Poor Signal to Noise Ratio

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

Friday, 14 November 2014

Eurotron Delay

Finally got round to 'Eurofying' my Korg Monotron Delay and it's a little marvel!

It's not a difficult mod, but not everything does exactly what you'd think it might. I added inputs for 'Pitch', 'Gate', Filter Cut Off and LFO rate plus an output for the Oscillator. I also converted the annoying stereo aux in and headphones out into regular mono so they connect easily to other modules or other mono outboard gear. The final thing was to change the power supply from battery to 5V Eurorack.

'Pitch' and 'Gate' have inverted commas for good reason. Although there's a solder pad on the pcb marked 'Pitch', it doesn't really allow the oscillator pitch to be controlled by 1V/Oct CV, as one might expect. There's probably some elaborate way of making this happen, but that's clearly beyond my ken. However, I did find it responded to the volts coming out of my home made Velleman LED sequencer. I can't really say I know what it's doing, but it does something and that's enough to warrant giving it its own jack socket.
'Gate', on the other hand, does more than it promises. Sending CV to this, from the MiniBrute keyboard or the Verbos Voltage MultiStage, gives a response from the oscillator pitch and its gate. It doesn't really track in any meaningful musical sense, but using a sequencer or arpeggiator means simple melodic patterns can be created.

The shortcomings of the oscillator control is no big deal. For me the big story here is the behaviour of the filter and the delay when a signal is fed through them. This module is an instant extreme dub machine.

Here's quick recording from it's first try out. This is just a TR-626 drum pattern being filtered and delayed. All the oscillations you can hear in this are being generated by the delay circuit.

Although the inputs for Cut-Off, Pitch and Gate don't behave in regular ways, they do all seem to affect the filter and its tracking, and how much the delay is allowed to go into self oscillation.

Here's a little clip with the Monotron's own oscillator being sequenced by the Verbos MultiStage.

As you can see from this, the ribbon controller remains an important part of how this module achieves its sound. I have to say that the 'Eurotron' has become my new favourite delay, trumping the expensive Strymon boxes and my 'vintage' Boss and Yamahas.

So, all in all, a mod well worth doing. If you've been putting off doing this yourself, delay no longer!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Verbos Electronics and Guitar Amps

Just on the slim chance that someone else might be interested in what the Verbos Electronics modules sound like through guitar amps, I'll post some random videos here...

The first is just the Voltage Multistage pinging the Dual Four Pole filter through a Laney LC-30 30 Watt Valve Combo. The EQ is flat and the spring reverb is maxed out. I flip between the clean and gain channels and yes the gain is pretty noisey.
This is recorded with the camera's on-board stereo microphone (Panasonic DVX100B) straight to Final Cut Pro. No post-processing except normalising.

Friday, 26 September 2014

M - m - m - m - m - My Vermona!

Long time no visit. I've not had a lot of time for the synth blog lately, so here's a little taste of my Vermona Piano-Strings that I recorded a while back and never bothered posting. It was just a test to see how it might sit in a mix, but listening to it again today I just thought those strings are too nice to squander when other folks might like to hear them.
I tend to always put it through a Behringer VP-1 phaser pedal (which is basically a knock-off of the EHX Small Stone) and it does something incredible to the sound. Without the VP-1 it's still a very credible string machine but when the two come together it's like the sound of slowly decaying radioactive isotopes.
So, Vermona and Behringer, eh? A testament to German reunification.

As a footnote, I should credit the rest of the ensemble: Bass; Yamaha CS-10, everything else; Ensoniq SQ-80.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Telstar Attaché Synth

At last my Verbos Electronics modules arrived, allowing me to make a little proof of concept video of the Telstar Attaché Synth. It works a treat as you can see here. I don't really know what I'm doing with the modules yet. They're pretty complex and I haven't spent much time with them. But at least it gives an indication of how mobile and self sufficient the Telstar could be, given the right modules.

I'm playing it through a fairly crappy guitar amp here, into the camera microphone, so the audio quality isn't terrific. However, there's a pretty brutal spring reverb in there that suits the sound quite well.

Now to decide whether I'm keeping it or selling it...

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Transit of Telstar - Update

Rails fitted. Not as neat as I'd hoped but not bad for a first attempt. Looks to be plenty of depth for skiff friendly modules. Now awaiting Power supply and modules...

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Travelling Telstar - Attaché Synth

And so here begins my project for constructing a highly portable modular. Having already found the perfect briefcase, the exquisitely titled 'Telstar' (made in West Germany), I have now taken delivery of the first internal component (from the now unified Berlin). Yes, these Eurorack rails arrived the other day from Schniederladen. Now to get them trimmed an fitted. 

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.