Sunday, 26 July 2015

Twitter channel

In case you don't know, I'm on Twitter as @southern_trax and I tend to share music news, synthesiser stuff, highlight great Gumtree deals and reshare interesting things from Matrixsynth, If you haven't already, come take a look, follow and get more regular updates from me.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


One of the more interesting things about newer style synthesisers is that their creators sometimes go out of their way to make their products slightly more tweakable and editable for the masses to enjoy. Korg are an excellent example of this, as they are well known for going the extra mile on their recent analogue gear (Monotrons and Volcas) to label the PCBs with convenient solder points to easily add further functions.

As an owner of both the MiniBrute and MicroBrute, in part due to the involvement of Grenoble's Yves Usson in the design as well as the sounds they can make, I am pleased to see that he has convinced Arturia to release PDFs of the internal schematics and is currently curating a list of hacks, modifications and alterations on his Hack a Brute website.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Matrixsynth turns 10

Amazing news from Matrix over at long-time blog Matrixsynth - the blog has just reached the ripe old age of 10 years old.

It's certainly an awe-inspiring achievement and amazing to think that the blog is updated every single day with new content from across the globe. While I wish I could do the same, unfortunately I don't have the time to do so but it's good to have the bar for quality raised quite so high for synth-related content. I still remember it was the first place I found out that George Duke had died, along with the original Volca press release and numerous other newsworthy items. If you haven't already bookmarked the blog, then you really ought to.

Some amazing site stats from Matrix himself:

  • Formed in 2005, a year before Facebook became open
  • 127,448 posts, all hand curated
  • 46,832,215 page views (as of midnight EST)
  • Only missed a single day of posting back on August 6, 2005

"I had no idea there would be something to post every single day of the year moving forward. Think about that a bit. There is something to share every single day. What an wonderful world of synths we live in."

Here's to another ten years!

Original post:

Monday, 13 July 2015

Helm - multi platform VST

Another day, another pretty VST to try out! Helm gets some interest for running as a multi-platform virtual subtractive synth with lots of interesting features that I haven't come across in a free VST so far. Whether you're PC, Mac or Linux, 32 or 64bit, VST or standalone executable, Helm has all the major options covered for all major DAWs, so it would be rude of you not to download it.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Tutorial: Korg Micro X and Windows 7

After having quite so much trouble hooking up my Micro X to my Windows 7 PC I thought what I would do is to give a bit of a tutorial / troubleshooting guide on how to get the machine working in harmony, just in case anyone else needs some help.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Korg Micro X - new toy!

As fortune often favours the brave, or in my case the persistent and damned lucky, I happened to see a set of posts on Gumtree featuring audio gear, mixers and synthesizers late in the day on Monday. So far so normal, what was different here was that the seller was in the next town away and as I'm based fairly far out from central London I was unlikely to get the usual competition from other eagle-eyed users.

Yamaha ReFace - thoughts

Unfortunately this wasn't mine, but I think it works in this case. For a bit of background information, Yamaha have recently dropped the ball on their recent new range of ReFace synthesiser, piano and organ keyboards and announced them early by accident. Based on the in depth reviews from outlets like Sonic State and Doctor Mix, there have been some really strong reactions and this more or less sums up the popular opinion. I'm going to take a more measured approach and talk about them once I have listened to them all!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Standing on the shoulders of giants: top 10 house samples

Getting the same sound as your musical heroes is tough; without having the same equipment, playing style and production techniques, that elusive sound is often too difficult to accurately reproduce, though I have found that it can be a satisfying experience to give it a try. Easier then is to sample your favourite artists to get a solid base to work with that you are happy with quickly and then clear the clips later.