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Thoughts on a setup I'm considering for a noise project
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Synth Noise  
Author Thoughts on a setup I'm considering for a noise project
Thinking quite seriously of a side project using EML 200 + Korg MS50 + two Revox A77 units. (one for recording, other for echo -- not sure if B77 should be considered instead) Maybe EML 300 as a controller as well. Will use existing Roland 103 as mixer (has a great built-in spring reverb), everything else I will need to pick up, so not a small investment. The initial impulse is to target a very abstract psych/power electronics vibe, following Maurizio Bianchi, Paul Kelday, Saniboj Zugic, some of the more abstract work of Conrad Schnitzler, Nik Raicevic and so on... but who's to say if something entirely different wouldn't result? (am into more the psych/free jazz aspects not so much the industrial aspects, while sincerely appreciating everyone I listed above...)

Looking to explore a different side in which 1) it's almost impossible to create melodies or even conventional "notes" - 2) no computers -- want to be immersed completely in the inconveniences of archaic recording techniques, of which I need to learn 3) studio setup is portable and can be used 100% intact in live situations 4) as "big" a sound as possible while giving the maximum possible space for improvisatory exploration 5) avoiding use of distortion pedals or other common techniques, while maximizing/encouraging use of odd feedback routings

Comments? potential pitfalls? anyone use a similar setup? yes I know the two synths have very different/nonsensical interfacing standards, the point is to explore what results from these kinds of limitations.
I have a couple comments/ideas:

First off, that sounds like a fun setup! I hope you post some results! It sure makes me wish I had space for reel-to-reels.

My primary suggestion is that you consider adding mixers and more line-to-synth-level amplifiers/mixers to the recipe. There's a lot of "power" there in the synths and tape deck, but it looks like the interfacing options are weak. I'm not sure if this imposes on your philisophical outlook, but you did mention wanting to explore feedback routings. And more mixers/amps can really open up options there especially in a live setting. Plus, compared to the other gear you're mentioning, they're so cheap they're almost free.

The synthesizers have their own mixers for synth-level stuff, but everything coming out of the tape deck will be line level. Those signals would need amplification to pipe those signals back into the synths which I'd think you want. There appears to be some function for that on the synths, but not more than a channel or two or so it would appear. For playing live, having to patch and unpatch that type of thing can create a discontinuity you might not find musical.

For the delay deck, I would think having its own dedicated stereo mixer would be ideal. That way, you can mix and pan signals that go in to the deck initially, plus have a feedback path to route your delayed signals *back* into the deck (for echos that can devolve into oscillation, etc). Maybe passive splitters leaving each channel of the deck with one side going back into a channel on the mixer and the other end being available to patch back into a synth (through a line-to-synth-level amplifier ideally). Or, just route an effects send back up to the synths and skip the splitter. Lots of options really.

You mentioned a Roland 103 which appears to be some kind of keyboard.... you might consider ditching that and Just use another mixer instead. From what you said, it seems like having keyboard on stage would take away from the aesthetic you're going for plus you might be temped to hit a key. There are lots of inexpensive spring reverb kits you can work with to fill in that gap.

Ok, lastly, and I'll promise to shut up for now: you said you basically don't own any of the gear yet. I'm curious as whether there's a reason for specifically that gear or not. Reason I ask is that I think you'll be spending a pretty penny for some of the "vintageness" - 'specially the Electrocomp. I would think you'd get similar results from any *analog* modular gear. Same goes for the tape deck although hard to fault a Revox!

Anyway, sorry for the blabfest. Just throwing out ideas. I look forward to hearing this project!

And by the way, thanks for turning me on to some artists I haven't heard!
^ I think he means the Roland Model 103 mixer from the System 100.

You make some great points on levels, etc.

cycad73 - what an excellent concept. Those two synth choices seem ideal for that type of old school chaos. I've never used a tape deck live as an echo - but kudos.

I am a HUGE Schnitzler fan since 79/80 when I was young. He used a lot of Korg MS series in the 80/90 period and of course the EMS Synthi A which can be very different and chaotic. I think the EML choice is a perfect one. If you do get a keyboard synth for the project I cant help but hear a Moog Sonic 6!! If you cant find an original EML 300, EMW in Brazil makes this:

I wish I had one.

Passive splitters: inexpensive and quality:

A matrix mixer with mute switches might be a nice junction for additional unevenness.

I'm exited just hearing about your goals.
The Roland 103 is a small 4x2 mixer from part of the 100 modular system from the mid 1970's. (w/ one hardwired reverb send... internal spring reverb and one general purpose effects send/return.

Thanks @DIY_geek -- looks like I will need another mixer dedicated to the echo,
+ a couple preamps. Have to think very carefully though about minimizing the number of pieces, thinking what I can easily put in my car and the time to set up and tear down.

As you guessed, I do have a fair amount of modular gear that I know like the back of my hand + create mostly live/one take polyrhythmic minimal/melodic stuff, which I enjoy + don't want to give up (except for the lack of portability and time to set up, which makes the live situation very difficult). But i won't lie the specific gear and my own history with it does influence quite a bit what I come up with.

The "vintageness" is also a fair criticism, but after having tried both it is just what works for me, I actually hate things like the expense (more an issue now), the size (it is amazing what can be packed into a small euro setup... am jealous), always having repairs etc.

@Mindmachine thanks for the Sonic 6 idea!!!
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