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OK Go get their own KORG volca sample

Okay, OK Go fans – now there’s synth hardware as quirky and charming as the band’s Internet-viral synth-pop. We got our hands on a very limited edition KORG volca sample made especially for OK Go. This is the battery-powered sample unit with grungy digital sound playback and loads of knobs for manipulating sound, plus the usual touch strip step sequencer for making patterns. It’s fun to play, a unique collectors’ item even if you just want an extra sample playback instrument around. And the built-in samples can be terrific, as you can hear in our playlist.

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keyboards

Roland teases ’boutique’ with three mystery mini keyboard synths

Roland continues their journey into uncharted waters – following the unexpected entry into categories like DIN sync, control voltage-manipulated analog, and Eurorack modular, the Japanese titan today teases something new it’s calling “Roland Boutique.” The legacy is spelled out in the opening – Jupiter-8, JX-3P, and Juno-106 synth keyboards from the early 80s give way to three backlit boxes with just-visible faders with LEDs on them. And at least we see there’s no eye-blinding green LEDs (cough, AIRA). So, this is pretty obvious: you get one box inspired by each of the earlier ones. Really, it’s the word ’boutique’ that’s …

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These mics capture sounds from the edge of human hearing – and beyond

Here’s how much Slovak label LOM loves field recordings and strange sounds: they didn’t just stop with releasing a few wild experimental ambient albums. They’ve gotten into the boutique mic business. They’re creating new hardware that lovingly captures electro-magnetic fields. They’re printing t-shirts with custom designs to show their passion in illustrated form. These are people who are really passionate about recording. And you can get bit by the same addiction. Let’s have a look at what they’re offering.

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This is MeeBlip anode limited edition: White Case, More Direct Control

MeeBlip anode is in a new limited edition with a white case and more hands-on control – only 250 will be made. Details, plus a jam with two anodes from Berlin’s legendary Schneidersladen.

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Delaydelus-w1

Daedelus and Bleep Labs Have Made a Sampler Delay Thing

The latest limited edition sound instrument animal has been born, and it’s a sampler delay … thing. Daedelus, the California producer who first popularized the monome, is teaming up with John-Mike Reed aka Dr. Bleep of Bleep Labs (designed in Austin, Texas and produced in America) to invent the Delaydelus. (Say that ten times fast.) Listen to Alfred’s spacey, trippy voiceover intro in the teaser video below, or stick around for the later videos in order to learn how it actually works. This being an “artist” edition hardware, there are some Daedelus-designed sounds to get you started. After that, you …

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blue

See All the Synth Gear in Schneiders’ Booth in 1 Minute, 39 Seconds

You… might not want to watch this if you’re prone to motion sickness. The array of press releases and new gear at a show can be dizzying. But this is literally dizzying – though not boring. This is a fly-through of the bigger-than-ever 2015 Musikmesse Schneidersb├╝ro Superbooth, hosted by our friend Wouter of KOMA Elektronik and shot with an iPhone and Instagram’s Hyperlapse. There is just a whole lot of modular here. (Schneiders’ has a lot, but not even all the boutique makers here at the show.) And… it’s just plain cool. It’s blinky. It has lights. It has knobs. …

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Knobs, Encoders, and a Crazy-Powerful Step Sequencer: Latest Faderfox Hardware

If you want a tiny, well-built box with loads of encoders or knobs, Faderfox has you covered with its latest round of hardware. (Previously, too: faders!) But with the SC4, the Hamburg, Germany-based builder adds something else: a brilliant step sequencer you can use with software or standalone hardware. Faderfox has two new controllers this month – the knob-laden PC4, which is basically a bunch of pots, and the encoders-with-display SC4. Both work as general-purpose controllers. But the SC4 adds a step-sequencing firmware. The SC4 then becomes more than just a flexible, do-anything controller. It’s about the most step sequencing …

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monomeblur

Watch the Wonders of Grids, as monome Makers Defend Minimal Design

As electronic musical instruments have evolved, it’s been surprisingly easy to point to specific designs that lead others. Creators do often reach the same cluster of ideas at about the same time. But the specifics of how those ideas catch on have very often coalesced around one iconic instrument. Bill Hemsath’s layout, with Bob Moog, for the Minimoog became the standard for monosynth keyboards with knobs. Roger Linn’s design for velocity-sensitive pads, and eventually the MPC 4×4 grid, became the standard for drum machines. And Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain I think deserve credit for making the 8×8 grid the …

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Hear the MFB Dominion 1 Synth in an Epic, Triumphant Demo Song

Some demo songs say “I’m cheesy, please buy me.” “I’m trying desperately to sound like the current genre of the moment.” This one says something different. It shouts: “Greetings. I’m the Dominion 1. You might not know me – but you should. I am awesome. I am your new best friend. I am what you covet – I am what you shall have, because I will be yours. Together, we will triumph. We will quest together through the party times, and the world will go our way in ways that surprise even us. People will gather around us, and love …

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ay3

The Intellivision Synthesizer: Twisted Electrons’ AY3 is a Chiptunes Desktop Synth

8-bit, lo-fi digital, and chip music-influenced sounds have become interwoven with the sounds of modern synthesis. But make no mistake: the AY3 is what you get when you build a desktop synth with the soul of a vintage 80s game console. Made by Twisted Electrons, who make iPad apps and a Eurorack module, as well, the AY3 is synth hardware powered by a music hip of yore. Inside are two 8912 chips, combined for 6-voice polyphony, which give this instrument the same distinctive sound as classic game scores and other music made on the hardware. The 8912, you see, is …

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