Thursday, 22 May 2008

Mattel Synsonic Drum Machine / Pads

Mattel Synsonic

When I first got the Mattel Synsonic, I went mental.

Finally, I could act-out all my Kraftwerk fantasies and pretend I was Wolfgang or Karl, tippy-tapping away on my ubercool drum synth pads.

There was a kick, snare and two tom pads. They weren't up to Simmons drum standards but for what was essentially a novelty toy, they were pretty damn good. I used to whack the crap out of mine, so much so that the little piezoelectric transducers under the rubbery pads would occasionally fall off.

What's more, these weren't just whackalong pads - the Synsonic was also a drum machine. Yeah, programming was a bit hit and miss, there was no quantising of events unless you used the repeat buttons but it was awesome.

In some ways, it was more advanced than the beatboxes of today. My fave feature was the choke button that turned the open hi-hat sound into a closed. It wasn't a simple switch, like you would have on a sample-based machine, this was a gradual closing. Sounded lovely!

Mattel Synsonic Modded

Eventually, I even modded my baby as you can see above, adding trigger ins and outs. This meant I could play my JX-3P and Rogue from the pads. Or play the pad sounds from my synths!

Can you imagine how many hours I spent, triggering great bursts of white and pink noise?

Ahhh... now that's what I call fun! :-)

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Alesis A6 Andromeda Sounds

A6 Andromeda

I only bought my Andromeda recently but I love it!

It's certainly one of the most powerful polysynths I've ever played or programmed. The sound is immense, I really haven't got to grips with all the modulation possibilities.

I've started to create my own patches so I thought it might be fun to post a few of them up on here, with little audio demos. Here we go:

Mod Cheez
This is a slightly cheesy sound, a bit organy which breaks up in a rather nice way when you tweak the mod wheel. I was going to assign the breakup to the ribbon but I kept that for the filter and used the mod wheel as it felt more natural and immediate.

MP3 here and the patch here.

Just a bread'n'butter big bass sound. Little bit of release to give it a bit of, um, follow through but quite good for staccato lines. There's a touch of portamento to give the sound some movement and it could also be a lead bippy noise, as you hear near the end of the mp3.

MP3 here and the patch here.

I was trying to get a moany, groany synthtom sound here, halfway between the tom on Depeche Mode's 'Leave In Silence' and the Dr. Who scream. Note the lovely, deep bass frequencies as the sound grinds down the octaves.

MP3 here and the patch here.

My playing is a wee bit dodgy but hopefully you'll hear some of the loveliness the Andromeda is capable of. :-D