(Modulate This) Announcements

Modulate This! Turns 14

Modulate This! turned 14 on October 1st 2019. Yes that’s right, I started blogging on synth tech & technique way back in 2005.

Around 2010 I started an artist blog where I did posts on upcoming shows, releases, photos and videos of past shows, and talked about the live performance scene in Boulder, Denver, and around the US.

In January of 2019 I made a move to simplify, streamline and reduce cost and I merged both blogs into where I continue to blog on both artist news and synth technique.

You can continue to read past and upcoming posts on synth tech & technique on the “modulate-this” s category he

You can also reach the Modulate This! specific articles via the main nav.

Check out the archives here and a list of categories here.


You can subscribe to my blog via email or RSS.

You are following this blog (manage).

Subscribe va RSS

Blog Highlights

If You Found Modulate This! Inspiring or Helpful…

consider leaving a little something in the tip jar, perhaps buying some of my original music, or by simply spreading the word :^)

Leave a Tip

As you can imagine articles of this nature take a long time to create. If you'd like to support the effort consider leaving a little something in the tip jar :^)


Here is To Another Year!

I have a lots of ideas on new topics to cover and I’m also excited to report on the Denver / Boulder synthesizer scene (which is exploding) as well as spread the news about some cool projects by my synth friends.

Mark Mosher
Experimental Musician and Multimedia Artist
Boulder, CO

Artist Site:

(Modulate This) Ableton Live ableton live 10 Ableton Push Video Tutorials

New Videos from Ableton to Help You Learn Live 10 and Push 2

Ableton has released a large number of new videos to help your learn both Live 10 and Push 2. You the playlists for these videos (along with their other playlists) by visiting


The latest videos are also featured on Ableton’s web site at and The Learn Live page categorizes videos by Overview, Setup, Interface, Instruments & Effects, Workflows.


I just finished watching the latest Push 2 videos. I use Live 10 and Push 2 almost every day and learned some new things – so I differently recommend watching these videos whether you are new to Live 10 and  Push 2 or a seasoned player.

Mark Mosher
Synthesist & Multimedia Artist

Artist Site:
Electronic Music Tech & Production Blog:


(Modulate This) Announcements

Modulate This! Turns 11


Modulate This! turns 11 today – WOOT!

In celebration of a decade of blogging and to position the site for the future, I’ve changed the look and moved to new platform and host. If you want to follow along in email opt-in using the form below and/or use this RSS feed.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

RSS Feed RSS – Posts


Modulate This! has always had a synth tech and technique slant with industry trends sprinkled in. The earlier articles reflected the emergence of laptops for live performance, the divergence of buying a shit ton of VSTs and gear, and the rise of “controllerism”.

Note – When trying to decide what photo create for this post I started thinking back about all the gear I’ve used over the past decade. Then it struck me that the only two instruments that survive in my rig that I had when I started of the blog in 2005 are Ableton Live (which I started using in 2003) and Absynth (which I started using in 2002 and it is still my go to virtual synth). Something old, something new… Push 2.

Along the way I made quite a few “how-to” video tutorials on my companion YouTube channel (which has just over a million views) and also documented a lot of my research on my public Mindmeister mindmap channel (featuring the “Elektron Octatrack Video Tutorial Index” with over 30K views; and the “What’s New in Ableton Live 9” and “U-HE DIVA Synthesizer: OSC & Filter Anatomy” maps each with over 15K Views).


In the last few years, the blog has reflected my convergence down to a smaller set of instruments with a focus on mastery. This often resulted in longer deeper reads.

What’s Next for Modulate This!

A renewed focus on Synth Tech & Technique and Demystifying Synths and Inspiring Your Inner Sound Designer

This means a continued focus on articles and videos on synth tech & technique. So more articles to help you on your sound design journey whether you are and up and coming sound designer, a seasoned expert, or an artist who wants to boost your sound design chops to help you create more unique sound and music.

Covering the Denver / Boulder Scene

I’m also fortunate to be on the ground in the Denver & Boulder area where the electronic and experimental music scene has experienced incredible growth – so watch for posts on this. In a related note, the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup which I founded 4 years ago just crossed 530+ members! If you are ever in the Denver area 2nd Wednesdays on even numbered months – come on by.

Drawing Inspiration from Lateral Art & Artists

Speaking of Denver & Boulder, there are some amazing museums here. Consuming these lateral forms of art and learning about artist process has informed and transformed me – so I’d like to share some ideas on this as well in the future.

Nature, Travel, & Being in the Field

In the last few years I’ve stepped up my field audio/video recording work both in natural settings and when I’ve had the good fortune to travel. I’ll pass on some thoughts on gear and process.

Sharing Inspiring Work from Sci Fi and Horror

So many Sci Fi and Horror films depend on electronic and experimental music for sound effects and score. I’m a geek about this and want to talk about this more.

Sharing Inspiring Work from My Synth Friends

One of the best parts about publishing Modulate This! is it has allowed me to meet amazing artists all around the world – many of whom I’ve gotten to meet face-to-face – many of whom have become good friends. I draw so much inspiration from my synth friends and will continue to spread the word about releases and shows.

Thanks for Reading!!!

I’ll close by saying thanks to all of you for reading and supporting Modulate This!

Your synth geek friend,

Mark Mosher

(Modulate This) Interviews Music Monday

Music Monday: An Interview with Kent Barton (aka SEVEN7HWAVE) on His New Concept Album “CYBERIA”


Denver artist Kent Barton (aka SEVEN7HWAVE) just released a new concept album called CYBERIA. I met first met Kent at the Ableton Colorado User Group a few years back when he was just starting down the path to create this album so I thought it would be interesting to hear about his creative process.  Oh, and Kent is also a member member of the new Boulder Synthesizer Meetup.

First I’ll offer some links to the album, then the interview followed by Kent’s social links. Kent is offering this new album ”name your price” over on bandcamp and as always I encourage a buy to show your support.


Hong Kong: 2050 A.D. You're about to inject a dose of mind-altering nanobots. This is the soundtrack to your trip.

Concept and Production: Kent Barton
Mastering: Tarekith at Inner Portal Studio
Vocals on Brain Zaps: Brittany Patterson
Field Recordings on No Passengers, Kowloon Bay, and Brain Zaps: swuing
Field Recording on 0100000101001001: James Tobin
Muse: Brittany Patterson
Creative Inspiration: Mark Mosher, Marc Wei, Matt Stampfle, and the Denver Ableton User Group

Interview with Kent Barton

Mark: Tell us a little bit about your musical background. What instruments do you play and how did you first get interested in electronic music?

Kent: I had some formal classical training on the violin as a child. Even though I got tired of the instrument by middle school, it did a good job of wiring my brain for music. Fast-forward to the start of college, and I decided to pick up the guitar to emulate my metal heroes. That was my introduction to the world of songwriting, bands, live shows, and the search for the perfect tone.

Back around 2004, I discovered the Trance station on Shoutcast (!). A year or two later I got my first proper introduction to electronic music, clubs, and raves, with artists like Ferry Corsten, Junkie XL, and Infected Mushroom. Eventually my waning interest in playing intricate guitar riffs was replaced by a newfound lust for producing music.

Mark: What inspired you to create an album about “mind altering nanobots” in 2050 A.D.?

Kent: I’ve always been a sci-fi freak with part of my brain permanently lodged in the future. Blade Runner was an obvious inspiration here, along with the cyberpunk movement. But it’s also a commentary on where we are today, and where we could be headed. Technology is a double-edged sword; it can liberate us or imprison us. The internet connects us all, but it’s also a giant Big Brother machine. These two opposing forces will be even more important in the future, as computers get smaller, faster, and implanted into our bodies.

Creatively, I was inspired by Reboot and I Hear Your Signals (editor’s note – I did not bribe Kent to say this :^) ). The idea of a badass album telling a story has been around for a long time (Operation: Mindcrime, I’m looking in your direction), but it never dawned on me to use the same technique for electronica until hearing these two albums.
Mark: What role did Ableton Live played in your creative and production process?

Kent: Occasionally I’d go lo-fi and hammer out a melody or chord progression on my guitar. But other than that, Ableton was the centerpiece of everything, from sketching out ideas to recording to arrangement to mixing. People keep bitching about when Live 9 is coming out. I honestly don’t care; the current version is powerful enough to do everything I want to do.
Mark: What were your go-to synthesizers for this project and what is it you like about them?

Kent: My mainstays were…

Sylenth1: When I think bass, I think old-school West Coast hip-hop smooth-ass warm sub. That’s what I was aiming for, and Sylenth delivered. I also used it for the pad sound on “Vimanas,” which was my obligatory nod to Vangelis.

Peach: This freeware, from Tweakbench, had exactly the chiptune sound I wanted for this album. Pure NES awesomeness…and it sounds even better with some spatial FX slathered on.

Plogue Chipsounds: I re-sampled Chipsounds for a lot of FX, as well as the main bleep lead on 0100000101001001. It’s an 8-bit emulation powerhouse.

Mark: There is a consistent palette throughout the album which helps give listeners a sense of the “universe” the story takes place in.  Did you have a sense of the palette from the beginning, or did this evolve as the production progressed?

Kent: Early on, I stumbled across a collection of incredible field recordings someone made while traveling in Hong Kong. This inspired the setting of the album. As I was writing, these served as the “glue” between each track. I also started with a simple equation that I thought might yield awesome results: Chiptune + Strings + Guitar – fusing the organic and electronic. But as the album evolved, I found myself downplaying the guitar element and bringing in more synth.
Mark: I love how you modulated the arpeggiator speeds in “No Passengers” and also changed the glitch speeds in “Brain Zaps”. Did you record real-time automation for this or use automation envelopes?

Kent:  The changing arp speed on “No Passengers” was recorded in one pass. I like to limit myself to one or two takes to capture the moment and avoid endless tweaking. “Brain Zaps” was one of those cases where I forget to connect a controller when I’m arranging a track. Rather than stop the workflow, I’ll just draw in the glitches by hand.
Mark: How do you feel composing against a story line helped you keep the project moving to completion?

Kent: Having a storyline was incredibly helpful. It created a common thread throughout the songs, and added visual elements to the creative process. Sometimes I felt like a movie director, rather than a producer. Creating an environment and living in it was also a huge help – especially when I was stuck and didn’t know where to go next.

I can’t recommend this enough. If you’re a producer looking for inspiration that can drive an entire collection of songs, try thinking of a story to tell. You don’t need a deep plot or characters. Just a simple concept is enough to fuel that creative spark.

Mark: What is your next musical project?

Kent: I’m working with an incredible animator/visual artist on a video for “No Passengers.” I’ll be releasing that shortly.

I freak out if I’m not writing, so I’m also cobbling together the building blocks for my next album. I feel like I’ve found my own sound with Cyberia, Now I’m excited to evolve it and take it in new directions.


Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

(Modulate This) Artist Spotlight Synth: DSI Tempest Videos

A First Look at the DSI Tempest Drum Machine with Sound Designer James Kojac (Syndicate Synthetique)

Tembest Logo and Knobs

James Jaret Kojac Plalying the TempestEarly last week I got a message from Denver Sound Designer James Kojac of Syndicate Synthetique.

"I happen to have a pre release DSI/Linn Tempest sitting in front of me… I figured you may want to swing by and check it out.”

Duh! Of course I jumped at the chance to see one of the first Tempest Drum Machines in the wild – #0026 to be precise.

While I was there, James was kind enough to take me through the paces, show me some of the kits he had created so far, and let me play and do a little sound design with it. Before I talk about first impressions let me give you a brief rundown on the core features.


Top Feature Summary

The Tempest is an analog drum machine first introduced in at the Winter 2011 NAMM and is a collaboration between Dave Smith and fellow instrument designer Roger Linn.

  • 16 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads arranged in an 8 x 2 array to facilitate both real-time and step entry of beats.
  • Two pressure and position-sensitive Note FX slide controllers 6 analog voices each with 2 analog oscillators plus 2 digital oscillators (with a large bank of included samples)
  • Dave Smith’s classic analog low-pass filter with audio-rate modulation, an additional high-pass filter, analog VCA with feedback, 5 envelopes, 2 LFOs, a variety of analog modulation routings. “Although optimized for drum sounds, it excels at tuned sounds as well, and even doubles as a 6-voice analog synth.”
  • In addition to the 6 direct voice outputs, there are stereo mix outputs and phones outputs, plus 2 inputs for foot switches or expression pedals, MIDI in/out and USB
  • 90 panel controls, and bright 256 x 64 OLED
  • A variety of unique effects are provided while maintaining a pure analog signal path:
    • Stereo analog compressor and distortion circuits affect the stereo output mix
    • Beat-synced delay is achieved by generating additional delayed note events within the sequencer
    • A beat-synced "stutter" effect is created entirely within the sequencer by looping short portions of the drumbeat on demand.

First Impressions

I’ve played a lot of drum machines and synths in the past 20 years and found Tempest exceeded my expectations. It has great GUI design and is extremely expressive,  and to me was instantly addictive. I planned on stopping by for a quick look and ended up spending like 3 hours jamming! The Tempest was so cool, I  think I would have stayed longer if I didn’t have to get up 6:00am the next day – lol.

The OLED display is vivid, the machine looks great in the dark and offers visual feedback from the pads. The pads feel great, are taught and not spongy, don't travel down much and respond well to pressure. Once you spend a little time with the GUI you'll find the dual-function “shift” concept to be quite brilliant and flexible and as it offers quick access to deeper parameters without interrupting performance workflow. I certainly didn’t master it in 3 hours, but definitely started to “grok” the concept and it didn't take long at all to start making interesting music and sound. I got some immediate results with the analog synth architecture and created an interesting snare drum that James was kind enough to name after me in one his kits – woot!

OLED Display with a Snare Programmed by Yours Truly

The sound and performance possibilities are simply stunning! It can sound huge and punchy. It can also sound nasty without sounding brittle – and I mean nasty. It also can sound silky and warm. The modulation matrix combined with modulation sources including inputs from pad strikes and pad pressure, slide controllers and knob movement make the Tempest a live performance monster. And since your controlling parameters driving instances of analog synths, it’s insanely expressive. In other words it has a massive sonic range and the potential for unique output based on an individual performer. It is truly a musical instrument and not some sort of cookie cutter sample-based drum machine ROMpler.

Besides live playing on pads, you can sequence and step sequence patterns. There is a performance mode that allows you to to assign patterns to slots and trigger them from the pads – plus play over the top. There are also modes that allow you use the pads to play pitch intervals and set scales.

After a three hours session (without cracking open a manual) I feel like I just dipped my toe in the water and there are lot of other features under the hood that I didn’t experience.

Video of James Jaret Kojac Playing the Tempest

 James (Syndicate Synthetique) has been working with the Tempest for a few weeks and was kind enough to let me film a quick jam which I think illustrates the potential and sonic range of Tempest. In this video James is jamming with some of his sounds with some sounds also initially designed by colleague Al Nesby of A23P and Acid Allstars. The video really shows off the range and performance aspects of the DSI Tempest analog Drum Machine.

View embedded video in HD

Photo Slide Show
While I was there I shot a bunch of photos. View embedded Flickr slide show.

Availability and Price

From what I hear the unit should be available any day now. My friends at Sweetwater list the price at $1999.00 (note I don’t benefit from sales of Tempest – just love Sweetwater and recommend  you ask for Jeff Green).

Closing Thoughts

This is not a comprehensive review since I only had three hours with the unit. I will say I was blown away by Tempest. Before I played it I thought 2K was pretty damn expensive for a drum machine. After playing it I realized this was way more than a drum machine and is an outright performance instrument with a massive sonic range. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? If you are looking for a desktop analog drum machine that doubles as an instrument this seems like a good value and I think it's worth a look.  

With the great analog synth elements from Dave Smith combined with the design of Roger Linn, Tempest is more than a luxury synth item – it’s a tool that will allow you to uniquely express yourself as an electronic/experimental musician for both beat and synth oriented work. I also see Tempest being well suited as a companion throughout the entire process of making music from composition, to production through to performance.

I'm not immediately in the market for an analog instrument, but after playing Tempest, I'm quite intrigued and would put it on my wish list if I decided to add an analog performance instrument to my hardware rig.

Tempest Links

James Jaret Kojac Links



Mark Mosher
Electronic/Experimental Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

Synth Geek Blog:
Artist Site:

(Modulate This) Effects Plugins Video Tutorials

Video Tour of Image-Line’s Gross Beat Plug-in

Last night I bought Image-Line’s Morphine synth. As part of their holiday sale, I got their brand new plug-in Gross Beat for FREE ($99 value).

It’s a great plug-in – so much so I stayed up way too late experimenting with it. To help you get your mind around the plug-in and jump start your use of it, I produced a video tour.


Mark Mosher

(Modulate This) FL Studio Video Tutorials Videos

FL Studio Video Tutorial: Using the Keyboard Editor to Modify Pitch, Drag Notes, and add Portamento

Watch this video on YouTube:

This video tutorial covers how to go sequence with the Keyboard Editor and covers creating notes with different pitches, moving notes, and using portamento.

If you are new to FL Studio, you can save 10% with this link.

Mark Mosher