Moog Mavis Synthesizer Review

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In this Bloom Music video, Donald Jordan gives an in-depth review of the new Moog Mavis synthesizer.

Mavis is a DIY synth (no soldering required) that offers an affordable, but powerful, synth voice, with classic Moog sound. It can be used as a standalone synth, or removed from its case to be used as a 24-point CV-controllable 44HP Eurorack module.

Jordan says that it’s a bargain and an excellent sounding synth, but that its relatively rigid audio path means that it’s much more interesting when used as part of modular system.

Topics covered:

Intro: 00:00
Architecture: 1:47
Oscillator: 3:11
Filter: 5:20
Wave Folder: 7:44
Modulation: 13:02
Patchbay: 16:08
Eurorack Use: 22:16
Patches: 24:03
Conclusion: 27:36

Audio demos:

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All synth sounds and music in this video were created using the Mavis.

Check out the videos and share your thoughts on the Moog Mavis in the comments!

A Complete Guide To The Behringer Crave Synthesizer

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This series of videos, via XNB, offers a complete guide to the Behringer Crave, a standalone semi-modular synth design based on the Moog Mother-32.

The first video, above, offers a complete walkthrough of the Behringer Crave and its capabilities.

Topics covered:

0:00 – Intro
02:13 – Output VCA
04:55 – Envelope
10:53 – OSC
20:11 – Filter (VCF)
28:01 – Modulation (LFO)
29:50 – Glide
33:17 – Keyboard mode
37:16 – Rec a pattern
42:48 – Banks,Pattern,step,save
52:59 – Accent, Rest
56:43 – Edit patterns
01:02:26 – Gate and Tie
01:09:03 – Glide
01:15:37 – Ratchet
01:19:22 – Put in practice
01:23:04 – Step mode
01:27:26 – End,Reverse,Hold,Mute
01:31:35 – Arp
01:37:22 – Conclusion

The second video, below, takes a look at the Crave’s patchbay:

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Topics covered:

0:00 – Intro
01:16 – LFO Tri, LFO Squ OUT
08:02 – Cutoff, Res IN
10:02 – MIX 1&2 IN, VC MIX Out
18:36 – OSC CV & OSC FM IN’s
26:07 – LFO Rate, Env, KB CV
38:26 – Multimeter
44:05 – OSC MOD
49:29 – EXT Audio, SQR & SAW OUT
55:09 – Mix CV & MIX VC Mix
01:03:43 – Multiple In & Out’s
01:07:47 – Gate OUT
01:11:29 – ENV GATE IN
01:17:42 – Tempo & Play/Stop
01:27:54 – Reset & Accent
01:30:09 – VCF, VCA CV
01:38:11 – ASSIGN

Note: Since the Crave copies the Mother-32 design, most of this discussion will apply equally well to the original Moog design.

Check it out, and share your thoughts on the Crave in the comments!

Roland AIRA Compact Series In Action

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The latest Red Means Recording video takes a look at the new Roland Aira Compact Series.

Topics covered:

00:00 overview
02:40 t-8 drums
07:43 j-6 chords
14:48 t-8 bass
18:08 e-4 voice
21:22 jam
25:07 recap

The Roland AIRA Compact line features three new instruments:

  • The T-8 Beat Machine – a mini rhythm factory, with six tracks of TR drums, plus a TB-303 bass track.
  • The J-6 Chord Synthesizer – a “portable synth toolbox”, featuring a four-voice JUNO-60 synth engine, based on Roland’s circuit-modeling technology.
  • The E-4 Voice Tweaker – a compact voice effect that lets you harmonize, auto-pitch, vocode, loop, and glitch your voice.

Pricing and Availability

The Roland AIRA Compact series devices are available now with a street price of around $200.

Moog Intros $349 Mavis Analog Semi-Modular Eurorack Synth Voice

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Moog Music today introduced Mavis, an all-in-one semi-modular analog synth voice in Eurorack format.

Mavis is a DIY synth (no soldering required) that offers an affordable, but powerful, synth voice, with classic Moog sound. It can be used as a standalone synth, or removed from its case to be used as a 24-point CV-controllable 44HP Eurorack module.

Mavis brings new sonic capabilities to Moog’s palette of Eurorack systems.

The compact synth features Moog’s archetypal oscillator and filter circuits, but also features a diode wavefolder, the first analog wavefolder to appear on a Moog instrument. Combining traditional subtractive synthesis with additive wavefolding means that Mavis takes the traditional Moog sound into new territory.

With Mavis, users of any skill level can quickly build an analog synthesizer, with minimal tools and experience. No soldering is required. Once the instrument is built, Moog introduces you to the synth’s capabilities through a selection of patch books and educational materials, designed to encourage creative patching and sound design.

Features:

  • 24-Point Patch Bay: Mavis features a useful collection of utilities and flexible control voltage routing.
  • Full Range Analog Oscillator: Mavis’s Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) with pulse-width modulation (PWM), waveform mixing, and mod source mixing delivers rich harmonic character and motion.
  • Voltage Controlled Filter: Sculpt your sound with the -24dB Moog Low Pass Ladder Filter, delivering the sonic power behind the distinct sounds of Moog basslines and leads.
  • Audio Rate LFO and 4-Stage Envelope Generator: Mavis uses crossfaders in its modulation routing instead of switches, allowing you to blend between a variable shape LFO and 4-stage envelope generator, for interesting and unusual modulation contours.
  • Wavefolding and Modular Utilities: Mavis features Moog’s first-ever wavefolding circuit, allowing for additive synthesis to sit alongside traditional subtractive synthesis, and features a broad modular utilities section, complete with attenuators, offsets, mults, and a flexible DC-coupled mixer.
  • Patchable Sample and Hold (S+H) Circuit: This circuit generates a random CV pattern that can be patched to modulate other parameters, including setting Mavis into a “random sequencing” mode of performance.
  • Protective Cover: Mavis includes a fitted protective cover for use during studio downtime or taking your instrument on the go.
  • Seamless Configuration with Eurorack Systems & Moog’s 60HP Semi-Modular Synths – In 44HP, the synthesizer offers two oscillators, full ADSR, ladder filter, sample and hold, wavefolding, attenuators, mixer, mults, and much more.

Moog Mavis Audio Demos:

A Nod to Moog’s DIY Beginnings

Moog notes that Mavis isn’t the first DIY instrument from Moog – in fact, the company was built on the build-it-yourself kit.

In 1949, a teenage Bob Moog discovered a copy of Electronics World that featured an article with details on how to build an electronic musical instrument at home. Shortly after, he built his first model of the instrument, a theremin, from plans published in the magazine. By 1953, Bob and his father established R.A. Moog to market and sell theremin kits out of their home in Queens, NY.

With the release of Mavis, Moog celebrates its roots by providing the end user with the unique experience of constructing their own instrument. Every Mavis is custom built and hand assembled—like the instruments Bob Moog built years ago and the synthesizers and theremins that Moog’s employee-owners assemble by hand to this day.

Pricing and Availability:

The Moog Mavis synthesizer is available now for $349 USD.

Free Wavetables For The Novation Peak & Summit Synthesizers

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Sound designer Anton Anru shared this video demo of a free collection of 50 custom wavetables for Novation Peak and Summit.

The collection is designed to expand the sound palette of these synths. The wavetables offer a wide range of tones, from “warm, soft, analog-style to bright, metallic, harsh”.

“The waves sound nice in a ‘static mode’,” notes Anru, “and they give a pleasant movement, when the Shape is modulated by LFO, Envelope or other sources.”

Pricing and Availability

Anru has released the wavetables as a free library, but donations are appreciated.

20 Sounds On The Erica Synths DB-01 Bassline Synthesizer

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This video, via Richard DeHove, explores the sonic range of the Erica Synths DB-01 bassline synthesizer.

The video explores the sonic range of the Erica Synths DB-01, using 1 pattern with 20 different bass sounds.

Here’s what DeHove has to say about the video:

On a recent video one comment said “Cool machine, but it only has one sound”. The truth or otherwise of that here is in the ear of the beholder.

With the very distinctive Polivoks filter and a single oscillator maybe every sound does sound a bit the same? And this is a bass synth after all. But to my ears there is a lot of difference. At the very least, the different settings emphasize different parts of the pattern, in this case the pitchmod drum-like thumps and the noisy highs.

Sounds:

0:00 One – Square
0:47 Two – Shakey
1:02 Three – Ramp
1:52 Four – Skinny
2:03 Five – Drive
2:23 Six – Harsh
2:43 Seven – Squelch
2:56 Eight – Poke
3:26 Nine – Noise
3:38 Ten – Dirt
3:56 Eleven – Discord
4:10 Twelve – Noise
5:00 Thirteen – Filth
5:38 Fourteen – S&H
6:13 Fifteen – Bandpass
7:10 Sixteen – Vocal
8:13 Seventeen – Zap
8:26 Eighteen – Unison
8:40 Ninteen – Smooth
8:50 Twenty – Grit
9:07 Twenty-one – Hollow

New Lisa Bella Donna Album, Photophobia, Conjures Paranormal Experiences, “Timeless Spaces”


This week, Synthesist and composer Lisa Bella Donna released a new album, Photophobia. The album uses Moog Modular System, ARP 2600, ARP Axxe, ARP String Ensemble synths to evoke a spooky vibe.

She says of the album tracks:

“These compositions are old stories from the late 70s & early 80s.

Reflections and impressions of a few real life paranormal experiences I had growing up in deep rural West Virginia. Far away journeys in timeless spaces. Transfigurations of twilight on hallowed ground. Astral apparitions. Everlasting passageways through the electronic forests…

Lifelong lasting impressions for sure. Come away with me…”

Photophobia is available for streaming (free) and purchase/download on Lisa Bella Donna’s Bandcamp page.

New England Synth Fest Features Monthly Live Planetarium Performances This Summer


The New England Synth Fest has announced a summer series of live electronic music performances. The shows will be performed in the immersive full dome environment of the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston.

This summer’s Synth Fest events happen on the second Thursday evening of each month, beginning June 9.

The June show will feature dome performances by Metal Tiger with visuals by Anagram, Jade Rose & Jame Coyne, and Violet Nox with visuals by DebStep, as well as lobby performances by Campos, Snowbeasts, and Oxalis. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased on the Museum of Science website.

The New England Synthesizer Festival calls itself “a loose-knit inclusive community of synthesizer hardware and music enthusiasts.” Since 2004, the group have been supporting exhibitions, meet-ups, performances, and education, all surrounding topics related to synthesizers. Their events are open to the public and welcome attendees with experience from beginner to expert. To learn more about the group and about the summer concert series, visit nesynthfest.org.

Update, June 8, 11pm: The June 9 SynthFest performance has sold out, but tickets for the July 14 and August 11 shows are still available.

Black Corporation Intros XERXES MK2 8-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer

Black Corporation has opened pre-orders for a new version of their XERXES 8-voice analog synthesizer.

“We are starting the preorder for our second run of XERXES, which will also be getting the MK2 treatment,” notes Black Corporation’s Roman Filippov. “Because of the semiconductor shortage and their increased prices, this run will be limited to 100 black edition units and we are required to raise the market price of the synth. To make up for the price increase, the new and improved XERXES will have a completely updated VCA section, balanced outputs, and audio over USB, in addition to several improvements under the hood.”

The XERXES features digitally controlled analog oscillators per voice, a multimode analog filter, white and pink noise generator, 2 ADSR envelopes, 2 sync-able LFOs, unique analog BBD chorus with 3 modes, full MPE-based polyphonic aftertouch, and complete MIDI control, including polyphonic aftertouch and MPE.

Pricing and Availability

The XERXES mk2 is available to pre-order, with a total price of $4499, including worldwide shipping.

Melbourne Instruments Intros NINA, A 12-Voice Polysynth With Motorized Patch Recall

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At the 2022 NAMM Show, Melbourne Instruments today officially introduced the NINA, a 12 voice polysynth with robotic patch recall.

The developers say that NINA combines the tactile and sonic qualities of classic analog synths, with modern functionality, patch recall and automation.

Features:

  • 12 Voice Polyphony.
  • Motorized recallable and automatable control panel using long lasting zero wear encoders with the feel and precision of analog pots.
  • Variable shape triangle oscillators. Continuously morph wave-shape between triangle and sawtooth to find new timbres. Different to a traditional blend.
  • 4 pole transistor ladder VCF with modulatable resonance.
  • Massive voice-level filter overdrive.
  • Digital Wavetable Oscillators.
  • Sampling capability.
  • Deep Modulation Matrix. Quick edit, all sources to all destination.
  • Patch morphing for complex expressive effects.
  • Stereo Infinite Panning effects with 4 Quadrant DCAs.
  • Onboard digital effects.
  • Multitimbral, layered, split, or overlapping.
  • Hackable open-source software control powered by Raspberry Pi 4.

Connectivity:

The company plans to launch NINA ‘soon’ via a Kickstarter project. See their site for more info.