Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Little Putney

My friend Mike sent me a link to the marvellous Look Around You series, made by Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz
and in particular this episode on music. What he didn't realise, and what I had completely forgotten about, is that it was my EMS VCS3 Putney they used (and my Roland TR66 and little valve amp). I had forgotten about the mouse! They came round to my previous studio when I was based in Holbourn and borrowed some equipment. They even filmed a bit of the studio - I'm not sure that ever got used, maybe on the DVD extras... Anyway, the whole series is amazing and also I love the GELG music throughout

What is so amazing is that my VCS3 has taken on a life of its own as the Harrington 1200, it even gets a mention on the VCS3 wiki page. Incredibly, there is also now a VST clone of the Harrington 1200, click below for mor information

The softsynth market seems to have an insatiable appetite for virtual emulations of classic analogue synthesizers, with the likes of GForce Software and Arturia alone offering versions of the Minimoog and Moog Modular, the ARP Odyssey and 2600, the Prophet, the Jupiter-8 and the OSCar. In addition to this there's a plentiful array of smaller developers replicating everything from the Nord Lead to the Yamaha DX-7

Latest to enter the fray is Berlin-based developer Mäuschen Software, which looks set to make quite a name for itself with the release its ambitious H1200+ VSTi.
The H1200+ is, somewhat predictably, a soft-synth version of the Harrington 1200 Songwriting Machine, the British-made synthesizer that shaped the pop charts of the mid-to-late 70s, and the influence of which can be felt even today in software like Steinberg's Sequel and Apple's Garageband. The original device combined a simple (yet powerful) tri-oscillator synth with an innovative auto-melody algorithm, and supported an impressive range of tactile and verbose input methods

The Mäuschen team developed the software from the ground up in conjunction with the surviving members of original hardware team to replicate the sound and functionality as closely as a software GUI would allow, and even managed to add a few new ideas of their own. One of the most innovative aspects of the original was the inclusion of composer DNA to power the auto-melody system - a feature few expected to transfer successfully to a software version. The developers have neatly implemented this by means of a USB dongle which doubles as the Harrington's copy-protection system. Genre-specific dongles will also be made available in the future as expansion packs

The full feature list includes:
• Three oscillators with PWM and SMS
• Enhanced LFO
• Full Modulation & Controller Routing
• Pink/brown/ginger noise generator
• New "Fast" tempo
• Hold & Re-ticker with FRiB
• Extended key signature range (G to U)
• Mono & Poly Unison Modes (up to 8 voice poly unison).
• Gender spread with full blend
• Ring Modulation
• External Audio Input with H1200+ FX version

Mäuschen Software's H1200+ is scheduled to hit the streets early Q4 this year. Thankfully advances mean the software is significantly more affordable than the wallet-busting price of the original, the full retail pack being avai
lable for the very reasonable £895. More info as soon as we can get our hands on a review copy

1 comment:

  1. Look around you. Just look around you. Have you worked out what we're looking for? Correct: the date of the that VST blog post. ;)

    It's a good thing they included a ginger noise generator, so you can add some soul to your music. (Gingers have souls!) It's also a good thing they included an extended key signature range, so I can compose in the key of S.