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Inside the 18€ Lunchbox Synthesizer Kit with Unit Unlikely

18€ buys you this lunchbox-style synthesizer kit – and it’s just the thing to put together on your lunch break. Unit Unlikely is a hardware startup working with simple parts to make accessible, fun instruments. And its founder joins our resident Dutch design expert to talk about what it’s like diving into the synth business for the first time – and where he might go. It all continues our series from Eindhoven, NL. From the edge of the Netherlands’ slick design scene, industrial designer and music technologist Arvid Jense joins CDM for a series of interviews with Eindhoven Music Startups. …

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Only One of These Czech Analog Synth Drum Machine Organs Exists

Before Elektron – you know, the Swedish drum machine company – there was Elektron. The Elektron-83 is the creation of Jožka Říhák, legendary in Moravia as a genius electronic instrument builder. His Syntezátor – 83 Unisono went into production, but the ELEKTRON – 83 is one of a kind. We got a live performance and demo/explanation of the creation at Brno’s Synth Fest hosted by Bastl Instruments and their new Noise Kitchen shop in the Czech Republic. And this thing is simply amazing.

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How to Sequence on a Budget with the Arturia BeatStep and MeeBlip anode

It’s no step backward. Standalone hardware is now smaller, lighter, more affordable, more capable, and easier to use than before. So why not help focus on a live gig or creating musical ideas by getting away from the computer now and then? This video from Meta Micro Labs shows how easy it is to plug in and get going – even if you’ve never worked this way before. And it stars the MeeBlip anode, our own humble monosynth (co-produced with CDM), featuring our gritty bass sound with analog filter. The timing is right, as we’ve just put anode on sale …

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Grab Some Free Analog Drum Samples, Featuring MFB-522

60 24-bit WAV drum samples with presets are yours for the asking, free. And the source is worth mentioning on its own. If you want a hardware drum machine that’s compact, unique, and affordable, your options are surprisingly few – analog or otherwise. But one that tops the list is the Berlin-made MFB-522 Drum Computer. Now, it seems that part of the whole point of “analog” in drum machines is having something you can tweak directly. But… well, there are those times when you don’t want to pack cables and power and boxes. And, for that matter, sample kits can …

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This Teletype Eurorack from monome is the Nerdiest Module Ever

Yo dawg I heard you like teletypes so I put a teletype in your module in your Eurorack so you can type while you teletype while you patch while you monome. monome’s Brian Crabtree has an exceptional way of finding the essence in musical computation. The original monome grid you can think of as a reduction of the very spirit of a display – in 8 by 8 pixels. His arc encoders did the same, but with lit wheels. aleph was a kind of computer; more recent modules brought inventive compositional ideas to that format. And now, he’s put a …

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The Soul of Czech DIY, at Noise Kitchen Nerdfest and Party

From gear to music, welcome to the capital of DIY. Music technology makers and musicians from the experimental to the party end of the spectrum are gathering soon in central Europe, and they’re worth a listen and look wherever you may be. Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, was already home to some terrific musical experimentation and the mind-tickling inventions of Bastl Instruments. Now, it’s getting its own shop – NOISE.KITCHEN – and a festival to celebrate, called Synth Fest. This is about as unlikely a place as you’d expect to find such things, but the whole …

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‘R is for Roland’ is Coffee Table Pr0n For Synth Lovers

Blah, blah, the influence of the Roland drum machines, their musical/cultural significance… I’ve actually written those words before, so I’ll skip doing it this time. In case the YouTube subtitles aren’t working, let me translate the German from the making-of video below: “We decided to make a giant bit of pr0n for you because these old Roland boxes are so beautiful. Try to keep our finely-printed pages from sticking together.” Actually, the still above looks like something out of Blow-Up< – Antonioni for the studio set?

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The Snap-Together Studio: What littleBits Can Do Now

For all the power you might imagine of various tools, sometimes it’s combining simple devices that yields the greatest results. Our friend Chris Stack is no stranger to deep synths and powerful modulars. But he’s been doing inspiring things with the littleBits line of snap-together modules made with KORG – particularly now that they’re paired with modules for MIDI and CV. You might have seen some of these videos on (cough) other sites, while I was getting behind in my workload, but Chris has kept making more in the interim. He writes: “I was able to hook LittleBits into my …

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As Two Moogerfoogers Are Discontinued, A Musical Ode

Two terrific Moogerfoogers have reached the end of their run. But that’s an excuse for more music, which sounds good to me. 2007’s FreqBox takes input signals and modulates an internal oscillator; the 2009 MIDI Murf is an animated filter sequencer. They’re both pretty great boxes, though now even before delving into modular, there are a lot more choices now than perhaps just those few short years ago. Koma Elektronik’s FT-201 runs further with the idea of sequencer-plus-filter. I can’t think of anything quite like the FreqBox, actually – I’d love to see Moog find a way to make a …

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Metasonix Have Made an Immoral Drum Machine from Vacuum Tubes

Drum machines. They’re predictable. So much so that the biggest controversy about Roland’s high-profile entry into the market with AIRA was whether they should remake the 808/909 or remake the 808/909 as analog. Enter Metasonix. They would like to make the differentiation point of drum machines whether you still have your ass or not once you’ve heard them. And so, we see the D-2000, the long-awaited (long-dreaded?) successor to the D-1000, but, say Metasonix, more extreme. (“Tweaked,” “maximized,” and “pushed.”) How would you describe the sound? Absolutely terrible. (You know, nicely horrible. I mean, probably not in a way most …

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