Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Arp 2500 Sequence

Here is a video of the ARP 2500 in action. Its not quite a solo because its going through a Furman spring reverb / limiter and a couple of delays [Vesta digital and Ibanez AD80 analog]. The ARP is doing everything else - with a few tweaks from me on the way. Shot on the iphone, but the audio is recorded through the Studer desk

Monday, 15 March 2010

Juno 60 Review

Here is a review of the Roland Juno 6 / 60 from this issue of Polyphony magazine, and I plan to put up more reviews as and when I scan them. Its kind of interesting reading reviews written when the instruments actually came out. Written by Eric Meyer in 1983

The Roland Juno-6 was the first of the under $2000 polyphonic synthesizers. It has a five octave keyboard with a good, fast action; and while the actual tone generating apparatus is rather sparse (thus contributing towards the low price), clever design on the part of Roland's engineers has compensated for much of what is missing.

The secret to the Juno's good sound is the Digital Controlled Oscillator (DCO), which produces three simultaneous outputs: variable pulse, sawtooth, and subpulse (a square wave one octave lower than the note actually being played). These three waveforms can be combined in any combination; but there is no mixer and only the sub-pulse, along with an additional white noise source, have amount controls.

While each of the six voices has only one oscillator, the subpulse helps fill out the sound, as does a built-in chorus effect (with two intensities). However, the chorus produces faint white noise sweeps which are audible when the keyboard is not being played, so judicious use is advised. Also, because there is only one sawtooth wave, "brassy" sounds seem rather thin. All waves are, of course, in phase; there is no detune.

The Juno has both a high and low pass filter, which when combined give a bandpass response. The filter can be made to oscillate, thus providing another tone source. There is only one envelope generator (ADSR), shared by the VCF and VCA. The envelope contour of the VCF may be inverted and can also be used to modulate the pulse width in the DCO.

A low frequency triangle wave oscillator provides the only other source of modulation. The range, however, is wide enough (0.3 Hz to 20 Hz) to produce useful effects. Modulation can be routed to the DCO frequency, pulse width, or VCF cutoff frequency; there are separate amount knobs for each. There is also a delay slider, which causes the modulation to fade in over an adjustable period of time after a note has been played. However, a note must be released before playing the next for the delay to be retriggered, as there is only one LFO for all six voices; otherwise, the modulation will continue as normal, with no fade-in. The LFO can be triggered automatically, or by a touch pad to the left of the keyboard.

Also left of the keyboard is an octave transpose for switching the entire keyboard up or down an octave. Most patches do not hold up well in the lowest octave. The bender is center-sprung (sometimes it would be nice if this could be defeated) and can bend the pitch up or down, and/or open and close the VCF. I found it easier to use than the standard pitch wheel configuration.

The arpeggiator will play up or up/down, and will arpeggiate over one, two or three octaves. A hold button will memorize notes, chords or an arpeggiator pattern, and a transpose button allows you to use key of C fingerings in any key. Jacks are provided for a VCF pedal, hold footswitch, arpeggiator sync, headphones and stereo output.

The Juno-60 is basically a Juno-6 with a built-in computer. It can store 56 patch programs and communicate with other Junos or computers. While the Juno-6 (or 60) is not as versatile as the more costly performance-oriented synthesizers, it is a well made, quality instrument. It is especially suited to those needing an inexpensive addition to a keyboard stack, or for people who want to learn about synthesizer basics. The panel layout is clear, and patches can be created quickly and easily (making it useful in a studio environment). The sound is definitely of professional quality. Several other manufacturers have produced synthesizers in the same price range, but I have yet to play one which significantly surpasses the Juno-6. The Juno-6 lists for $1295, the Juno-60 for $1750. You may obtain more information on these and other Roland keyboards by sending $2 to RolandCorp, 2401 Saybrook Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90040.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Russian Album Covers

Tench sent me this link to a really cool blog called English Russia which is all about giving us non-soviets a glimpse of their crazy world. And they can certainly do crazy record cover art as you can see from the following series called Sport and Music. I'm hoping they were made in the 80's, but wouldn't be surprised to discover they were more recent