On this day one year ago I started a group on Facebook called Synth Farm. It’s a place where members post demos of gear (both new and vintage electronic musical instruments) so that other can listen to user-made sound examples, and don’t need to look to the polished promos of marketing campaigns. Maybe some of you guys are interested?
So I went to Japan for holiday. I stayed in Tokyo the whole time, which was pretty enough of experience for a first time visit.
The trip wasn’t really about electronic musical instruments, but Japan is the promised land of synthesizers (and electronics in general) and home of Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Akai, Casio, Kawai et cetera, so I just had to check up on some old vintage stuff.
I hoped to make a bargain on an authentic TR-808 but the prices where quite the same as in Sweden (around 3100 USD). Although the supply seems to be much greater, e.g. at Five G on Takeshita Street in Harajuku, they had five Prophet-5s in good condition, a couple of TB-303s and serveral MS-20s. I didn’t have room to get a full-size keyboard, otherwise I’d have bought a cheap Prophet-600.
I also went to Echigoya Music in the building on the ninth floor across from Tower Records at Shibuya, and that’s where they had the TR-808 (and a TR-909 for what it’s worth).
So I did’t buy any old analog gear, but I got a used MS2000R for around 150 USD at Creator’s Land (a part of Sofmap, on the top floor in the building where its MacColleciton is, in Akihabara). This shop didn’t offer so many analog synth from the 80s but newer stuff like Alesis Micron, Arturia MiniBrute, and they had Technics SL-1200/1210s really, really cheap.
Hard Off has a used music equipment section in one of its stores on a smaller street in Akihabara (sorry for not being more specific). I wasn’t lucky this time though, but I think that you can get good deals there.
On top of all this, Tokyo was a great city, and I can truly recommend you to visit.
One of my favorite synths is the Analog Four, and with the OS update 1.22 a while back, Elektron added new LFO synchronization modes and destinations and made this synth even more awesome. (If I only could take one of my synths to a deserted island, it would be the Analog Four.) Anyway, in short that means I’m now able to apply pitch tracked LFO FM behavior.
Here’s a way to start (not rules):
- Set triangle (as a substitute for sinus) waveform on an oscillator.
- Open up both filters.
- Set the LFO speed to any multiples of 16.
- Set the LFO multiplier to over 512 and synchronize it to the oscillator you’re working with.
- Let the LFO restart when a note is played on Trig Mode.
- Choose sinus as the LFO waveform.
- Set frequency or pitch modulation to the oscillator as LFO destination. (Also try different destinations later, like the filter frequency.)
- Set depth of the LFO modulation (or, if you’re using the first oscillator, let the second assignable envelope control this).
- If you use Depth A in the step above, then try to fade in or fade out the modulation.
Also, there’s a few videos on YouTube describing these methods, like this, which is a good walkthrough, even though it’s a bit unfocused and lengthy.