I had this image of Parnassus Street in san Francisco in my head, which is what I tried to capture in the siren like sound that you can hear in the second half.
(Parnassus Street is home to a huge medical center, and I imagine the people who live there get to hear sirens a lot…)
I wanted to create a track that feels like something you would fall asleep to on a rainy evening in that neighborhood (which I have never done, but still :) ).
The street sounds you hear I actually sampled on another street here in SF, but it’s close enough to Parnassus. The crackling noise is a tiny instrument in Live that produces a constant vinyl like noise. The rest is a mix of patches created in Arturia’s CS-80V, Minimoog and Moog Modular emulators, and NI’s Massive.
Native Instruments today announced the availability of a new expansion for Maschine. ‘Raw Voltage’ is a collection of samples, kits and instruments that recreate the sound of a large scale modular synthesizer, bringing that special character of true analog to the Maschine environment. Here’s how NI describe the expansion on their website:
RAW VOLTAGE puts the unmistakable sound of a huge modular system into your MASCHINE. From noisy and distorted to cool and clinical, this MASCHINE Expansion is packed full of kits, instruments and patterns sharing the unmistakable sound character of rich and organic analog synthesis. NI’s Webpage =>
Priced at $59 it contains 355mb of goodies divided into 11 projects, 44 kits and 38 instruments / sounds. Reasonably priced for the contents in my opinion.
Listening to the demo tracks on the NI site the expansion sounds solid, but I can’t help asking my self if the Arturia Analog Factory / Lab isn’t a better option if you are looking for great old school analog sounds.
The Arturia packages comes with an awesome controller and presets in the thousands that can all serve as a starting point for your own creations. I’ve found that running the Factory as a VSTi within Maschine is my definite go-to for those types of sounds, and with the controller and the dedicated software I can easily spend hours just tweaking and building sounds. Still I guess you loose some of the convenience that a dedicated Maschine expansion brings, and the Arturia package might be a bit overkill if you are just looking to add a few analog sounding touches…
If you want me to do a more in depth review / comparison let me know :)
I haven’t given my Arturia Spark as much love as I thought I would when I first picked it up, which is a bit frustrating since it sounds and ‘plays’ incredibly well. The main reason is that I always saw it as primarily a ‘live’ instrument rather than a sequencer / midi tool, and I just haven’t spent as much time as I’d like playing and recording live sets.
For this reason I’ve had a hard time integrating it into my current workflow, which is very much centered around NI’s Maschine with other synths running mostly as emulations on top of the Maschine software sequencer.
This about to change though since I’ve made a commitment to explore the ‘live’ path further. Currently I’m experimenting with recording the Spark as an audio input (as opposed to recording the MIDI it outputs). And at the same time layering other analog inputs on top of it. This means that after I hit record in the DAW, I have no interaction with the computer (not even looking at the screen) until the ‘set’ is done and I hit stop.
This is a super exciting feeling since it takes me much closer to a ‘performance’ kind of setting where there is no retake or after-the-fact editing of parameters. I’ve also recognized that it makes it much easier to feel truly immersed in the music.
At the moment I’m only learning the ins and outs of the Spark and some other instruments I have hooked up so I’m not really ready to share anything yet (except for the short ‘sample’ below).
I also have a super secret sauce coming in from Las Vegas tomorrow that will surely spice this up a lot, but more on that in another post.
Anyways, I’m really excited about spending more time with the Spark, it’s just such an incredibly creative and intuitive instrument to work with.
Its a common misunderstanding that you cannot copy a Pattern directly on the Arturia Spark hardware controller. This used to be the case before v.1.1.3, but since then you can use the following (super intuitive) work flow to copy a pattern:
Hold down [SELECT] and press [ERASE]
The Pattern select wheel will light up
Press the (Bank ->) Pattern button you wish to copy from
Press the (Bank ->) Pattern button you wish to copy to
The Controller LCD will say ‘Copying Pattern X to X’
You can also copy entire Banks using the same pattern, just skip pressing the Pattern button.