The theme of this month's edition of Patchwork is decidedly traditional, as Casio's CZ101 joins the ubiquitous DX7 and D50 as the subjects for readers' programming dexterity.
If you're still waiting to see your particular synth featured in these pages, then why not be the first to submit some sounds?
Don't forget that if your patch gets published, you'll receive a free year's subscription to MUSIC TECHNOLOGY with our compliments. So send us your favourite sounds on a photocopy of an owner's manual chart (coupled with a blank one for artwork purposes) accompanied by a short demo-tape (don't worry too much about classic performances and impeccable recording quality; just present your sounds simply and concisely - and convince us you're the best of the bunch). Include a decent-length description of your sound and its musical purpose in life, and write your full name and address on each chart. And remember, edited presets are all very well, but an original masterpiece is always preferable. OK?
Tim Donovan, North Humberside.
This is one for soundtrack and atmosphere fans everywhere. Waves crash on the lower half of the keyboard while uncannily realistic seagulls circle the upper. In the distance a foghorn sounds on bottom C, cutting through the imaginary fog. Marvellous.
Simon Ellis, Birmingham.
Simon is obviously a big fan of Kraftwerk and has programmed this sound to prove it. Reminiscent of the Fab Four in their 'Computer Love' era, 'It's Krafty' has a synthetic, nasal feel to it, and should be equally at home with mechanical basslines or slow rate melodies.
Robin Kanagasabay, Fulham.
These days there's only one thing more common than an air disaster and that's a new bass patch for the DX7. So it's encouraging to be able to report that 'Tight Bass' is better than most, seeking as it does to emulate a Minimoog, and fulfilling its task reasonably successfully. It can also be used in the upper registers for brittle, metallic stabs.
Ensoniq Mirage Vol I and II
The philosophy behind the Stiletto Pro-Sounds library is that there shall be "no orchestral hits, no 16-way multisamples of Gaelic two-fingered thigh trumpets and no Phil Collins gated snare drums." The absence of these (and the inevitable Peter Gabriel Shakuhachi) frees space for truly innovative sounds that you wouldn't be able to get if you didn't have a sampler. Each of the two volumes contains just three disks, each of which has a theme. Volume One contains disks A, B and C; Volume Two contains disks D, E and F, and between them there are a total of 102 wave-samples. Also enclosed with each volume is a copy of Hackerfax, containing an abundance of information for the Mirage enthusiast and immense detail as to how each sample was achieved.
The sounds themselves are everything you'd expect from a top professional library - with quite a bit extra thrown in besides. Disk A includes a variety of drums and percussion, along with an assortment of bass and melody sounds, ideally suited to putting together a good groove. Disk B is known as The Fret Set, and is a collection of seventeen different bass samples, including the extraordinary 'Yeehaa' and 'Screep'. Disk C - Beyond The Mirage - contains mainly choirs and pad sounds that defy the usual library of cliches.
Volume Two continues the high standard set by Volume One. Disk D is called Seqs Appeal and has a standard organisation of all three pairs of wave-tables. This means that if you're working with an external sequencer you can take advantage of program changes while the sequencer is running, thereby using more wavesamples in your music without having to buy another sampler. The sounds themselves are mainly synthesised, created on an analogue modular system specifically for sampling purposes. Disk E is called Breathers and has eight wavesamples of flutes, bottles and synthesised chiffers. Disk F, Beyond The Mirage II, is a sequel to disk C, and contains more of the same sounds unique to sampling.
There are three particularly good things surrounding Stiletto's Mirage library. Firstly the sounds themselves - consistently clear, eminently usable and uniquely innovative. Second there are accompanying leaflets which tell you all you need to know and will probably give you a good laugh as well. And finally there's the price - £10 for a complete volume seems ridiculously little and makes the samples thoroughly, thoroughly recommended.
Price £10 per volume
Gear in this article:
Feature by David Bradwell