Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nord MicroModular

This morning a friend who writes for The Stranger's music blog, LineOut called to ask me about my current favorite piece of gear. I felt I should write some thing about it myself as I had been planning on writing about the Nord Micro Modular anyway.

I started experimenting with synthesizers in the late 1990's. The first unit I owned was called the Roland PMA-5, a small synth unit with a sequencer and drum sets that had a stylus to program a touch screen like a smartphone or PDA. Not long after I begin to play with computer based sound manipulation programs like Sound Forge, and Acid. Then about 5 years ago I decided to branch out sonically and began to purchase some other hardware synths.

My first was the Korg MS2000, then the Alesis Micron and Dave Smith Instruments Evolver. After that I found the Clavia Nord Modular. The Nord Modular was a hardware based synth that could be programmed using a software interface and emulated modular synths. I liked the sounds I got out of the Nord Modular, but when programming patches the 18 knobs that didn't have any labeling became hard to keep track of. The unit was also oddly shaped, making it hard to travel with. I sold it and bought a Yamaha A3000 sampler. But soon I missed the sounds I was making with the Nord and saw a Nord Micro Modular for sale.

The Micro Modular uses the same software interface as the Modular, but has less voices and runs off one dsp chip. It is also a smaller unit and only has three programmable knobs. It was perfect for me. It works great for programming sounds that mutate over time. I like the size because I can pack it with a couple of effects pedals and cables and head to a show wit honly my backpack.

Here is the article in LineOut about me and my synth.

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