Korg Electribe 2

Wow, I had the iElectribe on my iPad years ago…it was the coolest music software ever, so when I saw the new Korg Electribe 2 I figured it’d cost at least a grand; why wouldn’t it, with all the cool crap it can do?   When I finally saw it cost much, much less (see below), I had to have one!

The Electribe is a drum machine, kind of, but you can do much, much more than just make buttery beats (which are easy to do, I’ll admit!)  The Electribe is a complete music workstation, including a fully functioning synthesizer and a ton of digital samples (get the Electribe SAMPLER if you want to make it play your own sounds).

The workflow is very simple.   Pick a pad (there are 16) and then start to tell the Electribe what to do when you press that pad.  Think of each pad as an “event” that you can trigger in various ways.   You can play them like a keyboard or use them in a step-sequencer.  If you don’t like the keypads, a MIDI keyboard (each pad number corresponds to its specific MIDI channel, e.g., pad 3 is on channel 3) is a cool way to get sounds to play. You’re “limited” to a sequence of 16 x 4 “beats” (i.e., the cursor cycles through all 16 pads up to 4 times before repeating). If that’s not enough for you, the new “Chain” command will allow you to string sequences together to make HUGE music.

Each pad can have its own “oscillator,” which can be a drum sample sound, or one of a ton of synth waves, wavetables or other samples.  Then each oscillator can be modified through filters, envelopes, and effects.  Check out this video to see how many different sounds this thing can make at once, as an ambient track is made from scratch:

 

Here’s the front panel:

If  you’d like to learn everything there is to getting started with the Electribe 2, check out this tutorial (and get 20% off!)

If you’d like to BUY one, check out the link below:

 

 

In the meantime, here are my favorite Electribe 2 tutorials.  Have fun!!!!

 

 

 

your pal,

Steve

Moog Mother 32

First, I love all things Moog.  In the 70s, I trained under Roger Hannay at UNC in the Electronic Music Lab on the Moog System 55 modular system.  Never seen one?  Check this out:

Anyway, one day I was browsing the internet for synthesizer news and I saw this photograph:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had to have one (or three, as it turned out!)  This was the new (at the time) Moog Mother 32 with the 3-tier rack, a fully semi-modular synthesizer that would satisfy my nostalgia for that System 55 for years to come.

As I said, the Mother 32 is semi-modular, meaning that the knobs are all hardwired together, but that hardwiring can be interrupted and modified by using the patch bay on the right.

Here’s a closeup of the front panel (click to enlarge):

So, for example, one could patch the Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO) OUT to the Voltage Controlled Filter (VCF) cutoff frequency IN to create a wah-wah effect.   The options are nearly limitless and confined only to your imagination and experimentation.

Don’t be intimidated by the patch bay…here’s an example of what can be done with two Mothers and NO PATCHES whatsoever:

 

The sequencer takes a bit of getting used to, but there are good instructions in the manual and tons of youtube videos to help you along.  Here’s one!
 

 

 You can use a MIDI keyboard but for sequencing, the on-board keyboard is very useful.  Several banks of sequences can be saved for use later.  For a more structured approach check out this set of lessons.

This is a monophonic synthesizer, best used in multitrack recording, sequencing, soloing, etc.   There is a single Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO), but the filter self-oscillates, and by patching the keyboard OUT to the VCF cutoff IN, you can create a second sine wave sound simultaneously.  Standard VCO types are triangle and pulse.  The whole system is very low noise and the sound is clean and Moog-like.  100% analog sound production.

I have used my Mother 32s in live performance (they look cool, beside sounding awesome) and in recording.  Make sure you let them warm up for at least 15 minutes or you’ll be constantly retuning during your performance. It’s EURORACK compatible, too!  Just pop it out of its case, add a rack and power supply, and you’re ready to go.

If you want to hear more, check out the synth master Rheyne’s Mother 32 video below:


If you decide you want to buy one, check out this link: