The synths just keep on coming

Well, I thought the JD-XA would be the last synth I ever needed but I just could not resist the Roland System-8 to go with it. Huge sounds from the internal sound engline plus the Jupiter 8 and Juno 106 modelled plugouts make this one incredible piece of kit. The gear mountain is getting rearranged when the keyboard stand extension arrives but for the moment there's gear spread right across the lounge. And it sounds incredible. Demos to follow soon!

Routemaster Number five

Having made a complete fuckup of two previous boards by putting the voltage regulators in the wrong way round, I've rattled through building this new version. One more board to build then the modular cases will finally be ready for me to transfer the synth modules into.

Waldorf Salad

An early birthday present has arrived in the shape of the rather fantastic Waldorf Streichfett string synthesiser. Perfect for those Jean Michel Jarre moments.

The Creamcaster

The latest (and probably last) guitar arrival is ... yet another Stratocaster. This is another partscaster, made from a Jeff Beck Strat body with a US Standard neck. Pickups are by The Creamery - a Baby 71 humbucker in the bridge and Alt 64s in the neck and middle positions.

The Baby 71 is the reason I wanted to build this guitar. It's a reproduction of the old Fender Wide Range Humbucker, a really great-sounding low output humbucker with extended highs. Works beautifully with single coil pickups, something like the Fender Shawbucker but with a chiming character all of its own.

This video was shot as soon as I'd thrown the guitar together so the intonation wasn't right and the strings were choking on a few of the bends but you get an idea of how good that bridge and middle sound is.

The Baby 71 and Alt 64s are available from Jaime at The Creamery and highly recommended.

Tempo sync madness

I still haven't finished putting the pedalboard together, I keep having ideas about an Arduino-based switch unit to select MIDI clock signals either from the Master Control unit or from external MIDI. I'm probably going to have to go ahead with it because the Eventides sound great on guitar but even better on the analogue synths.

The reverb ruins it though, I had way too much wet mix on that preset and Eventide's Blackhole isn't ideal on that setting. Maybe I'll do another pedals video with the Roland synths sometime. I'll add that to my ever-expanding to-do list.

Ich bin ein Berliner

I never quite understood the term "Berlin school" synthesis. And President Kennedy's famous declaration translates as "I am a doughnut". So maybe this is doughnut school improvisation. Anyway, it's the modular synth doing its thing while I remain only nominally in control of the sounds it produces.

Roland JD-XA CV sequencer

Turns out the JD-XA's sequencer has two channels of external CV and gate for modular fun and games. Unfortunately there's no clock output or modulation CV output but you can still have bags of fun sequencing the excellent Frequency Central System X modules from the keyboard. So here's a quick and dirty one-bar sequence as an experiment.

New synth - the Roland JD-XA is here!

A lovely new synthesiser has arrived in my studio, the breathtakingly brilliant Roland JD-XA digital/analogue crossover synth.

Very impressed with this synth. The analogue voices combined with Roland's Supernatural digital engine and the comprehensive effects section make for some stunningly beautiful sounds. Most of the common functions are right there on knobs and sliders on the front panel but if you want to dig deeper, the level of editing control is very impressive. Since it arrived I've spent most of the time working with the arpeggiator and sequencer (which also have two channels of CV and gate out to drive the modular). Works brilliantly alongside my other workhorse polysynth, the Dave Smith Prophet 08. Here's a quick run with both - the JD-XA is providing the warbling filter effects.