CatSynth TV: Wicks Looper (with Korg Delay Monotron)

One of our CatSynth TV episodes this week featured a close-up demonstration of the Wicks Looper by Rarebeasts, a tiny musical instrument that can make beats, loops, and all sorts of noises.  We also added a Korg Delay Monotron for filtering and delay effects in the last portion of the demo.

The Wicks Looper is a fun instrument that I have used in several live performances, though less so lately.  Its audio jack is a bit fussy at times, but as long as I remember I know how to make it work reliably.  Both it and the Monotron should see more use again this year as I plan out new ideas for solo performances.  And we still love that cat logo that looks so much like our dear Luna.  But there is also a (non-black) Luna who lives with the human who created the instrument, a fact involved in our discovering it in the first place.

Rarebeasts has moved on to newer custom electronic instruments that are quite sculptural in nature.  You can see their work at their Etsy shop.

CatSynth Pic: “Mister Bluuuue Skiessss‚ÄĚ (Korg VC10 Vocoder)

From¬†Als√ļn N√≠ Chasaide‚Äé on the Facebook group Synthesizer Freaks.

Like I spent weeks restoring this & she can’t wait to get on it. If vocoders aren’t for sits, then why are they made of warm?

We at CatSynth had the opportunity to play with a Korg VC10 vocoder last year.¬† It is indeed made of warm, as are most analog vocoders¬†ūüėł.¬† It also had a bit of the Korg grit that characterizes their vintage instruments, and best of all it allowed for external carrier signals (this is something I wish was easier to do on the Roland VP-03).

NAMM Classics: Bastl Instruments and Bitwig Studio

That most wonderful time of year known as NAMM is fast approaching!¬† As we prepare to cover this year’s show, we’re sharing some of our past NAMM videos on CatSynth TV!

This year’s show starts on January 25.¬† Please let us know in these posts about anything specific you would like us to investigate or review while we are there.

CatSynth Pic: Mister Kitty and RE-303

Our pal Mister Kitty returns to the pages of CatSynth with his new RE-303 bass synthesizer.

The RE-303 is a replica of the infamous Roland TB-303.¬† This one was assembled by Mister Kitty’s human, Prophei (aka Michael Dietel).¬† We at CatSynth approve of their choice of the black case. Oh, and it sounds great, too.

As a replica, the circuit board and CPU are compatible with the original TB-303, which suggests the parts can be used to refurbish vintage instruments in addition to building new ones. You can read a bit more in this Synthopia article from 2015.  Clearly, the statement about DIY kits turned out to be wrong, as evidenced by this article.  You can find out more about the RE-303 and kits here.

Meanwhile, we wonder what Mister Kitty may have in store for us next…

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: Sick Days and Introspection

The new year has brought plague and pestilence to CatSynth HQ, as I succumbed to the current vaccine-resistant strain of the flu.¬† It’s been mostly bed rest since Wednesday, but fortunately, I have Sam Sam nearby.

She has been affectionate and attentive, more so than usual.¬† I suspect that is also due to my having started working in an office again after being home with her for most of December.¬† That’s a story for another time.¬† In the meantime, we are enjoying one another’s company, even if I am low on energy and sometimes a bit delirious.¬† Here is a closeup of her.

In a way, the illness and rest have extended the period of solitude and introspection from the last weeks of 2017, which I do not mind at all.¬† It’s given me more time to think about the vague ideas and plans that I have for this year, though it postpones getting started on any execution.¬† On the negative side, I had to cancel a gig today in Sacramento, extending what I call the “Sacramento Curse” where every planned show in that city since the beginning of 2014 has been missed for one reason or another (the first and most dramatic being one that was canceled due to a massive fire near the venue – fortunately, no one was hurt and the venue was fine afterwards).¬† It has also slowed down activity that requires looking at screens for prolonged periods.¬† I made an exception to get this post out.

Lying down and letting one’s mind wander with a slight fever does lead to interesting thoughts.¬† A different experience from¬†The Disintegration of Thought¬†during periods of health, but interesting nonetheless.¬† Some are complete nonsense, but others are consistent with introspection and what it takes to try and be happy and healthy in these challenging times.¬† The roles of fear and caution are part of that internal dialog, as well as creativity in general.¬† ¬†Perhaps I will have more to say about them as I return to¬†health, perhaps not.