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.
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.
I discovered this late last night, a very highly configurable MIDI routing engine that lets you filter and route between any number of hardware synths and controllers.
I installed the trial version, used it for about five minutes then pulled out my credit card and bought the full version. Now I can launch into my keyboard rig without waiting for Cubase to start up, creating a new project, setting the tempo, creating all the tracks, I just hit my controller keyboard and everything works. Note on/off, controller data from a Novation master keyboard plus clock from the JD-XA gets routed to all my synths and effects and it took me about ten minutes to learn. Highly recommended - I'm not ion any way associated with the company, just really pleased to have found a great product.
I should add that there's a less feature-laden version which appears to be effectively free to non-commercial users, the author only requests you send him a postcard ...
If you use hardware synths and want to do some poking under the hood with MIDI data then it's the best I've found. And I've done a lot of searching for something like this.
Currently on the production line is another kit from Rick Holt at Frequency Central. This one is the fabulous Meth Amp, effectively a clone of the EHX Big Muff in Eurorack format for those insanely distorted TB-303 squelches. Should be ready within a week if the Alpha pots arrive soon.
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!
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.
An early birthday present has arrived in the shape of the rather fantastic Waldorf Streichfett string synthesiser. Perfect for those Jean Michel Jarre moments.
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.
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.
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.