I’ve been busy the past few weeks composing, recording, and video-ing (is that a word?) two new compositions. One will be my set for SoundQuest Fest on March 27, and the other – which still needs to be edited – will be webcast later this year. Edited versions of the audio of one or both pieces will appear on a new album I am also working on (that’s this month’s project!).

A side effect of all this is that my head has been firmly in the “mixing” space lately: mixing multitrack recordings, and mixing my modular with other hardware and software synthesizers while I play. These are subjects I’ll expanding on over the next few months, starting with some notes about mixing and EQ in this newsletter:


  • featured article: A few resources to get up to speed more quickly with mixing your modular (and other instruments), including some personal comments on the use of equalization.
  • new videos & posts: A pair of my more popular private Patreon posts are now available to everyone.
  • course updatesI just want to say “thank you.”.
  • Patreon updates: I started a new series titled “Notes from the Studio”, plus shared some ways I’m using resonator modules to create hybrid sounds.
  • upcoming events: In addition to performing as part SoundQuest Fest at the end of the month, I’ll also be sharing some of my sequencing tricks on a Five12 webcast on March 20.
  • one more thing: Modulation Sound Lab is a wonderful, small, inclusive community of artists learning together as we combine modular synths, DAWs, and other tools.

New Videos & Blog Posts

In response to enquires from friends, I have made a couple of articles originally written for Patreon now available to everyone for free:

  • The Monster Power Project, part 6: Heat & Ventilation where I show the steps I went through to make sure my large studio modular stayed cool inside – complete with measurements with and without fans over the period of a few hours.
  • Why Do Vintage Synths Sound Better Than Eurorack? where I tackle the “conventional wisdom” that ±15v power supply systems sound noticeably better than ±12v systems, and uncover what I think is the real reason older synths may sound “bigger” and Eurorack systems can sound like they lack dynamic range: I believe it comes down to their audio signal levels versus their power supply rails.

These are examples of the kind of crazy, detailed content I crank out for my Patreon supporters, in case you were wondering if it was worth subscribing.

Modular Courses Updates

Learning Modular Eurorack Expansion Extended

No course updates this month, other than to say February was one of my best months ever for course sales – thank you for your support!

Patreon Updates

Since I’ve been so busy lately, I’ve been trying out a different format for posts: Notes from the Studio, where I discuss issues and ideas that have come up while working on modular-based songs – without necessarily recording a whole training-based video on the subject. The first three that went up during February include:

I also wrote a post with audio examples of how I am using resonators (such as the Mutable Instruments Rings) to process drum and percussion patterns. When combined with a sequencer that is also stepped along by the same pattern or loop, those percussion patterns get converted into interesting melodic sequences with more character than using the default noise impulse of Rings or similar modules.

To give you an idea of the kind of month February was, I had also recorded for my Patrons a quick tour of the Strymon Nightsky pedal (which I love), only to find out during editing that I had recorded the wrong audio channels – so I’ll have to re-do that. I also recorded an example of patching a “hocketing” pattern where alternate notes trigger different synth voices; I’ll be finishing and uploading that soon, along with other posts I’m working on (including a Notes from the Studio about problems your modular can cause for mastering engineers).

In general, if you want the inside scoop on everything I do related to modular music, please consider subscribing to my Patreon channel as well (with many thanks to those who already have).

Upcoming Events

Electronic music legend Steve Roach plus Serena Gabriel are creating a new, three-day, online version of the original SoundQuest Fest Steve staged in Tucson back in 2010. As you can see from the image above, the lineup is simply amazing, with Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Michael Sterns, Erik Wøllo, Ian Boddy, and others – including yours truly. There will be studio tours, interviews, and other video vignettes along with the performances, scheduled from March 26 through 28. My set is scheduled for Saturday March 27 at 8:35 Eastern and 5:35 PM Pacific Daylight Time; it will also be available online after the premiere during the event.

I will also be the guest artist on the Five12 Vector Deep Dive Saturday, March 20, at 4 PM Eastern and 1 PM Pacific Daylight Time. I’ll be sharing some of my patching and programming techniques to bring a more human feel to my sequences, going beyond simple randomness. It will appear on the Five12 YouTube channel.

(Note that the US goes onto daylight savings time earlier than some other parts of the world, so double-check your local time conversion to make sure you don’t miss those events.)

One More Thing…

Although I am pretty comfortable using a modular synthesizer, I am just now getting back into using music software such as Ableton Live, after a very long break – so I am a newbie about many things in that realm.

And, although I am used to working alone, the ways we’ve adapted to online life during the coronavirus pandemic has made me even more interested in collaborating with and learning from others – and on a more personal level than online forums or webcasts.

One person I’ve been happily sharing problems and ideas with is the multi-talented, very generous Trovarsi. So, when I learned that she and Chantal deFelice had started a new kind of inclusive, collaborative space – Modulation Sound Lab – I immediately joined. In addition to a Patreon channel and private Discord conversation group, the main feature has been a series of Zoom meetings where members share their questions and collective experiences in a well-moderated, inclusive, nurturing, non-judgmental environment. At higher membership levels, you can also get one-on-one lessons from Trovarsi if you desire (and I can vouch that she’s a great person to work with).

If you wished you had a wider group of friends with experiences you may benefit from (and who you would be happy to share your own experiences with), this is a great way to find them. Please consider joining us, and supporting this great environment Trovarsi and Chantal have created.

Before I leave, I have a favor to ask: As part of reviving my musical persona Alias Zone, I have just started an Alias Zone YouTube channel that will be home to the music videos I create. YouTube gives content creators more powers if they have 100 subscribers or more, so if you would consider subscribing to the Alias Zone YouTube channel, I would greatly appreciate it.

with thanks –