Last year, I updated this website and started adding some interesting information regarding Electronic Music production and gear, as well as some demos and reviews of my own gear (specially guitar pedals on synths). I also published some of my musical compositions, which is something I love to do, but it is still just a hobby.
This year will be the year for the more serious matters. I intend to start filling out the items for the Computational Chemistry and Linux & Programming sections. Indeed, I already started it by publishing the collected abstracts of my published works, with some personal notes on the side. Hopefully, this week I’ll publish some of my annotated example calculations, as well as the first few pages of my Python for Chemists notes.
About a year ago, I managed to score a lot of pedals by not a lot a money. Most of them have had a comfortable life, in their boxes, in a shelf at home. Still, I remember I brought them, and decide to take one out of the box to test and see what they have to offer. Now, as many of you know, I have a thing for phasers (specially the Behringer VP-1), so it made perfect sense to add this pedal to my collection. The Behringer SP400 is a digital, monophonic phaser pedal made back in the day Behringer wasn’t too busy releasing spoof’s of possible future products. It might not sound as vintage and warm has the VP-1, but it has some interesting features I wanted to convey in the video demo bellow.
The build quality of the SP400 is similar to all other Behringer pedals of the 400 series: it has a blue plastic chassis with relatively firm knobs and the overall feel brings it closer to the 600 series than to the rather flimsy and fragile 200 and 300 series. Continue reading “Behringer SP400 Super Phase Shifter”
A few weeks ago I managed to score a rarity on e-bay: an almost new Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine. This is an old Behringer pedal (perhaps one of their earliest models) that is no longer in production, and hasn’t been for a long time. It is not an expensive pedal (usually it goes for less than 100€ on e-bay), but it is hard to come by. It is an analogue delay effects pedal, with some interesting features.
The first word that comes to mind when I think of this pedal is “Huge”. This pedal, like the VT999, is bigger than my volcas. It is also considerably heavy and can only be powered from a 9V power supply (center pin negative, like most pedals). In fact, the similarities with the VT999 Vintage Tube Monster are so many, I think the level knob on the VM1 is there only to accommodate the number of knob holes on the casing for the VT999. They were also made at about the same time and are fully analogue effects pedals. Both have a power switch on the back, but the effect is only engaged when you press the stomp switch on the front.
Taking a tour of the controls on the VM1, you’ll find the stomp switch and five knobs on the front panel: LEVEL, MIX, FEEDBACK, DELAY and CHORUS/VIBRATO. On the back panel, you have the power socket, an ON/OFF switch, one INPUT socket (6.5mm unbalanced TS mono), an EFFECT OUT socket and also a DIRECT OUT socket that send the unaffected dry signal. You also have a switch to select between CHORUS and VIBRATO as the modulation for the delay effect. This latter feature is a great addition I do not see very often on delay pedals at this price point, and greatly enhances the expressiveness of anything going through this pedal. There are also two LED indicators for POWER and for OVERLOAD. Continue reading “Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine”
It’s been a while since my Last Berlin School Experiment. The recording of Ambient Explorations 11 gave me some new ideas I want to explore deeper. This is one of those.
This Experiment was done in one take in which three tracks were recorded: the Monotribe, the Volca Sample being sequenced by the SQ-1, and a stereo track for the Streichfett. There were some awkward silences in the the last two tracks, so I copied them and delayed in time (by about one minute). Two volca tracks were then panned left and right and a Calf Pulsator was used as an auto-pan for enhancing the stereo field. As for the secondary Streichfett track, It is only heard on some points, with a strong delay… almost as a distant memory.
The Streichfett and the Monotribe (which has a MIDI mod) are controlled from my PCR-500 in split mode, and a sustain pedal is used on the Streichfett. The Korg SQ-1 is sequencing the Volca Keys and the synchronization between the SQ-1 and the LFO on the Monotribe was dialed in by ear (thus them going in and out of sync while the music progresses).
As always, the audio was recorded and mixed on Ardour, and the final video was assembled using kdenlive, on an Arch Linux box.
Some time ago I got a deal on a pack of 10 behringer pedals on sale. Most of the pack was made by chorus pedals, such as the UC200, but there were also some other effects, such as this TP300 Ultra Tremolo/Pan, which I demo in the video bellow.
As you probably already know, Tremolo is an amplitude effect, in which the volume of the instrument varies in time in a periodic fashion. This can be easily achieved on most synths by modulation the output amplifier with a LFO. But the Volca Keys doesn’t have this routing available, or you may have already used all your LFO resources on other modulation. This is where a Tremolo Effect (either in hardware or software) can be useful when playing a synth. Similarly, the auto PAN feature of this pedal can also be done by routing an LFO to the PAN of the amplifier… provided your synth as a stereo output, and that routing is available.
I like the Behringer VP-1 so much, I have two of them!. They are from different batches, thus the different painting on the front panel, but the sound the same (and great) to me. Sometimes I use them in a stereo configuration, with one channel handling the Left channel and the other one dealing with the Right one. The out-of-phase and de-synchronization between the two pedals adds new sonic texture to the sounds, and makes the MicroKorg sound amazing.
One word of caution, though. These pedals do not handle the hot Line signal as well as the newer pedals from Behringer (indeed they are not rated for keyboard use), so they sometimes distort the sound a little bit. However, this adds an analogue warmth to the sound, as long as you keep this distortion in check.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.