30 April 2010

Another MOTM-900 Power Supply

This morning I build another MOTM-900 Power Supply. Since my modular setup is quite big already I couldn't power everything with the two Power Supplies I already had in place. These MOTM-900 are not very difficult to build since the power unit comes pre-assembled and you only need to fasten everything together and wire it. It does require soldering of the wiring to the transformer and the power distribution board, but I think it is suitable for a beginning DIY enthousiast. This power supply delivers +15 and -15 Volts on standard MOTM connectors.

After I tested it I screwed it in the modular desk extension cabinet on the left of my main desk. There are two MOTM-900's now in there and one MOTM-950. That last on delivers +15, -15 but also 5 Volts for the Synthesizers.com modules I have. But also this one isn't heavy enough. To solve that I have another power supply in the back of this cabinet that can do much more power, but I need to make some kind of front panel for it. Next job is to put all the power distribution boards in place and wire them. And then I can start hooking up some modules :)

29 April 2010

Just finished a track called 'Mercury'

I just finished a new track called 'Mercury'. It is called after the NASA Mercury Project that was started in 1959. It was the start of the manned space missions for NASA. In 1961 Alan Shepard was put in suborbital flight in the Mercury-Redstone 3 and In 1962 the Mercury-Atlas 6 put John Glenn in orbit around the Earth. Of course NASA was beaten on both occasions by the Russians back then. This Mercury project was followed by the Gemini project in 1964 that was in its turn followed by the Apollo project that set the first man on the moon. And that is the theme for my next studio album planned for October 2010.

So this track will be a teaser leading up to this album later. I sent this track in to the German music club Schallwende. They release an album every year for their members called 'Schallplatte'. A track of me has been on the last two editions. There is a jury this time that selects the tracks for this album and they have to be kept secret until then. So I'm sorry that you cannot listen to this track yet. Schallplatte XII is released in August so you will have to wait until then I'm afraid. Let's just hope Schallwende will select it. This CD is by the way only distributed to the members, so if you want to have it go to the website http://www.schallwen.de and become a member :) I will put the track on my website as well by then as I did with the previous two, but the CD will be much nicer of course.

If you want to read more about the Mercury Project by the way you can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Mercury

And you can listen to last years track here: http://www.synth.nl/SchallplatteXI

Last MOTM Power Parts Arrived

Last week I received the last parts I need to make the power bus in my modular desk. I'll be building one more MOTM-900 power supply. In the picture you can see the parts on the left for that power supply. The parts on the right are some more power distribution boards. And in the middle on the bottom is something called a hardware kit that I forgot to offer for the MOTM VCO's I'm building. It is just nuts and screws, but they are needed to fasten the PCB's to the front panels. So hopefully I can show you some new stuff from the modular corner soon :)

28 April 2010

Studio Leak Story Continues :(

After the last repair we really though the leak was fixed. We had several days of rain on a row and no water at all. But then after the third day of rain when I went down in the studio to check there was about a centimeter of water in one of the buckets :( It is not much, but we could easily conclude from that, that the problem still wasn't fixed. So I called my constructor again :( But we also agreed to call in a someone else with a fresh look on things. Last week they opened the alleged problem area again and looked at it together. They both agreed on a solution that was implemented last week.

And here is the result. It looks similar, but they actually burned a much larger piece of material on there now. I really hope this does the trick, because other wise I don't know where to look any more. And we did see result from the last repair, because much less water came out so it must be the right spot I guess. Well we can only hope for the best. For now it is nice weather here so no worries now, but they are expecting rain again next week so we will see then. Fingers crossed :) It is getting really annoying by now. Still no damage until today but inconvenience for sure.

Synth Rack Re-arranged

Yesterday I rearranged this rack with synthesizers. I moved two new machines in. An Emu Vintage Keys and the Yamaha FS1R that you see here in front of the rack. They are all connected with midi to a Roland A880 Midi patch bay. I don't use these synthesizers that much, so I don't have dedicated midi ports for them. The A880 is connected to one of my Motu 8x8's. Further in the rack you see the Waldorf Microwave 1 that I upgraded last week, a Korg M1r, and two old Akai samplers. I played around a bit with the Yamaha FS1R. A very lovely machine I must say. The formant filters makes it very nice especially on pads and vocal like sounds. You can get very strange choir like sounds from it. And ofcourse it also handles all the good old DX7 patches. I just love those FM electric piano sounds through a good reverb. Well another thing of the to-do list :)

27 April 2010

Waldorf MicroWave 1 Rom Update

I have had a Waldorf MicroWave in my studio for a long time. It is a very nice digital wave table synthesizer with analog filters. It sounds really sweet, but my friend Hanz told me that it could sound even better. I still had the old OS Roms in there. So he pointed me to some Roms on E-bay that I could buy to upgrade it. Well actually I had these roms in my drawer for months already, but today I decided that it was time to finally install them into the MicroWave. So first thing was to get it out of the rack. Luckily the cables are long enough to even be able to test it this way.

And here are the new Roms. They are just normal Eproms so I guess when you have the software and an Eprom burner you could just burn them yourself, but I'm sure you can also find someone on E-bay that still sells them. As you can see mine came shipped in a nice antistatic box with some antistatic foam. There are two E-proms one is marked H for High and one is marked L for Low. I guess you can't go wrong there. So it was time to open up the Microwave. Opening it up is quite easy. You just have to remove 5 screws and you can lift of the top cover.

The Roms are in the upper left corner. I removed them using a small flat screw driver and my Roms were also marked H and L so that didn't require any puzzling. You just have to watch the oriention of the Roms. When I picked it up by the way I heard something moving inside the MicroWave and when I held it up side down a screw fell out :( I guess I was lucky that this screw never caused any short circuit. Well after screwing the lid back on I powered it up and it said version 2.0 so that looked good :) And then I put it back in the rack and played a bit on it. I think I will have to look up some new presets for it, but I'll ask my friend Hanz about that. Well another thing to scratch of my to-do list :)

Moog Source Arrived

A while ago I bought a nice Moog Source from E-bay. This machine has always fascinated me by the way it looks, but for such a small machine it has a great sound. Especially the lead sounds coming from it are very nice. The Source is an analog synth with two Voltage Controlled Oscillators, but it has digital control. It even has presets :) It has no midi, but it uses CV and S-trig in stead of gate. I'm thinking about building an Encore Midi kit in it. It doesn't only add midi but also more storage for presets and lots of other stuff. If I'm going to do this I'll surely post about it. For now I'm going to have a nice jam on the Source, since my track is finished :) Time to relax a bit!

26 April 2010

Word Clock Problem Solved

The last week I was having an annoying problem in the studio. I use a lot of digital effects equipment and they all need to be synchronized. To do that you can use a Word Clock bus. One machine in the studio is a master clock generator and the other equipment slave their clock to that. You use a BNC coax cable to connect the equipment to this bus with T- or Y- connectors like the ones in the picture. On both ends this bus is terminated with a 75 ohm resistor. All nice when it works, but when there is a bad connection somewhere in this loop you get cracks and hickups. Usually when I had this I moved the cables a bit and it worked again for a while but today I decided to go and track this problem down. So armed with some new BNC cables and connectors I crawled behind my desk.

I found the problem quite quickly. In total I have 6 Word Clock busses originating from a Apogee Big Ben. The Big Ben has leds on the front that show the status of the loop. Since the led on loop 1 was going on and off each time I knew I which loop I had to check. It turned out to be the T-connectors I used on my RME interfaces caused the problem. Since they are just 1 unit high there is not much room on a T-connector for the cable. They are attached to the side. I replaced those T-connectors by Y-connectors that have the connections on the back. So here the cable goes straight out. The result is that there is no stress any more on those cables.

After this I didn't see the led blinking any more and I worked all day in the studio. So I guess the problem is fixed now. Quite a relief actually, since I am working on finishing a track for a sampler CD that has to be done next Friday. Well actually I had to be ready today even since it needs to be mastered before I can send it in and we will start working on that tomorrow. My work is done on the track now. Hopefully they will select it and if they do it will be released in August. I'll let you know as soon as I know myself. For now I'm going back on working on my new album for October.

12 April 2010

Synth.nl played on Elektroland #105

Bjorn Jeppesen from the Danish Radio Show Elektroland played a track from my previous 'AtmoSphere' album on his latest show. Elektroland is a very nice radio show that disappeared for a short time as a podcast, but it is back. And the good news is Bjorn now even talks English on the show in stead of Danish. Well the music he plays has always been good, but now you can also understand him :) There is more Synth.nl music on older shows as well and as far as I know they are still online. You can find the radio show here:


Bjorn is also a very good EM artist himself, so I recommend you to check out his music as well. You can find that here: http://www.nattefrost.dk or http://www.myspace.com/nattefrostmusic

11 April 2010

Sound Effects on System 100m

The coming week I need to finish a track that I'm making for a sampler CD. The track is ready in a rough version and the coming week I'll be adding some sound effects to the track. But before you can add sound effects to a track you need to make them right? :) So Today I decided to take the Roland System 100m from the top of my modular desk and temporary move it to my main desk on a keyboard stand. I made a lot of different sound effects for about an hour and after that selected the best ones. 75 were left after this. The most difficult job is always to think of names for them by the way for them. And I just started fitting them in the track. I hope that when this track is finished I'll have some more time to write on this blog by the way. I'm just a bit too busy at the moment for that. I'll try to keep you posted.