Maxim MDS 500 – Photos

The Maxim MDS-500 is not ready for action yet. Honestly, I’m sure it will ever be. It just doesn’t sound very good. I haven’t given up all hope though – I have a couple of suspicions about some things that might not be working as they’re supposed to, but it’s tricky to troubleshoot with no frame of reference. This is the only one of these I have ever seen, I’m not completely sure what it’s supposed to sound like, and there are no schematics or service documents. (If somebody out there has schematics, please let me know!)

Problems I’m having with this MDS-500:

  1. The “noise” doesn’t seem to be as loud as it should be. (Try to find the noise source, disconnect it from each voice 1 at a time – perhaps one voice is loading it down for some reason. Otherwise, perhaps the noise has an output buffer that is not up to snuff)
  2. Most of the front panel pots are intermittent, filthy.
  3. Despite trying lots of settings I haven’t really heard anything that sounds like it’s filtered by an SSM2044 – yet there is an SSM2044 filter per voice!

I’m just not sure yet whether this device needs mods, repairs, or if it’s just crap.

Click here to view the gallery!

Quick guide: MIDI Sysex Automation on Roland Boutique JX-03

Roland JX03 front PanelI bought a JX-03 on the night of Oct. 22. Today I finally had a chance to test this. Here’s what I found:

The knobs send MIDI System Exclusive data (sysex) only while the unit is in chain mode. The device will respond to sysex regardless of whether it is in chain mode.

Unfortunately, MIDI data coming in on the Roland’s input seems to always be repeated at the output. So to set this unit up with your DAW, you must: Continue reading

Roland “Boutique” Line Looks Like Another Winner

Roland JX03 front Panel

Does this look familiar? It's a 2015 realization of the iconic JX-3P user interface. All they need to do is make it sound good.

A week ago Roland teased us with their new “Boutique” line, which appeared to be miniature recreations of their Jupiter-8, Juno-106, and JX-3P.

A major American instrument reseller recently posted photos of the new products on their site, and then promptly took them down – not promptly enough it would seem, as images of the new Roland JP08, JU06 and JX03 (pictured here) are now circulating around the synth community like crabs.

They look good. Really, really tantalizingly good. The Juno and JX modules were listed for Continue reading

Moog Mother 32.

I love the fact that this is actually a thing.

Moog Mother 32 Sketch from Gearslutz

Check out the crazy thread on Gearslutz …. not a lot of detail, but it is always fun to read the rampant speculation.

The quick skinny:

  • Last weekend at Knobcon, Moog had a special “no photography” area where they were inviting people to look at a new product.
  • The new product may have similar lineage to the Werkstatt.
  • Eurorack compatible
  • 32 patch points
  • Complete synth voice with a single VCO
  • Step sequencer
  • MIDI in
  • MSRP: $599 USD
  • Available in mid-October 2015

Some thought the product would be announced yesterday, but so far there has been no announcement. The picture above was skteched from memory by a Gearslutz user.

Going in Cold to the Kraftwerk Show? Here’s a Primer for New Fans

Kraftwerk Orientation Mix!

Greetings friends, I have created a playlist on YouTube that showcases Kraftwerk’s better-known music and its historical significance in my life. It took me a few years to become a really crazy fan, and whether you get as crazy as me or not, I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away from this mix with an appreciation for their talent.

Instead of doing something obvious like presenting their stuff in chronological order, or like a top-ten or something, I’m going to let you hear it (mostly) in the order I discovered it, and I’m going to write down some thoughts for you to read as you check out the tunes. I think this is an ideal primer for new fans who are about to go to one of their concerts, but would like to have a bit more familiarity with their music. If this is you, I strongly advise against watching any of the myriad of live videos on YouTube shot at Kraftwerk’s recent concerts! It could ruin the experience for you, as the 3D visuals do not translate well to YouTube and the sound is usually pretty crappy.

Just remember, this is not techno, and the older music in particular will lack the punch you’re used to hearing in modern recordings. Kraftwerk is very likely to perform reworked, modernized versions of almost every song I list here. Continue reading