Yearly Archives: 2008

We have the technology

… as they once said about Steve Austin.

Anyway, got a message from Colin about his model of the Sony drum machine…

“My one was different to the one you got there, there was a jack input rather than a jack out and it came with both a pair of headphones and a mini jack to jack lead. I got mine in the Sony shop in Japan.”

That all sounds a lot more sensible. I assume the jack input was to allow you to drum on top of another track by connecting a CD player to it. Why on earth they decided to put a trailing lead on mine rather than a headphone jack I’ll never know.

Still, those issues and more have been addressed now – The Sony is better, stronger, faster 🙂

The first thing to be added was a 1/4″ jack and I also added an 8 phono matrix patch panel. Some of the wiring combinations give you some nicely distorted sounds 🙂

* Oh, and here’s a link to the Six Million Dollar Man – Wikipedia Entry in case you don’t know who Steve Austin is. Who said this blog wasn’t educational!

And another Drum machine

My second recent ebay purchase has just arrived. Addicted to ebay? Moi? This time, it’s the reasonably obscure Sony DRP-2. Yes, you did hear that right, a drum machine made by Sony!

I remember my friend Colin Stillman, from the bands Messiah Syndrome and Zero Point Zero, had one of these in the early 90’s and I was always very jealous. It’s about the size of a dictaphone, but comes with 13 sampled sounds, including that 80’s staple, the barking dog! (Or doggie as it’s labelled on the drum machine). It also has a rudimentary looping sequencer built in which can switch between 4/4 and 3/4 time and runs off two AA batteries.

Can I improve it?

The strangest thing about it though, is it doesn’t have a headphone output, instead having a fixed mono output pre-wired onto a trailing lead. So that will be the first thing to go, to be replaced with a more sensible jack socket. Space looks tight though, so I might have to be a bit creative.

Not sure at this stage what other tweaks might be possible. I’d guess some basic pitch shifting at the very least. But like I say, space is tight.

That’s more like it!

Well, I’m pleased to say, the surgery was a success and the DR-110 finally has some kick drum oomph. Lot’s of it actually.

I’ve made quite a few modifications and added a bunch of knobs; there is a Snare Decay, then a Snare fizz/snap mix – lot’s of sound adjustment potential with these two. On the next row we have clap and hi-hat pitch. All four modifications replaced the existing fixed resistors with 47k pots as per the suggestions here

Then a row of switches to increase the clap and snare decay envelopes, making them sound distant and echoey. This was acheived by piggy-backing 2.2uf electro capacitors in series with the original capacitors. I got the idea from this post, but rather than make permanent modifications, I wired them to switches so that I could retain the original sounds too.

And finally, two more switches for Thud 1 and Thud 2 respectively. The first switch puts a 4.7uf electro capacitor across r70, which gives a subtle boost to the kick. The second switch adds a further two parallel 4.7uf capacitors across r70 that gives it a nice 808 like roundness.

I’ll put some before and after loops up in the next couple of days so you can hear the effect for yourself.

Definitely worth buying one of these if you see one for a reasonable price.

My new toy has arrived!

Inspired by the video on George Lazenbleep’s excellent haha-fresh website I recently bought a Boss DR-110 drum machine on ebay. It’s the last analogue machine Roland made, and it arrived today!

First impressions are that it’s got some cool 606/808 type sounds but that kick drum is far too wimpy to be of any real use. Fortunately, the net is rife with various weird and wonderful modifications including one which adds some much needed boost to the kick drum.

Time to fire up the soldering iron!

I love 80’s synth pop

One of the best things about getting older is that you are no longer under any pressure to be cool. Whereas a few years ago, everything had to be abstract, moody and minor keys, I’m now a Dad of two with a mortgage and a rediscovered love of 80’s synth pop. How things change.

Wonderful things can happen when you ignore your inner critic and my most recent remix is the perfect example of this. My younger self would have thought it far commercial and ‘pop’ but my older self knows better. Anyway, onto the remix….

The band Love Spirals very kindly made the individual parts of their song ‘This Truth’ available for a competition on Synthvox. As per usual, I waited until the last day of the contest to start my remix – nothing focuses the mind better than a bit of pressure. Whilst the original version was a sultry, downtempo affair I sprinkled some Scarkord fairy dust on it and turned it into something else entirely.

Normal service will resume for the next remix… possibly 🙂

You’ve been glitched!

Before Christmas, I started working on an (extremely) glitched reworking of Vampires by Clear Air Turbulence. I didn’t have access to the individual parts on this one, so decided to dice and slice the original into bite sized pieces, before sending them off to play with dblue’s glitch and Audio Damage’s replicant – I love those plugins.

I’m sure when Cosmo hears what I’ve done to his track he will want to return the favour. All I can say is “Come and have a glitch if you think you’re hard enough”!

Let battle commence.

You’re Not Alone (ScarKord Remix)

I’ve just remixed the Electric Chariot track “You’re Not Alone” for an AcidPlanet competition. The original version is an ‘electro house’ affair, but I’ve tried to create something altogther more moody and emotive with only the vocal parts surviving from the original track.

The mallet type delayed arpeggio, that reminds me somewhat of my idols Plaid, came from the rather splendid FM8 softsynth which also supplied the bass drone and synth pads. The drums were programmed and chopped in Acid Pro, with individual hits being effected by a variety of plugins including dblue glitch, audiodamage dr. device and scarkord distorto. (Got to get a mention in there somehow 🙂

The vocals themselves were subjected to some reverse reverb and dubstation delay with speakerphone supplying that ‘telephone voice’ effect. Oh and plenty of chopping up too 🙂

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Autour d’Around released

Just received word from Vincent Bernay that the Autour d’Around album has been released, under his ‘Oursvince’ alias.

Featuring the ScarKord reworking of ‘Around’, Vincent has generously made the entire album available to download under a creative commons licence.

Download your copy now from the Jamendo website