Results for circuit bending

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Review: Sidsonic Libraries Circus Circuit Bending Library, massive collection of circuit bent sounds

Circuit bending has gathered quite a lot of attention in recent years. Sure it’s not for everyone, but blogs like Create Digital Music, GetLoFi, Make, etc. show there is plenty of interest in the art of modifying electronic devices by short circuiting them. If you are not really sure what I’m talking about, check Wikipedia here.

Sidsonic’s Circus Circuit Bending Library isn’t the first sample library that is all about circuit bending. It is however one of the most extensive ones I have seen so far, and the first Kontakt Player based one to my knowledge.

Sidsonic CCBL Box

Perhaps not essential but well worth mentioning is the physical design & packaging of this sample library. Where many developers choose to provide downloads only, or simple DVD boxes with half a page worth of info, Sidsonic is doing the opposite entirely.

The box CCBL is shipping in is a proper piece of art (click the image to enlarge). RCA sockets keep the lid in place and a lovely little red dip switch is located on the top right. Useless, you say? Sure there is no need for such a fancy box, but for me it certainly adds value to the product. Even before you get to hear the sounds of CCBL the packaging already shows that these guys are passionate about their work.

The sample library comes with a 36-page booklet that has extensive information on circuit bending, the Kontakt interface pages & controls available, and the instruments/devices used for CCBL and what was done to them to get these circuit bent sounds.

From the booklet:

Already from the first personal experiences of sound bending that emerged from the circuit board of a small electronic guitar and a connecting finger we noticed the potential that Circuit Bending harboured.

Sounds were suddenly able to develop playfully, the likes of which could otherwise have only been possible using complex technology. The first pieces of equipment gathered quickly and it was obvious, that Circuit Bending can be used for far more than for creating just a few typical textbook sounds. The Circus Circuit Bending Library is our way to further extend the art of Circuit Bending and take the distinctive sound of it out into the world. We aim to make it possible by using a simple way to explore the depths of sound bending without having to deal with individual pieces of gear, modification or emerging problems. To this end, a vast array of toys, drum computers and keyboards have been rebuilt, recorded and remodelled so that the emphasis is focused on establishing the largest sound collection possible. The result is a simple, honest remodelling.

Drums and synths

Sidsonic sampled over 18,000 sounds for CCBL, using a total of 14 circuit bent instruments as sound sources. From these samples they constructed nearly 180 synth and drum kits in Kontakt.

Circus Circuit Bending Library instruments

  • Casio SK-1, SK-2 & SK-200, sampling keyboards from the eighties.
  • Alesis HR-16, 16-bit drum computer featuring 49 digital PCM samples.
  • Boss DR-550, drum computer with 48 16-bit PCM samples.
  • Korg DDD-1 & DDD-5, dynamic digital drums with respectively 18 and 14 sounds, features some typical eighties drum sounds.
  • Roland TR-505 & TR-626, the 505 has 16 drum sounds, while the 626 comes with 30 (12-bit samples).
  • Yamaha PSS-140 & PSS-270, two 2 operator FM keyboards that come with 100 preset sounds.
  • Yamaha VSS-200, 8-bit sampling keyboard, FM synthesizer with 100 presets.
  • Texas Instruments Speak & Spell; V-Tech, the well known educational toys featuring a speech synthesizer.

Each of these instruments was circuit bent by soldering sound chips, connecting patch bays, adding switches to the devices, etc., resulting in those typical sounds– noisy, raw, dirty, lo-fi, harsh… you know, messed up.

The Kontakt instruments created from the massive amount of sounds (I can only imagine how much work it was to turn over 18,000 samples into 179 instruments!) are categorized in synths and drums. Inside each section the various instruments are listed with a number of Kontakt patches.

Sidsonic Libraries Circus Circuit Bending Library
Circus Circuit Bending Library Kontakt interface

These instruments are not simply a bunch of samples mapped across the keyboard either. Five custom Kontakt pages are available in each instrument to modify the sounds to your liking. There are many useful controls for envelopes, LFO’s, and various effects (send/insert/master). The drum instruments have five groups (basedrum, snare, toms, cymbal, and percussion) so you can assign filters and effects per group, very handy. Another cool feature is the use of circuit bent sounds in the convolution reverb found on the Send FX page. CCBL comes with 23 long & 21 short “impulse response” files that will turn sounds around in quite unexpected ways.

Check the illustration below for a detailed overview of the signal flow of CCBL’s instruments.

Circus Circuit Bending Library - Signal Flow
Signal flow of Kontakt instruments, CCBL is not just about the samples

So what does CCBL sound like? I made a few quick demo loops which you can check below.

The Sidsonic Libraries website has some more audio clips.

So what do I think?

Product: Circus Circuit Bending Library by Sidsonic Libraries
Format: Kontakt Player 3.5 (VST/AU/RTAS/Standalone)
Price: 189 EUR MSRP

If I could only have one circuit bending sample library, Circus Circuit Bending Library would be it. This thing is massive. It is amazing how many Kontakt instruments Sidsonic was able to build from just 14 sound sources. The instruments are really well done, ready to play straight from the box and easily tweaked with the custom Kontakt pages. There’s a lot of noise, glitch and whatnot in the sounds, yet they remain very playable. Especially in the synth section Sidsonic has worked hard to provide sounds which can be played across the keyboard.

This library truly feels like a labour of love, with much attention to detail and an overall high quality in every aspect of the product.

If you are only remotely interested in circuit bent sounds you should probably just pick up some of the free sample packs available on the internet. However, if you are serious about using circuit bent sounds (and you don’t want to do all the hard work yourself) you should definitely check out CCBL. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Sidsonic has a free demo (includes a drum and a synth instrument) for your Kontakt Player available to download on the CCBL product page. Try and see how you like it.

More information: Sidsonic Libraries / Circus Circuit Bending Library

Tone Manufacture Error Tone, Glitchy and circuit bent sound sample library now also for Kontakt

Tone Manufacture Error Tone

Tone Manufacture has released a Kontakt version of Error Tone, a glitchy and circuit bent sound sample library previously released as a Reason ReFill.

We’ve been working late into the night to bring you our first Kontakt library and we’ve made sure that it uses Kontakt’s effects, modulators and script programming to their full potential.

All of our Kontakt libraries will include custom Performance Views to let you get straight to tweaking the most important controls and lots of lovely modulation wheel automation.

Error Tone for Kontakt features

  • 32 instrument patches, from distorted drones to delicate mallet tones.
  • 30 drum and instrument loop patches.
  • 200+ singles hits, from tweeter shredding glitches to low end rumbles.
  • 8 patches with the single hits mapped across the keyboard for ease of use.
  • 46 REX2 loops.
  • Includes mod wheel automation and custom Performance Views to allow easy access to the most important controls.
  • 600+ Mb of content.
  • 24 bit / 48khz high quality audio.

Error Tone is now available to purchase in Kontakt, Reason Refill or Wav / REX2 formats, for the introductory price of £19.99 GBP until August 11, 2010 (regular price £29.99 GBP).

More information: Tone Manufacture / Error Tone

Haunted House Records Dirty Electronics, circuit bent loops sample library

Haunted House Records Dirty Electronics

Haunted House Records has released Dirty Electronics, a sample library featuring circuit bent loops.

Electronic experimentation and broken toys fuse together to create 360 filthy riffs, gargled glitches, extraterrestrial FX, circuit-bent chatters, bit-crushed babbles, and mangled modulations in this much anticipated follow-up to Electronic Critters.

Speak and Spells, Furbies and other forgotten gizmos are rewired and mashed up to create insane textured, rhythmic and gritty loops for all types of electronic music: add texture to ethereal soundscapes or interesting toplines to your next techno bomb.

Dirty Electronics features

  • 360 High quality processed circuit bent loops.
  • Each sound is provided in six unique variations.
  • All sounds supplied in 24bit 44Khz Wav files.
  • Loops are tempo-labeled (125, 128, 130, 135BPM).

Dirty Electronics is available to purchase as a download for £19.95 GBP.

More information: Haunted House Records / Dirty Electronics

Puremagnetik releases HackShop

Puremagnetik HackShop

Puremagnetik has released HackShop, a versatile collection of sampled blips, beeps, bumps and squeals from the circuit bent arsenal of The Violent Scar.

TVS specializes in bending and modifying toys and equipment with echo feedback circuitry. Some of the most industrial and aggressive sounds he achieves are squeezed out of a certain Barbie karaoke machine that TVS has mastered the manipulation of.

TVS flagship machine known simply as The Dueling Bitches, combines two of these circuits with multiple parameter controls, as well as input and output of each circuit enabling for cross patching and running them in parallel or series. All of these options were put to use while recording sounds for HackShop.

Puremagnetik also sampled TVS’ circuit patchable Yamaha DD-5, modified toy guitar effects machine, and custom built optical theremin. TVS has provided Puremagnetik with the unique opportunity to bring all these dark and twisted tones directly to you and your DAW for immediate sonic experimentation.

HackShop features

  • 4 huge percussion menus, 2 six-layer Bass instruments, 2 six-layer Pad instruments.
  • Over 100 loops of percussive, textural and rhythmic sound elements.
  • Customized for Ableton Live — HackShop for Ableton Live has been programmed deeply into Drum Racks and Instrument Racks with tons of effects and customized Macros for quick and easy access to extremely tweakable sounds. The Textural and Rhythmic Clips all load onto audio tracks with custom Effect Racks for lush sound design and musical chemistry. The Percussive Clips load with one of the 4 Drum Racks giving you the ability to edit the MIDI performance or adjust the parameters to your liking.
  • Customized for Logic and Kontakt — The Logic version of HackShop includes special channel strip configurations for each instrument. The HackShop Apple Loops collection is a combination of Textural and Rhythmic Audio loops along with some Percussive SIAL loops that will load into Logic with one of the percussion menus and channel strips in place. HackShop for Kontakt comes complete with customized KSP scripting for layer blending and effects parameter tweaking.

HackShop is now available for Puremagnetik subscribers. Subscriptions start at $5.75 USD/Month.

More information: Puremagnetik / HackShop

Short links for April 22nd, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# The MIDI Piano Instructor : Gabriel Faure – Romanse sans parole

This is my MIDI piano instructor. This thing (top left in the picture) drives a bar of LEDs placed on top of a piano keyboard (electronic or regular). MIDI messages play a MIDI melody through the electronic piano or a MIDI box and also drive the MIDI piano instructor which turns on and off the LEDs according to the notes played.

More details at http://www.5volt.eu

# Electric Independence: Inside Devo’s UFO Studio, They Whip It New Wave, But With New Hats

The new episode of Electric Independence documents a rare look inside Devo’s studio. Mark Mothersbaugh himself gives us a tour through the space and shows us some of his favorite (and strangest) synths and circuit bending noisemakers. The guys even tell us some funny stories of their early Akron days, like the large girls (or “mother hens” as they like to call them) who would circle their equipment to warm it up before playing on those cold Ohio nights.

x0xb0x @ Willzyx

# Willzyx Music

James Wilsey on Willzyx:

When the x0xb0x first came out in 2005 it was a exciting and unusual for a few reasons. First it was the first synth that really sounded like a TB-303, Second it was a Kit that you had to build yourself. Due to the cult status of the 303 a lot of musicians started getting into DIY just so they could get there hands on a x0xb0x. This was a boom to the DIY synthesizer community. After 5 years Adafruit has had a wildly successful run with the x0xb0x. Adafruit Industries shipped out 1,000 kits and there are countless others who self sourced there own. My goal is to keep the x0xb0x alive and relevant to the DIY community for years to come. We have an amazing project that was given to us by Adafruit Industries. I plan to keep the original spirit of sharing. In the coming months you will see more open source project’s that are derived from the x0xb0x but not necessary tb-303 related. Transistorize the World!

via CDM

# aM laboratory Pulsate – Andre Michelle's Pulsate is a wonderful example how something simple can be stunningly beautiful. Love it!

Producer Loops releases Ambient Glitch Vol.3

Producer Loops Ambient Glitch Vol.3

Producer Loops has released Ambient Glitch Vol.3, a sample library featuring original, expertly mangled glitch loops to give your productions a jolt of contemporary circuit bent insanity.

‘Ambient Glitch Vol 3′ expands on this unique series of versatile, atmospheric sample packs by experienced sound designer, Jeff Rhodes.

From Industrial and Grime, to Trip Hop and Ambient and everything in between, this pack is at home in a wide variety of styles and also covers a good range of tempos from 70 to 180bpm.

Ambient Glitch Vol.3 features

  • 1.17GB of fresh glitched out content including drum, percussion, synth and fx loops in ACID WAV and Apple Loops formats.
  • Includes 17 Bass Loops, 141 Beats, 59 Clanks, 25 Percussion rhythms, 86 Synth phrases and 73 ‘Zingers’ (including delayed, forward and reverse hits), all expertly crafted and shaped in an astounding variety of ways.
  • 44.1 kHz/ 24-Bit.
  • All loops sync to BPM.
  • Filenames indicate Tempo & Key.
  • PC/Mac Compatible.

Ambient Glitch Vol.3 is available to purchase for £14.95 GBP.

More information: Producer Loops / Ambient Glitch Vol.3

NUSofting releases ModPack Utility for Broken Drum Machine

NUSofting Broken Drum Machine (Branis skin)

NUSofting has announced the release of a ModPack Utility for Broken Drum Machine, a virtual circuit bent drum synthesizer for Windows and Mac.

The BDM Installation Tool is a new application to speed up swapping of Modpaks in BDM plugin, currently on on Windows but the Mac program should be ready next week.

Two default (updated) ModPacks are shipped with the BDM installer:

  • Factory_First_Modpack.zip
  • Branis_ModPack.zip

A new ModPack for BDM is now available as well; Ethronome, a pack featuring tabla samples, and MIDI patterns and presets by KVR member blortblort.

The “BDM Installation Tool” is free software GPL licensed, C++ sources available.

More information: NUSofting / ModPack Utility

Loopmasters releases Circuit Bent Sounds Vol. 3

Loopmasters Circuit Bent Sounds Vol. 3

Loopmasters has released Circuit Bent Sounds Vol. 3, a collection of twisted beats and deformed audio sickness guaranteed to deliver a fresh bout of insanity to any production.

Back once again from the electronic surgery of the Circuitbenders labs, the products of an unholy alliance between soldering iron and sampler return to unleash another unhealthy dose of audio terrorism upon your unsuspecting senses!

From a cut-price drum toy to the mighty Roland SH101, nothing is safe from circuitbenders.co.uk attentions, with every machine being treated with an equally relaxed concern for its basic rights to bring you this unique set of sounds.

Stepping outside of normal methods of synthesis and audio production to unlock the true potential of an otherwise ordinary bit of hardware is the circuitbenders technique, All the machines used on this release have been rewired and abused to operate far beyond their normal design limits, enabling them to produce all those sounds that the original designers either fought to avoid or just never dreamed possible.

Circuit Bent Sounds Vol. 3 features

  • Over 650Mb of content, comprising of over 758 samples, 283 Loops and 475 Single Sounds.
  • 209 Drum Loops, 74 Sound Loops, and 22 Sounds and FX from a simply huge collection of circuit bent toys, drum machines and instruments of all types:
    • Includes old school drum machines given a new lease of life in the form of the rare Akai XR10, the Yamaha RX7, Korg DDD1, Casio RZ1 sampling drum machine, Boss DR550 and the legendary Roland TR707, along with a host of esoteric electronic devices and toys supplying extra beats.
    • Modified keys and synths include the analogue Roland SH101, the MFOS weird sound generator, Yamaha PSS270, Casio SA5, Rocktek Delay pedal and the favourite of every lofi musician and circuit bender, the Casio SK1 sampler.
    • Rewired kids toys including Early Leaner shapes toy, Letterland toy, Bongon electronic bongos, VTech Talking Alfie teddy bear, Little Tykes guitar, Mix Me DJ toy and the classic Texas Instruments Speak & Read and Speak & Write toys amongst many others.
  • 22 ready to play patches for all the most popular software samplers including Reason’s NNXT, Halion, Kontakt, EXS and SFZ.
  • Acidised Wav, Rex2 and Apple Loop formats are all available.

Circuit Bent Sounds Vol. 3 is available to purchase for £19.95 GBP.

More information: Loopmasters / Circuit Bent Sounds Vol. 3