A Glowing Review of Phosphor

(Yes, some puns just have to be made.) AudioNewRoom posted a review of Phosphor, describing it as “among the most useful and inspiring virtual instruments on the market today.” The reviewer also described Audio Damage as “a company of truly inspired developers”. Aw, shucks. Thanks, ANR!

Credit Where Credit’s Due

It came to my attention recently that one of my heroes, Roger Linn, is receiving a Grammy Merit Award for Technical Achievement. Quoting directly from the press release:

Roger Linn is a musical instrument designer who revolutionized the world of electronic musical instruments when he invented the LM-1 Drum Computer, the first drum machine to use digital samples of a real drum kit. Linn also went on to help in the design of other drum machines including the LinnDrum, Linn9000, the Akai MPC60 and Akai MPC3000. In 2002, Linn founded Roger Linn Design, which released the AdrenaLinn series of guitar pedals, which contain a digital multi-effects drum machine and amp modeler all in one that specializes in beat-synced effects. In addition to his production career, he is a guitarist and songwriter who has written hits for artists such as Eric Clapton and Mary Chapin Carpenter. read more

Announcing Phosphor

How about starting the new year with a new instrument from Audio Damage? Now available on our website is Phosphor, our first polyphonic synthesizer plug-in.

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Phosphor traces its roots to the alphaSyntauri synthesizer, a ground-breaking synthesizer introduced in 1979. The alphaSyntauri used an Apple ][ computer for its user interface; sound generation was handled by hardware. It offered a glimpse of the power of additive synthesis at a price more or less affordable by someone who found an Apple ][ more or less affordable. I’m old enough to remember poring over an article in BYTE magazine about the alphaSyntauri, but I never actually used one. Our inspiration and reference for constructing Phosphor was a complete alphaSyntauri system that Chris assembled from eBay finds. read more

Bring Back Woodshop!

In my junior high school, woodshop classes were overseen by Mr. Witt. Mr. Witt was a large and somewhat dour man, seemingly with a slightly short temper. On the other hand, Mr. Witt had to ride herd on a couple dozen barely adolescent males (mostly males, anyway) who had free run in a large room full of things with sharp edges and large motors, so the onus was upon Mr. Witt to impose some degree of discipline on us. Mr. Witt also turned out to be quite jovial if you happened to show an unusual interest in some project or process related to his classes, after summoning the nerve to approach him directly to broach the subject. read more

SparkFun’s Annual Server Stress-Test

SparkFun had a free day about a year ago, on which they gave away $100,000 in free orders (up to $100 per customer). Not surprisingly, it brought their web site to its knees in a fairly short period of time. Ostensibly part of the hidden motivation for this event was to evaluate the load-handling capabilities of their web servers. They decided to do it again today, this time giving away $150,000 (with slightly different rules) and making some donations to local charities. They also made much ado about how they’ve increased their server power by an order of magnitude (I think that’s part of what they said, anyway–I could be wrong), tuned various things, etc. I thought I’d join in the fun, just to see what happened. Here’s a chronology of what I observed: read more

A What?

You can tell that something has been around for a long time if it has a name that you can’t say in polite company without smirking. One of the toilets has been running longer than it should after being flushed and I finally got around to investigating the cause. As usual for such household-problem situations, I started by pulling out my trusty copy of Black & Decker’s The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair–a rather good reference if you happen to be a homeowner. Therein, in the 11-page section on toilets, I learned that the most likely cause of the problem was a faulty ballcock. Yes, the valve that controls the incoming water is called a ballcock. This is clearly a term coined in a kinder, gentler era. I mean, imagine walking into your local Home Depot and telling one of the orange-aproned employees that you need a new ballcock. Could you do it with a straight face? I couldn’t. read more