Archive for the 'iPhone / iPod' Category

Portasound PSS-21

I have a unhealthy relationship to portasounds, or at least that’s what my girlfriend tell me. I kinda nag on her to not bring home more shoes / clothes / candles / books / records and so on, yet it’s totally ok for me to bring home a new (old) Yamaha Portasound each week. The PSS-21 is a -quite boring to be honest- standard PCM (or AWM, advanced wave memory as the clever engineers have written on it) toyish keyboard. Even though the picture above isn’t really related to the PSS-21, it still shows the never-ending happiness that keeps coming out through those small useless speakers.

No analog goodness here, even though I must say some of the drum samples seem to be based on a Roland TR-808 (?).¬† So- no lowpass filters, no drifting oscillators and no ‘life of its own’. Just pure Lo-Fi toy drum samples- some of them surprisingly punchy. I’ll make a new refill out of this one, but circuit-bent, once I can hold a soldering iron. Remember to n o t drive scooters into cars please, as it is not worth it.

Due to some requests, here’s two different files. #1 is *.wavs in a .zip, #2 is a .rfl. As soon as I get my PC to work I’ll make some *.sfz as well.

# 1 - Zipped *.wav (just the samples) Zip

# 2 - Reason Refill (Two Redrum kits, all the samples) Rfl

EDIT: Removed the more annoying mirror.


Bebot - #iPhone synth app review.

Try to ignore the cheesyness of this sales video and look at the features of this absolutely stunning little app. It doesn’t only look good and cute, it sounds surprisingly good, and, it is extremely intuitive to play. It offers a quite limited synthesis engine, and is four voice polyphonic. It has a basic delay and a no-thrills distortion. The interesting thing is not the sound but the interface, with the scale modes. I just can’t put this lil fella away and I believe I have to use it on stage during¬† my upcoming tour, no matter how ridiculous it will look with a skinny boy covered in medical equipment staring on a iphone.

Absolutely a must-have for any portable musician.


Lucky Frame’s Mujik: #iPhone remixing toy.

Since my accident, I’ve been looking more and more into the iPhone as a musical instrument. I must say, I’ve been quite let down by a lot of the apps in appstore, but some are really awesome. Mujik hasn’t been released yet but surely looks promising. Let’s just hope it’s released soon and that it allows importing your own samples- presets suck on mobile devices too.

testing the vocoder sv-5 synth

Until I can find / solder a cable that lets me use the audio input of the iPod while getting a signal out and not just through headphones, I can’t really post a proper example of the vocoder features of the Vocoder SV-5 iphone / ipod application. When I saw Jetdaisuke’s video of it I had to give it a try. Sorry for the noisy video, my camera offers stereo recording but no audio input- guess I should modify it..

After a splash screen, you are immediately thrown into a Juno-like synth interface, where you find a 2-osc polyphonic synthesizer. Oscillator one has several waveforms to chose from (sine, square, triangle, saw, short pulse, long pulse, noise, “bell 1″, “bell 2″, “braster”, “compress”, “crisp”, “delish”, “diffenser”, “pwem”, “strongsaw”, “sync” and “wys”- I’m not enirely sure of the ones with exclamation marks). Oscillator 2 has sine, square, triangle, saw and short and long pulse. Both oscillators offer controls for course pitche, fine pitch and level. Next to the oscillators, there are controls for modulation. SV-5 has two LFO’s, waveform unknown though it sounds like sine / triangle. The LFO’s can either modulate the filter, the oscillator pitch or the volume. The LFO’s depth and speed can be controlled.

The filter is a lowpass one, with controls for cut, resonance and distortion. Some stepping can be heard, a bit like my yamaha dx200, where the steps 0-127 are audible. It does its job, though.

Under the filter, we find what is labeled as volume env. I’d label it VCA. The envelope generator is a basic AR one, no ADSR here.

Next to the volume env / VCA we find the master section, where there is a master tune knob and switches for ring mod and “osc a>b”, which I believe to be oscillator sync.

I must say, I’m pleasantly surprised- even though I haven’t tried the vocoding features of the vocoder app. As a synthesizer, this is an absolute must-have for the iphone / ipod. Of course, I’d like some more features, some bug fixes, and so on, but come on. This will probably provide me with the soundtrack of my subway travels.


- Extremely easy to use if you are used to a subtractive synthesizer. Great sounds, vocoder (which I haven’t even tried). Cheap!


- Every voice gets its own LFO. I am used to having one ‘global’ LFO. This makes rhythmic sounds sound off. Sound stops working on shutdown. I also miss some features for more “advanced” sound creation, but, what the hell. Get it.