Izotope Iris 2 Hands-On Review, Tips, Early Sound Design Experiment Videos, and First Impressions


I just started experimenting with iZotope’s Iris 2. Wow! Iris 2 wins the award for most improved virtual instrument for me in 2014!

While Iris 1 focused on interesting ways to manipulate samples using photoshop-like editing to do spectral filtering along the timeline, it was lacking on the automation and sound shaping side for me. Things have certainly changed for the better in Iris 2!

In this article I’ll offer a hands-on review of the new features, offer some tips, show you some early sound design experiment videos as well as offer first impressions on Iris2.

There are plenty of Iris 1 reviews and videos out there so I’m not going to cover that ground. I also won’t cover the Spectogram editor either. I do offer some links to video tutorials at this bottom or the article if you want to see these features in action.


Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Boulder, CO


In a nutshell, Iris is a sample-based synthesizer with four audio pool layers that can contain your own samples or samples from the factory library. The spectrogram display allows you to manipulate edit the audio spectrum across the timeline. Iris 1 was released in April of 2012. Version 2 was released in November of 2014.


You can play tune and play samples back like a classic sampler in various modes that allow you to play samples forward, revers, looped, and triggering one-shots. Radius-RT mode allows for real-time pitch shifting. In other words, in Radius-RT mode, playing the sample higher up the keyboard changes the samples pitch but not the speed as it would in the other modes.


Modulation and Automation with Visual Feedback

Iris 2 now has 5 LFOs, 5 ADSRs, 8 Macro knob mappings, MIDI mappings (mod wheel, aftertouch …). There are over 100 Modulatable parameters now!

The new modulation system is killer with simple drag-n-drop style mapping (you can also use right-click). Once you drop you can scale the level of modulation on the target circle. A ring will also appear on the target allowing you to further manipulate depth. You get visual feedback in real-time as parameters are modulated.


In the illustration above I mapped LFO2 and Macro Knob 1 to modulate LFO1s rate.  You can also modulate the shape of an LFO.

Tip: Envelope 5 is mapped to master gain by default making it the AMP ADSR. You can of course repurpose it, but go to ENV to make tweaks on factory presets.



In addition to 4 master effects that were in Iris 1, there are now 4 insert effects per sample pool. All of the parameters can be modulate and automated. iZotope did a great job implementing this so there are little or no artifacts.

Continue reading "Izotope Iris 2 Hands-On Review, Tips, Early Sound Design Experiment Videos, and First Impressions" »

Must Read for Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer Owners: New 1.23 Firmware for Blofeld + New Spectre App + Secret Sauce for Getting Spectre Sample Transfer to Work After Upgrading

Photo Dec 12, 5 15 45 PM

Update: This is a long article and I've rendered it as pdf and Open XML paper so you can read this offline and print it.

Blofeld users rejoice! Waldorf has released a free firmware update for the Waldorf Blofeld synthesizer. It's kind of a life changing update in that it allows you to transfer only new samples from a new Program in a Program List rather than transferring all samples in a program list - hooray!

Most seasoned Blofeld users seem to be having trouble getting the new features working - boooo!

I'm a long time Blofeld/Spectre user but I not things to work first try. I did figure it out after about 3 hours of research and trial and error and wanted to pass along my findings to save you time. Yaaay!

Details and secret sauce of how to get new features working is below.

Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Boulder CO




There are no release notes, but Waldorf posted the following on Facebook:

Dear Blofeld Friends,

There is a new Blofeld Firmware Update, V 1.23.

Continue reading "Must Read for Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer Owners: New 1.23 Firmware for Blofeld + New Spectre App + Secret Sauce for Getting Spectre Sample Transfer to Work After Upgrading" »

Cool Video by Thereminist May Roosevelt - "Ode to Joy"


Wow! What a super cool video and song by thereminist May Roosevelt  - "Ode to Joy, 2013-14" - http://vimeo.com/85024587.  More on May's work here http://www.mayroosevelt.com/

Ode to Joy from May Roosevelt on Vimeo.


Ωδή στη Χαρά | Ode to Joy, 2013-14
Βίντεο, ήχος | Video, sound, 4’ 40”

The artwork was produced in the framework of the 4th Young Artists’ Workshop "Mediterranean Temperament? Regional Stereotypes and other Myths" (14 - 25.10.2013), of the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, with the collaboration of the Municipality of Kalamaria and Action Field Kodra.
The 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (18.09.2013 - 31.010.2014) which is organized by the State Μuseum of Contemporary Art, is the second of a three part program which started in 2011 and is funded under the Operational Program Macedonia - Thrace 2007 - 2013, co-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) and Greece.thessalonikibiennale.gr

Special thanks to Labros Katsis, Antonis Prodromou, Giorgos Gerontides.

Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Boulder, CO


The Museum of Endangered Sounds


One of my daily reads is the Messy Ness Chick blog. She doesn't write about music typically, but it is quite wonderful and I highly recommend it. On type of article she posts is called "13 Things I Found on the Internet Today". 

In today's finds, she included The Museum of Endangered Sounds which is quite interesting so I thought I'd pass it along.  Here is the site link http://savethesounds.info/

The Museum Of Endangered Sounds is owned and operated by me, Brendan Chilcutt (handle: kidpeleus99@aol.com).

I launched the site in January of 2012 as a way to preserve the sounds made famous by my favorite old technologies and electronics equipment. For instance, the textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR. As you probably know, it's a wonderfully complex sound, subtle yet unfiltered. But, as streaming playback becomes more common in the US, and as people in developing nations like Canada and the UK get brought up to DVD players, it's likely that the world will have seen and heard the last of older machines like the HR-7100. And as new products come to market, we stand to lose much more than VCRs.

Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recesses of an old cathode ray tube TV. And when the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that. And tell me: Who will play my GameBoy when I'm gone?

These questions and more led me to the undertaking that is The Museum Of Endangered Sounds.

My ten-year plan is to complete the data collection phase by the year 2015, and spend the next seven years developing the proper markup language to reinterpret the sounds as a binary composition.

If you don't understand my passion and the significance of my work, you probably never will. But if you do, then you've come to the right place.

And please, please email me if you enjoy the museum or have any questions! I love to hear from people and need to know what gadget sounds I am missing.

Thank you! 


Art + Music + Technology Podcast 056: Brian Funk (AfroDJMac)

Photo Nov 30, 3 18 01 PM

Darwin Grosse's latest podcat is up - this time with my Brian Funk (aka AfroDJMac). Listen here http://artmusictech.libsyn.com/podcast-056-brian-funk-afrodjmac.

Brian is known for his prolific work to create amazing racks for Ableton Live. I collaborated with Brian on  the Ableton Rack #40: Zebra Attack and Ableton Rack #40: Zebra Attack II so I was super excited to introduce him to Darwin Grosse so we could all get a behind-the-scenses look into Brian's work. 

My friend Mark Mosher doesn't get adamant too often, but when he does, I have to listen. He was adamant about getting into his friend AfroDJMac, and the work that he's been doing on Ableton Live packs. I jumped into my research (i.e., I took things for a quick drive then started digging deeper), and was really impressed with the work. Reached out to see if he'd be up for a quickie chat, and he jumped on the opportunity.

So you get this - my Thanksgiving gift to you. Great talk with a really insightful programmer, sound designer, songwriter and Ableton Certified Trainer.

I always like when someone opens a door for me to explore. Brian's ideas about vocal music (especially mixed with electronic music concepts) are really unique, and the way that he mixes music and teaching is also very interesting. Listen to his work here, and enjoy the discussion!

Experimental Synth Video on Koushion 4.0 MIDI CC Sequencing with Moog Slim Phatty & Little Phatty


My friend Chris Stack over at ExperimentalSynth.com just posted a cool video on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/experimentalsynth

Watch Koushion 4.0 MIDI CC Sequencing with Moog Slim Phatty & Little Phatty.  

Some first experiments with sequencing MIDI CC values with the Koushion iPad app. New features in ver 4.0 allowed me to control multiple CC parameters simultaneously while also sequencing notes.