Archives for posts with tag: Space


This is a follow up to the previous slinky Korg MS-10 track that i posted here.

I’m loving the Korg MS-10 for mono-synthetic mayhem.  All non drums and non pads on this track are from the Korg MS-10 and an MS-20.

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This one comes with the perfect GIF too!

Clay Fight large Timed allfr 25

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Main drums are the Roland TR 909, Simmons SDS V, and Linndrum ( the low crunchy snare later ).

The Pads are Oberheim OB-8, I love the ‘THX’ sound you can get out of the mod matrix on this beast!

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This week i am going to start an extensive series of mods on an old Korg VC 10 Vocoder.  The Korg VC 10 has a reputation for being flawed in some ways but i think it has a lot of potential despite this.  I always felt that it had an ill defined sound over all.  It lacks a clear robotic synth vibe and also employs it’s noise generator in a not always useful way.

The demo is pretty dorky and kitchy but someone posted the original korg demo for this box and i think it clearly demonstrates the design limitations i’m referring to.  It wants to sound cool but it comes across sounding mushy and muddled to me…

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So, i did some research and found a good amount of info as to possible modifications, this first post will pertain to two major sound quality related modifications:

1,   There’s a quirk in the way the 20 sound generators are treated. Channels 17 to 20 have their carrier input connected NOT to the generator/noise/external mixer, but rather to noise only. The problem here is that this noise signal is attenuated by the generator/noise mixer, resulting in that there will be no carrier to channel 17 to 20 if you turn the generator/noise mixer knob to the generator only position! (which you may often do). Yes, the four highest channels will be quiet! Performing this mod will increase the speech recognition and add the missing edge to the sound.

2,  The bias signal for the sound generator does not affect channels 15 – 20.  By routing the bias signal to all the channels you get a brighter and more well defined vocoder output as all the channels will behave together.  This will also increase the effect of adjusting the bias.  This requires adding a few resistors that are not there for channels 15 and 16 and rerouting the 100k resistors for the remaining channels 17-20.

*** On to the dangerous part! ***

1,  The process:  Locate and release PCB KLM-134 (the filter board).  Locate the wire attached to header H3-1 (noise in).  Cut or unsolder the wire.  Now locate IC1 on the same board.  Find pin 1 and follow the trace to channel 16.  Connect from this point to the (now unconnected) corresponding point of channel 17.  The channel numbers and the traces pretty easy to locate on the PCB.  That one was easy!

2,  The process:  On KLM-134, find IC1 pin 7 (bias).  Follow this trace to R2414 (100k).  Now locate Q115 (channel 15 VCA).  Solder a 100k resistor between bias and the base of Q115 (R2315 is connected to the base).  Then locate Q116 and solder a 100k resistor between bias and the base of Q116 (R2316 is connected to the base).  Channel 17 to 20 already have the 100k resistors you need, but they are connected to ground.  Find R2417, R2418, R2419 and R2420.  Connect them to bias instead of ground.

Both of these mods sound complicated but are very easily seen in the schematic here:

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While i was inside the VC-10 i found a few other curious things that i will be discuss in a future post. I had to order more parts to do these bits!  It was filthy in there too, so i disassembled the bottom plate and did a thorough clean below the key bed.  It’s sounding way better to me with the first round of mods.  I should have done a before / after recording to reference…

To Be Continued!!

PS: These are the main sites i used for reference, technical info, and modification ideas:

Korg VC-10 Flaws & Features

Korg VC-10 Modifications

Vocoder Historical Notes

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It’s a Cat’s Universe, and we are merely playthings…

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Another day another jam.  This one features arpeggiated bleeps and bloops from the highly underrated  Sequential Circuits Multitrack.  I enjoy this synth because it is physically compact, straight forward in it’s layout, and has a very solid versatile sound quality over all.  It’s internal sequencer can hold 4 sequences of 6 parts each and is easy to sync to sequencer clock.  If you plug your sequencer clock into the tape input and put the tempo knob all the way to zero the synth goes into external clock mode.  Pretty slick!  All you need to do now is start it in time with your drum machines and you are off.  If you are slightly tricky you can record your parts to the internal click track and quickly stop recording on a whole measure. this way you can loop your sequence along to your other instruments indefinitely!  The internal arpeggiator is also cool because it will do standard up down or in order played.

PS:  this is what i do with the DSX sequencer as well. If you keep it in loop mode it will just start from the beginning when you punch out of record.  The Oberheim DMX is locked to the same clock and just playing along with the multitrack.

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Side notes:

1, I always hoped to find another dead Multitrack so i could make one of these.

2, I did a quick demo of the Multitrak when i picked it up.  All sounds were generated by and played from the internal sequencer at the same time out of the individual outs on the back.  For instance i made a patch that was a ‘kick’ sound which was track one, a ‘snare’ patch for track two, ‘bass’ for three, ‘pad’ for 4, and lead bloops’ were 5.

3, Note the velocity sensitivity on the snare patch.  There’s not many too MIDI Velocity Sensitive true analog synths from back then!

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funny minimal waves…

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I’ve been meaning to post these for a while!  The OB 8 is the main instrument i play when making music in the cave.  It is interfaced with the DSX and they together form the basis for all my sequences.  The OB is usually pretty happy but once in a while it goes haywire and loses it’s mind for a minute.  I’ve found that if i change the keyboard mode from whole to split to double and then retune the voice boards it comes back on line pretty swiftly.  It’s definitely an electrical connection or solder joint somewhere.  I did a bunch of touching up when we took these pics and it’s been much happier since.  i never did locate one ‘ bad spot ‘ but i poked and prodded until i was pretty sure it is somewhere on the top voice board in the control section to the left.  Pics mostly by J-poo!


Other Info:

The OB-8 ( much like the previous Oberheims ) was a work in progress.  Many didn’t have factory midi or were retrofitted ( often midi I/O was cut into the left wooden side panel.  Later versions had a different silk screen on the front that denoted two sets of control features referred to as ‘page two’.  This one has factory midi but no page two screen.  The voice two boards were configured with 4 voices each and communicated to one central CPU.  The boards were designated in an upper and lower fashion much like Roland’s polys of the era. Each board could have a unique patch for sophisticated layering and more dense tonalities!

The left side wood panel had 8 pots that were used to pan each voice left to right.  This seems strange at first but can be very useful.  It allows you to have two patches at one time mapped to different outputs or lets the two cards be moderately panned or hard panned for a wide thick stereo spread with one or two patches.

More on the web:

Oberheim OB-8

Electrongate Products

I’ll do pics of the DSX in the next post…

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Well, it’s early but i may have found my personal fave ‘ album of the year ‘ already!

and it’s only february!

these guys are great ( the first album is anyway )…

They do for Doris Norton what Kraftwerk did for Germany.  taking all the robot angularity, quirk, and synth pomp and focusing it into a perfectly honed  soundtrack to my life.

Background:

This album was produced by Hideki Matsutake.  He was a computer programmer and considered the ‘4th Beatle’ for YMO ( Yellow Magic Orchestra ) in the 70’s – 80’s.

Hideki Matsutake

Yellow Magic Orchestra

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this track is another fine example of Kraftwerkian quirktopia

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Alien space mouth says ” OOOOOOHHHHHH   YEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! ”

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