A Love Letter to the Line 6 DL4 Delay Stompbox

“Delay is the Antidote for Anger” – Ancient fortune cookie wisdom The Yamaha MM8 serves as my main synth for pianos, e-pianos, and the like. Its weighted keys remain a worthy challenge for someone known more as a drummer. Nonetheless, the MM8 remains a valuable part of my studio setup. Budget constraints – always lurking […]

Virtual Dispatches from NAMM 2017

The fact that I didn’t attend this year’s NAMM conference doesn’t stop me from writing about a few of the interesting announced products in the synth realm. This same rule applied in both 2015 and 2016. Like many of you, I watch from afar, typically overcome with an acute case of gear lust. Maybe some […]

The Hotone Skyline Choir Analog Chorus – a Review

After receiving a holiday gift card for the famous “blue branded” consumer electronics retail establishment, I struggled to find any item worth purchasing. Thankfully, I soon discovered they now carry guitar effect pedals. Needing a chorus or flange to use in the studio, my eyes quickly turned towards the Hotone Skyline Choir. The purchase was […]

Arturia DrumBrute – First Impressions

For this Holiday season’s gift to the studio, I decided on the Arturia DrumBrute. An analog drum synthesizer and sequencer, the DrumBrute simply demands to be played, considering its host of performance features and a classic drum machine sound, ala the TR-808 and TR-909 — all at a street price of $449. More esoteric functionality […]

Recording Digest: Church of Hed — Brandenburg Heights

Editor’s note: Jerry Kranitz published Aural Innovations magazine for nearly twenty years until retiring earlier in 2016 to work on a book project. No other entity did a better job covering the worldwide psychedelic music and spacerock scenes. He typically interviewed me every few years about Church of Hed and Quarkspace, my two primary musical […]

Space Out with the TC Electronic T2 Reverb

Effects pedals haven’t been the sole domain of guitar players for decades. Increasingly, keyboardists and synthesists use pedals to transform their sound for a variety of purposes. Reverbs and delays are especially useful when paired with a synth, as they facilitate travel to the outer regions of space and time. My Moog Sub 37 pairs […]

The Korg SQ-1 is a Perfect MIDI Sync Traffic Cop

Korg released its SQ-1 sequencer originally as a pair with the re-imagined MS-20 synthesizer. Faced with two Volcas, a Monotribe, a Moog Sub 37, and a Teenage Electronics PO-12, I wondered if the device could essentially serve as a sync traffic cop; keeping all five instruments in rhythmic “harmony” suitable for some long-form Berlin School […]

Three NAMM 2016 Synths that won’t break the Bank

Each year, the NAMM show serves as a second Christmas for musicians both in attendance and watching from afar. This year’s edition didn’t disappoint, with a wide array of innovative products being introduced. The synthesizer world saw many new intriguing models, with the growing Eurorack scene well represented. Three NAMM 2016 synths piqued my interest, […]

The Teenage Engineering PO-12 puts the Beatbox in your Pocket

Teenage Engineering has earned accolades for their product line featuring great sound and innovative features. Their Pocket Operators, originally introduced last year, included three devices covering the Holy Trinity of Beatmaking — synth, bass, and drum machine — with each looking more like a handheld calculator than a musical instrument. The PO-12 drum machine’s LCD […]

VirSyn’s Cube Synth makes Additive Synthesis a Breeze

Over the last year or so, I’ve been focused on recording the new Church of Hed album, Electric Sepulcher, with hardware synths typically being my gear of choice compared to the venerable iPad 2. As such, I am about a year late with this profile of VirSyn’s excellent Cube Synth, which brings the esoteric world […]