Posts categorized "Synths & Instruments (Virtual)" Feed

Percussa Audio Cubes: Lights & Tangible Interface with Ableton Live and Alchemy

Mark Mosher Percussa Audio Cubes

I recently added Percussa AudioCubes to my studio and performance rig. While I’m planning a longer post offering an overview of how AudioCubes work, this is a quick post to mention two applications of AudioCube technology I’ve been experimenting with.


First, I’m using them as lights. You can send RGB values to the cubes via MIDI. In the picture above, you can see a color fade being sent to an AudioCube via an Ableton MIDI clip. In a nutshell, you can sequence cubes as multi-color light sources against a timeline.  Controller number 14 is used for Red, 15 for Green and 16 for Blue.


Second, I’ve been experimenting with using AudioCubes+Ableton Live +VSTs to create "performance instruments” that I can play via cubes. In the picture above (click to enlarge), , I’m using Camel Audio Alchemy as a MIDI device with Ableton Live 8. The picture shows crop of a free Percussa app called MIDIBridge which is used to configure the cube settings. I’m using MIDI Yoke ports (I’m on Vista-32) between MIDIBridge and Ableton Live.

I am mapping device parameters to the X/Y of the remix pad in Alchemy. I then MIDI map faces of a an AucioCube in “sensor” mode to the performance parameters. In sensor mode, the AudioCube detects the proximity of my hands to their sides of the cube face and sends out a continuous controller value based on my hand position. So one face controls X, another Y. The same idea would work with Native Instruments KORE2.

Result = radical sonic changes within Camel Audio Alchmy presets with real time control via an AudioCube.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
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U-He Ace Tip: Resizing Interface to Fit Your Window

Want to resize U-HeAce to fit your display? Right-click on the interface anywhere there is not a control and pick a window size from the list. I wish more virtual synths supported this feature.


Camel Audio Group Buy

Image as described above.

Modulate This reader Steve C. sent me a heads-up email on a group buy from Camel Audio. Here is a brief summary from the group buy page:

As widely requested by potential customers in our recent survey and in view of the tough economic times, Camel Audio are pleased to announce the Camel Audio Group Buy opportunity.

The price of Alchemy is currently $249 outside of the Group Buy, but with a maximum discount of 50% you could end up paying just $125 for Alchemy, $43 for CamelSpace/CamelPhat or $29 for a soundbank. Whether or not we reach this level will depend on your efforts as well as ours to tell more people about this program.

Ben of Camel Audio mentioned on the KVR forum that “Its been four years since we last ran a group buy, and we don't plan to run another for a similar period of time” so if you are at all interested in Camel Audio products this seems like the time to buy.

The interesting thing is that this group buy applies to many products, not just alchemy.

Image as described above.

They are using a survey to register your commitment to buy and will send out a discount link at the end of the group buy. The group buy also benefits existing customers. Free bonuses based on points include:

Points : Bonus
75 : Free Alchemy Soundbank: Choirs, Basses & Keys - 500MB samples + 30 presets <- Current Level
400 : Free Alchemy Soundbank: Viral Infection from Nuceleus Soundlabs - 1GB samples + 30 presets
800 : Free Alchemy Soundbank: Extra 90 presets

They hit the 75 point mark yesterday.

CLICK HERE to visit the group buy page. Pass it on!

Before you go, check out this awesome YouTube video by Torley where he walks you though some features and presets of Alchemy:


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

Download/Buy my album REBOOT

Modulate This! - Review of DCAM: Synth Squad Virtual Instruments

FXpansion, the makers of BFD and Guru, have released a new bundle of virtual instruments called DCAM:Synth Squad. I've been using the package for a number of weeks and have a good feel for a majority of the features.

In this review I’m going to offer a high-level overview of the elements that make up Synth Squad, and highlight some features that make DCAM: Synth Squad stand out from the crowd. I’ll offer my impressions about usage along the way. Note that this review is over 2,300 words and I barely scratch the surface of the the features within DCAM: Synth Squad – it’s a huge feature rich package.

Over three and a half years in the making, DCAM: Synth Squad is a collection of modeled software synthesizers with a sound design rack environment called Fusor. The package runs on Windows XP SP3, Vista SP1 (32-bit) VAST/RTAS OR Mac OSX 10.5.7 AU/VST /RTAS. Instruments include:

  • Strobe - A modeled single oscillator analog synth
  • Amber - A modeled string divide-down synth with a formant filter
  • Cypher - A three oscillator synth with dual filters/waveshapers and realistic audio-rate modulation
  • Fusor - A sound design rack to hold three instances of any combination of the Strobe, Amber, or Cypher. Fusor also includes digital FX, global modulation capabilities, as well as a step-sequencer/arpeggiator.


The DCAM synths are not just emulations of analog synths from days past. While FXpansion did analyze old analog synths from each class of synth represented in SynthSquad, they didn't simply model the output of these synthesizers. Instead they modeled components within circuits and they then created new instruments using these components. The end result is a fantastic set of rich sounding instruments with analog character but with modern interfaces.


FXpansion made a wise decision to create three single-page interface synths with a sound design rack (Fusor) synth rather than some monster synth with a multi-page interface. As a result controls on the synths themselves are very focused for the type of synthesis at hand which makes programming more immediate. While you can use Fusor to setup splits/layers, map global modulatators, insert FX, and trigger notes and modulation via a step-sequencer/arpeggiator - you can also insert each individual synth directly into your host application.

Continue reading "Modulate This! - Review of DCAM: Synth Squad Virtual Instruments" »

SonicCharge Synplant = Great Synth for Boosting Creativity


I’m late to the Synplant party. In case you are too I thought I’d write about it. I saw coverage of SonicCharge Synplant on various blogs last fall. When I saw the interface I have to admit I just assumed it was an iPhone app and for some reason just skipped over it – doh.


Then the other day Ramin Sakurai of the Supreme Beings of Leisure dropped me a note asking what I thought of Synplant. So I swung over to the Synplant page downloaded the demo and have been obsessed with this Synth since. Thanks Ramin!!!

Synthplant was developed by Magnus Lidström’s who also deveoped Propellerhead’s Malström. SonicCharge describes Synplant in the following way:

“Instead of creating patches the conventional way by turning dials and knobs, Synplant lets you explore a world of organic sounds by planting seeds that grow into synth patches.”

Once you get your mind around the the extremely unique and interesting interface, Synplant really excels at creating sounds with “motion”  - especially when you get into modulating and automating the synth. I’m using it in Ableton Live 8 and the CPU drag is extremely low.

It’s also great if you into experimental composition as you sometimes get unexpected results which can lead to creative compositional leaps. I actually created two almost complete tracks in one night using lot so Synplant as ideas just kept flowing.

The bottom line is that the approach and interface could help break you out of the standard synth programming metaphore in a good way. For me, Synplant is boosting my creativity.

I’m considering producing a video of how I’m using Synplant within Live on my YouTube Channel, but for now I’m so excited about it I wanted to share so below are some videos on links to get you started.

 View Synplant Showcase Video


Mark Mosher

Experimenting with Waldorf Largo


I downloaded the 30-day trial to Waldorf Largo. A few first impressions.

  • It has a massive dynamic range
  • You can really push the filters and FM synthesis to get some really interesting sounds
  • I like it's single page interface.
  • I really like how waveforms and filter envelopes are displayed and move in real-time as you tweak.
  • Love the large modulation matrix
  • It's a bit hard on the old CPU but I think this will most likely improve through time as I'm sure Waldorf will update. Of course freezing a track will take the load off your CPU.
  • Some of the factory patches don't do it justice. Get in there and start tweaking.
  • It uses Syncrosoft licensing. Not my fav. I also wish I could buy this as a digital download rather than a boxed item from a music store.

I just recorded some AudioBoos while messing with Largo. These were recorded through my iPhone mic so it doesn't represent the real sonic range but you'll definitely get the idea of how the character of the sound changes through time and you'll get a bit of a feel for sonic range. When I have more time I'll upload some sounds at higher fidelity.

Waldorf Largo Synth tweaking cutoff filter 2
This first sound is the factor patch "Stepping Out T". All the variance in sound comes from me tweaking one knob - Filter 2 cuttoff. I love this sound. It's like something out of the move "Andromeda Strain"

Heavily modified Walforf Largo Patch
I made various tweaks to the factory patch "Play It Low".


Mark Mosher

Waldorf Largo Virtual Synthesizer 30-day Demo Available


While I use mostly software synthesizers these days, every now and then I get a bit of hardware gear lust. A few months back I was eying the Waldorf Blofeld. After watching videos like this one on YouTube I was quite impressed with the matrix editing and sound design possibilities looked quite interesting.

Soon after I saw the announcement that Waldorf released a software synth called the Waldorf Largo. This made me hold off on any hardware purchase and hold out for a demo of the software version so I could give it a try. Well the wait is over - the synth can now download for a 30-Day evaluation.  Interestingly though, you can't buy Largo from the Waldorf web site and instead have to purchase from a music store. I've provided links for the the free demo and to online music stores at the bottom of this post.

More on the Largo...

Here is Waldorf’s Marketing blurb on Largo:

Many producers and synthesizer enthusiasts asked for a full-blown Waldorf Synthesizer for their virtual rack. We listened, and now we proudly present Largo. Largo is the first pure software synthesizer with Waldorf DNA. And again – it is the cutting edge sound that makes the big difference.

I also found these two demo videos on the Wadorf Largo. They are in German, but you’ll get the idea even if you don’t speak German.

Watch Waldorf Large Video Part 1 on YouTube

Watch Waldorf Large Video Part 2 on YouTube

What do you think?
After I download and play with Largo a bit, I'll post some impressions as a comment to this post. Let me know what you think about Largo by jumping in with some comments.


Mark Mosher