10 Soundware has released Mixer Feedback model Y EM-90A K, a new sound set for Native Instruments Kontakt 5.
Designed by Taichi Furudate, these patches are based on audio captured from a no-input mixer, an instrument contrived by connecting the output of an audio mixer with its input to incite feedback. The first in a series of four titles, each centered on a different mixer, this release features an extremely rare, antiquated (presumably dating back to the early 1970s), and idiosyncratic model by a Japanese manufacturer.
As a member of a duo, Shimettainu, whose instrumentation consists solely of no-input mixers (even signal processors are not used in their performances), Taichi Furudate's prowess in the art of mixer feedback is extreme. Repurposing audio mixers as oscillators and tweaking onboard settings, he induces gradational shifts between timbres such as squealing, serrated noise akin to low pitched sawtooth waves, and many others, ranging from euphonic to discordant, sonorous to shrill. More radical forms of interaction with his sounds involve methods such as tampering with cables and on/off switches.
The timbres generated by the mixer used in Mixer Feedback model Y EM-90A K can be described as "like a vintage analog synthesizer", according to Taichi Furudate. He also characterizes the feedback as "uncontrollable". Perhaps the most peculiar in the design behind this particular model is the onboard drum machine (patches based on its loops, along with their corresponding Standard MIDI Files, included). Also present is a spring reverb, which can be excited by beating the large, heavy mixer. Despite its limited usability as a conventional mixing device, apparent with the absence of pan pots (separate switches for the left and right outputs provide the only means of panning), the by-product of its very limitations is its suitability as a no-input mixer, allowing for performance techniques not possible with other models.
The sound design executed in Kontakt 5 transposes mixer feedback to the realm of synthesis. The sampler's formidable tapestry of DSP tools were exploited to contort the captured audio to synthesizer paradigms (tuned patches based on seamlessly looped tones and drum kit presets) and into noise instruments, yielding patches ranging from simple to stupendously intricate. As a universal feature within the sound set, MIDI CC#1 was programmed to trigger vivid timbral transformations.
The 87.2 MB download includes 50 .nki files, 201 WAV files (24-bit/44.1 kHz), and 8 .mid files.
Mixer Feedback model Y EM-90A K is available now for $49.99 at www.10soundware.com.