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Soulsby Synthesizers Latest News
So I got back from Berlin on Wednesday last week 1 day late and very tired! I had failed to fill in a required form and attempted to do it on the Eurostar platform, but the UK form is like War and Peace and I failed to complete it in time. I also ended up spending £110 on Day 2 COVID tests (first company scammed me, despite being on the official government list). I have a suspicion that the travel stress won't go away post-COVID. I think a lot of this is Brexit-related too. Sigh.
Superbooth was fantastic fun despite all the travel worries and it was great to chat to so many people. Overall I think the new ATX colour-scheme was a success. The audio demos seemed to go down well too. You can hear them on my Instagram account. I did some video interviews/demos which I'll link to below, but I want to mention a couple of things that I couldn't explain in the chaotic environment of Superbooth!
- I wasn't able to show as many features as I would have liked. I made a decision back in July to do a complete software rewrite of the protocol that makes all the parts of the synth talk to each other. This was a massive undertaking and I worked on it all day every day, right up until Superbooth. I managed to complete enough to do an audio demo of the Atmegatron, Atmegadrum and Piano engines, but there's still more to do now that I'm home. There's also the Odytron (analogue modelling), Delayerton (delay effects), Cyclotron (wavetable cycling), String machine and new Bezier engine to convert to the new protocol. There's also a lot more MIDI sequencer functionality to add. I will do more videos as this is completed.
- I had a power supply issue that I was unable to fix before the event. This resulted in a slight amplitude modulation of the entire audio output. I decided that it sounded fine through the speakers in the hall, but it's definitely audible on the video interviews using the direct input. I've been told by several people that the audio was fine for the interviews, but I thought full disclosure would be the most honest thing to do. Obviously this issue won't be in the released product!!
So here's the videos (in the order that they were shot!)
I am very grateful for all the positive support at Superbooth and it has really fired me up to finish this project off. So I hope to be bringing you more videos, audio demos and information about the ATX range in the coming weeks.
I had a delightful chat and cup of tea with gwEm the other day. We chat about synths, chiptune, MSXs, Amigas and much more. You can find the video on his channel here. His channel covers an array of interesting subjects such as his Atari tracker, vintage drum machines and samplers, tutorials and jams. I highly recommend checking it out!
Please also make sure that you have the latest driver for your FTDI cable installed. They're available on downloads page or via the FTDI website. There's also a new Beta version available for OSX 10.15 and above on the FTDI website. I have yet to test this with Easy Uploader. If you have OSX 10.14 and above and try this driver please do get in touch to let me know if it works!
I've had a few emails requesting progress of the ATX range and thought I'd provide a summary. There are many parts to making this synthesizer range and it's a lot for just one person to manage! Progress is being made though and I do hope to have this finished this year.
- Enclosure – 5 prototypes of each synth arriving in a couple of weeks. Then on to manufacturing the production run
- Side panels – being cut at the moment!
- Plastic parts – all purchased and ready for assembly
- Controller PCBs – being manufactured at the moment, should be ready in a couple of weeks
- Voice card, power and bus PCBs – Voice and bus PCBs are ready to manufacture, but on hold while I fix a problem with the power PCB. The power PCB has been causing me major problems throughout the project and still isn’t quite ready! Once power PCB is fixed, all of these will be ordered together to save on shipping.
- Filter and Amp PCBs – the Atmultitron-only PCBs are on hold at the moment. Prototypes are finished and tested, but production won’t start until the Atmegatron II is ready.
- Manual and packaging – haven’t even started yet :(
- Controller – All elements of the control software is now in place, but there is a lot of testing and features to refine. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel with this though!
- Atmegatron engine – All finished. Every parameter needs a final test.
- Odytron engine – Nearly finished. Parameters need rearranging and final test
- Strings engine – Nearly finished. Parameters need rearranging and final test
- Atmegadrum engine – Engine finished, but need to implement sample switching via USB. Parameters need final test.
- Atcylcotron engine – Not started (may be added after launch)
- Delayertron engine – Not started (may be added after launch)
- Duotron engine – Not started (may possibly be removed from spec).
- Audio Input engine – finished.
- Piano engine – 1 bug to remove, otherwise finished
- Bezier engine – basics done, but buggy. Needs further work and testing
I should have been on a flight today to Berlin, to attend my number 1 highlight of the year: Superbooth. Sadly Superbooth couldn't happen this year due to the virus, but in its place is "Superbooth Home Edition" and Soulsby Synths have done a video for it!
In the words of the organisers: "To not let the start of the real Superbooth pass out, there is a virtual show happen tomorrow: The Superbooth20 Home Edition. Starting at 14:00 o´clock / 2 PM (MESZ/CEST/CEDT) simply on our website superbooth.com."
Edit: The video is now available here, in Part 3, near the bottom.
New Oscidrum banks
There are 5 new Oscidrum banks on the downloads page. 4 vintage drum kits and 1 set of Moog Mother-32 sounds courtesy of Steve Munslow.
Online chat with Richard Nicol
I had an informal online chat with Richard Nicol of Pittsburgh Modular yesterday. We chatted about getting into synths, development of the Atmegatron and progress of the ATX synths. I also demo a couple of the new Oscidrum banks.
I discuss quite a bit of this in the video above.A lot of parts for the Atmegatron II have now arrived. There's still some software to write and parts to order, but it's getting close! There are plans for a virtual Superbooth, now that the real one can't take place. I will be doing an update video for this, so stay tuned for details.