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October 2012

Posts from September 2012

Thomas Dolby Wins 2012 Moog Innovation Award + Tours US + Releases New Video for "Mulu the Rainforest"

Moog Innovation Award

A big congrats to Thomas Dolby who won the Moog Innovation Award award this year. Past winners were DEVO in 2010 and Brian Eno in 2011.

Dolby is a self made man, synth pioneer, and mad scientist.  Like Bob Moog, Thomas Dolby’s quest for knowledge and desire to sculpt the world around him led him to the world of electronics, where he designed his own synths, founded his own software company, and charged head long through the world of pop music and into America’s consciousness.  To say he was blinded by science would be doing him a disservice, for science has been his guiding light, and technology his namesake.  For expanding the sonic boundaries of the new wave movement and for fearlessly embracing the future, Moog is proud to present Thomas Dolby with a custom Minimoog Voyager XL, in honor of being the 2012 Moog Innovation Award winner.

He’ll receive the award at Moogfest this year which is October 26th & 27th. I won’t be there so if you end up going take some photos :^).

US Tour – See You At the Denver Show
Thomas Dolby is also touring the US to support his new album “A Map of the Floating City”. He'll be playing Denver on October 23rd at 8:00 pm at the Bluebird Theater. I’ll be at the show so if you come down say hi. Below is a screen shot of his upcoming tour dates. Visit his tour page to get tickets.


New Video for Song “Mulu” With Cool Quadcopter Shots

Here is the brand new video for the 1983 song “Mulu the Rainforsest”. I’ve always loved this track so it’s great to see a video for it after all these years.

• The song "Mulu the Rainforest" from Thomas Dolby's classic album "The Flat Earth".
• Shot and Directed by Chad Johnson in August 2012
• © Lost Toy People / Chad Johnson 2012
• Shot with a GoPro attached to the XP2 quadcopter: ‪‪‬‬
• This video was shot in the Rockefeller Forest in the Giant Redwoods of Northern California.

Thomas Dolby Links:

More Modulate This! Articles on Thomas Dolby Here

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Camel Audio Alchemy 1.5 Update Offers New Browser, Polyphonic Pitch Bend, and More + $50 Bucks Off Till Oct 15


My love affair with Alchemy continues. I spent a lot of time digging deep into granular synthesis with it this summer in preparation for my Electro-Music 2012 Festival talk in a New York a few weeks back. The deeper I go the more I like it and the more it gets used in my work and performances.

When I got back from EM, I loaded up the 1.5 beta  and now I'm happy to report that Camel Audio has officially  released this update which they’ve been working on for quite some time. I’ll offer some notes on what’s new then include Camel Audio’s official video and press release at the end of the post.

On Sale


First off, Alchemy is $50 off till Oct. 15th making it $199. If you’ve been waiting for a price drop now is your chance to get a great deal.  FYI I don’t benefit financially if you buy copy of Alchemy, I’m just a big fan.

New Preset Browser

imageAs you can see from the screen shot above, there is a brand new preset browser that not only helps you find and discover sounds for your projects, but also allows you to create user tags and post comments and notes on patches for future reference. Simply hit the “Edit” button to open a window that lets you change and set attributes, add user tags, and comments.


Polyphonic Pitch Bend FTW

Probably the coolest new integration feature with mobile app is the computer version of Alchemy now responds to polyphonic pitchbend!!! It’s fantastic.

Official Video

Watch embedded video.

Official Announcement

We're proud to announce Alchemy v1.5, a major update to our popular sample manipulation synthesizer. Alchemy v1.5 is designed to keep inspiration flowing with a fully-featured preset browser, over 1000* presets, faster loading times, improved remote control from the Alchemy iOS app, and many more enhancements. To celebrate the release, we're offering 20% off Alchemy till 15th October and even better value bundles.

Powerful New Browser

The new browser is probably the most fully-featured sound browser available anywhere, allowing users to find all their slow attack strings, glitchy dubstep basses, tempo-synched warm pads, or whatever they need in a matter of seconds. Over 4,000 previously-released Camel Audio presets have been carefully tagged by category, subcategory, genre, sound library, sound designer, articulation, and timbre. Finding favourites is a breeze — simply rate presets with a single click and then sort by rating. Users can add tags to make it easy to call up presets associated with a particular project or live set, and can also add comments to presets with playing tips or other notes. Track down the perfect sound in a host of different ways with this powerful browser.

Dedicated iOS Remote

Alchemy v1.5 with the latest update to Alchemy on iOS offers even smoother and more expressive remote control. Change preset, move the remix pad, and access performance controls — all without leaving the comfort of your controller keyboard. Previously the domain of multi-thousand dollar devices, polyphonic pitch bend is new to this update, and offers an amazingly expressive way of playing instruments — especially when combined with polyphonic aftertouch. Also users can now save desktop presets and all referenced WAVs in a single .CamelSounds file, making it easier to move sounds to the mobile version, or another PC.

Bigger and Better Bundles and 20% Off Alchemy

Alchemy Complete comprises Alchemy with all 24 sound libraries installed, including the newly-released Shlomo Beatbox. It now features over 14GB of samples and 4,000-plus presets, including 32,000 hand-crafted variations, all fully tagged for the new browser. Whether writing soundtracks, electronica, or dance music, users now have all the sounds they need at their fingertips for a newly-reduced price of $785.00 USD/€649.00 EURO/£529.00 GBP — a 50% saving on buying the products separately. The Alchemy Atmospheric and Electronic bundles have also been generously increased in size, each now offering 1,900 presets and over 6GB of samples for $399.00/€329.00/£269.00.

Alchemy itself is now bundled with 1,000 presets including a free sound library of choice, totalling a massive 5GB of exclusive samples. The v1.5 update is free to all existing users. New users can purchase Alchemy at 20% off till 15th October - just $199.00/€159.00/£143.00.

*Alchemy comes with 1,000 presets inclusive of 'Taste of Camel' and buyers choice of Sound Library.


Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

First Try at iOS6. Which Musician Apps Work, Which Don’t.


I’m between production projects so I thought I’d take a bullet for the community and just upgrade my iPad 3 to iOS6 without knowing if any apps would work – lol. If you are in the middle of a project I suggest you wait to upgrade. This is a general rule I follow for all my equipment and software.

I restricted my testing to the following criteria. Will the app start? Will it function in a basic way (GUI works, makes some noise)?   I don’t own ever app made so this is just my list of what works and what doesn’t. If you find issues with apps feel free to make a comment – and of course notify the developer so they can upgrade the app for iOS6.

App Crashes After Splash Screen Displayed
Update: Both of these apps are now working in iOS6.

  • PPG WaveGenerator
  • Akai SynthStation

If you double-click the button on your device you’ll see these apps are running in the background.

App Functions at A Basic Level

  • TC-11
  • Alchemy Mobile
  • CrustalSynthXT
  • GeoSynth
  • GrainSicence
  • iElectribe
  • iMS-20
  • iRigMIDI
  • Lemur
  • Magellan
  • Midi Monitor
  • Moog Animoog
  • Moog Filtatron
  • MorphWiz
  • NanoStudio
  • Nlog
  • Orphion
  • SampleWiz
  • SoundPrism Pro
  • Sunrizer
  • SynthX
  • TC-11
  • ThumbJam
  • TNR-i

Proceed with Caution

Again this is a basic test just to see if apps function at a basic level. I’ll let you know if I bump into more serious issues as I work with the apps on iOS6 in the comments.

Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Video of Bob Moog on Theremin September 29, 1991 Stanford University

Via a Bob Moog Foundation tweet – I  just discovered this wonderful video of Bob Moog talking about his history with the Theremin.


Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

PPG WaveGenerator App Now Available + Show & Tell Videos by Wolfgang Palm


I’m a huge fan of Wolfgang Palm’s work and my favorite hardware synth, the Blofeld is based on PPG waveforms. After hearing that he was going to release an iPad app this week, I’ve been going to the store a few times a day waiting for the app to appear.

Well the wait is over and the new app is now available in the Apple Store here . He just released two videos showing how it works.

Watch Embedded Video

Watch Embedded Video


Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Free Your Music from the Confines of Your Speaker Space with the Affordable AmbiophonicDSP Plug-in

Howard Moscovitz, is one of the founders of the Electro-Music community (EM 2012 Fextival NY is next weekend btw). That's Howard and Zuzu at the recent Midwest Electro-Music Experience in Indianapolis (photo by Beth Ann Broadhurst). Howard and Robin Miller developed a plug-in called AmbiphonicDSP. I just learned about it last year while at Electro-Music 2011 festival in NY when I attended Howard’s session on Ambiophonics. It was a fascinating session so I’ll do my best to explain Ambiophonics and offer some details on AmbiophonicDSP.

An Ambiophonic DSP Processor for $10!

Right up front I want to mention that this Windows only VST is only $10.00 right now on the Electro-Music store!!! At this prices you should give this this a go. You can use the plugin to process real-time audio or create Ambiophonic mixes – and the effect is pretty mindblowing. No special equipment is needed, you’ll just need to move your speakers (more on this later in the post).

What’s the Goal?

“To extract every nuance of perception, enjoyment, and realism from ordinary stereo recordings - and for extraordinary electronic music!”

The Problem With Listening With Typical “Triangle” Speaker Placement

Listening to audio via stereo speakers with typical placement introduces an crosstalk that negatively effect the listening experience. The problem is summarized nicely in this Wikipedia Ambiophonics article.

In stereophonics, the reproduced sound is distorted by crosstalk, where signals from either speaker reach not only the intended ear, but the opposite ear, causing comb filtering that distorts timbre of central voices, and creating false “early reflections” due to the delay of sound reaching the opposite ear. In addition, auditory images are bounded between left (L) and right (R) speakers, usually positioned at ±30° with respect to the listener, thereby including 60°, only 1/6 of the horizontal circle, with the listener at the center. Human hearing can locate sound from directions not only in a 360° circle, but a full sphere.

What this means for the  listening experience.

  1. There is a perceivable hole in the stereo center
  2. The sound is bound by the width of the speaker placemen and you can identify where the speakers are as you listen.
  3. If you are off axis from center the speaker you are closest too dominates

Ambiophonics Processing to the Rescue

Using a Digital Signal Processor you can eliminate theses issues in real-time or create Ambiophonic mixes (see “Roots and Research” section of WIKI for history). So by listening to song processed in real-time by an Ambiophonic processor, or simply using a regular stereo to listen to an .wav, .flac, or .mp3 mastered with an Ambiophonic processor you will hear the following differences:

  1. No hole in the center of the mix
  2. The entire mix sounds wider
  3. Elements like vocals that are mixed toward the center of the mix really stand out
  4. Better off axis results
  5. An most importantly, the speakers vanish and sound extends beyond the edges of the speakers. It’s so cool. Just close your eyes when listening and you can’t determine speaker placement, and when you open your eyes you’ll hear sounds beyond the edge of the speaker.

Listening and Speaker Placement

No special equipment is required other than the an ambiphonic mixed wav, flac, or mp3, or a song played real-time through the DSP. Your regular stereo will do fine. However you need to move your speakers closer together – somewhere between 17 and 20 degrees. Howard’s rule of thumb on this is “holding my fists out at arms' length with the thumbs touching give me 17 degrees over the knuckle of the middle finger.” You can see this placement I the photo above that I took at the session at Electro-Music 2011.

Listen to the Effect Now

I rendered a new version of my song “I Can See Them” from my album I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS using the plug-in. In the embedded soundcloud player below you can hear a small snipped of the song, first with the plug-in off, then .07 mark I turn the plug-in on. Play this a few times over and you’ll hear the effect clearly. The next is the full song with the plug-in turned on the entire time followed by the original mix. So position your speakers and check it the soudncloud set.

Note: This will NOT work with headphones. You MUST listen with speakers placed 17-20 degrees apart.

Download AmbiophonicDSP VST to Make Your Own Mixes and Listen to Your Library


As I mentioned, you can download the VST for 10 bcks – here is the link

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