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Posted by on Mar 1, 2015 | 0 comments

Hard Patching: Modular Synths

Tim Prebble's modular

Tim Prebble’s modular

The first time I saw a modular synth, I was taken aback by the massive nest of patching cables, seemingly flying off in all directions and connecting various devices with countless knobs and flashing lights, somehow creating all kinds of strange sounds. Coming up in a mostly digital world, such a mass of wiring was somewhat foreign to me. Sure, I had put together studios before, but those kinds of wiring setups were far more linear, at least as far as I was concerned. While I had spent a lot of time with Propellerhead’s Reason, virtually patching together all kinds of sound modules, I couldn’t even begin to compare it to the sight of a rack of analog modular hardware. However, I finally got to sit behind a modular at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California last year, and after just a few moments of fiddling, I was hooked.

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 | 1 comment

“ADC, it’s easy as 1 10 11″ – A Retrospective from the Pros

Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

I was born in England in 1988. Some of my earliest memories involve old BBC and Mac computers. I grew up listening to CDs, MiniDisks, playing “Duck Hunt” on my sister’s NES. The dial-up modem sounds are imprinted on my memory. I recall my father ordering books from Amazon.com back when that’s all Amazon sold. In my teen years I assembled my own computer to save money and grew to appreciate the inner workings of a computer. What I’m trying to say is, I’m an early product of the digital age, it’s all I’ve known.

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Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 | 0 comments

Forget the 1s and 0s…

Photo by flickr user .tungl. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

Photo by flickr user .tungl. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.

We may be firmly in the digital age, but analog signals are always going to be a major part of our work. After all, unless you’re using a digital microphone using the AES42 spec, we’re at least going to be dealing with the signal path from the mic to preamp to AD…not to mention the reproduction path of DA to power amp to speaker. Analog will never truly go away, nor do people want it to. The resurgence of modular synthesis and the growth of vinyl sales are both evidence of that. We also still have techniques that we can apply to our digital workflow that were practically a necessity in the days of analog. [ed. …something I’ve posted about in the past.]

This month we’re turning our focus to analog to remind ourselves of how relevant the “older” technology still is, and the many ways people are still using it today.

As always, we encourage guest contributions here on Designing Sound. We’ve got something a little different planned for next month, which we’re keeping under wraps for now. April’s topic will be Comedy. If you have something you’d like to contribute to this month’s topic, April’s, or something off-topic…please don’t hesitate to reach out through our contact form or directly to shaun {at} this website.

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Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 | 10 comments

Analog Worldization

Guest contribution by Cormac Donnelly

I am, at heart, a techno-nostalgiast and I’ve worked with tape machines of one kind or other for most of my career. When I sold my 2” multi-track, in 2010, I resolved almost immediately to get myself another tape machine (albeit something a little smaller than the 250kg Otari I had just parted with). A few weeks later, I found myself owning two portable Nagras. I have since realised that the only reason any one person should own two Nagras is so they can indulge in a spot of worldizing.

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