Analogue Zone is live and direct at NAMM, bringing us the latest and greatest at breakneck speed! Here is Day 0 with lots of eurorack news – yes, literally during the show was still being built.
4ms Company came up with the latest and we guess the almost final version of a sampler with enough ease of use, memory and depth – a great and easy to use sampler that is in harmony with their earlier dual modules that you can get crazy with using their ground-breaking clock modules that made them famous… The new Tapographic Delay could be called a good contestant of the Rainmaker with less width. the price will be in the range of the SMR.
Qu-Bit Electronix gives us the the Tone – a quad voltage control 24dB lowpass-bandpass filter – probably designed for the fantastically sounding Chord, and the Chance module, a Swiss Army knife of random signals including random rhythmic patterns. The Contour – a more modern take on the quad ADSR concept (coined in first by Doepfer) – shipping next week! Their Mixology has been updated with send-return, size-increase(!) thank god!) plenty of gain, and so on…
Pittsburgh Modular has updated their Lifeforms series with filters (a vactrolesque filter with unstable mode), adsr, mixers with new routings, oscillators …and and yes.. an in-rack mixer 🙂 Also, they have a new line of cases – with enough power till the next century.
WMD came up with a prototype trigger sequencer (an A-157 on steroids in short) Arpitecht, a beautiful quantizer concept. Also (dj and live) performance oriented tools are a compressor, a filter with stereo width effect have been seen in their rack this year!
Steven Hansleigh from 2hp introduced yet again(!) a few new 2HP modules, including known concepts such as the tiniest Turing Machine, a multiple Clock source module or sample-and-holds which are new in this size. Each user will find at least one cool module to fill up the remaining 2HP space of their racks.
Endorphines were busy with updating their Shuttle Control, and their Grand Terminal is also ready for shipping. The Cockpit which we have seen last year is also an amazing routing and compression mixer tool!
On the 4th of December a new tradition might be established. Two Hungarian modular synth composers & performers will be accompanying a classic science-fiction novel for 6.5 hours live.
The idea for the project StanisłAV that came from composers Bálint Baráth and András Hargitai (Banyek) is that just like in the case of silent movies, some background music, timbres and atmospheres would be provided while the novel (Staniław Lem‘s classic, the Invincible which tells the story of one high-tech space ship landing on a planet with a rescue team trying to understand what had happened to its identical brother and its crew) is projected onto a screen behind the instruments. However, all the sounds that are described in the novel will also be performed live. The textures of the visuals (created by Hungarian media artist David Mórász aka micro.D) will also be controlled real-time by the same modulation sources that control the audio.
An incomplete list of euro gear that will play a key role in the performance:
Veijo Laine visited our showroom to demonstrate the basic functions, and – most importantly – have fun with the new Roland System 500 modular system. It gave us a lot of great moments, and we got a lot out of them, even with a simple CV/Gate keyboard. Here are our first impressions for you.
We were playing some classic tunes on it, everything sounded good from epic rave Dune melodies to Boards of Canada. But it could even do lovely electro stuff. It is just decent enough for a lot of electronic music genres.
The oscillators are pretty cool and detuning them was also a pleasure. Again, I was not really modulating them with anything harsh, just basically tweaking them, controlling it with a Keith McMillen QuNexus. I’m sure a lot of people will find some decent modulation patches as well. I guess it will stay just musical and not too harsh. It seems that it is not meant to be abused. Syncing them, I was back to these documentaries of the 70’s and 80’s. Which means a lot of classic harmonies that sound good just everywhere, even when I considerably detuned them.
The filter has a lovely resonance tone to it, but the phaser is especially sweet, offering a “talking” synth sound, even with simple manual control. The analog delay is a really rough, sweet sounding BBD delay, with all the noise people love about the pre-digital sampler era. Rather closer to a chorus and flanger than an actual delay, I was able to add different yet still likeable flavours to the System 500’s sound.
The gate delay can create interesting timing settings, even in free running modes, e.g. when you’d like to trigger the two envelopes with one synced and another delayed gate.
As for the controls, spacing so many functions in 16HP, mostly dual(!) modules was considered to be an engineering challange. Some might want more spacing, others will be happy with what they have. As you know, apart from the ADSR’s, almost everything is CV controlled so you can modulate every parameter from the convenient distance and space you want to.
All in all, the System 500 will be a great and constructive addition to the eurorack world. Our hats off to Roland and Josh from Malekko – working in tandem with Japanese engineers – for making this happen. Expect the first batch in early 2016! Check out the archived stream of the workshop as well:
We had the chance to take a look at the Roland System 500 modules. These modules are not digitalised editions of Roland classics or digital processors (like the TR-8 or the digial AIRA modules), but fully analog reincarnations of Roland modules from the company’s modular era, tailor-made to the eurorack synthesizer, promised to be available for an affordable price. On Monday, you can try this system out before its official release in our Budapest showroom on an exclusive workshop, which will be held by Veijo Laine from Roland. But first, let’s have a recap on the 500’s introduced by Josh Holley from Malekko who also helped Roland considerably in the manufacturing and the design of the new/old Roland modules.
The Roland System 500 is a full synth voice, with specially flavoured filters and processing dimensions. One of its special characteristics is that all of the modules in the system are dual. Dual VCO, VCF and VCA modules and envelope generator / LFO comobos are all available in it. The most interesting to me is the 572, which is a phase shifter, audio and CV(!) delay and LFO – all accessible on one front panel!
Drop by if you are in Budapest on Monday afternoon at around 4PM, and get there earily, because space in our showroom is limited!
This year’s Budapest Music Expo was special groundbreaking for a lot of reasons. At Analogue Zone‘s booth, visitors were having a lot of fun and exclusivity around, since for the first the time in the Central-European region, they were able to meet eurorack modular manufacturers coming from Eastern-Europe to Brooklyn, and try out their custom built systems. On top of that, a eurorack prototype of a well-known Hungarian stompbox manufacturer also debuted at the booth. They had a lovely vibe in their well-designed booth – it was certainly a place where a lot of thought-provoking conversations, introductions to synths and also exclusive workshops took place.
Bastl Instruments were getting a lot of attention thanks to their servo-motor modules which were controlling various small percussion instruments. Their wooden case and booth design was really fun and aesthetic – their case will be seperately available later. All their handmade modules and synths are produced locally in the Czech Republic, including the PCBs.
The Erica Synths crew occupied one of the largest spaces in the booth, showing their prototypes new Graphic modules (the graphic VCO and sequencer) and their dual ADSR / LFO also one could see their brand new simple but lovely MIDI to Trigger module, which generates simple trigger signals based on MIDI notes and was used during non-stop underground live electronic music. The module was announced for the first time during the time of the exhibition and a few lucky raffle winners were also able to take it home.
The Erica Synths crew were really enjoying their stay here, and were getting a lot of attention. Girts, the man behind the company was emphasizing that they intended to bring a less masculine and more aesthetic type of approach are coming with plenty of new designs this year.
Konstantin came to the both as the representative of Tiptop Audio – showing up their upcoming quantizer module. He was also announcing a new case, when talking about the new quantizer module which was exhibited, he confirmed that new Serge modules were on the way from Tiptop, and it is said that many of them are in really advanced stages already! His techno jamming and general approach to live electronic dance music was also enjoyed and appreciated by the people around the booth. He – as other exhibitors – was playing in sync on the last day with other modulars as one master clock signal was sent from the Erica Synths case which was distributed in the whole booth! A pretty nice and often forgotten approach!
The UK side of the booth was also buzzing. Allan J. Hall from AJH Synth got a lot of visitors as people wanted make sure how his MiniMod system sounded like. His months of hard work of fine-tuning a Model D sound and realising it with 21st century electronics is a convincing achievement indeed. As he said, people were afraid that he was going to lose the characteristic sound of the classic – along with eliminating its inherent flaws – but no doubt that he won that game as well. It was especially nice of him that he helped around to install the Doepfer Monstercase at the corner of the booth. Its robust size and the oscilloscope next to it with laser projection on the wall gave the basic sound a synthesis a visual dimension which continuosly attaracted visitors too. Bernard from Doepfer Musikelektronik was controlling the synth, giving insight to a lot of people around.
Next to Allan, Justin from Abstract Data was having a great time with his system, especially when it was also synced to the other modulars in the booth. His Octocontroller module was busy every day and he was – as all other manufacturers – giving a short demonstration going into details about his system.
Michael from Birdkids had an impressive table with a small but powerful modular system – their Bateleur VCO with both of its 2 new expanders made it an outstanding synth-voice which was played around by several visitors. He was mentioning a “stackable” filter in the works, and he was kindly discussing design difficulties, and even came up with DIY tips for more advanced users.
Trent Gill from Mannequins – who had also held a Monome / Mannequins workshop at the Analogue Zone showroom 2 days before the show was having lively conversations with the people around. Even manufacturers were amazed by the complexities and odds (and evens) of their Monome Mannequins combo systems. However, it turned out quickly how playable and musical they are. He said that a final stage that had not been designed yet in their systems is their envelopes. Not able to leak a lot of details here, though I can confirm that he decided on the Serge-way of doing things. 🙂
Analogue Zone a lot of other new synths to the public, including the new Sequential Prophet 6, people often queued in front of that wonderful new/old polysynth. Not to mention such rare instruments as the Buchla Music Easel, and its latest version, the Easel K, which had its European debut at the booth as well, but recent euro modules like the Roland AIRA modular series were on display. As a Hungary-based
retailer, they were happy to announce the prototype of a Hungarian eurorack module by stompbox manufacturer Kasleder Effects, which luckily made it to the show – it is going to be out soon exclusively at Analogue Zone with a lot of audio and viceo demos! As a voltage controlled germanium fuzzer / limiter, it adds subtle grainy or harsh textures even to a simple sinewave – people praised for its versatile sound and also for the build quality – it will surely be loved by a lot of people. All sound was put out on lovely Monkey Banana studio monitors which offered a good taste of the signals people were able to check out.
All in all, the unprecedentedly exclusive Analogue Zone booth with its workshops, friendly and open mentality and intimate environment at the Budapest Music Expo, a new paradigm was set both for the local and global synth scene and surely, visitors and manufacturers benefited from it, and will be likely to experience a larger edition, next year (click here for the 2016 show’s facebook event).