New Podcast: OctaveCAT improvisation

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This weekend I decided to spend a few minutes playing with the OctaveCAT synthesizer before packing it up (part of our preparations to move). In part, I simply wanted to make sure it was working, but it is also a great instrument for improvisation.

Octave CAT, and more classic Synth Ads, and a Poll

This ad for the Octave CAT is one of many classic synthesizer ads from the 1970s and early 1980s on display in a new gallery at polynominal, the home of frequent contributors Mimì and Eric Pochesci.

They have quite a collection, with over 180 pictures. It is definitely worth a look, not only for those interested in old synths, but anyone either nostalgic or fascinated by that era.

They also have a poll for the the most ugly synth ad. And they have some really good candidates for this illustrious title. I did vote for one that definitely stood out, at least for me. See if you can figure out which one it was. Hint, it is probably the most “Republican” (US) synth ad I've seen…

Updated "Synths" page

For those who actually care about such things, I finally updated The Synths to include Octave “the CAT.” I fixed a few typos in the process.

Anyone ever bother reading that page?

New Podcast: Improvisation with Octave The Cat

Another Sunday, another podcast release. Tonight I present a short improvisation on the recently acquired Octave CAT synthesizer. I have been playing with this instrument now for several days and getting a better feel for both it's timbres, it can do some really smooth analog sounds and really glitchy complex elements as well. I try to cover both qualities in this performance. Enjoy!

I am also rolling out the new logo, part of reintroducing the podcast as “The CatSynth Channel.”

Octave The Cat

Well, after months of trying to track one of these down, I finally have in my posession an Octave CAT!

Of course, I find myself wanting to write “Octave the Cat” because of the main “Octave / The Cat” fan site, and repetition of the phrase at matrixsynth and elsewhere.

It turns out to be in fantastic shape, both cosmetically and functionally. I brought it in to work on the grounds that it might need a little work, and instead we've been having a great time playing with it. No repair work necessary. A wonderful addition to the collection (and quite appropriate for this site, don't you think?)

Weekend Cat Blogging #96: White stripes and more

I quite liked this closeup of Luna with the white stripes. It's actually a color photo, but the subjects and lighting make it appear grayscale.

Zooming out, we can see that Luna is actually tracking a bird outside on the patio.

While Luna continues to enjoy her hunting games through the window, Sundance takes his first trip outside, complete with harness. He is also hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #96 along with Upsie and Sher. Check out their photos and all the other WCB fun when they post the roundup.

Actually, there is one more photo in this series. What is that big bubble-wrap thing behind Luna? It's actually quite appropriate for this forum:

Synthesizer fans might recognize the faint logo of an Octave CAT. It just arrived yesterday, but will remain wrapped until I bring it into the office for a little repair work. I'm sure we'll be seeing a bit more of “Octave The CAT” on these pages in the near future…

Catsynth pic: actual cat with Octave CAT… and Kitten in Emulator X

Well, here's another cat sitting next to an Octave CAT – wonder why that comes up so much.

Actually I am quite interested in the Octave CAT and Kitten synths, I'm trying (yet again) to bid on one on eBay.

In the meantime, I have been trying several methods to emulate them, including building an Emulator X patch. The Kitten is definitely more feasible because it only has one oscillator and thus no FM – FM is nearly impossible to do on the Emulator platform. However, I did one out of MIDI controllers. So the end result is a “Kitten lite” that contains all the oscillator waveforms (Saw, Triangle and Square/PWM), the two independent sub-octave waveforms, square and sine LFOs, filter with realtime cutoff and Q and envelope mod, and of course ADSR envelope.

While not a real Octave Kitten, it's a nice little playable instrument.