Analog monosynths have become quite popular in recent years. These small synthesizers come from long established manufacturers such as Moog and Dave Smith, as well as newer companies with modern designs. One of the more prolific of this new breed of analog manufacturers is the German company Doepfer. Though mostly known for their rack modules, Doepfer have joined the monosynth fray with their Dark Energy synthesizer. At $625, the Dark Energy is a modern monosynth that packs a surprising amount of punch and flexibility for it’s small size.
With analog synthesizers getting most of the attention these days, it’s easy to forget about the digital side of the equation. Developments in digital technology have been the main driving force in synthesizer evolution over the past few decades. Digital’s success results from a versatility and flexibility far exceeding the limits of analog technology. Some digital methods, like sample playback and virtual analog, have become so popular that they now part of the status quo.
These days there are many ways to connect your music to fans. Though many of these options are useful, the personal website is still the way to go for the ultimate in power and flexibility. This article takes a look at a music website project from start to finish. Along the way it discusses both technical issues as well as valuable insights on music distribution that a website project like this reveals.
The Advantages of a Website
A website offers several advantages over other options like social media services. Most of the strengths of a website revolve around the it’s potential for complete customization. With this customization, a designer can turn a website into a unique presentation which can in turn more deeply express the message of the content it presents. A website also frees you from the unexpected and frustrating design changes that social media companies are known to implement. Finally, unlike trendy social media, a website can adapt to the times and, if properly maintained, will never go obsolete. With your own website, you are a property owner on the digital frontier. With a little bit of effort, the value of your virtual property has nowhere to go but up.
The Daily Adventures of Mixerman
The Daily Adventures of Mixerman chronicles the making of an album from the perspective of the recording engineer. This book is insightful, entertaining, and one-of-a-kind.
The Manual: How to Have a Number 1 the Easy Way
by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty
The title of this book explains it all. Written by members of the band KLF who actually had a number one hit. The only music book out there that gives a guarantee of success if followed.
It’s not hard to find a basic audio interface that will get the job done. Some will even sound pretty good and maybe have a few cool features. But when you need something more, like an ADAT connection or rock solid drivers, a low-end interface won’t cut it. When you’re looking for pure performance, a higher-end interface from RME, Lynx, or Apogee is the way to go. For a cost of between $600 and $1000, you will get a card with more expensive analog and digital components from a company with more advanced research and development than mass-market brands have. In other words, these cards will perform better, sound better, and last longer.
Though there are far less choices in this range, the choices available are very competitive with differences between them being very subtle. The good news is that whatever choice you do make, you will be getting a high quality product that will be hard to fault. Following are comparisons between the two top pci cards and the two top portable USB audio interfaces.
Good audio cables don’t have to be expensive audio cables. With just a few tools, some parts, and a little bit of work, you can build your own cables that have the same performance as top-end ones. Creating your own cables is relatively simple, particularily if you already know how to solder. Soldering master or not, it helps to know about the parts and process before you begin. So let’s start with the parts.
Connectors and Cables:
The three most common connectors you will come across are XLR (usually found on a microphone cable) and 1/4″ (usually used for instruments). XLR is balanced and the connectors will be either male or female with 3 pins. 1/4″ on the otherhand comes in two styles: balanced TRS (tip, ring, sleeve) and unbalanced TS (tip, sleeve). Balanced just means that there’s two wires to carry sound versus unbalanced which has just one wire. Balanced cables also provide a stronger signal with less noise. Check out Redco Audio to learn more about connectors. They are a good place to get all of the parts for your own cables too. As far as connector brands go, Neutrik is well respected.
The synthesizer as we know it today owes a lot to the analog pioneers of the past. Early designs from Tom Oberheim, Dave Smith, and the late Bob Moog not only laid the groundwork for the modern synthesizer, but also for an industry that would boom in the decades to follow. But like many tech companies of yesteryear, there was a point where these three synth manufacturers seemed as though they would be gone forever. Fortunately for us, they were just down and not out. Fast forward to 2012 and Moog, Oberheim, and Dave Smith are back doing what they do best, making killer analog synthesizers. Deciding which one of their synths to buy can be a tough choice though. So let the shootout begin.
Below is a list of features that each synth must have to compete in the shootout. In general, the synth must be analog, sell for under $1000, and be designed and built in the USA.
There’s certainly no shortage of USB audio interfaces on the market today. Though most will get the job done, some will do it better than others. The Roland Quad-Capture is one such interface. At $270, it’s a bit more expensive than it’s competitors, but for the cost you will get higher-end preamps and a feature set that outshines the rest. For the home studio musician, the Roland Quad may very well be the top choice, particularly if DAW performance and recording quality are high priorities.
Old analog synthesizers are famous, rare, and highly sought after. But when it comes to Analog gear, going vintage isn’t the only option. There’s a whole world of small companies out there producing modern analog synthesizers that sound just as good and just as analog. Below are five synthesizers that caught my attention for on reason or another. All of them as a group seem to be a good cross-section of what is out there for new and modern sounding analog synthesizers.
by Mark Vail
Vintage Synthesizers is the definitive synthesizer knowledge book. It lays out nearly every aspect of the history and design of synthesizers in a well organized, easy to follow format.
Sound Synthesis and Sampling
by Martin Russ
Sound Synthesis and Sampling is a comprehensive guide to the various forms of sound synthesis. It provides a solid foundation in all principles related to sound design and synthesizer programming.