I have bought a Launchpad Pro, and am still trying to figure out how to play a synthesizer with this thing. (More on this in another post.) It’s like starting over with keyboards, only with a better understanding what this is getting at. Simply great.
One thing I don’t like about the Launchpad is that it may give you velocity and per-note pressure sensitivity – provided your synth is capable of interpreting it – but takes away the traditional performance controls of a synth keyboard: the good old pitch bend and modulation wheels we have seen as our goddamn right as keyboard players ever since they were introduced with the Minimoog.
So I decided to build my own simple Launchpad Companion Controller, based on an Arduino.
You may know these two gentlemen. If not, grab your VHS player, rent out the BBC’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide” series, watch. Hurry!
If you have tried to send a message, or use the shop, you may have noticed that it did not work in the last two days – or, you didn’t notice, and are still waiting for an answer. A conflict between the Contact Form 7 plugin, which I have rediscovered, and the WP Cerber security plugin made some readjustments necessary. It should all be fine again now.
On the plus side, I had the opportunity to overhaul my shop pages, so if you are interested in an update for the Akai AX-80 or Kawai SX-240, it is easier to find and order. Concerning the Matrix-6, there is news: A very old bug in the firmware has finally been found and eliminated; it made it impossible to set negative DETUNE (parameter 12) values. Oddly enough, nobody except Gregor from Stereoping ever seems to have noticed, so there is no harm in continuing to use the firmware V2.14.
There is a new version V2.15 though – Bob fixed the bug – so if you feel that you need negative detune values, you may order that. Or you may take the opportunity to buy one of the V2.14 firmware PROMs extra cheap – while stocks last.
Wer einmal etwas bei Thomann bestellt hat, (und haben wir das nicht alle?) kennt die Luftpolster-Kissen, mit denen die wertvollen neuen Spielzeuge verpackt werden. Da Thomann aus gutem Grund übervorsichtig ist und gerne riesige, halb leere Kartons versendet, bekommt man meist eine ganze Menge davon.
Die nehmen zu viel Platz in der umkämpften Mülltonne ein – also bedeutet jedes Paket Fronarbeit: Um es mir mit mit den Nachbarn nicht zu verscherzen, bringe ich die Beutel immer alle zum Platzen, damit ich sie problemlos wegwerfen kann. Nun ja, flache Hand -> Stirn: man muss sie nicht zerstechen – die sind offensichtlich so hergestellt, dass man sie auch einfach in der Mitte zerreißen kann, alle auf einmal.
Fiel mir heute beim Entrümpeln eines Synthesizer-Kartons aus dem Keller auf – und ist ganz klar in der Kategorie “Nutzloses Wissen”: Das mit dem Platzenlassen der Luftpolster übernehmen schließlich in der Regel meine Kinder.
Yes, it’s there. The first ever Waldorf Quantum can be admired at Musikmesse Frankfurt. Admired from a distance, that is, because they put the prototype under cover. “It’s our only one, and it still has to reach Superbooth, so we are a bit reluctant to have end-users play it”, the developers told me when I asked whether I’d be allowed to touch it.
In which I have to admit that I have been wrong: the encoders in my Waldorf Blofeld synth do need a special lubricant; by cleaning all the grease from them I might have done more harm than good. Continue reading →
Ah, yes, GAS, Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It happens to the best of us. So if the thought of a new hardware super-controller by Stereoping is giving you sweaty palms, especially as you learn that it will also be available for Microwave, MKS-80, and Rhodes Chroma, you’d better not read on. The specs I’ve got for you would only make you GAS much, much worse. Continue reading →
This knob is a good place to start: The “glide” potentiometer is in charge of portamento, and it is one of the first things that might make Jenny fail (see Neil Johnson’s site). A faulty glide pot means that the synth will only ever play the same note regardless of which key you press. So I did replace that pot, which is pretty straightforward – you’ll find some pictures in this gallery. (It is a 2.2M linear type BTW.)
The Glide pot is in the upper left corner of this picture. As you can see it is sitting on a small PCB together with the Noise switch and pot. Remove the knobs and the nuts from the axes of all three, and you can take out the board to replace the potentiometer.
The pot needs to have a 10mm shaft and a 5mm diameter axis. Cut off the axis at about 10mm – which makes the distance from the end of the shaft to the top of the pot 20mm.
Pot soldered and screwed to the PCB. Ready to re-insert and re-attach the board into Jenny’s panel.
Overview of potentiometer values
This is an overview of the potentiometer values, some of them are linear, some logarithmic, a few antilog. The most obvious candidates for replacement, apart from the glide pot, would be Frequency (100k) and Resonance (100k) for the filter, and Tune (10k).
Jenny – my old 70s monosynth – is a beauty, and I love her knobby face. Her smile, though, has yellowed over the decades. So to make Jenny even more attractive, I decided to try and bleach the keys with hydrogen peroxide.
TL;DR: Effect has been minimal, so it’s probably not worth it. But it was fun. If you try it, make the Retrobright bleaching gel, don’t use a hydrogen peroxide bath. And have a good UV source.
Jenny’s keyboard compared to a key from a mid-80s Roland JX8P synth
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