retracting the claws

I’ve decided to downsize my synth setup just a little.

My original thoughts about getting the Strega were that I’d either have to put aside my Microfreak or unload 60HP of modules to empty the Pod60. Now that we come to it, I’m going to do both.

  • Microfreak is now officially sold, I just need to ship it.
  • Mixwitch is being replaced by a Doepfer A-150 — a little smaller, cheaper, simpler, but dual. I honestly have been using Mixwitch rarely and only for transposition and rare switching, reaching instead for the more ergonomically favorable Shades or Blinds for everything else. And I honestly could probably have skipped the A-150 too.
  • Angle Grinder is out. It’s a lovely filter and pretty interesting as an oscillator. But between Blades, Inertia, Katowice, Lacrima Versio, the Minibrute’s filter, Strega’s filter and software I am really well covered here!
  • Jena is out. Wavetable-based waveshaping is covered by Shapeshifter and Bitwig Grid. I can still use Drezno for making audio dirtier, reshaping signals, extracting and generating patterns, and so on. (I also won’t be picking up Erfurt, which would largely just been enhancements for Jena.)
  • Crush Delay is out. Strega has its own, similar but more mojo-fied dirty delay. And I’m seriously not lacking for other delay FX.
  • Plancks is out. I used it rarely, mostly for crossfades I could be doing with Planar or Blinds. I’d put some thought into going for a Morph 4 instead of this downsizing, but nah.

So the Strega will sit right next to the 0-Ctrl, the awkward laptop arm of my monitor stand will be folded back out of the way, and I’ll also put away the towering DJ stand that’s holding up the Model:Cycles. The latter I’ll keep as an occasional toy for drum jams in the easy chair, and a once-in-a-while contributor to my recordings).

Selling off this stuff will also go a long way toward re-zeroing my music gear spending for the year. Which means more leeway later if I decide to pick up that headless travel piccolo bass (a category that needs a more concise, less awkward name).

Speaking of basses, I have found my holy grail: reliable pitch to MIDI conversion (and thus, pitch to CV). Jam Origin Guitar to MIDI works very well and is polyphonic, though it only tracks guitar range (losing almost the bottom octave of standard bass tuning). Bass to MIDI is monophonic — more appropriate for CV anyway — and tracks the full bass range with decent reliability and pretty low latency.

I had all kinds of fun last night not just playing synths with the bass (which can be really nice when doubling it with the original sound), but using it to make filters and oscillators track pitch — nice with comb filters, ring modulation, and some funky stuff with using the amplitude to control waveshaping. But the ultimate was Rings, particularly in the chord modes. It was hypnotic! I’ll also definitely be trying it with other resonator patches using Mimeophon, Beads, Minimal Audio Rift and so on.

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