Computer music workstation

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THIS IS MOSTLY OBSOLETE AS OF 6/2017

Contents

[edit] Hardware

The computer music workstation is the core element of GNAR. It's a PC with a MOTU 828 attached via Firewire because, cheap, fast and good.

Computer music workstation.jpg

[edit] Audio

There are some little desktop computer speakers connected to the main outs of the Behringer, as well as some old school over the ear headphones. If you went to public school in the 1980s you might recognize them from an AV room.

There is a mixer called a Behringer Eurorack MX1604A. The channels are noisy and the mute buttons need some jiggling to get full stereo output. I blame cheap switches and opamps.

Sometimes there is a Nord Micro Modular connected to the mixer. It accepts audio input as signal to presets 90-99. Many of these are vocoders and amplitude modulation or envelope follower. The input it attached to the mixer aux send 1. Any channel can send signal to the Nord, including the Nord, so WATCH OUT! Feedback warning. This is an excellent analog modeling synth, though the module editing interface is shit.

The computer depends on JACK for all sound routing and low latency operation. With the current hardware the latency is bad, though usable for sequencers and arps. Around 60ms at 44.1khz 16 bit. The Rpi internal DAC is very noisy as is the analog mixer.

[edit] Recording

There is a cassette player/recorder for that vintage feel. This is the only recording device at the moment, though a desktop PC should work fine for a stereo mixdown type thing. Multitrack recording is not expected to be a feature at noisebridge, since it is not an acoustically isolated environment or spacious enough to track live studio sessions.

[edit] Software

Much of this software can be used to create digital models of classic synthesizers. The information in the modular synthesizer workshop applies to much of what can be built here using software.

[edit] MIDI

There's an Akai APC40 on the table. It is known as a controller for the popular Ableton Live software, though it can also operate in "general purpose mode" by default. This means there is also a MIDI controller with 8 addressable faders, a crossfader, 16 CC1 knobs and a big matrix of buttons that produce note on/off messages.

There is a little 2.5 octave MIDI keyboard. It works.

There is a Yamaha PSR-1700 MIDI synthesizer on the ground. It's big and old. It has some cool sounds but weighs way too much. It uses the old 5 pin DIN MIDI plug. Sound output works via the headphone jack or built in speakers. MIDI in/out work. It's possible to control Sunvox from the keyboard by opening the application on the PC and clicking the mouse on a generator in Sunvox. It's also possible to send MIDI to the keyboard and play lol karaoke files.

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