Poor Signal to Noise Ratio

Electronic sound noodling/composition employing chiefly synthesizers of variable vintage.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Merging the gritty with the pretty

Having experimented with the lo-fi processing properties of the monotron delay, I thought I'd see how well this would sit in a mix. So, here we have the Roland SH3a once again being passed through the monotron delay, meanwhile the Juno 6 is being lavishly treated by the Strymon BigSky, the Ensoniq SQ80 is being mauled by the Yamaha REX50 and the Korg MS20 mini is just left to its own devices. There's a little bit of rhythm backing recorded into the SQ80's on-board sequencer and the rest is played live.

Oh, and just for a little atmospheric visuals, I thought it would go nicely with this picture of my car that I rolled a few weeks ago.

Clipping the 'tron Delay

I've been really enjoying using the monotron delay as an effects processor. It adds instant dirt and grit to anything that's put through it. You have to be careful not to overdo it though, or everything sounds like an edition of Top of the Pops recorded off the telly with a cassette recorder. This is a sample of an SH3a being passed through the 'tron. The signal is taken from the Roland's headphone output and I love the way, as it drives the Korg to clipping, it spits and squeals and howls at the indignity of being fed through a mere toy.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Too Much of a Good Thing

Just having a mess around in the studio with a recently acquired Strymon BigSky. I wondered what it might sound like with a bunch of things going through a choral setting together. This is a Roland SH-3a, a Korg MS20-mini, a Roland Juno 6, a Vermona Piano-Strings and a Hohner Pianet T all being subjected to the choral treatment. Meanwhile a Roland TR-626 is going through a Korg Monotron Delay. It was recorded, as a live improvisation (hence the questionable quality and dodgy timing), via the stereo line-in of a Zoom H1.
All in all it does end up being a bit too much of a good thing. It's an epic effect, but there's surely only so much chorale reverb you can apply before the whole thing descends into one BigNoise.

  The Whole bloody choir by ununseptium_annex


Saturday, 8 February 2014

MT Sky

Next up for the Strymon BigSky is the Casiotone MT-70.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

In Search of Space

So I finally gave in to the call of the wild reverb.
The Korg Z1 had to go. I just hadn't got the space.
It's been replaced with a Strymon BigSky Reverberator.
First up for the treatment is the MiniBrute...

Friday, 10 January 2014

Long overdue Velleman LED step sequencer stuff

Whoa! I can't believe how long it's been, but I just checked and it was October 2011 when I first posted a link to a video demonstrating how to make a CV step sequencer from a Velleman LED light sequence kit. Well, I actually got around to making one last year and neglected to post any evidence of it. So here it is, two highly unspectacular clips of me faffing about with the said sequencer.

In the first, I'm using it to trigger my Doepfer A-100 modular (with a bit of delay from a Boss RSD-10). The video doesn't really focus on the sequencer much, which is mainly due to my inept skills at holding a video camera whilst tweaking and patching a modular synth. High geek comedy moment to look out for is my earnest attempt to adjust the sub (audio divider module) with nothing patched to the output. Der!

The second video is mercifully brief and poor quality visuals, as it was shot on a still camera with video setting. In this the Velleman is triggering a Yamaha CS10, plus I have an extra oscillator from the A-100 (which, in turn, is being frequency modulated by an LFO) going through the CS10's external input.

It's a cheap and, relatively easy, way of knocking together a CV step sequencer. However, my soldering skills and understanding of basic electronics are both fairly lame and I don't know whether the effort was worth the results in my own case. I don't know whether it's my innate ignorance or if it's down to the limitations of the device, but it really doesn't threaten the market share of a Dark Time in terms of sequencing capabilities. I prefer to think of it as a fairly random voltage repeat pattern generator.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Video evidence of my real need for a sequencer

Okay, so I've got this far through the blog without ever posting a video of the modest Doepfer Modular system I occasionally fiddle with. To be honest, I find it difficult to get anything other that annoying noises out of it, without using some sort of external trigger; a keyboard, arpeggiator, drum machine, etc. So, rather foolishly, I thought I'd have a go at getting some kind of interesting groove going using only the internal modules of the system, that's LFOs and Envelope Generators. As you can see (and hear), I failed miserably due to that great big gaping hole in my system (well, more of a blanking plate actually) where there should be some sort of sequencer. I've got my eye set on a Doepfer A-155, going by bang for buck. If anyone has any better suggestions that aren't silly money, I'm keen to hear.