North Coast News

Fat sounds and thick pads
2021 Sep 8th

Fat sounds and thick pads

From time to time we hear people claim that one synthesizer sounds more "fat" than another. For the sound to be fat is supposed to be a good thing. This is often cited as an advantage of analog synths over digital; or of one analog synth over an…

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Gracious Host development adventures
2021 Jul 4th

Gracious Host development adventures

The MSK 014 Gracious Host is planned to be the next new module from North Coast Synthesis, and I've spent a lot of time in the last few months working on the firmware for it. I did most of the hardware design last year, but then shelved it for a…

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Marbled and hydrographic panel gallery
2021 May 2nd

Marbled and hydrographic panel gallery

As described in an earlier posting a month ago, I've been experimenting with painting and printing on a batch of defective Eurorack module front panels, trying to both salvage them into something usable and develop some techniques that will be us…

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Aconcagua
2021 Apr 13th

Aconcagua

Every so often I come back to the idea of generating self-similar or "fractal" chord progressions by recursively applying grammar rules, as in my 2015 composition Dharmapala. I like the general method described in that article, but one thing I don…

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Panel painting photo gallery
2021 Apr 2nd

Panel painting photo gallery

Last year the contractors who make panels for my products had an issue with some newly-installed equipment and they shipped me a batch of panels with the wrong colours. Here's a comparison of a good panel (left) with one from the bad batch (right…

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Passive multiples and friends
2021 Jan 29th

Passive multiples and friends

Passive multiples are often recommended as first synthesizer do-it-yourself projects. There are a few reasons for that: they're simple modules without too many things that can go wrong; they're useful modules that almost everybody needs; the pa…

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Beware fake parts
2021 Jan 21st

Beware fake parts

There are a lot of counterfeit electronic parts in circulation. It's especially a problem with parts that are obsolete, hard to find, or expensive; sold privately in places like eBay or AliExpress at unusually low prices; and shipped from the People…

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Listening longer to the Mandelbrot Set
2020 Dec 26th

Listening longer to the Mandelbrot Set

I've long been interested in ways to sonify fractals, and I wrote an article here about Listening to the Mandelbrot Set in 2017. At that time, I was thinking of it as a way to generate a waveform: basically, imagine running a point along the (in…

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December 2020 updates:  shipping, Twitch
2020 Nov 29th

December 2020 updates: shipping, Twitch

I'm looking forward to a little bit of relaxation in December. I won't be going on vacation this year as I usually would, and that means I can fill orders throughout December. However, my local post offices have become unsafely crowded on weeken…

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Vexations
2020 Nov 6th

Vexations

Erik Satie was a French composer who lived around the turn of the 20th Century and did a number of bizarre things, including the creation of a piece of music called Vexations which was not published during his lifetime but which has fascinated peo…

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PCB design mistakes
2020 Oct 4th

PCB design mistakes

Electronic design is sometimes imagined to begin and end with the schematic. Whoever drew the schematic gets the "designer" credit; hobbyists search the Web for "free schematics" and just assume they will encounter no issues getting from there to…

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Genome Jazz
2020 Aug 31st

Genome Jazz

The COVID-19 pandemic has made everybody interested in virology, and molecular biology more generally, and one of the cool things about living in the Future is that genome sequences have become accessible. Where it used to be the work of a person…

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