of how far you can stretch a single samples in Surachai's recent hands-on for TRASH_AUDIO.

Elektron have also in the last couple of months shared sound samples via their very, very active SoundCloud account; examples below.

Octatrack DPS-1 Site Sounds by Elektron

Octatrack DPS-1 | Sampling by Elektron

So, what's really going on inside the Octatrack? That to me is the interesting element of the design. As Roger Linn and Dave Smith focus on analog synthesis and no digital sampling (at least in Dave's machine) on the Tempest, the Octatrack takes digital features previous seen in software workflows and builds an integrated hardware design around them.

The heart and soul is an 8-track sequencer, with multiple patterns, arrangements, parts, and scenes for putting together a full performance (or performance set), which connects to "machines" for sample playback or external input machines. The combination of those basic modules is where things get a little crazy, with re-triggering, chaining of tracks, and the like, and Elektron promises to add more in future OS updates.

The other side of the machine is a whole heck of a lot of effects: multi-mode filter, parametric and DJ-style EQs, phaser, flanger, chorus, delay with repeat, plate reverb, compressor, and lo-fi distortion.

The most ingenious addition is a single optical crossfader, which allows DJ-style moves amidst all these digital layers, ideal for making sense of live performance.

Live sampling is a big draw; one of the better walkthroughs of how that works is in this video by darenager (who stresses this is not a musical performance, but a demo – I can appreciate that):

Elektron isn't assuming you're going to toss your computer in a bin; there's a USB2 port for connecting to a computer workflow. But it occurs to me that the likely retort of dedicated computer users – that they can do all this and more – is likely the reason others will choose to use this device. It does less, but focuses entirely on what you might want to do most.

I could go further with that, but I suspect we'll carry on with this balancing act between digital hardware and software until the last human consumes the last flicker of electricity on earth, so, uh, fill in a zillion already-hashed-out debates here. In fact, let's imagine them all at once, as a mysterious buzzing sound.


There. Done.

But yes, at the same time as someone who's reconfiguring my own live software rig, you have to admit that which features they chose – and how you see them mapped to hardware above – is interesting even if you can't afford a new don't want to buy a new Octatrack.

Mostly what makes me happy is knowing that this machine is making other people happy, and then in turn will make some of them make very good music and performances that I get to enjoy.

And yes, I really do love the bizarre short movie Elektron created to promote their device. It's nothing if not creative.

What do you make of this new design?

In particular, I'd love to hear from those of you who just got new machines. How are you using it musically so far?

Also, if you're in Sweden, can you tell me what's in your water that makes you engineer all this insane stuff? Should I wish I had the benefit of your education system? Should I just eat more herring? Both? Or will the herring, at least, make me regret less that I'm not a product of your education system?


Things you can do from here:


Meet the Beep-It Optical Theremin, and Learn Lessons in Product Development ...


Sent to you by marcel via Google Reader:


via Create Digital Music by michaeluna on 2/20/11

What happens when you try to make bleeping and beeping a business? Meet the Beep-It, a simple but addictive optical theremin, and a fun noisemaking impulse buy for sonic enthusiasts. Then, if you've ever fancied developing a new idea into a product, learn a little bit about the path of its creator. We hear a lot about technology and entrepreneurship in broad strokes, but rarely do people tell you what it means actually putting ideas to work. So, where better to start than with a simple idea and a labor of love? Michael Una, musician, sound artist, and inventor, explains.

Greetings all, this is Michael Una. I'm an occasional contributor to CDMu and I want to share a bit about a big project I've been working on.

This is Beep-it:

More info at

It's an analog optical theremin. This is not a new idea, but I was driven to make my own with a focus on playability and low cost. Beep-it started as an idea a few years ago, and I've been working to make it bigger and better since.

A little while back we heard from Roger Linn on "How to get poor with prototyping." Mr. Linn made many good points and offered a  realistic, if somewhat harsh picture of what it actually takes to take an idea to market. I'd like to expand on this discussion by offering my own experience with this exact process, from prototyping to overseas manufacturing.

Back in 2009, my nephew's birthday was coming up and I needed a gift. So I looked around my studio and found that I had enough parts to make something that looked like this. It made a lot of funny beeps, so I called it "Beep-it," after the Cornelius song of the same name. The case is a big plastic petri dish and the circuit is a 555 oscillator with photocell control.

It turned out to be the hit of the party and all the little kids wouldn't stop beeping.  I had a stack of the clear petri dishes left, so I made another 25 and put them up for sale on Etsy in late fall of 2009. These sold for $25. I also showed them at a small art gallery here in Chicago. I sold a few, but nothing too crazy until the Christmas shopping season hit and my Etsy inventory sold out in a matter of days. I scrambled to build more and fulfilled about 40 orders before the season was finished. Small numbers, but it showed that there was a bigger demand than I was aware of.

As I built all these Beep-its, two things happened. I became much better and more efficient at building them, and as I got better I became dissatisfied with the quality. I also ran out of petri dishes, so I undertook a redesign and came up with this:

This version upped the price to $35, because I figured out that I was barely making money at $25. Now that I had a better product, I set out to try and market them and drive up sales. I did workshops, made some videos, and did my best to get noticed by prominent blogs and influential musicans. It mostly worked. One blog post on Boing Boing kept me busy for a month. There were other months where I only sold a handful. But over the next few years I sold about 250 of this version and shipped them all over the world. I bought myself some nicer tools and moved my workshop from a 2nd bedroom to a rented studio space. Things were looking up.

Now there's an interesting problem here- the more I sold, the more time I had to spend actually building them. Which meant that I had less time to do other things, like tinkering on new designs, actually playing music, etc.  I hired some friends and family to help with soldering circuit boards and drilling the cases, but it still took up a lot of my time. So I started looking for other solutions.

I applied for and won a small business grant from Scale Well, which opened my eyes to the possibilities of larger-scale manufacturing. I got some great advice from local hero Joe Born and electronics guru Mitch Altman, and started conversations with an overseas manufacturer. After much back-and-forth and dropping some serious coin, last month my first shipment of "fancy" manufactured Beep-its arrived:

I've now partnered with master motion and print designer Joe Moccia, whose fine work can be seen on the product itself and in our web and video design.

So despite having actually designed a product and brought it from idea to prototype to manufactured object, I still feel like I'm just getting started. My next steps are now to talk to bigger retailers and get them to carry my product, and to start working on the next product. And hiring a lawyer to handle some business administration stuff. And setting up a more robust accounting system. And putting together a new live performance to showcase my new devices. And like 10 other things that I can't think of right now. But let me offer a few parting tips for anyone thinking of turning their idea to reality:

  • Pick something you can accomplish. Build one, and sell it. Keep track of how long it takes you and how much you spent on parts, and how much you got for it. Then have a good think about whether it's worth pursuing.
  • While you can hire someone to do all the work for you, don't. It will cost you way too much, and you won't learn any of the valuable lessons that will go into running your business later. You actually need to do everything once before you can hire someone to do it for you, otherwise how will you know if they're doing a good or efficient job?
  • Don't spend money you don't have. Personally, I think taking on debt is a terrible idea. People will argue that it's the fastest way to accomplish your goals, but you won't spend it as wisely if it's imaginary money. Spend it out of your own pocket and try to grow that, especially at first.
  • You don't have to be an expert, but you do have to be an information sponge. In order to be successful, you have to be learning all the time. Which includes un-learning misconceptions and bad behaviors.
  • Ask for help. People love to share information and successful people won't mind helping someone with a good idea and good energy. People who don't share information usually aren't very successful anyway.
  • Stop thinking about it and do it. Until you actually do something, it's all theory. Get your hands dirty and make mistakes, and keep notes. The time has never been better for a good idea to take off.

Readers, many of you have great ideas. How far have you taken them? And what roadblocks have you hit along the way?

More (and purchase info):

Beep-It: Portable, Open, DIY Optical Theremin

Beep-It assembly of an earlier model at Handmade Music, Brooklyn (workshop + performances with Michael Una)


Things you can do from here:


Friday, February 18, 2011

Cheap Tape Saturation Hack: Delicious Distortion with a Tape-to-CD Adapter


Sent to you by marcel via Google Reader:


via Create Digital Music by Peter Kirn on 2/17/11

What a lovely coincidence that tape, originally a recording medium, works beautifully for distortion and saturation. Whatever the reason, tape saturation is a popular effect. If you want subtle, pristine saturation, there are various meticulous models of high-quality studio equipment. That was one topic in our interview earlier this week with Universal Audio's Dr. David Berners. (UA's model is intended to model the entire multitrack tape deck, so quite a bit different.) There's also, on a much gentler budget, a simple saturation effect in the US$79 Harrison Mixbus, intended more for the saturation behavior on main or submix buses than for replicating the tape equipment itself.

But sometimes pristine, high-fidelity tape equipment is the opposite of what you want. You want, instead, raunchy, destructive, dirty distortion. To me, like many others, that's more valuable. And it can cost nearly nothing, if you're willing to scrounge.

You don't need any pricey equipment: just one unwanted tape deck and a CD-to-cassette adapter you almost certainly have buried in a drawer or closet.

Helsinki-based producer and musician Riku Annala shares in a video tutorial how this works.

He writes:

Really, it's just a simple, almost stupid trick and I'm 99% sure that many others have realized it too, but I've never bumped into it anywhere. It seems at the moment that producers are trying to get away from the clean digital sound and there is a clear lo-fi trend going on. I've always been somehow fascinated with old c-cassette tapes (I'm a product of the 80′s) and I got myself an old tape deck for experimantation purposes. Here is the catch, I realized that by using one of those 3mm jack CD-to-tape adapters that are used in tape car stereo's for plugging external players, you can route digital (or any) audio through the tape deck to color the audio in various different ways!

More on his blog:
Studio Experiment #1: Tape Saturation for Cheapskates [Recue]

Well worth checking out his music, too, whilst you're there.

Variations on this trick? (I'm working on some hacks with a speed-variable portable tape player.) Other ideas? Make anything interesting this way? Let us know in comments.

Photos courtesy Recue.


Things you can do from here:


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finding Beauty in Samples, Musicians Make New Music from Another’s Raw Mater...


Sent to you by marcel via Google Reader:


via Create Digital Music by Peter Kirn on 2/11/11

Remix albums are ubiquitous, and sampling has become one of the fundamental techniques of electronic music. But how much do raw materials impact the end result? And given that a sample might simply be a prompt or starting point, why not take on someone else's samples instead of your own?

Film aficionados routinely trade film – sometimes even double-exposing someone else's roll, for unexpected results. Here, a group of musicians take on another artist's samples, starting with 40 minutes of material by Forrest Reiff (Off Balance Atlas), shared on SoundCloud. The results are eclectic, sometimes exotic, sometimes chaotic, but well worth a sampling yourself. And if you decide to give them money, you can get a handmade cassette copy in the deal.

Forrest explains the project:

This album was initiated from an idea in my head to have other people hear the sounds that I sample and create their own interpretation of the source material. It's not really a remix album because there is no linear path that any of the sounds were presented is more a reanimation of raw crystal sound waves into a new gem fortress. The artists were not asked to use the material exclusively, but merely to implement it into the creative process. Thank you to all the producers who participated out of their sheer creative drive in the first round. May the future bring bright things for us all.
The album is being offered free of charge but if you donate $8-$10 you will be guaranteed a physical copy of the release in cassette format. Feel free to donate less if you just wish to support the idea and enjoy the digital album. I will be hand making the tapes initially but if the interest becomes great and I receive enough donations a full on pressing will commence and you will receive a "professionally" dubbed and printed tape…which will mark the first official skylight gymnasium records release. We live in an extraordinary world filled with vast stimuli and beauty…I humbly thank you for your interest in this project and possible endeavors of the infinite beyond.
-Forrest Reiff (Off Balance Atlas)

One of the participating artists, Judson / Sumsun, sent us a heads-up on the project and shares his impressions:

I really enjoy listening to all the artists interpretations of the material, you can hear a little bit of Off Balance Atlas or hear a bit that I almost sampled, but then the songs really sound like the artists using the sample.

He fills us in on some of the process and background, too:

It's a lot of Roland SP sampling ([BOSS] SP-505 and [Roland] SP-404), cassette and mini cassette field recordings, random vinyl rips, hydrophones, analog and digital synths, you know, meat and potatoes type stuff. Then he sent the soundcloud page out to a bunch of friends and they sent it to their friends and it grew and grew. He started this months ago but just put the finished product up online. The label my project is on, Leaving Records, debuted it in a simple blog post:

Leaving is a small LA label owned by sonic wizard Matthewdavid and is a subsidiary of Alpha Pup Records (Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label is also a subsidiary of Alpha Pup).

The images here come from Forrest's sampling setup, and I'm sure aren't dissimilar from many readers' noise-making closets.

SoundCloud was the means of sharing the files, for samples like this one:

Samplebasedlife (1) (DL able now) by samplebasedlife

SoundCloud and services like it, in turn, will be the subject of a lot of the hacking happening this weekend at the first-ever New York installment of Music Hack Day. I'll be interested to see if that helps spawn more ideas like this.

On the other hand, you don't need fancy technology; you could even mail a cassette tape.

Tried something like this? Got a way of organizing samples, even for yourself? Let us know.


Things you can do from here:


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nine Keyboards in One: Extensive Q+A, Gallery for KORG on Kronos, Son of OASYS


Sent to you by marcel via Google Reader:


via Create Digital Music by Peter Kirn on 2/8/11

One keyboard, a mind-bending nine engines, lots of tech specs … now that we've lived in a world of impressive, technically-intimidating workstation keyboards for a couple of decades, it's easy to imagine your eyes glazing over when there's a new one, let alone the general public. So, what might get your attention? This.

"Workstation keyboard" is usually a phrase that sends me for the exits; my computer makes a perfectly good workstation, thanks. I've understood why people like them; I've just never seen one that could personally excite me. But now that the trade show hype has died down, it's time to take a serious look at the Korg Kronos. This one is a bit different. It's the first real integrated computer-in-a-keyboard workstation since the Korg OASYS – and it and the OASYS really do something no other integrated keyboards have. (Just sticking a PC in a keyboard shell doesn't quite count; that's almost more of a case mod than an integrated design.)

Now, imagine the OASYS in a completely new generation, and at half the price. The OASYS was priced so that it seemed like only rock stars need apply, however – US$8000. Kronos is US$3700 street, a price that has typically bought you an arranger keyboard, not something like this. Kronos, at that price, really does seem like a studio in a box. It's certainly not cheap (not with very capable instruments under a grand), but it enters the realm where a musician could make an investment in a keyboard that'd outlast a couple of generations of computers and (ahem) computer repairs.

Underneath its shell, the Kronos is still based on the Linux kernel (via a custom OS), lots of Korg software, and an Intel processor.

Kronos is impressive enough that other, computer-loving fans I know are taking a look. So, I asked Korg if they could walk us through more of the technical details.

This isn't a review. But while Korg's Richard Formidoni is positively glowing about their new baby, I do listen to what he says. Rich is one of us – and having been to his home studio, I can tell you that while he may be a company man, he has a cherished place for some instruments from makers beginning with the letter 'R' and rhyming with Yoland, not just Ma Korg. And while his pride shows through, he also has some great details for us. (In the grand tradition of CDM, I've … not edited those answers. All the news fits, so we print.)

So, consider this a full, detailed preview. I actually think it benefits from some distance from the NAMM show, the week in which everything is unveiled at once. If you miss the din of NAMM, replace all the bulbs in your house with fluorescents, fire up some white noise generators and background crowd sound effects discs, and then buy yourself breakfast at IHOP before charging yourself $500 to sleep over. And stay tuned for when we get to try this thing first-hand.

The original OASYS. It had a sexy metal body that looked like something from a Klingon engineering deck. But have a close look at the Kronos. While it appears descended from the architecture and philosophy of OASYS, down to similar menu pages, its synthesis engines and new features make it a worthy rival to its predecessor. Oh, and it's half as expensive.

What's the relationship of Kronos to OASYS, technically or in terms of learned experience?

There's absolutely a blood relation. Much of the technology that was originally developed for OASYS has made its way to KRONOS (sound engines, UI, etc). That being said, KRONOS has more than enough innovation to stand on its own. It has quite a few performance-oriented aspects that wouldn't have been possible without new hardware. One example is the inclusion of a fast solid state drive with direct access to about 12gb of sample libraries, rendering the blanket spec of "ROM size" totally irrelevant. More on that later. In terms of compatibility, KRONOS can load OASYS Programs, Combis, and Sequences.

What's the underlying hardware engine? (OASYS I know was a Pentium 4 with a custom embedded OS based on the Linux kernel.)

It's a dual-core Atom processor, again running a custom OS atop a Linux kernel. This is a big deal for a few reasons… Read the next answer for details. :)

It's very apparent how much the Kronos does, and I think typically we end the conversation that way — "look, it does this, this, and this." But walk us through, if you will, how someone might typically uses all of these engines? It appears that there are some significant features there (like the ability to seamlessly change sounds, which certainly is non-trivial on a computer).

Strap in, this'll be the long one…

A walk-through would definitely start with a description of the nine engines. I'll try to differentiate a little than our marketing copy, which as you might imagine, I am starting to recite in my sleep.

1. SGX-1 Premium Piano: This lets you play and modify large acoustic grand piano sample libraries, directly from the internal solid state drive. There are two 4.7gb libraries, a German grand and a Japanese grand. We include 30 piano types based around these libraries, with different response and tonality. SGX-1 lets you interact with the pianos by adjusting lid position, damper resonance, note release (simulating old damper felts), adding mechanical noises (keys, damper rise/fall), and adjusting velocity intensity/bias. Obviously, the big deal here is the SSD playback. It lets us use more velocity layers, high quality, unlooped samples, and gives us huge polyphony (SGX-1 can sound 400 mono channels at once).

The whole point is that SGX-1 provides the most realistic, detailed, nuanced, and flexible collection of pianos that we've ever offered.

2. EP: This engine recreates six different models of electric piano: Four tine-based Eps (Mark I, Mark II, Mark V, and Dyno) and two Wurlys (200 and 200a). It uses a method called MDS (Multi-Dimensional Synthesis) which doesn't have some of the more unnatural characteristics of looped samples, so it responds smoothly as you play harder. Any audible switching between soft/loud, and sweet/strong is gone. It also has the vintage effect models from the SV-1, without taking up any of the internal effect slots. Tremolo, vibrato, all the fixin's from the classic EPs are there.

3. CX-3: This is the software version of our CX-3 tonewheel organ. It lets you use the physical sliders as you would drawbars, and accurately models the chorus/vibrato, percussion, overdrive, leakage, and amplifier/rotary speaker. The fun part for me is how ridiculously tweakable it is. For example, you can basically design your own rotary speaker, as well as the room it's sitting in… And you can add four additional drawbars to the organ, with customizable pitches. I've logged a few gig/studio hours with this engine alone, and I'm pretty thrilled that Urban Sun finally has true drawbar organs to work with.

4. MS-20EX: Taken almost directly from our Legacy Collection software, this recreation of the MS-20 monosynth (now with 40 notes of polyphony) is a point-to-point model of every component from the original design. It was created by the same designers who made the original. You can even run audio input through the frequency-to-voltage converter, and have the synth sing along with you. You can create patches just as you would on the original, except instead of using actual cables, you just touch points on the display.

Put simply, it's an MS-20 that would not pass a screening for performance-enhancing drugs.

Ed.: Careful, Rich, the iPad fans may chime in here … as may someone with some other drug reference, dunno. Readers, see image above.

5. PolysixEX: Along the same lines as the MS-20EX, it's a recreation of the venerable Polysix (only now more like a Poly180). The display lets you touch a graphic representation of the Polysix, and we've also mapped all the controls to the KRONOS control surface for hands-on tweaking.

Just like the original Polysix, the PolysixEX is a great way to get into synthesis. It can be incredibly powerful, but it's also really approachable. If you're new to analog synthesis, it's a wonderful place to start experimenting.

6. AL-1: A more futuristic look at analog modeling. We often describe AL-1 as "futuristic" because of its potential to go so far beyond classic analog synthesis. It's a ground-up design, with massive capabilities. Each instance (two per Program) can have three oscillators, five envelopes, five LFOs, a step sequencer, and various filter types including a Multi Filter, which lets you blend together (and morph between) different filter shapes. One of its most notable features is the Ultra Low-Aliasing Oscillators, which sound pure throughout the audible frequency spectrum.

7. MOD-7: This is a frequency modulation synthesizer based on Korg's VPM architecture. It can read SysEx from classic FM synths (you know the ones), and it lets you go beyond the traditional "choose an algorithm" format, and create your own using a patch panel system. You can also modulate using PCM samples, ring modulation, and waveshaping. All things considered, MOD-7 offers the most programming depth of all the engines in KRONOS.

8. STR-1: This is a plucked-string physical modeling engine. You can design a string, with specific properties like damping, dispersion, and nonlinearity, and then excite it at any given position with a pluck, strike, or scrape. It's very good at replicating string-based instruments like harps, guitars, sitars, etc., but it's also capable of percussion, bell, and wind sounds, plus some really haunting textures that wouldn't be possible for a string to generate in the real world. There's a lot of fun to be had by warping the string's physical properties with the Vector Joystick as you play.

9. HD-1: Our all-purpose, high-definition sample playback engine. Eight stereo velocity layers with crossfading means we can into greater detail than we ever could before. As with SGX-1, we're taking advantage of large sample libraries being played from the internal SSD. With access to nearly 12gb of sample data (remember what Korg did with only 4mb in the M1?), It is a huge Swiss army knife of sound. HD-1 also incorporates Wave Sequencing and Vector Synthesis, from the Wavestation.

One of the big themes of KRONOS is making sound design fun, varied, and inspiring. There is so often a divide between modeling synthesizers and sample-based instruments, so it's pretty exciting to have one instrument that raises the bar in both areas. Having three different flavors of analog modeling is a great example of that. If you want quick and easy, go for the PolysixEX. If you want to experiment with a semi-modular patch panel, grab the MS-20EX. If you want to go beyond "classic" capabilities, fire up AL-1. I end up using the word "playground" very often while describing it.

There's also onboard KARMA, a powerful sequencer with 16 MIDI tracks and 16 24-bit audio tracks, our Open Sampling System, and loads of effects… I don't want to undervalue these aspects, but the fact that it's nine complete synthesizers is definitely a paramount feature.

So, this is all well and good… It's a synthesis monster. You can get lost for weeks, just programming sounds. The real beauty of it, though, is how all of them can work together and feed off of each other.

For instance, we now have a "Set List" mode that gives you immediate access to Programs, Combis, and Sequences from the same display. You can organize sounds and songs into groups of 16 slots. You don't have to duplicate sounds in an empty bank any more, or waste a Combi location just to play a single Program. Now you can make quick shortcuts. This is a godsend when you're playing live.

There are also some "under the hood" operations that really make all the difference in the world for live players as well as studio guys. For example, the smooth sound transitions are a vital new feature that the world has been waiting for. As you're playing, you can now switch to a new sound (regardless of mode), and the last one decays naturally, as if you just reached for a different keyboard altogether. We're able to do this without limiting the number of effects you can use, the number of timbres playing, or any of the other limitations that exist in other instruments.

Here's another one: KRONOS is always performing dynamic allocation of CPU processing power. Each of these synth engines has its own polyphony spec, and when one engine is running low, it will steal voices from another engine that isn't using it. The same is true of the effects, which are running on a separate processor core, unaffected by the synth engines' performance. KRONOS also allocates voices depending on other factors, such as where on the keyboard you're playing, how fast you play, etc.

The practical upshot of all these technologies is that there's no disconnect between you and your music. You never have to think about polyphony, you don't waste lots of time loading samples, you never have to worry about CPU overs. It's just an immediate connection between you and your music. It's what makes it an "instrument" rather than a "system."

If we need to draw a comparison to the DAW world, think of it this way- When you're changing from Combi to Combi, you could equate it to loading a DAW template with 16 CPU-gobbling softsynths and 16 effect plug-ins already assigned to tracks. Depending on your system, that template could take a little while to load. On KRONOS, you can dial through about six Combis per second, and start playing them immediately.

Speaking of DAWs, another great aspect of KRONOS is that it runs as a VST/AU plugin via a software editor. This opens up a whole series of doors for a studio musician… You can run all nine engines at once, 16 timbres total, controlled via the plug-in editor, without using your computer's resources. Whenever you revisit a project within the DAW, the editor software will recall the appropriate settings, so it's just the way you left it. It also has class-compliant USB MIDI and audio I/O capabilities. I'm actually listening to Pandora right now, being piped through via USB to KRONOS's headphone jack.

Artist feedback was a part of this, I know — who did you work with (of those you could name) and what kind of feedback did they give?

We worked very closely with Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Lyle Mays, Jae Deal, Adam Blackstone, Tom Coster, Jordan Rudess, Frank McComb, Jeff Lorber John Novello, Eldar, David Haynes, and Russ Ferrante… Plus a few others. I don't want to (mis)quote them directly, but we got plenty of positive feedback from all of them.

Most of these artists are mission-specific… Some wanted to focus on the EPs, some focused on organs, etc. As a result, KRONOS has lots of signature sounds, representing customizations we made with these artists to tailor the instrument to their needs. This includes key response, tonal changes, effect choices, EQ, etc. We encouraged them to be very specific about their tweaks, because we wanted the resulting sounds to feel like you're borrowing the artist's instrument, rather than just calling up a new Program.

I will say that all of these sound design sessions ended with some variation of "So, when can I get one?"

As you can see, it's easy for me to start ranting… I'm genuinely thrilled to be a part of KRONOS's development, and I can't wait until the rest of the world gets to try it.

More information…

Like I said, this isn't a review – so if you've got questions, fire away.

In the meantime:

And for some history, here's me writing about the making of the OASYS, way back in 2005 for O'Reilly:

Inside a Luxury Synth: Creating the Linux-Powered Korg OASYS


Things you can do from here:


Free Trance Tutorial Video Course


Sent to you by marcel via Google Reader:


via Waveformless by Tom on 2/9/11

KVR user SoundMagus recently posted this:

"I created a Trance course for Sonic Academy a while back but they went into receivership and couldnt afford to pay me for it, so here it is for free

If you goto and register you will receive an email with username and password.

Please login with these credentials and then goto this link - e-course/ where you will see the free course - only the first 3 videos are available at the minute the rest are being uploaded now. "

He has since uploaded more videos and has received a pretty good response so far. It's rare to get this kind of stuff for free, so enjoy!

[via KVR-Audio]


Things you can do from here: