Walk the Walk

Not exactly what I was aiming for but ….

Two multi-effects devices – the Korg Mini Kaoss Pad 2S and the Zoom MS-70CDR.

The Zoom is an epic pedal. CDR stands for chorus, delay, reverb, and there are a whopping 86 types to choose from. Plus you can chain up to six effects in series (on the one pedal!). Plus it’s stereo. Plus patch memories. Plus onboard tuner. Plus the price! It’s so cheap!! For this video I have a stereo delay, a filter delay, a modulated delay and a plate reverb applied in that order to the volca keys. The quality of some of the effects falls short of the more expensive pedals they’re meant to be mimicking, but for the price you can’t complain. Ever since the volcas came out, people have been bugging Korg to produce a volca mixer. I’d like to add …. if you do, please incorporate sends and something like the MS-70CDR.

The Mini Kaoss Pad is also a multi-effect (100 types), but you can only use one at a time. Each effect has two parameters wired to the X-Y touchpad for creating all kinds of motion in the sound. It’s a DJ tool, not a guitar pedal, and I’ve still to get to grips with it. Maybe in the next video.

Snowflakes Are Resting

Testing the “flux” function of the volca keys with a Tomita-ish piece.

The first time round is just the volca keys, the second with a Mini Kaoss Pad delay, and the third with the volca bass doing a passable theremin impression over the top. Listen to the tone of the volca bass. Can’t praise it enough.

The volcas are basically 16 step sequencers, but there are ways to get more out of the volca keys. First off, it has settings for 1/1, 1/2 and 1/4 tempo. If you set to 1/2, the sequence cycles once to every two cycles of the volca beats for example, so the unit’s 16 steps last 32 steps in all. At 1/4 they last four cycles, i.e. 64 steps. But even if you set the keys to 1/2 or 1/4 tempo, there are still only 16 notes in the sequence – they’re just spread out over double or quadruple the time. You can sustain those 16 steps, but you can’t play anything between them.

Luckily, the keys has another mode – “flux”. Flux allows you to play and record notes freely across any tempo without the 16 step restriction. The resolution isn’t infinitely fine though – after a bit of experimenting I found its limit at 8 notes per step – but still, that gives you 16 x 8 = 128 steps stretched over four cycles to play with.

Here’s how to input the notes cleanly ….

  1. set “tempo range settings” to “full”
  2. set flux on, tempo to 1/4
  3. tempo dial all the way down to minimum
  4. connect to the volca beats with the keys first in the chain
  5. set up a snare metronome on the beats ….
  6. set the beats snare on 1, 4, 8, 12 steps
  7. stutter time to 1.2 and depth to taste
  8. use active step to activate only the steps you want to record
  9. record notes

If you use the volca key’s Tempo Delay or an external delay, you can get some very nice sounding arpeggios.

Active Step is also useful during performance. Instead of enabling and disabling single steps, you’re dealing with groups of eight notes. I expect you can do all kinds of things with 128 steps if you plan ahead a little. If you use the keys in polyphonic mode, that’s 128 sustaining chords in 16 groups of 8.

Since the tempo is set to 1/4, and the tempo dial to something low, the beats will be crawling along. I was thinking though, you could maybe run the sync signal through a delay to multiply it x8 to get the beats and bass moving at a cycle of 16 notes rather than 16 steps. Something to try later.

STFU

A break between equipment change didn’t really work. I should have started up again the week after switching. Instead, no music and no posts for over a month.

This is the three analogue Volcas – beats, bass and keys. They’re all running through a Mini Kaoss Pad 2S ping pong delay and a Behringer RV600 hall reverb for width. I’m doing the Volcas to learn how to tweak parameters rather than play my way through a piece, but keeping things evolving and interesting turns out to be a lot harder than it looks. I’ve failed miserably here. Can’t keep my fingers off the keys.

This is the kind of thing I’m aiming for.