Archive for the modular synthesizers Category

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

PAiA Oz

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.

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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.

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Dolphinforce

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!

Slithis Returns

Posted in modular synthesizers, music, Slithis, synthesizers with tags , on May 30, 2016 by pyraphonic

More spaced-out intergalactic doom soundtracks from Slithis.

NAMM 2016

Posted in modular synthesizers, synthesizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2016 by pyraphonic

For the past five years I have gone to NAMM to take photos and post about (mostly) eurorack modular synthesizers for the relatively small community of users and manufacturers. Though I think this community has grown so much during this short time, and is now getting so much coverage, that perhaps my services are no longer needed and maybe I should retire after this year. We have hit the turning point where there are so many new modules (and manufacturers) that it is difficult to keep up with all of them, so I’m sure I’ve missed some stuff this year. Below are a ton of pics – click on them for hi-res. Enjoy!

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Eurorack’s all grown up and no longer downstairs at NAMM!

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As some of you know, I am a helper elf for Noise Engineering. This year I helped prepare for NAMM at the NE HQ. The Noise Engineering modules are in new shallow aluminum cases from Sub Modular.

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Absurdly, I didn’t take any close-ups of the NE stuff at NAMM, but I’ll update this post with some later. Here’s the Noise Engineering booth. Thank you, Stephen, for the NAMMM badge!

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The Tiptop booth. Always great to catch up with Gur and Tomio. The new cases are looking great, and watch for several new Z-DSP cards coming soon – they sound amazing!

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Make Noise. Got a tour of the new Tempi module…

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and tinkered with the 0-Coast

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Had a great time with the Malekko crew this year. Congrats on the Roland collaborations!

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New cases and modules.

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Rad dudes

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Cool new pedals

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How cool? this cool. Shredworthy even.

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4MS rig featuring a new stereo delay with a huge amount of memory (3 mins, I think?)

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Audio Damage had some cool custom cases and were showing their new drum module.

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I’m pretty sure Chris just told that guy I’m a dork.

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Bastl’s crazy rig. I shot a video that I’ll try to get up here later.

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WMD booth. Great chatting with William and the WMD crew.

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Verbos booth.

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Vermona monosynth and modules.

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Abstract Data’s rig.

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Intellijel had new cases and modules, including the new Rainmaker module.

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The case has an intentionally deep lid for keeping it patched in transit.

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Pittsburg’s new stuff.

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Koma’s rig.

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Industrial Music Electronics (formerly The Harvestman) set up.

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Sputnik had a bunch of new stuff.

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Snazzy’s case and new pedal.

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Endorphin’s rigs.

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Synthrotek

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ZVex entries into euro. I love my Fuzz Factory guitar pedal, so this should be interesting.

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STG

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At the Big City booth I played this insane Schmidt synth and a real Mellotron.

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Moog had a crazy cool set up with a ton of Mother 32s. I can’t help but think the Modular on the Spot gatherings inspired this desertscape arrangement!

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Moog also had some museum pieces set up.

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Obligatory Stevie Wonder pic (on the escalator)

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Oberheim/Dave Smith stuff

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OB-6!

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Two Voice

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The Linnstrument is really fun and playable.

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Three New Pocket Operators from Teenage Engineering.

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There were several new euro manufacturers I was unaware of below, such as Rossom.

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Mordax

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Soulsby

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AOA

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DT

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Birdkids

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I think I may have to own one of these someday – Rickenbacker 12 string.

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And to wrap up, some random weird stuff:

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I saw a lot of friends, met some new ones and had a great time. Hope you dug the pics.

Cheers! (that’s Steven from Noise Engineering and Chris from Sub Modular)

ne_broz

 

 

 

 

 

Clark S. Nova – Fire in the Belfry

Posted in Clark S. Nova, modular synthesizers, music, synthesizers with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2015 by pyraphonic

A gothic love tale describing the logistics of a vampire dating a ghost.

 

NAMM 2015

Posted in modular synthesizers, sound design, synthesizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2015 by pyraphonic

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I started going to NAMM in 2012 a few months after starting my own eurorack modular synthesizer system and I have gone every year since. I mainly go to check out the modular synth gear and hang out with the people making and using them. This year was great with many more modules and many familiar faces.

Here we go…click on the pics for hi-res!

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The eurorack presence at NAMM this year was incredible. There were several different booths in various halls of the convention representing many manufacturers. I used to know immediately what modules were new, or which were prototypes, etc. but not anymore.

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I first went over to check out Noise Engineering because A) Stephen is my friend and colleague and B) I beta test and make suggestions on Noise Engineering modules and C) he had some beer with him.

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Among the new NE modules available soon is the Sinc Iter (purple one on the right in the photo above) which is a 4HP Oscillator with an insane range of 23 octaves (so it makes a great LFO) with variable waveform and built-in quantization. On the left are prototype clock modules.

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Also available soon (above in purple) are the Tonnetz Sequent (a triad based polyphonic pitch sequencer), Mimetic Sequent (a pattern recorder and randomizer with up to 16 steps – I love this thing!), and its expander which outputs random gates related to the sequences.

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Above from the left are the Variatic Sequent (a simple gate sequencer), the Variatic Erumption (a dual burst generator), and the Numeric Repetitor which is a rhythm generator in the vein of the Zularic Repetitor but based on binary arithmetic. I’ll swap in a better photo soon – I didn’t get a clear shot of these.

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Prototype mixers above on the right.

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Dieter Doepfer! I caught him mid-blink here – I swear his eyes didn’t look like that. He showed me some new Doepfer modules below.

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the A-157 Trigger sequencer above.

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Above in the center are the A-110-4 Quadrature Thru Zero VCO, A-147-2 LFO with delay, and A-110-3 Triangle Thru Zero VCO.

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Above is the A-101-6 Opto FET VCF/Phaser.

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Above is the A-153 Ratcheting clock multipler.

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Above is the A-160 Clock/Trigger Divider II

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I also got to catch up with Gur and Tomio showing Tiptop Audio’s wares – above is a prototype of a new case. The angle is adjustable. It looks great!

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Above is the new Circadian Rhythyms module.

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The quantizer is still being tweaked but looks great.

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They also had a couple euro-fied Serge modules in the case.

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Above is the prototype case at a different angle.

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The WMD touch interface is fun! the Poly-key Array.

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Above is one of the WMD/SSF cases.

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Make Noise had the new shared system with all black faceplates (above). I tinkered with this set up for quite a while.

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Above are the new fixed filter and the RxMx. The fixed filter can be normalled to the RxMx so the six bands correspond to the six channels.

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Above is the next Make Noise collaboration with Tom Erbe called the Telharmonic. It is a triad oscillator with controls over the chord and inversion as well as timbre and of course, pitch(es).

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Black Maths!

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The Ctrl Sel above.

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The updated Wogglebug (above) looks great!

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Phonogene in black.

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Another WMD/SSF rig in a slick keyboard case.

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A fully loaded Enclave case.

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New Low-gain modules (above).

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Hexinverter’s case (above).

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A modular module from Black Market (above) that has swappable circuit boards.

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These are the boards (above) that work with their 500 series style units as well as the eurorack unit.

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The Xoac Karl Marx Stadt above.

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The Harvestman himself, looking very dapper this year.

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Qu-bit modules.

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More Qu-bit.

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The Verbos touch keyboard arrived this year. It feels nice and plays well!

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This one (above) was in its own skiff.

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The Koma Quad helmet for demoing their new quad mixer. (Apologies to those I clocked in the head while wearing this.)

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the ProModular MIIIIX and Insert (above).

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SSF ultra-random (above).

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Synthrotek’s rig. Lots of cool kits in here.

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A closer look at the upper Synthrtek case with some Mattson mults along the bottom rows.

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The new Double Andore from The Harvestman (above).

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Chris Randall hamming it up with the Audio Damage rig (above).

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Abstract Data’s rig (above).

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the Koma Komplex Sequencer (above).

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Dann from 4MS showing their goods.

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the LZX rig (above).

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the Vermona rig (above – sorry, blurry shot!)

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Sputnik modular stuff – the patch was all set up, so the shots don’t show the modules all that well!

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The Snazzy rig

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Dan showed me the new Snazzy Tidal Wave which sounded great. A compact voice synth with some performance oriented controls (above).

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Muffwiggler booth rigs!

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Another Muffwiggler booth box.

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Expert Sleepers new stuff (above).

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Circuit Shaman’s rig in a John Noble case (above).

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The Circuit Shaman Dack (above).

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The Circuit Shaman Spectra Mirror (above).

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the Kilpatrick Audio Phenol (above).

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Above is the Tipsy Circuits Emperor, which can run Windows in the modular environment. Pretty insane!

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Frap Tools UNO case folded (above) and unfolded (below). Really nice!

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Pittsburg had their new stained wood cases, which looked really great.

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Studio Electronics modules (above and below).

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More from the Muffwiggler booth.

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The Moon Modular case (above). I met John L. Rice at their booth, whom I’ve interacted with on the forums before but never met in person, which was cool.

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Analogue Haven cases (above and below).

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Mutable Intsruments new stuff (above) – Elements is awesome!

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The new Synthesis Technologies E6209 (above).

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The Big City Music booth (above).

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I believe this is a vibrato/reverb repurposed from an organ from Analog Outfitters (above – from the Big City Music booth).

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New Buchla including the 252e and the standalone 218 touch keyboard.

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Brian Kehew and Robert Robert Margouleff at the Moog booth (above). Brian is a polymath whose many hats include synth expert, audio restorer, half of the synth duo Moog Cookbook as well as being an author (check out Recording the Beatles). Robert, along with Malcolm Cecil, built and played T.O.N.T.O. and co-created those amazing Stevie Wonder records.

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The reissues of the original Moog modulars.

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Diego Stocco tinkering with the Moog modular (above).

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Klaus Shulze poster!

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Moog Voyager (above).

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Suzane Ciani live patching the Moog modular (above).

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Sir David Scott Stone checking out the Korg reissues of the ARP Odyssey!

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Twin Braids jamming in the Roland room upstairs (above).

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Black is the new Orange (above).

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The original Les Paul “Black Beauty” (above).

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Yeah, I still want one of these Rickenbacker 12-strings.

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The insane new Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator series (above)!

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And the day ended with Richard Devine falling in love with the new 4MS Spectral Multiband Resonator! It does sound amazing.

Thanks to Stephen (Noise Engineering) and William (WMD) for the NAMM badge!

Clark S. Nova – This Heat

Posted in Clark S. Nova, modular synthesizers, music, synthesizers with tags , on October 1, 2014 by pyraphonic