Archives for the month of: June, 2014

Today i started working on a Moog Liberation.  These are very cool.  Kind of a Moog Prodigy, Kind of a Realistic MG-1, Kind of just AWSOME.

This one has aa few very common issues.

1, There’s several sliders that are damaged.

2, The inevitable Moog melty foam inside the control panel.

3, The controller cable is missing.

First off i took the control panel area apart to assess the damage within.  The sliders are easy to damage as they are not attached to the front panel.  They can often be put back together but they will usually not have a smooth glide afterwards as the little plastic tabs or feet that serve as runners on the bottom break off.

The foam can be removed with isopropyl alcohol and just takes patience.  Several treatments are often required to melt it all away.

The controller cable is a standard cannon type connector with 6 pins.  2 are for 15volt power, one is audio, one is CV, one is S trig, and one is ground.

I’m considering painting the body purple…

best color ever!


Back in 1994, there were plans of releasing a full LP of music from Richard D. James, aka The Aphex Twin, under his “Caustic Window” moniker on his own label, Rephlex Records.

This album unfortunately never saw the light of day until around 1999, when Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq) granted a rare interview with the Aphex Twin fansite, (no longer active). In the interview, Mike described the tracks in detail, and went on to explain that only 4 people at the time were known to have a vinyl test pressing of the album – Richard James, Chris Jeffs (aka Cylob), Grant Wilson-Claridge (co-founder of Rephlex Records) and Mike himself. Each person was sworn to never make copies of the music, and for 20 years, not a single track had ever been commercially released (with the exception of two tracks that appeared on compilations).

Until now.

Fast forward to 2014, when a mysterious seller listed the album on the music website Discogs for sale at a high asking price. We Are The Music Makers, aka, which succeeded as the web’s premiere source for electronic music, discussed the possibility of this “holy grail” of electronic music releases finally seeing the light of day, albeit from unfortunately leaking online once a buyer had obtained it.

Jokingly, the suggestion that the WATMM community band together and “crowdfund” purchasing the album was made, and I began to ponder the possibility – could we band together and purchase the legendary non-release?

Of course, the main issue with doing such a thing is distribution – individuals (even lots of individuals) don’t have the right to copy and distribute music they don’t have the rights to – then, an idea came to me – why not raise the funds for the record, buy it, then strike a deal with the record label to purchase the rights for everyone who chipped in a digital copy of the tracks?

A few emails later, and such a deal had been struck – the label and Richard James himself agreed to offer one-time distribution rights so the people contributing to this Kickstarter would have a once-in-a-lifetime to own tracks from arguably one of the rarest electronic music (non) releases of all time (and some damn fine music too).

So, with official blessings from Richard James and Rephlex Records, if you contribute 16.00 USD (little under 10.00 GBP or around 11.20 EUR) and become one of the only people legally allowed to own a digital copy of the famed Caustic Window LP ripped straight from the vinyl in a lossless audio format that we will as a community vote and decide on. It’s a superb way to support the artist by legally purchasing something you will never get to purchase otherwise – Rephlex has no plans and will not press this record commercially.

Be a part of this unique opportunity and show your hardcore fan support for Richard’s music and own some awesome electronic music!

The Kickstarter was a resounding success, and now is your chance to own one of the most rare and expensive records in history!

More info:

A portion of this auction will be going to charity, as chosen by the WATMM community:

PLEASE NOTE: Grant @ Rephlex HQ has the record in his possession, and he will be shipping it out to the winner from the UK – we will contact you in regards to how it will be shipped, insurance, etc. once the auction ends. Please contact me if you have any questions.



I love when i find a new blog to read!

“Today was the annual Analog Heaven Northeast gathering but this year I had to pass it up because it also happened to be Edison Day at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey. Normally these two events aren’t in any way connected but this year’s Edison Day wax cylinder recording demonstration featured none other than Larry Fast. It was simply too good an opportunity to pass up.

The demonstration was in a sense much more interesting then I expected, which doesn’t quite sound right but bear with me. It wasn’t “just” Fast playing his Kurzweil K2000VP, but it also wasn’t just a demonstration of Edison’s wax cylinder technology either. Although either one would have been quite satisfyingly enough, and that was certainly what I was expecting. What was much more interesting about the demo was that it was an experiment in using old technology in new ways, and I was not expecting that at all. The first part of the demonstration was Fast played Phobos and Deimos Go to Mars. Live, I might add. They recorded it on a wax cylinder and then played it back. Typical museum-style demonstration of wax cylinders. I could have left happy with just that because hey, it was Larry Fast, but they took it so much further.
Note that it wasn’t just Fast up there. There was also a Park Ranger, in full uniform. Unfortunately I didn’t catch his name but he turned out to be incredibly knowledgeable about the Edison wax cylinder system, was an entertaining and informative educator/lecturer, and was also basically working as the sound engineer for the recording session. He explained the whole process as well as giving us a bit of history. It seems that when they first set up a factory to make these cylinders what they’d do was have a performer come in for the day and play or sing their piece over and over. They’d record it each time onto maybe a dozen or so machines. They’d then repeat this process all day long until they had enough cylinders recorded. Also, this was a completely acoustic process. Just like today’s demonstration, each recorder had a large horn that picked up the sound and transferred it to the wax. The “problem” with this was that each horn heard a slightly different version as they were all in different places in the room. It was this “problem” that led the park into several years of research to try and find a matched set of cylinders from the same take. If that search is eventually successful it might be possible using modern recording technology to reconstruct a stereo recording, something unimagined back in the day.
And that’s what I mean about today’s session being more than just a simple demonstration. It was actually a proof-of-concept experiment in using wax cylinder technology to make stereo recordings. What Fast and the Park Ranger did was to record a Synergy piece with the left channel on one cylinder and the right on another. (They actually used four cylinders because you only get about two or three minutes per cylinder, so they had to use more than one per track.) So in a few weeks once they’ve had time to combine the tracks and synchronize the left and right channels we may have a new Synergy recording to enjoy, albeit in full “wax fidelity.”
Today’s Edison Day demonstration was more than “just” a simple demo that you typically might get to see in a museum, it was actually part of a research project in 100+-year-old recording technology.”

WOW.  I hadn’t seen this and it’s pretty amazeballs.

So, load your song up and the online site plops out a 192 MP3…

No human love required!  So much for making music with people in a room full of electrons!

Well, not for me anyway…

Quoted from here:


Drag-and-drop online mastering is here, and it’s free to try. LANDR provides unlimited 192 kbps mp3 masters of your tracks in seconds.

If you like what you hear, you can pay for uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters. Pricing is very reasonable at $9 for four or $19 for unlimited masters per month. Paid users also get to select the “intensity” of the mastering: low, medium (the default), or high.

Their algorithms were refined over eight years of university research, and they even have a resident astrophysicist. An astrophysicist!

Guess this mastering engineer is out of a job, right?

To find out, I selected tracks from three recent mastering jobs, to compare my results with LANDR’s.


Three notes before we get our hands dirty in this mano-a-microchip match-up:

1. Am I biased? Perhaps, but who’s more qualified to evaluate a mastering service than a mastering engineer? Let your ears be the judge.

2. Louder pretty much always sounds better to the human ear.While differences in volume are important for the purposes of this evaluation, you should try to match playback levels when comparing the examples for sound quality.

3. This is an apples-to-apples comparison. I paid $9 for four uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters, to compare to my uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters. All files were encoded to mp3 at 320 kbps using LAME at the highest quality setting.


I was asked to give it “the full EDM treatment,” which I interpreted as, “make it loud!”

Here’s a taste of the chorus, unmastered:

Reach (unmastered)


Here’s LANDR’s master at the default (medium) intensity:

Reach (LANDR medium)


And here’s my master:

Wideband Network "Reach" (Resonance Mastering)


Is it just me, or does the LANDR version sound like it was mastered by an astrophysicist?

To my ears, the biggest problem is the lack of low end. The result is thin and narrow and just “off.”

Keep in mind, LANDR uses the same algorithm for all genres of music. This tonal balance might be perfect for folk or classical, but it doesn’t cut it for EDM, hip hop, or even pop.

On the plus side, I appreciate that LANDR doesn’t win the Loudness War by default. There’s plenty of dynamic range. Unfortunately, the track would be the quietest in any EDM playlist. It’s simply not club-ready.

Let’s turn it up to 11 and try again at “high” intensity (a paid option):

Wideband Network "Reach" (LANDR high)


Louder? Check.

Better? Not to my ears. There’s more of everything I didn’t like in the previous version – the thinness is more pronounced and the lows are even more lacking.

It’s easy to trade low frequency energy for volume. The challenge is achieving both.

Worse, this version is even more compressed (as opposed to peak limited). You can see visually how little dynamic contrast there is, compared to my master at pretty much the same volume.

Tom Cascino’s tracks feature a characteristic richness and warmth, with plenty of deep bass. Within days of mastering his album, the lead track was #1 on Hypem:


Here’s the unmastered mix:


LANDR at high intensity:


And my master:


Maybe I’m reading too much into the song title, or maybe it’s the fact that Tom and I both live in California, but to me “Summer Spliffs” captures that feeling of cruising down PCH with the top down in August.

Does that character come across in the LANDR version?

This cover was pulled off an old DAT recording for a rarities and remixes release.



LANDR at high intensity:


My master:


In this case, I find the LANDR version to be ridiculously bright, edgy. and essentially unlistenable.

Also note the break at 0:13 where it’s supposed to drop off in volume and build back up. The “quiet” part sounds just as loud, if not louder, than the “loud” part!

This track might have sounded better at the default medium intensity, but I ran out of credits. Regardless, LANDR has no way of knowing that it’s a ballad, and therefore doesn’t require the same RMS level as a club track on the same release.

Speaking of which, try playing the three LANDR high intensity samples one after the other. Would they sit together nicely on the same album? No way!

There are huge tonal and volume differences between masters at the same intensity level, relegating LANDR to one-off singles.


To be fair, LANDR is an incredibly ambitious project! It’s amazing that it performs as well as it does.

The algorithm will get better over time, but it can never replace a professional mastering engineer, because it lacks musical understanding.

It can’t know whether occasional high frequency bursts are vocal sibilants that demand de-essing, or cymbal crashes. It can’t tell if the excess energy at 200 Hz is the characteristic warmth of a rich fretless bass, or vocal mud that needs to be cut. It doesn’t even know what genre your track is in. One size fits all.

Most importantly, it can’t tell you to go back and fix your mix!

When I hear a problem best addressed in the mix, I ask the client for changes. That applies to everything from excessive sub bass to thin guitar tone to ultrasonic synth spikes to questionable vocal intonation. Maybe it’s coincidence, but my clients’ mixes tend to get better with every release.

Your mastering engineer can be, as Chris from London Exchange puts it, The Fifth Beatle. We are partners in releasing the best records possible, which often extends into areas beyond mixing, like promotional advice and track sequencing.

I think my job is safe for now.


Nice studio spotting in this clip from the 90’s!  An Ensoniq and Roland Juno at the key’s position and is that a synclav to the right?

MTR90 tape machine


::: IF :::