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Posts from April 2011

Sonic Charge Micro Tonic Drum Machine Easter Eggs - No Really!


I was working on a new track and fired up Sonic Charge Micro Tonic 3 today and much to my surprise - easter eggs replaced the drum pad buttons - no really!

By the way this is simply an awesome virtual drum machine!!!


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer


How to Make Your Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer Go to 11!

As you walk through the factory patches, you might notice some patches are louder than others. Or perhaps you programmed your own patch and can’t quite get it to be loud enough to be in balance with other patches in your set. Here are a few quick tips to take a quieter patch and make it go to 11.

Make Sure the Amp Volume is set to 127

Hit the “Shift” button and navigate to the “Amplifier Page”. Verify that overall “Volume” is set to 127. Note the “Velocity” parameter is a global patch parameter that determines how much velocity effects volume. If you play with a light touch, you might want to take this parameter down some. If it is set to 0 velocity does not effect the volume.

Crank Up Your Oscillator Volumes

Make sure the oscillators that are active are high enough for your needs. Click the Oscillator button in the matrix to turn select the first menu for Oscillators, and crank the 4th knob over. Repeat for other oscillators.

This Parameter Goes to 11!

Now for the secret sauce. Let’s say you have a patch and all the levels are perfect and in balance, yet it’s still too quite relative to other patches in your set. You can get a volume boost quickly with on parameter set, Filter Drive.

The “Tube” drive curve with values down in the teens can add a volume boost without distortion. To make the patch rip the audience's face off, set the value to 127! Experiment with other drive curves.

More Blofeld Please
I hope you found these tips helpful. You can view other posts on the Blofeld category of Modulate This here.

I’m slowly working on some patches that I plan to make available as a library down the road. If you’d like to be notified opt-in to the Modulate This! mailing list and check the box for “Patches for Waldorf Blofeld”


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

Waldorf Music Announces Lector - A Software Vocoder


Waldorf Music continues their James Bond naming theme with the announcement of their new software vocoder Lector. Instead of a villain, Lector refers to the name of a Russian decoding machine referenced in From Russia with Love.

They describe Lector as follows:

Robot voices, whispering strings, talking drum loops, rhythmic pads, the resonant ringing of bells, dripping water - the possibilities are all but infinite. With a quick tweak here and there, the Lector turns any incoming signal into novel sounds and effects. Tremendously versatile, the Lector puts in your hands a sonic toolset for a wide range of diverse applications. Just about anything goes, from distorting the human voice to adding subtle harmonies to lead vocals and getting creative with movie soundtracks.

The analysis filter bank splits the incoming audio signal into as many as 100 frequency bands, the intensity of which modulates the volume levels of an equal number of band-pass filters in the synthesis filter bank. The integrated 16-voice synthesizer or an external source provides the input signal for the synthesis filter bank. This lets you do fun things like apply a melody line or chord sequence to articulate vocals or speech.”

Update: I found this this Sonic State videod via Synthtiopia and added it as it offers a nice demo of the Lector.

In the video Nick from Sonic State asks how much and when – answer – 6 weeks, $199 EU.

Lector Features:

  • 3 to 100 band Vocoder
  • Adjustable range of Analysis Filter Bank
  • Adjustable offsets and LFO modulation of Synthesis Filter Bank
  • 3-band Equalizer with variable mid band
  • Individual Compressors for Speech and Carrier signal
  • Voiced / Unvoiced Detector
  • Overdrive (types Tube, Diode, Clip)
  • Stereo Chorus / Flanger, 2 to 6 stages
  • Stereo Delay, syncronizable
  • Reverb
  • Sidechain input (VST 3 and Audio Unit)
  • Carrier plug-in (VST 2)

16-voice Synthesizer (per voice):

  • Polyphonic, Monophonic or Free-Running
  • 2 Oscillators, waveforms sine, triangle, sawtooth, pulse with pulse width modulation, sample&hold, noise, single and multi sample playback
  • FM
  • Ring Modulation
  • Portamento / Glissando
  • 1 Filter, types Lowpass, Bandpass, Highpass, Notch (12dB and 24dB), Whitening
  • 1 LFO, synchronizable, waveforms sine, triangle, sawtooth, square, sample&hold, noise
  • 2 AR envelopes

Lector will run on Windows or Mac. There is no buy button or pricing yet, but you can read more details here

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

DEVO's New "What We Do" Interactive Video


DEVO has a released a new interactive video for “What We Do”. There are some marketing lessonsto be learned by watching DEVO work social media.

Jump over to Mashable to check the video out.

Instructions from their web site:

“SPUDS: The wait is over! Here's DEVO's new "What We Do" video! View it repeatedly, explore by moving your viewpoint, and see something new each time.”

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder/Denver, CO

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Percussa Updates MIDIBridge for AudioCubes to R31

Percussa just posted an update to MIDIBridge (r31) to their website.

MIDIBridge is a FREE app from Percussa that allows you “to generate MIDI notes and control changes, which can be sent to any software or hardware supporting MIDI including external synths, effect boxes, etc.”

This is THE app that I use when I perform.

What’s New

  • There are now “Solo” buttons on "sensor" cube faces. Soloing allows you to “send the distance info as a MIDI control change only for the selected cube face. This is handy if you want to quickly MIDI-map a cube face to an effect parameter in Ableton Live for example.”
  • Fixes which improve cube "state" recognition after patch loads - again speeding up configuration work.
  • Cube color is now saved with the preset for relevant modes.

While these are not radical changes, these changes do significantly speed up workflow when it comes to patch changes and MIDI mapping.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO

XILS Lab PolyKBII: Overview, One Patch Performance, Video Review Roundup, and Player Edition


Update: Get 25% off XILS products till July 31 by using code "modulatetihs" during checkout. Note I don't benefit from sales.

I just started using the XILS Lab PolyKBII synthesizer. There have been some great reviews on this synth so rather than cover that ground again, I’m going to give you a brief overview of the synth with some first impressions, share a one patch performance video I just shot using only this synth, and I’ll include some video reviews from others.

Get 25% Off
Before I go any further I also wanted to let you know about a 25% off coupon XLS has extended to Modulate This! readers till July 31, 2011. Click here to learn more. This coupon also includes the XILS3 synthesizer.

XILS PolyKBII is a virtual analog modeled synthesizer that “captures the sound and spirit of the obscure RSF PolyKobol Analog synthesizer, including one of its most stunning features : A continuous morphing Oscillator, which can be fully modulated by many sources.”  This is also a great case for modeling as this synth is extremely rare. There were only 30 ever made as his synth came out as the same time as the Yamaha DX7 – and the rest is history.

So, when you play the PolyKBII your playing a piece of history. Here is a video of one of the remaining hardware models.

Watch embedded video

Features from XILS’s Web Site

  • Continuously Morphing Oscillator : Morphing is controlled by all modulation sources. Triangle to Saw to Double Saw to Square to Pulse for endless possibilities.
  • Self Oscillating capable filter, with pre-post drive module, direct Keyboard tracking and Envelope 2 knobs for immediate tweaking.
  • Full modulations tools for expressive instruments : Offering a standard hardwired Modulation Matrix , then another fully customizable Modulation Matrix wasn’t enough, the PolyKobol also provides an exclusive XY bidimentional pad to control all parameters.
  • The PolyMYX is controlled by the Polyphony, this means that each note you play or sequence in real time on the PolyKB can sound from slightly to vastly different.
  • The 8 part Polysequencer brings the concept of step sequencers one step beyond. You can record 8 parts in real real time, or in step mode.
  • Stereo Scene and Unison : The PolyKB's gorgeous analog character can be reinforced by different features, like the custom number of Unison voices, and our very special Drift knob (Which randomly adds a more or less drastic distinct character to each voice).

First Impressions
I’ve spent quite a few hours with PolyKBII over the last two weeks and I find that the quality of the oscillators and filters combined with the unique X/Y modulation interfaces inspired me to explore patches more deeply than with many synths. The PolyKBII draws you in and rewards you with interesting sonic results when you tweak.  The modulation matrix implementation makes PolyKBII extremely expressive as well. Overall, PolyKBII has real character and is extremely fun to play! It’s taking me forever to get through the factory patches as I keep stopping to tweak and play.

Mark Mosher "Journey to Kobol" - One Patch Performance Series
Of course all this makes the PolyKBII a perfect synth for one of my one patch performances. I recorded one of my improvisations with full fidelity output. Give it a view/listen with some good headphones or speakers.

Watch embedded video in HD

One thing I want to point out in this video is some of the organic analog-like drift that occurs. At the 1:42 mark I turn off the arpeggiator and when I do you’ll hear a slight detune. Cool.

Review: Sonic LAB: Xils Lab PolyKB Software Polysynth
Nick Batt over at Sonic State (@sonicnick) did this fantastic video review of PolyKB. Note he is reviewing V1 and since this video PolyKBII has released other features have been added, like more Phaser and EQ effects.

Watch embedded video

The text review is here.

Review: XILS-lab PolyKB - What Torley likes
Torley gave PolyKB a spin as well and takes you on a tour of some of the patches.
Watch embedded video


XILS Lab has also launched a player for only 25€. The player can load 3rd party patches from PolyKB meaning you could share patches with those with only the player!

  • Same Hi Quality Sound Engine than the PolyKB II.
  • Compatible with PolyKB II Add On Soundbanks.
  • 8 user selectable parameters can be customised.
  • Midi Control Automation of all player parameters, including the 8 user selectable parameters.
  • Full control of Arpegiattor settings
  • Full control of Polyphony Settings
  • On/Off toggle for the 4 effects.( If you want to use an external Delay for example )
  • On/Off toggle for the Stereo effect.
  • Selectable control of effects settings ( To adapt the FX to the groove of your tracks for example )
  • Advanced Preset Browser, which enables you to search a preset with multi-criteria operation.

I’m generally not into emulation synths per se, but PolyKBII is interesting to me because the original hardware interface was quite innovative and really holds up – especially the mod matrix and morphing waveforms. Kudos to XILS Lab for not only saving this synth from obscurity, but going beyond emulation to blend in innovative modulation features that make this virtual synth relevant. If you are looking for an analog modeled synth with unique character the PolyKBII is worth a look. For me it’s a fantastic compliment to the other digital virtual instruments in my rig.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Modulate This! XILS Lab Discount: Get 25% off PolyKBII and/or XILS3 Synthesizers till July 31, 2011


XILS lab was kind enough to create a coupon for Modulate This! readers for 25% off of PolyKBII and/or XIL3 virtual synthesizers! Simply enter modulatethis coupon code at checkout. The coupon is valid through July 31,2011. More posts coming on these synths.

Visit to take advantage of this deal.

Full disclosure - courtesy of XILS I received NFR copies of PolyKBII and XILS3 but I don’t receive any benefit from your purchase. Just trying to help support and promote this amazing engineering work and pass the joy on to you.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO