29 November 2020

Creating 640 Sound Effects for my upcoming Solo Album

I just released the album BorkHavn together with Ron Boots, but I'm already working as well on new solo material. In the last 7 years since my last release I recorded quite some material. But usually that are just rough track ideas that need to be worked out. Not to forget finalize with small details in the form of sound effects like rises, synth modulation sounds and so on that make a song much more detailed and interesting. With the first album I created I did this during the final moments and found out that is costs a lot of time. Since my second album I started to dedicate a whole week to this process. I pick out a couple of synthesizers and start creating sound on sound on sound.
After that I start listening everything back and cut out the sounds I like. I usually make everything in random order like drum sounds, percussion sounds, sweeps and wooshes, modulation sounds and some weird stuff. Sometime on purpose sometimes by accident :) Last week I made 640 of such sounds. The hardest part actually is to come up with names for them. You can also see which synthesizers I used. I have 4 rack mounted Behringer clone synths that were very suitable for this work, because they are also semi-modular and easily patchable to another. I have done this proces for every solo album I released so I have lots of sounds. One day I might even release a sample CD with only these sounds. If you are interested let me know ;) I thought it would be nice to share this step in my creative proces with you for a change. Michel, Synth.NL

20 November 2020

Ron Boots & Synth.NL BorkHavn Released Today!

Today is the day. After 7 years I finally have an official release again. 8 years ago Ron Boots and myself went on a family holiday in Denmark and took some synthesizers and notebooks with us. During the day we enjoyed the nature with our families and did some nice stuff and in the evening Ron and myself went in the small improvised studio and started improvising on our own. All music on the album was recorded live and was improvised in that holiday house. 8 years later we picked the best parts and finished them in our studios and eventually did the end mixing in Ron's studio and Ron also did the mastering. I did the artwork. The music is a bit more modern film music than classic EM we think, but judge for yourself. You can listen to some excerpts on my website on this URL: https://www.synth.nl/borkhavn and you can also listen on bandcamp here: https://synthnl.bandcamp.com/album/borkhavn. You can also buy the album there as MP3 or FLAC. You can also buy it directly from Ron's record label Groove Unlimited from these links.

Physical CD with Jewel Case: http://www.groove.nl/jump2.php?artnum=GR-299
FLAC download including all the artwork: https://shop.groove.nl/gr-299-flac
MP3 download including all the artwork: https://shop.groove.nl/gr-299-mp3

I hope you like it. Let me know if you have any question. 

Synth.NL Jurassic Studio

 I'm sure you all remember the famous 'Apollo Studio' pictures that still roam the internet. Well that studio is gone :( As you might well know I have gone through a rough period with a nasty divorce and I abandoned everything. After 2 years I moved in with my new girlfriend Sonja in her new apartment in Rotterdam. I did manage to save some stuff during the divorce. Some stuff is put in long term storage like my Eminent 310, V-Piano and Roland Drum Kit and some synths, but I could bring some stuff to the new apartment and build a small studio again. I always name my studio's and  I call this studio my 'Jurassic Studio'. For several reasons. First of all it feels like traveling back in time for me, but secondly I'm currently working on a new solo album about dinosaurs. So now that cat is also out of the bag :) I hope to release it somewhere next year.

So what is still in the studio. Well most importantly I saved my studio computer, where all my recordings were stored and also my software was installed. Then I could take my Genelec monitors. I'm very used to that sound and even though the acoustics in my studio are terrible I know these monitors very well. I could take my Aurora AD converters and also the RME MADI stuff. I'm also happy that I could keep my main reverbs like the Bricasti M7, Eventide H8000 and Eclipse and the Quantec Yardstick. And some of the graphic display units I like to use as reference for my levels. This was my basic recording chain and that means I don't have to sacrifice much in sound quality fortunately. I'm really happy about that.

So are there any synthesizers left. Yes !! I have kept both the Korg Kronos and the Nord Wave. Especially since I used them on the BorkHavn album with Ron Boots, so I needed these to finish the album here. I also still have the Alesis Andromeda but it is currently under the bed since I don't have room to put it. I kept some DIY stuff like the SamichSID, SamichFM and MIDIbox SID and I'm currently building a Deckards Dream. I will post more on that project later as well. I also bought some new gear. Not much budget so I started out with some Behringer Modules. The Model D, K-2, Neutron and Pro-1. And I just pre-ordered the new ARP2600. I must say. Having owned all the originals in the past. I'm not disappointed. They sound really good. So what is next? I still have a lot of recordings I made during the last 10 years. I plan on finishing them now and releasing them. So expect much more to come! I know it has been quiet for a while, but I'm back :) Keep an eye on my Blog, Twitter and Website and even better subscribe to my newsletter here: https://www.synth.nl/newsletter-subscribe

19 November 2020

BorkHavn already available on BandCamp

 Groove Unlimited (my record label) already put BorkHavn on BandCamp. You can listen to some excerpts of some of the tracks. You can also buy the album there as MP3 or FLAC download or listen to it in the BandCamp app. I hope you like it. The physical CD's also arrived from the factory. I will pick them up from Ron this weekend. The album will also be soon on the Download Shop of Groove Unlimited as MP3 and FLAC. I will let you know when it is there. You can find it here on BandCamp: https://synthnl.bandcamp.com/album/borkhavn

Another Synth.NL track will be released in 2020

 I was asked by the German Electronic Music Club Schallwende to submit a track for their upcoming SchallPlatte 23 sampler album. They normally release these albums once a year and most of the times there is a theme. This is a special release for their members because all concerts have been canceled due to Corona. I though this was a good idea and I spend some time creating a track called 'Gemini' inspired by the Gemini space program. They liked the track so it was selected and will be on that album. It will be released by the end of 2020. It is not for sale. It is only for members of the club. You can read more information about Schallwende here: http://www.schallwen.de/. I will give more information on this project when the album is released.

18 November 2020

BorkHavn CD Pre-Order possible at Groove.NL now!

 Ron finished the mastering of the BorkHavn CD and I finished the artwork. I did make a mistake so we had to reprint the inlay, which caused a bit of delay. Sorry Ron :) But the CD is done and currently being produced. It will be available very soon. You can already pre-order the CD from the Groove Webshop at this URL: 

 http://www.groove.nl/jump2.php?artnum=GR-299

I expect the CD's to be coming from the factory later this week and I guess shipping will be starting next week. Let me know if you need any help. There will be a digital download version both as MP3 and WAV later on as well.

04 November 2020

BorkHavn Music is Finished

 Last week I finished the music for BorkHavn together with Ron Boots in his studio. We worked on the last details and made the final mixes together. I will have to listen to them in my own studio, but I'm sure not much will change. So the music is done finally. We recorded this music together in 2012 so it has taken quite some time. I think the end result turned out pretty great and I can't wait to heat what you think about it. The only thing left to do is the mastering and the artwork. Ron will take care of the mastering and the artwork will be my responsibility. I already finished all the text and you can already read the track descriptions on my website. You can find them here: https://www.synth.nl/music/collaborations/borkhavn. We are still on track for an 2020 release so keep an eye our for news on that. When the mastering is done I will also put some small previews on this page. I will keep you updated when I have more news. I'm really looking forward to releasing a new album. It has been too long ago, but rest assured more is coming after this.

20 July 2020

I know is has been very quiet (again) from my side. I have been through a rough time and still am actually. I'm currently in a divorce that already lasts for 2 years and the end is not there yet. Unfortunately this meant that I had to leave everything behind including my studio. I had no place of my own and lived at my parents for about 1,5 year. I have good news as well though. I have been very lucky to find a very beautiful and sweet new girlfriend and we are living in a new apartment together now in Rotterdam. In this apartment I have a tiny studio with some equipment I saved from my Apollo studio. I usually name my studios, but I haven't come up with a good one yet. More good news is that I am composing and producing new music again. So finally all the music I have been promising for the last years is coming to you. I'm sorry it took so long. The first release will come very soon. It will be a second album together with Ron Boots. Just like the first one we recorded new music live and improvised during a family holiday. This time we spend a week in Bork Havn in Denmark. At this moment Ron and myself are adding some details in the 9 tracks we selected to go on the album and we will start mixing and mastering very soon. We also finished the artwork already and here you get the first sneak preview of the album cover. I will update you with more information as it gets available. I have accumulated a lot of material since my last solo release in 2011. So don't worry. A lot more is coming! But first things first. Keep an eye out for BorkHavn. I think it has become a really beautiful album that represents the friendship between Ron and myself. The music is different from our first album together, but the people that heard it so far liked it a lot :) I did leave social media by the way. So please subscribe to my news letter on the website http://www.synth.nl when you want to be kept up to date. (or send me an E-mail on michel@synth.nl and I will add you manually). More to follow soon....

06 May 2018

Schallwelle Jubileum CD with Synth.NL track

Recently the German Electronic Music club Schallwende released another sampler CD. It was a special double album for the celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Schallwelle Awards. On this CD are 22 track by all the Schallwelle Award winners of the last ten years. As you might remember I won two of these awards. The public price with my OceanoGraphy album and the jury price with my Apollo album. So I'm proud to be on this CD off course.

This track is special for me. I hope you like it. I made it during the sick bed of my father in law. He died in the mean time, we just buried him. I would like to dedicate this track to him. The name of the track is 'Taurus'. This was his 'zodiac' (Sternzeichen/Sterrenbeeld) and mine too, so we shared that. He also fought like a bull against death during his 9 months sick bed. The track is mastered by my friend Hans Landman.

You can listen to the track on my website on this URL: http://www.synth.nl/music/samplers/schallwelle10y.

I think Groove Unlimited still has some copies left. So be quick to buy it if you like it on: http://www.groove.nl/jump2.php?artnum=10974

08 January 2018

Best Wishes for 2018 and New Music Coming

Hi, first of all I'd like to wish to all the very best for 2018. Happy New-year ! I know some of you wonder if I'm still alive. Well the answer is yes, but the last years I have been very busy with both RenderFarm.NL and Virtiso. By now I have sold both of these companies and I'm a free man again. In the end it gave me too much stress and I almost suffered another burnout. So I decided it was enough. I'm still involved in the background with my first company BIT BV, and will continue to do so. No plans at this moment to start something new. The good news from this all is that I had time to completely rebuild the studio last year. I sold a lot of my vintage synthesizers and bought new stuff equipment back. I also bought some synthesizers I had as keys back as modules without a keyboard. I took all cabling out and completely redid everything. On of the new additions it the Roland V-Piano you see me playing on here. I really love this thing. The 88 keys weighted keyboard is so nice to play on. I will show more of the new studio is later posts. I also got asked a lot if new music is coming. Yes there is! I'm currently working on 2 solo albums, and also a collaboration album again with Ron Boots and also another one with Remy Stroomer. I recently also finished a single track for a sampler CD that will be released soon. I will update you all on this in time as well. I hope to release at last one of these albums in 2018. I'm working on it. Thank for you interest and let me know if you have any questions.

18 August 2016

SchallPlatte 18 with Synth.NL track

Recently the German Electronic Music club Schallwende released another sampler CD. It is already the 18th edition of the SchallPlatte series. This CD is only distributed to the members of the club and is not for sale. A jury always selects the tracks from a large amount of submissions. This year I decided to send in a track and I'm proud to see that it was selected again. The Theme for this CD was sport this time and I chose table tennis. I have been playing table tennis since I was 18 so for me that was an easy choice. I had a great time creating especially the rhythm track with actual table tennis sounds. The music was influenced this time a bit by Reggae / Ska which was quite popular in The Netherlands when I started playing table tennis back then. I hope you enjoy it.

You can listen to the track on my website on this URL http://www.synth.nl/schallplatte18. I hope you like it. Enjoy! :)

07 August 2016

2016 BIT Company Video

I was asked by BIT Datacenters in The Netherlands to make a background track for their new company video. Here you can watch the video and hear the music I created in the background. I hope you enjoy it!.

05 January 2015

Synth.nl Visits Alaska 2014

First of all a Happy New Year to you all! I wanted to start the year of good so here is a new video for you all.

In 2014 we did a very nice family holiday in Alaska. We saw amazing Humpback Whales, Dolhins, Killer Whales, Bears and also amazing Glacier views. We filmed most of it and I compiled a video with some of the best Footage. Sorry for the shaky video here and there. It is quite hard to film with a tele lens from a moving boat ;) I put some music from my OceanoGraphy album under it to get you in the mood. I hope you enjoy it!.

22 June 2014

Another useful 3D print for the Aquarium

My daughter has an aquarium in her bed room and some times when we are away we want the fish to get their food automatically, so we have a feeding machine. The problem was though to find a good spot for it. My wife asked me if I could come up with something so I though I could maybe make something on the 3D printer. First thing was so measure the thickness of the glass and start drawing a design in Cinema 4D.

Here is a close up of the design. It is a simple 15 x 15 cm plateau with an edge below with a 5mm gap so that it fits around the glass. I though it would take a couple of version to get an exact fit, but actually the first print was perfect right away :) My daughter chose this green color for the plastic. The whole print took about 20 hours on the Ultimaker 2. So again it was a nice feeling to be able to design and print something useful with the 3D printer :)

New Studio PC

I told you I'm currently rebuilding my studio. The first thing that really needed an update was my studio PC. I ran on a quad core2duo with 4 Gbyte of RAM and Windows Vista 32 bits for a long time, but it started to crash on me. I wanted to upgrade to Windows 8.1 anyway and get more inputs in the machine. I had two RME PCI MADI cards in there and a UAD2 quad card. So time for an upgrade :)

Here is a picture of some of the parts that went in there. I decided to use the same ASRock X79 extreme6 motherboard that I use in my render servers for the render farm and also the same Hexacore I7 processor. I put in 32 Gbyte of RAM and a OCZ Vertex 4 SSD to boot the OS from and run my applications. I got a new UAD-2 Octo card and the quad will move to my mastering PC that still had an UAD-1. This one is no longer supported and doesn't run moders plugins anymore. And finally a RME PCIe MADI fx card with 3 MADI inputs and outputs giving me 192 channels of digital audio in and out!

Here is the finished result. After this I started installing. Unfortunately it didn't work out as easy as I had hoped. The Windows 8.1 installation went like a breeze. Also the RME card drivers installed easily, but when I wanted to install the UAD-2 card every time Windows crashed with a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Not nice. First I replaced the power supply since the old one was only 430 Watt. The new one is 700 Watt, but this did help unfortunately. Then I moved the UAD-2 to another PCIe slot and that did the trick. Then it installed and also worked! After this I had trouble again with the RME card. I used the WDM and had digital artifacts on my audio signal. I switched to ASIO and then everything was fine. I don't really understand why, but to be honest I don't care :) ASIO works fine and I was using that on my old PC too. Now I have to install all my software and see if I can open my old projects that I'm still working on. But the first step is made in the studio upgrade.

07 June 2014

Two more Ultimaker 2 prints

 Here is one more print I did on the Ultimaker 2. Looks a bit like the Pixar lamp doesn't it :) I really love it. It was printed in separate parts that you could snap together. Well snap sounds easy but actually it took quite some force and even pliers to get it fitted in, but I think it looks great now. The whole thing is only 15 centimeters tall, so that should give you an idea of the detail. I had most trouble printing the foot. With the white material it just didn't look very good with infill on it. So eventually I decided to print everything without infill at all. So all parts are completely solid. The difference in quality compared to the K8200 is amazing I think.

Here is another print I did. For you who don't recognize it, it is a robot for the famous Terminator movies. I was printed with support that I had to break up and I didn't really clean it yet. Unfortunately it was not completely successful. The part of the head you don't see isn't there ;) After 50 hours of printing the whole thing fell over and I had to cancel the print. I still don't know what happened. I will have another go at it for sure. In the mean time I learned a lot again about working with the Ultimater 2, so I'm sure at some point I will have a full one, but I already love the detail on it.

03 June 2014

My second generation 3D Printer the Ultimaker 2

After building the K8200 I was very enthusiastic about 3D printing and I already printed lots of stuff for other people as well. For printing real 3D objects I found the resolution of the K8200 too low though. It can print with an accuracy up to 100 micron (0,1 mm). In it self that is not bad, but then I came across the new Ultimaker 2. It actually can print up to 25 micro (0,025 mm). I can tell you that is a lot of difference. Also it is pretty quick.The downside is though that I have to learn printing all over again. Different speeds, different temperatures and different materials and of course different software. I spend the last months getting to know this printer and finally I'm getting some results.

Here is a picture of the first serious thing I printed. A fully working wrench :) It is printed with some support material that you have to break away. In this picture that is already done. But as you can see the result is pretty spectacular. I still have lots of problems with the printer. Some prints came loose from the heated bed and fell over. I don't know why. Some print I have trouble with warping/curling of the material. I just got new software again where I can adjust temperature per layer. Unfortunately 3D printing is still not as easy as people that sell these printers want you to believe, even with this second generation printer. But eventually I will get there. Getting to know the K8200 cost me a couple of months as well.

02 June 2014

Kurzweil KSP8 Battery Replacement

After I replaced the battery yesterday in the Sony DSP V77 I realized I had some more equipment that actually did complain about battery replacement. One of them is this Kurzweil KSP-8 also a very nice effects machine famous for its LaserVerb preset. This thing is actually a surround machine but you can also use it as 4 x stereo :) Quite powerful. It was still working fine, but I though let's replace this one BEFORE problems arise. So I opened it up.

Then I stared at the PCBs for a while and was getting crazy because I couldn't find any battery. I did look up what kind of battery it was and it was the same CR2032 that I had in stock so it should be spottable. Well I'm not sure if you are familiar with the abbreviation RTFM, but this was a clear case ;) There is a hatch on the bottom site of the machine where you can easily reach the battery without taking the whole machine apart. Duhhhhh :) Ah well good news is it stopped complaining now and I hope it will for a while. Again I hope this tip will help someone else :) Back to relocating and rewiring equipment.

01 June 2014

Sony DPS V77 Battery Replacement

The last time I wanted to use my Sony DPS V77 it didn't work any more. I though it was broken and that made my quite sad since it is a very nice vintage digital effects processor. I was already looking for a new on on E-bay and saw that prices have risen on these machines. So I thought maybe I can repair it. Then I switched it on and off a couple of times and noticed that sometimes it actually did start up, but the display was looking funny. So first I thought it was some kind of memory problem.

Today I had to take it out of the rack anyway, since I started renovating the studio today, so I downloaded the service manual and thought I could maybe find the problem. And one of the options it gave is look at the battery Voltage. So that was the first thing I did and guess what? It was way too low. So if you have one of these and it is acting funny. Check that first! It doesn't give you any warning or anything.

Replacing is it quite simple. The battery is a standard CR2032 and I even had a couple in stock. It is fitted in a nice fixture so you don't even have to do any soldering. After replacing it I measured again and now it was fine. I powered the machine up and directly it gave a correct init procedure again. I changed the preset, switched it off and on again and it came back with the same preset. Problem solved :)

If you ever come across one of these machines on E-bay or whatever do give it a serious consideration. They sound really good for the money. Lots of producers use them as a secret weapon. If you want to hook it up digitally you do need a special break out cable, but you can still buy those on E-bay too once in a while. OK now I'm going to put it back in it's new spot. I'll show you where soon.

Lexicon 480L Reverb

One of my all time favorite reverbs is the Lexicon 480L. I have looked for one in a good shape including the LARC remote controller for a long time and finally I found one on E-bay from the Netherlands. I didn't like it to be shipped so I picked it up personally. I need to find a nice spot for it now. I'm currently working on a small studio rebuild that I will tell you all about on this blog. There is one more reverb I'm looking for and that is the even more classic Lexicon 224. They are even harder to find though. As you can see it even came with 2 expansion cards and a digital break out box. I'm going to find out now how the digital interface works, since that would suit my setup better than the analog I/O interfacing.