Synth Geekery 188 – SmplTrek Party
In episode 188 we are talking about the SmplTrek – of course! Plus all the usual segments! Funny Side, News from the Geekery, Price Watch, Name that Synth …
- Video replay
- Funny Side
- News from The Geekery
- Price Watch
- Name that Synth
- Saturday Sonority
About the Synth Geekery Show
Synth Geekery is a weekly podcast/live stream (YouTube) show about everything synthesizers, drum machines, samplers, sequencers, eurorack and music technology. We take the “one of the masses” viewpoint, where we are also users of gear just like you (read: we’re not influenced by commercial product placement).
The show relies on the generous contributions of the synth community. You can contribute in many ways including supporting us via our YouTube Channel Membership or Patreon. We also have regular and special video guests: if you would like to take part in future shows – please contact me via email on the about page here.
This week’s video guests are:
Main link – https://www.youtube.com/user/sunhoney1uk
BandCamp link: https://andyvonal.bandcamp.com/
Andy resides in the UK and has been a regular member of the show since 2020. He has performed live and offers a wealth of knowledge for live electronic music setups and small studio configurations.
Andy is a musician and technologist from the bay area in California. He has an amazing collection of music tech gadgets and a large knowledge of synthesizers.
Ian J. Cole
Ian is a musician, composer, sound designer and producer currently producing solo ambient electronic music. He also runs Sinners Music which is a Record Company and Online Music Retailer in East Yorkshire, England
We were also joined by:
Chris Dodsworth (Aka Chris Lody) from Sonicware
Robbie Puricelli (Aka FailedMuso) from ProSynth Network etc.
The funny side segment is a collection of memes that are somewhat relevant to the synth geekery community. Some of these images are taken from Facebook, Instagram and other social media sources. Please respect the creators. Hope you enjoy this week’s selection:
News from the Geekery
This week we have a big list of new synths and gear:
A complete portable standalone sampler. From the ground up you can sample, sequence, MIDI control and record tracks, clips, one-shots and add 36 FX types and more. It also includes a class compliant USB audio interface to connect to your mobile phone, tablet or desktop PC.
Samples are at 48KHz 16 bit linear and there is a bunch of connectivity including stereo IN and OUT plus MIDI DIN IN and OUT. There’s also a built-in mic and speaker.
The sequencer can hold songs. Each song has 16 scenes and each scene can have 10 tracks. Tracks can be Loop, Inst, Drum, Shot, MIDI or Global.
- Drum Kits:
- You can only have one Drum Track per scene.
- Drum tracks are limited to 2.5 second samples and are not streamed from the SD card.
- The streaming and sample length limitation is not mentioned in the manual. I’m not sure if this is a memory/cpu resource limitation – however – streaming samples from the sd card may free up resources.
- Also when loading the Drum kits – there’s no audio preview.
- There is no global swing.
- Global quantisation is always on – you can only set microtiming per sample track. You can’t record unquantized.
- The metronome is not accessible via the record menus – you have to go via the system menu.
- Time stretching – if you use it – is going to be something you’ll miss here.
- No note repeats or arpeggiators.
- Live editing whilst the scene is playing is quite limited.
- Pitch changes on samples in increments of 1 or 100 – what does that mean in terms of semitones? Also whilst we are on the topic of pitch and samples – a cool feature would be to know what pitch the sample is recorded at (I haven’t seen many do this).
- Copy/Paste. You can currently copy an entire scene to another scene and you can copy a track to another track. However, you can’t copy one track to another scene track.
- No copy and paste for notes when you want to extend the length of a clip.
- Manual doesn’t define SYNC rate – is it pulse 24 PPQN ?
- The clock can sync to internal, MIDI or SYNC and even USB. However, some weird results happen with loops (DEMO)
- There is no undo.
- Battery life.
- Device specifications are not in user manual (but on website).
Good places to get samples:
Music Radar (free): https://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/free-music-samples-royalty-free-loops-hits-and-multis-to-download
Price: $429 (RRP)
8 voice polyphonic analog synthesizer based on the Pro-600 from Sequential. It comes with collaboration from GliGli mods adding a modded LFO with 6 waveform shapes, added noise, 2-track polyphonic sequencer, and VCA overdrive.
It comes as a desktop module and is rack mountable and eurorack compatible. It also has full MIDI implementation of the parameters and up to 400 presets.
Plaits – new firmware
There’s a significant firmware update for Mutable Instruments Plaits. This came as a surprise considering they have announced their closure earlier this year.
Here’s some of the new features;
- The frequency range selector has a new mode: octaves. In this mode, the right button and FREQUENCY knob combo adjusts the root note, then the FREQUENCY knob transposes this root note up or down.
- Pressing both buttons simultaneously for a very short time (a long press triggers the calibration procedure) enables or disables an alternative way of selecting a synthesis model: the first button selects the previous model, the second button the next one.
- This new -/+ control scheme gives access to an orange bank of synthesis models for pitched sounds.
- 1 Classic waveshapes with filter (HARMO: resonance and filter character – gentle 24dB/octave CCW, harsh 12dB/octave CW, TIMBRE: filter cutoff, MORPH: waveform and sub level, OUT: LP output, AUX: 12dB/octave HP output)
- 2 Phase distortion and modulation (HARMO: distortion frequency, TIMBRE: distortion amount, MORPH: distortion asymmetry, OUT: carrier is sync’ed (phase distortion), AUX: carrier is free-running (phase modulation)).
- 3, 4, 5 2-voice, 6-operator FM synth with 32 presets (HARMO: preset selection, TIMBRE: modulator(s) level, MORPH: envelope and modulation stretching/time-travel). The two voices are alternatively triggered whenever a trigger is received on the TRIG input. When the TRIG input is not patched, a single voice plays as a drone, and the MORPH knob allows time-travel along the envelopes and modulations. The LEVEL input is repurposed as a velocity control – controlling loudness or timbre depending on how each preset is programmed. Each model corresponds to a different bank of 32 presets among basses/synths, keyboards/plucked strings/percussions, organs/pads/strings/brass.
- 6 Wave terrain synthesis with continuous interpolation between eight 2D terrains (HARMO: terrain, TIMBRE: path radius, MORPH: path offset, OUT: Direct terrain height (z), AUX: Terrain height interpreted as phase distortion (sin(y+z)).
- 7 String machine emulation with stereo filter and chorus (HARMO: chord, TIMBRE: chorus/filter amount, MORPH: waveform, OUT: voices 1&3 predominantly, AUX: voices 2&4 predominantly).
- 8 Four variable square voices for chords or arpeggios (HARMO: chord, TIMBRE: arpeggio type or chord inversion, MORPH: PW/Sync, OUT: square wave voices, AUX: NES triangle voice, TIMBRE attenuverter: envelope shape). Plug a trigger input to clock the arpeggiator.
- The module can receive audio data on its TIMBRE input to load custom data into a synthesis model (only one synthesis model can be altered at a time). This new feature is available for the following models:
- 6-operator FM: transfer of 32 custom patches in DX7 SysEx format. They will replace one of the built-in banks.
- Wave terrain synthesis: transfer of a custom wave terrain.
- Wavetable synthesis: transfer of 15 custom waveforms and customization of bank 4’s wave map.
- Fixed a spurious retriggering of the internal envelope when entering/leaving the speech synthesis model.
- Reduced the amount of software filtering on the TIMBRE and MORPH knobs, to increase their responsiveness.
- Reduced the amount of hysteresis in the quantizer responsible for converting a voltage into discrete settings (for example, for model selection with the MODEL CV input, or chord selection with the HARMONICS knob and CV input). This makes the relationship between a voltage and a specific setting more consistent when controlled by a sequencer.
- The filters used for band-limited wavetable synthesis have been improved, eliminating the amplitude drop observed for the highest notes.
For Behringer Brains owners – unfortunately this update is not compatible.
Price: Free download –> here:
ST Modular Alstaden
Alstaden is a new waveshaping oscillator from german eurorack developer ST Modular – and it is a DIY project.
The waves are formed by a combination of diode clipping and folding of the waveform by adding mirror images of the upper and lower parts of the waveform. This creates more high harmonics and interesting timbral variations. It also features an equalizer, which is quite unusual for oscillators, but offers more sonic possibilities.
16 HP – the oscillator is based on the Euphoria synthesizer released earlier this year.
Price: TBA – full kits likely to be available via Pusherman
Pharmasonic SYS-100 – 101
Fully modular clone of the System-100 Model-101 in Eurorack.
Pharmasonic are a Japanese based Eurorack engineer company. They specialise in clones of Roland System 100 modules. You can get them individually for approx $150 USD.
Price: ¥99,500 or $728 USD
This week – we visited a number of auctions, here are the screen grabs:
ARP 2600 Manual Only
Auction Link: https://reverb.com/uk/item/62732985-korg-arp-2600-manuals-only
Auction link: https://reverb.com/item/63305921-linn-lm-1-from-giorgio-moroder
Emu Vintage Keys
Auction Link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/125656099216
Auction link: https://reverb.com/item/63941822-1983-roland-sh-101-32-key-monophonic-synthesizer-red-w-mod-grip-clean
Auction Link: https://reverb.com/item/63920064-yamaha-dx5-fm-synthesizer-3-rom-xtras-collector-s-grade-1985-very-early-serial
This week’s Saturday Sonority we were doing SmplTrek!