Friday, December 30, 2011

Free Sample Friday: DSI Evolver Wooden Plate

Well, it's our last Free Sample Friday of the year. I want to take the time to thank you all for reading Waveformless and helping us to grow over this past year. I look forward to a kick-ass 2012 and all the cool gear news it'll undoubtedly bring. Today's selection comes to us from Adam and is a multi-sampled sample of the DSI Evolver's "Wood Plate" preset. Thanks, Adam!


Customized Roland V-Synth from Madonna's "Confessional" Tour

Info at the listing...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yamaha CS-5 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Extensive Review and Audio Samples of John Bowen Solaris

I wasn't familiar with the site, but I'll definitely be checking them out in the future. Here is one of, if not, the first review of John Bowen's eagerly awaited synth I've seen. Also includes nearly 45 minutes of audio demos.

The Voder - 1939 Speech Synth

"Considered the first electrical speech synthesizer, VODER (Voice Operation DEmonstratoR) was developed by Homer Dudley at Bell Labs and demonstrated at both the 1939 New York World's Fair and the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. Difficult to use and difficult to operate, VODER nonetheless paved the way for future machine-generated speech."

Free Minimal Synth Wave Samplepack

X-Electronic are offering up a retro-tinged sample pack for free:

"Do you remember the good old minimal-electronic days .....?

Are you catched by the sound and feeling of that decade, like I am .....?

Political, sharp, idealistic, pure .... - to name only a few components of that decades
electronic musical ingredients .....

I really love to see, that labels like MW, Enfant Terrible and others bring new life

to those well kept secrets of electronic music, to show off the power and strength words and music can have.

Go on that way - we will support you !

To keep that scene alive and to focus and multiply peoples output on minimal-electronic music, we want to support your tracks with some special goodie.

A free sample pack for your Minimal-Electronic-Wave-Synth-Pop-Electro project !

We know it´s very hard to find good drum and beat samples that really sound

good in old electronic music, so we decided to give some away for free -

the music deserves it !

But stop talking !

Here are some of my collected studio samples for your electronic project.
I worked with them on different projects in the past 2 decades and hope you´ll enjoy them."

Free Christmas Sample Bundle from Sample Magic

More end-of-the-year freebie goodness, this time from Sample Magic:

"So we come to the end of another top year of music making. As a way of saying thanks for your support in 2011 – and Happy New Year – we’ve compiled a tasty, exclusive 170+MB bundle of free loops and samples from some of this year’s biggest hitters, from Hed Kandi and Thomas Schumacher to Techno and Indie-Dance by way of Dubstep and Mainroom Anthems."

Free Glass Marimba for NI Kontakt

Glass Marimba (naked) by 8dawn

8Dio has a last minute present for you if you're a user of NI's Kontakt... Hurry, though, it's only available until January 1st!

Elka Wilgamat Drum Machine on eBay

Here's an entry appropriate for yesterday's article on unusual drum machines...

Tranceformers Toy Electronic Voice Synth on eBay

Info at the listing...

EML Elctrocomp 101 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Waldorf Micro Q on eBay

Info at the listing...

Novation Bass Station Rack on eBay

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Rogue's Gallery of Unusual Drum Machines

It may seem hard to believe, but the drum machine has been around for well over 50 years now. While most of us are familiar with some of the more famous examples, such as the Roland TR-808 and 909 or the Akai MPC series, there are a ton of really interesting rhythm-making machines hidden away in the dusty corners of obscurity that are less recognizable. I thought it might be fun today to take a look at some of those.

We'll start out with what many acknowledge as the first drum machine (no, I don't count the Rhythmicon, as interesting as it is), the Chamberlin Rhythmate, first introduced in 1957. Like many of the first drum machines, it was designed to accompany organists. What makes the Rhythmate rather unique is that it used tape loops to play back the rhythms. As such, it sounds quite different from the early analog cheeseboxes based on synthesized sounds. The tapes it used had 3 tracks, each with 14 different beats.

2 years later, Wurlitzer introduced the Sideman, the first commercially-produced drum machine that utilized truly electronic sounds (10 different sounds, to be exact). Like many of the early drum machines that followed, it featured a small selection of preset rhythms with a user-variable tempo. What made it kind of unique is the way in which these rhythms were played back. A rotating metal disc with electrical contacts strategically spaced around its edge acted as a primitive sequencer of sorts. While it was an ingenious design, it obviously limited the flexibility of the machine. For the time, however, it was quite revolutionary.

The Metasonix D-1000 is a modern drum box very similar to the Sideman in the way it produces sounds.

The Quintron Drum Buddy was an outrageously expensive ($5,000, to be exact) analog drum machine produced in New Orleans in the early 2000's. Like the Sideman, it used a rather unique method of sequencing its rhythms - a rotating cylinder with strategically punched holes allowed light to pass through and shine on 4 different "receivers", each wired to a specific sound. Weirdly, one of the people who bought one was Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live and Portlandia fame!

The Paia Drummer Boy was another preset rhythm machine based around electronic sounds released in the late 60's. As with most of Paia's products it was a build-it-yourself affair sold in kit form to electronics enthusiasts. If you feel up to the task, you can have a look at the schematics here.

The electronic music revolution's impact was so wide and deep that even the toy manufacturers wanted to get in on the action. One great example of this is Mattel's Bee Gees Rhythm machine, a small keyboard that also included 4 preset rhythms. Its creators could scarcely have imagined the exposure their little toy would get when German electropioneers Kraftwerk used on to play the lead on the infamous "Pocket Calculator". Mattel also made a compact set of drum pads called the Synsonic Drums.

The Clef Master Rhythm was a drum machine produced in the late 70's/early 80's that many refer to as the "poor man's 808", largely due to its very boomy kick drum tone. Perhaps most unique, however, was the ability to switch the snare sound between a standard snare and a brushed snare for jazzier vibes.

As we moved into the late 80's, drum machines that used sampled sounds became all the rage. The Dynacord ADD-One is one of the lesser-known models. What makes it especially notable is that although it sampled at 12-bits, the sample rate was 50hz, which was virtually unheard of at the time.

Many people assume that software-based drum machines didn't show up on the scene until fairly recently, but in fact, software-based instruments like the Cheetah SpecDrum first began appearing in the mid-eighties. The SpecDrum was actually marketed as a low-cost peripheral for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer. While the sound itself was produced by the hardware, rhythms were programmed on the computer and users could even sample their own sounds in glorious lo-fi.

Preceding the SpecDrum by several years was the Movement Systems Drum Computer. It combined both analog drum synthesis and 8-bit samples built into a casing complete with monitor and keyboard, thus the name. It was extremely rare, but gained quite an audience thanks to 80's hit-makers Eurhythmics, who famously used it on "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", among other tracks.

Obviously, there are plenty more obscure drum machines than the ones listed above. Do you have any favorites I missed? Share them with us in the comments!

Pearl DRM-X Drum Synth on eBay

Info at the listing...

Korg Poly-800 with Moog Slayer Mod on eBay

Info at the listing...

Roland SH-3a on eBay

Info at the listing...

Roland JX-3P with PG-200 Programmer and Service Manual on eBay

Info at the listing...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Impact Soundworks Introduces Shreddage Bass: Picked Edition

Impact Soundworks have announced the release of Shreddage Bass: Picked Edition. The sample library for Native Instruments Kontakt consists of extensive samples through a DI of the Music Man Sterling electric bass. Includes a number of tones for different styles and playing techniques. Shreddage Bass: Picked Edition retails for $59, but through the end of December, existing Shreddage owners can pick it up for only $39.

Roland VP-330 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Korg Mono/Poly on eBay

Info at the listing...

Waldorf Miniworks Filter on eBay

Info at the listing...