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November 2012

Posts from October 2012

Predator Synth Tip: Morphing Effects with LFOs

A stand out feature of Rob Papen’s Predator compared to many virtual subtractives on the market is that it allows you to modulate effects parameters via the various mod matrix slots with very few or no artifacts. I came up with a few examples below with some sample audio at the bottom of the post. You can also MIDI map these parms and modulate in real-time.

Smoothing the Gator


One of the Gator parameters is "smooth” which allows you to round off the sharp edges of the Gate. Even cooler you can modulate smooth parameter to rotate from sharp edges to round edges.

  1. Set LFO2 as a source and set “1 SMOOTH” as destination. The “1” indicates the effect is in slot 1 of 3.
  2. Crank the “smooth” param all the way up. This smooths the gate.
  3. Set LFO2 to sine and a slow speed.
  4. Turn the modulation knob for LFO2 all the way to the left. When you press a key, the LFO will modulate the smooth param back to 0, so a squared off gate. As the LFO cycles, you’ll hear the gate smooth out.

Modulate Delay Length


This same idea will work with effects like delay times. I modified this preset to use LFO 1 to modulate the delay “LENGTH” of a Mono Delay in slot 2.

Audio Sample

Get Creative
These are just two very basic examples to inspire you. Experiment with LFOs with different shapes at different speeds, with using different sources like envelopes or arp velocity. Also, some other synths that come to mind that offer the modulation of FX params are Alchemy, Absynth, or Zebra 2.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

BBC Interview "Brian Eno on Apps and Albums" with Zebra 2 Cameo


I just watched this interesting BBC interview “Brian Eno on Apps and Albums”.  I don’t see a way to embed so click here to watch it..

His latest venture is the app Scape, a follow-up to 2008's Bloom app. Scape not only contains his most recent 'album' of the same name, but is also a tool allowing people to compose their own music on mobile devices.

He developed it with Peter Chilvers, known for his work creating music for computer games in the 1990s.

The app promises "deep access to the musical elements" that the composers used to make the album itself.

I thought it was pretty cool to see one of my desert island synths Zebra 2 on the monitor behind him :^ ).


Here is a video on Scape.

You can buy Scape for 5.99 on iTunes.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

October 2012 Synthesizer Related Events in Boulder and Denver


For those that live in the Boulder & Denver – or for those passing through this month – October is loaded with synthesizer related events. I’m hosting the monthly Boulder Synthesizer meetup which will have a Halloween Theremin theme with performances and talks by myself, Rick Reid, and Victoria Lundy who is the thereminist with the Inactivists.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

U-HE Teaser on Twitter Shows They've Started on Zebra 3


I just saw this out on U-HE’s twitter stream. Zebra 3 looks to be underway. I’m really looking forward to see where they take one of my favorite synths! BTW – I used the hell out of ZebraHZ at Electro-Music 2012 jams.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

Sounds From a Distant Outpost


Story | Sample Songs | About | Usage Notes | Patch Notes | License | Download

The Mysteries of the Outpost

On November 24th, 2010, the SETI research wing of Modulate This received an envelope marked "Sounds from a Distant Outpost"  with no return address. In the envelope was a CD containing audio files and a handwritten letter. The letter simply read:

I’ve teleported back from “The Outpost”.  It was alive with sound. I managed smuggle some audio recordings out and also recreate what I heard using machines I brought back with me.  I sent you these files in the hopes that you will fashion these sounds into instruments so others can play and control these sounds.  Share the  library so people around the world can create original sounds capes and songs and in turn share with others on the internet. Time is of the essence.  If we work together we can unlock the  mysteries of The Outpost.

Sample Songs

If you compose a song with this Live Pack drop me a note :^) Here are some songs that have been created using nothing but this Live Pack.

“Outpost Encounter”
This is a track I composed to show off the pack.

Outpost Encounter by MarkMosher

“Subdude's First Excursion To The Outpost”
Here is an awesome offering by James Tobin (aka Subdude), Denver, USA -

SoundsFromADistantOutpost-Subdude'sFirstExcursionToTheOutpost by Subdude

Next a wonderful track by Jason Anderson from Bottnaryd, Sweden -
Contact (via Outpost Extreme) by JAnderson 

About the Live Pack

Sounds From a Distant Outpost is more than a sample sound library. Over 30 hours in the making, it is a set of 12 deep and expressive instrument racks that will transport you to a dark and distant outpost. From here you will be able to explore the sounds, machines, and creatures of this world.  These instruments will help spark your imagination and I hope 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.

The  source audio is made up of some of my field recordings as well  as original synthesized and  re-synthesis harmonic content.  The concept for the instruments was based on a back-story I created as the project progressed. Fueled by the story and setting, I translated these these source samples into Ableton Live  racks  and meticulously programmed them to create playable dynamic instruments which are placed under your command via macro parameters, velocity, after touch, and modulation wheel mappings. I've also provided the original source samples for the project so those who don't have Ableton Live will be able to use these samples as oscillator sources in synths like Absynth, Alchemy, ElectraX and Blofeld.

I've had a great time creating - to coin a phrase - this  "story-based sound design with social remix" experiment.

I hope you enjoy this FREE live pack. It's my gift to you this holiday season. I'm looking forward to your notes and creations. Please share this with others.

Usage Notes

  • As with any new library, keep the volumes low while you get to know the library.
  • Go deep. Spend quality time with each instrument.
  • Experiment with blending macro levels. For example one parameter may activate or attenuate an affect and a second parameter may further alter the effect. In this case I've labeled the first parameter with a trailing ">>".
  • Some parameters are dependent on certain frequencies. If you don't hear a change in the sound, try playing on a different octave or changing the filter frequency.
  • Instruments are generally quite expressive and change radically from high to low octaves so explore the full range of the keyboard
  • While playing up and down the keyboard try using different velocities and wit after touch.
  • Sometimes, a parameter change won't be heard till you re-trigger a note.

Each instrument is placed in a rack and programmed to take advantage of Ableton 8 performance macro knobs. Labels for knobs are color coded to help you quickly identify the class of modulation. For example, macro knobs that control Filter and Resonance (Q) will be labeled Green.


Embedded Description and Performance Notes


Each rack contains description and performance notes. Just mouse-over the title bar of the rack device to see the notes.

Patch Descriptions

Alien Voices (SFX)

Mod Wheel:  More wet gurgles
Velocity: Volume
After Touch: Pitch/Filter/Pan LFO Speed

Play across entire range of keyboard to hear different alien voices. Crank the macro knobs to really change things up.

Big Servos (SFX)

Mod Wheel: Filter
Velocity: Volume
After Touch: Pitch
Pressing keys initiates servo movement. Modulators allow you to change motor speed, stress on servo, radio interference with remote control.

Clock Streams (Atmospheric)

Mod Wheel: Reduces repeating metallic loop sound for high-velocity notes.
Velocity  Ads percussive attack
After Touch:Percussive sounds become scrapes.
Room of clocks w/ buzzing tone – manipulate the number of clocks and make the space bigger. For upper octaves use AutoBend to pitch bend notes. Buzz become more of a formant vocal sound w/ REZ.

Cyclical Bell (Bell/Atmospheric)

Mod Wheel: Filter
Velocity: Volume
After Touch: Pitch Down
Bell harmonic with cyclical movement built into sample. Tail end of sample has a formant quality. Movement is not locked to tempo.

Dark Hall (Percussion/Atmospheric)

Mod Wheel:  Changes loop length which reduces repeating metallic loop sound for high-velocity notes
Velocity: Play lightly for atmospheric, more aggressively for percussion and metallic loops
After Touch:  Pitch
Atmospheric, percussive, spider-like creatures, rain…

Flow of Data (SFX)

Mod Wheel: Filter
Velocity: Volume
After Touch: Pitch Up
Digital Bleep sounds synced to tempo. Arpeggiator is used to play back the bleeps. The two samples are cross-faded with velocity. The arpeggiator changes the velocity of notes on the fly.

Man Machine Interface (SFX)

Mod Wheel:  Loop Length
Velocity:  Volume
After Touch:  Closes Filter on Layer 1
The sound of the flow of information between man and machine. Play a note with your pitch wheel all the way, then slowly move it down.

Outpost Control Room Kit (Drums/Percussion)

Sounds of “The Outpost” control room in action (rumor has it they use organic or analog computers) stored conveniently in an Impulse drum kit (notes start at C3).  Spin the “Scratch” param to scratch. Use “Arp On” and “Rate”  to repeat notes.

Outpost Lead (Lead)

Mod Wheel:  Not Used
Velocity:  Volume
After Touch: Not used
A cyclical metallic lead sound that was re-synthesized then edited additively to protect you from direct exposure.

Nasty Circuit (SFX/Lead)

Mod Wheel:  Filter
Velocity:  Volume
After Touch:  Pitch Up
A rhythmic timber that sounds like something close to metal being bowed, bent, and blasted with radiation with knobs for tuning in sounds from ether

Plasma Matrix (SFX)

Mod Wheel:  Filter
Velocity:  Volume
After Touch:  Pitch
A rhythmic timber that sounds like something close to boiling plasma. Control the flow.

Singing Bowls (Bell/Pad)

Mod Wheel: Filter
Velocity: Volume
After Touch: Pitch LFO
Qualities of a singing bowl articulated with mallet and wind. Character of sound changes from an evolving textural pad with a lot of bottom end on lower octaves to almost flute-like sound in top octaves.


Sounds from a Distant Outpost (Sound Library) is copyright 2010 Newecho Productions, LLC. The Sound Library   (patches, programming, samples, config files, Ableton Live Packs, documentation, images) are 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).  Keep the volume low while you get to know the library.

License for Use in Music and Sound Compositions:
  You are granted a non-exclusive royalty-free license to use the audio output of the instrument racks in the context of any musical and/or sound composition.

License for Reusing Source Samples and Instrument Racks:
Creative Commons License
The source samples and instrument rack programming are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You may not redistribute or sell the content as standalone sounds or as part of another commercial library without express permission from Newecho Productions, LLC.

  1. Make sure you are running the latest  version of Ableton Live 8 or Ableton Live 8 Suite. Live Intro is not supported.
  2. To take full advantage of all modulation routings I recommend a MIDI keyboard or controller with velocity, after touch and a modulation wheel; a controller with 8 knobs (Novation Remote SL 25, Akai APC40,...)
  3.  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD  .ALP file (8 MB) and save this on your computer. If you have trouble downloading this file, you might want to try downloading this  zip file version which contains the .alp. You'll need to unzip after download before going on to the next step.
  4. Double-click the .alp file
  5. Live will start and prompt you for a location to install the files. You can't install user created Live Packs directly inside your live library so you must instead create a directory on your disc then click OK to extract the files.
  6. Live will then extract the files.

  7. After the files expansion has completed, use your Live file browser to find the folder.  At this point you could open the .als file which will load a set with all the instruments loaded into racks. You could also just drag instruments to any open set.

  8. If you want to import these files into your Live library, right-click ont the Live pack (in yellow below), then select "Manage Project".

  9. Then in the application menu select "View->Manage project" and scroll to the bottom of the project window and click "Export".

Download Samples for your Sampler Instrument:

Requirements: Any synthesizer that supports .wav files as oscillator sources (Absynth, Alchemy, Blofeld...)

DOWNLOAD (zip file 11 MB)