small bits

Sunday it was a lovely 65°F throughout the evening. Monday at that same time, it was 25 and windy and been snowing most of the day. This morning as I’m about to go to work, it’s

which is just too flipping cold. Autumn is my favorite season, but for the last few years, it’s seemed like it was under attack from both sides. Going from picnic weather to parka weather in one day is just too much.

Anyway. Here’s a thing I did, a quick jam on the Lyra-8 with another layer of distortion, inspired by the computer game I’ve been playing quite a bit of lately:

Noita (Finnish for “witch” or “shaman” apparently) is the sort of game where, if I am bad at it, it’s kind of hard to tell because so much of it comes down to random luck, impossible situations, and occasionally completely unfair events. Yet usually the most ridiculous sudden deaths even after a long, careful campaign are more entertaining than frustrating. You’re a levitating wizard with a couple of basic wands to start with, on a dungeon crawl through increasingly deadly environs. Everything is physically modeled like a “falling sand” game — water flows somewhat realistically, evaporates when heated and condenses again; wood and coal and oil burn at different rates; fire needs oxygen; oil is slippery and floats on water; slime is sticky; sandstone is softer than other rocks. But it also plays like a high-speed magical game of Worms. You find and tinker with more and better (and sometimes ludicrously dangerous) wands and potions as you go: tentacles, arrows, bouncing bolts, chainsaws or flying sawblades (!), lightsabers (!!), freezing, acid balls, lightning, boulder summoning, lakes of lava, Giga Death Crosses, nukes (!!!!!)

Theoretically, there’s a way to “win” the game. I’ve never seen it. I’m lucky to get through the reach the incredibly deadly jungle level with its robotic spiders and fire-flinging flowers, or the Vault with shielded flying drones and acid-spitting floating eyes. Once I reached a place called the Temple of the Art, and got cornered in a pool of acid that was on fire while being pummeled by spells from four different completely unfamiliar monsters.

The game is full of surprises and secrets. Sometimes you do things to “anger the gods” — or a pesky earth-devouring worm does and you get the blame — and they send a flying, shielded skeleton mage to murder you. Sometimes you find mysterious secret tablets or orbs or areas of total darkness or stranger-than-normal alchemy or other weirdness. Once I drank from a “Touch of Midas” potion that turned loose substances (sand, coal, etc.) into gold when I approached; I racked up a lot of wealth but didn’t survive to spend it. Just once, I saw this in the Hiisi Base:

That’s my wizard’s blood there, because there were about five more of these guys on the other side of the screen. Oops.

done

Despite really annoying cold symptoms that have kept me home from work, partially in bed and partially half-dozing in the recliner, I’ve finished mastering the rest of the tracks — and recorded one more short one, because I felt like something with a particular character was called for.

The process mostly got easier as I went. There’s a sort of iterative logic to it that is fairly similar from one track to the next, though specifics vary. Fixing my stereo phase faults took me hours to figure out the first time, but seconds now that I know what generally works. And I was more cautious in setting up my effects on the new track and didn’t create trouble for myself in the first place.

There’s one note I have to check into with fresh ears; other than that I’m just waiting on cover art and need to write up some text. And then on to the next project!

Other than that, I’ve been reading a lot and TRYING to sleep.

I finished Last Dance, a novel about an Earth-to-Mars transport ship, its ornery captain and his rebellion. Pretty good!

I read a couple of short books on mixing and mastering, which were not awful but less helpful than the advice and practical knowledge I’d already gained. Meh.

I also read You Look Like a Thing and I Love You, Janelle Shae’s (of AI Weirdness) humor/non-fiction book on the current and likely future state of AI. She says “the danger of AI is not that it’s smart, but that it’s not smart enough” and that certainly seems true. It feels like there have been amazing breakthroughs in machine learning in the past few years, but they’re all extremely narrow in scope, easily fooled, have no sense of value judgement other than what they’re programmed to seek or avoid, are highly susceptible to bias and extraneous information in training data, tend to have very small memories, it can be difficult to understand why they made their specific decisions, and approximately as smart as a worm. On the other hand, there are some problems they can solve… as long as a human verifies them.

yes, master

I spent much of my weekend mastering four tracks from Vultur Cadens. Just as important as the specific things I learned: I’m more invested in the result, and have the goal of making my own mastering as consistent as possible with that of an experienced professional. It’s a challenge, but I’m very happy with the results I’m getting so far.

Nathan Moody was a guest recently at the Velocity synth gathering in Seattle, and gave a talk on “Mixing Modular Music” — which includes and complements the advice he gave me about my mixes.

Trying not to make this too long and technical, here are the things I’ve learned that I’m applying now:

  • It’s important when using a spectrum analyzer to set the block size high to detect infrasonic content that needs filtering out. Voxengo Span at a block size of 8192, and minimum frequency of 5 Hz, will do the job.
  • Stereo phase correlation matters even if you’re not cutting vinyl. Voxengo Span and Correlometer are easy to read: 0 to +1 is good, anything more than brief dips below 0 is bad. Toneboosters EQ4 is an excellent mid-side EQ that can correct it — after a few hours of struggle I’ve found a set of techniques that not only fixes these issues, but often results in a better sounding stereo field. I don’t necessarily care about “natural” here and I’m not aligning multiple microphones, so what I’m learning for myself doesn’t necessarily apply to every mix.
  • Fixing big resonances. Something that makes some synth sounds harsh and strident (with both the Lyra and with feedback-based synthesis), and leads to listener fatigue, is frequencies that are really loud compared to the rest of the spectrum. Often bringing them down just a little bit makes them sound great — and then subsequent compression and limiting might mean having to shave them again. Again, EQ4 is great for targeting these. For my purposes, finding these manually and fixing them once they’re already recorded is fine.
  • Compression: this can be complex, subtle and subjective. I’m just loosely imitating what Nathan Moody said he did, mostly with Klanghelm MJUC or NI Solid Bus Comp so far, tweaking until I feel like it’s doing something positive. If I were mixing a rock band or making techno or hip-hop there might be more of a system to it. I still feel I have a lot more to learn here.
  • With limiting, I still rely on Toneboosters Barricade and Bitwig’s peak limiter for ease of use, transparency and simplicity. But I have a new favorite preset as a starting point in Presswerk.
  • In terms of other flavor/vibe/etc. I find I really like u-he Uhbik-Q for flavor EQ. For saturation though, I am still very much “try things at random to see what works, if anything.” Another area where I want to learn more — I hope to someday find a favorite secret sauce, and/or recognize what to use without needing as much experimentation every time.
  • Overall I find myself bouncing between Bitwig Studio and Sound Forge Pro 13 for mastering. The former is better for chains of plugins — the effects and the analyzers to monitor them, or EQ that wants tweaking because I tweaked a compressor. The latter has a few handy tools (dynamics statistics, some noise/crackle removal options, and easy fade in/out and crossfading of effects).

busy busy

So many things just happened in the 4 hours or so since getting back from work:

  • Listened to the second round of masters back from Obsidian Sound. Perfect! There was really just a small tweak I requested from the first round (sent to me yesterday morning and answered this morning).
  • Got my Akemie’s Castle set up and started playing with it. More on this later, but I can confirm everything Mylar Melodies said in his video. Especially “what it does not sound is pristine and clean” and “super doomful.”
  • Went through the end of the “Audio Industry for Rainforests” charity auction — and won more than I expected. There was a ton of stuff donated and that meant less competition; there was also a lot less rapid-fire escalation at the very end due to the way the platform works. So I wound up with the Sequential DSM-03 Feedback module, and 3 plugins: DyVision Reverb Remover, DyVision Video Tape Emulator, and Acon Digital DeFilter.
  • Got a notification about a plugin update. Put off downloading it and then later, realized it’s not a plugin that I’m using anymore anyway.
  • Recorded a track with the Akemie’s Castle. Probably not one to be released, but it’s got some fun sounds in it, and could be an intro/outro/segue/something.
  • Also the secondhand auction ended an hour after the main auction. Since I donated stuff to that one, I watched… but the final tally is being delayed a little, so I don’t yet have to go through the license transfer process for 10 items from 3 companies.
  • Got an email from Obsidian about the processing that was done and why. Started looking up some info and interpreting that… oh yeah, I need to finished that process yet.
  • The T-Rackonizer — the last module I had up for sale — just happened to sell on Reverb at this same time. So I got it boxed up and ready to ship.
  • Started writing this post, partly as a way to make sure I’m not forgetting to do something.
  • Somehow in there I also ate dinner, fed the dogs, and supervised their outside time in the season’s first freezing weather because I didn’t want Lady escaping and giving trick-or-treating kids a real Halloween fright. (She’s a sweetheart, but she’s also a solid iron brick of pit bull.)

This — now that I believe there will be no more gear purchases in 2019 — seems as good a time as any to show my total expenditures for the year:

$11

That is the miraculous number I get from totaling all (*) of the gear I bought and sold this year. That includes the Eurorack case, all modules, pedals, and controllers, the Reface CS, and the Lyra-8. It does not include:

  • Some minor accessories and cables.
  • Shipping expenses — in retrospect I do wish I’d tracked this, because it adds up. I offer free shipping when I sell on forums, and often undercharged flat fees on Reverb.
  • New computer — I would have bought it sooner rather than later anyway.
  • Things that aren’t gear — KnobCon expenses, mastering, Distrokid, web hosting, income from album sales.

Things that I tracked separately:

  • Software. The Bitwig license, a Bitwig beginner training course, Sound Forge Pro 13 upgrade, and a handful of minor plugins. These were 3/4 paid for by selling some plugin licenses I am no longer using. The remaining licenses were donated to the secondhand charity auction, where they raised $157.
  • Preordering the SynthTech E520. My justification is, it ships in May 2020 so it goes on the 2020 budget. 😉

Okay, so it’s really more than $11. But my goal for the year wasn’t a $0 budget, it was to track my spending to stay mindful of it.

From this point, on my guiding principle is “the gear I have is excellent, complete and satisfying.” There may be a hard budget limit or a maximum number of transactions or something, but I may just trust the principle instead.

throw away the key

First order of business is this gem:

I’m not a baseball fan, but these folks have restored some of my faith in humanity. I may sample this and use it for something…


OK, on to other things: the album!

  • The recordings are 100% done. The last one I completed was probably the creepiest of them all, in a good way. The album won’t be out in time for Halloween, but it’s got October in its DNA.
  • I’m almost certainly going to call it Vultur Cadens, a name for the constellation Lyra, for reasons that should be obvious from the previous few weeks of blog posts.
  • My answer for “is there a theme?” has been “not really.” But I look at the track titles and see that they’re pointing at madness, poison, parasites, scavengers. It looks like there was a major subconscious political vibe.
  • My brother, a Ringling-educated artist who’s done some whimsical and occasionally somewhat creepy character paintings, expressed interest in doing the cover art based on a description of the music and the name. I’m eager to see what he comes up with, and happy to finally put the cover art in the hands of an artist instead of a musician…
  • I’ve always mastered my own stuff, for budget reasons and because those are skills I’d like to develop. This time, I’m hoping to have a couple of key tracks mastered by Obsidian Sound, to measure against my own efforts and to learn from a pro who is at home in this genre and with the Lyra-8 specifically. I consider it an investment into the quality of my future work, and kind of a special treat.

assembly

I’ve passed the 1 hour mark for the Lyra album, but I’m going to edit the 12-minute improv I recorded last night and add one more piece, I think.

I’ve found that my UMC1820 audio interface gets hotter than I would like. The front panel hit 99.7°F at one point last night — even with a fan trying to exhaust air from the back of the case — which implies the electronics inside might be above where they should be in the long term. (For a PC CPU, the general rule is the core should be below 40°C (104°F) when idling; I can only guess that’s roughly true for some of the parts in the interface.)

My old interface ran cool, but the new one crams more electronics into a housing half the size. There’s no ventilation in the rack case I’ve got it in, so I guess I’ll be switching to a 3U rack, possibly 4U. First I need to figure out whether to go for 6″ or 9″ deep (depending on how much platform I need for the 3DWaves stand that’s on the way & the laptop stand behind it), and where to arrange the gaps and any fans/blowers etc. (depending on temperature measurements of the top and bottom of the interface after it’s been running in the box for a while).


3 years ago I was making music experimentally with no particular focus, and I acquired my first Eurorack modules to explore “sounds I can’t make with software,” on the theory they were going to provide an extra voice to accompany my MIDI piano-roll sequences and software synths.

Now what I have is an instrument/system attuned to the music I make and the way I like to make it, rather than the other way around. The last waves of changes really brought it together: intentional focus, hardware/software unification, and hands-on expressive performance. I’m not just fascinated by it, as I have been by a lot of synth gear — but genuinely satisfied. I expect to make very few gear changes in 2020, and will be writing that into my goals for the year.

Here’s what I do have planned:

  • I pre-ordered the SynthTech E520. The Resampling Delay sounds pretty fantastic to me (based on E580 demos), with the character that was the one thing I really liked about Mannequins W/ but a full-featured, sane interface. While the Spectral Crusher does have some overlap with software, it’s got a few other tricks; the Peak Hold sounds a lot better than the one from my own FFT experiments and everything can be modulated in real time, whereas my code barely even runs in real time. That should be shipping next May.
  • Akemie’s Castle. I’m gonna get one. I just really like that crusty character of the old FM chips, and the drone/chord potential is strong even without freely tuneable FM operators.
  • Sequential DSM03 Feedback. I’ve got a winning bid on one in the charity auction, but I won’t raise if someone outbids me.
  • Small gaps: probably going to arcade buttons.
  • Possible displacement: I may find that with Castle I don’t also need Donut. Or that Supercell, Mimeophon, E520, and (possibly) DSM03 is overkill. Or that I’d rather have one Rings and the DSM03 than two Rings. Or that with Castle, my power supply can’t keep up with the -12V requirements and something else has to give. I’m not particularly “looking to get rid of” anything here, but acknowledge that it’s possible.

Other than that, I expect to say “that sounds nice but I don’t need it” a lot in 2020.

answering myself

Responding to my own previous thoughts (which was sorta brainstorming), just to show how my mental processes go sometimes.

ring controller or a pitch touchstrip

Nah. No desk space, and I really do like the keyboard/Touché combo.

if the SQ-1 can already do this well enough…

It can!

an arcade button module for manual gates

I’m gonna see what else may come up in the auction, but I might see if I can find an already-built Horstronic Arcade Button. Or I’ll build my own passive switch/fidget toy. 😛

Adventure Audio Skin

For the small price and small size, it’s all right. My dry skin is kind of an issue, just as it was with the Make Noise Pressure Points (but it’s not a big deal with the Lyra-8). I find I can also touch the tips of cables to the touchplates to make contact, for a somewhat different effect.

DSM-03 Feedback — maybe even two

One is fine.

SynthTech E520

What I missed before was a PDF with descriptions of the current algorithms so far. It’s intriguing me beyond the available demos. There are two weeks left in the pre-order period, before it goes to Kickstarter (which I’d rather avoid due to their union-busting). New demos available on Saturdays. I’m still on the fence, but wobbling perhaps a bit more. I hope to make a decision soon.

Going through the PDF, noting the features, summarizing and comparing to available demos: one of the potentially exciting bits is actually the resampling delay. It’s what I enjoyed about W/, and not something plugins do. Which does make me wonder about picking up the original E580 Resampling Mini-delay module… though it’s not stereo and lacks many of these new features.

Spectral Crush does have some resemblance to a couple of my experimental plugins as well as things like MTransformer and SpecOps… but also a novel approach. And real-time modulation of parameters, compared to Elitist’s inefficient, slower-than-real-time operation even on my new computer. Could be interesting to sweep the thresholds instead of just fading the effect in or out, or to control them based on the dynamics of the signal itself… oh boy, starting to lean more toward a yes here.

On the other effects that I can dismiss as “I have this as a plugin,” I wonder if the individual character of the module is going to be an important factor, or perhaps the modulation possibilities.

…also, I could get this and not bid any higher on that DSM-03, which already basically does stuff that Mimeophon does. This smells like a plan.

Stochastic Inspiration Generator

I tried to build something similar in Bitwig and in Teletype. The first was awkward and not completely successful. The second was awkward and not really complete or correct. So it comes down to whether this functionality is worth paying for… I think it’s cool but it’s a low priority.


And a special guest: Akemie’s Castle! After all the cutting back on oscillators that I did.

Working with the Lyra-8 and all the lo-fi plugins recently, as well as having gone (indirectly) from the somewhat gnarly Hertz Donut mk2 to the clean mk3, makes me particularly appreciate the old Yamaha FM chips in the Castle. Plogue’s PortaFM and MD plugins have not quite scratched the itch, only whetted the appetite. Maybe this would even replace the HD mk3, maybe not, but I’m going to keep an eye out for trade opportunities to snag one.

wiggle, wobble, wah

That Expressive-E Touché SE is quite the thing.

(not me)

For the first half-hour or so I was ready to send it back. Nevermind issues with the PACE copy protection scheme for the instrument plugin that comes with it, which doesn’t effectively demonstrate the controller’s real potential once you do get it working anyway. Bitwig’s “assign MIDI controller to this knob” feature is frankly horrible for this, where just touching the controller might trigger multiple sensors, and if you choose the right one, the scaling is all on a separate interface and not very intuitive.

Fortunately before I gave up, I tried Bitwig’s modulator system instead, which includes a MIDI CC device. That one works really well and isn’t hard to deal with. I just need to remember that CC16 is rear pressure, CC17 front pressure, and CC18 sideways movement (as I have set it up).

I made Ondes Martenot-like presets for Aalto and Bitwig’s FM-4 synth. Front pressure controls volume, rear controls timbre, sideways motion affects pitch. It’s amazingly expressive and fun to play, though getting the relative sensitivity settings right is key to not accidentally skewing the pitch a lot with every note. Overall it’s like adding another dimension or two to playing synths.

I also set up an FX Grid preset that routes the three control values to CV outputs on the ES-3 so I can use them with modular. That works just as fantastically well. I can use front pressure to open a VCA or LPG… or to trigger Natural Gate or an envelope, for that matter. And of course I can set up any sort of exotic routing — damping, structure and pitch on Rings for instance, for a wild and weird time.

Its usefulness directly with the Lyra-8 is a little weak, especially where it comes to pitch modulation. But I’ve found that assigning sideways motion to the delay time on a plugin or module can work for both vibrato (due to Doppler effect) and more slow, subtle movement. (Sideways motion is great for all sorts of subtle effects changes, and that’s something I’m going to explore a lot…) Front pressure can go into Hold CV (affecting all 8 voices depending on Hold knobs and envelope switches) or an external VCA or LPG.

Overall, this was a really great choice and I’m glad I went for it.


Other gear thoughts at this point:

  • A ring controller or a pitch touchstrip, for more of a true Ondes Martenot feel with the Touché, could be fun. Space for it is questionable though, the Touché already gives a fair amount of “horizontal freedom” when paired with a keyboard.
  • More realistically: a way to select between a few tuned notes (somewhat similar to the Lyra) in a compact way for the modular would be nice. It’s not high priority though. Also I need to see if the SQ-1 can already do this well enough…
  • I could still get an arcade button module for manual gates. Kind of a nostalgia thing I guess. There are a few options, but I may see if someone can custom-build one that’s more suitable. In fact, if that could be combined with the above concept, it’d be fantastic.
  • I do have an Adventure Audio Skin module (just delivered, waiting for me to get off work in a couple hours) to play with, to bring skin conductivity to the modular. I’m not expecting a lot of it, but we’ll see.
  • There’s some good stuff in the rainforest charity auction. I’m going to grab a DSM-03 Feedback if I can — maybe even two if they don’t go much higher. I’m still kind of hoping other manufacturers join in; Erica just did (pity my case’s PSU can’t handle the Fusion Delay) and in past years Bastl and Dreadbox were involved. Software-wise, so far I really just want that DeFilter.
  • I donated a bunch of my unused software licenses to the secondhand auction — so far they have raised $89 in bids.
  • SynthTech E520 Hyperion Stereo Audio Processor… I’m leaning toward “no.” I’m confident it will be pretty wonderful. The demos are all either excellent or just plain weird, but so far I feel like I can replicate them with plugins.
  • Omsonic Stochastic Inspiration Generator? Kind of on my radar, but I still think I could maybe imitate it well enough with either Teletype or Bitwig.
  • Pedals…? There’s stuff I think is nifty, but I believe I’ve got it all covered with plugins. In fact I could probably let go of the Tensor and Dark World and not really miss them too much, but I think before I did that, I’d try just running the Lyra through them instead.

turning the crank

(It turns out moving aside those unused Dirt Rally files was a bad idea, since the RaceNet server decided it was a “discrepancy” that meant I was probably cheating, so it wiped my current championship progress (which was good) and maybe my online standings (which were not particularly). Feh.)

After two weeks with the Lyra-8, I have more than an hour of recorded, finished material. 13 minutes of that is for Ambient Online, and 9 minutes was rejected. I’ll keep going for a while and see what else comes up, and maybe raise the bar a little more.

The Lyra-8 has a very “forward” sound that fills the frequency spectrum, and it musically covers drones, bass, melody, noises, pulses, growls… it tends to want to be dominant, and can stand alone. I was concerned I might find myself putting my music into distinct “Lyra” and “non-Lyra” boxes that have a different feel.

But the last three or so recordings I’ve made have eased my worries. I’m finding technique and style cross over between the two domains, and I’m continuing to discover the ways it all fits together.

Two of those recordings were last night. What can I say, I have been bitten by the bug!

This album is going to not have any particular theme other than “featuring the Lyra-8.” But I already have a specific intent for the next one.

poke, poke back

It’s nice to finally get some autumn-like weather again. We waited until last night, marshmallows and cheddar turkey sausages at the ready, for the opportunity to “camp” on our back patio and enjoy it. The later dawn, earlier sunset, fall colors, and more human-friendly temperature and humidity generally brings a lift to my mood and general energy level.

The Lyra-8 has been working out well for me. I’ve started a collection of some decent recordings of improvisations with it, and submitted two of them to Ambient Online’s next compilation. A couple of times I’ve worked from “what’s the most utterly horrendous noise possible?” to something really gorgeous.

I know its self-modulation will never really be tamed — there are singularities along the range of the “Mod” knobs that defy all explanation. But so long as I avoid those, I’m developing a better sense of the combinations, modulation, effects, techniques, performance etc. that give me results I like. Natural Gate is a yes for sure, as it adds more definite articulation and really enjoys chewing on those full, harmonically rich and noise-infused sounds. Stereo delay as well as Haaze can give it width and depth, and delay and reverb can help turn the instrument’s generally loose sense of pitch into a fuller “ensemble” feel. Low shelf EQ, notch filtering and dynamic EQ can tame some of the overwhelming pressure the instrument puts in some bands, while a high shelf or noise reduction algorithms can reduce or shape some of the noisiness of the built-in PT delay. CV modulation requires some offset and attenuation to work well, as the first couple of volts often seem to have almost no effect. With that knowledge I want to revisit external FM sources and see how they differ from the internal modulation routing. I haven’t tried pitch sequences with the SQ-1 or Stages yet, but that’s coming.

The Lyra is certainly responsive to touch and expressive to play, but it invites a bit more.

  • I’d like some subtle performance control over vibrato and pitch bending. It can be achieved somewhat through modulation between voices, but you’ve got to play multiple voices for that, and that’s more like “influence” rather than control. Trying to use the tuning knobs for micro pitch fluctuations is a bit awkward and risky, and the vibrato toggle switch is very organ-like and heavy-handed.
  • Likewise, dynamics control with the touchplates can be a bit tricky. Some of it is down to technique, combining different touches/brushes of the plates with the envelope switch and Hold knob settings — and is a pretty delightful aspect of the feel of the instrument at times — but more control is welcome.
  • Expressive control over other aspects of the sound — like the mix level of an effect, or a manually controlled phaser or something — seems like it would be extremely welcome with this instrument.
  • When I’m playing non-Lyra synths now, I feel like I’m missing a dimension.

I’m considering the Expressive E Touché SE. It’s a highly adjustable touch controller inspired by the touché d’intensité control (aka the “lozenge”) on the Ondes Martenot, but with 4 degrees of freedom rather than one. You can press, tap, rock, and shift it, and assign different directional controls as needed — most typically, downward pressure to affect volume and brightness, and sideways movement for vibrato and bending. You can adjust its sensitivity and its feel, through a combination of electronic settings, software settings, a mechanical balancing slider, and physically changing out an internal cylinder if you want to get that deep. I tried its more expensive sibling at Knobcon a couple of years ago, and it felt very good. The “Software Edition” is USB-only and gives up direct MIDI and CV connections, but I can get around that easily with the Bitwig/Expert Sleepers integration. The full version could be a smarter choice if intended to play live without a computer, which… right now I assume I don’t.

But: desk space. I’ll have to figure out if it will fit and if the ergonomics will be right.

There are other possibilities, with… mostly fewer benefits other than fitting in the modular rack. Intellijel Tetrapad, Meng Qi Hand, Adventure Audio Skin, FSRs (force sensing resistors)… I have a lot of questions about some of them, doubts about others. A couple of them are cheap enough I might add them on for giggles even if I go for the Touché, if I make other small changes to the modular.