I spent a lot of time in September on two projects: the 50th anniversary of the ARP 2500 modular synthesizer, and extending the “wave splicing” idea appearing on some oscillators to encompass a general way to create more interesting audio and modulation waveforms. That’s reflected in the videos and articles I’ve created over the past few weeks:


  • featured article: A simple tweak to the typical synthesizer patch that has been producing more interesting, animated sounds.
  • new videos & posts: A tube-based vintage effects module, vignettes on the ARP 2500, and more.
  • course updates: More opportunities to ask questions & share.
  • Patreon updates: More exclusive posts to flesh out my recent videos, plus a set of advanced patch ideas inspired by the TB-303.
  • upcoming events: SoundMit 2020: Virtual Edition.
  • one more thing: The ARP 2500’s 50th Anniversary, and remembering synthesizer history in general.

New Videos & Blog Posts

I created a set of five short videos discussing various features of the vintage ARP 2500 modular synth; those will be discussed in more detail in the One More Thing section at the end of this newsletter. I also released the following videos:

I reviewed the Erica Synths Fusion Delay/Flanger/Ensemble module. This module marries together an analog BBD delay line, tube-based saturation, and a low pass filter as well as a simple trick to create a fake stereo field from a monophonic source.

I also created two videos based on my “waveform crossfading” idea discussed in the main article above. In addition to the New Mexico Control Voltage modular meetup demo featured there, I also created the video above to explain “wave splicing” and my extension of using crossfading rather than a hard switch.

And, over on the Synth & Software web site, I have a review of the MOK Waverazor Dual Oscillator (which is one of the wave splicing VCOs that sent me down the path of exploring crossfading).

Modular Courses Updates

I added the Erica Fusion Delay/Flanger/Ensemble video to the Eurorack Expansion: Extended course, in the Effects section.

As some of you have noticed, I also added the ability to comment on each “lesson” inside of each course. My next step during October is to make sure everyone registered in a course has access to the overall community for their courses, in case you have questions or want to share ideas that go beyond an individual lesson.

Patreon Updates

The most significant Patreon-exclusive post I created last month (for +5v and above subscribers) was a long piece dissecting two of the sections of the Roland TB-303 that made it unique – its filter, and its Accent function (neither may be what you thought) – and showing how to recreate them generically in your own modular patches.

+5v and above subscribers also received more detail on the Erica Fusion Delay/Flanger/Vintage Ensemble, plus an exclusive bonus video on using it in feedback to create its own soundscapes.

All subscribers also got to view a detailed post on the Wave Splicing idea, plus a couple of comments on my Wave Crossfading demo.

They also received companion posts for the five ARP 2500 50th Anniversary videos I created, including:

Those posts are more detailed than others that have appeared publicly – a perk of being a Learning Modular Patron.

And, as a follow-up to that last post on the 2500, I also shared last week some more resources on using analog computers and test equipment for electronic music.

Upcoming Events

The Italian synth & pedal show SoundMit is having its 10th anniversary edition online – and it will also be free to all virtual attendees. I will be giving a session that further expands on my wave crossfading idea above, with a live question & answer period. The show will be webcast on SoundMit’s YouTube channel, November 14 & 15.

One More Thing…

The ARP 2500 modular synthesizer – the one seen near the end of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, communicating with the alien spacecraft (that’s ARP employee and old friend Phil Dodds at the controls – we miss him) – celebrated its 50th Anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the Alan R Pearlman Foundation – founded by Alan’s daughter Dina – held an online “synthposium” in its honor, featuring some of the original engineers as well as numerous musicians and educators familiar with the 2500, including Jean-Michel Jarre.

I created a series of short videos + accompanying articles about the 2500, plus co-moderated the Education panel with Dina. The synthposium itself is being edited by Dina (to remove the various glitches and insert the videos that didn’t play correctly); those movies are being uploaded to the Foundation’s YouTube channel – two sessions are up now with more to follow.

I am a supporter of the Alan R Pearlman Foundation, as well as the Bob Moog Foundation. I think it’s important to preserve information about the early days of both the machines and the music of our favorite “industry.”

Why? I recently watched an online seminar of an innovative new software synth, and its creator started by giving an overview of other synthesis methods from the past. There was a lot of good information in there, but also some incorrect information – including a belief that popular music didn’t start using samplers and synths until the 2000s! A lot of people in the chat room were thanking him for sharing this sometimes-erroneous information, as they had not heard it before.

That kind of alarmed me. And now that many of those from synthesizers’ first generation are no longer with us, we run the risk of forgetting where we came from. So let’s help keep those memories alive.

Apologies for this newsletter coming out a little later than normal; I spent a week hiking around the White Mountains of Arizona, learning how to use my new Shure MV88 mid-side microphone with my iPhone, capturing natural soundscapes to integrate with my music. But now I’m back in the studio, playing with music and learning more modules. I’ll be sure to share the results with you in the upcoming weeks and months.

best regards –