IDM has a collection of analog synthesizers for the users of the Audio Lab to work with, set up as a self-contained studio in the corner of the room. The studio has two main types of synthesizers, based on the 1970s-era designs of Serge Tcherepnin (Serge) in California and Alan Robert Pearlman (ARP) in Massachusetts. The two systems are decribed in these pages. Our collection includes:
In addition, some auxiliary equipment exists in the Audio Lab to help people work with the synthesizers:
First, please remember to read the IDM Audio Lab Policies, Rules, and Room Reservation Procedure.
The power for everything in the analog studio is controlled by two switches, found on the Furman power conditioners on the black racks to the right: A green light on each conditioner will confirm that you’ve got power. Please use these power switches (and nothing else) to turn on and off all the equipment in the analog studio.
The mixer for the analog studio is a Behringer UFX-1204, which takes inputs from the various synthesizers and feeds them to the speakers or, by using a USB connector, to your computer for recording.
The first four channels of the mixer are mono, and are wired to:
|1||the left output of the “Stereo Mixer” module on Panel 1 of the R*S Serge.|
|2||the right output of the “Stereo Mixer” module on Panel 1 of the R*S Serge.|
|3||the output of the “XFader” module on Panel 3 of the R*S Serge.|
|4||the top output on the “Adapter” module on the 73-75 Serge.|
The rest of the mixer consists of 8 additional inputs in stereo pairs and are wired to:
|5/6||the left and right outputs of the “DONKS” module on Panel 5 of the R*S Serge.|
|7/8||the left and right output of the TTSH Mixer section.|
|9/10||the stereo output of the Vermona DRM1 drum synthesizer.|
|11/12||the output of the Theremin.|
In addition, a cable is connected to the mixer’s “CD/tape input” RCA jacks that ends in a stereo 3.5mm / 1/8” * jack for a laptop connection.
* Audio connector trivia: mini-phone jacks have a diameter of 3.5mm, which is 0.14in, not 0.125in (1/8”). In the USA, they are incorrectly referred to as 1/8” jacks because (a) the USA has a cultural aversion to the metric system and (b) they look to be about half the size of 1/4” jacks.
Please don’t re-plug the synthesizer channels on the mixer.
The MUTE buttons on each channel reroute the audio to a secondary (“Alt 3-4”) output. The left (“Alt 3”) output of this secondary audio bus is connected to one of the Low-Gain converter boxes, so that you could, for example, connect an electric guitar to the mixer, “mute” its channel, and then connect it to the Serge system.
The USB output of the mixer has a cable connected for your use. If you connect it up to your computer, you can record the output of the synthesizers. The mixer shows up as a multi-channel audio interface, with the input channels on the mixer routed on a per-channel basis (e.g. input channel 3 on the mixer comes into your computer as input channel 3 of the interface). The “Main Mix” output of the mixer appears on channels 15-16.
If you are a Mac user, you won’t need a driver for the mixer, though you should confirm that you have a connection by looking in the “Audio MIDI Setup” or “Sound” panel under your System Preferences. If you are using a Windows machine, you will have to download and install an ASIO driver for the mixer here.
The mixer can send your computer audio either pre- or post-fader (which includes not only the channel level, but also the internal effects and equalization). The red button at the top of the channel below the white Gain knob lets you set this option. In general, the pre-fader (button up) option will give you a cleaner signal, allowing you to post-process the audio once you’ve recorded it.
The “Main Mix” of the mixer routes the audio to the two Genelec audio speakers in the analog studio area. They should let you listen to the synths with plenty of volume, so please don’t adjust the gain controls on the Genelecs.