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Posts from December 2011

Outpost: Airlock - A Free Zebralette & Zebra 2 Soundset


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April 16, 2014 update: The outpost has been offline for some time (long story about server moves and such), but it's back!

Click here to download a zip file containg the patches.


"OUTPOST: AIRLOCK" is a free soundset made up of patches for U-HE's free shareware synthesizer Zebralette. The patches will also load into Zebra 2. This themed soundset picks up where “Sounds from a Distant Outpost” soundset left off and again takes place at the fictional dark and distant “outpost”. This outpost exists in the same “signals universe” as my two albums REBOOT and I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS. The 12 patches in this soundset will help you explore the sounds, technology, and creatures of this world. Listen through nice headphones or monitors as there is a lot of stereo movement in these patches (keep the volume low while you get to know the library).

Project Goals

One goal with this project is to spark your imagination and inspire you to create your own soundtrack for this world. Of course, the instruments will also help add an interesting "edge" to any sound or music project.

Another goal was to inspire you to go deeper with synthesis with Zebra 2 (and programming in general) by giving you a smaller set of expressive patches created only with Zebralette. Since Zebralette is subset of Zebra 2 it’s well suited to this notion of boosting creativity by constraining your toolset. The manual summarizes this nicely - “Zebralette is a single oscillator plucked from Zebra2 and transplanted into a much simpler, easy-to-learn framework… The LFOs, MSEG and effects in Zebralette are also simplified versions of those in Zebra2.” For me personally, constraining myself to program within limits was a fun challenge. For example, Zebralette has no filter. This just forced me to learn new ways to transform and filter the waveforms with oscillator SpectralFX instead. As a result I understand Zebra 2 a whole lot better and will be able to get more unique sounds with a bigger sonic range.

I encourage you to dig into some of these patches to see how I used SpectralFX, modulation, and hand drawn waveforms and wavetable synthesis to achieve some of these sounds.

The Story

Phase 2 of the Outpost Experiment begins. You are teleported to an airlock within the alien outpost. Play each patch in order. Take some time with each patch.  Play across the entire range of your keyboard. Experiment with mod wheel, velocity, and aftertouch. Do this and you will experience the journey through the airlock which connects the outer ring of the outpost to the first inner chamber. You might hear creatures along the way so stay alert.

  1. A Looking Glass
  2. Bowing the Sparker
  3. Ghosts
  4. Looking Back at Yourself
  5. Pierce the Mist
  6. Sensing Through Particles
  7. Sliding Organic
  8. String Theory
  9. The Knowing
  10. They Know You Are Here
  11. Understanding Wires
  12. Until You Learn Their Language

Your Mission 

  1. Compose music or sound with these patches.
  2. Post your work on a site like Soundcloud. FYI we are listening at
  3. Report back using the contact form at
  4.  Pass it on. The more people we get on this, the sooner will discover their plan!


This soundset was developed for use with U-HE's Free Zebralette virtual instrument which comes with Zebra 2 ( can be downloaded separately from Note these instruments work on both Mac and PC. These patches will also load into U-HE’s Flagship synthesizer Zebra 2. To make the most of these patches you’ll need a MIDI Controller that transmits velocity, aftertouch, and modulation wheel.




The Outpost: Airlock soundset is copyright 2011 Newecho Productions, LLC. The soundset (patches, programming, documentation, images) is provided as is and without warranty. Not responsible for data loss (in other words backup before you add third-party sounds or samples to your library).

You are granted a non-exclusive royalty-free license to use the audio output of the patches in this library in the context of any musical and/or sound composition. You may not redistribute or sell the content as standalone sounds or as part of another soundset without express permission from Newecho Productions, LLC.

Performance Notes

NAME: MM A Looking Glass 

DESCRIPTION: Silky glass. Round. Morphing Bright.


MOD WHEEL -  Morph from a pad to a lead.
VELOCITY - Controls Volume
AFTER TOUCH - Causes pitch up by 12 steps. Also causes a pan left which makes interesting for the delay line.


NAME: MM Bowing the Sparker

DESCRIPTION: A pad with a metallic edge that sounds bowed.


MOD WHEEL - Increase Sync



NAME: MM Ghosts

DESCRIPTION: Ghostly when played at middle C and an octave above. An octave below there is some very warm big bottom end. There is a rhythmic element that fades in and out.


MOD WHEEL - Increase Sync and make brighter
AFTER TOUCH - Pans elements more to the right


NAME: MM Looking Back at Yourself

DESCRIPTION: A gated pad with lots of delays and panning.


MOD WHEEL - Increase brightness. All the way up causes self-oscillation.
VELOCITY – Brightness
AFTER TOUCH - Pitch up


NAME: MM Pierce the Mist

DESCRIPTION: A pad with an attack that sounds like rapidly vibrating glass. Two octaves down from middle C the timbre has vocal formant qualities.


MOD WHEEL - Sweep the band pass filter into the stratosphere.
VELOCITY - Higher velocities kick in the MSEG pulse
AFTER TOUCH - Pitch down a 7th


NAME: MM Sensing Through Particles

DESCRIPTION: Sensing through plastic and glass particles vibrating at high frequencies that react to touch.


MOD WHEEL - Add more power to the particles.
AFTER TOUCH - Pitch down


NAME: MM Sliding Organic

DESCRIPTION: Slides into an organ sound with a plastic pulse with a lot of stereo movement.


MOD WHEEL - Changes character/timing of pulse.
AFTER TOUCH - Slight change in sync which adds a timbre shift and a bit of a character change to the organ sound.


NAME: MM String Theory

DESCRIPTION: Alien sitar-like sound.


MOD WHEEL - Makes bright, tight, and sparkly.
AFTER TOUCH - Adds a little thickness and makes it less bright


NAME: MM The Knowing

DESCRIPTION: Plastic pad with lots of movement.


MOD WHEEL - Brighter & Bigger
AFTER TOUCH - Pitch up to hear them speak.


NAME: MM They Know You Are Here

DESCRIPTION: Creatures floating and pinging you.


MOD WHEEL - Bring them closer
AFTER TOUCH - Send them further back.


NAME: MM Understanding Wires

DESCRIPTION: Signal flowing down wires.


MOD WHEEL - Higher frequency signal flow
AFTER TOUCH - Pitch Down


NAME: MM Until You Learn Their Language

DESCRIPTION: Speaking through the plasma.


MOD WHEEL - Pan control
AFTER TOUCH - N/A I used too many mod slots to generate movement :^)

Novation Posts 1.1b1 Public Beta for UltraNova Synthesizer Firmware and Editor


Novation just posted a 1.1b1 public beta for the UltraNova hardware synthesizer. While only a point release - there are a lot of great new features and some fixes. Links to the update are at the bottom of the post.

Note, according to a Novation rep on the forumThe update is not immediately reversible, however if you were experiencing any problems we would be able to help you out!” I just upgraded and for me it’s been a very solid and the features do improve the user experience quite a bit. I had one case where a patch I created on the last OS had started experiencing minor clicking artifacts. I set my sample rate to 48 and the problem went away (even if I go back to 44.1).

There are some notable features such as the added display to show the big knob Control Lock assignment.


“An asterisk is now displayed next to the patch number to show that the patch has unsaved changes. …When editing it is fairly easy to lose your edits by navigating away from the patch. Now, if you do navigate away by mistake, you can press the Compare button to revert your edits”.


“A compressor with fixed settings has been added before the input to the modulator for the vocoder: this improves the overall sound.” All the vocoder patches sound way better!

This beta also shows that Novation hasn’t forgotten about us UltraNova users and continues to support this great synth. I personally hope this also signals an even bigger update with enhancements note in this update – like Tap Tempo and Tweak encoder “toggle”. 

What’s New

Below is a list of what’s new copied from their public beta forum. Lots of great features above-and-beyond the few I mentioned.

Firmware Updated to version 1.1.03

  • Added display to show the big knob Control Lock assignment.
  • When editing it is fairly easy to lose your edits by navigating away from the patch. Now, if you do navigate away by mistake, you can press the Compare button to revert your edits
  • Pressing any of the synth menu buttons a second time will return to the main patch menu.
  • An asterisk is now displayed next to the patch number to show that the patch has unsaved changes.
  • Arpeggiator now outputs notes via MIDI and USB. This is a setting within the global menu.
  • Delay, EQ and distortion are now full stereo effects. Many more of the factory Vocoder patches will now maintain stereo width.
  • A compressor with fixed settings has been added before the input to the modulator for the vocoder: this improves the overall sound.
  • Fixed Octave button LEDs becoming out of sync with Octave setting.
  • Fixed bug preventing envelope decaying to zero in some cases
  • Fixed long release times did not allow the envelope re-trigger to work correctly.
  • Fixed issue when very long envelope release was combined with touch trigger envelope: touch now gates properly. 
  • Fixed an issue with the release of a touch envelope during the release stage of a voice that prevented the proper operation of touch trigger.
  • Fixed an issue with chord function when triggering notes if a patch was set to poly2 voice mode.
  • Improved anti-aliasing filter on sine wave: as a result all patches that used this, in particular bass patches, sounds cleaner.
  • Improved smoothness when modulating filter to avoid unwanted artefacts.
  • Improved interpolation between legato mono voices with different velocities.
  • Improved Mono Auto-glide legato portamento consistency
  • Improved oscillator level modulation from LFO sources.
  • Improved LCD layout for audio menu to make headphone level control more obvious.

Plugin Editor Updates

  • Added Touch on and off as an on-screen automatable parameters.
  • Added Ultranova Editor as an AU insert FX. Logic users are recommended to use this.
  • Added further selection options in the Mod table.
  • Editor now installs RTAS to 32 bit directory when running Windows 7 64
  • Fixed value mismatch when syncing certain parameters.
  • Fixed Editor not updating synth parameters when instantiated while in Automap mode.
  • Fixed not being able to automate using hardware in Ableton Live.
  • Improved CPU usage when changing patches.
  • Improved mouse sensitive on stepping parameters.

Known issues

  • Metering will not display when using the AU FX editor when mod wheel, aftertouch, expression, velocity, and keyboard is in the Mod table.
  • 32 bit plug-ins crashes 32 bit bridge when running under 64 bit. Users are advised to use 64 bit version of the plug-ins.
  • Mac VST version of the editor in Ableton Live only: Touch parameters not configurable as automatable parameter if the hardware is connected. Users are advised to configure the parameter first without the hardware connected or use the AU version of the plug-in instead.
  • Grabbed patches folder now cannot be dragged to from other banks/folders.
  • Fixed not being able to drag hardware banks to the 'My Patches' folder
  • Improved time when creating a new user banks on a Mac
  • Fixed Librarian 'busy' status when double clicking patch when there is no hardware connected.
  • Fixed not being about to drag and drop in OSX Lion
  • Fixed parameters with patch A07
  • Fixed glitch on patch C031
    Known issues:
  • Copy and paste a bank from hardware to a computer folder will be blank in some situations.
  • Patch cannot be drag from bank to bank at the same position
  • Graphic icon for folder and bank may not appear if Librarian is in icon view.
  • Updated Novation USB driver to version 2.3 for Mac and Windows.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

Unfields12 "cruzin" - Field Recordings by Denver's James Tobin


Unfelds is a series of downloadable field recordings that are free donationware made available under Creative Commons licence. Denver-based sound designer and fellow Ableton Colorado member James Tobin’s work is featured in u. nfields12 “cruzin'. James also contributed a Sounds from a Distant Outpost composition “Subdude's First Excursion To The Outpost” last year. James describes this set of fields recordings:

image“these sounds were recorded on a cruise trip from seattle to alaska. when i first learned that my wife and i would be taking this trip i was immediately excited by the opportunity to record such a foreign and strange environment. you see, here in denver we don't have many ships. a few boats, yes, but certainly no ships. the ms oosterdam did not disappoint. she had all kinds of great sounds around. i did run into one little unforeseen difficulty -- traveling with 3,000 people can make it a little hard to capture good, clean recordings, especially when they all want to talk about "that fuzzy thing" with me. nonetheless, i was able to find some time away from the crowds and enjoy the sounds of a ship on my own. i certainly had a fantastic time recording these sounds, and i hope they inspire you to create some fantastic new instruments. happy noise-making!

i used a zoom q3hd stereo recorder to record these sounds at 24 bit/48khz. the sounds that appear here are recorded and unprocessed, aside from dithering down to 16bit/44.1khz and adding metadata.

james tobin”

Visit the unfeld page to download a 99MB zip file with sounds and some great photos by James. There are some cool recordings in the library with my favorite being “unfields12_14_-_whipping_wind”. To support Jame’s work you can also make a donation while there.



Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums: