Video: The Return of My Custom Lemur Patch for Blofeld Synth

I spent part of the last day off of the holiday season dusting off my Lemur patch for the Waldorf Blofeld. I created this patch for the 2015 Heartland tour for the  duo (no)poem which I play in with Darwin Grosse. Pics of that tour are here.  Also see a related post on traveling with this desktop rig with a Pelican 1510.

Video of Patch in Action

I’ve got more to do and more panels to go but thought I’d share a video of the progress so far. Note this is using one of my original Blofeld patches from INIT.

“MM Blofeld Performance 2017” V005 Change Log

I made it through 5 iterations on the main performance panel (and some of the other panels). Photo on the left is the old patch, photo on the right is the new one.

  1. I’ve rearranged the keyboard layout to be more standards so the Mod Wheel, Aftertouch, and Pitch Bend controls to the left of the keyboard
  2. Increased the size of the keyboard section and keys and black keys to make it a more playable
  3. Changed the third X/Y to controlling the filter balance for each oscillator (in other word I can modify how much signal from oscillator is going to each filter) instead of controlling Blofeld’s W & X parameters.
  4. I added labels to the controls
  5. Changed some of the colors to be more consistent

Master Page Controls Summary

Here is what I can control from the main panel without menu diving:

  1. Set octave
  2. Play notes
  3. Toggle sustain pedal lock
  4. Send an “ALL notes off” as a panic button if things go sideways
  5. Mod Wheel
  6. Aftertouch
  7. Pitch Bend with physics (bounce the pitch bend wheel and control speed and friction)
  8. X/Y for Filter 1 Cutoff and Resonance with physics
  9. X/Y for Filter 2 Cutoff and Resonance with physics
  10.  X/Y for Filter 1 & 2 Balance
  11. Global control for all X/Y: Friction, Attraction Speed, Optional lock to X or Y
  12. Amp envelope stages
  13. Filter envelope stages
  14. Ring Mod Level
  15. Ring Mod Balance
  16. Spider Notes (misusing the Breakpoint object)- allows me to trigger a notes as multi-segment of points in a rectangular space with note modulate the pitch bend of the note along the Y axis.  Physics for point movement and control  attraction, speed and friction)
  17. Battery charge indicator

More to Come

I’m working on different interfaces for panels for things like Filters, LFOs, and wavetable manipulation. Watch for future posts on the Blofeld category and Lemur categories and/or subscribe in email or RSS to get updates on this work in progress.

Mark Mosher
Modulate This!

Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard Tip: Droning with the Free Button

This article describes the general function of the “Free” button as well as how to lock sustain for drone work.

Extra Buttons on Keyboard Edition of Blofeld

The keyboard version of the Waldorf Blofeld has 3 extra buttons on the front panel – 1) Octave Down 2) Octave Up 3) Free.

P. 17 of the Manual  describes the Free button

Free Button Just for fun we added an additional button with assignable function. The functions are accessible from Global Menu.

Set the Function of the Free Button

blofeld-free-example-annotated

  1. Press and hold “Shift” + “Global” button to enter Global Menu
  2. Rotate “Display” knob to find the “Free Button / Pedal” page. On the current OS, it’s the last page – so just crank the knob get their quickly.
  3. Use the left-most “Display Dial” to rotate through the possible options for the “Free” button. The button can be assigned to 6 different functional states as shown below. For the purposes of this article – select “Sust. toggle“.
    1. off – nothing happens when you press the Free button.
    2. Sustain – The button acts like a sustain pedal. But please use your fingers!
    3. Sust. toggle – Also sustain, but it acts like an on/off switch. 
    4. Control W, X, Y, Z – the corresponding controller is sent to internal sound engine and MIDI out.
    5. C. W, X, Y, Z toggle – Emits the assigned controller but acts like an on/off switch.
    6. mute – mutes Blofeld while pressed.
  4. Press the “Play” button to return to patch selection and play mode

Drone Machine Usage

The “Free” button can now be used as a toggle to latch sustain thereby turning your Blofled keyboard into a “West Coast” style drone machine.

Presets with No Arpeggiator

On presets without the Arp enabled, toggling the “Free” button simply gives you infinite sustain without having to hold a pedal down. This is perfect for both sound design work and real-time drone performances. Hit “Free” and start working the matrix!

Presets with Arpeggiator

The arpeggiator has the following modes:

  1. Off
  2. On
  3. One Shot
  4. Hold

If the mode is set to #3  “Hold” – the Arp is already latched and will hold by default. If you would like instead to toggle holds without menu diving to get this parameter (which is burred pretty deep) – set the value to  option #2 – “On”. Now if you toggle the “Free” button, the arp will hold. Press the “Free” button again to toggle the Arp off.

More Articles on the Waldorf Blofeld

Check out some of the many articles I’ve written on the Waldorf Blofeld here https://modulatethis.com/category/blofeld/.

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Flight-Friendly Hardware Synth Rig Part 2 – Backing Into Your Synth Rig from the Pelican 1510 Case

Photo Aug 23, 1 44 27 PM

This is a follow-up to post "Flight-Friendly Hardware Synth Rig Part 1 – Switching to Hardware Rig for my Solo Set". 

Over the last 5 years or so I've had the opportunity to fly to festivals. It's always a challenge of course to get your gear from here to there.

One strategy I'd recommend is to back into your show rig from what will fit into the luggage you are going to travel with. Something to consider here is that you want to bring enough essential gear as carry-on so that you could perform your set even if your checked luggage doesn't make it with you to the venue. So a backpack and a case that will fit in the overhead bin are the way to go.

Pelican 1510 Carry On Case – $160

Photo Aug 23, 1 41 06 PM

It's important to get a tough case for the overhead bin in case you are asked to gate check the bag or end up on a regional jet where approved sizes won't fit. This has happened to me multiple times over the years. In this scenario they'll put the bag right into the cargo hold so you at least know your gear will make it to the destination with you.

My friend and amazing artist Dino J.A. Deanne (http://jadeane.com/blog) who's done many tours turned me on to the Pelican 1510 Carry On Case. Here is Dino's post on cases.

  • Meets the FAA MAXIMUM CARRY ON SIZE!
  • Retractable extension handle
  • Strong polyurethane wheels with stainless steel bearings
  • Easy open Double Throw latches
  • Open cell core with solid wall design – strong, light weight
  • O-ring seal
  • Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve
  • Comfortable rubber over-molded top and side handles
  • Stainless steel hardware and padlock protectors
  • Pick N Pluck™ with convoluted lid foam
  • Personalized nameplate service available
  • Lifetime Guarantee of Excellence
  • WATERTIGHT, CRUSHPROOF, AND DUSTPROOF
  • INTERIOR (L x W x D) 19.75" x 11" x 7.6" (50.1 x 27.9 x 19.3 cm) 
  • EXTERIOR (L x W x D) 22" x 13.81" x 9" (55.9 x 35.1 x 22.9 cm) 

This case is just amazing. I ordered the version with the Pick N Pluck foam so I could customize the case for my desktop rig. The biggest challenge is deciding how you'll lay out your gear to fit. Here is my case from the inside out.

Photo Aug 23, 1 43 40 PM

Pick N Pluck comes in two sheets that lay on top of each other. Place your gear on the sheets and use chalk or toothpicks to mark  where you'll need to punch out the foam to fit your gear. Then just pull the little rectangles off. 

The picture above shows the bottom layer punched out to fit the Octatrack, Blofeld Desktop, and Mackie Mixer. Hang on to all those scraps as they com in handy. For example, I used Elmers Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive to glue Pick N Place scraps to create one more layer of padding on the bottom of the case for the Octatrack. I also sprayed adhesive on q-tips and used it to glue the thin run of foam along the top and for other miscellaneous padding.

In this next photo, you can see I've placed the Octatrack and Blfoeld Desktop into the case. Note that there are slots cut out for the blofeld knobs. It looks a little precarious at this point but adding the next layer tightens things up. Also note that I have Elektron's Protective Lid PL-2 on top of the Octatrack. The lid is expensive at $59, but I consider it a  MUST BUY for Elektron users who take their instruments out of the studio. I'm also a fan of the Elektron ECC-2 soft-sided carry case (which includes the lid) if you just want a way to carry your Elektron unit around by itself locally.

 Photo Aug 23, 1 43 15 PM

In this next photo, you'll see I dropped in the next layer of Pick N Pluck foam and this time I glued some extra scraps to put tension on the top of the blofeld where there are no knobs or LEDs which also ensures that there is not pressure on the knobs. I also inserted the Mackie 402VLZ3.

Photo Aug 23, 1 41 48 PM

I then carved down into the foam so I could add an Akai Professional MPK Mini Mk2 to the rig.

Photo Aug 23, 1 41 36 PM

I used some scraps to put a layer over the drum pads so the lid wouldn't crush the joystick. 

Photo Aug 23, 1 41 30 PM

When you button the case up, nothing moves at all! 

If you really mess things up and need to start over, or you want a different configuration of padding for a different rig, you can buy replacement foam on Amazon.

Backpack

Osprey-ozone-46

There of course an incredible number of choices for backpacks. Ultimately, you just need something you dig that will fit all your gear and still fit under the seat in front of you. I used to use a North Face Surge and last year switched to a consumer backpack – the Osprey Ozone 46. While there are many fine choices in DJ backpacks, I prefer the consumer backpacks so I can use them for things other than toting musical gear. In other words, they are lighter when you are doing other things but it's up to you to add padding to fit most musical journeys.

Carry the essentials to pull off a show in this bag – plus items to keep you going during the travel day.

  1. My laptop and power supply (which I use for visuals)
  2. Essential audio and power cables for the rig
  3. Any recorders you need to document the show like a GoPro, Zoom H2N.
  4. Flashlight
  5. Spare batteries for gear
  6. Spare audio adapters
  7. Any perscription meds, pain relievers, allergy pills, Bandaids…
  8. Phone charger
  9. Square or payment reader
  10. A few copies of your CDs
  11. Business cards
  12. myPower ALL Plus MP3450i Battery to charge my phone and run the Octatrack if need be
  13. Snacks in case the flight gets delayed (happens all the time of course)
  14. Nalgene OTF Water Bottle with locking lid. You can open and close it with one hand. Even if you  kick it over on stage you won't soak your cables or rig. Fill it up on the other side of security for the odd chance that you get stuck on a tarmac somewhere.

Checked Bag

If it's a quick in-and-out show, you might be able to fit your change of clothes and toothbrush in the backpack. If not you'll need to check a bag. I also use the checked bag for:

  1. Backup cables for the rig
  2. I sometimes bring stands in this bag like the Roland SS-PC1 Laptop Table
  3. If I can spare the weight, a Furman AC-215A power conditioner
  4. A stereo Hum Eliminator
  5. Merchandise
  6. Sometimes LED lights like a Simppar 56
  7. Clothes

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MarkMosherMusic.com << Artist Site and Podcast

Flight-Friendly Hardware Synth Rig Part 1 – Switching to Hardware Rig for my Solo Set

In my last post "Part 1 – Mark Mosher Cinematic Electronic Live – Boulder Synthesizer Meetup August 11, 2015" I shared a video of a solo set I played at the Boulder Synthesizer Meetup earlier this month. For years now when I've played my solo sets I've used an Ableton controllerism rig on the audio side. Hot off the heels of the (no)poem tour where I had great luck using all hardware in a collaborate and improvisational context, the meetup gig was a test of using all hardware on the audio side and only using the computer for interactive visuals. The instant-on and quick setup of the all hardware rig was really great and allowed me to play a continuous set combining composed piece from my albums plus do improv.

At the meetup gig, I used a Blofeld keyboard.

Blofeld+octatrack

I wanted to be able replicate that same gig for away gigs where I fly so I added an Akai MPK Mini MK2 to be paired with the Blofeld Desktop.

MPKmini_angle_web_lg_700x438

 Here is a sketch of my solo rig now.

Photo Aug 24, 8 21 17 AM

By having a home and away rig with the same technology I can develop more muscle memory for the rig and focus on a small set of instruments.

Note that if I happen to have the computer along for visuals, I can turn this into a hybrid rig and use the laptop to run Percussa MIDIBridge and run audio cubes as gestural controllers.

I'm currently testing the rig in hybrid mode and will add an iConnect MIDI interface soon so I can completely break the tether to the laptop if needed.

Coming up in Part 2 – Backing Into Your Synth Rig from the Pelican 1510 Case

Photo Aug 23, 1 44 27 PM