Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:44 pm

Maybe it's not really a PLL in there, but I use that as shorthand for that mode. It's really screwy at doing its job, whatever it's doing internally :hihi:

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:37 pm

I wound up trading my HD mk3 for a second Stages, and shuffled modules around to prepare...
modular_feb_23_2020.png
With the VCFQ and FM Aid plugged in to the bus for the next row up, the power load is pretty well balanced and hopefully the PSUs will deal with it.

I left a gap for the incoming Stages. E520 will take over the right side of the second row from the bottom, and Typhoon will go into the gap on the left, leaving 5hp that I have no plan for at this time. Maybe something without much power draw :D More likely I will hold off until there's some must-have module announced and let go of a few of my lower priority modules as needed to make space.
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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Thu Mar 19, 2020 9:06 am

I'm really liking having that second Stages. :tu:

Kind of thinking about a Zorlon Cannon mk2. It would neatly button up the remaining space (if I sell Contour) and even out Hertz Donut's odd HP. Plus more importantly, it's damned interesting. If it was just noise, I wrote a VST plugin with multiple noise generation algorithms including LSFR that I could pipe through the modular... but there's the gates and random CV and chord drones and such.

Speaking of chord drones, I'm really feeling the love for Akemie's Castle. The architecture of it, with CV control over the 4 operators feeding two oscillators, can lead to some fun correlated-but-semi-independent patches. Plenty to experiment with and a great sound. I've got 36 minutes of good material so far for a Castle-centric album. I've also been dipping a bit into sampled loops and heavily processed Lyra-8 along with it, and getting more use out of my filters :party:

I've been trying to sell a few bits of gear for a while now with no takers. The Arquitecto pedal has a bunch of watchers on Reverb and no offers, despite a lower price than everyone else. :despair: I know the market here seems to have slowed down compared to a couple of years ago, but I felt like I could rely on Reverb for pretty quick sales.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:43 pm

"Kind of thinking about it" became "I bought one." And for whatever reason, three of the four things I was selling all went today.

So I expect this is going to be my rack for a good while:
rackplan_35.jpg
(I originally said something about rearranging them to fit all the black panels in a single 114HP row. As soon as I tried to do that on ModularGrid I realized I'd miscounted, so nevermind!)
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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:23 pm

The Zorlon arrived today. It's as versatile as I hoped -- in this evening's patch it served as CV sequencer, gated modulation source, a good solid bassline (with quite a lot of help from Natural Gate and a couple compressor/saturator plugins), plucky lead (with Natural Gate and Mimeophon), rad Atari noise source and Rings feeder. It also is a good companion for Marbles, which can clock it and re-quantize the pitch CV.

I like that it can give me entirely different flavors of random and psuedo-random than Marbles alone.

I don't fully understand the editing section, but I'm not sure understanding is really required or helpful beyond a very general sense. All the stuff about maximal tap configurations in the short manual are not helpful, though a better explanation of the display might have been. (I guess it's showing the length and taps simultaneously, but you can't necessarily tell whether the last bit is part of the tap config.)

And of course, get some crunchy LFSR noise going and sweep the frequency and it's instant Defender (or of course Yar's Revenge) :tu:

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:53 am

The new album exploring Akemie's Castle is released...



Patch notes and other commentary are here.

I love that module, and all the other FM darlings in my rack. :D

In this project I also had the intent of working with filters a bit more. Subtractive synthesis isn't really my jam but I do love the sound of the VCFQ particularly, and both FIlter 8 and Ripples are quite respectable. Filters (particularly these) can do a lot of other things beyond sawtooth-into-resonant-filter-sweep stuff, and even that can be made interesting... I did really like the Microbrute after all. I was semi-successful with this effort but I need more work!

I also had the intention of working more with the main, granular processing mode of Clouds, ignoring all the alternate modes and firmware versions as a distraction and developing some techniques. I can report success in that regard.

Looking at the usage tallies for this one:

Akemie's Castle was in all 9 tracks (of course)
Clouds and Mimeophon were in 7
Marbles was in 6
Kermit and Teletype were in 5
E352, Filter 8, Natural Gate, Rings, Tallin and VCFQ were in 4
I didn't necessarily count utility modules in every case, so it's likely Maths, Stages, and Shades were higher up.

I didn't get that much use out of FM Aid (maybe understandable since Akemie's was the focus) or Flexshaper, so I want to work with those more on the next project. Ditto for my pedals; all I used was Adineko one one track. And the Reface CS didn't appear at all this time, though Lyra did.

On the software side, I had a very consistent mastering chain: Toneboosters EQ 4, DDMF Magic Death Eye, u-he Presswerk and Toneboosters Barricade 4.
I also used Wavesfactory Spectre, u-he Uhbik-Q and Valhalla Plate on 6 tracks, and Wavesfactory Cassette, u-he Twangstrom and Valhalla Delay on 5.

I've been having a little trouble with scratchy faders on my 16n Faderbank. It's become my most important controller, so I have to deal with it. I suspect it's just the CV outs and not affecting the MIDI, but I could be wrong. I have one of the first wave that Michigan Synth Works built, which has the wrong taper on the faders and he'd offered to change them for linear, so I might take him up on that if the option's still available and also mention the scratchiness. Or I might go with a Faderfox or MIDI Fighter or something along those lines, we'll see.

[edit] Yeah, I'm sending the 16n back to get linear pots installed. :tu:

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:35 pm

In a whirlwind this afternoon, I:

- Bought a Super Disting EX Plus Alpha. Because it's something I had been dreaming about and even called it "Super Disting" in posts. I was thinking of a bigger OLED screen that also does oscilloscope duty. But y'know, I think navigation on this one is going to be fine... plus it's TWO Distings... plus the new modes (with no doubt more to come)... plus i2c. So, hell yeah. :)

- Also bought an AI008 4x3 matrix mixer. Half the width of the A-138m, and still more than adequate for my needs. (I could maybe get away with using the Disting EX's matrix mixer mode, but I figure it's probably better to have dedicated analog hardware for feedback patching.)

- Sold my A-138m, LS1 Lightstrip and Klavis Flexshaper within less than two hours of posting them here. That's got to be some kind of record.

I think the Flexshaper is clever, particularly when combining signals, but in practice I don't find myself using it much in patches; for those sorts of occasional duties I can probably lean on Bitwig.

The Lightstrip is also pretty great, but since getting the 16n Faderbank I've only really used it for occasional manual gates.


The 3.2 firmware for Teletype dropped recently and I explored that a bit last night. The new NR op is right up my alley -- rhythmic patterns based on binary multiplication similar to Numeric Repetitor -- and there are a few other nice goodies in there (scale/chord stuff, etc.) I feel like that's almost a new module too.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by SavageMessiah » Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:53 pm

I've never paid much attention to disting before, having to figure out its zillion modes on that crappy display was just not going to happen. The new one has some serious possibilities, it's going on the maybe buy list.

I've also always avoided looking at teletype because it's just too close to my day job but the way you and others talk about it, it's starting to seem like it might be a useful way to provide certain functions I want more of for huge generative patches without needing a ton of modules. You're limited to one screen worth of code, right? What kind of things are you using it for?

I listened to your latest album btw - some great stuff in there, makes me want an Akemie's Castle but I'm not having much trouble resisting because that is quite the big module.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:07 pm

Each script in Teletype is limited to 6 lines, but there are 8 scripts plus an Injt script and a Metronome script per scene, and you can store 32 scenes on the module (and save scenes on USB memory sticks). There's been some discussion of expanding that in some way but no consensus yet.

Honestly most of the time, 1-3 scripts is all I need, and I write them for one-time use.

I have one default scene that's set up to just read the Param knob and send out one of 16 programmed voltages -- I use it for the HDmk2's modulation oscillator to dial in clean FM ratios. Thats two lines of code in the Metronome script running every 10ms, so I often add other stuff to it and trigger/clock those externally.

Most of what I do with it is gate manipulation, rhythmic patterns, clock division and multiplication, etc. Sometimes I'll have it generate pitch CVs too, or synced linear LFOs/envelopes. Other times I'll have it read the 16n Faderbank over i2c and use that for sequencing, usually with some sort of quantization.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by SavageMessiah » Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:34 pm

Yeah the rhythmic patterns and clock stuff is particularly interesting. So many modules that do that sort of thing are clock synced rather than operating step by step. I've got a zularic repetitor and an integra solum but they're not always the right thing and together take up almost as much rack space as a teletype. I'd rather have a module I use all the time for tons of things than a couple modules that I occasionally use, you know?

Striking the balance between being able to do a huge variety of stuff without touching my computer and not having a gigantic system or one full of fiddly nonsense is hard :|

I just looked on reverb and man these sell for pretty cheap. I have some new food for thought I guess.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by chachi » Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:52 pm

i’ve been diggin the Castle record, always wanted an AC so i appreciate the longform demo wrapped in cool music.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:07 pm

Thanks, glad you enjoyed the album :)

SavageMessiah wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:34 pm
Yeah the rhythmic patterns and clock stuff is particularly interesting. So many modules that do that sort of thing are clock synced rather than operating step by step. I've got a zularic repetitor and an integra solum but they're not always the right thing and together take up almost as much rack space as a teletype. I'd rather have a module I use all the time for tons of things than a couple modules that I occasionally use, you know?
I got my Teletype originally to replace a Stoichea, Klasmata, and a Ladik burst generator and as an alternative to buying a separate quantizer too.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:39 pm

The AI008 matrix mixer is... fine, not outstanding, definitely enough for my requirements.

The mini-pots have enough spacing to get hold of them more easily than the Doepfer A-138m. But the horizontal layout of both input and output jacks, while space-saving, requires slightly more mental juggling at least at first... I'll probably get used to it though.

Sound seems to be pretty clean though I didn't really torture test it. Gain seems to be about 0.98 for a fully clockwise knob, so it's not going to behave very well for pitch transposition compared to Shades (but I've got two of those anyway). I'm mostly using this for feedback patching, FX routing and combining gates into CVs.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by DeltaTucanae » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:26 pm

starthief wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:39 pm
The AI008 matrix mixer is... fine, not outstanding, definitely enough for my requirements.

The mini-pots have enough spacing to get hold of them more easily than the Doepfer A-138m. But the horizontal layout of both input and output jacks, while space-saving, requires slightly more mental juggling at least at first... I'll probably get used to it though.

Sound seems to be pretty clean though I didn't really torture test it. Gain seems to be about 0.98 for a fully clockwise knob, so it's not going to behave very well for pitch transposition compared to Shades (but I've got two of those anyway). I'm mostly using this for feedback patching, FX routing and combining gates into CVs.
Does it have any bleed? Looking into alternatives for my a-138m because of the issues I have with bleed occasionally.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by brianobush » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:22 pm

Thanks for detailing your journey. Just picked up a Teletype. I have always wanted, but I credit you for pushing me over the edge.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:55 pm

DeltaTucanae wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:26 pm
Does it have any bleed? Looking into alternatives for my a-138m because of the issues I have with bleed occasionally.
There's some bleed, but subjectively it seems less than Doepfer mixers generally. Concentrated higher frequency signals tend to bleed more, as often seems to happen. White noise doesn't bleed at all that I've noticed.

If I route a 10Vpp sine into input 1, output A into my ES-6 and check with YouLean Loudness Meter in my DAW, I see this:

A1 at 100% for comparison:
9Khz: -2.9dB LUFS
4Khz: -2.9dB LUFS
1.5Khz: -3.0dB LUFS

A1 at 0%, but B1 and C1 at 100% (bleed across output channels):
9Khz: -59.2dB LUFS (this may be audible depending on monitoring)
4Khz: -66.9dB LUFS (unlikely to be audible without unusually high monitoring levels)
1.5Khz: < 70dB LUFS (the minimum it registers)

A1 at 0%, but A2-A4 at 100% (bleed across input channels):
9KHz: -67dB LUFS
4Khz: < 70dB LUFS
1.5Khz: < 70dB LUFS

All attenuators at 0%:
always < 70dB LUFS

My typical usage for this is going to be with guitar pedals with a dark delay, and often a bandpass filter too... so there's not going to be anything like a 10Vpp 9Khz sine going on there in normal use... :)
Last edited by starthief on Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:56 pm

brianobush wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:22 pm
Thanks for detailing your journey. Just picked up a Teletype. I have always wanted, but I credit you for pushing me over the edge.
Awesome :yay: It's been one of my favorite modules, and a really good partner for Marbles.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by DeltaTucanae » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:12 pm

starthief wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:55 pm
DeltaTucanae wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:26 pm
Does it have any bleed? Looking into alternatives for my a-138m because of the issues I have with bleed occasionally.
There's some bleed, but subjectively it seems less than Doepfer mixers generally. Concentrated higher frequency signals tend to bleed more, as often seems to happen. White noise doesn't bleed at all that I've noticed.

....
Thanks for the comprehensive information! Very useful. Worthy contender for replacing the Doepfer.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by brianobush » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:59 pm

starthief wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:56 pm
brianobush wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:22 pm
Thanks for detailing your journey. Just picked up a Teletype. I have always wanted, but I credit you for pushing me over the edge.
Awesome :yay: It's been one of my favorite modules, and a really good partner for Marbles.
I have marbles and am planning on using it as a master clock to TT. How are you using them together?

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by SavageMessiah » Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:24 am

Ha, I just got a teletype too. Racked it today. :)

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:34 am

brianobush wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:59 pm
I have marbles and am planning on using it as a master clock to TT. How are you using them together?
Often I do it that way and generate rhythmic patterns in TT (and then sometimes using those patterns to modulate X parameters on Marbles).

Other times, I will use TT as the clock so I can trigger Marbles with irregular rhythms.

I've also sometimes re-quantized Marbles outputs -- either to bypass having to program a scale into Marbles, or to work with scales that don't repeat every octave. With the new N.C and N.CS ops it'd also be easy to quantize to chords (and let chord progressions be sequenced, randomized or manually played through).

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Tue May 05, 2020 3:34 pm

I have some inspiration and a vague plan for the next album, but I've mainly been waiting for my 16n Faderbank to come back from repair. Amazing how much I miss that thing and how central it was to my flow. It should arrive by Thursday with new linear faders and the 2.0.1 update
:sb:

Still no shipping notification on my Disting EX. I'm hoping that by complaining about it here, within 10 minutes I'll get the notification. It's happened a few times before. :hihi:

I'm going to get an 0-Ctrl for sure; it's a question of when rather than if -- mostly because right now pre-ordering from the store I"m already waiting for doesn't sound inviting. Maybe I'll even wait until people decide they're not into it and sell them used...? Nevermind, preordered one. Anyway, should be fun to play beside my Lyra-8.

Also I'm thinking about replacing my Filter 8 with an Angle Grinder. I don't see a reason why not, other than it reduces some available space that I wasn't planning for anything else anyhow. For the moment I'm watching for a used Angle Grinder to come up, but i might just jump on a new one anyhow.
Last edited by starthief on Tue May 05, 2020 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by shockletit » Tue May 05, 2020 3:59 pm

Just wanted to say thanks for documenting your adventure in this forum. I'm really enjoying reading yours and learning a lot in the process.

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Fri May 08, 2020 9:40 pm

Really happy to have my 16n back! And with linear faders I like it even more. I'm going to keep it covered when not in use to make sure it doesn't get dusty in there again. Despite the air purifier I set up, there's still a lot of dust and pet hair flying around in here.

In celebration I recorded a track where Rings is doing an odd flappy kick drum, E352 and Akemie's Castle are doing the drone equivalent of trading hot licks, and Hertz Donut is on some Zorlon Cannon-driven LPG madness -- both Natural Gate and Mystic Circuits 0HP LPG, in stereo with Mimeophon -- as well as bleeps through Tensor mediated by Clouds. The next album is already half recorded...

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Re: Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???

Post by starthief » Wed May 20, 2020 9:14 am

0-Ctrl!

I got a ship notification, so that's imminent. :sb:


Disting EX!

Easier to navigate than Disting mk4, despite the small screen, small text, my bad eyesight and less than ideal studio layout. Hopefully a new firmware version is going to drop soon to fix a couple of bugs I ran into.

I had a very different rack and different experience level when I had the mk4. This time I'm finding that a combination of low-level utilities like the precision adder, 4-quadrant multiplier, min/max etc. are where I'll use it most, plus things like quantization and the wavetable waveshaper.

I'm not sure where I'm going to go with it in terms of sampling. I could see myself picking up an extra SD card and mostly ignoring the pre-installed content (except for the useful pile o' wavetables) and use it to capture and play back, particularly with things like the Scrub mode. The polyphonic sample player is cool but doesn't really fit within my usual methods, though that doesn't mean I won't at least explore it a little more.


Angle Grinder!

Love it! No regrets at all about the trade. While it lacks some of the filter types FIlter 8 has, the four that it does have sound excellent, and have the addition of being able to grind up the sound a little bit before filtering :)

As an oscillator it's a lot of fun. All the modulation targets are good news for drones. Feeding Grind into Spin can destabilize the whole thing for weird surprises, and sometimes a little modulation of the waveshape under those conditions can warp both the pitch and timbre in fun ways. I've gotten an amazing variety out of it already.


Next?

Aside from space reserved for the E520 (probably arriving in about 5-6 weeks), I have 6HP of free space. I'm kind of wondering about my A-196 PLL. Sync3 follows pitch really well and Kermit sort of follows pitch, but neither will generate a CV for other oscillators to follow. However, Disting has both a pitch/envelope tracker mode and a range of utilities I could use to patch my own PLL. Experimenting with that is on my list.

For a minute I was thinking about Interstellar Radio, since I like Angle Grinder so much. I've decided not to go for it though; it'd probably be fun but I could see the novelty wearing off, since it's not as universally usable as AG.

I've been thinking about fixed filter banks and resonant EQs though. While I like software EQs, there is something to be said for an analog one for feedback patching. Many FFBs take up a lot of space and some are quite pricey, but then there are things like the FXDf (if I can find one), Ladik F-110, EMW Fixed Filter Bank, Antumbra Bank, even the Bastl Propust. I'm leaning more toward the multi-output options for more flexible patching though.

An analog EQ pedal (or other hardware EQ) is another option. No latency, less of a space restriction. I'm kind of thinking about letting go of my pedals, but this would be another alternative. Hmm.


Software.

Valhalla Supermassive dropped yesterday, for free, and it is fantastic. An FDN reverb oriented toward more abstract, non-emulation purposes, which lets you play with the fuzzy borders between echo delays, modulation delays, and reverbs. It's kind of hard to believe this is free. :D It's going to have some impact on my sound, I'm sure, as I want to play with it a lot and it'll probably take over from more standard reverbs for me.

I also wound up grabbing CraveEQ, which after some cajoling, I demoed and found I preferred over my trusty Toneboosters EQ4. Not exciting news, but there it is.


The album...

I've got about 47 minutes of material recorded toward the next album, though that last track might or might not make it. Both my sense of time and my motivation are all over the place, from the COVID-19 lockdown etc. Sometimes it feels like this project is flying by and sometimes it feels like I'm barely budging on it.

The computer I'm using to work from home is the same one in my studio corner, with synths all around me, tempting me to jam during work hours. Usually I resist, but a couple of times I've wound up starting something while waiting for the compiler that I had to finish right after my shift ended :hihi:

Other times, as soon as work is done I want to get out of there, and wind up avoiding my synth corner for most of the evening. :doh:

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