Category Archives: Hardware

Elektron : Octatrack DPS 1

Elektron Octatrack DPS-1

I’ve recently bought the Octatrack from Elektron and I must admit that this machine rocks a lot ! The Octatrack is an intuitive melting pot made of different machines and it’s really difficult to categorize the it !

Anyway, I’m really enjoying the Octatrack because I can feel myself comfortable anywhere with just the Elektron Octatrack, a DSI Mopho, a Korg Monotribe (Amazing Machines Midi kit) and my headphone.

I know that many people are complaining about the “slow learning curve” of the Elektron Octatrack but in my case it took me about 24h (real hours) to master all the functions !
Don’t fear the Octatrack, the Octatrack has been perfectly crafted and every functionnality is intuitive if you understand the logic that lies behind.

What I also like very much, is the fact that the Elektron Machines are evolving machines becoming more and more powerful over time like with the last recent major update (v1.2) which add the “Pickup Machines”.

As soon as possible I’ll try to make some videos about the workflow of the Octatrack starting from the basics up to more complex tricks !

Arturia MINIBRUTE Analog Synthesizer

It is not really new for me but I had to keep this secret 😉
ARTURIA will release his first genuine ANALOG Synth and he’s called MINIBRUTE…

Globaly the MINIBRUTE make me remember the ROLAND SH-101 :

One button, one function ! Simple and damn efficient ! Back to the roots !
Here is an audio example coming from Amazona.de : MiniBrute

The price gonna be arround $550 which is pretty fair I think 😉

KORG Monotribe – System version 2.0

Korg Monotribe

KORG released a major system update for the Monotribe !

System Version 2

Announcing a major update for the monotribe!
Version 2 provides many new features to take your playing to a new dimension!

Announcing a major update to the monotribe analog ribbon station — the full-fledged analog synth and rhythm unit with a step sequencer inherited from the Electribe! The monotribe Version 2 adds a plethora of new features, allowing you to create sequences that are even more elaborate, or to layer complex musical developments for extended performances.

Surely one of the most exciting additions is a new synchronized performance mode that allows for new type of performance using multiple monotribe units. Whether you’ve never touched a monotribe or whether you’re an expert who is thoroughly familiar with all of the current features, this new update guarantees that your analog groove-making will be more intense than ever before!

Highlights

Sequencer:

Synth part resolution has been doubled to 16 Steps
Volume Automation has been added to the synth part.
Active Step can be specified for each part.
Drum Roll capability has been added.
Gate Time Hold function has been added.

Synthesizer:

Sample and Hold (S&H) function added to LFO.

Sync:

Connected sequences allow multiple monotribe units to play in rotation.
Half Tempo function has been added.

Short Cut Keys:

Four convenient shortcuts for creating patterns quickly

16-Step Synth parts
As with drum parts, the synth part now provides timing information in between the steps in a sequence, allowing a pattern to achieve a total of 16 steps.

Synth Part Volume Automation
Volume Automation allows the synth volume to be recorded during playback to create more detailed sequences. The left side of the ribbon controller keyboard decreases the volume, and the right side increases it. This Volume Automation can even be controlled when if Flux mode is on.

Set individual Active Steps for each Part.
The Active Step function lets you specify which steps are played or jumped when playing back the step sequencer. Now, the Active Step can be set individually for each of the SYNTH, BD, SD, and HH parts. By specifying a different number of steps for each part, you can create complex polyrhythms.

Sample & Hold (S & H) added to the LFO
The newly added S&H function is indispensible for creating mysterious analog synth sound effects. The RATE knob adjusts the frequency of change, and the INT. knob adjusts the depth of change.

“What is Sample & Hold?”
Unlike traditional LFO waveshapes that provide a constantly changing signal, the Sample & Hold feature takes a “sample” of the LFO signal and holds that level for a specific duration of time. The results are the highly popular and slightly random stepped-filter effects so famously used in analog synthesizers. By using noise as the input signal, the monotribe version 2 lets you create effects that change in a distinctively random manner.

Drum Roll capability
A roll can now be added to the desired drum part. The speed of the roll can be controlled using the ribbon controller keyboard; moving toward the right will increase the number of strikes. You can also record the drum roll using the sequencer to intuitively create subtle and dynamic drum patterns.

Linked Sequences play multiple monotribes in rotation
The Link Sequence feature is a completely new sync method that vastly expands the scope of the monotribe, to deliver even more fun. When sequence playback reaches step 8, the sequence will automatically stop and the next monotribe unit will start playing. By loop-connecting the SYNC jacks, the playback can keep cycling through multiple units – in true modular fashion!

New Additions
The Gate Time Hold function lets you use the ribbon controller keyboard to play and record new pitch information while retaining the gate times recorded in the sequencer. Also new is the Half Tempo function, which cuts the tempo in half when synchronizing to an external input from the SYNC IN jack. In addition, there are now four shortcut keys that instantly initialize various types of sequence data or active step settings.

Updating Procedure
Thinking of monotribe as an analog synthesizer, the procedure of for updating the Operating System is also a very old-school, analog-style method, reminiscent of loading data via the playback of analog cassette tape. Simply download the system data which Korg has encoded as an audio (WAV) file from www.korg.com or from the website of your local Korg distributor. Then, play back the file using a WAV file player like a Smartphone or using PC application software, directly in to the monotribe’s SYNC IN jack. When the audio (WAV) file finished playing, your monotribe has been updated. It’s a traditional procedure revived for a new generation!

WARNING!
Do not playback the system update file on any speaker or headphone system as this could lead to damage to equipment and/or hearing loss. Neither Korg nor any of its affiliates will accept responsibility for any damages, personal loss or injury that may result from playback of the file.

Here is a short video about the upgrade procedure :


Have a nice day !

DSI MoPho

The Korg Monotron was my first analog synth and I must admit that I was quite impressed by it…

It did not take long to convince myself to buy another analog synth. To do so I made my inquiry and after a few months It was clear that the new one would be the “Doepfer Darkenergy” or the “Dave Smith instrument Monophonic SynthĂ©tiser” alias Mopho for intimates…

Finally, I’ve choosed the Mopho because despite the fact that he has no USB interface, this one was more modern, has a built in 4 tracks sequencer, and has also an internal memory containing 384 factory presets…

MoPho basses

The sound of the Mopho is incredible, powerfull, warm… In one word, There is no way to compare such instrument to a virtual synth even if it comes from Arturia…

I never could get such rich and powerfull sound with a software synth because whats comming out this beast is so living !

I’ll come back later to make a complete review about it !

Korg Monotron

I just wanted to share my impression about the Korg Monotron. The Monotron is not a joke, it’s a real analog synth !

Ok it’s small and cheap but frankly, it sounds great and I’m pretty sure that the -12db lowpass filter (same as the one on the Korg MS-20) is not stranger to this fact 😉

The design of the Monotron is very simple :
One oscillator, One LFO, One filter, 5 rotary knobs, one switch, one output, one input, one volume wheel and a ribon keyboard.

It cost only 50 euros and frankly you should not avoid such an expense !
This little thing is powered with 2 AAA battery(included) and the autonomy is far more than 8h.

The plastic case is reasonably robust for such a small toy and the rotary knobs are very precise ! The ribbon keyboard is a bit tricky to use and require some fine tuning and training.

In addition there are already some mods available and as you can see the technical schema is pretty simple!