Sunday, May 3, 2009

Analog Heaven Northeast 2009

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I’m on the bus home from Analog Heaven Northeast, with Takla Makan in my headphones appropriately enough. There were around 20 synth setups, almost all of them modulars, which was just a little surprising. I brought my Mattson Mini Modular, which generated a lot of interest. I could have fit my entire 22-module MMM synth inside of one of the SKB popup mixer cases someone brought that had “only” 10 MOTM modules in it. And I might have actually been able to fit a second MMM in the case as well. I’m a big fan of MOTM modulars, don’t get me wrong, and in fact I have around four SKB cases’ worth myself. However, there’s something to be said for being able to fit my entire modular synthesizer inside my suitcase.

There were all sorts of interesting things at AHNE this year. One of the standouts was Matthew Davidson demonstrating Mark of the Unicorn’s Volta. Volta is software which runs on a Mac and lets you control a modular synthesizer using your choice of sequencers on your Mac. It does this by using some of the ins and outs of your audio interface to transmit control voltages rather than the more usual audio. Before I saw his demo I was mildly interested, now I’m totally sold. Total computer control of your modular right from your Mac. I want one. It works in most of the currently available Mac sequencer programs, and hopefully in the future will work with Five12’s Numerology as well.

I’m uploading a Flickr set at the moment, so I won’t go into great detail on what was there. I enjoyed trying out the Harpejji, sort of a Chapman Stick for keyboard players. There was also a couple of synths which were redone by CustomSynth. I’ve seen loads of pictures, but seeing them in the flesh was something else entirely. They were absolutely stunning. In fact, with one of them I didn’t even realize it wasn’t stock that’s how good it looked. I was happy there was a recently restored Minimoog there as well. I have a Minimoog Model D which unfortunately needs some work, so it was good to see one in such good shape. No matter how many synths I play or own, there’s still nothing like a Minimoog.

It may take me a few days to match up names with photos in the Flickr set but I’ll get them all in. This year’s show was really well attended, and it looked like all had a good time. If you’re in the northeast US somewhere think about coming next year. I missed a few years, and was very glad I could make it this time.

If you do attend, be prepared for some noise, though. Just sayin’.

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