Arturia Microbrute Through Guitar Pedals

Not exactly a “Berlin School Experiment”, more of an improvised experimentation using the MicroBrute and five guitar pedals. There has been quite a few videos on this theme, so I decided to add my own personal twist to the experiment.

The music starts at about 01:00. For this video I decided to include the end of the preparatory stage where I program the sequence on the MB. This is an arpeggiation on the chords of a Portuguese (more precisely Azorian) folk song “Charamba”, but on a 5/4 time signature.

I also took advantage of the double (almost triple) output of the microbrute (Main mono and headphones) to make a more complex FX chain. The Main audio (Path A) goes directly into the Behringer EM600  and then goes though a passive mixer to serve as an attenuator. At the same time the headphones output (Path B) is split into two channels: one of them goes into the FM600 and they are re-joined using a passive mixer to give me a sort of Wet/Dry balance on the FM600. PathB then continues to the FX600  for some chorus. The two Paths (A and B) are joined at the inputs of the Nux Time Core  for some Ping-Pong delay and then carried the the RV600 for some Space Reverb.

The session was recorded live using audacity and the OpenCamera app. Calf Plugins (EQ, Compressor and Multiband Compressor) were used for mastering. The final video was assembled using KdenLive.

New Tutorial Series Released Today!

Just a quick update. I just uploaded the first episode of a 7 (or 8) episode tutorial series devoted to the Korg SQ-1. I’ve been having a few requests to do such a thing, and I finally managed to get the time and courage to do it. The tutorials will be added to this playlist on my YouTube Channel. I hope you enjoy this new series, find it inspiring and start applying the tips and tricks in it to make new music.

Please feel free to put you questions in the comments for the video. I’ll try to reply to them either via reply, or on a future episode, or even on a Q&A episode at the end of the series.

Berlin School Experiment 4

This video was recorded right after my latest Vlog episode. The Volca FM had just arrived at my place and I was doing some experimentation with it. The ChevyBass preset was used as a base for tweaking the carrier and modulation envelopes. I must say there is some similarities between FM and west coast synthesis: both focus on tailoring the harmonic content using complex oscillators, rather than filtering. I found some parallelism between Velocity in FM and the Dynamics of west coast synths. In this regard, having the Velocity decoupled from the Note In data is a blessing in disguise, as it allows new approaches to sound sculpting, that cannot be easily attained using a classical FM synth like the DX7.. or my little black box: the FB-01.

However, it is the effect chain that really delivers the Berlin Scholl vibe to this track: the output of the Volca FM is split tinto two: one path goes straight into the EM600 for some tape delay, while the other goes into the VP-1 Phaser and then into the NUX Time Core emulating an analogue delay. Both chains are glued using the RV600 reverb unit. As for the Streichfett, it is using only the internal Phaser and Reverb for ambience.
This track was recorded live, using ardour (which provided the click track) and the OpenCamera app (android). The audio was treated using Calf Plugins (EQ, Compression, Tape Emulator). The video was assembled using KdenLive.

Behringer DW400 Review

It has been a while since I make a review for an audio effect. This little yellow wah pedal was found at a second-hand store for about 20-25 euros. I’m not a fan of the Wah sound, but the Human Voice label was interesting enough to separate me from my cash. The video bellow shows how this pedal behaves when fed by the Volca Keys.

First, lets talk about build quality. As I mentioned in the Vlog, there is an evolution on the way Behringer produces stuff, with the older gear being more fragile and less well build. This pedal’s construction is a shy improvement over that of the UV300, but it is still far away from that of the RV600 and the other pedals I have from the 600 series. As usual, this pedal can run out of a 9V battery, of using a 9V center-negative pin power supply. There are 3 inputs to this pedal and only one mono output. The inputs on the right hand side are for plugging in a guitar or a bass guitar (depending on which socket is pluged, the parameters for the internal filter are adjusted). On the left side there is the mono audio output and also an input for a control or an expression pedal. Continue reading Behringer DW400 Review

New Digs

This is the first time I write here since early June. Thankfully, there is a good reason behind mu absence: in mid-June me and my girlfriend started living together. And because this is a new house, we were able to make some adjustments to my  setup.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference is that my main keyboard (a Edirol PCR-500) now sits on the lower shelf of a Ultimate AX-48 Pro. The MicroKorg and the MicoBrute alternate as tenants of the upper shelf. Perhaps in the future a third shelf will be added eihter for a laptop, or a Beatsetp Pro, or another keyboard synth ;)

The rest of the space is occupied by Ikea furniture, which provide placement for all the small stuff: Volcas, the QY-70, the SU-10, all the guitar pedals, two half-rack synth modules (a FB-01 and a gorgeous sounding JV-1010) and other little bits. But most important, some duets may be on the way ;)

Nux Time Core

Delays… this is one of the most useful audio effects you might have in your arsenal. You can use it to create rhythmic patterns, to create some hypnotic repetitions, or to give some ambience. Some delay units can even be used as a poor man’s reverb. I first brought the Nux Time Core with very low expectations: my precious experience with the NUX PG-2 was under par, and most comments about this pedal on amazon UK were mostly negative. But I went forward buying it and after a couple of months using it I don’t regret it at all.

The Nux Time Core is a relatively small orange delay pedal, with a number of algorithms emulating a number of typical delays (Tape, Digital, Analogue/BB, Ping Pong) and some less usual delays, such as Mod or Reverse. There is also a basic built in looper with overdub and capacity to record up to 6 minutes. Continue reading Nux Time Core