Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Korg DS-10 Review

The Korg DS-10 is released outside Japan on October 14th, complete with translated manuals. Plus, it's only $40.

I didn't mention a feature in the video -- the DS-10 can sync with up to 7 other DS units, like MIDI Time Code. Except it's wireless. I think it's a great feature and some might find it a selling point, but lugging around multiple DS units and a mixer somewhat defeats the purpose I had in mind for it: a portable sketchpad.

I've heard that while the Nintendo DS-Lite has a brighter screen, one of the consequences is more noise on the audio output. I'm interested in confirming that. I'd probably stick with the Lite, since I'd redo anything I wrote on it once at the studio. But I'm curious.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Prophet '08 Review - Part 2

On a side note:

Remix Magazine's Jason Scott Alexander proclaims that the Prophet '08 "sounds thicker than my beloved Jupiter-8". The article closes by voting it the "best analog poly synth…ever".

The best analog poly synth...ever? Really?

I like the P'08 — and I think my review shows that — but I don't think even the most brazen marketing material would go that knee deep, let alone a review.

What should a review do?

A review like the one provided by Remix Magazine leads to unrealistic expectations, and ultimately, a disservice to both its readers and the product manufacturer.

If you believe Remix Magazine, then you'd essentially expect the best synth in the history of all humanity, and that's setting up disappointment no matter what awaits you. You'd probably leave the music store without digging into it, frustrated by its inability to fly you at twelve times the speed of light, prove Beal's conjecture, and bring world peace.

You might miss out on a very interesting and useful product.

But if you have a realistic idea as to the Prophet '08's benefits and drawbacks, then you'll be in a better frame of mind to make an objective decision, and spend enough time to see if it works for you.

For the Prophet '08 review, I wanted to provide historical perspective, basic and advanced features, positives and negatives, lots of audio examples, and explain how each of those examples work with the features available.

That way viewers get something out of watching the review even if they end up uninterested in the product itself.
And hey — I'm open to criticism and comments. I want to know if this sort of format works, and whether it provides helpful information.

I don't think I'll cast my own vote on the "best poly synth...ever". How can one compare a CS80, a Synthex, a Matrix-12, a Jupiter 8, and dozens of other great synthesizers and make superlative statements like that, when features range from polyphonic aftertouch to ring modulation to multimode filters, each synth with its own unique sounds and capabilities?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Episode Four : FM Synthesis - Part 1

Episode Four is online.

There's also a handy guide for those of you using virtual analogs. It converts ratios to pitch settings.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Episode Three : Modular Synthesis - The Basics

Episode Three is online:

Correction #1 - I refer to modulating the amplitude of an audio signal with another audio rate signal as Ring Modulation (RM). I should have said Amplitude Modulation (AM).

RM is certainly related to AM, but there's a distinct difference. RM is implemented in such a way that the carrier and modulator's frequencies are eliminated from the signal. You only hear the sums and difference frequencies of the carrier and modulator, but not the original carrier and modulator frequencies.

Interestingly enough, the AC-coupled circuitry that does RM is ring shaped.

Correction #2 - Neither RM nor AM add harmonic frequencies. They add sidebands of inharmonic frequencies - hence the metallic and dissonant sound.

(Thanks to Javier and Peter on MatrixSynth comments.)