Jean-Michel Jarre Performed His First Live VR Gig

Jean-Michel Jarre Performed His First Live VR Gig
Naomi Bolton
Thu, 07/09/2020 – 08:41

SX-WSA1

SX-WSA1

Specifications
Polyphony –
64 Voices
Multitimbral –
8 parts
Oscillators –
4
LFO –
1 LFO
Control –
MIDI In/Out/Thru
Sequencer –
16-track, 47,000 sequencer
Effects –
56 DSP effects
Keyboard –
61 keys with velocity, and aftertouch.
Memory –
256 preset sounds, 256 user sounds

Naomi Bolton
Mon, 07/06/2020 – 13:29

The Technics SX-WSA1 was released in 1995 in a bold move by a company that had up until that point focused mostly on stereo equipment as well as organs and electric pianos. During this period, electronic synths were the domain of Yamaha, but Technics set out ot improve their synth over the competition in every way. Unfortunately, while they created a very competent synthesizer, Technics had no idea how to market and sell it. The high price tag for the time also meant less sales for them and, in the end, very few units of the SX-WSA1 were ever made.

The SX-WSA1 made use of Acoustic Modeling Synthesis, which was a method to combine PCM waveform drivers with custom digital signal processing modeling resonators. Simply put, it was a way to simulate the sound process of acoustic instruments. It also gave users plenty of flexibility when it came to control as nearly all the modeling parameters is accessible in real-time. The goal was to give players the freedom to fully express themselves with this synth.

Since the SX-WSA1 also gives players full control over the parameters for the driver and resonator, it was a great synth for anyone who wanted to move far beyond the preset sound sets. Unique sound combinations are possible and these can also be crossfaded by key or velocity. For anyone used to synthesizers that were restricted to their presets and ROM samples, this was a revelation. Technics were also able to accomplish 64 notes of polyphony, which they did through the use of modified recordings of acoustic drivers. By including 307 drivers to select from, they were able to ease the burden on the microprocessor and deliver 64 notes of polyphony, which was usable over 32 MIDI channels.

From a design standpoint, Technics included a large 320 x 240 backlit LCD display along with enough buttons to make adjustments with ease. Programming the SX-WSA1 was also relatively easy in comparison to similar synthesizers of the time. The SX-WSA1 features a 61 key keyboard with velocity and aftertouch, but a rack mounted version was also made.

It would have been interesting to see what Technics could have accomplished if the SX-WSA1 was a success. There is no doubt that it was a synthesizer that was ahead of its time in many areas, so it is very unfortunate that a lack of marketing cut its life short. Due to the limited number of these synths that were made, it can be difficult to get your hands on one, but unlike other synths that shared a similar fate, the SX-WSA1 still remains relatively obscure instead of coveted.

Make

Year
1995

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
Technics SX-WSA1

Files
Technics SX-WSA1 Ambient DemoVideo of the Technics SX-WSA1 with some chorus and reverb. Ambient soundscapes.

YouTube

Technics SX-WSA1 MarkovModels

by

Tom Noopher

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Polyphonic instruments

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MatrixBrute

MatrixBrute

Specifications
Polyphony –
2 Voices
Multitimbral –
1 Part
Oscillators –
6 VCO
Waveforms –
Pink Noise, Pulse, Pulse Variable, Saw Down, Saw Up, Sine, Square, Sub Oscillator, White Noise
Filter Slopes –
12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), Band Pass, High Pass, Low Pass, Notch, Resonance
LFO –
2 LFOs with Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Saw Down, Sine, Square, Triangle,
VCA/Envelopes –
3 VCA with ADSR
Controls –
MIDI In/Out/Thru
Sequencer –
64 Step Sequencer
Arpeggiator –
Multiple Modes
Keyboard –
49 keys with velocity and aftertouch
Memory –
256 on-board preset memory locations

Naomi Bolton
Fri, 07/03/2020 – 08:41

When Arturia released the MatrixBrute in 2016 there were very few other synthesizers that could hold a candle to it in terms of features. Of course, these features all came with a hefty price tag, so this was and is not a synth that anyone is going to simply buy on a whim. The most impressive thing about the MatrixBrute is that it comes from a company that built a reputation on software synthesizers before venturing into hardware with the MiniBrute and MicroBrute. For the MatrixBrute they went for something bigger and better than what they have done before and it paid off.

The one thing that the MatrixBrute absolutely delivers on is giving users a hands-on experience without having to go menu diving. From a technical standpoint, it features three analog oscillators, a combination VCO/LFO oscillator, as well as two standalone LFO’s. You can bring brand new tonalities to your sound thanks to the AUDIO MOD section it had one of the most versatile noise generators on the market that can deliver white, pink, red, and blue noise types. The Arturia Steiner Parker filter for the MatrixBrute was upgraded to support 12db per octave and 24db per octave slopes along with a DRIVE control to give you thicker sounds. A traditional Ladder filter is also included for those craving thick leads and punchy bass. Also, the two filters can be patched in either series or parallel configurations. The MatrixBrute also has no shortage of sound sculpting tools with its two ADSR envelopes and a 3rd DADSR envelope.

What really drew people to the MatrixBrute is the complex modulation routing, step sequencing, and instant preset recall it has. With the matrix, which is basically the heart of this synth, you can assign the 16 modulation sources to 16 mod destinations. Four of these destinations are user programmable and you can also use the data encoder to set the amounts of each modulation routing. Modulation destinations include the controls in the analog effects. Add to this a sequencer and arpeggiator, 256 memory locations, and much more and you have a truly impressive bit of hardware.

Speaking of hardware, the MatrixBrute is built like a tank and comes with a 49 note keyboard featuring velocity and aftertouch, pitch bend and mod wheels, 4 macro encoders, as well as a range of inputs and outputs. The price tag of the MatrixBrute is going to deter casual synth enthusiasts, but if you have the money then this is still one of the most fun synthesizers to play around with.

Make

Year
2016

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
Arturia MatrixBrute

YouTube

Arturia MatrixBrute Real-time Performance

by

Arturia

Arturia presents MatrixBrute, Analog Avant-Garde

by

Arturia

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Monophonic instruments

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Five of The Earliest Artists and Bands To Embrace The Moog Synthesizer

Five of The Earliest Artists and Bands To Embrace The Moog Synthesizer
Naomi Bolton
Mon, 06/29/2020 – 08:16

Minilogue

Minilogue

Specifications
Polyphony –
4 voices
Multitimbral –
4 parts
Oscillators –
2 VCOs
Waveforms –
Saw Down, Square, Triangle, White Noise
Filter Slopes –
12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), Resonance
LFO –
1 LFO with Saw Up, Square, Triangle
VCA/Envelopes –
2 VCA with ADSR envelope
Controls –
MIDI In/Out, USB
Sequencer –
16-step polyphonic sequencer
Keyboard –
37 velocity sensitive slim keys
Memory –
100 presets, 100 user

Naomi Bolton
Tue, 06/23/2020 – 09:58

Korg released their Minilogue polyphonic analog synthesizer in 2016 at a very competitive price considering what it has to offer. It was their first keyboard-equipped polyphonic analog synth since the Poly-800 MK2 from the eighties. One of the things that made the Minilogue stand out at the time was that it was one of the only analog synths for its price that was able to play 4 simultaneous notes in its price range.

There’s no denying that the Korg Minilogue is a beautiful piece of gear. Everything on the front panel is laid out sensibly and the wood back panel adds an extra touch of class. It’s the perfect combination of futuristic and retro, which makes the Minilogue extremely eye-catching. The Minilogue features 37 velocity-sensitive keys and while they are unfortunately slim to keep the synth compact it is something that you can get used to. Above the keyboard, you’ll find 14 metal paddle switches along with 29 black plastic dials. The knobs are for handling everything from the tempo, pitch, shape, ADSR, and voice mode depth to resonance, cutoff and so on. The switches are for functions such as octave, wave, filter type, velocity, and output routing. With a total of 41 dedicated panel controls, you have immediate parameter access. Thanks to the small OLED display it is also easy to see things like parameter values and changes or patch names. Best of all, the display also doubles as a real-time oscilloscope which is very neat. The only things noticeably absent from the front panel are pitch and mod wheels. There is however an angled slider that you can assign to 29 destinations to handle these duties.

On the rear panel, you’ll find the power switch, Sync In/Out jacks, MIDI In/OUT connectors, USB B connector, output jack, audio-in jack, and headphones jack. The Sync In and Sync Out jacks, in particular, are great for expanding your session setup. The Minilogue has onboard effects and a 16-step polyphonic sequencer that can automate up to four synth parameters. It also offers instant recall of 100 factory presets, as well as 100 additional user programs. With eight voice modes that include mono, poly, unison and due you get plenty of flexibility too.

Overall, the Minilogue is a great looking synth that at only 61bs in weight, is surprisingly compact too for what it offers. Its sound quality is generally very good and the build quality is also very solid. About the only criticism is that the slim keyboard is not as good as full keys.

Make

Year
2016

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
Korg Minilogue

Files
Korg Minilogue DownloadsKorg Minilogue Downloads

YouTube

Introducing KORG minilogue

by

Korg

Korg Minilogue Demo

by

nick kwas

User Rating
Texture
Polyphonic instruments

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Best Granular Synth VSTs & Plugins For Computer Part Two

Best Granular Synth VSTs & Plugins For Computer Part Two
Naomi Bolton
Tue, 06/23/2020 – 19:35

The QUN Pocket Synthesizer Packs A Lot of Punch

The QUN Pocket Synthesizer Packs A Lot of Punch
Naomi Bolton
Fri, 06/19/2020 – 08:10

Resonator Neuronium

Resonator Neuronium

Specifications
Polyphony –
6 Voices
Multitimbral –
6 Parts
Oscillators –
6
Waveforms –
Additive, ROM
VCA/Envelopes –
6 Envelopes with ADSR,
Controls –
MIDI In/Out/Thru
Memory –
101 Patches RAM

Naomi Bolton
Tue, 06/16/2020 – 08:19

It’s not often that a synthesizer can boast that it has never heard before sounds, but that was exactly the claim behind the Resonator Neuronium by JoMox. It is an experimental analog neural network synthesizer that was first released in limited quantities during the early 2000s. Since then, JoMox once again began making these units in 2018 after a lot of inquiries. However, they once again only did a small production run and the price obviously went up as well due to the many obsolete or hard-to-get parts required.

According to JoMox, they leave it up to customers to decide whether the Resonator Neuronium is a sound production tool, performance machine, musical instrument, synthesizer, FX unit, or objective piece of art. What can’t be argued with, though, is that the Resonator Neuronium features an analog net which has two main analog layers in addition to a digital layer with sequencers.

The Resonator Neuronium is certainly very unique from a visual perspective. It is housed in an iron angled casing that has a striking blue-coated appearance. The left side of the unit is dominated by a grouping of buttons, knobs, and LEDs that form a hexagon. The black buttons that are located around the hexagon can be used to select direct commands along with the golden potentiometer knobs. A 24-character LCD can be found on the bottom right of the Resonator Neuronium and the Menu/Presets button above it is used to access the preset display. A series of soft buttons below the LCD can also be used to access sub-menus.

With its blue color scheme, unusual hexagon layout, and gold plated brass buttons the Resonator Neuronium is certainly something that stands out in any collection. It can also produce very unique sounds that some users have likened to animal noises, but this means it is something that might not be so easy to incorporate into your workflow. It’s an amazing piece of equipment for anyone who loves creating experimental music, but there are also many users who have struggled to find the sweet spot when using it in their workflows.

The skyrocketing price of this instrument also means that it’s only the most dedicated fans or anyone with a mountain of disposable cash that will be able to get their hands on one, even with the reissues.

 

Make

Year
2007

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

Image
Resonator Neuronium

Files
Type
File

Title
Resonator Neuronium Operating Manual

Description
Resonator Neuronium Operating Manual

YouTube

Jomox Resonator Neuronium Mutation with Mike

by

bigcitymusic

resonator neuronium closer

by

omegaattraktor

User Rating
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Polyphonic instruments

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5 Great Reverb Plugins To Enhance Your Mixes

5 Great Reverb Plugins To Enhance Your Mixes
Naomi Bolton
Fri, 09/11/2020 – 08:28

OB-6

OB-6

Specifications
Polyphony –
6 Voices
Multitimbral –
1 Part
Oscillators –
2 VCOs
Filter Slopes –
12dB Slope (2-pole), Band Pass, High Pass, Low Pass, Notch
LFO –
1 LFO with Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Saw Down, Sine, Square
VCA/Envelopes –
2 VCAs with ADSR
Controls –
IN, OUT, THRU, USB
Sequencer –
64-step Polyphonic step sequencer
Arpeggiator –
Up, Down, up/down, random, and assign modes
Keyboard –
49 Keys with aftertouch
Memory –
500 Patches RAM / 500 patches ROM

Naomi Bolton
Wed, 06/10/2020 – 08:10

When it comes to legendary collaborations it’s hard to beat the OB-6. Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim are two of the most influential designers in history when it comes to poly synths, so when the two of them teamed up to create the OB-6 it was a dream come true for fans. The two of them have had a friendly rivalry for years, so the collaboration caused quite a stir amongst those used to having to pick between the Sequential Circuits or Oberheim Electronics camps.

The sound engine for the OB-6 draws inspiration from Tom’s original SEM, which is what made his 4-voice and 8-voice synths so popular. The OB-6 has two discrete VCOs along with a sub-oscillator per voice. The 2-pole, state-variable, resonant filter is definitely inspired by classic Oberheim designs while the all-analog signal path is completed by VCAs.

Dave Smith came up with the idea for the OB-6 when he realized that the Prophet 6 hardware and software architecture already had everything needed for a new version of the original OB polysynth. This is the reason why both instruments feature the same motherboard, with the only difference being the voice cards. Incidentally, the cards in the OB-6 are not compatible with the Prophet 6 and vice versa. The basic idea behind the OB-6 is to provide everything that fans expect from a classic, SEM-based Oberheim synth, but with added convenience and stability.

The great thing about the OB-6 is that its front panel allows you to access all of the sound-shaping controls. This is quite impressive for such a relatively compact instrument. The OB-6 synth has a total of 1000 programs and while half of them are permanent, you can overwrite the other half if you wish. Anyone familiar with the Prophet’s arpeggiator will feel right at home with the OB-6 as its exactly the same. The same goes for the 64-step sequencer, which is also the same. Since it’s based on the chassis of the Prophet 6, the OB-6 has a four-octave semi-weighted keyboard, which is one of the few divisive aspects of this synth. Thankfully you can connect the OB-6 to a larger MIDI keyboard if you can’t learn to cope with just four-octaves.

The highlight of the OB-6 is obviously the sounds that it is capable of producing. It’s not a cheap synth, but it’s definitely more affordable than buying original vintage SEMS.

Year
2016

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
OB-6

Files
Type
File

Title
OB-6 Operation Manual

Description
OB-6 Operation Manual

YouTube

Dave Smith Instruments OB-6 | Gear4music demo

by

Gear4music

User Rating
Texture
Polyphonic instruments

Disqus comment

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