In "Every User Lies" at the excellent Coding Horror blog, Jeff Atwood refers in passing to the concept of the "active user" – the person who immediately runs the software without looking at the manual at all.
In my trying out of various softsynths (most notably the WayOutWare TimewARP 2600 and the GForce Oddity and impOSCar), I’ve found myself doing that – firing up Garageband, and opening the plugin in a track, then just fiddling with the presets. By this point I know quite well that doing this with an analog synth with a screenful of knobs and sliders is counterproductive, but I caught myself doing it anyway.
So I decided that if I was going to have any kind of a meaningful interaction with the plugins, I was going to have to work through the manuals and see what there was to learn, whether I decided to buy them or not – and to avoid wasting money on something that didn’t fit my headspace (and earspace). Continue reading Lying users and synth manuals
Quite some time back, I found a scanned copy of the ARP 2600 User’s manual. I’ve always had a soft spot for the 2600, though I could never quite afford one; it’s always seemed like a great balance as far as analog synths go.In a recent fit of “my disk is too full”, I unzipped the file of scans and started reading. It’s really a very good introduction to the machine and how it works; I’ve actually started feeling like if I had one in front of me, that I’d be able to use it effectively. Continue reading The ARP 2600 manual
I’m currently at the airport, having just finished going through security and having to have my backpack scanned twice; too many confusing electronic bits, I guess.
Load-out took from after the concert and final jams (ten-ish) until about 3AM. We got to experience the weather we might have had: 60 mph winds and [...]
I saw one of these at a gathering at Recombinant Media Labs in San Francisco, with Buchla himself performing. It’s nice to see Real Analog Synths again, but the price point is still no more affordable for me now than it was when I first encountered synthesizers in 1972: $9K for a minimal [...]
I got a mail the other day from someone who was looking to duplicate the kind of long, fed-back tape delays that Pauline Oliveros used in “II of IV”. I initially suggested a Max/MSP program, or perhaps Supercollider, but, as he put it, “I use a computer as something to write on”, and I [...]
No, not those animals with the big eyes; the Lemur is a new touch-control surface for computer-based synthesists. (Why do lemurs so fascinate musicians?)
Not cheap: $2495. But it provides something exceptionally cool: you can drag-and-drop your desired controls in a Mac Windows, or Linux application and up load them to the Lemur. The [...]
Those of you missing Metlay’s take on new gear should take a gander at createdigitalmusic. Nice reportage on upcoming interesting boxen.
(For those who want to see Metlay’s reviews in print, check out Recording Magazine. Mike is associate editor; you’ll often see articles there by other EMUSIC-L alumni as well.)
William Shipway, in Sydney, Australia, asks:
I’m looking for an Akai S3000 to hire, borrow, or buy. I haven’t found one in the places I’ve looked in Sydney. My wife is organising a performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of a work that requires an S3000 (or compatible if that makes sense) for playback [...]
James Patten and Ben Recht, at the MIT Media Lab, have created a fascinating new tool called Audiopad. This is a hyperinstrument – a flat surface with embedded antennae that allows it to sense the position of objects on its surface. Combined with custom software and a video projector, this allows you to directly [...]