Sonicsmiths The Foundry Instrument (Kontakt)

Sonicsmiths The Foundry Synth (Kontakt)

For anyone interested in sound design and creation not much can better using a fully configurable synthesizer be it either hardware or software based. Software synths such as Serum, Diva and even overlooked synths like Audjoo Helix have almost infinite sound sculpting possibilities. However such tools can be difficult to learn and use for someone new to synthesis and if you want to get fast results many then turn to preset romplers like Refx Nexus or sample libraries in Kontakt which have useful patches that sound good. However you then run the risk of everyone else using the same tired old patches without any modifications.


DASK - Electron Utopia (Syngate Records)

DASK - Electron Utopia (Berlin School Tangerine Dream Cinematic Atmospheric Ambient)

This my first syngate album was mastered by myself, since like most indie artists who are not marketed by a big label, cannot afford a mastering studio with 'real' engineers time. Also it would be a little pointless unless you are a very well known big name since you never recoup the costs of making an album. Therefore a key unit I found very useful on the master bus in the DAW was Tone Boosters ReelBus.

DASK - Abiogenesis

DASK - Abiogenesis (Ambient Atmospheric Berlin School Tangerine Dream Klaus Schulze Space Music)

My background is electronic engineering with a specialisation in audio but having experimented with various audio systems, synths, recording, sound creation and manipulation for several years I decided to stop throwing audio material away and complete an album. It was recorded over 6 months and mastered with minimal compression for high quality Hi-Fi or headphones in mind. A number of headphones were used in the mastering process including the original HD800 which are ultra transparent and cheap ear buds to check worst case listening via streaming.

Air Music Tech Loom Synthesizer Free Patches

Loom Synth Engine

Loom is an additive synthesizer from Air Music Tech that takes a module style approach to synthesis. The various modules can be combined in any order to generate and manipulate sound. It is a different style to most other synths that take a traditional approach and layout so this can take a little time to get used to the way sound creation and manipulation works. Once you master this it has some interesting possibilities and can make really unique sounds. I like working in this synth since this extra dimension of work flow and creation becomes easy once you learn the basics.


Serum Synthesizer Free Patches

Serum VST Synth Free Patches

Serum has one of the best interfaces I have used in a soft synth. It is very easy to navigate and inspiring in that it encourages experimentation with sound and patch creation esp once you get into making custom wavetables. It is also a good synth to learn if you are new to synthesis due to the inteligent GUI. I had the opportunity to use it for a while and I created some patches for it which are mostly pads with some custom imported wavetables.


LM3886 Gain Clone Amplifier DIY

Gainclone DIY

In 1999 a manufacturer called 47 labs released a 3000 USD amplifier called a gaincard. Although it got good reviews it caused a great deal of controversy because it was based around a pair of LM series power amplifier IC's with a fairly basic power supply. So a 3000 USD product had about 100 USD of parts inside so it was ripe to be reverse engineered by anyone with an electronics background.

Musical Fidelity M1 HPA Headphone Amplifier Review

Musical Fidelity M1HPA Headphone Amplifier

I have always had a bit of a love hate relationship with musical fidelity products in the past. They always get good reviews in the Hi-Fi press but a few times after prolonged use I find that the immediate wow factor is eventually replaced with a feeling that the initial gloss is hiding a few problems. I found this particularly true with my A308 CD player I used for a while. This was advertised as being 95% equivalent to the Nuvista 3D CD Player at half the cost. Again at first it had this immediate appeal with detail and extended bandwidth but after several months of use I felt that it was just too shiny and glossy lacking soul, timing and musicality when compared to other Hi-Fi CD players.


M1 HPA Headphone Amplifier

Sennheiser HD 800 Review (vs Grado and Stax)

Sennheiser HD800

At the time of wrting the HD800 headphones are currently Sennheiser's top end set of headphones. They claim to have the largest transducers and the most advanced driver technology of any current headphone on the market at this time. These are reference class headphones and a benchmark to compare many other headphones against. Premium parts have gone into the build, the transducer being encased by precision machined stainless steel and the ear-pads are claimed to be hand crafted from a high-quality microfibre fabric.

Audio HiFi Mains Cable DIY

DIY Audio HiFi Mains Cable

Nothing invokes more of a mixed response in Hi-Fi circles than the concept of 'audio-grade' Hi-Fi mains cables. Audio grade mains cables are very much a Hi-Fi thing and not so much in the pro-audio world were the higher grade mains lead is used because it has screening and twisted pairs to stop noise radiating out of the cable and inducing on other near-by more sensitive audio carrying cables. This has engineering sense behind it.

Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier Review and Capacitor Upgrade

Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier

The Yulong A100 is a class A headphone amplifier from the far east. They are not a well known brand in the west but Yulong produce some high end models along with this mid priced unit. I have used tube headphone amplifiers in the past and wanted to try a class A solid state. It is a compact well made unit with a brushed black metal chassis, thick aluminium front plate and nice vintage style VU meters. The knob is plastic however but it still looks very good and not particularly plastic looking. Phono sockets are again good quality gold plated but it does not have an audio pass through facility which is an opportunity missed I feel. An audio pass though would make it a little more system friendly since it could be daisy chained with the system main amplifier from the source.


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