5 Ways To Share Your Synth Music With The World

5 Ways To Share Your Synth Music With The World
Naomi Bolton
Sun, 07/14/2019 – 13:23

KT-88

KT-88

Specifications
Polyphony –
64
Multitimbral –
16 parts
Oscillators –
3
Waveforms –
ROM, Wave Table
VCF –
24dB Slope, High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance
LFO –
4 LFO with Noise, Saw Up Saw Down, Sine, Square, Triangle, Sample & Hold, Freerun, Key Sync, Delay, Phase
Control –
MIDI In/Out/Thru
Sequencer –
16 Track Sequencer
Effects –
13 Algorithm effects
Keyboard –
88 keys with velocity and aftertouch
Memory –
100 RAM + 80 ROM Sound Memory

Naomi Bolton
Mon, 07/08/2019 – 14:29

If you are looking for a MIDI synthesizer that can also provide you with the feel as well as the sound of a real piano, then the Ensoniq KT-88 fits the bill. This workstation was released in 1994 and features 64-voices polyphony, which gives you plenty of room to work with. Each of these voices features a maximum of 3PC samples, with one voice per sample. These voices are drawn out of a 211 PCM wavetable that is multi-sampled at 16 bits. With two sampled pianos in ROM along with a number of organs, vintage synths and electric pianos, it’s easy to see why the KT-88 was so popular.

The KT-88 did not skimp on performance features as it has 30 tuning scales as well as two mono modes with glide and legato. In addition, it features 13 algorithm effects that include reverb, phaser, chorus and more. Along with its special general MIDI mode, the KT-88 also makes use of a 16 track internal sequencer. It has a digital resonant filter stage that is comprised of two multi-mode digital filters.

While the KT-88 works great as a stand-alone device, it is also a good, albeit slightly bulky, controller for your other MIDI gear. Ensoniq has also included some easy to use sequencing features with the KT-88, although at this stage it might be difficult to find the PCMCIA RAM cards needed to increase the sequencer memory. Of course, with 64-voice polyphony it means that you can fully orchestrate your sequences and play live over sequencer or general MIDI music playback.

The keyboard of the KT-88 is a highlight as the weighted-action allows for the same feel as well as dynamic response offered by a real acoustic piano. It also easier to match your playing style with the 14 velocity curves and four pressure settings of the KT-88. The pitch and mod wheels are within easy reach while playing and the KT-88 also has support for an optional control voltage pedal or dual foot switch.

The rear panel of the KT-88 features all the MIDI connections, Thru, Out, and In, as well as jacks for the optional foot switch or CV-pedal. It’s also where you will find the right/mono output and left/mono output jacks. The KT-88 can be set a number of different modes, including Select Sound mode, Edit Track mode, Edit Sound mode, Replace Track Sound mode, System MIDI mode, General MIDI mode, Seleect Sequence/Preset mode, and Edit Sequence/Preset mode. It has a number of different buttons to make it easy to change parameters no matter what mode you are using and a 32-character LCD display to display information.

The KT-88 is still a great synth if you want that typical Ensoniq sound and it features Transwave technology, which is another bonus. However, it is rather bulky and keep in mind that maintenance might be an issue.

Make

Year
1994

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Format

Sound types

Price range

Image
ensoniq

Files

YouTube

Ensoniq KT-88 Sound Demo

by

Najvrtson

Ensoniq KT-88 Studio Keys

by

Troy Stultz

User Rating
Texture
Polyphonic instruments

Disqus comment

Kickstarter Campaign For Not Another Boring Compressor Is Live

Kickstarter Campaign For Not Another Boring Compressor Is Live
Naomi Bolton
Fri, 07/05/2019 – 13:01

25th Anniversary Book

It’s hard to believe it was 25 years ago I came up with the idea for Knowledge Magazine. At the time I’d just moved to Bristol from Glasgow and was living with my old school friend Markee Ledge and his flatmates DJ Dazee and Rachel Patey.

They’d just started promoting a jungle club called Ruffneck Ting and I just got involved. We were hungry in those days and promoted the event hard, flyering outside clubs in Bristol and the south-west most weekends. We also drove to record and clothes shops in Cardiff, Newport, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon where we would sell tickets and mixtapes.

The Bristol scene was still very small so we often travelled to London for big events. AWOL at the Paradise Club was a particular favourite and it was here that I remember being given a free copy of Atmosphere when I was leaving. It was really basic but it passion and captured the energy of the music.

British dance music magazines of the time either gave jungle/drum & bass token coverage or were dismissive. From going to the clubs I knew there were plenty of people who loved the music and wanted more information on it.

Slowly the idea to start my own magazine formed. I didn’t DJ or make music but I wanted to make more of a contribution than just being a promoter. I’d been a freelance music journalist for a few years and was writing for magazines like i-D and Generator, while Rachel had sold insurance so could sell adverts.

The opportunity to buy a second-hand Apple Mac Classic from a friend was the final piece of the jigsaw. It only had 4mb of RAM and a 40mb hard drive but I could write all the text for the magazine on it and it was an all-in-one-unit so portable enough to share with Rachel!

As we never got Atmosphere in Bristol I just wanted to cover the south-west on the back of our Ruffneck Ting distribution network.

We needed a good name though. The Ruffneck Ting promotion team were known as the Ledge Crew and I loved the hip hop track ‘Juice (Know the Ledge)’ by Eric B & Rakim so Knowledge seemed a good fit. I also liked the connotations of spreading knowledge about drum & bass.

The first issue came out in December 1994 and was A5, black and white and only 12 pages. I was so green somehow I failed to notice a feature that started in the back half of the magazine and finished in the front half!

People liked it though and a couple of months later we were back with two colours (cyan and magenta) and 32 pages. The abiding memory of those early days was just trying to make each issue bigger and better somehow: more pages, full colour, increasing the size to A4, more copies, etc. We always strived to be professional and this extended to the writing, photography and design.

Once the Ruffneck Ting record label got off the ground I realised that we could expand our distribution. In return for a free advert, Vinyl Distribution would chuck in a few copies of the magazine to record shop orders across the UK and internationally.

Gradually the magazine grew and became more professional but we realised that to take it to the next level we had to start selling it. This was a huge decision and one that could have jeopardised the future of the magazine if we didn’t get it right.

How do you start charging for something that people have been used to getting for free? I have to thank Paul Rico at SRD for coming with the answer. SRD was the main distributor for drum & bass (they still are!) and I had approached them to distribute the magazine to record shops. Paul said they would on one condition: it came with a free CD.

Dance music magazines with free CDs were nothing new but the majority were rubbish. I wanted our cover CDs to be as good quality as compilations on sale in shops. We couldn’t afford to licence the tracks though and had to convince labels to give us them for free in return for promotion in the magazine.

Thankfully the record labels bought into the idea and we never looked back. This was 1998 remember so before broadband, you connected to the internet via dial-up modems on your phone line which was incredibly slow!

I sought out specific distributors for both Europe and North America and the world started opening up. Like I said, I didn’t DJ but being able to travel the world writing about drum & bass was a dream come true. Countries we visited included Brazil, Iceland, America, Puerto Rico, Hungary, Norway, South Africa, France, Germany, Italy, Canada.

Other highlights included promoting the Knowledge Drum & Bass Awards in 1999 and 2001 and Brian Belle-Fortune approaching us to reprint his classic All Crews book in 2004.

The rise of broadband internet in the early noughties saw a gradual drop in sales and advertising revenue. People could now get their information much quicker than we could deliver and for free. The availability of DJ mixes also mean the cover CD was losing its cachet.

By 2009 we could see that there would soon come a point where we would start losing money, so we decided to stop printing the magazine and become a website. In hindsight this was a mistake. As soon as we became a website we went from being one of a handful of magazines to one of thousands of websites. Even though our costs were reduced drastically so was our revenue as advertising was our only source of income and display advertising on the internet has much less value than print.

We soldiered on for a few years but it became clear that the business model wasn’t working. We were having to make money elsewhere and couldn’t spend enough time on it that it deserved. We were so close to our 20th anniversary that I decided to keep it going for another year to reach that milestone.

Over the years people have told me I should bring it back but I’ve always resisted the temptation as I don’t want to revisit the past. So why am I bringing it back this time? Well, I feel we have unfinished business. Reaching 20 years was such an important milestone but it was a bittersweet moment and I didn’t celebrate it at all because I knew the end was coming.

Earlier this year I realised that this year was our 25th anniversary so I wanted to mark the occasion somehow. What better way than with one last issue? 2009 – 2014 didn’t really represent what we were about so I want to put that right with another print issue and to showcase the music that I love so much.

At first I considered doing a magazine but I want to make it really special. One of the things former readers say to me when they find out that I used to edit Knowledge is that they still have all of their copies and can’t bring themselves to throw them away! So if people can’t part with their magazines then surely they will appreciate a one-off premium book?

There have been some special issues in the past but this will be the biggest and best Knowledge ever:

  • Limited edition run
  • 10” x 10” large format book
  • Hardback cloth cover with debossed Knowledge logo
  • 120gsm premium paper
  • Over 150 full-colour pages featuring new and classic long-form features and interviews

The book is published in December 2019 but you can pre-order it now to get your name in the credits and be part of drum & bass history.

Also, look out for a very special 25th-anniversary party at Fold in London on October 18. Sign up for exclusive access to tickets. This event will be limited to 500 people, once tickets are gone, they’re gone.

The post 25th Anniversary Book appeared first on Kmag.

Unusual & Innovative MIDI Controllers Part Two

Unusual & Innovative MIDI Controllers Part Two
Naomi Bolton
Fri, 06/28/2019 – 13:32

Unusual & Innovative MIDI Controllers Part One

Unusual & Innovative MIDI Controllers Part One
Naomi Bolton
Mon, 06/24/2019 – 13:13

Synthesizer Related Instagram Accounts Worth Following

Synthesizer Related Instagram Accounts Worth Following
Naomi Bolton
Thu, 06/20/2019 – 12:58

Novation gives Sound Collective members free UJAM Beatmaker EDEN plugin instrument and 30% off Hiphop-Bundle

Novation gives Sound Collective members free UJAM Beatmaker EDEN plugin instrument and 30% off Hiphop-Bundle
Naomi Bolton
Thu, 06/13/2019 – 15:10

MS800

MS800

Specifications
Polyphony –
15 voices
Multitimbral –
16-part multitimbral via MIDI
Waveforms –
More than 20 waveforms
Control –
MIDI In/Out/Thru
Memory –
50 user tone memories

Naomi Bolton
Tue, 06/11/2019 – 19:46

The Cheetah MS800 is a digital wave synthesizer that was designed for the company by Mike Lynch of Lynett Systems. It wasn’t a big success when it was first released in 1989, despite being very affordable, which probably had a lot to do with the fact that it is extremely annoying to program. It is true that a lot of synthesizers have a steep learning curve if you really want to tap into their true potential, but the Cheetah MS800 took this to the extreme by making it frustrating to even make use of its most simple features.

The MS800 certainly trumped the competition in terms of price, but unfortunately this came at the cost of sound quality as well as ease of use. While it is great to see a company trying to incorporate as much programmability as possible into their gear, few users had the patience to really make use of this. One of the reasons why the MS800 is notorious for being very difficult to program is because you have to do so via a two-digit display along with its ten push buttons. The rear panel also keeps things simple with just the MIDI In, Out and Thru connections, socket for the power lead and left/right audio outputs.

The operating manual doesn’t exactly make things easier either as it is filled with walls of text and a severe lack of graphics to make things clearer. Even after figuring things out you will want to take notes while programming as the MS800 interface won’t offer any clues should you lose track. Interestingly, although the MS800 follows the usual process of allowing you to combine digital waveforms into sequences to create new sounds, it does not provide filtering. In addition, while the MS800 MIDI unit is multitimbral it does not have any computer editors to make things easier. Finally, the fact that it is prone to crashing adds to the frustration as well.

The Cheetah MS800 received some renewed attention in 2016 when Richard D. James of Aphex Twin fame released an EP called Cheetah and even referenced the synth in the titles of two tracks. This is definitely not a synth for beginners or those who are easily frustrated, but if you are patient, determined and love experimenting, then you might appreciate the Cheetah MS800. It has a certain grittiness to its sounds that sets it apart from other digital synths.

Make

Year
1989

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

Image
cheethams800

Files

YouTube

cheetah ms800 synthesizer audio demo

by

qyqyy

C2:- Cheetah MS800 waveforms

by

Paddy C

User Rating
Texture
Polyphonic instruments

Disqus comment

XR10

XR10

Specifications
Polyphony –
8 voices
LFO –
1 modulator
Control –
MIDI In/Out
Sequencer –
20 songs
Patterns –
Internal Sound Sources 65 patterns / Copy Sound Sources 32 patterns
Songs –
20 varieties
Memory –
450 varieties of preset patterns

Naomi Bolton
Sun, 06/09/2019 – 21:49

The XR10 is a budget drum machine that was released by Akai in the early nineties. While it is not exactly a contender for the top drum machine ever released, it was a big improvement on Akai’s XE8, both in terms of sounds and operational convenience.

The Akai XR10 is packed into a rather hefty 1.7 kg case that has volume and tempo/data dials on the left and an LCD screen on the right while the top is dedicated to the list of rhythm presets. The LCD is capable of displaying 16 characters across two lines, but unfortunately it is not back-lit. Below the screen you will find arrow and yes/no buttons along with a numeric keypad. The bottom half of the XR10 is dedicated to a number of rubber pads that can be used for switching modes, accessing the editing features and triggering sounds. Unfortunately, none of the pads are dynamic, but you can easily cycle through the Pad Banks with the dedicated button.

This drum machine has four modes, pattern, song, sound, and utility, which can be selected using the Mode button. The MIDI connectors are on the rear of the case, but it only supports In/Out and not Thru. On the back you will also find the headphone jack, power switch, AC adapter jack, left and right output jacks, effect send out jack and effect send volume knob. In addition, the XR10 has jacks on the back where you can connect an optional foot switch, which can then be used to start/stop a rhythm pattern or a fill-in. The XR10 does not have any type of power amplifier or internal speakers. It is a pity that the XR10 only has stereo output as it could have really benefited from individual outputs.

This drum machine generates its sounds via internal PCM samples that are stored in its internal ROM wavetable. These samples were recorded at a resolution of 16 bits and there are 64 to choose from, including the usual bass drums, snares, claps, toms, and hihats. You have access to 13 sound parameters to edit the sounds and then store them internally.

In addition, the XR10 offers 450 preset rhythm patterns and you can use your original user patterns to compose and store up to 20 songs internally. Since the Akai XR10 is a sample playback machine, it is not capable of delivering the same analog goodness as what can be accomplished with the Roland drum machines. Nevertheless, it is a decent sounding piece of equipment, that had a lot to offer for its price back when it was released. The sounds are crisp and the XR10 is capable of cutting through any mix. It’s not the most intuitive drum machine on the market, so you will need to carefully study the manual and be willing to put up with some of its quirks.

Make

Year
1990

Musical genre

Synth type

Interface features

Sound types

Price range

Image
akai

YouTube

Akai XR-10

by

Keyboards and Circuits

Akai XR10 16 Bit PCM Drum Machine Demo Song and Preset Kits

by

zibbybone

User Rating
Texture
Polyphonic instruments

Disqus comment

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