28 May 2009

Synth.nl meets Jean Michel Jarre

On Tuesday the 26th of May I had a memorable meeting with Jean Michel Jarre and his band members after his concert in the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. It was a very good concert in my opinion. One of the best I have seem from him. He played a lot of older material from Oxygene, Equinoxe etc. So great music, but the sound was very good too and I loved the laser show. Also it was obvious that he enjoyed himself. After the concert we went with a little group of people backstage and had to wait a while. We heard that he had a meeting with Armin van Buuren first who was sitting two rows behind me in the audience actually :)

When Jean Michel walked in his manager Fiona said right away that he had only 4 minutes, but luckily he stayed much longer than that. I think more like 30 minutes or so, though I didn't keep track of the time. I thanked him for the great concert and then I gave him my latest CD AtmoSphere as a present. He was very happy about this I could tell from his reaction and I asked him if he was actually going to listen to it and he promised me that he would do that for sure. So I really hope that he is going to keep this promise that fact alone would be a great honor for me.

Even nicer of course would be to hear back from him, but I don't expect much from that to be honest. But you never know :) When he does I'll surely let you know!! Here you see another picture of him holding my CD. Doesn't this look just great? :) Well after that we chatted about some other stuff, but I can't even remember what. I was in such a rush of adrenaline that I hope I didn't say anything stupid ;) Well it was a big honor for me to finally meet the man that put my to buying my first synthesizer and inspired me to start composing and producing my own music. It will be a long life memory for me for sure.

After that his band members walked in. Here you see a picture of me with Francis Rimbert. I met Francis before on E-live in Eindhoven when my first album was released there. Back then I did give him a copy as well. It was nice that he recognized me immediately and we had a nice chat. I gave him my AtmoSphere album as well and he asked if this was me new one. So he did remember the first one. I was happy to hear. I also heard that they had looked on my website at several occasions. Francis is really a very nice guy and has worked with Jean Michel Jarre for a long time.

Also Dominique Perrier was there. I never met him before. So I introduced myself by saying my name and pointing at the 'Synth.nl' on my T-shirt. His reaction was nice. He recognized it so he probably saw my website as well :) He is not a big talker but we did chat a bit. And I also gave him a CD. So I guess probably one of them will listen to it and hopefully tell the other ones to do the same :) Dominique Perrier has played with Jean Michel Jarre also from the beginning and is the guy that introduced him to the Eminent 310, a Dutch build organ that produces the famous phased string sound on the Oxygene album and is generally seen as the 'typical Jarre sound'.

Well here is another picture of me talking to Jean Michel Jarre to close this report. I had a really great time. And I would like to thank Remy Stroomer for organizing this meeting. Remy is a very good musician himself, but he also distributes the music from Francis Rimbert through his label AKH record. He got in touch with Jarre's Aero Management to set this up. I would also like to thank Michel Voorn from the Dutch Jarre Forum who also helped to organize this meeting. Thanks guys :) I have much more pictures and probably will get more since more people were there with camera's. So let me know if you would like to see the rest too. I hope you enjoyed it. I certainly did :)

27 May 2009

Roland VP-330

I recently found a very rare and special synthesizer on E-bay. It is a Roland VP-330. It is an extended version of the RS-505 Paraphonic String Synthesizer from Roland with a build in Vocoder. It was intensly used by Vangelis on his early records and is often called Vangelis his 'secret weapon'. Besides very nice string sounds it creates ver nice synthesized choir sounds. They sounds almost human though no sample is used. It is all done by filters combined with synthesized waveforms. It is a truly unique machine. Of course it also has an external input so you can use the vocoder in combination with your own voice or an other external sound source to create some very awesome sounds. It had one of the nicest vocoders I have heard.

There is also an internal effect called 'Ensemble' dat fattens up the sounds. It is a bit Dimension D like I guess, but it really does some magic on the sounds. What is also nice is that the keyboard is split in two sections and you can select independently a male of female like voice combined with the strings or not on each section. And there there is come ways to adjust the sound of the strings with more or less attack or release and a tone regulator that is sort of a filter though witout resonance. On the voice you can only regulate the attack. It is a truly awesom and classic synthesizer that will never leave my studio for sure. If you find one BUY IT. You won't regret it. There is a possibility to retrofit midi in it, so that is also what I'm planning to do in the near future. But for now, playing on it is a joy :)

24 May 2009

Visiting Jarre Concert in Amsterdam 26th of May

I'll be visiting the Jarre concert in Amsterdam on Tuesday the 26th of May. This concert is part of the new World Tour that Jean Michel Jarre is doing at the moment. If you happen to be there say hi :) You will recognize me by the Synth.nl T-shirt that I'm wearing. The planning is by the way that I will meet with Jean Michel Jarre after the concert for a little chat. I hope everything works out in this way. It would be great to meet him after all this years. I'm planning to give him my latest CD in the hope that he will listen to it some day. That would be a big thing for me so keep your fingers crossed for me.

22 May 2009

Apollo Studio Acoustics (Part 11)

The last weeks I have been studying the reports that Toine from Sound Scapes sent me. All in all very interesting stuff. In the picture on the left you can see a derived graphic that he made from the measurements taken in my studio. He entered this in his specialized acoustic room simulation software. The blue line represents the actual measurements and the green lines are the boundaries where the room response should be in between. You can clearly see the problem that is there in the lower frequencies. After this start scenario different acoustic materials with know results are placed in the room and the computer calculates the effect this has on the room respons. Toine made 3 scenario's for me to chose from. One with the use of only commercially available materials, one with only DIY material and one with the combination of the two.

Here you see a picture of a self build bass trap using lat absorbers that he proposed. The lats are supposed to be horizontal by the way in the final design. Toine send even building plans and everything for this thing. Very cool. The disadvantage is though that this thing takes up a lot of room that I rather not sacrifice and also that building it myself doesn't really attract me. For two reasons. I don't have much time and to be honest I'm not very good with wood. And when I let someone else build it, it will be more expensive than going for the commercially available products. So I decided to go for the easy way and buy the stuff he proposed. In this way I can get this up and running hopefully before I make the final mixes of my new album and hopefully have a good room response in the low frequencies by then.

Toine proposed to use Modex plates from a company called RPG. In the picture on the left you can see how this looks. These plates are mounted against the wall and are 1 meters wide and 1,5 meters high and only 11 centimeters thick. So they don't use that much space. For comparison the self build bass trap also was 1 meters wide but, 80 cm's thick and 2,40 meters high. The modex plates come in two types. Type 1 absorbs frequencies between 50-500 Hz and Type 2 absorbs frequencies between 35-100 Hz. Toine has calculated that I would need one type 1 and two type 2 plates for optimal results. It is really amazing how this stuff works. Very innovative. If you are interested you can read more about this stuff on this URL: http://www.rpginc.com/products/modexplate/index.htm

And the after placing the virtual models of these plates in the simulation software the computer calculated the result you can see in the graphic on the right. You can clearly see the change in the low end response. So basically this should to the trick in theory :) Well we will see the result in the end I guess. I really have good hope that this will make my studio a lot better acoustically and after this we will do another measurement to see what the actual result was and if more needs to be done. Of course I will keep you posted on the results and let you see what it looks like. The last question I asked now is if they can paint the panels black for me in stead of white :)

Kurzweil KSP8 Repaired

Last year I bought an Kurzweil Mangler FX processor and fell in love with one of the presets called 'Laserverb'. My friend Hans told me that I should look for a Kurzweil KSP8 then, because it has much more power and much more effects on board. I found a very nice set including an ADAT board installed and a remote controller and even an extra 8 channel AES board. When I hooked it up I couldn't get it running though. It worked on the Analog inputs and outputs and also the AES port worked, but I wanted to hook it up through ADAT to be able to use all 8 channels on it. It started already at the fact that it didn't want to sync its clock to the ADAT input. That gave me the impression the board was broken. Then I installed the AES board and everything worked fine. I decided to give to board a closer look and to my surprise I found a loose soldering just at the optical receiver for the ADAT input. I resoldered the whole connector put it back and it worked :) And boy is this thing nice!

Here you see a picture of the remote that came with it. A very convient way to control the unit. There are 8 rotary knobs on it to adjust the effect parameters and also a joystick to do some nice modulation stuff on some of the presets. I played around with some of the presets today and the KSP8 sounds awesome I can tell you. Especially the freaky stuff you can get from it is amazing. And having 8 channels is great. You use them as 8 x mono, 4 x stereo of even 5.1 surround. There are even surround presets in there. The KSP8 is being dumped for low prices everywhere on E-bay (even new). I can recommend it to you if you like good sounds effects. Only the ADAT and 8 channel AES boards are harder to come by. But if it is out of your budget look for the cheaper Mangler or Rumour from Kurzweil. My Mangler is going for sale soon by the way because the KSP8 out powers it by far.

21 May 2009

Synth.nl on Australian Spectrum FM Radio

My music was played several times the last weeks on Australian Spectrum FM Radio. I think it is so cool to hear that my music gets played all over the World. I didn't get to hear the shows unfortunately myself. Sometimes I get a heads up notice, but not this time. I got the play lists from my record label Groove Unlimited. Well I sent them an E-mail and hopefully they will inform me next time. If you want to read more about this radio station you can go see their website at this URL: http://www.spectrumfmradio.org/


Unfortunately recently one of my RME Audio HDSP MADI interfaces broke down. It was send for repair and after a few weeks I got it back. It was repaired just within the guarantee terms. It worked for two weeks after I got it back and then broke down again :( I talked to RME about this on the Musik Messe and they asked me to send it again. I explained that it was very inconvient for me since I'm in the middle of recording my new album. RME Audio was so kind though to supply me with a loan card in the mean time. Now that is what I call service :) I thought it was such a nice gesture that I wanted to tell you about it. I just hope now that when I get me own card back it will work a bit longer now. But thank you very much RME Audio :)

Waldorf Blofeld upgraded with Keys

About a year ago I bought this little synthesizer. It was the new Waldorf Blofeld. It holds about all the technology that Waldorf developed so far in the Q series (virtual analog) and the Wave. And even though I have a MicroQ and a MicroWave this is so much more easier to edit because of the display and of course it is also nice to combine these techniques. And there is more as well. Waldorf put some very nice stuff in this very small box. And even though it looks good and it is metal in stead of plastic and very decently build I somehow couldn't take it very serious as a synth and didn't use it much so far in my productions. Waldorf came up with a nice solution for that.

This solutions comes in the form of the Waldorf Blofeld keys. So I traded in my module for this keys version recently. You can see it just below the three Clavia's in the picture on the right. It is still nice looking and actually all the controls are the same and the layout is the same, but it has keys now and a pitch wheel and modulation wheel and somehow I like it WAY more now :) I know it sounds stupid but for me it is a way more mature synthesizer now. The keys does have something elke extra by the way. It has extra internal memory that you can use some sample bases sounds. So in this way it actually is more then the module. I played around with it last week and I like it a lot actually. It is great especially for pad sounds. So I'm sure you will hear it around on my future songs somewhere :)

14 May 2009

Synth.nl on Facebook

Facebook seems to get more and more popular. So I have a profile there now as well. This is my personal page where you can add me as a friend:


And here is my music page where you can become a fan if you like.


I just don't understand why they don't make these URL's easier. Well maybe see you there soon. I still need to upload some music on there, but I do update my status there more regurlary. Less spam on it, it seems so far.

Review on Side-Line

On the website Side-Line a nice review was posted on me and my music. You can find it here:


Please enjoy reading it. I will place a copy on my website where you can also read more reviews:


Roland SH-2000

I found this very nice and old Roland synthesizer on E-bay. It is a SH-2000 and it is actually the second synthesizer Roland produced right after the SH-1000. Both where released in 1973. So it is pretty old. It only has a few presets that are on the switches on the front, but you can tweak them as you please. But the greatest thing about it is the after touch. It has a really nice feel to it. I was playing on it for quite some time when I tried it out. It lacks midi unfortunately. That did not even exist in that time, but maybe there is a retro fit possibility. The sound coming from it is very warm. I loved it. If you come across one I can recommend it and they are not expensive at all. I uploaded a little sample to hear how it sounds like here:


It was just a quick recording playing it through a Roland RE-201 Space Echo and a Quantec Yardstick reverb unit. The low note is a Yamaha SY-99 and the lead sound is the SH-2000.

07 May 2009

Elka EK-22

I haven't written much here the last week, because I was very busy with a track. But I'll try to update you on some new things. Like that I came across this rare polyphonic Analog Synthesizer. It is an Italian produced Elka EK-22 and it was sold from 1986. It has 6 voices with 2 DCO's per voice.

I haven't really tried it out yet, but when I came home I was looking for a picture of it on the Internet and didn't really find a good one, so I took some pictures myself right away and decided to put them online. I'll try to find a nice spot for it and maybe I' write about it a bit more later.

You can click the pictures for a larger version.