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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2020 » April » 24

Polyend Medusa synth-controller gets deeper powers, sleeker skin, lower price

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 24 Apr 2020 6:57 pm

Polyend’s Tracker may be getting all the attention, but the company’s Medusa – an expressive controller and synth combo – just got another batch of improvements. And that builds on one of the more unique and versatile pieces of electronic instrumental hardware around now.

To entice would-be Medusa owners, the latest edition is nire affordable ( 699€ / US$799) and has attractive, minimalistic new letter.

To add to what the Medusa does, it’s got a new firmware with some big features.

It’s not just about finding the new shiny; there’s reward in instruments that grow and evolve with you over time. It’s a two way street; smart makers add depth and respond to users, too.

Medusa was interesting from the start in that it is multi-dimensional. It’s a collaboration between makers (Polyend and Dreadbox), it’s a controller and a synth, and it has analog circuitry (noise and oscillators and filter) but also digital innards (wavetable sounds and digital control and modulation). Of course, it has to then add up to more than those, or you get the dreaded “shampoo plus conditioner in one / shampoo and body wash” effect where it’s trying to be too much at once.

That’s where the digital side comes in. There’s no question the analog sounds are edgy and rich, but with firmware upgrades, you’ve gotten more wavetables, more control, and – crucially, a better and better controller.

Since this thing is long and made of metal, it’s most useful when it also works as a controller for other instruments. And that’s what this firmware 3.0 is all about.

More modulation: as has been often requested (including by me, for instance!), now the Medusa has a random wave LFO.

More controller features:

MIDI Local Off option lets you use the MPE pads to play another instrument while an external controller (or sequencer) play the internal sound set.

That is actually a big deal – because it is pretty common that you might start building sounds on the Medusa, but then want to have a live performance where you use it with something else (like a software or hardware modular rig). Now you can do that and still trigger/sequence/tweak the internal sound engine.

Use envelopes and modulation for control. The Medusa’s grid is expressive and sends MPE, it’s true. But now the powerful LFO and envelope system onboard also spits out MIDI CCs for other gear.

CCs are displayed on-screen. If you are sequencing some elaborate control, you’ll appreciate that there are CC numbers shown on the crisp Medusa screen.

As Jacek from Polyend points out, “With all the LFOs and ENVs being sent out as MIDI CC communicates and the Grid controller working in the MIDI Local off, Medusa becomes a much more potent modulation source/external sequencer/MPE controller. Especially bundled with our Poly2 for Eurorack systems “

It’s also a powerful system for use with VCV Rack, for people like me, I might add.

These are renders of the new hardware, matte black anodized aluminum.

But the firmware is for everyone – including new preset packs. You won’t get the nice new lettering, but all existing Medusa owners can use the new firmware.

The Tracker is really cool, but there are reasons to pay attention to its lesser-known sibling. Medusa is still the box you want if you want a deep synth – and its analog + wavetable + rich hands-on modulation and envelope system is still like nothing else out there. Plus, it remains one of the most unique MPE polyphonic expressive controllers available – and one of the few under a grand that has differentiated pads.

I am literally off to spend some days with this now.

Everything is at:


More videos of the (original edition) in action:

The post Polyend Medusa synth-controller gets deeper powers, sleeker skin, lower price appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Instrument makers, technologists, synth lovers – let’s meet up virtually

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 24 Apr 2020 6:17 pm

Human connections are what make the community around creative music and live visual technology matter. Since we don’t get to meet, here’s one chance to meet up virtually.

Previously, this time of year might have brought us together at events like Superbooth and Ableton Loop in Berlin – and I had originally planned travel to Russia, Greece, and more, as well. That travel is worthwhile partly because it’s tough to substitute for face-to-face communication.

That said, I’ve always been one to enjoy working a bit slowly. I like reading and taking time. I like writing rather than live streaming. I enjoy great still photos sometimes instead of video. I appreciate putting off listening to music weeks or months so I can find the right moment, close my eyes, put on headphones, and really get lost. So yeah, this idea that everything should be a multi-way Zoom chat or Facebook or YouTube stream is a bit strange to me.

Even when we’re together at events, there’s never enough time.

So if you’re a manufacturer – or artist, or just reader – with something on your mind, let us know. It’s the equivalent of grabbing a beer or Club-Mate and having a chat. And of course, some of you have never been able to come somewhere like Berlin, so now here’s our chance – in some weird way, we’re all the same distance from one another.

I have no idea what will get talked about here, but I promise some responses in the next couple of weeks, and to cover what I can on the site – slow style. And yeah, I’m keen to know what you’re doing just to pass the time, CDM related or not.

Also, if you do like streams, I’m on tonight with Hainbach on his live stream – plus Ableton are doing #loopathome on their channel, too.

Stay safe and healthy, thanks to all our CDM readers working on the front lines from health care to grocery lines, stay in touch.

Got some other ideas around this, too, but this was more fun than just asking for you to do a video stream or just send in news.

Form embedded below or head to https://forms.gle/tzmXSoj89gzGADQf9

The post Instrument makers, technologists, synth lovers – let’s meet up virtually appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

FCC Issues Guidance on TV License Renewals and Announces New Ownership Question on Radio Renewals

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 24 Apr 2020 3:15 pm

The FCC issued public notices this week on the license renewal process for both radio and television operators.  The Public Notice on television renewals was perhaps more significant, as it addressed several issues and procedures for the television renewal process which begins with the filing of renewals for stations located in Maryland, DC, Virginia and West Virginia, to be submitted to the FCC no later than June 1 of this year.  The announcement reminds licensees that the application must be filed in the LMS database (where the new form should now be available) and must be accompanied by an EEO Form 2100 Schedule 396, reporting on the station’s hiring practices for the two years prior to the filing of the renewal. The notice also emphasizes the importance of the public inspection file – particularly the documents related to political broadcasting – urging TV stations to review their online public files now prior to filing their renewal application.  See our articles here and here on fines issued last year to radio stations for deficiencies in their public files at the beginning of their renewal cycle, and our article here posted just yesterday about the FCC latest ruling about the political file obligations for all broadcast stations.

For radio, the recent Public Notice merely announces that the renewal form has been slightly revised to include a question certifying that the renewal applicant complies with the 2016 FCC multiple ownership rules.  As we wrote in December, the Third Circuit decision overturned the FCC’s 2017 revision to its ownership rules (which, among other things, had abolished the broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership rules).  As a result of the court’s decision, the FCC began to require that broadcasters include such a certification with their renewal applications.  Until now, that certification was to be added in an exhibit, as the form did not specifically request that information.  This public notice eliminates the need for the exhibit, as a question has now been added to the form regarding compliance with the ownership rules.  It is interesting that this question has been added within a week of the FCC’s filing of a request with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Third Circuit decision (see our article here).  But, while that petition is under consideration by the Supreme Court, the old ownership rules remain in effect.

For more on the license renewal process, see the webinar that I conducted for the Indiana Broadcasters earlier this year, available here.  While specifically addressing stations in Indiana and discussing primarily radio issues as their renewal deadline was approaching, this webinar highlights issues that all broadcasters face when preparing for their license renewals.  Of course, consult with your own attorney for advice on the renewal and specific issues that may affect your license renewal submission.

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FCC Clarifies Its Ruling on Political File Obligations for Federal Issue Ads

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 24 Apr 2020 2:36 am

The FCC this week issued an Order reconsidering some of the issues addressed in its October 2019 orders (which we summarized here) interpreting its political advertising rules.  Those October interpretations required that broadcasters who run ads addressing federal issues must include in the political file, maintained as part of their online public file, information about all of the candidates and issues discussed in such ads, not just the most prominent issue or candidate it discusses.  The October ruling also required that stations inquire of issue advertisers (or their agencies) about the names of the chief executive officers or members of their boards of directors if the station is provided with only one name, as the rules require the disclosure of all of the officers or directors of such organizations and the FCC assumes that most of these groups have more than one officer or director.  The October rulings also warned stations against the use of acronyms in their public file where such abbreviations could be misleading to the general public when they view the political file.

The reconsideration addressed two aspects of the October ruling.  First, it made clear that the ruling applied only to federal issue ads, not to ads bought by candidates or their authorized campaign committees.  That seemed to be clear from other statements made by the FCC and its staff (see our article here) but the reconsideration makes it explicit.

The second aspect of the reconsideration was a statement that the FCC is looking for good-faith efforts of stations to comply.  The October decision had some troubling language that suggested that the FCC was expecting stations to provide uniformity of public file disclosures as to the issues discussed in this advertising, which suggested some sort of strict compliance requirement.  In fact, even lawyers have been disagreeing about how to characterize some of the issues discussed in some of these federal issue ads.  For example, if an ad discusses both the Border wall and immigration, is that a discussion of two aspects of the immigration issue or are they two separate issues that must be listed separately on the disclosure form?  What about issues that are addressed only by implication without being specifically mentioned – or candidates who are being attacked subtly, without use of their name?  Recognizing that there is room for judgement on many of these issues, the reconsideration order indicates that the FCC is looking for good-faith efforts at compliance by licensees.

The FCC also indicates that good faith is the standard for the use of acronyms in public file disclosures.  In some cases, the public will clearly know to whom an abbreviation refers – like the NRA.  In such circumstances, where the licensee in its good faith judgment determines that the abbreviation will be known to most reasonable people, the abbreviation can be used instead of the full name, e.g., National Rifle Association would not need to be spelled out.  But it seems prudent for stations to be cautious and use full legal names wherever possible, even though the FCC decision now allows good faith judgements as to when abbreviations may be appropriate.

The FCC refused to go farther in its ruling.  It is not at this time reconsidering the requirement for identifying all candidates and issues mentioned in any issue ad, nor the requirement to try to find out if there is more than one member of the board or executive officers of a sponsor.  So, for now, stations need to continue to comply with these requirements.  But stations should be at least somewhat reassured that, if they are legitimately trying to comply, the FCC will credit their good faith attempts.

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