TriggerBox-iPad_mini

Free iOS App Plays Synths Like MicroBrute, Analog Gear – Out of Your Headphone Jack

Your next modular input might just be an iPad or iPhone headphone jack. Control voltage inputs, once associated only with racks of modular synths, are now showing up on all kinds of synthesizers and keyboards. Arturia’s MicroBrute and MiniBrute are two very lovely, very affordable examples, priced less than most entry-level digital synths were just a few short years ago. And since all you need is a sound signal to modulate those inputs, even a phone or tablet app will do the trick. Developer Justus Kandzi, who came to one of our music app meet ups here in Berlin, has …

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Hey, there's a modular inside my drum machine. Images courtesy Arturia.

Watch Arturia Spark 2, as $129 Drum Machine Adds Modular Sound Design, Song and Loop Powers

For all the wonders of the hardware drum machine, there’s nothing quite like the flexibility of the software drum machine. More than mere groove-makers, beneath the conventional and familiar drum machine paradigm lies some real potential for sample manipulation and sound design. Native Instruments won over users by demonstrating the hybrid hardware/software workflow in Maschine, and various software instruments (FXpansion, anyone?) have put pressure on hardware with the sheer range of what they can do. But somewhere in the shadow of Maschine and Akai’s MPC Renaissance, Arturia’s Spark has been a little-known, compact, inexpensive challenger. And that’s why Spark 2 …

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The $100 BeatStep Sequencer and Controller: Everything You Want to Know [Review, Resources]

Even if Arturia’s BeatStep did nothing other than act as a dumb controller, it might get your attention. The compact control surface / sequencer hardware runs about $100 street. As a controller, it has both 16 pads and 16 endless encoders (with notches, so you can feel where you are), plus transport triggers and a larger encoder. With driverless USB operation, some of you will already be happy and can proceed. But the BeatStep is more ambitious than that. It has sophisticated software customization via a companion program, and a built-in step sequencer. It operates standalone, with MIDI gadgets or …

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Inside BeatStep: $99 Step Sequencer and Controller Looks Compact, Versatile [Q+A, Videos]

Every new season brings new music tools. Some of these designs, of course, are splashy and grab headlines. Some just look like no-brainers that will see heavy use in your work. Arturia’s BeatStep stood out at the recent NAMM trade show as just an insanely-great use of a hundred bucks, in a tiny box that sort of does everything you’d want. It’s a pad controller. But it’s also a step sequencer. It connects to your computer via USB. But it also does analog CV and MIDI (via breakouts) when your computer isn’t around. It works as a controller. It works …

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GB Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and 13-Year Old Kelly Make Music Together

What unites the Green Bay Packers, Spina bifida, Maschine drum machines, miniBrute, a Milwaukee charity, and a 13-year-old girl? Well, this video. It’s easy to forget that music technology isn’t just about making a handful of superstars. Music making can be an essential part of expression for just about anyone, whether music is their primary professional vocation or not. And the tools we have now are part of being able to express ideas – not only in the way traditional music can, but with the same tools kids grow up hearing on records. It’s obvious, it’s essential … and yet …

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Arturia MicroBrute: $349, Semi-Modular, Analog Keyboard Synth – Details, Full Gallery

If there was any doubt left, the analog monosynth keyboard has gone mainstream now. Fusing 70s electronic instrument design ideas with nerdy lust for sound with modern ideas about connectivity, accessibility, and timbre, a generation of instruments has made it a wonderful time for synth lovers to be alive. And the latest from Arturia is compact and inexpensive, while still managing to squeeze in some unique sound-shaping concepts and a tiny patch bay for modular use. Oh, before you ask, Eurorack fans – yes, it’s Eurorack-compatible. Alex Theakston from Source Distribution, who shot these beautiful photos and provided CDM with …

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Arturia Teases a New, Analog Mini-Keyboard; What We Know About IT (MicroBrute?)

Et tu, MicroBrute…us? It’s small, it’s analog, and it’s a follow-up to the MiniBrute – very likely, called the MicroBrute. Arturia has a new analog synth; they’re not talking details yet, instead posting a site with blurred-out photos and a countdown to a release date later this week. But between leaked information and images, and some tidbits from the teaser site, it’s not so hard to piece together a lot of details of the instrument they’re referring to only as “IT.” It’s definitely an analog synth with keys (seen in the blurred shots) in a compact form factor. It’s also: …

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Novation’s Launchkey Mini is a Little Keyboard with Pads, Knobs [$99, Mac, Windows, iOS, Linux]

We’ve seen plenty of pint-sized keyboards about lately, especially as people more frequently play and produce on the go with laptops and tablets. What we haven’t seen is much in the ultra-portable end of the spectrum that combines drum/trigger pads with knobs with keys – something KORG’s microKONTROL did once, before it was discontinued. (More recently, that has included the Akai MPK Mini and, below, Arturia Minilab.) The Launchkey Mini, introduced today, promises to fill a niche. Available worldwide later this month, you get a nicely-straightforward complement of playable controls. And hopefully, this includes more flexible pads (now with LEDs) …

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Keys and Knobs and Such, New Gear, in Photos: Notes and Gallery from NAMM Day 1

From the Prophet 12 to Korg’s MS-20 Mini (and King Korg – more on that soon), iConnectMIDI interfaces for your iPad to Arturia ultra-portable keyboards, from analog to digital, from big releases to oddities, CDM has some roving reporters out on the floor of America’s biggest musical instrument trade show, NAMM. James Grahame, principal engineer behind the MeeBlip, kicks things off. Looking through his photos is a bit like seeing the show through his eyes. The flagship keyboards you’ve heard of (though Moog-branded water is a surprise). Some of the other good news: the iConnectMIDI4 Plus looks very versatile, indeed, …

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Finnish vocalist Jolea onboard again for this one. Yes, to make collaborations happen, keep those backpack studios handy.

A Music Rig in a Backpack, A Single Made in an Attic: Recue + Jolea “Blame”

Recue X Jolea – In the Attic, Session #1 – Blame from recue on Vimeo. There’s something to be said for the rucksack studio. When we last caught up with Finnish artist Recue, our friend Riku Annala was stranded in an airport hotel room, but managed to coax a live jam out of the experience. This time, mobility wins again, in a collaboration with Helsinki-born vocalist / singer-songwriter / producer Jolea. http://www.audiobaum.com/artists/jolea/ It’s a reminder that you don’t need to wait for the studio setup of your dreams. You can produce just by carving out a small amount of space …

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