Saturday, August 19, 2017

Invisible(s) Archipelago(s) #1 Serendib Rhythms by Stéphane Marin



The contours and frontiers of an island can be designated or traced without difficulty; and within an archipelago, from island to island, circuits of navigation and exchange form fixed and recognized itineraries that draw a clear frontier between the zone of relative identity (recognized identity and established relations) and the external world, a world of absolute foreignness. -- Marc Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Super-Modernity
Sunday, August 06, 2017

The fourth wave of electronic music


This articles is part of my ongoing series on Desktop Electronic Music (DEM). The landing page provides easy access.




Electronic music was originally the exclusive activity of those who could gain access to elite computer systems. Now it's an egalitarian process, a collaboration between boutique hardware firms, cottage industries, and musicians of all stripes. A performer might use a MIDI controller connected to a compact synth module. Or homebuilt sensors feeding an Arduino. We're the operators with our pocket calculators... which are actually tiny drum machines. We are the dreamers of dreams... implemented in esoteric Max patches.

The state of the art is fluid and multivalent. It's hard to see a context when you are embedded in it. So perhaps it's useful to share my musings, which outline four paradigms that have shaped our relationship to electronic music.
Saturday, August 05, 2017

Survey of matrix mixers


This articles is part of my ongoing series on Desktop Electronic Music (DEM). The landing page provides easy access.

In my last article I proposed a matrix mixer suitable for DEM. Here I will take a look at those mixers that already exist on the market.

The main criteria for a device to make this list is that it is affordable and compact. Certainly there are studio-quality matrix mixers, from companies like Allen & Heath. But these range in price up to $4000. That's a different domain!
Saturday, August 05, 2017

Proposal for a matrix mixer


This articles is part of my ongoing series on Desktop Electronic Music (DEM). The landing page provides easy access.


In a recent article I evaluated the feature sets of tiny line mixers, in order to find one suitable for DEM (Desktop Electronic Music). It was difficult to find a perfect tool for the current ecosystem of small synths, drum machines, tablets, phones, and other consumer devices. For example, of the ten units considered, only three worked with stereo minijacks, since they targetted an earlier music-making paradigm.

In this article I'd like to add some further functionality to my specification, and propose a mixer design. There's a real gap in the market for a compact mixer than can be used as a creative tool in its own right.
Friday, August 04, 2017

MIDI wiring diagrams


This articles is part of my ongoing series on Desktop Electronic Music (DEM). The landing page provides easy access.

This article will explain how MIDI cables are wired, starting with conventional DIN-5 sockets, then looking at TRS connectors. This will help anyone who needs to trouble-shoot wiring or solder their own cables.

DIN-5 connectors are paired as male and female ends. But there are two tricks.

First, the pin-out diagrams are sometimes presented from the point-of-view of wiring the plug. But, commonly, when using the MIDI cables, we might prefer the point-of-view of how the plug looks externally. One is a mirror image of another. (This might be obvious to all but me, since I swear I am topologically impaired.)

Second, the MIDI in and MIDI out sides of the cable are wired opposite each other, so that when they are paired, the current flows correctly. Electrically, that makes sense. But pragmatically this might be counter-intuitive. After all, when we examine a MIDI cable, it isn't labelled as to which end is which (in or out).
Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Mixers for desktop music


This articles is part of my ongoing series on Desktop Electronic Music (DEM). The landing page provides easy access.

If you are anything like the typical DEM practitioner, your desktop is a tangle of cables, interlocking musical devices, power supplies, and patch-cords. How can we tame this mess? Here I will tackle one aspect of the problem, by evaluating portable mixers.

UPDATE 16 August 2017: Two additional mixers added, for twelve in total.