Korg Triton Plugin Impressions

While I am normally a bit of a hardware snob lately… I cannot help but continue to be wow’d by just how far software has come, and where software continues to be going. For all the lack of knobs, you often get an incredible amount of features, as well as a reduced price of entry. Sure, you’re ignoring the cost of the computer, but most people these days have one anyways.

Anyways… Korg just dropped something in my email that really did catch my attention, they have just released a Korg Triton plugin as part of their KORG Collection software bundle at https://www.korg.com/us/products/software/korg_collection/ and I have to say, I cannot be happier.

Yesterday it was posted as on sale for the Triton plugin as $199, or the whole collection for $299. Unfortunately the Korg shop was having some internet gas or something, and was not applying the sale properly for most of the day. Last evening it must have sorted itself out though, as I was able to pick it up with the release/holiday discount. If you go all in, make sure that the discount is applied properly!

The Korg Triton Studio was *the* first piece of hardware I bought after I got into producing music, and being an all around music hack. I still have the Triton in the basement, and still frequently like to sample from it and chop it up. For me, it is a classic piece of gear and when it came out I just happened to be in the right place in my life to afford it, appreciate it, and really cut my teeth on it. It definitely has a special place in my life.

I have been seriously considering picking up a Korg Triton Rack, but it is pricey, you don’t know what problems you are inheriting, and it most of the eBay/Reverb postings have none of the upgrades. So you’re left with a perfectly fine, but stock device, and the upgrade boards are quite expensive.

I had purchased the Korg Legacy collection years ago, and was incredibly underwhelmed, the mini MS-20 hardware that came along with it was adorable, but ultimately it just didn’t wow me, and I didn’t bother upgrading. Perhaps something I should have considered, but it wasn’t anything I was terribly interested in at the time.

Which leads me to the Korg Triton release. Uhm… I did get it… I couldn’t help myself. So far, what I’ve played with, it is quite accurate in reproducing the Triton sounds. I’ve lined it up with the presets on the hardware, and it effectively sounds the same. Good job Korg engineers! I’m especially interested in the reproduction of the arpeggiator, it has some interesting features that haven’t ever really been reproduced that I’ve seen in software, though I might not be looking hard enough.

Things that are missing…

  • No MOSS board emulation… understandable to some degree, but still a bummer. You can get a lot of these sounds out of other emulators in the KORG Collection bundle, but if you just want the Triton, well, at least for the time being, I haven’t found them.
  • No sampling… If you were like me, and part of the Irish Acts community, digging into the Triton, replacing sample sets with other samples, and just making a lot of new sounds, it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to import them. All the FACTORY and EXB sample sets are there, but it doesn’t look like you can import your own samples. At this time at least.
  • No sequencer… you’ll need to bring your own from a DAW or external hardware or something.
  • No import/export… If you’ve got programs you’ve made elsewhere, there isn’t an easy way to bring them back into this software.

Even with the things missing, I do have to say that I’m digging this software. I’d be interested to see if they take it anywhere else, but honestly, for what it is, it is a quite solid release in my mind so far. Yeah, yeah… I’ve been fanboying a bit, but it is still a solid release in my mind and immediately brought me back to the joys of playing around with my Triton Studio when I brought it home for the first time.

Here’s the bog standard Triton Acoustic Piano sample:

This is the same phrase, but with one of the EXB expansions:

Cheers!

Waking to Sunshine – Akai MPC X/Live Program

I’ve got a relatively small backlog of programs to upload, but it is a backlog none the less. As I said in the previous post, one of my dogs got super sick, and I haven’t gotten in the habit of having a lot of posts on standby to cover me when I get busy. Also, I’ve played with putting a few Youtube posts together, but I do not really have the proper camera, lighting, and other recording equipment at this time.

Anyways… this is a program I put together with an initially analogue sound that I drove to as pure of a sound as possible, and then smothered it in FX to make the low end dirty and a bit dark, though while you work up the scale it turns into a bit of a more open and perhaps friendlier, somewhat screaming, sound. Can you have a friendly scream? I’m not sure, maybe somebody out in the internet can help decide.

Onboard here are sound effects from the Chase Bliss Wombtone MkII for some moderate phasing effects, Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl providing a bit of vibrato, and polishing it off with a Chase Bliss Generation Loss to add a touch of Wow and a healthy dose of Bit Crushing.

The low end notes have some interesting bass characteristics, and if you let them play out they have an good amount of a throaty growl. As usual, give the program a spin, and even if you don’t have an MPC X/Live, you can certainly convert the samples from 44.1k/24bit to whatever suits your sampler of choice. Have fun!

Life Sometimes…

One of my dogs got super sick, and needed a trip to the emergency room. She’s doing well now, but it was pretty touch and go for a couple of weeks. The worst thing was that she just was not interested in eating, and she lost a lot of weight.

The patient, going through recovery and having a crazy fur day.

As other pet owners know, the doggie cone of shame sucks. Fortunately we didn’t have to use it this time, but we did need to get her the inflatable neck brace to keep her from losing stitches. I was concerned she was going to hate it, but apparently having a portable pillow around your neck at all times is nice because she found the strangest places to get comfortable and go to sleep.

What happened? She was throwing up excessively for two and a half days, to the point I knew that is wasn’t some kind of flu, but something was seriously wrong. I took the poor girl to our local vet, and she did some MRI scans, but besides seeing a weird ring, there wasn’t anything obvious that they could see as a blockage. The local vet told me to take her as soon as possible to another vet to get ultrasounds done. Fortunately she was still drinking water, and able to keep that down, so for me, while this was a severe problem, it didn’t feel dire yet.

I scheduled the ultrasounds for the next day, and got her down. All they could see was a mass, which usually means a tumor in these cases. The vet was super emotional as he told me this, and asked if it was okay to do an aspiration. I figured it was worth doing it to see if there was anything obvious that could be done, but she is really young to be having a tumor at this point. So the vet took her to do the aspiration, and when he came back he said he had good news, but also bad news. The growth was not a tumor, but it was instead fecal matter. He then explained that the ring they saw from the MRI was possibly an inverted intestine, ad I would need to go to a 24×7 vet clinic to get the surgery done. He suggested I take her immediately, but she was still very energetic and I asked if it was okay to have them check one more time the next day.

For those of you that don’t know, and inverted intestine is when the lining rolls in on itself, effectively creating a pouch. The problem with this, is especially when there is a mass involved, it will keep pushing that pouch into a larger mass, effectively blocking your whole intestine. Which, would explain the vomiting, because the poor girl couldn’t pass anything through her digestive system.

The next day I did bring her down, and with some luck, the vet was able to determine from another ultrasound that she did not have an inverted intestine, and he believed that he could do the surgery at his office. This sounded good, because the 24×7 veterinary office was likely to be three to four times more expensive.

The surgery went well, but we learned that the blockage was some kind of absorbent material and strangely, fecal matter. The vet kept asking me if she had been around babies or diapers lately, because it was all stuck in her small intestines. Apparently they had to remove about eight to fifteen inches of her small intestines, because whatever the material was, it had torn her insides up pretty badly, to the point she was about to, if she had not already, gone septic.

I was able to pick her up from surgery the next day, and she really was out of it from all the medication. She heard my voice, and did half a tail wag. The next few days she ate nearly nothing, and I was having to force feed her medication just to help her get probiotics, antibiotics, and pain medication down.

On the fourth day post surgery, we were desperate to get her to eat anything. We found that she was interested in eating baby food. My daughter got her to eat two small containers of baby food. We were all pretty excited that she was finally eating. Unfortunately in the evening while she was sleeping, the poor dog had explosive diarrhea. I won’t go into describing it, but suffice it to say, we definitely fed her too much, and it was a pretty traumatic experience.

It took a few more days for her appetite to really come back, and start putting her weight back on. She’s back to eating solid food, her stomach is all healed up from the surgery, and she’s running and jumping again. She’s not pushing herself like she used to, and she hasn’t been going out to grab her balls for us to toss, but I’m just happy that she’s healthy.

Sloppy Piano Chops – Akai MPC 1k Program

Well, I broke down and got a guitar pedal board today, so I could more easily work with multiple pedals. Before it was one at a time, but not any more. Now I can run them in series and mix and match for some more interesting effects. I’ll have to start posting about putting the pedal board together and powering it. Oh and hacking on the plastic to get everything to fit, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Today, I wanted to record some piano. Some jazzy chords, played a bit out of time, but routed through the Chase Bliss Mood with the slip filter running, which makes it pretty hard to make things sound like they are played in time. This formed the basis of why you’ll see some of the chords sound like they are the tail, and other parts come in much louder. I then routed this through the Chase Bliss Generation Loss, which you’d think was drizzling the noise into this sample, but no, I can thank my USB charger for my computer for this. I figured I was going to add noise anyways, so why not leave it in. I’m not sure I have a ground loop problem or something else, but it’s quite noisy, and I know it’s from my external USB C graphics, because when it is running off the battery it is fine. So all of that it is run through the Generation Loss high pass and low pass filter, then dumped into the Gen to bit crush quite a bit, and with some added flutter.

Anyways, Sloppy Piano is the result, if you want to take your hand at chopping it go nuts, it’s got some interesting sounds here, but as I said, due to poor playing, and the Mood slip, you’re not really going to get any straight chops. Given enough time you might be able to loop it and surprise me though.

From here, I just did the laziest chops you can imagine for the MPC 1k to create Sloppy Piano Chop. This is not something I’m terribly proud of from a chopping standpoint, but I found it quite fun to play and figured it’d be worth it to share. Good luck and have fun!

MPC 1k Q-Link Repair

Oh the joys of owning older gear.  Q2 on my MPC was super sketchy.  Loading up the JJOS v3 test menu showed Q2 was going from a range of about 300-500, and normal operation is 0-1000.  Another fun problem was that moving Q1 was also making a subtle change to Q2.  That’s definitely not supposed to happen!

I figured there were a few things to try in order to resolve this.

  1. It might just be that the Q-Link board was horribly damaged, and needed to be replaced. A quick look on http://www.mpcstuff.com showed that this was going to cost a bit in order to go this route.
  2. The fader could be gunked up with dust, and just need to be blown out.  The older gear gets, the more dust it picks up, and a lot of pots, faders, and tact switches might need to  be sprayed with DeOxit, blown out with air, or otherwise freed of gunk.
  3. The cable that connects to the Q-Link board might have gotten oxidized, and in desperate need of being reseated.

I figured I’d start with the low cost solutions. It’s honestly not that hard to pop the MPC 1k open, so I figured I’d just get a closer look. My strategy was to disconnect the cables to the board in case of a bad connection, and blow the fader out with some compressed air. While I can say that using your breath can help this suffers from two problems… first is that if you’re allergic to dust you may get a face full which isn’t so great, and second the moisture in your breath can do long term damage to electronics. The moisture might seem like a “so what”, but the older your gear is, the less time you want to spend repairing it.

Before putting the case back together, I figured I’d give it the good old JJOS test. Fortunately after reconnecting the cables and blowing out the fader I was back in business. Always a happy day for an easy fix!

I’ve got a few tact switches that feel a bit sticky from time to time. This probably indicates the possible need for a switch or button replacement. I’ll worry about that later though.

LoFi House – Akai MPC 1k Drum Program

Today I decided to play around with Reason again, and ended up recording the LoFi House MPC 1k Program. Really nothing too fancy, but other than routing drums through a 12-bit distortion Rack Extension, with a bunch of tweaking to filter it a bit. Honestly, each drum hit could be better tweaked for a tighter sound, but I ran out of sampling steam. Perhaps I’ll come back to a round two (or three) of these samples and trying and put something together a bit more consistent. So nothing too epic, but I figured it would be fun to play around with.

I almost posted the recorded audio that I chopped into the program, but honestly, the chops are more interesting. Instead I decided to throw together a demo loop of the Program. I put together this LoFi Loop which is just a 96bpm loop with 66% swing. Nothing that knocks, and could definitley use some eq, but hey, it’s free for you to do what you want with.