sorry, it’s hosed again

We upgraded to the latest version of WordPress (2.3.3) as of ten days ago, and it’s already polluted with some kind of virus that posts spam links in the message bodies. It also blocks comment posting and screws up various settings. As before, WordPress is unhelpful.

Please try to post something and let’s see if it works.

I sincerely hope this guy is serious

http://musicscienceguy.vox.com/library/post/making-and-selling-a-jammer-conversion-kit.html

Jammer keyboard DIY

Because I want one of his kits. Two, in fact.

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FuzzYu

FuzzYuThis FuzzYu thing I built this week.  Buy it for your Grandma, she would appreciate it. Listen to this sample here:  http://www.buzz-r-electronics.com/Electronic%20Instruments_files/FuzzYu1.mp3 and this one right about here: http://www.buzz-r-electronics.com/Electronic%20Instruments_files/FuzzYu2.mp3 and Buzz-R-Electronics is here. http://www.buzz-r-electronics.com/Main.html and everything else is over there, somewhere. 

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Alternate MIDI controllers that are reasonably priced…..

…are very difficult to find. The piano-keyboard paradigm has such a death grip on electronic synthesis, it’s embarrassing. This is electronics; the control system is arbitrary and can take any form. But you can’t buy “any form”.

I am always looking for an easier gadget to play riffs on. Having not been tortured with piano lessons in childhood, my preference is for something new. Sadly, a cursory examination tends to turn up very little…..that isn’t priced like a boutique product.

You’ve heard of the Haken Continuum. Interesting and clever, extremely well-built, Jordan Rudess has one and swears by it. Tempting to me; sadly, it starts at $3390…for the short version. Bills come first.

Haken Continuum fingerboard

The Jambass is still being made. Only $199, meant to stick to the back of a guitar or bass neck. It’s a membrane keyboard, so it gives weak tactile feedback and will probably wear out fairly quickly. Still, very very tempting. I wish the keys were closer together.

Jambass keyboard

If you’re not afraid of the 120-year-old Jankó “isomorphic” keyboard design, there are (quite) a few possibilities. Unfortunately they all seem to be costly, and not sold at retail dealers. (Yes, I know I could DIY one. When I have the time. Which is maybe never.)

(Please, no jokes about accordions. Why do accordionists have better ergonomic designs to use than synth players do? Sad.)

Article about Janko here.

Jankó keyboards are like the Dvorak typewriter keyboard layout. Superior, but ignored, because people are stupid and can’t be bothered to learn a new layout.

I’ve only seen two Jankó-like controllers on display at NAMM recently; the C-Thru, which I am reasonably sure is actually shipping–

c-thru.jpg

…and the Thumtronics Thummer. Great compact design and intriguing to me, but as far as I can tell, it is not shipping. No idea if it ever came out or not.

thumtronicsthummer.jpg

Blogs were buzzing about the Japanese-made Chromatone a few years ago. Unfortunately I can’t find any evidence that it was actually shipped. Never offered in the US anyway.

chromatone_312.jpg

There was the Terpstra. Also no idea if it was shipped.

Terpstra keyboard

And the extremely imposing Tonal Plexus. Perfect for microtonal scales. Also no idea if it was ever shipped to paying customers.

Tonal Plexus keyboard

Not Jankó-like, but seems to stay available, is Starr Labs’ Z-Board. Aimed mostly at guitarists. I have never, ever seen one in use by an actual musician. Only $2995. Starr used to make a Jankó controller called the Microzone, now called the “Wilson Microzone”–the small version is still listed on their site for $3825. The big version, with 810 keys, is $8800.

Starr Z-Board

I’ve read the Blüthner company will cheerfully build you a grand piano with a Jankó keyboard, for only 7000 euros….on top of the cost of the piano….

And the worst part of all this is: whenever a news site or blog runs a story about one of these alternative controllers, the naysayers crawl out of the slime and start whining “there’s no way I could ever learn to play that”, “it has too many buttons and it scares me”, “I invested in keyboard lessons and I’m not throwing away all that investment”, etc etc. The simple fact that the Jankó design was MEANT TO BE EASIER TO PLAY….they don’t care. Musicians are so conservative it’s disgusting.

I’ve got an M-Audio Trigger Finger. Programmable and well-built—If only the pads were smaller and easier to press, it would be great. Yamaha Tenori-On? Costly, and apparently not available yet. Monome? Needs a PC running MAX-MSP, USB interface only. I’d get a Serge TKB, except they are costly, have a long lead time, and don’t put out MIDI. Already have a Doepfer ribbon controller. Does Buchla still make the Thunder?

Suggestions are welcome.

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Immanentize the eschaton

We’ve been having difficulties, but now we are back up and running.

(Thanks Mike! It turns out that a lot of WordPress users have had the same problem–

spammers have cracked WP’s system and are using it to generate phony ad revenue.

Of course, WP management are denying it.)

Axe from Marz

axe

Kurzweil Expressionmate ribbon controller, Digitar, DJMC, day-glo legos.

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transistor fetish

klondyke transistor synth

no idea how it got the name klondyke – said i would post this when i finished it – months later… unijunction transistor based VCO scaled to keyboard (from dead juno106) – passive filtering either a warped sine wave or a weird pulse out via switch – output to passive ring modulator using old bat56 hot carrier shlongsky diodes – carrier signal is a multivibrator based around two transistors – switch to scale it to the same keys as first vco or free running – two knobs to tune the oscs – some switches – line out.piece of crapthat was the point – but i love it – www.notbreathing.com/klondykedemo.mp3 slowly crawling out of my sound diy mental block (analness and dayjob)

Tumor Refilled Halo and 1934 Clough Brengle Beat Frequency Oscillator

HellFire Modulator Clone and Tube OscillatorThis is a picture of my homebrew Metasonix TS-21 Hellfire Modulator clone.  “Tumor Refilled Halo” is an anagram of the original name.  It is next to a 1934 Clough Brengle Beat Frquency Oscillator which works like a theremin in that it outputs the difference between two high frequency oscillating tubes for a very sweet sine wave, and instead of an antenna it has a dial for changing capacitance and thus the pitch.  There is also a home brew signal generator that I got on eBay.  The Two oscillators come together in the Frostwave Blue Ringer and their ring-modded output goes to the TS-21 clone.  That signal then is fed to a drum box and gated.  There is a demo file at http://www.twango.com/media/Baghead.sounds/Baghead.10008  and the guts of the TS-21 are on display at http://www.flickr.com/photos/matrixsynth/sets/72157594354036818/