M-Audio MIDISport not working? Here's the fix ...

I've had endless problems trying to get an M-Audio MIDISport 4x4 interface working under Windows. Half a day of googling, driver updates, registry edits, reboots and nothing was working but there was a clue in a post from (of all people) Microsoft tech support. Apparently some MIDI interfaces don't like the identifier requests sent out by USB 3.0 hubs. The solution? Use a USB 2.0 hub. Simple as that. Works first time. Posting this so the internet can share in the secret.

Oh no, it's the eighties again

During the recent studio reorganisation I was left temporarily unable to run all the analogue synths from my Novation controller keyboard so I found myself investigating my long-neglected VST instruments, most notably the FM8 plugin from Native Instruments. Having used a DX9 (no, really) in the past I had a low opinion of FM synthesis in general but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the FM8. Big dramatic clangy FM sounds abound and the programmable arpeggiator is a thing of wonder. So here's a quick little four-chord thing I recorded using the FM8 arps and bass and some strings from Absynth 5.

I'll probably be thrown out of the analogue synth club for that. Never mind, studio shifting is almost finished and we'll be back to old school subtractive synthesis very soon.

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.

From the dawn of time

Only about half a dozen people will know where this riff comes from. Recycled from my old indie pop band of the 1990s, embellished now with analogue synths, baritone guitars and drums that stay in time.

Oh yes, and a quote from Wagner's Gotterdammerung at the start because I'd been watching Excalibur that day.

U.F.O. detectors online

I have been known to occasionally provide guitar for my brother's outlandish space rock project, Brotherhood of the Machine. Strangely, I go far more crazy apeshit on other people's recordings than on my own.

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.