Archive for January, 2017

NAMM 2017

Posted in modular synthesizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by pyraphonic

Since my first NAMM visit in 2012, every year I have posted about modular synthesizers (and other interests) at the end of the first day to get the word out to those interested.

In the intervening years, modulars have become popular enough that professional music media outlets cover all the new stuff, sometimes as early as the day before NAMM starts, so no more scoops for me. I am officially retired!

So I went to NAMM this year with a more casual attitude (on rainy Friday, day 2, even!) and chatted with lots of friends, met some people, saw a lot of cool new stuff and still have some photos to share. I won’t go into great detail about anything, since it’s covered elsewhere. Come on in and check it out!

Below are Kris and Stephen at the Noise Engineering booth. I had my pass thanks to them!

I am an occasional helper at Noise Engineering as a beta tester for their modules as well as sometimes making design and feature suggestions.

Here are the three cases they had this year, with many new modules coming out this year:

I can’t wait for this sequencer!

Synthrotek had this amazing repurposed rig for the show:

Of course Bryce Recordon, of the Waveform City podcast, was there:

And Bana Haffer was doing demos at the Make Noise booth.

The new Make Noise Morphagene below:

The Koma Electronik Field Kit is awesome:

Pittsburg Modular had these awesome video game cabinets set up:

Skein Modular had some really cool cases:

The WMD rig:

The QuBit bubble that everyone had to take a photo of!


LZX had some really cool video modules:

The new Malekko Voltage Block:

Sputnik Modular’s rig:

Skyler, with his Apogee Jam, recording directly into his phone to eliminate the insanely loud NAMMbience:

Some other cool random stuff I saw includes the new Stylophone, which is super fun with a built-in delay:

The handcrafted Theresyn:

They have built-in speakers and the tall ones have resonating strings.

Vintage Vibe make Rhodes style keyboards, but they had a couple new models that also sport a little ribbon synth built in (the ribbon is the silver strip just above the keys). This was a bass model. They had the lids off to show the mechanical parts. It sounded awesome, especially playing a bass line and occasionally doing a downward slide!

This beautiful Travis Bean:

A clear demo model of the Center Point Stereo Spacestation v.3. I have an older Spacestaion and love it. It is a stereo amp, but in a single cabinet. If you know how mid-side mic technique works, this is that in reverse!


And Lowrey – still in the game!

Thank you Noise Engineering for the pass – I had a blast!

Recent Projects and Events

Posted in Dolphinforce, modular synthesizers, synthesizers with tags , , , on January 18, 2017 by pyraphonic


I’ve always wanted a PAiA Oz, and I recently acquired not just one, but two. They both needed some work, but I’ve got the first one up and running.

I replaced all the IC chips except for the hard-to-find 50240, added a much needed handle and a Fender Twin style grill cloth, as well as a plate with an underlit power light (to cover poorly drilled holes from a previous owner), added a jack for the pitch bender (as well as one on the pitch pad itself), and switched the output jack for the trigger to 3.5mm. I have new keybed bushings on the way, so the action will be super smooth. 

Something cool I’ve discovered is that you can use the output and input jacks as a line level insert and use effects and still use the built-in speaker.
I’m loving this super portable polyphonic full-size-keyed enigma! Soon I will revive the other unit, but it is lacking the 50240 IC.


Modular on the Spot

I have been aware of the outdoor modular synth events happening for over a year now known as Modular on the Spot, but my sound design work always has me on the wrong side of town when they are happening. But I finally not only got to attend, but also perform. It was super cool hearing all the different sets and playing in such a surreal environment next to the Los Angeles river.

[photo courtesey of MotS]

My set up was my main Tiptop 252 case with my custom built ribbon controller.



Dolphinforce played an augmented DJ set (the robot couldn’t make it due to threats of rain) at the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in  Chinatown, Los Angeles for Robert Xavier Burden’s Original Myth opening. The PAiA Oz even got some mileage that gig. We had a blast! Thanks to all who came down!