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Jack Hertz

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About Jack Hertz

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    Bay Area, CA
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    Sound Design, FM Synthesis, Publishing, Improvised music, Music Concrete, Digital Synthesis, Visual Design, Video Production, Software Development, Unix, Outdoors, Spirituality, Reading, Publishing

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  1. Jack Hertz

    SOMA PULSAR-23 Organismic Drum Machine

    PULSAR-23 is an organismic drum machine that is currently in development at Soma. It has a semi-modular structure and consists of 23 independent modules: – 4 drum channels: Bass drum, Bass\Percussion, Snare drum, Cymbals\Hi-Hat – 4 envelope generators with the unique ability to generate a sustain for the drum channels, turning them into noise\drone synthesizers. – 4 independent loop recorders with the option for individual clocking. They record triggering events, not audio. – Clock generator with an array of dividers as a very powerful tool for rhythm synthesis. – Wide range LFO (0.1 – 5000Hz) with variable waveform. – Shaos – a unique pseudo-random generator based on shift registers with 4 independent outputs, sample and hold and other cool features. – FX processor with CV control incl. CV control of the entire DSP’s sample rate. – Distortion. – 2 CV-controlled gates. – 2 CV-controlled VCAs. – 2 controllable inverters. Also, it has MIDI control and synchronization and a lot of smaller modules such as 3 assignable attenuators and 2 dynamic CV sensors for CV generation etc. In general, there are 52 knobs, 11 switches and over 100 inputs and outputs for patching, Eurorack integration, external mixing and processing, live circuit bending! Here you can see the demo video of the laboratory prototype of PULSAR-23. It does not have the final look, the enclosure or the final panel design. The design will be developed later. Also, some minor features may change and some control options will be added. I’ve done the development of the main sound design and circuitry, and now I would like to introduce the project to the world. The most important things – the sound, the structure, the philosophy – are done. When I started the project, my intention was to make it patchable as much as possible and to have control points everywhere it made sense. It meant not being too concerned about the number of those points. But every socket takes up additional space on the enclosure and on the PCB, while also increasing the risk for construction problems and of course significantly adding to the price as we need good ones. When the number of sockets exceeds 100, like in this drum machine, the dimensions and price of the instrument will be increased several times. Using breadboard sockets and connectors that are small and cheap would not be reliable or comfortable… And then the idea to use crocodile clips + M3 screws came to me, and that resolved all of those problems! The benefits of this solution: 1. Space-saving design on the surface and the PCB. It occupies just several square millimeters. 2. As cheap as M3 screws and nuts plus several washers. 3. 100% reliable as it’s very simple and nothing to break. 4. You can attach several clips to one pin. 5. You can connect the clips together. 6. You can easily connect the clips to individual electronic parts like capacitors, diodes etc. or a part of external circuit, that give you the possibility of circuit bending and experimentation and is very efficient, as including even a single capacitor to some open nodes of PULSAR-23, may change sound drastically. 7. You can easily connect it to any type of jack connector – just attached it to the jack tip. 8. Ready wires with crocodile clips are cheap and easy to find. So despite it not being a standard format of connectors in musical gear, I decided to design it this way as this solution addresses all problems and actually provides a lot of benefits. However, all main connectors such as MIDI and main audio out will have standard professional connectors and it will have a line of adapters from 3.5mm mini-jacks (Eurorack connectors) to the M3 pins The expected net price is 1,200-1,500 Euros. The exact price will be known when the industrial mass production version is ready. We always try to make price as low as possible, but good construction and good production cost money. PULSAR-23 will have the famous quality of parts and assembling of LYRA-8. The expected date of release is autumn\winter 2018\19. The drum machine will be manufactured in Russia and Poland. If you like the sound and the project you can get on the pre-order waiting list and be among the first ones who will receive PULSAR-23. Just send your request to somasynths@gmail.com with subject “PULSAR-23 pre-order”. In your mail, please mention the country where you want the synth to be delivered to and your phone number (it could be useful if our mails go to spam). No deposit is required. Best! Vlad Kreimer 13 June 2018
  2. The OM-1 Cassette Synthesizer is an analog musical instrument built around the concept that when a continuous tone/note is recorded to tape, its pitch will change as the tape's playback speed is increased or decreased. Individual notes are playable via the 8 buttons (keys), each with a tuning knob directly above it. The volume of the notes can be articulated by using the pressure sensitive volume control - the harder its pressed, the louder the note. A three position switch controls attack/release response of the audio output - Short, Medium, and Long. CV/Gate inputs allow control over the cassette's pitch and volume from a linear (non-quantized) voltage sequencer. While loosely inspired by instruments like the Mellotron® and Ondes Martenot, the OM-1 has a sound all its own. Because it uses a standard cassette tape as its audio source, the sound creation possibilities are endless. The OM-1 is engineered for experimentation. Features TUNING KNOBS: Each knob tunes the button/key directly below it. Pitch range is a little over 2.5 octaves. PERFORMANCE BUTTONS/KEYS: Use these to change the pitch of the sound recorded to tape, the same way you would play keys on a keyboard. Tuned with the knob directly above it. FORCE SENSITIVE VOLUME CONTROL: The harder this is pressed, the louder the audio gets. Controls whatever is plugged into the “IN” jack. ATTACK / RELEASE: Increases the attack and release response of the �Force Sensitive Volume Control as the knob is turned clockwise. AUDIO INPUT: 3.5mm jack - Connect this to the cassette player’s Headphone output using a mono (TS) 3.5mm cable. You can also plug in any external audio source and control its volume with the Force Sensitive Volume Control or Gate Input. TAPE SPEED OUTPUT: 3.5mm jack - Connect this to the cassette player’s Tape Speed input (silver jack) using a mono (TS) 3.5mm cable. CV INPUT: 3.5mm jack - Control the pitch of the tape’s sound from a linear (non-quantized) CV sequencer, such as the Korg SQ-1 (5V Max). GATE INPUT: 3.5mm jack - Plug in the Gate Output from a CV sequencer to gate the audio being fed into the “IN” jack. POWER SUPPLY INPUT: Use only the 3V center positive wall adapter supplied with the unit in order to avoid any damage to circuitry. AUDIO OUTPUT: 1/4" jack - Plug this into an amplifier, external effects, etc. PITCH RIBBON INPUT: 3.5mm jack
  3. Explore the Inspirational World of Wind Instruments Wind instruments can impart powerful emotions upon music, especially within the genres of classical, pop, rock, and jazz. The sound of the saxophone, for example, has captivated music lovers of all ages, and many people would love to play one – although it’s not always easy. For instance, there are many types of wind instrument so choosing one can be tough, especially when you like several of them. Noise levels make it difficult to practice at home, particularly at night. And staying motivated is hard when your practice time is limited or you can’t find a place to play. Roland’s Aerophone GO is a digital wind instrument that solves all these problems. First, there are 11 expressive instruments on board including a variety of sax sounds. You can play them anywhere, thanks to battery operation and a built-in speaker. And you can practice whenever you like, by connecting a set of headphones. Wirelessly connect your smartphone and you can access extra sounds, play along with your favorite songs or start an ensemble performance with up to six friends. If you’ve always wanted to play the saxophone (or flute, clarinet, and many more) Aerophone GO gives you everything you need to start…and keep on going. Find an Inspiring Sound, Think Of Your Favorite Tune, and Start Playing With 11 wind instrument sounds onboard – including soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone sax – Aerophone GO lets you explore a multitude of musical genres. But even if sax is your preferred instrument, playing violin, clarinet, or even synth lead is great fun and hugely inspiring. Downloading the free Aerophone GO Plus app invites you to explore even further, adding 50 additional sounds and letting you customize the onboard settings to suit your personal style. Play Anytime, Anywhere Aerophone GO is highly portable, with four rechargeable NI-MH (AA) batteries that let you play anywhere. The built-in speaker delivers high-quality sound wherever you want to play, without needing external speakers and connections. And using headphones means you can play any time of the day or night without disturbing family or neighbors; just choose a sound, set the volume and start playing. Weighing 1 lb. 9 oz./695 g, Aerophone Go is a great travel partner too – and comes with a soft case for your musical adventures. Smartphone Apps Make It Quicker To Learn Your Favorite Song As a standalone instrument, Aerophone GO offers inspiring sounds, portability and the option of playing with headphones. And when you use Bluetooth® to wirelessly connect with your smartphone, things become even more exciting. Aerophone GO Plus is a free app that lets you play along with favorite songs from your smartphone, offering several ways to learn specific songs including slowing the tempo of the playback song, or looping a section of the song so you can study it in detail. Using the app gives access to an additional 50 sounds, covering an even wider range of musical genres and you can even adjust various performance settings including the sensitivity of breath control and the bite sensor, as well as the customization of fingering type. Ensemble, Assemble! The Aerophone GO Ensemble app lets up to seven Aerophone GO players perform together wirelessly. Once connected to this free app, each group member can access 19 sounds on the smartphone , and each musician can choose a different sound. The sound from the group is mixed in the smartphone, and by connecting a small monitor speaker (such as the battery-powered Roland Cube Street EX) everyone can hear and react to the resulting ensemble – perfect for street performances, jam sessions or classroom learning. Supports Traditional Sax Fingering and Authentic Breath Control Aerophone GO is a great choice for anyone learning a wind instrument, but it’s also compatible with traditional sax and recorder fingering, so experienced players can use familiar playing techniques. A sensitive mouthpiece-mounted breath sensor also functions as a bite sensor, supporting expressive techniques like vibrato and pitch. Beginners can enjoy playing the onboard sounds right away, while more experienced performers will appreciate that they can play Aerophone GO without having to learn a new fingering system or adapt their existing technique. Get To Grips with Note Transposition If you want to play the saxophone, understanding transposition is essential. The sax is a transposing instrument, which means that the key in which you play sounds different to what’s written on the music score. For example, if a guitarist, pianist and a saxophonist are jamming in the key of C, the sax will be playing the key of A for an alto sax, or D for a tenor sax. The Aerophone GO’s Transpose function makes it easier to transpose between what you’re reading, what you’re playing and what you’re hearing.
  4. San Francisco Bay Area artists join forces to produce a sweeping blend of new compositions that bring together Ambient and West Coast electronic music styles to create a sound all their own.
  5. Synthino XM polyphonic MIDI synthesizer and groovebox The Synthino XM™ is powerful polyphonic synthesizer with unique features running on a powerful hardware platform. It has a compact, rugged tabletop design that is also beautiful. Most importantly, it is really fun to play whether you are a musician or you just want to make some noise. Synthino XM was designed by Michael Krumpus of nootropic design, and Alex Dyba of GetLoFi. To launch Synthino XM they created a very successful Kickstarter campaign that was successfully funded and 100% sold out. 3 Fun Modes The Synthino XM has 3 modes: synthesizer, arpeggiator, and groovebox. When Synthino XM is powered on, all the LEDs blink, prompting you to select a mode. For all the details, see the product documentation. Synthesizer mode allows you to play the Synthino XM with a MIDI controller connected to the MIDI jack or from your favorite DAW (digital audio workstation) software with MIDI over USB. You can also play the synthesizer in standalone mode using note buttons. Explore different sounds by changing the waveform, controlling the note envelope parameters (ADSR – attack, decay, sustain, release), modulating the pitch and filter with independent LFOs for each, and adjusting the low pass filter. Arpeggiator mode lets you play predefined arpeggios or set your own arpeggio notes with MIDI. There are 4 patterns: up, down, up-down, and random. And you can cycle through predefined 4-note chord arpeggios: major, minor, M7, and m7, or to select MIDI mode which creates an arpeggio with currently played MIDI notes (up to 16 notes!). Of course you can change the speed (BPM), transpose arpeggios up and down, and modify the envelope, waveform, and filter parameters. There’s a ton of fun to be had, even when using the arpeggiator in standalone mode without any MIDI input. Groovebox mode is the most sophisticated feature of the Synthino XM. It is a “live” 16-step sequencer which allows you to lay down 4 different tracks by playing a MIDI controller. When the sequencer is running, any note or drum sample you play will be recorded to the current track and repeated as the sequencer runs. Each track can have its own envelope settings. The individual notes on a single track can even have different waveforms, so you can create very rich, complex sequences. The Synthino XM groovebox mode is incredibly powerful and expressive. No musical talent is required to make great sounding sequences! You can even save them to memory for later playback. Hardware 1/4 inch ( 6.35 mm ) output jack: Works with headphones, line output for recording, and direct connecting to standard guitar amplifier. We will include a 1/4 to 1/8 inch stereo adapter with each Synthino XM for headphone/earbud use. When running on 9 volt battery power, the unit turns off when the audio plug is removed. Standard 5-pin MIDI input jack: This allows you to plug-in any standard MIDI keyboard, interface, sequencer, or drum machine to control the Synthino XM. USB mini jack: Allows MIDI over USB functionality. This modern implementation enables sequencing and control from iOS, Android, PC, and Mac devices. It can also be used to upgrade firmware using a simple upload utility. Synthino XM can also be powered from the USB port of cell phone charger, laptop power, or battery pack. Laser-cut acrylic cover: Frosted acrylic gives the Synthino XM a gorgeous finish. We searched far and wide for acrylic with just the right look. Four orange LEDs emit a warm, diffused glow from beneath the acrylic. Synthino XM Features + 5-note polyphony for superb playability + 12 waveforms, 5 drum samples (kick, snare, hi-hat, tom, clap), and noise generator + 12-bit audio at 25KHz output rate + 4 MIDI channels, each with separate waveform and ADSR envelope settings + MIDI over 5-pin MIDI jack or USB + MIDI over USB works with DAW software on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android + low pass filter with cutoff frequency and resonance controls + 2 independent low frequency oscillators (LFOs): pitch and filter + selectable waveform for LFOs + 1V p-p audio output voltage with enough current to drive headphones + arpeggiator mode, up to 16 notes + 4 arpeggiator patterns: up, down, up-down, random + 4 built-in arpeggiator chords or use MIDI to specify up to 16 notes + arpeggiator pitch transposition control + tempo control with MIDI clock input + 16-step live performance “groovebox” sequencer + save/load patches and sequences in EEPROM + pitch fine-tuning adjustment + programmable/upgradable over USB
  6. Jack Hertz

    Crudlabs Crudman V2

    The Crudman v2 is a unique electronic musical instrument based around a cassette Walkman hacked so its speed can be accurately controlled in musical intervals with Midi and unquantized 1v/octave CV. It also has Midi CC controllable ADSR and portamento, easy Midi polyphony with multiple units, and more. The Crudman is often referred to as a Walkman Mellotron™ but it does not sound like a Mellotron™. It's sound is all the result of the nuances of Walkman mechanics and cassette tape, combined with design and engineering overkill for a surprising degree of stability and tonal/musical accuracy. It's an actual musical instrument in the traditional sense of the word, which also happens to give a unique character to any sound you put through it. The Crudman v2 has surprisingly good tuning accuracy using a 16 bit DAC with each unit individually tuned by ear and mapped to both Midi notes and unquantized 1v/octave CV. It has a simple, easy to use onboard +/-100 cent tuning control. It has a custom NAB preamp with a dramatically better bass response and overall sound than the Sony TCM series Walkman's onboard preamp. It has a Midi CC controllable "auto warble". Multiple units can be daisy chained together over Midi for instant polyphony. It has three surprisingly stable octaves which you can hear in the video demos above, and also one super warbly and out of control low octave at the bottom. CV is unquantized 1v/octave from 0.1v to about 4.2v, with the ability to abruptly pull the motor to a halt at 0v.
  7. The ChipTune Story is the accompanying documentary to The Commodore Story and focuses on 8-bit music and of course the C64 SID chip. Featuring interviews with top games 8-bit music composers Rob Hubbard, Chris Huelsbeck, Ben Daglish, Mark Knight and many more. We look at the history of ChipTune from 8-bit computers moving to 16-bit sampling introduced with the Amiga and games music we have today.
  8. Jack Hertz

    The Museum of Synthesizer Technology

    To Preserve, Restore and Promote a Wider Interest in the History and Development of Analogue Musical Instruments. The book includes a forward by Bob Moog.
  9. Freeform Analogue Technologies Freebass FB383 - Basically a rebranded version of the Music And More (MAM) MB33, which is basically a Roland TB-303 clone. It's a pure analog synthesizer with a real VCO and a rich squelchy highly resonant filter. The famous 303 glide/slide is controlled by playing legato (or increasing the gate time on an arpeggiator.) I believe these were made in Germany in the mid 90's.
  10. It is a documentary about a history of electronic music and musique concrète, Experimental Music from Luigi Russolo's 1913 manifesto The Art of Noises to the new generation. Some composers as Jean Michel Jarre, Emilie Simon, François Bayle, Michel Chion, Christian Zanési, Teho Teardo, talk about how (and why) they composed electronic music pieces. The film's premiere was screened in Paris, on June 19, 2013 at the La Gaîté Lyrique theatre.
  11. Jack Hertz


    The Minitron was an early sampling / looping system that could trigger 48 independent voices of tape based sounds. Utilizing an array of six 8-track tape cartridges loaded with 1/4" analog tape. The Minitron assigned each of the audio tracks to its own key on the 48 keys slide-out keyboard mounted below. The Minitron had several features that made it more advanced than the Mellotron. The most prominent features were the Minitron's ability to play sounds longer in length, continuously, with amplitude control, and the ability to record its own sounds. Where the Mellotron had a single strip of tape that played end-to-end, with no sustain, and pre-recorded envelope. The Minitron could begin and end at any point in the loop, and would loop as long as the key was held. Even more impressive, the Minitron could playback loops as long as 40 minutes. By starting and stopping at different points in the loop. The player could play the same recording in different ways. This extra latitude in playback time and accessibility, offered a number ways for the musician to play the sounds without them sounding as repetitious as the short samples of the Mellotron. What is just as impressive, is the Minitron could also record its own sounds. Utilizing eight audio inputs, new audio could be recorded to an 8-track cartridge in the left cart slots. Then be switched to the right slot for playback. Recording to cartridges made it possible for the artist to build their own library of sounds that could be setup very quickly for use in performance or recording in the studio. Finally, the Minitron also featured some level of control over the tape loops themselves with separate attack, decay and volume controls for each of the 48 voices. Allowing the player to be more creative with how sounds where shaped and combined.
  12. Recorded live from KFJC. The Dead City Shaman conjure spirits from the thousands of musicians who performed in the sacred space known as "The Pit".
  13. Jack Hertz

    KETRON SD2 Orchestral Wizard

    The KETRON SD2 Orchestral Wizard is a pocket size sound module designed for all PC and Midi applications. Equipped with a new powerful sound engine, including a professional Stereo Grand Piano sound over 88 notes, huge Orchestral voices such as Saxophones, Brass, Woodwinds, Guitars, Accordions, Organ Digital Drawbars and many others, the SD2 has all the latest features for recording, programming and live performances. The quality of the Solo instrumental Voices (following the traditional KETRON Best Natural sound heritage) is a remarkable advantage of the SD2. In addition, the SD2 includes very distinctive Audio Drum and Percussion Loops selected from Slow, Jazz, Latin, Acoustic, Traditional and Dance styles. Ketron SD2Used in conjunction with a Computer, Master keyboard, Midi accordion or Midi guitar, the SD2 offers an “all-in-one” great sound resource that can be used to greatly enhance standard Midi fi les, as well as for Home and Studio compositions and recordings. Its Midi capability allows for control of up to 32 Midi channels and DSP effects such as Reverb, Chorus, Delay and Distortion. A very useful (optional) USB to Midi cable also allows the SD2 to communicate fl uently with any laptop, which might normally not be equipped with a Midi Interface. Special configurations with the sound Map (Templates) are provided so the instrument can easily ‘work’ with the most commonly used sequencer programs such as Cubase®, Logic®, Cakewalk® as well as the complete SD2 Drum Loop Library. Templates and Loop Libraries can be downloaded free of charge from Support & Downloads
  14. When electronic music synthesizers started to become popular in the 1960s, it was widely claimed that these wondrous instruments could create any sound—real or imagined. Curiously, this rather extravagant claim is both true and not true. In theory at least, any sound can be synthesized electronically (nobody has tried every possibility yet). Some sounds may be extremely difficult and, perhaps, impractical to electronically synthesize, but in principle they should be possible. On the other hand, no individual synthesizer can generate all possible sounds. Electronic music synthesizers are made up of a number of circuits, or modules, which can create or influence a signal in various, specific ways. To create a truly infinite number of sounds, an infinite number of modules would be required. For this reason, different synthesizers are more suited than others to creating specific types of sounds. There is no single ideal electronic music synthesizer. It all depends on just what you need. A great many synthesizer models are commercially available today. Some are excellent instruments, but they may not be perfect for your needs. You may be able to find a commercial synthesizer that includes all the modules you want, but you may end up with a number of additional modules that aren't of much use to you. You have to pay for them anyway. In this book, you'll learn how to build your own customized electronic music synthesizer. It will be far cheaper than a ready-made commercial unit, and it will only have the modules you specifically need. Moreover, you can position and mark the controls in whatever manner suits you. You can also expand your synthesizer as your needs demand (or your budget allows). The only limit on the number of modules is how many you can build and afford. In addition, you'll end up with a unique instrument, unlike any other in the world, and you can take pride in knowing it is your own handiwork. This book includes dozens of circuits that can be mixed and matched to create hundreds of different synthesizer systems. Many tips on their use are also presented. Some knowledge of basic electronics and the ability- to work from schematic diagrams is assumed, but no previous experience or knowledge of electronic music and synthesizers is required.
  15. Jack Hertz

    Vinicius Electrik Lizard System

    The Vinicius Electrik Lizard System is a very powerful Eurorack analog modular synthesizer system with digital control. It includes nine modules mounted in a 104HP case: Lizard Oscillator/Sequencer; MultiWaves Oscillator/LFO; Stage Variable VCF; OverFolder; ADSR (x2); DualVCA; 4 Channel Mixer and Midi Port. Includes power adapter and 24 colored patch cables of assorted sizes. Tested, with original box. Assembled in USA. It is composed of: • the MIDI2CV module; • the ADSR Generators (x2); • the Lizard VCO, a powerful hybrid VCO with 48 Operation Modes, which can also function as sequencer; • the MultiWaves, a triple LFO of which two are fully analog and one is hybrid (with 8 waveforms) that can function as a VCO; • the StateVariable VCF which features Low Pass 12, Low Pass 18, Band Pass and High Pass outputs; • the OverFolder, a wavefolder with an innovative folding topology; • the 4 Channel Mixer; • the Dual VCA. The package includes varied set of 24 colored patch cables and an external power supply for better signal-to-noise ratio.