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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Drones on a Budget

A live AE Modular set from the 5th Volt


There are numerous small-brew synthesizers in production currently, each with its own approach, in terms of how individual pieces of equipment operate, and what functions are explored, as well as the make-up of their own communities, who share their creations and provide feedback to the manufacturers, which in turn often yields new equipment. This is a short video displaying the drone capacities from the AE Modular line from Tangible Waves, which originated as a Kickstarter and has expanded into a wide range of small, affordable (the most expensive two are €74.00 and €87.00, while most are half that amount), mix-and-match modules. The source module heard here, the Drone38, contains 18 oscillators in a trio of sets containing a half dozen each. They’re modulated by hand, both the oscillator sets themselves, in terms of tuning, and the relative volume of the signals, plus various effects, in the DroneX mixer. This is a short demonstration from the 5th Volt channel on YouTube.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine live performance of ambient music. Video originally posted at youtube.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , / Comments: 2 ]

2 Comments

  1. Nick
    [ Posted April 20, 2021, at 6:11 am ]

    It’s pretty sobering to consider that I could sell one or two of my Eurorack modules and buy a pretty jam-packed AE system… they might not have the equivalent of a Rene, but they certainly seem to have the fuss-free config flexibility of the Doepfer range, and it looks like the breadboardy cable setup allows them to have more I/O options than you might expect in your average Eurorack module. The dual A/D seems to have EOC triggers for both envelopes, which is something that’s often a disappointing omission, and makes me think an AE system could be make a very nice, affordable Krell station…

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted April 20, 2021, at 6:13 pm ]

      Yeah, it’s a promising setup, for sure.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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